Tag Archives: basil

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

It’s funny; I was never a big soup eater. When I heard the words ‘Tomato Soup’, the first thing that popped in my mind was the Campbell Soup can. When I think of the Campbell Soup can, I think of processed, salty, fake food people eat that can’t cook (sorry if I offend anyone!). So now that I’m on my meal planning kick and am trying to cook a batch of soup every week or every two weeks, I am trying new things – like this Tomato Basil Parmesan soup. Mr. P. exclaimed with excitement, ‘This may be my new favorite dish!” I also made this soup on Sunday night – well the first half anyways. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup


2 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 T fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ tsp bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
salt & pepper


Add tomatoes to a large pot. Add carrots and onions.

Stir in the chicken stock, oregano, basil, and bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Then treat yourself to a little snack like I did – prosciutto and bread. Delish.

At this point, this is when I let it cool and stuck it in the refrigerator for 2 days.

When I was ready to finish cooking…
About 15 minutes before serving melt butter over low heat in a skillet Add flour slowly. Stir constantly with a whisk.

Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.

Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. 

Add all back into the large pot.

Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed.

Cover and cook on low for another 5 minutes  or until ready to serve.




My Cute Little Garden

I finally planted my wonderful and fragrant herbs and vegetables this month. To me, there is nothing more rewarding as growing your own food. Watching a tomato seedling grow taller and taller and then — there it is, a beautiful little bud. I have no children, so this is as close as its going to get this summer!

By no means is my garden big. Far from it! I have 6 tomato plants, 3 cucumber plants (generously given to me from my neighbors), basil, parsley, and oregano. Sure having other vegetables would be great, but I don’t have the room (One day! One day I’ll have a superific magical Sabrina garden!) These are the ingredients I use the most anyways.

Check out my cute little garden, and watch it grow!

Let dreamers dream what worlds they please
Those edens can’t be found
The sweetest flowers
The fairest trees
Are grown in solid ground
We’re neither pure nor wise nor good
We’ll do the best we know
We’ll build our house and chop our wood
And make our garden grow
And make our garden grow

Sing it Barbara!















More Tomato!

More Tomato!

Apra La Bocca!

Apra la bocca means open your mouth or open wide in Italian! Because there’s some good things coming in…

If you want to impress your friends with some Mediterranean cooking skills, make a super delicious Italian antipasto dish!

I see people order this at some nice Italian restaurants, and they are always wowed by the taste and the presentation too. Well you can do this at home—at a much lesser price. So today I’m going to show you the veggie version of this appetizer. No cold cuts here.

Depending on how many you’re feeding, you can definitely vary the ingredients. For instance, you can add sliced or cubed cheese, salami, sopresatta, button mushrooms—whatever your heart desires.


Italian Antipasto
Serves: 5-10 people

2 medium zucchini
1 large eggplant
3 bell peppers (orange, yellow and red make for a color display)
½ cup kalamata olives
½ cup buffalo mozzarella balls
3 large garlic cloves
olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash eggplant, and cut of the stem. Hold the eggplant standing up, and make thin slices down the eggplant. Repeat with zucchini.

Wash bell peppers, and cut in half. Remove stems and seeds.

Heat broiler. Cover and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place vegetable slices on the cookie sheet (bell peppers face down).

Spray the top of the vegetables. Broiler for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly charred. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once cool, remove skin and slice the bell peppers.

In another large bowl, add about 1-1/2 cups of olive oil, chopped basil leave, minced garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper. Place all the vegetables in the bowl. Make sure they are drenched in the oil—add more oil if necessary. Add the mozzarella balls. Taste to see if it needs more salt. Then cover and place in the refrigerator. At minimum let it marinate for 2-3 hours. Or you can even do this overnight.

Prior to serving, remove the vegetables from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature. Arrange on a pretty tray—looks great over large leaves of lettuce, cabbage, or any other large leafed vegetable. Garnish with mint.

Hope you enjoy your antipasto!

Share what you like to add to your antipasto dishes!!


