Let's Eat

METRO photo

By Heidi Sutton

Sweet potatoes may be stars; cornbread dressing a contender. Dinner rolls are divine and green bean casserole a go-to. But Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without turkey.

Even in households that don’t eat meat, plant-based turkey alternatives find their way onto the dinner table in a nod to Thanksgiving tradition. Given the emphasis placed on the main course each Thanksgiving, cooking a turkey can be intimidating. These turkey-cooking tips can calm anyone’s nerves and result in a mouth-watering main course.

Allow ample time for thawing. Some people may not be able to buy a fresh turkey, and millions of individuals purchase frozen turkeys each year. The Food Network says it can take 24 hours per every five pounds to thaw a turkey. Therefore, if you have a 15-pounder, allow for three days for thawing. Always thaw a turkey in a refrigerator.

Get the right size bird. The general rule of thumb is 1 pound (uncooked) to 1 1⁄2 pounds of turkey per person if you’re buying a whole turkey. Rather than purchasing the largest turkey you can find for a large crowd, consider two smaller turkeys or one turkey and one breast to make cooking more even. Smaller birds are more tender as well.

Adjust the temperature. The food and cooking resource The Kitchn advises preheating an oven to 450 F, then dropping the temperature to 350 F after putting the turkey into the oven. Cook, on average, 13 minutes per each pound of turkey. The turkey is done when it registers a minimum temperature of 165 F in the thickest part of the thigh.

To brine or not to brine? Many food fanatics swear by brining turkey to achieve more moist and flavorful meat. However, a wet brine may not lead to the crispiest skin possible. 

Good Housekeeping suggests trying a dry brine instead. This involves rubbing salt all over the raw turkey, placing the bird into a large plastic bag, and refrigerating overnight or up to two days before cooking; otherwise, purchase a kosher turkey, which already has been salted from the inside out.

Avoid stuffing the bird. Rather than stuffing the turkey and cooking everything en masse, prepare the stuffing mixture separate from the turkey. This reduces the risk of contamination from the turkey’s raw juices and helps to achieve a crispy coating on the stuffing guests will enjoy. 

Make an aromatic roasting rack. Turkeys typically are placed on a metal rack for cooking so the juices do not cause the turkey to stick to the pan. However, you also can cut onions and lay them with a bed of whole celery stalks and carrots to elevate the roast. This creates extra flavor in the bird and the vegetables also can be served or mixed into the stuffing.

Pumpkin Pecan Rice Pudding Bars

By Heidi Sutton

For a comforting dish full of familiar cold-weather flavors, try this recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Rice Pudding Bars. Pumpkin-spice fanatics can enjoy their favorite ingredient mixed into a rice pudding base sweetened with coconut milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, whipping cream and maple syrup.

Need to feed a crowd? Pumpkin Slab Pie is an easy way to make pumpkin pie for a lot of people and is perfect for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Pecan Rice Pudding Bars

Pumpkin Pecan Rice Pudding Bars

YIELD: Serves 4 to 6 people


2 cups white rice

1 cup pecans

4 cups coconut milk

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons maple syrup


Prepare rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes. Cool then chop.

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Slowly add about 1/2 cup hot liquid to eggs and beat well. Stir egg mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cooked rice, vanilla and pecans.

Pour mixture into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Whip heavy cream to soft peaks then add maple syrup and continue beating until peaks form. Serve with warm pudding.

Tip: For sweeter pudding, increase brown sugar to 1 1/2 cups.

Pumpkin Slab Pie

Pumpkin Slab Pie

YIELD: Makes 24 slices



1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt


2  cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin

4  eggs

2 cups whipping cream

1 1/4  cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


To make crust: In bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, flour and salt. Use fingers to mix ingredients until dough ball forms. Form into two flat rectangular disks about 1-inch thick and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour.

On lightly floured surface, roll out each crust into 13-by-10-inch rectangle. Carefully place dough on each side of 12-by-17-inch pan and pinch together, smoothing out crust so it fits into all corners of pan. Trim edges to 1/2 inch of crust and tuck edges under. Crimp edges with fork.

Heat oven to 350° F.

To make filling: In large bowl, whisk to combine pumpkin, eggs, whipping cream, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, ginger and salt. Pour into crust.

Bake 35-45 minutes until filling is slightly jiggly but set. Let cool 3-4 hours before serving with some fresh homemade whipped cream on top

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Pumpkin pie spice has gone from an occasional ingredient used primarily in Thanksgiving pies to becoming the unofficial flavor of autumn. While you can buy the pre-made stuff from the grocery store, it’s super easy—and more cost-effective—to whisk up a batch of pumpkin pie spice at home. 


3 tbsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves


Whisk together cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl until well combined. Store in a small jar.


