Summertime produce is HERE, in all its glory.
Juicy, sweet, bright red tomatoes.
An ABUNDANCE of summer squash – the gift that keeps on giving.
Stone fruit everywhere, so ripe and succulent, the juices dribble down your chin with every bite.
Bundles of fragrant herbs, growing like weeds, ready to be tossed into salads, soups, and pestos.
Can you tell I LOVE summer??
One of the easiest ways to use up a TON of summer tomatoes and squash is with a gratin.
Simply slice all the veggies nice and thin, arrange in pretty layers, and top with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, fresh herbs, and cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, then serve!
It’s an impressive side dish that lets the flavors of the vegetables take center stage.
If you really want this dish to wow you, take the extra time to pick up some produce from your local farmers market. You won’t regret it!
Tomato, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash Gratin
- 1 pound cocktail tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2/3 cup shredded Romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get out a large 4.5 quart pyrex baking dish. Working in rows, alternately layer the slices of zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato. Prop the slices up a little bit so that the start of each row is leaning against the edge of the pyrex dish at an angle (this makes it easier to layer the slices).
Once you have filled the baking dish, drizzle each row with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil (this will help prevent the gratin from drying out).
Next, sprinkle the whole dish with the minced garlic and thyme. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper, then sprinkle the Romano cheese over the top.
Place the whole dish in the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
One of my favorite traditions growing up was choosing dinner on your birthday 🙂
We started this tradition at a really young age, as far back as I can remember in elementary school.
When you knew your birthday was coming up, you got to pick what your parents made for dinner that night!
As a kid, I had two favorite meals:
- Pepperoni pizza from the local pizza joint, Mission Pizza
- Homemade lemon chicken & fried rice
Like, I could eat those 2 meals all day every day and be 100% happy.
So, every year, on my birthday in February, I would special request lemon chicken & fried rice, with my favorite strawberry shortcake for dessert 😉
(I know, I was clearly skilled at menu pairing from a young age…)
Over the years, I’ve tweaked the classic fried rice recipe a bit.
I doubled the amount of egg and green onion (because let’s be honest, that’s the best part), and added a cup of frozen mixed veggies to give it a little pop of freshness.
This has become my favorite way to use up leftover white rice from Chinese, Thai, or Indian food takeout.
It’s soooooo easy!
Since the rice is already cooked, the recipe comes together in just minutes.
(If you don’t have any leftover rice, you can also just cook some earlier in the day & let it cool uncovered in the fridge until dinner. The goal is to have it be slightly dried out before stir frying.)
Simply scramble some eggs in peanut oil (cooking them extra long so they get nice and golden and crispy), then stir fry the rice and green onion together. Stir in some frozen veggies, chicken broth, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil, and you’re done!
Easy Egg Fried Rice
- 4 tablespoons unrefined peanut oil, divided
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 5 1/2 cups cooked, cold, preferably day old, medium grain white or brown rice
- 2 cups chopped green onion
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a small bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and beat with a fork or whisk until well mixed.
Pour the egg into the warm wok or skillet and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula, for 5 or 6 minutes, until the egg is broken up into small pieces and is crispy and golden. Remove the egg from the pan and set aside for later.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the wok or skillet and keep the heat on high. Add the rice and green onion and stir fry for about 10 minutes until the green onion is cooked.
Next add the peas and carrots, chicken broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and soy sauce and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until hot and well mixed. Add the cooked egg, ground black pepper, and sesame oil, stir to mix well, and remove from heat. Enjoy while hot. (Although it makes great leftovers too!)
Would you believe me if I told you this pasta dish takes just 15 minutes from start to finish?
Well, you better believe it.
It’s literally pasta + a 3-ingredient sauce (butter, sage, & lemon).
That’s the beauty of simple, classic recipes.
Brown butter sauces have been around for ages….
(Probably because they are so freaking easy and delicious.)
I mean… what DOESN’T taste better with butter??
Take some beautifully al dente pasta, toss it with some golden butter, sizzled sage, and fresh lemon juice, and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and flaky sea salt.
It’s like a fancified adult version of those cheesy buttered noodles that kids go crazy over.
Just, you know, do the adult thing and brown the butter and toss in some sage, then you can totally have this for dinner 😉
We like to serve it with a giant salad or simply prepared veggies like Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms, Simple Kale Salad with Golden Raisins, or a Simple Baby Greens Side Salad.
Now go ahead and make yourself some gourmet noodles!
Pappardelle with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- 8 ounces dried pappardelle pasta
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 20 fresh sage leaves
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Maldon sea salt
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
Add the pappardelle and cook according to package directions until al dente (usually 6-7 minutes).
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Let it cook for a minute or two until the butter is just lightly golden colored (don't let it go too long, or the butter will burn!). Immediately add the sage to skillet and let it sizzle for a second, then turn off the heat. Squeeze the lemon juice into the skillet and swirl to combine. Set the pan aside off of the heat.
When the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta in a colander.
Put the drained pasta back in the pot and place it on the stove over medium-low heat. Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid over the pasta, and then pour the brown butter sage sauce over the top. Stir gently to combine, and let it cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until the sauce nicely coats all noodles.
Divide the pasta up into two serving bowls and top each one with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and Maldon sea salt. Serve right away.