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mozzarella

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Festive olive wreath holiday appetizer

You did it! You just found the prettiest way to serve olives this holiday season. Welcome the holiday olive wreath to your table this year. It’s amazing how ordinary olives go from drab to centerpiece status with just a few springs of rosemary. Add some fresh mozzarella pearls and some sweet and tangy pepper drops for color, and you have an appetizer platter that’s ready to party. What’s better still? This olive wreath can be assembled in just a few minutes, so no need to save it for special occasions. Throw one together for your couples holiday movie night-in, while you’re decorating the house for the holidays, or anytime a friend stops by to chat this season. I fill the middle of mine with crackers — especially when I can find adorable shapes like these stars — but feel free to leave the center open. You can always serve crackers…

Caprese salad 10 different ways

Caprese salad is a summer must-make kind of dish… But no really. Without all of these Caprese salad recipes, how will you ever use up all of your fresh, home grown tomatoes? You already know how to slice tomatoes and mozzarella, so here are some other ideas for when you want to have a little fun with the classic. 1. Caprese pasta salad You favorite ingredients tossed with your favorite pasta also requires a glass of your favorite chilled wine. Cool and refreshing salad recipe. 2. Caprese garlic bread Serve as a side dish or eat all on its own. Get the recipe. 3.  caprese summer rolls Roasted tomatoes take these summer rolls to the next level. Get the recipe here.  4. caprese pizza Caprese. Pizza. Need we say more? Make one tonight. 5. strawberry caprese skewers Swap out strawberries for tomatoes in this interesting and tasty twist on Caprese. Make…

Classic 3 cheese lasagna with meat sauce recipe

Lasagna from scratch is a meal to behold, but if you’re like most people, simmering sauce and making individual strips of pasta aren’t on your nightly schedule. Boxed pastas and store-bought marinaras save a ton of time without sacrificing any flavor. Some Sunday when you have a whole day to kill, build it from the ground up, but on a busy day — in a busy life — have no shame in shortcuts. National Lasagna Day is right around the corner (July 29). You might be headed to your favorite Italian restaurant for a great big piece, but why not do as the Italians do, and make this delicious dish at home! Here are a few tips for baking your best lasagne ever: 1. Careful with your noodles. Building a good lasagna requires a bit of architecture. Lasagna needs a good structure, and the noodles give it all it needs —…

Caprese Summer Rolls are the newest must-have recipe for warm weather days

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Caprese Salad. The combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and soft mozzarella is a recipe that doesn’t need much improvement. But when you just can’t get enough of the Italian trio, it is fun to experiment with other ways to enjoy these classic ingredients. Welcome your first summer produce haul with these light and refreshing hand-held bits of sunshine. Roasting the tomatoes amps up their flavor and can make these spring rolls feel like more of a meal. Also, if you have trouble finding super thin rice noodles, you can always substitute with Romaine lettuce. The lettuce will nicely fill out the roll, soak up the dressing, and give your rolls a nice crunchy bite. If you’re new to working with rice paper, here are a few tips: Fill a pie pan with room temperature water. Soak wrappers briefly, one at a time. Moisten your…

Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

It’s finally that time of the year when you can introduce some lighter fare to your home cooked menu. Whether it’s lunch or dinner (or leftovers!), this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad has all of the elements of a perfect summer meal. Just toss some bite-sized pasta and mini mozzarella, with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and add some chicken for some protein. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s all the summer flavors you love, reconfigured as a quick and easy pasta salad. When you combine pasta and Caprese, could you ever go wrong? Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients 2 cups pasta (any shape) 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cups mini mozzarella pearls 1 cup cherry tomatos, halved handful of fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, or balsamic glaze salt pepper Directions Cook pasta until…

Switch things up with strawberry caprese skewers

So you’ve had tomatoes with basil and mozzarella before (the classic caprese), but have you ever thought about swapping out for strawberries? The sweet summer fruit pairs perfectly with the creamy mozzarella balls and the fragrant basil. These easy-to-eat skewers will quickly become your new favorite picnic or poolside appetizer. They’re so good, you might even eat them for dessert! I like to stick with local berries. If you don’t have any available, stay with smaller varieties. They have a sweeter flavor and they’re easier to eat. I like to hull them too, so no bitter parts the berry have a chance to ruin the sweet and savory experience. The basil was fresh and ready from the garden (finally!), so I just had to pick up the buffalo mozzarella balls from the grocery store — again, they’re just the right size of bite for an outdoor skewer. And like any good caprese salad, it needed a drizzle…

Kale pesto pizza is delicious, healthy option for pizza lovers

We’re never too old for a simple slice of cheese pizza, but the best part of being an adult might actually be the whole new world of pizza toppings we open ourselves up to. Seriously — you probably started to order veggies, and even things like pears, on your pizza somewhere around the time you got excited you could pay all your bills on time. Since then, you’ve never looked back. The great pizza awakening also means you no longer need red sauce to consider it a proper pie, so I don’t need to tell you that pesto can go on pizza. But wait! What if I said that this pesto can be made of kale — the ultimate adult vegetable — and you’re going to love it! My friends (adults when they want to be) were shocked to find out my pesto sauce was made with kale instead of the basic basil they…

Caprese garlic bread, a can’t miss

Garlic bread and sauce can be a meal in my house. But what do you do to give an upgrade to this basic bread staple? Add melty mozzarella, fresh sliced tomatoes and green basil, of course. Serve as a side with pasta, or eat all on its own. Caprese Garlic Bread Serves 6-8  Ingredients 1 loaf Italian bread, halved 1 stick butter, softened 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella 2 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 cup balsamic reduction 6-8 fresh basil leaves, sliced Himalayan cooking and table salt Directions  Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, add butter, garlic and salt. Mash together until soft and blended. Spread mixture on both halves of bread. Place bread halves on a baking sheet, and bake about 15 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and just barely brown. Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella over both halves of the loaf. Top with tomato slices, and bake…

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce

It’s a classic combo that never disappoints: Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic and fresh mozzarella. This modern variation on those Old-World flavors is easy to make, but tastes like something you would order at your favorite Italian restaurant. Be sure to serve with some slices of crusty bread to soak up the creamy mozzarella sauce. The fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. Since it’s summer, definitely go for fresh basil — maybe grown in your own yard. And pro tip: always spring for fresh cheeses, particularly parmesan. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce Serves 3-4: 30 minutes Ingredients 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes separated from oil (I like to visit my local grocer’s antipasto bar for freshness) 2-3 tbsp oil (drained from sun dried tomatoes, see above) 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 big handfuls of spinach (about 3-4 ounces) 1 and 1/4 cup half and half…