Bite-Sized Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

On this Meatless Monday, I wanted to share a favorite “meatless” salad. In the summer, I make this salad once a week to accompany pasta dishes, steaks, or even hamburgers. It perfect to bring as your side to the next neighborhood cookout. And with the 4th right around the corner, serve your salad in a blue bowl to capture all the red, white, and blue! Taste the summer!- Amanda

Bite-Sized Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

1 cup small cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped into pieces

1 1/2 T olive oil

1 t soy sauce (we use low sodium)

1 t balsamic vinegar

pinch of sugar

freshly ground pepper

Mix together the tomatoes and mozzarella. In separate bowl, whisk together oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Toss the tomatoes and mozzarella in dressing. Then add the fresh basil. Top with fresh ground pepper.

Meatless Monday: Skillet Chard, White Beans, & Gnocchi

On this Meatless Monday, we cooked up a delicious one skillet dinner.  Gnocchi is one of my favorites.  The combination of chard, tomatoes, and white beans gives this whole wheat gnocchi just the right shock. Then top it all with gooey mozzarella.  YUM!  Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette. If you are worried about chard exchange it for spinach.  Enjoy Meatless Monday!- Amanda

Skillet Chard, White Beans, & Gnocchi

1 T plus 1 t extra-virgin olive oil, divided

16-ounce package whole wheat gnocchi

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

6 cups chopped chard leaves, about 1 small bunch

15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings

15-ounce can white beans, rinsed

1/4 t freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 t olive oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft for 4 to 6 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.


Look at that Beautiful Rainbow Chard 

Our First Meatless Monday: Tomato Pie

Yesterday was Earth Day.  William and I read an article about Meatless Monday.  The article was very convincing and my six-year-old declared our family needed to take the challenge.  So, here it is Monday evening and I’m proud to say that we met the challenge.  I know you may have a few questions.  There is a ton of great information you can find about Meatless Monday but I answered the top two questions:
Why Meatless?: Going meatless once a week can reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
Why Monday?: For most Americans the week begins on Monday. On Monday we move from the freedom of the weekend back to the structure of work or school. We set our intentions for the next six days. We plan ahead and evaluate progress. Studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health.  Monday is the call to action built in to every calendar each week. And if this Monday passes you by, next week is another chance to go meatless!
Our first Meatless Monday dinner was fun.  I whipped up Tomato Pie, sautéed asparagus, and a fresh mixed green salad.  I’m thinking going meatless once a week is an easy challenge. Will you give Meatless Monday a try?–Amanda

Tomato Pie

3 ripe tomatoes, sliced

1 (9-inch) unbaked refrigerated piecrust

salt

pepper

Italian seasoning

dried basil

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 C mayo (I used light Hellmann’s)

1 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated

3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly (garnish)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and turn down to 325 for baking.  Drain sliced tomatoes on paper towels for 15 minutes.  Roll piecrust out on baking pie plate.  Pinch crust to sides and work out all air bubbles.  Poke a few small holes into crust and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove crust and let cool.

Cover bottom of pie crust with the tomato slices.  Cover tomatoes with chopped green onions.  Sprinkle liberally with seasonings, salt, and pepper.  In a small container, stir mayo and cheese.  Spread mixture over layers.  Use Roma tomatoes as top layer, slightly overlap tomatoes to create complete layer.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and bubbly.  Let cool 10 minutes before slicing.  Garnish with a fresh sprig of basil.

If you want meat, this meal can accompany any chicken or beef dish.  Another idea, add 6 strips of cook, crumbled bacon.

You can always add different types of cheeses or different types of veggies.  If you decided to use red onions or bell peppers, sauté them first.