Tomato Cucumber Salad

July 8, 2014 - Written by Diana

Tomatoes and cucumbers are the staple of just about every summer kitchen. I had plans to do an elaborate salad for the holiday weekend, but when it came down to it, I went quick and easy with my tomato cucumber salad. As a non-mayo, vinegar based salad, it travels well and doesn’t go bad quickly on a hot summer day. If you don’t want to mess with a dressing, store bought will work just fine and save even more time.

Tomato Cucumber Salad - Cookerati.com

Tomato Cucumber Salad


Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

August 28, 2012 - Written by Diana

Baked Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Are you a seasonal cook – trying to use the fresh ingredients in the season in which they are their best?  Summer is such a great fresh vegetable season and the farm markets are full of great local vegetables that ripened on the vine or stalk and were picked at the right stage for freshness.  I try to stay local and seasonal when there are fresh ingredients being grown nearby to take advantage of, and it’s so easy to come up with great dishes.  I made this roasted lasagna in a smaller portion for my husband an son, and then made a bigger version to bring to my mother in law’s for a family gathering.  It’s deceitful, you think there’s meat and pasta, but there isn’t.  The eggplant replaces the pasta, holding up really well and the crumbled goat cheese mixed with herbs almost give you the texture of crumbled meat and the creaminess of ricotta (which you could use instead) at the same time.  Filling in with roasted tomatoes, onions and red peppers in between the layers bumps up the flavor.

Roasted Red Peppers Thin sliced Eggplant Pre-baked Lasagna

Everything in this dish came from either the farm market, or the Market Bag that we get once a week.  Even the sauce is local, because it’s my homemade sauce from last years farm market vegetables.  I have a couple of jars left over from last year that we didn’t use up ( I hate emptying jars that I just put up, it feels as though my efforts to stock up were in vain when they disappear to early).  I will warn you that the dish isn’t pretty when you cut into it because eggplant turns a brown color when heated.  Eggplant can take the place of meat almost like a mushroom is able to or tofu can.  It is very mild in taste and can take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in (or with).

When I was cooking in the square glass pan, I slice the eggplant across the width, but when I used a long ceramic pan, I sliced the eggplant down the length.  Both times I scraped the skin off, because eggplant skin can be tough compared to the meat of the vegetable and I used a mandolin in order to get slices of uniform length and width.  I brushed the eggplant slices with olive oil and placed on a cookie sheet to roast.  I also sliced cherry tomatoes and other small tomatoes in half , de-seeded red peppers and threw slices of onion on other cookie sheets, brushed with oil and roasted them. Fresh herbs and garlic scapes were mixed together with fresh chevre and sprinkled on top, the cheese layer also had fresh mozzarella.  You can use any sauce you like, but use lightly because veggies add a lot of liquid.  If after you get the layers assembled you notice too much liquid around the edges, hold the layers in the pan and tip to let some out.  That happened to me when I didn’t roast the veggies long enough,  but didn’t harm the lasagna at all.  Roasting the vegetables and then draining them before putting them in the lasagna pan will help.

Baked Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

So, no meat, no pasta, no frying – but pretty darn tasty.  I received compliments and an empty pan as thanks for a good grub.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Roasted summer vegetables - layered with sauce and cheese into a delicious Roasted Vegetable Lasagna.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8
  • 1 large eggplant or two smaller - peeled
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 16 oz chevre
  • 1 tbs minced parsley
  • 1 tbs minced basil
  • 1 tbs minced garlic scapes
  • 8 - 12 oz fresh mozzarella
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Grated Parmesan
  1. Using a mandolin - slice wide strips down the length of the eggplant. Layer on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, flip over and brush the other side.
  2. Core the red peppers and slice open so that it lays flat. Brush both sides with olive oil and lay flat on another baking sheet.
  3. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and lay on baking sheet. Slice the onion and throw it on to the same pan with the tomatoes to roast.
  4. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and roast in a 250 oven until they seem tender and golden.
  5. Combine the herbs and cheese together evenly.
  6. Peel the skin off the pepper and slice the pepper into strips. Drain the tomatoes.
  7. Layer:
  8. Sauce
  9. Eggplant slices
  10. Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions in an even layer together
  11. Sprinkle the Herbed Chevre and a layer of Mozzarella.
  12. Grated Parmesan
  13. Repeat. (if you have enough ingredients repeat twice)
  14. The last layer should be:
  15. Eggplant
  16. Roasted Veggies
  17. Sauce
  18. Herbed Chevre and Mozzarella
  19. Grate Parmesan over the top.
  20. Bake @375 for 20 -30 min pulling it out of the oven when it's hot and bubbling with a nice melted cheese crust on top.
The photo is of the smaller lasagna that I made. Cut the ingredients in half to make the smaller lasagna.



