Warm Winter Pasta Bake

Yum

Baked Rigatoni Recipe

8 oz dry Rigatoni Pasta

2.5 cups Spaghetti Sauce

1 ½ cups Italian Sausage, cooked

2 cups Spinach, chopped

1 cup Ricotta Cheese

3 TBL Basil, Chopped

2 TBL Heavy Cream

2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook pasta one minute less than the suggested cook time on the package in a large pot of salted water.  Drain the noodles into a strainer, rinse with cold water, and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add 2 cups spaghetti sauce to noodles and toss well to coat.  Add Italian sausage and spinach and toss to distribute the ingredients well.  Pour the other ½ cup sauce in the bottom of a medium cast-iron skillet or an 8×11 baking dish, then pour pasta mixture over the sauce.

In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, basil and heavy cream.  Drop the ricotta mixture onto the pasta by the spoon-full, distributing the cheese evenly.  Top with shredded mozzarella.  Place the baking dish in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted and browned slightly.  Remove from the oven when done.  Allow the dish to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with some hot bread and a side salad for a complete meal.

Serves 6-8 people.

Shopping List

1 lb box or bag of Rigatoni Noodles, or any tubular noodle of your choice

1 tub Ricotta Cheese

Heavy Cream

1 lb block Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese

Italian Sausage

Spinach

Basil

Equipment list

Medium Stockpot

Strainer

Cutting Board

Chef’s Knife

Cast Iron Skillet

Small & Large Mixing Bowls

Dry Measuring Cups

Liquid Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Wooden Cooking Spoon

Tomato Head’s Quinoa Cakes with Yogurt and Sriracha

I was so excited when I read Mahasti’s recipe, I let out an audible “yasss” complete with the hand-motion you are probably imagining. Quinoa was the reason behind this. Quinoa is a good source of protein, as well as vitamins B, B6, and E, amino acids, potassium, and a healthy list of other minerals. It is a pseudo-cereal that is vegan-friendly and can be consumed in low quantities by those with celiac disease. The inside of the seeds also happen to taste great when cooked, otherwise it is an unpalatable, bitter seed. To get to the tasty part of quinoa, it needs to be cooked. Luckily, that’s easy to do.

To start, you’ll need:

½ cup Quinoa

1⅛ cup water

Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan over high heat. Boil until almost all of the water has been absorbed. Then turn the heat down to low, and place a lid on the saucepan. Steam the quinoa until the seeds are soft and splitting open. Remove the quinoa from the stove, and pour the cooked seeds into a large mixing bowl.

In order to turn the seeds into Tomato Head’s quinoa cakes, you’ll need a few more ingredients:

⅛ cup oil

⅔ cup onion, diced

½ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup almonds, chopped

½ tsp. salt

1 Tbl Dijon mustard

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup breadcrumbs

In a small saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add sautéed onions and all of the remaining ingredients to the quinoa bowl and mix well with gloved hands. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. Next, scoop the mixture into balls, then flatten the balls into disks.

Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the quinoa cakes in the oil until the bottoms are golden, then flip and fry the other side until it is golden as well.

Top them with plain yogurt and sriracha, if you so choose. They could also be served on top of your favorite salad or mixed greens. They can be served hot or cold.

The raw quinoa cakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and fried when needed.

This would be a fantastic dish to keep on hand for a quick lunch, or serve well for an easy dinner. As far as pairings go, this dish would pair well with a Beaujolais wine, low in tannin, fresh and nutty. If you’re adding the cakes to something with a tomato-base or similar flavors, try a Chianti or Barbera.  If you don’t drink red, try a Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand. As far as beers are concerned, try a nutty porter or nutty brown ale rich with roasted malts.

Certainly be sure to give this recipe a try, especially if you’ve never tried quinoa. It is both healthy and delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

Click the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent WBIR cooking segment.

Quinoa Cakes

Tomato Head’s Marinated Zucchini and Mint Pasta

The redeeming grace of summers in the South boils into just a few fine points that prove enough to justify intensely hot summer days. For me, these points can be counted on one hand. Largely, this period of late spring summer multiplies our vegetation options, meaning we have so many delicious options to choose from!

Via the farmer’s market or your own garden, fresh vegetables and herbs are easily available. Fresh ingredients change a dish entirely for the better. Take Saturday’s recipe for Tomato Head’s pasta with marinated zucchini and mint for example; almost all of these ingredients can be found fresh at the farmer’s market.

