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Entries in Tomato (5)


Tomato basil soup


Yesterday at this time I thought I would be writing this post from the hospital. My 6-year-old was supposed to have surgery on his ear yesterday, but there was a different plan for him. After telling him NO EATING, he promptly went downstairs and chewed the chocolate off of a chocolate-covered almond. I called the surgery department and confessed the crime. Surgery was canceled immediately. Food in belly a few hours before surgery = not good. Dan and I spent yesterday doing our best to recalibrate, as we had spent so much time preparing ourselves for surgery and the emotion that goes along with it. Needless to say, it has been a strange past 24 hours!

What I am about to say is more than just a convenient transition. It is totally the truth. A nice hot bowl of this delicious soup has provided me with comfort this week, whether it was as I was preparing for surgery or adjusting to NO surgery. Tomato Basil is one of my all-time favorite soups, and this version is incredible! 


Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in an extra large skillet or large saucepan over medium heat. Add:

3 large carrots, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.


3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook, stirring, for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.


Three 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes

32-oz. container chicken broth

3 tablespoons sugar

Increase the temperature to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes. In batches, add the mixture to a blender or food processor.

Liquefy or process until the mixture is smooth.

Return the soup to the skillet/saucepan and add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream.

Stir and warm the mixture over medium-low heat until it is heated through.

Pour into bowls and serve warm. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese and/or croutons.

Wishing you all a happy week! Thank you for reading!

Tomato Basil Soup

This is one of my favorite soups on the planet!

Serves: 8-10

Total time: 2 hrs

Tomato Basil Soup


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Three 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes
  • 32-oz. container chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese and croutons, for topping (if desired)
  1. Heat the olive oil in an extra large skillet or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the basil, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and sugar. Increase temperature to medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes. In batches, add the mixture to a blender or food processor. Liquefy or process until the mixture is smooth. Return to the skillet/saucepan and add the heavy whipping cream. Stir and warm the mixture over medium-low heat until heated through. Pour into bowls and serve warm. Top with Parmesan cheese and croutons.




Leek tomato & mushroom quiche

I absolutely cannot write this post without sharing my funny story about quiches. It's funny now. It wasn't so funny when it happened. A few years ago my incredibly thoughtful husband asked me if I would like for him to make me a quiche for Mother's Day. Now, please keep in mind that I was pregnant at the time and very close to delivering Sammy. I flipped out on him upon suggesting quiche! "QUICHE?! You men always get Famous Dave's for Father's Day and that is so much better than QUICHE!" An argument occurred, me wondering how he could possibly suggest QUICHE (and not bbq ribs) and him wondering why I was being so ridiculous.

I claim Pregnancy Crazies because goodness, what a very thoughtful thing for him to consider! Quiche is delicious! And it is a standard go-to for a Mother's Day brunch.

So hopefully you, too, have a thoughtful husband who offers to make you quiche for Mother's Day and hopefully you aren't hormonal and irrational about suggesting such a thing!

Although we joke about that argument often, I don't know if I have ever genuinely told Dan that I'm sorry for being so silly. Husband, I am sorry! I would welcome a quiche made by your wonderful self any day, especially on Mother's Day! I apologize for being a crazy pregnant lady!

This is the first quiche I have made since the Quiche Fight, and I must say that it turned out quite delicious. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll two 9-inch ready-to-bake pie crusts and press them into two 9-inch pie plates. Poke plenty of holes into the surface of the dough with a fork.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 leek (halved lengthwise and thinly sliced; white and light green parts only) and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Halve an 8-ounce container of grape or cherry tomatoes.

Chop fresh flat-leaf parsley to equal 1/4 cup.

Coarsely chop 8 ounces of fresh sliced mushrooms.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Sliced leeks

Halved tomatoes

Chopped parsley

Chopped mushrooms

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix well.

Add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and mix well. I used Kraft Triple Cheddar, which contains white cheddar, sharp cheddar and mild cheddar with a touch of cream cheese. This might be my new favorite!

Mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 2 pie plates.

In a medium bowl, combine:

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

Whisk together and divide between the 2 pie plates. Pour over the top of the veggie-cheese mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Who needs Famous Dave's when a mama can have something as delicious as this?!

Printable recipe: Leek tomato & mushroom quiche


Spicy chickpea salad

This is Week #12 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

Fresh-ingredient salads rock. They're pretty and fresh and tasty and versatile. My husband and I make a killer fresh salad that rivals this one, and I'll share it before summer arrives. By the way, where is summer? We got teased with a bit of warm weather last week, so now the cold and snow and freezing rain are even harder to swallow. I'm not convinced that summer will ever welcome us into her warm embrace.

This colorful salad helps me to believe that it might happen, though. It makes me think of lunches outside with my boys as we sit barefoot on the grass, wiping beads of sweat from our foreheads. Mmmmmmmm.

Back to my cold reality known as Minnesota.

If you, too, enjoy tricking yourself into believing it is summer when it is in fact not, make this salad! My family loved it and the entire batch was gone within 24 hours, despite the lack of warm weather.

If you want to go fresh and do as the recipe suggests, soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight. Drain the chickpeas and bring to a boil in a large saucepan in 4 inches of water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 hours, or until chickpeas are tender.

If you want easy, purchase two cans of chickpeas at the grocery store.

Either way, drain the chickpeas and place them in a medium bowl.


1 tomato, chopped

1/2 cup cucumber, diced (This is where I should explain that my husband is a juicing fanatic these days. Every fruit or vegetable that enters our home gets run through the juicer unless I declare that it is off limits. I opened the fridge to grab my cucumber. Juiced. So I used 2 stalks of chopped celery in its place.)

