Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Home Grown Tomatoes

There ain't nothin' in the world that I like better Than bacon 'n lettuce 'n home grown tomatoes.
Up in the morning, out in the garden. Get you a ripe one, don't get a hard 'un.
Plant 'em in the spring, eat 'em in the summer. All winter without 'em is a culinary bummer.
I forget all about the sweatin' and the diggin' every time I go out and pick me a big 'un!
Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes What'd life be without home grown tomatoes? Only two things that money can't buy that's true love and home grown tomatoes.
You can go out and eat an that's for sure. But there's nothin' a home grown tomato won't cure.
Put 'em in a salad put 'em in a stew. You can make your own very own tomato juice.
You can eat 'em with eggs, eat 'em with gravy, You can eat 'em with beans, pinto or navy.
Put 'em on the side, put 'em in the middle Home grown tomato on a hot cake griddle.
Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes. What'd life be without home grown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy That's true love and home grown tomatoes.
If I's to change this life I lead You could call me Johnny Tomato seed.
'Cause I know what this country needs -
Home grown tomatoes in every yard you see!
When I die don't bury me In a box in a cold dark cemetary.
Out in the garden would be much better 'Cause I could be pushin' up a home grown tomatoes. Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes What'd life be without home grown tomatoes Only two things that money can't buy That's true love and home grown tomatoes.

John Denver

Monday, August 25, 2008

la-la-la lasagna!

Lasagna isn't something we have very often. It's delicious, but the time and preparation usually keep me from bothering to make it. However, Josh requested it, and reminded me that it has been a long time.
I always use homemade spaghetti sauce. This time, though, I wanted something different...brighter in flavor...fresher in flavor. Then I saw this huge pile of cherry tomatoes sitting on my counter...hmmm.

Garden Maranara Sauce
2 cups of cherry tomatoes - cut in half
1 small onion - diced
1 clove garlic - diced
1 can diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley - chopped
4 large leaves of basil - chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
olive oil

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sautee the onions and garlic for about 5-10 minutes or until transparent.

Add the cherry tomatoes and sautee about 10 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the parsley and basil and simmer another 10 minutes.

I also browned about a pound of ground beef in another skillet and then added it to the finished sauce.

The sauce was perfect and I cried a little that I had to add meat to it. But lasagna is just so boring without meat.

Lasagna Recipe
1 box of lasagna noodles
1.5 pounds ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella..or white cheddar...or asiago (I used imported provolone)
1 cup of fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Meat Sauce (recipe above)

Boil the lasagna noodles for about 6-7 minutes. You want them to still be a bit firm when you remove them from the pot. Drain the noodles and lay each noodle on paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.

Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese in a bowl and set aside.

In a 9x13 pan (or lasagna pan), put a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.

Then put down a layer of noodles, overlapping the edges.

Take 1/3 of the cheese mix and spread it over the noodles.

Place another layer of meat sauce on top of the cheese layer. Continue with noodles, cheese, sauce. You should have about 3 layers, with the very top layer being sauce. I'll then sprinkle some shredded mozzarella on top.

Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I love corn on the cob. I could eat an entire dozen of corn on the cob for a meal. I could eat it every day. However, sometimes, I have too much corn....too much corn that doesn't taste good on the cob.
I had about 3 dozen ears of corn. Some of it was past its prime...some of it was just not suitable for being boiled (or grilled) and smothered in butter. So, I cut it all off the cob - and then placed 1-cup servings in freezer bags and put them in the freezer.
Now I'll have fresh, locally grown corn for several months. It'll be perfect for my chili, chicken tortilla soup, corn chowder, and just for warming with some butter as a side dish. We had that with dinner tonight and it was so good!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


When I was in college, I had a friend from Niagra Falls, Canada. Actually, she's still my friend...I just haven't seen her in 10 years! Anyway, she introduced me to great coffee and doughnuts from Tim Horton's. I thought these places were only in Canada until I saw one in Buffalo, NY last October. I didn't stop and have regretted it since.

Fast forward to today. I'm in Southwestern Ohio and what do I see? Tim Hortons! I had to go in for some Timbits. Good lord, this sounds like something terrible...use your imagination! Really though, it's just doughnut holes...but that's not interesting at all.


Mom Johnson's Macaroni

I'm sure all of our husbands have favorites from mom. This is something that Josh requests quite a bit. I think it's as close as it gets to his mom's version, but of course, I'm sure mom's is better! He calls it "macaroni", but to me, it's "beef-a-roni". Either way, it's pretty darn tasty!
2 Pounds elbow macaroni (cooked al dente)
2 Jars of Del Grosso Meat Sauce
3 small cans of tomato paste
1 large can of tomato juice
1 pound of ground meat
8 slices of American cheese
garlic salt
onion powder
In a saucepot, combine the Del Grosso meat sauce, tomato paste, tomato juice, and american cheese. Let simmer.
While the sauce is simmering, brown the ground beef in a pan and season with the garlic salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste. Once browned, add to the sauce.
Allow the sauce and meat to simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cooked elbows and stir. Turn the heat down to "low" and allow the macaroni to absorb the sauce - stirring frequently. Once everything has thickened, it's ready to eat! Even better as leftovers!