The ingredients for this recipe include:

2 Large Zucchini, washed and diced to fill 8 cups

⅓ cup Oil

1 tsp Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper

¼ cup Olive Oil

⅛ cup Cider Vinegar

½ tsp Salt

¼ – ⅓ cup Fresh Mint, chopped

½ cup Spinach, chopped

Toss the zucchini with oil, salt, and pepper, then place on a large cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400⁰. Remove the tray and allow the zucchini to cool.

Toss cooled zucchini with olive oil, cider vinegar, salt, and mint. Allow the mixture to marinate for 2-4 hours.

Cook a ½ lb of your favorite shape of pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach and marinated zucchini. Top with parmesan cheese, and this dish is ready to serve.

This recipe for Tomato Head’s marinated zucchini and mint pasta will serve 4-6 people of your choosing, and will pair well with a Bordeaux or a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. For beer lovers, the pasta will pair nicely with a Belgian-style Saison. Come see us when you visit the farmer’s market.

Click on the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent cooking segment WBIR Channel 10.

Tomato Head's Summer Vegetable Pasta

Tomato Head’s Buttermilk Biscuit with Benton’s Bacon, Avocado, and Rhubarb Marmalade

Who said breakfast had to be confined to downing hydrogenated breakfast bars or cereal and milk while juggling house keys, your bag, and trying to find your matching shoe? I often find that enjoying my mornings with a flavorful breakfast and warm coffee or tea can later make even the worst parts of my day much more bearable.

Furthermore, cooking up breakfast myself starts me off with a happy feeling of accomplishment and puts me in a much better mood. This recipe for buttermilk biscuits with Benton’s bacon, avocado, and rhubarb marmalade will be sure to set your day off in a positive direction.

For the rhubarb marmalade, you’ll need:

2 cups onion, sliced

¼ cup oil

4 cups Rhubarb, sliced

4 Tbl sugar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ tsp salt

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, then reduce the heat to low and sauté gently for 5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the sugar, vinegar, and salt. Cook the marmalade gently, stirring occasionally for another 5-8 minutes.

To make the biscuits:

We suggest using the award-winning biscuit recipe from last year’s International Biscuit Festival.

Split a freshly baked biscuit in half. Place cooked Benton’s bacon on the bottom half of the biscuit. Top the bacon with ¼ of an Avocado. Spread a generous amount of rhubarb marmalade on the top of the biscuit. Place the top back on the biscuit and serve.

This seasonal treat is great for making any spring morning a time to enjoy yourself or company.

Click the photo below to watch Mahasti make this delicious recipe on her WBIR cooking segment.

biscuit with marmalade

Tomato Head’s chorizo and onion quesadilla with guacamole

Today’s recipe for Tomato Head’s chorizo and onion quesadilla with guacamole can be an easy meal or snack, especially when the guacamole is prepped. More importantly we’re sharing a delicious recipe for guacamole, which really should speak for itself.

But for those of you who don’t know, guacamole is a perfect snack or addition to any meal in the summer time, especially by the water with a beer….I’ll stop dreaming now and get back to work. While this is a Mexican inspired dish, there is certainly room to be creative and bring in different elements.

Begin by making the guacamole, which will keep for a few days as long as you cover it directly with saran wrap, meaning no air between the wrap and the guacamole. This will slow down oxidation. This recipe for guacamole serves 4-6 people. For this part of the recipe, you’ll need:

4 ripe avacados

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup tomato, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 Tbl cilantro

¾ tsp salt

2 Tbl onion, chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, chopped

Cut the avocados in half, removing the seed and scooping the flesh into a medium sized bowl. This is easier done with a spoon (click the photo below to see video of Mahasti using this life hack). Mash the avocados with a potato masher or pastry cutter, then squeeze lime juice over the avocados. This will add to the taste and help the dish keep. Next, add tomato, garlic, cilantro, salt, onion, and jalapeno. Mix well and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, cover with saran wrap as previously directed.

