Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Basil, Olives and Fresh Mozzarella

I tried a wonderful new recipe for dinner tonight. It was fresh and perfect for a hot summer night. It seemed a little strange at first, because the sauce isn't cooked at all, but it is absolutely delicious!
Here it is. Enjoy.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Basil, Olives and Fresh Mozzarella
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 6), chopped
3/4 pound salted fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup halved and pitted black olives (I used Kalamata olives.)
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil (This may not look like enough, but it's plenty.)
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used eight!)
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes with the mozzarella, basil, olives, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain,, add to the tomato mixture, and toss.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Pour the oil over the pasta and toss again.
I didn't toss the pasta and tomato mixture together. I left them separate so that when we have leftovers, we can heat the pasta and still have the fresh tomato topping. Therefore, when I served it, I heaped a generous bunch of the tomato mixture on top of the pasta. Don't forget to dig to the bottom to dip out some of the vinegar for the pasta.

Homemade Mac-N-Cheese

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package.

Melt butter in large saucepan. Blend in flour. Wisk in milk.

Cook at medium heat until thick.

Add salt and pepper and 2 cups cheese.

Stir to melt.

Pour in cooked pasta. Mix well and serve.

You can make this fairly healthy by using lowfat milk, and lowfat cheese.

Use whole wheat past for an even healthier dish!

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - Edition 22 (really 23...)

So, last week I was on top of things and planned my menu ahead of time. Like on Friday, when I'm usually scrambling around Sunday evening! BUT...I forgot to post it! ha! I even had it all ready to post, and just never did...I'm going to include it at the end of this post!This weeks links:
Grilled Vegetable Muffuletta(Racheal Ray Magazine)
Orange Chicken and Rice - Found through Food Gawker
My Oh Mahi, That's a Good Fish Taco(Racheal Ray Magazine)
Homemade Shells & Cheese with a salad from our CSA share! Yipee! (recipe to follow) Moved from last week.
Pork Baby Back Ribs - Jamie at Home...awesome episode on Food TV. I want to live at Jamie's house! I love his herb garden and his organic, irreverent, and practical way of cooking! Love this show!
Last weeks menu:

A Replacement

So, with the disappearance of my favorite, though only recently discovered, food blog resource, I've been directed to a replacement ... of the few that have popped up since Tastespotting disappeared, this is my favorite.

I even love the name !!

I've already found some great stuff ... including this article on 20 whole grains to cook and eat ...

As for my menu plans ... I won't be posting one until mid August. I'll explain why later. Maybe.

In the mean time ... how about some ideas from those of you who have been a bit quiet around the beans blog for a while ... :)

This is soooo sad !!!

Tastespotting is gone !!! I just discovered this site and now it is gone !!!

If you go there now all you will see is the note above.

Total Bummer !

No Menu


And my grocery budget is reflecting it.


I just could NOT get a menu done this week !

Lots of reasons that I won't go into.

I will be back on track next week ... I hope !

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - Edition 21

Monday's meal was inspired by the newest issue of Clean Eating Magazine. I did not make Ratatouille last week, so I need to use the veggies before they go bad.
I was looking over the menu from last month and discovered that we did not have Kung Pao Chicken a single time! It was time to put it on the menu again! :o)
Cajun-Spiced Tilapia again...this time on the grill! Yay, for SUMMER! :o)
The seasoned Edamame & Beans recipe came from a prior issue of Clean Eating Magazine. My friend raves about this easy side dish, so we had to give it a try!

Reposting ...

... this here on the Beans Blog because I've made my other blog private and people have asked for this recipe !!

This was so delicious that Jono told me he "loves this kind of meal" and gave me a big hug right there at the dinner table !!


It's a crock pot recipe that I got from Chick In The Kitchen. Her recipe calls for ground turkey but I used ground beef. I made a few other changes too so I'll post the way I made it here. You can check her recipe out and make it her way, my way or even your own way ! That's the great thing about cooking !!


I decided to try making focaccia bread too. It was soooo good ! I've never made it before. Don't know why ! The recipe for it is the next page over from the recipe I use almost every week to make pizza dough in my bread maker !!! Anyway, I'll be making it again, that's for sure !


(recipe from the book that came with my bread maker)

Water ~ 250ml
Olive Oil ~ 2 TBLS
Salt ~ 1 tsp
Sugar ~ 2 tsps
Flour ~ 3 cups
Yeast ~ 2 tsps

Add ingredients to bread maker in order listed and use the 'dough' setting.

Press dough into a lightly greased pan. I used baking paper.

Cover and stand in warm area for 30 min or til doubled in size. (I always fill the sink with hot water and stand my doughs on top of that to make it warm ... works well)

Remove cover, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with rock salt.

Bake in pre-heated oven 200C (400F) for 30 (mine only took 20 minutes) minutes or until golden brown.