Like a Big-a Pizza Pie

Hands down, this is one of my favorite foods to eat: Pizza!

Why? Well, let’s start at the edge and work our way in.

First there’s the crust: though not my favorite part of the slice, I do appreciate a good crispy crust on the outside and soft and chewy inside. Sometimes I like to season my crust or dip it in oil. Next we have the tomato sauce.  love tomatoes. Nice and C-H-U-N-K-Y. I don’t like too many seasonings in my sauce either. I want to taste those fresh tomatoes. Now to the dairy. Mozzzzzzzarellllllla. Whoever  came up with the word mozzarella was very clever. The double “z” and “l” are symbolic of the gooey stringiness I just love. Toppings.  I’m not really into that many toppings on my pizza. Surprising, I know. BUT, there are not many that I won’t eat either.

So whats my favorite part of the pizza. Right in the middle baby. That triangle tip. I even go as far as eating my slices backwards sometimes leaving the tip as the last flavor on my taste buds.

Now for a fun fact!
Everyone in the United States eats about 23 lbs., or 46 slices, every year. That’s a lot of pizza!

Do you have a favorite pizza topping, or are you like me and like it plain? Leave a comment.



Source: The North End Italian Cookbook, Marguerite DiMino Buonopane
Makes about 2 big pizza pies

First, let me say that I rarely make my own crust. When it’s pizza night, it means I had a busy day at work and want to make something homemade but fast and easy. I usually just buy some raw dough at the supermarket. It’s very yummy and awesomely convenient. BUT, since this is a food and recipe blog I will give you the dough recipe I have made and really like!


3/4 cup of lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast
1/8 tsp sugar
3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
vegetable oil


Place the lukewarm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast and sugar on top of it. Set aside for 10-15 minutes in a warm place. After 10-15 minutes you should see a foam has formed on top.

In another bowl, combine 1 cup of flour and a teaspoon of salt.

Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture and pour it over the bowl of flour. Gradually add a second cup of flour. Stir it with a wooden spoon. When it is no longer very sticky, put it on a floured wooden board to knead.

A little at a time, knead the rest of the flour into the dough. It should be smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes of kneading).

Coat a bowl with vegetable oil and place dough inside. Make sure to use a bowl bigger than the ball of dough since it will rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for about 45 minutes. It should have doubled in size.  To rest for readiness, poke the dough with 2 fingers. If the impression remains, it is ready.



1 14 oz can of tomato sauce (I like Pastene, chunky, and un-salted)
1.5-2 tbsp of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp of dried oregano flakes
fresh ground pepper
basil leaves, chopped into small pieces


Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl.  (That was easy!)

Now for the assembly!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Spray your pizza pan with cooking oil (I use Pam). If you like, you can add cornmeal to the pan. Just spread it evenly across, but don’t use too much!

Take your dough and start punching it (that’s right, take out your anger!) Start stretching it in your hands, while rotating around. You want to make sure to keep that round shape. When you get a good size, arrange it on your pizza pan. Go ahead and try to shape it out on your pan some more. You don’t need to fill out the whole pan.

When you’ve got a shape you like, take about 1 tbsp of olive oil and rub in all over your dough. Add the pizza sauce to the middle and scatter across the dough, leave about an inch from the edge for your crust.

Put the pizza in the oven and let cook for about 10-15 minutes. Take the pizza out and add your toppings and mozzarella. Have fun with it!

If you like at this point, you can season your crust. I usually like to add a hint of garlic. Spray the crust with some Pam to get it wet. You can take a clove of garlic and rub it/scrape it on the crust. Or if you’re in a rush, sprinkle some garlic powder over it.

Place your pizza back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Ovens do vary, so take out your pizza and test it out. If you like your crust crispy, get a spatula and lift up the crust. You want the bottom to be a nice light brown color.

When the pizza is done, remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. Slice up and enjoy!!! Even better? Make some extra and freeze it for another night.

… That’s amore!!!

What is your favorite pizza topping?