The quesadillas are the next step of the recipe. For these you’ll need:

12 inch tortillas

½ cup cooked chorizo

½-¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese

sliced onion

Place tortillas on a work surface. Cover the half closest to you with chorizo, cheese, and onion. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the bottom and place the tortilla on a heated griddle or a large cast iron skillet. When the quesadilla has browned on one side, flip it over and brown the other side while allowing the cheese to melt. Serve with the guacamole, and enjoy!

Video of Mahasti's WBIR cooking segment

Video of Mahasti’s WBIR cooking segment

Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo Mole

Do you ever wonder what chefs who actually know how to cook throw together for a last minute dinner?

Here’s an idea of what Mahasti does when she doesn’t have time to cook. This recipe for chicken enchiladas in tomatillo mole has quite a few perks. Once you’ve made the mole, you can keep it in stock, which makes this recipe, and many more, quick and easy. Mole can be thrown on top of a long list of things. Many of the ingredients for this tomatillo mole, such as the peppers, onion, and maybe even tomatillos if under the proper conditions, can be grown in your own garden which makes the mole the freshest it can be, and thusly taste even better. Also this recipe is easy, delicious, and fairly more interesting than making lasagna for the third week in a row.

To make the mole, you’ll need:

8 cups husked tomatillos (about 16-17 tomatillos)

1 large poblano pepper, destemmed and deseeded

1 large onion, peeled and quartered

½ cup cilantro

½ cup sour cream

1½ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 400°. Place the tomatillos, poblano, jalapeno, and onion in a large baking dish and bake for 50 minutes. Look for the tomatillos to have black spots on them, then take them out and allow to cool. Place the mixture into the bowl of your blender, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

The mole is really the bulk of the recipe in terms of time commitment. It is easy to store and keeps well, so keep it in stock.

To assemble the enchiladas, you’ll need:

One corn tortilla

1-1½ Tbl Mole

Scant ¼ cup chicken

Scant ¼ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Shaved cabbage

Keep your oven at 400°. Place the corn tortillas in one layer on your work surface. Spread each tortilla with Mole, covering the tortilla almost entirely.  Place chicken and cheese on top of tortilla and roll the tortilla up into a tube.  Place tortillas seam side down in a baking dish or cast iron skillet.  Cover the tortillas entirely with more Mole; about 1/4 cup per enchilada.  Sprinkle tops with a little more cheese.  Place the dish in the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with corn chips or beans and rice.

Tomatillo Mole

Put away those winter blues with a sweet snack in the sunshine​

Oatmeal has all of these really great health benefits, like being good for your heart and lowering cholesterol. This must mean that oatmeal cookies aren’t bad for you, or at the very least draw even, like celery with peanut butter*.

Lucky for you, this weekend at the Tomato Head we are featuring two different recipes for oatmeal cookies. We’ll be pitting our Flour Head Bakery oatmeal spice cookie against Patti’s infamous oatmeal cookie recipe.

Which one is better? You be the judge by visiting our Facebook page to vote.

I tell you this, you’re going to get to try some top notch baking. Bust out your inner cookie connoisseur and come on down to the Tomato Head this Saturday and Sunday to enjoy an oatmeal cookie-off in the sunshine.

Don’t worry, we’ve got milk too.

In case you’re interested, Patti’s Infamous Oatmeal Cookie recipe looks like this:

1 cup Oats

½ cup Walnuts, Chopped

½ cup Dried Cranberry

¾ cup Flour

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Baking Soda

½ cup Shortening

½ cup Dark Brown Sugar

¼ cup Sugar

1 Egg

½ tsp Vanilla

In a medium bowl mix together the Oats, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Flour, Slat, and Baking Soda.

In a medium bow, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat shortening with sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until egg is incorporated. Gradually mix in the flour and oat mixture until all the oats and nuts are mixed into the butter.

Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Makes 25 small cookies.

*this claim is not backed by any actual fact, it’s just here to help you feel better about sweets if you need the justification, because we care.

Click the video to watch Mahasti’s appearance on WBIR Channel 10.

TomatoHead's Infamous Patti Oatmeal Cookie WBIR

Flour Head Bakery’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake: a story of unlikely friends in the cupboard.

You might find yourself asking, “Who would think of mixing chocolate and mayonnaise together?” Truth is, we didn’t invent this odd pairing. Recipes for chocolate mayonnaise cakes dates back to the World War I, a time when ingredients such as eggs, butter, and milk were scarce. Bakers discovered that mayonnaise served as a suitable substitute, as the oils kept cakes moist and created a brownie-like texture. This trend continued into the Great Depression and has lasted to this day.

