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11 Jan

What's in Your Pantry?

Posted in Appetizers, Chicken Recipes, Smart Ingredients on 11.01.10 by Smart Ingredients

So, have you had the experience where you wander through the grocery store wondering what you should buy … and if will it add up to more than just that night’s dinner? Me too, and I hate it. That’s why all of Organizing Dinner’s strategies are aimed at eliminating this, and other annoying roadblocks to dinner success. As you know, many of my recipes start with what I call “Smart” ingredients. These are ingredients that can be mixed and matched with so many things you are likely to have at home, that just buying them alone leads to so many meal options. At the top of my Smart ingredients list is canned diced tomatoes. They’re often priced under a buck, they’re pretty, they are versatile, and they can help you create any savory meal course with success. This Smart ingredient can be the centerpiece of a bruschetta appetizer, the basis of a creamy tomato soup (recipe below) or a Cabbage (Detox) Soup, top chicken (mixed with spinach) or fish (mixed with corn), liven up an omelette, mix into white rice with some taco seasoning to make a great side dish for tacos, or help you make many variations of sauce to top many kinds of pasta. Several of these recipes are listed below. Grab a can, or six, next time you’re at the store, and see if they don’t just make you a little “smarter” in your kitchen.

Quick and Easy Bruschetta


•            1 tablespoon olive oil
•            4 oz. cheese (feta, mozzarella, crumbled goats, gorgonzola, blue)
•            1/2 onion, diced

•            2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

•            1 can diced tomatoes, drained

•            1 tablespoon olive oil

•            Crustini (Or, sliced Italian bread, toasted)

Mix first six ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top crustini with tomato mixture and serve.

Tomato Florentine Soup

This soup is so hearty that served with a side of garlic bread, it makes a fabulous meal.


•            2 cups chicken broth
•            2 tablespoons butter
•            2 tablespoons flour
•            1 cup milk or cream
•            1 can diced tomatoes
•            1/3 package frozen spinach
•            1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
•            1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

In medium-sized pot on stove, make a roux by melting butter over medium-low heat, and mixing in flour, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in milk or cream. Add tomatoes and broth.

Add cream mixture and stir to blend. Mix in spinach. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often until cooked through (about 20 minutes). Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.

Italian-Style Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes


•            1 can diced tomatoes
•            4 chicken breasts

•            1 teaspoon diced garlic
•            2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

•            1 tablespoon olive oil
•            1/2 onion, sliced

•            1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
•            1/2 package frozen spinach, thawed
•            1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

•            8 oz. pasta

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile sauté onions and garlic in oil in large pan for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add chicken, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning and cook over medium high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes each side. Add diced tomatoes and spinach to the pan. Cook until fully heated and some liquid evaporates. Serve over pasta, and top each serving with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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