My pick this week and evidently I am in an Italian mode because my pick for Wednesdays with Donna Hay this week also had lots of oregano, basil, and tomatoes.


I loved the ingredients in these meatballs: carrots, oats, Parm. I make meatballs often but never thought to put in a few shredded carrots. Such an easy way to get some extra veggies in. While I liked the meatballs, I thought the marinara was a little thin. The flavor was great but I like my sauces to be a little thicker.

You can find more meatballs and sauce on Eating with Ellie

You can find the recipe in Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders on page 107.

Several years ago I marked a recipe for this soup that I really wanted to make.  And never did.  In fact I completely forgot about it.  Until I was looking thru Donna’s modern classics.


Admittedly it’s not the original recipe I found but it was quite tasty.  And filling.  I was so afraid it would be rather bland since the only flavors added were sliced garlic, pepper, and basil leaves but I worried for nothing.

Donna called for wood fired bread, not gonna happen unless I build an outdoor oven, and over ripe tomatoes.  I had some good crusty bread in the freezer and some canned tomatoes.  Since the tomatoes had already been peeled and canned they worked out perfectly.

I only made 1/2 of the recipe but that was enough for 3 nice servings.  Next time I will make more.

Want to see more soup – visit Wednesdays with Donna Hay to see how the others liked my pick for this week.

The recipe is on page 24 of modern classics.  I also found it online if you want to try it out, too.

It’s MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE week again with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I love a good challenge. Especially when I can meet the challenge.

This weeks mystery box contents:

    Salmon (fresh, smoked, canned),
    Green Peas (dried, fresh or frozen),
    Parmesan Cheese,

    Apples (Any color/kind),
    Blue Cheese,
    Bread Rolls/Buns, and

I managed to complete the challenge with three of the ingredients, weak, yes, but still…


Gratin of Ziti and Vegetables

I love making dishes with the fruits of our garden and this one had it all – squash, tomatoes, eggplant, corn. I cannot think of a better way to use these all up.

    2 quarts water
    4 ounces ziti or penne
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1 onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
    4 ounces string beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
    1 small eggplant (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/22 cups)
    1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
    1 pattypan (or other type) squash (8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups){ I used zucchini.}
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 ripe tomatoes (about 10 ounces),cut into 12-inch pieces (2 cups)
    2 ears sweet corn (about 1 pound), husked and kernels cut off (1 1/2 cups)
    1/2 cup black olive shavings, preferably from Nyons olives { I used kalamata.} (about 2 dozen olives)


    l slice fine-textured white bread, processed into crumbs in a food processor (2/3 cup)
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup minced chives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the sizi in boiling water with salt until al dente. Drain and briefly run ziti under cold water. Cover, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the onion and beans.
Cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggplant and herbes de Provence. Cover and cook, over medium heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add the squash, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 2 more minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Mix in the tomatoes, corn, and olive.
Mix in the cooked pasta and pour the mixture into an 8-cup casserole dish.
In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, OO and chives. Pour the mix over the pasta and veggies.
(Note: The dish can be prepared to this point, covered, and
refrigerated for up to 8 hours.)
Bake the gratin at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes {mine took about 22 minutes} until nice and brown. Serve immediately


This was very very good. But it was also very very very dry. I went back to the recipe to see if I had left something out, but I followed it correctly. The crumbs on top did not stay well on the dish, but were good mixed in. I will make this again, but it really needs some ‘juice’ of some kind. {Original recipe is on page 102 of Jacques Pepin’s Table.

The other Mystery Box dishes are probably delish. Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Well, he might be. But not the kind you are thinking. The food kind. Sauces!! This week’s IHCC theme!

There are five MOTHER sauces we could chose from:


I have made all of these at some point over the last 10 years or so and they are delicious – the creaminess of the Hollandaise and the Béchamel. The heartiness of the Espagnole and the Velouté. But I wanted something simple and light. AND I still have tons of tomatoes coming in so a nice tomato sauce seemed the best idea. Coupled with meatballs and served over pasta it was a delicious dinner.



    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup minced onion
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their liquid
    1/3 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, and oregano and cook over moderate heat until softened.
Add the tomatoes, cover and cook over moderate heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree the sauce until slightly chunky using an immersion blender. You can also use a blender or processor for this.
While the sauce is simmering chop the olives and place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat, and drain well. Add the olives to the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the meatballs and cook until meatballs are heated through.

Pepin also had a meatball recipe with the sauce which called for left over meat shredded and mixed with eggs, herbs, milk, etc. I followed his recipe for the meatballs but used some fresh ground pork and sirloin. You can find HIS meatball recipe HERE.

Which sauce did the other cooks use? Check them out at IHCC – Sauces and see.

I love fresh green beans. I mean, the canned ones are okay, but the fresh are just too good to pass up when they are available. When I used the cans they are usually cooked with onions, bacon, and small potatoes. Sometimes I throw in some tomatoes. But, while good, they just aren’t the best. When I saw some fresh at the store I remembered we had Gaye’s pick coming up this week and picked up a big bag. Good thing, as we have had them more than once over the last couple of weeks.


Fresh beans simmered with fresh garlic, onions, basil, oregano, and tomatoes. How can you beat that? Lots of flavor here.

This was Gaye’s pick this week. Nice choice!

The recipe is on page 245 of Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders (the book we are all cooking from for now) but you can also find it HERE.

How did the other’s like it. Check our Website and see.

Want to join us? The recipes for several weeks are listed on the right. Just cook, blog, and leave a comment. We’d love to have you. Lots of good healthy recipes.

What do you get when you mix together bell peppers, onions, spices and tomatoes? A rich savory sauce. What do you get when you crack an egg in the middle and let it cook to a nice runny yolk> SHAKSHUKA! Ellie says it’s the Middle Eastern version of ‘eggs in purgatory’. David Lebovitz says it has North African origins. It is spicy and can be quite hot if you use enough crushed red pepper. It will definitely wake you up if you eat if for breakfast. Which is what I did.


The spices include cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper and paprika whichcombine to provide a rich, flavorful dish. And as if that wasn’t enough – goat cheese {I used an herb-y one} is sprinkled on top.

This week’s pick was from Chaya and it was definitely a breakfast I could get used to.

What did the other’s think? Check out the Eating with Ellie Webpage and see.

The recipe is on page 277 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders. And if you would like to join us just cook, blog, and leave your link. We’d love to have you.

I do like a good plate of pasta. Especially when it is simple and quick. And this was, as are all of Ellie’s recipes in Weeknight Wonders.


The penne is added to some garlic that is toasted and then mixed in the skillet with halved grape tomatoes and baby spinach. Just throw it all together with some grated Parm and you are set with a quick supper or side.

I would suggest saving some of the pasta water and adding it to the skillet when you add in the penne. It seemed to be a little dry. But it was delicious. It just hit the spot.

This was Peggy’s choice this week and it was a good one
You can see the other’s pasta by clicking on over to the Eating With Ellie webpage.

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