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Easy Tomato Basil and Gnocchi soup

Need to thaw out from the winter weather? This recipe combines two of the most delicious cold weather comfort foods on the planet — pasta and soup. A big bowl of this filling soup and you’ll be toasty for hours. What’s even better? It’s ready in less that a half hour. Seriously. A food this delicious that’s also ready in about 25 minutes — you’re going to fall in love with this recipe. If you’re not familiar with gnocchi, you can usually find them in the pasta section at any well-stocked grocery store. They’re often vacuumed-packaged and sold next to the boxed pastas. They might also be in the frozen foods aisle near the ravioli and stuffed shells. So what are they? Confession, this description might be a bit biased because I LOVE gnocchi. They’re these pillowy puffs of pasta with a slightly chewy texture, never tough, always just the…

Fall in love with these 5 Easy Valentine’s Day snack ideas

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is right around the corner? Whether you’re looking for a healthy treat that’s classroom ready or something sweet to snack on with your S.O., here are 5 easy Valentine’s Day snacks to share with your loves this Feb. 14. Crush-worthy clementines Just cut your clementine sections at an angle and skewer two together to make cupids bow. Tomato togetherness Cut your cherry tomatoes at an angle about 1/3 of the way down. Then cut the larger piece in half, longways. Skewer the two sides together to make a terrific tasting tomato heart. Sentimental Cinnamon rolls Open a can of cinnamon rolls. Carefully uncoil one cinnamon roll at a time and reform into a heart. Bake at temperature packaging suggests, but notice the time will have to be cut. Hearts are typically ready in about 5 minutes less that packaging suggests. Partial to Pizza Roll out pizza…

What’s the difference between grape and cherry tomatoes?

The other day I began making one of my favorite stuffed pepper recipes, when I discovered that I had purchased grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes on my grocery shopping run. Minor panic set in. There is probably a reason, I thought, I’ve always roasted cherry instead of grape tomatoes. Would I have to go back to the store to get the right ingredient? The easy answer is no, my recipe would turn out delicious as usual, even with the grape tomato substitute. However, it did get me wondering what the differences really are, and if at some point, they aren’t interchangeable. Cherry tomatoes Cherry tomatoes are named because their small size and round shape closely resemble that of cherries. They are juicy and sweet with thin skins. They are prized in the culinary world because they squirt juice when you bite into them. The delicate tomatoes are commonly used…

Caprese Pizza recipe

This warm and crispy pizza combines two Italian favorites. You might find yourself wondering you ever want to eat anything else again. And try these other delicious, original takes on Caprese. Caprese Pizza Ingredients 1/2 cup cooked chicken, cubed 12 ounce store-bought pizza dough 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes of varying colors, halved 2- tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tbsp cornmeal 3-4 ounces of fresh grated mozzarella cheese salt and pepper 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin Directions Let pizza dough stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat broiler to high heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread tomatoes on baking sheet in a single layer. Broil about 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to lightly brown. Place your pizza stone…

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…

Arugula, mint and apricot salad

Apricots are too often overlooked in the summer. We repeatedly reach for fresh berries and cherries, even peaches and watermelon. But for many, apricots are a fruit only eaten dried. A ripe apricot, with its dainty golden blush-color, dripping with juices is a perfect fruit on its own or used in a summer salad. Apricots give you a boost of vitamin A which is said to help repair skin damage from the sun. They also maintain electrolyte balance in the body — great for sweaty, active summer days, since electrolytes reduce cramping and keep blood pumping through your body. Expand your fruit horizons this summer and try this refreshing arugula, mint, apricot salad while the apricots are at their peak. arugula, mint, apricot salad Serves 2 Ingredients 2 cups arugula 1/4 cup mint leaves 2 ripe apricots, sliced 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup almond slices 1/2 orange (for dressing), cold 1 tbsp extra virgin…

10 things you should never store in the refrigerator

The fridge is a great place for most fresh ingredients, but there are a few foods that will fare better if left at room temperature on your countertop or in a pantry. The average family of four in America throws out about $1,600 worth of food every year — often because the food wasn’t stored properly for maximum life span. Check out this list to learn how to make the most of some of the most common groceries. 1. Coffee beans If you’re shelling out serious cash on the best coffee beans, you better know how to store them. The National Coffee Association recommends storing beans in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. Air, moisture, heat and light are all enemies to your beans, so store in a dark and cool location, but never the fridge. Coffee is soft and porous and likes to absorb other flavors around it — in the…

Mediterranean tricolored rotini crab pasta salad

I make this recipe no less than 10 times a year. It’s always a hit at friend gatherings. It’s a must at Memorial Day. I never have leftovers when I bring it to work potlucks, and it’s perfect to have ready in the fridge anytime you think people might stop by. Plus, you can prepare it the night before, never worry about keeping it hot, and you can adapt the recipe to make as much as you like. When you have to feed a large number of people, try this pasta salad instead of your go-to lasagne. I made a huge bowl of this for my friends after they had their baby and they appreciated someone finally brought them something lighter and healthier! You can add anything to the mix from shredded mozzarella to sunflower seeds or blueberries. I like tossing in mandarin orange slices for a touch of sweetness and crushed croutons for some…

One-pot Rustic Tomato Tortellini Soup with kale

Tortellini always feels a bit fancy, despite being fairly cheap and easy to prepare. A package of the frozen stuff can be stored for months in the freezer and will still taste great. The little stuffed pastas can be used a ton of different ways too, especially if you’re looking to create hearty meals, that can please a crowd, without centering a dish around a meat protein. This soup will make you feel like you made something special for yourself, yet it takes just 20 minutes from prep to table. It’s a delicious cross between warm, soothing soup, and comforting pasta that you can effortlessly whip up any night of the week. If you’ve taken the time to create your own pasta, feel free to use fresh tortellini. Just reduce tortellini cook time to about 3 minutes. Rustic Tomato Tortellini Soup with kale Serves 6 Ingredients 1 package (20 oz) cheese tortellini…

Slow-cooker mexican turkey chili makes for a lean, hearty meal

If you’re trying to eat healthy, the Super Bowl comes at a super inconvenient time. Just a few weeks past the holidays, we’re hardly detoxed from those dozens of cookies and excess alcohol before BAM!: A whole day full of fattening foods. From buffalo chicken dip to countless foods smothered in cheese, there’s really no where to hide… But then again, who wants to settle for salad? I’ll be whipping up this easy turkey chili first thing in the morning so it’s ready by game time. Just 15 minutes of prep work and 4-5 hours on high in the slow cooker will have this tasty dish piping-hot in time for kick-off. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded Mexican cheese blend, and/or fresh avocado slices (I splurged and made some jalapeño corn bread, too), and you’ll have a hearty, healthy dish, that will satisfy your football-inspired cravings, but won’t leave you regretting your whole day.…