Chocolate Fudge Pie

By Heidi Sutton

Everyone knows that Halloween dishes up sweets galore. Trick-or-treaters come home with bounties of chocolate bars, candy, gum, licorice, and much more inside of their bags.

Even though trick-or-treat treasures are the stars of the show, when hosting Halloween parties, desserts also can be top notch, and guests often look forward to chocolate treats on the dessert table. 

This year, Halloween hosts can serve up a slice of Chocolate Fudge Pie from “Real Simple: Dinner Tonight Done!” from the editors of Real Simple and ghosts will rise from the dead for the chocolaty Monster Mash Mudslide courtesy of Culinary.net.

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Chocolate Fudge Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade), fitted into a 9-inch pie plate

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, plus more shaved, for topping

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 large eggs

1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

11⁄2 cups heavy cream


Heat oven to 375 F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Prick the crust with a fork and line with foil. Fill to the top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until just golden, 8 to 10 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring often, until smooth; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, salt, and 1⁄2 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder.

Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until puffed and beginning to crack, 20 to 25 minutes. Cook for 1 hour, then chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

Beat the cream with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar on medium high-speed until soft peaks form. Spread over the pie and sprinkle with the shaved chocolate.

Monster Mash Mudslide

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


4 cups lowfat chocolate milk

10 chocolate wafer cookies, coarsely broken

1/2 cup frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

8 mini chocolate chips or mini chocolate candies (orange/brown color recommended)


In blender, blend chocolate milk and chocolate wafer cookies until smooth. Heat mixture in saucepan or microwave until just heated through.

To serve, pour chocolate milk mixture into 4 glasses. For each serving, spoon a large, upright dollop of whipped topping to resemble a ghost. Insert chocolate chips or chocolate candies into dollop for eyes.

Note: To enjoy a cold mudslide, do not heat in saucepan or microwave.

Maple Banana Bread Pancakes

By Heidi Sutton

Autumn is the perfect time to fall in love with maple syrup. There’s something about its sweet and savory taste that makes it the perfect addition to fall recipes and comfort food. Here are two delicious recipes, one for breakfast and one for dessert, that utilize this versatile ingredient.

Maple Banana Bread Pancakes

Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net

Maple Banana Bread Pancakes

YIELD: Makes 8 4-inch pancakes


2 very ripe large bananas

1 cup milk

1 large egg

1 tablespoon maple extract

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

chopped walnuts for topping


Mash bananas in a large bowl with a fork until smooth. Add milk, egg, maple extract, and vanilla extract, and whisk until combined. Add flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt; mix until well blended.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a large cast iron skillet, nonstick frying pan, or griddle on medium heat until melted. Pour 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto griddle or skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown, turning when pancakes begin to bubble.

Transfer the pancakes to a warm oven or plate. Serve immediately with sliced banana, walnuts and maple syrup.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Maple Syrup

Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spiced Maple Syrup

YIELD: Makes 12 servings


Bread Pudding:

2 cans (13 2/3 ounces each) coconut milk

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

8 cups cubed challah bread (or cubed French or Italian bread)

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

Spiced Maple Syrup:

1 cup maple syrup

1 vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


To make Bread Pudding: Heat oven to 350° F. Pour coconut milk into large bowl. Stir with wire whisk until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla; mix until well blended. Add bread cubes; toss to coat well. Pour into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with coconut and pecans. Bake 35-40 minutes.

To make Spiced Maple Syrup: Mix syrup, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice in microwavable bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high 1 minute, or until warm.

Brown Butter Pierogies with Roasted Sweet Potatoe

By Heidi Sutton

Cooler days call for comforting flavors the entire family can enjoy at the dinner table like roasted veggies paired with hearty favorites like cheesy pierogies  followed by an apple crisp paired with pears and walnuts that provide a sense of warmth and coziness. Make this autumn one to remember by creating new meals and memories along the way.

Brown Butter Pierogies with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net

Brown Butter Pierogies with
Roasted Sweet Potatoes

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1 bag (1.6 pounds) cheese pierogies 

2 cups sweet potato cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste 

4 tablespoons salted butter

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup pecans

fresh thyme leaves, for serving


Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss sweet potato cubes in olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and spread in even layer on baking sheet. Roast 25-30 minutes, tossing about halfway through, until potatoes are fork tender. 

In medium skillet over medium heat, brown butter 5-10 minutes. Avoid smoking or burning. Remove from heat. Allow to cool about 5 minutes then whisk in balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

In large saucepan, bring water to boil. Cook pierogies according to package directions, about 3 minutes. Drain and toss in brown butter sauce. Add roasted sweet potatoes and pecans to brown butter pierogies and toss gently to coat. Top with fresh thyme leaves before serving.