What To Do With All Of Those Cherry Tomatoes…

August 18, 2012 - Written by Diana

Cherry, Pear and Other Bite Size TomatoesCherry tomatoes – prolific the first year you plant them in the garden, but then they come back the next year and you didn’t plant them, and the year after and the year after. My husband went to work on my neighbor’s computer and she was telling him that she had too many cherry tomatoes and didn’t know what to do with all of them.  She was running out of ideas and I thought maybe we could help her out.  How do you use your cherry, grape or small pear tomatoes?

There are so many ways you can put those yummy little things to good use.  What suggestions do you have?  They’re so darn colorful and pretty, they make everything look good.

Canning Season Has Started

August 7, 2011 - Written by Diana

Not wanting to waste tomatoes by letting them sit around, my husband and I decided to try and attack them. I think heating the house up with the oven to simmer the tomatoes down works against the air conditioning. Today I am taking a different approach. We cored and cut the tomatoes into quarters and are simmering it in the large electric roasting pan – the one I use to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, or leg of lamb for easter. The tomatoes are breaking down quite nicely, though I will need to strain out the seeds and skin before finishing making the spaghetti sauce.

I should mention that half the tomatoes are from the garden and half from a farmer at the market. We’ve been buying bulk tomatoes from him for a couple of years now. He mentioned that he might have canners next weekend, for 15.00 a bushel, a really inexpensive price for tomatoes that are not perfect. I bought ten lbs from him yesterday, and they are thick meaty solid tomatoes, just lovely.

We have problems if we don’t process them soon after picking or buying. So I’ve made one batch of salsa and we’re simmering a batch of sauce in the roaster. My daughter filches sauce for her college home and I don’t mind, but it means I need more for more households. Canning season has started…

Farm Market Veggies and Leftover Spaghetti

August 4, 2011 - Written by Diana

My son’s specialty is now making spaghetti with sauce.  The most difficult part was NOT overcooking the pasta, believe it or not.  He’s not too keen on figuring out portions, which is why he just makes a whole box (pound) of pasta every time.  While this could cause some problems with waste, I’ve found a way to take the leftover pasta and make another meal with it using farm market and garden veggies.  Saute a few veggies, add in the pasta, a little more oil and white whine, toss until heated along with some herbs from the garden and voila you have a great dish.  We served this topped with a luna burger.  I had the garden thyme, my husband had a barbecue .  My daughter said she wanted real meat, but my son crumbled the burger up and mixed it in with the pasta.   My husband and I just broke off pieces with the fork then grabbed up some pasta and veggies on the same fork and ate it that way.  Let me tell you, it was super delicious.




Dice Shallot.  Chop the rest of the veggies to about finger width and 1/2 finger length.  Saute shallots in olive oil, when they are soft and translucent, add in carrots and soften.  Throw in squash and when that is softened add tomato  and herbs.
Chop spaghetti, and throw in with veggies, toss with olive oil.  Pour wine over top and scrap bottom of bits.    Keep tossing, when heated through, serve.

You can substitute any of your veggies  and change up the pasta.   Though I wish my son would think ahead to portion size and preparation, I love that I don’t have to heat up another full pot of water for another batch of spaghetti.  What do you do when you make too much?


