Open-Faced Caprese Sandwich

Fresh produce from the garden such as tomatoes and basil offer endless possibilities for snacking as well as the dinner table. Some are elaborate, some simple.

capresesandMost people might think of a marinara sauce when these two ingredients are mentioned, but if you are looking for something easy to make that will be on the table in just minutes, consider a Caprese sandwich.

The Caprese, which many people like in the salad form, features both tomatoes and basil as well as mozzarella cheese.Therese suggested a version of the sandwich as a light supper the other night. The sourdough bread that we had on hand was perfect. And a splash of balsamic vinegar that provided the finishing touch was a stroke of genius.

Open-Faced Caprese Sandwich
4 slices thick sourdough bread
8 ounces mozzarella cheese,shredded or sliced
1 large tomato
8 fresh basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Preheat broiler. Place cheese on top of bread. Place under broiler until cheese melts. Place tomatoes atop bread followed by basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Yield: Serves 2.

Raspberry Cobbler

Anyone who grows raspberries knows that when the plants start to produce, you better have a plan in place because the reddish little fruit is quite prolific.

newcobberraspEvery year at this time, Therese and I are busy freezing bag upon bag of tasty raspberries. This summer, it’s no different. We’ve already put several 2-cup bags into the freezer and have been garnishing our morning oatmeal with raspberries.

And now, Therese has come up with a delicious dessert that I’m sure we’ll be having many times in the years to come. The recipe, which follows, is relatively simple and goes nicely with a ice cream or half and half.

Raspberry Cobbler
4 tablespoons butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
2 cups of fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan; set in oven to melt. When butter has melted, remove pan from oven. Whisk flour, ¾ cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour batter into pan then scatter fruit over batter. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until batter browns and fruit bubbles, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Yield: Serves 4.

Easy Sausage and Bison Stroganoff

It’s hard to beat a meal of fresh vegetables from the garden, especially when you’re talking green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, Swiss chard and spinach. And if you add a casserole made in a skillet, it’s all the better. And throw in some homemade peanut butter cookies, and the meal is complete.

Sausage_StroganoffThat’s what we had for supper tonight with relatives from Cincinnati who are in town visiting.

Later, I’ll share the cookie recipe. Meanwhile, here is the tasty recipe for the Sausage and Bison Stroganoff, which I put together on short notice and can be ready in less than an hour.

Easy Sausage and Bison Stroganoff
½ pound ground bison
½ pound bulk pork sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1¼ cups chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
|2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon paprika
Hot cooked noodles
In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in mushrooms; cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup broth, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.
In a small bowl, combine remaining broth and flour; stir until smooth. Gradually stir into skillet. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; add sour cream. Stir until heated through (do not boil). Add parsley if desired. Serve with noodles.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per 1-cup serving: 415 calories, 31 grams fat (15 grams saturated fat), 81 milligrams cholesterol, 832 milligrams sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 14 grams protein.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

Indoor cooking on the hot days of summer when temperatures reach the upper 80s to the low 90s (or higher) can present a challenge for cooks. Even cooking outdoors can be tough on even the most hard-core griller.

cabbagerollsA nice alternative to grilling, cooking on the stove or in the oven is the slow cooker. Ingredients can be put into the pot and allowed to cook all day long. It’s an especially nice way to prepare a family meal when both parents work.

Here’s a recipe for slow cooker stuffed cabbage rolls that a friend posted on Facebook. I’m looking forward to giving it a try with one of the nice cabbages growing in my garden at All Seasons in Grand Forks.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
1 head cabbage
3 cups tomato juice
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 egg
½ cup uncooked brown or white rice
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 pound ground turkey or extra-lean ground beef
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Peel 8 to 12 big leaves off the cabbage head and place in a microwave safe dish. Cover in about an inch of water and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce, egg, turkey or beef, rice, onion soup and cheese, and mix with fingers until well combined.
Grease your slow cooker with some Pam cooking spray.
Carefully place a ball of the meat mixture into the middle of each cabbage leaf and roll up into a ball, and place on the bottom of your crock pot seam side down. Do this until all your meat mixture is gone.
After you have all your cabbage rolls in the pot, pour the 3 cups of tomato juice on top.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Holidays such as the Fourth of July that lend themselves outdoor get-togethers can be a dilemma for some people when they are asked to bring food to the event.

lg_11060Recently, a friend of mine, Lori Lunak, asked me when we were working out at the gym if I had any ideas for a hors d’oeuvres she could contribute to a Fourth party. It had to be something that could be prepared in advance and didn’t require refrigeration.

I started to think about and mentioned it to another friend, Pete Hougum. Pete told me he had a great recipe for a buffalo chicken dip that his sister had given to him. Pete said it was easy to make and was very tasty. I told him to mention it to Lori as a possibility.

Here’s the recipe, which I hope to try in the near future.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
½ cup blue cheese or Ranch salad dressing
½ cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
½ up crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 12.5-ounce cans chicken or 1 pound shredded rotisserie chicken
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
Mix in salad dressing, Frank’s RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
Bake for 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.