Apple Pear Walnut Crisp

Recipe courtesy of Culinary.net

Apple Pear Walnut Crisp

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


Walnut Crisp Topping:

1 1/2  cups California walnuts, divided

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, chilled and sliced into 1-tablespoon pieces


Apple Pear Filling:

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices

2 D’Anjou pears, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices

1/2  cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8  teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

ice cream (optional)

caramel sauce (optional)


To make walnut crisp topping: In food processor, pulse 1 cup walnuts until finely ground. In small bowl, combine ground walnuts, flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon. Cut butter into mixture until coarse crumb forms. Coarsely chop remaining walnuts and stir into crumb mixture until incorporated. Set aside.

To make apple pear filling: Preheat oven to 350 F. In bowl, toss apples, pears, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice. Place fruit mixture in bottom of 10-inch cast-iron pan or baking dish. Sprinkle walnut crisp topping mixture over fruit. Bake 45 minutes, or until fruit mixture is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown. Top with ice cream and caramel sauce, if desired.

Butternut Squash Sage Frittata

By Heidi Sutton

Well, it’s official: Fall begins Sept. 23. While the leaves haven’t changed color yet, the days are getting noticeably cooler, especially in the evening, and every day we inch a little closer to turning on the furnace.

For foodies, this is the perfect time to try a Butternut Squash Sage Frittata. Packed with fragrant autumn flavors, this recipe offers a creative and tasty way to kick off the day. 

Butternut Squash Sage Frittata

Recipe courtesy of Family Features

YIELD: Makes 6 servings


Crispy Sage Leaves:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6-8 small fresh sage leaves

pinch kosher salt


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups butternut squash, diced

1clove garlic, minced

2 large sage leaves, chopped

6 large eggs

1/2 cup fat free milk  

salt and pepper, to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


To prepare crispy sage leaves: In small skillet, heat olive oil until shimmering. Fry sage leaves in oil until crispy, about 5 seconds. Remove sage leaves from oil and drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt while hot.

To prepare frittata: Heat oven to 425° F. In 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add butternut squash; stir to coat in oil. Spread butternut squash in single layer and cook 2-3 minutes before stirring. Repeat until squash becomes tender and begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes total. Add garlic and chopped sage; stir until fragrant, about 60 seconds.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, pepper, salt and nutmeg. Pour mixture into skillet and stir gently, about 15 seconds, to distribute squash evenly around pan. Transfer skillet to oven and cook 10 minutes, or until egg is puffed and set. Remove from oven and let cool about 3-5 minutes before cutting and serving with crispy sage leaves.

Notes: To prepare butternut squash: Separate round end from long portion of squash; save round end for a separate recipe. With vegetable peeler, peel long portion. With sharp check’s knife, thinly slice squash. Cut slices into long matchsticks then chop into cubes. Pre-cut, store-bought butternut squash can be used in place of cutting entire squash.

Apple Coffee Cake

By Heidi Sutton

Last week’s recipes were two variations of apple pie; this week are two apple cakes. Both made with vegetable oil instead of butter, they are a perfect way to celebrate a sweet and fruitful New Year for Rosh Hashanah.

Apple Cake

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


3 cups crisp apples, peeled, cored and diced

3 teaspoons cinnamon

6 tablespoons, plus 2 cups, sugar, divided

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

icing (optional)


Heat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, mix apples, cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar until combined. Set aside.

In large bowl, mix flour, 2 cups sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Form well in middle of mixture. Add oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla; mix until blended.

 In springform pan, pour half of batter. Add apple mixture. Pour remaining batter over apple mixture. Sprinkle remaining sugar over batter. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until top is golden brown and tester comes out clean and dry. Drizzle with icing, if desired.

Apple Coffee Cake

YIELD: Makes 10 servings


5 cups tart apples, cored, peeled and chopped

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark raisins

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg, beaten

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan.


In large mixing bowl, combine apples with sugar and raisins; mix well. Let stand 30 minutes. Stir in oil, vanilla and egg.

Sift together flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Using about 1/3 of mix at a time, add to apple mixture, stirring just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Turn batter into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake slightly before serving.

On the web:

Check out a recipe for Crown Raisin Challah at www.tbrnewsmedia.com

By Heidi Sutton

During a trip to Haydens Orchard (formerly Davis Peach Farm) in Wading River last week to pick up some white peaches I was surprised to see their apple trees already laden with fruit. It made me think of my favorite dessert, apple pie. Most families have a favorite recipe that they love. Here are two more — Grandma’s Apple Pie and Brown Butter Apple Pie — to add to your culinary repertoire.

Grandma’s Apple Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


Double Crust Pie Pastry

1 large egg, beaten

6 to 7 cups apples, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel apples and cut in quarters. Remove the core and slice apples into 1⁄4-inch to 1⁄8-inch thick. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss well to combine and set aside.