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (The lemon I had purchased for this recipe? Juiced. Luckily its juice was fresh and still in the fridge.)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried mango powder (optional)


Mix everything together and serve chilled.

The first thing we did upon making this was throw it onto a piece of flatbread with sliced turkey and black pepper.

A piece of lettuce would have added a nice crunch, but that had probably been juiced, as well.

No mayo needed! It made a delicious, healthy dinner wrap.

The next day for lunch, I used it as a topping for my boring baked chicken and cottage cheese.

And I ate the last of it with crackers for a snack.

I can think of about 100 other things I'd like to put it in and on and in between. Or, I wouldn't mind eating it straight from the container while having a picnic lunch with my family, the beating sun making the tops of our heads hot.

Ahhhhh, a girl can dream.

Click here for a printable recipe!


Tomato-basil and olive-leek tartlets

As a Foodbuzz featured publisher, I have the honor of writing a post for a very good cause. Foodbuzz is donating $50 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every Top 9 Tea Party Takeover entry received on its site today. Please go to the Kelly Confidential website to donate money toward ovarian cancer research!

The challenge for this takeover is to create the perfect tea party recipe. The scene in the below photo is the closest I get to having tea parties. Do you see the "tea" magnet? I didn't even strategically place that. I saw it and knew I was meant to capture this photo.

I might serve plastic French fries, chicken and watermelon at a tea party, but perhaps not for guests over the age of 5.

My idea of the perfect tea party recipe involves a huge burst of flavor in a teeny tiny bite. Or two teeny tiny bites. I thought of some of the flavors I have fallen in love with recently and incorporated them into two delicious tartlet recipes. If a tea party is on your agenda, you will want to remove the plastic food from your table and make these! They are just what I was aiming for. Big flavor in a small package.

Both tartlets induced an "Oh dear LORD, this is good!" from my husband, my tea party companion.

Start out by defrosting 2 puff pastry sheets according to the package directions. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

While you are waiting for your pastry to defrost and your oven to heat up, combine the following ingredients in a medium bowl:

2 cups cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper

Set aside.

Slice the white parts from 2 medium leeks.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the sliced leeks to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, or until they are soft. Give them a little sprinkling of salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Cooked leeks

1 cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (I used slightly more than this due to my olive obsession)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper

On a floured surface, roll out the defrosted pastry sheets with a rolling pin until they reach a thickness of 1/8 inch.

I used 3 different sizes of tartlet tins, so I cut 3 different sizes of squares from my puff pastry sheets. Round biscuit cutters would work great, too, but I personally love the corners-hangin'-over-the-edge look.

My general size guidelines:

1.5-inch tin (all diameters measured on bottom) = 3x3-inch pastry square

2-inch tin = 4x4-inch pastry square

3-inch tin = 5x5-inch pastry square

Once the squares are cut, use a fork to create perforations over the surface of the pastry squares. Grease the tins and place the pastry squares in their respectively-sized spots. Gently press the centers of the pastries into the bottom of the tins, allowing the corners of the squares to fold over the edges.

Place the tins on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastries are flaky and golden in color. You will likely need to bake the tartlets in batches, unless you have an abundance of tartlet tins lying around.

Place a small cube of fresh mozzarella cheese in the center of each pastry (sizes of the cheese cubes should vary depending on the size of the tartlet).

In half of the pastries, top the mozzarella with a spoonful of the tomato-basil mixture. For bigger tartlets, make that 2 or 3 spoonfuls.

In the other half of the pastries, top the mozzarella with a spoonful of the olive-leek mixture.

Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the mozzarella is gooey and you are salivating.

Top the tomato-basil tartlets with fresh basil, if desired.

Remove from tins and serve immediately. With tea, of course.

These are ridiculously tasty. Your tea party guests will be begging you to please go make more.

Printable Tomato-Basil Tartlet recipe

Printable Olive-Leek Tartlet recipe


Grilled provolone & veggie basil sandwich

I got the idea from Martha Stewart to create "grown-up" grilled cheese sandwiches. Martha is right. Kids should not be the only ones enjoying this timeless sandwich.

My first attempt at adultifying the good old Grilled Cheese turned out fabulous, if I do say so. I could hardly stand to take the photos. I was dying to sink my teeth into its sandwich-y flesh! And once I did, it did not take long for me to shove the entire thing down my throat. Delicious, I'm telling you, delicious!

I have concocted many versions in my head of adult grilled cheese sandwiches that I plan to make in the future. For now, here is Trial #1.

Butter one side of a slice of swirl pumpernickel rye bread. Place it butter-side down on a skillet over medium-low heat.

Layer with:

1 slice provolone cheese

Tomato slices

Avocado slices

Fresh basil

1 slice provolone cheese

Another slice of swirl pumpernickel rye bread, butter-side up

When the cheese closest to the pan melts, carefully flip the sandwich over. When the other cheese slice melts, remove from heat. Cut sandwich in half and hopefully you don't feel compelled to take photos of everything you cook like I do because you will have the urge to eat this asap!

Soooooo delcious! 

Grilled Provolone and Veggie Basil Sandwich

One of my favorite grilled creations of all time@

Serves: 1

Total time: 10 min

Fruit and Spinach Smoothie


  • 2 slices swirl pumpernickel bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 tomato slices, patted dry
  • 2 avocado slices
  • 2 large fresh basil leaves
  1. Place the bread slices on a flat work surface. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter evenly over one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Warm a skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Layer the sandwich as follows: Slice of bread, butter side down, 1 slice cheese, tomatoes, avocados, 1 slice cheese and slice of bread, butter side up.
  3. Place sandwiche onto the hot skillet. Cook on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the bottom layer of cheese begins to melt around the edges. Cut in half and serve!