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Brunch

Brunch, Lunch, Pasta, Side Dishes

Caprese Pasta Salad

September 30, 2016

We had a community get together recently for end of summer, and I decided to make a caprese pasta salad.  I always love caprese salads, so this is just a different take on it!

GourmetGirlDoesRE

Ingredients:

  • Penne or Bow Tie Pasta (1 package)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mayo
  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes to give more color (if you cannot find them just use cherry or grape tomatoes) – one large container or 2 small containers
  • 1 package of basil (remove leaves from stem)
  • 1 small package of pine nuts (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 containers of Mozzarella Balls
  • 1/2 to 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

See my pesto recipe below!

Directions:

  1.  Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta per package instructions, drain and place in bowl.
  3. Immediately add the pesto and mayo.  It’s easier to mix when the pasta is still warm.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the basil and Mozzarella balls.  Wait to add when the pasta has cooled down to add the Mozzarella balls.  Do not add the basil leaves until you are ready to serve otherwise they will wilt.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 10-20 minutes before serving.

Pesto

Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese, or a combo of the two
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil and cheeses in a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is blended into a slightly coarse paste.​
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the oil and cheeses.​
  3. To serve with pasta, you can toss the cooked pasta directly with the pesto. Or, if you want to thin out the pesto sauce a little, add a spoonful or two of the hot pasta water to the pesto, then toss with the cooked pasta and serve right away.

 

Brunch, Desserts

Easy Fruit Tart

September 30, 2016

I had a brunch party at my house not too long ago, and I made this easy fruit tart that I make when I am in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time.

GourmetGirlDoesRE

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
  •  1 package instant vanilla pudding
  • Berries or other fruit of your choice

Directions:

  1. If you have a tart pan, that works best.  If you don’t, you can use a pie pin.  You can usually find tart pans at Home Goods, Target or TJ Max/Marshall’s fairly inexpensively.
  2. Grease tart pan with a bit of butter and then dust with flour.
  3. Spread the sugar cookie dough over tart pan and make sure you get the edges.
  4. Cook the cookie dough in the tart pan per package instructions.
  5. Make the instant vanilla pudding and refrigerate for at least 10-20 minutes.
  6. After you let the baked cookie dough cool down, add the vanilla pudding and then whatever berries or fruit you would like to add.
  7. This is something you want to make right before you serve, or at least the same day.

You can also use pie crust if you don’t want the fruit tart to be as sweet.  And of course, making the vanilla pudding homemade is always better if you have the time!  See my banana cream pie recipe for homemade vanilla pudding if you want to make the homemade version.  My homemade pudding is to die for, but you have to have the time to make it.