Roll half of the dough into a 12-inch circle. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry dough. Fill with apple filling. Roll the remaining crust and gently place it over the apple mixture. Seal the edges by gently pinching the top and bottom crusts together. You can fold or decorate the edges by crimping or pressing with a fork. 

Beat the egg and 2 teaspoons of water or milk. Cut 4 to 5 slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 F, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.

Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Brown Butter Apple Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


4 tablespoons butter

6 to 7 cups apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons flour

1 deep dish frozen pie shell


Preheat oven to 375 F.

To make streusel topping: Mix flour, chopped pecans and light brown sugar. Stir in butter using fingertips until incorporated with small lumps of butter visible. Refrigerate.

To make filling: In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter until amber, stirring often. Set aside to cool. In large bowl, stir sliced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and flour using spatula. Pour brown butter over apples and mix, scraping skillet with rubber spatula to incorporate brown butter bits. 

Place frozen pie shell on baking sheet. Add 2 cups apple mixture into shell, gently pressing apple slices for even base. Add remaining apple slices and gently press. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over apples. Bake 30 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 F and bake 35-45 minutes until topping is golden and apples are soft.

Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

By Heidi Sutton

No dessert menu is complete without an array of treats, and these creamy, homemade Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to put a sweet finishing touch on your celebrations. Or go for a crowd pleaser with this Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert and its smooth, velvety texture and plump, juicy cherries.

Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Recipe courtesy of Inside BruCrew Life blog

Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

YIELD: Makes 24 servings


Nonstick cooking spray

30 vanilla cream-filled cookies

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup key lime juice

1 tablespoon key lime zest

1/4 cup flour

3 eggs

green gel food coloring (optional)

1 can (21 ounces) blueberry pie filling, divided

1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping, thawed

key lime slices (optional)


Place baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Fill halfway with water. Heat oven to 325° F. Line 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

Using food processor, pulse cookies until crumbly. Stir together crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and sour cream, and beat again until smooth. Add key lime juice, zest and flour, and beat until mixed thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat gently after each. Add green food coloring to cheesecake mixture, if desired. 

Spread cheesecake batter evenly over crust in pan. Add 1 cup of blueberry pie filling over top of cheesecake. Use butter knife to gently swirl pie filling into cheesecake. Do not let knife go through to crust.

Place pan on oven rack above tray of water. Bake 45-48 minutes. Remove immediately and place on wire rack for 1 hour then place in refrigerator until completely chilled. Cut into 24 squares and serve with whipped topping, remaining pie filling and key lime wedges.

Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert

Recipe courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling blog

YIELD: Makes 12 servings


1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup butter, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

16 ounces whipped topping, divided

2 small boxes cheesecake-flavored pudding

3 cups milk

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

1/2 cup. chopped pecans


Heat oven to 350° F.

In medium mixing bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, finely chopped pecans and butter.

Press into 9-by-13-inch baking pan; bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

In separate mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Mix until smooth; spread evenly over cooled crust.

Combine cheesecake pudding mix, milk and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping, and mix until smooth. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer in pan.

Top with pie filling, remaining whipped topping and chopped pecans and serve.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Pesto

By Heidi Sutton

I was telling my friend John the other day how my garden has gone rogue and is now spilling over the raised beds onto the lawn. Tomatoes, peppers, string beans and basil — all out of control and growing like weeds. I guess that could be a good thing too. Now there’s plenty to share with neighbors. Here are two delicious recipes to try if you have a bumper crop of tomatoes and basil.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Pesto

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


1/2 cup olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pound thin-cut chicken cutlets

1/4 cup basil pesto, divided

1 large tomato

8 slices crusty sourdough bread

4 ounces Brie, thinly sliced

1 cup packed baby arugula


Heat grill to high. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into plastic zipper bag. Add chicken, seal and marinate at least 30 minutes. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken registers internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and reserve. 

Spread each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon pesto. Slice tomato into eight slices. Place chicken on four bread slices. Top with Brie slices, arugula and two tomato slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pesto side toward tomato. Brush outside of each sandwich with about 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil. 

Place on grill, reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until bread is nicely toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from heat, cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


8 ounces regular or whole-wheat rotini or rotelle pasta, cooked according to directions

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided

salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced and divided

1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped

10 to 15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 slice whole-wheat or multigrain bread


In bowl, cover and chill pasta. In large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons oil and half of minced garlic. Whisk to combine well. Add pasta, bell pepper and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.

In food processor or blender, pulse bread to produce coarse crumbs. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. Saute 1 1/2-2 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and let cool. 

Top pasta with garlic crumbs and remaining basil before serving.