Slow Cooker Meatballs
(see Chick in the Kitchen for original recipe using turkey)

2 lb. (1kg) lean ground beef ( mince )
1 egg
1/4 c. fine, plain breadcrumbs
a big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
garlic chives ~ chopped
2 tbls (?) fresh oregano, finely chopped
ground black pepper to taste (about 6 turns of the grinder)
2 (500ml each) jars of your favorite pasta sauce ~ I used an extra garlic one

Add all ingredients — except for the sauce — to a large bowl, and mix with your hands until well-combined.

Roll meat into golf ball-sized balls, and layer into the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour the jar of sauce over the meatballs so they are completely covered.

Place lid on your slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4 hours.

Serve on top of pasta of your choice ~ I used vermicelli.

And of course, I served it with the yummy focaccia bread !!! Mmmm Mmmm good !!!

I wanted to join in Sandra's Slow Cooking Thursday !
This is such a yummy recipe !!!
Come back after you've tried it and let me know what you think !!


Have I mentioned how much I love my bread machine?

Oh yeah, that's because I hate it!!!

Aidan and I decided to make bread yesterday. Here is our brilliant result:

These really don't show all of the horror that was our "bread"

So, in the middle of Aidan's nap I realize that we are not going to have fresh bread for dinner.

So I pulled up the french bread post and started over. It turned out great!!

I will definitely make it again. Next time I will cut the recipe in half because it is too big for my mixer, but it still turned out great. Mine wasn't quite as crusty as hers looks.. maybe I needed to cook it longer or something.. we'll see. Thanks for the great recipe.

I'm In Love and You Will Be Too !

This is the coolest site !!!

You have got to check it out !

I warn you though ... if you put it in your google reader like I did ... you will have heaps to read !

And you will find some really cool blogs !

Like I have !


Click the word above ... go on, you know you want to !!

Then come back and tell me what you think !

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - Edition 20

I missed last weeks menu planning due to the holiday...back on track now:Links to recipes:

Inspired ...


As promised ... here are the two recipes for the yummy meal we had Sunday night.

They are both from The Inspired Vegetarian by Christine Ingram


I served them as the main dishes ... not eating meat right now.


Stuffed Mushrooms ( the adapted by Bonnie version )

I used:
6 big mushrooms
olive oil
fresh parsley
fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C or 350F

Take the stalks out of the mushrooms. Don't throw them out. Put the mushrooms in a pan with baking paper on the bottom.

Heat a bit of oil and briefly fry the garlic. It called for 2 cloves, use what you fancy.

In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs (I used two pieces of bread ... chopped in my food processor), parsley (3 tbls), and chopped mushroom stalks. Add garlic, salt and pepper and 1 tbls oil.

Fill mushrooms with mixture. I then poured a bit more oil on top as it seemed a bit too dry.

Cover with baking paper. Bake 15/20 minutes ~ depending on size of mushrooms.

Remove paper at last five minutes to brown the tops ... I also added a bit of feta cheese before I put them back in for these last five minutes !


Italian Roast Peppers

4 small red peppers, halved, cored and seeded
2-3 tbls capers ~ I used baby capers so I didn't need to chop as the recipe called for
10 - 12 black olives, pitted and chopped
garlic, finely chopped
50 - 75 g mozarella
25 - 50 g fresh breadcrumbs ( I used two pieces of bread )
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbls olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 C / 375 F.

Place the peppers tightly in a dish - lined with baking paper of course.

In a bowl, mix capers, olives, garlic, mozzarella and breadcrumbs. Pour onto the peppers.

Pour wine and olive oil (I mixed them first) on top.

Sprinkle with herbs and pepper.

Bake 30 - 40 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden brown.

I checked mine after 20 minutes and it was already crisp and golden brown but the peppers weren't cooked. So .. I covered it with tin foil for the remainder of the cooking time ! I might start out with the tin foil on top next time and then take it off towards the end !

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - Edition 22

Mondays come around so quickly !
Do they for you too ?
Here's the menu for this week ...

Friday we had pizza.

Good pizza.

Of course, the pizza we eat around here is always good.

That's a problem ! A big problem ... :)

Saturday we did a BBQ.

We all had something different.

You can read about it and get my yummy fish recipe here.

Last night, Sunday, we had the yummiest dinner.

Tried two new recipes and made that great focaccia bread.

I'll be posting the new recipes tomorrow.

You'll want to check back to see these:
1. Italian Roast Peppers
2. Stuffed Mushrooms

I'm having the leftovers for lunch ... at least I hope I am.

I wonder if Rory took them to work ??

Tonight, Monday, we are having a new recipe out of this book.

It's called Persian Minted Onion Soup and it looks delish.

I'll post the recipe later in the week if it's as good as it looks !

I'm also making the rest of the focaccia. Last night, in an effort to reduce our bread intake, I only baked half the loaf.

Tuesday and Wednesday we will be trying two more new recipes.

Tues ~ Spinach and Cannellini Beans
Wed ~ Balti Style Cauliflower with Tomatoes.

This is a great book ! I got Sunday's recipes out of it too !

As for Thursday, I don't have anything planned.

We'll see what happens ...

PS ... I'm having some spacing issues with this post. Driving me too crazy trying to fix 'em so I'm not going to !!