Today, mayonnaise is replacing butter in our recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise cake to create a velvety-smooth texture that will keep well for days. Don’t let the name scare you off. Think of this as a chance to broaden your knowledge of the cake world—plus there is still chocolate.

Before this you can experience this tasteful enlightenment, you’ll need to pick up ingredients for both the cake and the frosting. The list of ingredients for the cake looks like this:

2 oz bittersweet chocolate

⅔ cup cocoa powder

1 ¾ cup boiling water

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ¼ cup mayonnaise

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

Once you’ve gathered these, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper and greasing the sides. Break or chop the bittersweet chocolate into small pieces, then place in a bowl along with the cocoa powder. Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts. Set the bowl aside.

Fill in a medium sized bowl with the baking soda, flour, and baking powder. Whisk until mixture is lump-free.

In yet another bowl, mix the two sugars with the mayonnaise. Whisk until all of the ingredients have blended together well.

Next, add 1/3 of the flour mix to the sugar mixture. Whisk together until the flour is incorporated, add 1/2 of the cocoa mixture, and whisk again until well mixed. Repeat this step, adding another 1/3 of flour with 1/2 (the rest) of the cocoa mixture. Then add the remaining flour. Whisk until the batter is smooth, then distribute the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. You can test the center of the cake by poking it with a toothpick; if it comes out clean then the cake is ready. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans. Once cooled, flip them so that the side that had been on the bottom of the pan is now facing up, and remove the parchment paper. Keep in mind that the end result is going to be something like a double-decker cake. Place the first layer on a large platter and cover with 1-1 ½ cups of frosting. Spread and smooth the frosting, then add the second layer on top of the first and continue icing. Serve this timeless recipe at room temperature.

It’s not a finished cake without the perfect frosting, and it’s not a finished recipe without the notes for the perfect frosting to pair.  Here are the ingredients:

10 oz bittersweet chocolate

2 oz white chocolate

3 sticks of butter (at room temperature)

3 cups of confectioner’s sugar

1 Tbl vanilla

Place a pot of water on the stove over medium heat. Fill a small bowl with the bittersweet chocolate, then place the bowl over the pot of boiling water so that the bottom of the chocolate bowl is not touching the boiling water. Keep the chocolate there until it melts completely. Next, remove the bowl and add the white chocolate. Whisk the chocolates together until the white chocolate has melted. Try to resist eating this delicious mix of warm chocolate during this step.

If you own a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment for the next step. If not, a hand mixer will do. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add one cup of the confectioner’s sugar at a time and beat well after each addition. Throw in the vanilla, and while the mixer is running, steadily add the melted chocolate. Beat well until the mix is smooth. Scrape down at least once to make sure the butter is completely mixed with the chocolate.

Finally, the best step: enjoy your cake.

Click the photo to watch Mahasti’s WBIR cooking segment from last weekend.

Flour Head Bakery Chocolate Mayonnaise

Flour Head Bakery’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Cranberry Pie

For the Crust:

20 Oreo cookies

1 Tbl melted butter

Or 1 prepared chocolate crust

Place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the cookies until fine. Add the melted butter and process until the cookie crumbs are evenly coated.

Press the cookie crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Refrigerate the crust while making the filling.

For the Filling:

2 (8 oz ) packs of Cream Cheese

2/3 cup Sugar

2 Large Eggs

½ cup Heavy Cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat well until smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl a few times. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add heavy cream and mix until smooth and creamy.

Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees 45- 50 minutes or until the cream cheese mixture puffs up and the center no longer jiggles (you will see some cracks in the cream cheese). Remove from oven and allow the pie to come to room temperature.

For the Cranberry Topping:

3 cups Fresh Cranberries

½ cup Water

½ cup Sugar

Look through cranberries for stems and bad pieces. Rinse Cranberries. Place cranberries, water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, and cook stirring occasionally until cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened slightly. Puree cranberries with an immersion blender or for a chunkier sauce, mash with a potato masher. Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Spread mixture over the pie.

Refrigerate pie overnight. Serve Chilled.

WBIR Chocolate Cream Cheese Cranberry Pie

© 2016 The Tomato Head Site by: Robin Easter Design