Oh, pizza. So delicious. We made this crust using the same recipe as the fail-proof cheesy garlic breadsticks and layered tomato sauce, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and mozzarella on top. (Our secret is to put the cheese on TOP of all the toppings so they won't fall off when you're eating the pizza!)
 

This crust is delicious (see the original post) and worked just as well for pizza as it did for breadsticks.
 

Chop your veggies!


Saute the onions just a bit before layering them onto the pizza with the other veggies and cheese. Bake at 500 degrees until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly (about 10-15 minutes)-- yum!


It smelled so wonderful as it came out of the oven that I completely forgot to take photos of the baked pizza. Oops! Here's the aftermath:





This is the second caprese salad I've posted this summer (because I really, really love it!) The first one was a layered caprese salad for a group with balsamic reduction, and this is an easy-peasy chopped caprese salad with a splash of straight-up vinegar instead of a reduction. I made it for lunch yesterday to use up some fresh mozzarella and it was perfect.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed (about half a standard ball of fresh mozzarella from a grocery store)
10-12 grape tomatoes
a sprig of fresh basil (about five medium leaves, or more to taste)
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:
1. Place the cubed mozzarella in a bowl and grind some fresh pepper on top.
2. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and sprinkle with a little salt before mixing them with the cheese.
3. Rip or cut the basil leaves into smaller pieces and add to the bowl.
4. Push the basil, tomatoes and basil mixture to one side and splash the vinegar in the bottom of the bowl. (Don't pour it on top-- straight balsamic is pretty intense, and putting it in the bottom of the bowl makes it so you can choose how much to put on each bite.)
5. Eat and enjoy! I do my best to get a little tomato, basil and cheese on each forkful, plus a tiny dab of vinegar, for the best taste. Delicious!
To me, homemade mc and cheese and boxed mac and cheese are two separate foods. Both delicious, but not the same thing at all! The boxed kind is quick, easy and yummy, but homemade mac and cheese reminds me of my mom and my grandmother- both who make their mac and cheese casserole-style. We made this crab mac and cheese, adapted from this recipe from Closet Cooking, and it was delicious and creamy!

Ingredients:
1 pound cooked pasta, al dente (we used penne)
2 tablspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon old bay seasoning
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces gruyere (grated)
2 cans crab meat
4 green onions (sliced)

For the topping:
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
 

1. While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Saute for about a minute.
2. Stir in the flour and cook until the mixture is golden brown.
3. Add milk and cream and cook until it thickens, about four or five minutes, then add the mayo, mustard, old bay seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Mix in the gruyere; stir until it melts. Add in pasta, crab and green onions and combine, then remove mixture from heat.
5. In a small skillet, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter. Stir in breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Take off heat and stir in the parmesan.
6. Pour the mac and cheese mixture into a baking pan and top with the breadcrumbs.
7. Bake until golden brown on the top, about 20-30 minutes.
8. Enjoy!


This is such a delicious, easy meal. We grew the most GIANT basil plant in a planter on our front step, as I've mentioned before, and even after the especially brutal 100+ degree stretch this summer it is still alive. Hooray!


Traditional spaghetti carbonara includes pancetta or bacon, and no veggies, but the basis here is still the same: pasta (we used angel hair), butter, garlic and pepper, eggs and lots of parmesan cheese. To make this especially summery and delicious, we added fresh tomatoes, a few handfuls of baby spinach and fresh basil.

Ingredients:
1 pound angel hair
Olive oil for tossing and sautéing
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
A large handful of basil
2 cups baby spinach, sliced roughly
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 eggs
3/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for on top
pepper to taste



1. Cook the angel hair until al dente, then toss with a little olive oil to keep it from getting sticky.
2. Chiffonade the basil (slice it very, very thinly-- I had to look up a picture the first time I heard this term!) In a large skillet on medium heat, saute the onion until slightly translucent, then add the basil, spinach and tomatoes in olive oil until the spinach is wilted and tomatoes have started to get soft. Add the garlic and saute a minute or two more.
3. Add in the wine and stir together.  Cook another minute.
4. Add in the cooked pasta, toss to mix everything. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add to the pasta. Toss constantly while the eggs are cooking to combine thoroughly, and once the eggs have started to set, add the parmesan cheese and grated pepper. Serve hot with more parmesan on top! 


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