Salad For Breakfast

May 14, 2011 - Written by Diana

Recently, we were discussing breakfast.  It came out that one person ate her breakfast as a salad. She cooked up her eggs and bacon, and ate it over salad.  Well, here we were a week later, and out of bread, rolls, wrap, pita, etc.  I thought, well, what the heck – let’s try breakfast as salad, because well, heck it’s salad season.  So I cooked up my breakfast and put it over some nice greens with avocado, and salsa.  The salsa is difficult to see under the egg, but it’s there.  I really enjoyed my breakfast this way though I will let my salsa warm up a little first next time. Really cold salsa with warm eggs is too much of a temperature difference.  A zap in the microwave or letting it come to room temp would be a little better.


Prepare your eggs and Pancetta in your favorite way.  Create a salad and place the cooked eggs and pancetta on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.  Enjoy!

Salad Season Has Arrived!

May 12, 2011 - Written by Diana

I arrived home from work to a hot and sweaty daughter studying at the computer.  When I mentioned dinner, she replied – anything but not hot.  Salad season is on folks, especially now.  This is the best time for fresh salads because salad greens love early spring best.  They don’t do so well in the super heat of the hazy summer end, but planting seeds outside in the end of winter will bring you perfect greens in the beginning of spring when the bugs are still on vacation.  I hope to have a few more cool evenings with warm tomato soup, stew or a roast, but I’m looking ahead to more salad days.

Tonight’s dinner was both quick and easy to prepare and all the ingredients in my fridge, so I didn’t have to run out for anything.  The quinoa was made up in a big batch but frozen in dinner size portions.  You can set it to defrost in the fridge, or if you are like me and deciding at the last minute, you can microwave for one minute, stir it around a little and it’s ready to go.  The rest of the ingredients came together into a nice salad topped with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.  Not only was it declared delicious by my college girl, but she made herself a second round.  Yummy.


Italian Sausage, Tomato & Cabbage Stew(p)

September 24, 2009 - Written by Diana

My Italian Sausage, Tomato and Cabbage Stew(p) is one of the best combinations for using up the veggies in your garden.  The cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes all came from my vegetable garden.  I would have had onions too, if my daughter hadn’t pulled them and thrown them into the composter with the weeds.  The garlic, onions and sweet italian sausage (bison) all came from the farm market.  The rest I had in the cabinet.  It didn’t take long to prepare and was ready as soon as the cabbage was wilted enough.  Lots of great flavor in this meal, you’ll love it.

Italian Sausage, Tomato and Cabbage Stew(p) Ingredients:


Spray a skillet with cooking spray, and cook the sausage with onions and smashed garlic.  Halve potatoes and boil in a small pot of water until al dente, not soft.  Throw rest of the ingredients in a stockpot and simmer.  After the sausage is cooked through, peel the skin off and slice into 1 inch wide pieces.  Drain potatoes.  Throw the potatoes, the sausage, garlic and onion slices into the stockpot. It’s done when the cabbage reaches the wiltiness that you like best.

Italian Sausage, Tomato & Cabbage Stew(p)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Italian Sausage, Tomato and Cabbage Stew/Soup. A hearty and delicious, quick and easy meal to make.
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 onion sliced in half and then into slivers
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 8 small potatoes scrubbed and sliced in half
  • ⅓ head of cabbage rough chopped
  • 2 cups whole tomatoes and juice - smooshed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray or use a couple of tablespoons of oil , and saute the sausage with onions and smashed garlic.
  2. Halve potatoes and boil in a small pot of water until al dente, not soft.
  3. Toss the rest of the ingredients in a stockpot and simmer.
  4. After the sausage is cooked through, peel the skin off and slice into 1 inch wide pieces.
  5. Drain potatoes.
  6. Throw the potatoes, the sausage, garlic and onion slices into the stockpot.
  7. It’s done when the cabbage reaches the wiltiness that you like best.