Tomatoes Ten Ways

tomatoesIt’s prime tomato season in New Jersey and our local farm markets are stocked full of this local favorite!  As summer winds down, here are Ten great ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes, courtesy of Simple Bites.

Begin by Marinating the tomatoes in olive oil and fresh herbs and spices: Select 5 or 6 ripe tomatoes, wash and slice them, and add them to a large bowl. Drench in 1/2 cup olive oil. Add salt, pepper, basil, oregano and garlic, toss together and marinate for several hours.  

Once theyr’e done you can enjoy them any of the following ways:

1. Place sliced tomatoes on top of a toasted baguette

2.  Add mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar for caprese salad

3. Toss with hot capellini or pasta of your choice.

4.  Add to a prepared pizza crust with cheese, sauce and other toppings and bake until the crust is golden brown.caprese

5. Stuff inside a pita pocket with cucumber slices and sour cream or tzatziki.

6.  Add diced red onion, olives, red wine vinegar and feta cheese for a great Greek salad.

7. Spread pesto over an uncooked pastry shell, layer on tomatoes and parmesan cheese and bake until the pastry is golden brown.

8.  Place tomatoes on aluminum foil with 6-8 raw shrimp.  Fold and seal the foil and grill for 7-9 minutes.

9. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar and marinate another hour.  Then puree in a blender for a refreshing cold soup.

10. Spread mayonnaise on toast and add tomatoes, lettuce and crisp bacon for the best ever BLT!


Taco Salad Flag Dip

Turn traditional taco dip into a patriotic appetizer, perfect for your 4th of July picnic!

Ingredientsflag dip



  • Cook meat with taco seasoning mix as directed on package; cool slightly.
  • Mix cream cheese, sour cream and salsa until blended; spread onto bottom of 13×9-inch dish. Top evenly with layers of meat mixture, 1 cup shredded cheese and lettuce.
  • Arrange olive slices on top left corner of dip to resemble stars on the US flag. Add rows of tomatoes and remaining shredded cheese for the stripes.

Source: www.kraftrecipes.coom

Kid Friendly Blueberry Muffins

This kid-friendly recipe for Blueberry muffins is the perfect activity for a summer day –  especially after picking your own blueberries at one of our local farms.

Kids 7 and up can handle this easy recipe on their own, with a little supervision (and of course someone to put them in and out of the oven.)  It’s also a great way to practice those fractions over summer break!


IngredientsKids Bakibng Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees,  Grease or line twelve muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk and egg.

4. Combine the butter mixture and dry ingredients and mix lightly until moistened.  Fold in the blueberries.

5. Spoon mixture evenly into the muffin cups.  Bake 25 minutes. Place on wire racks to cool.


Easy Mexican Fried Ice Cream

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this fun and delicious dessert – just like the one served in your favorite Mexican restaurant.  This version is super easy to make because there’s no real “frying” involved!

Fried Ice CreamIngredients

3 large scoops of vanilla ice cream 
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups corn flakes (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

whipped cream
hot fudge sauce


Scoop the ice cream and shape into round balls. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Crush the corn flakes, sprinkle with cinnamon.

Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add corn flakes and saute until toasted (approx. 5 min)

In a small bowl combine the white sugar and remaining cinnamon.

Remove ice cream from freezer, roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture, then coat with the toasted corn flakes.

Top with hot fudge, whipped cream and cherry

Pineapple Stuffing

Try this unique Pineapple Stuffing recipe for the perfect complement to your Easter ham.

Ingredients:Pineapple Stuffing
 1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can crushed pineapple
5 slices of bread, cubed


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend butter and sugar.
Add eggs and beat well.
Sir in crushed pineapple and bread cubes
Bake in greased casserole dish for 45 min – 1 hour.

Print recipe here.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

This delicious and easy Tilapia recipe is perfect for meat-free Fridays during Lent.


1 lb Tilapia filets

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp softened butter

2 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp dried basil

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp onion (or garlic) powder

1/8 tsp celery salt



In a small bowl mix together Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice and spices and set aside.

Arrange filets on a lightly greased broiling pan and broil a few inches from the heat for 3 minutes.

Flip the filets and broil on reverse side for 3 more minutes.

Remove from oven and cover (top side only) with the Parmesan mixture.

Broil 2-3 more minutes until topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork

Winter Pear and Walnut Salad

This Winter Pear and Walnut salad has fresh and inviting flavors and makes a great lunch for a winter day.


Large container of mixed greenspear salad
1 fresh ripe pear
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup Craisins
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil 



Rinse and dry mixed greens.

Chop pear into bit size chunks.

Add Craisins and walnuts and mix gently.

Top with feta cheese.

For dressing:

Combine honey, orange juice and mustard  in a carafe and shake well.

Add to salad just before serving.


Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange

Welcome to our Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange – a collection of  favorite cookie recipes from friends and family in our community. There are simple recipes to make with your kids and more complex (but delicious!) favorites that have been passed down for generations. Some are classic Christmas cookies and others are just great recipes for any time of year.

Click on the links below for a full, printable version of each recipe with photos.   

Anise Knots Cookies (Mary Maffei)mnm cookir

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies (Courtney Gabriel)

Chocolate Cracker Cookies  (Liz Fritz)

Chocolate Kiss Peanut Butter Cookies  (Liz Whalen)

Classic Sugar Cookies  (Melissa Livezey)

Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies (Jennifer MacHenry)

Easy Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookies  (Rosalie Gabriel)

Gingerbread Men  (Liz Whalen)

Mandel Bread (similar to Biscotti)  (Angel Marinucci)pecan tassies

Lemon Squares (Lyn  Cech)

Molasses Spice Kisses (Jennifer Lewis)

Mom Mom’s Swedish Butter Christmas Cookies  (for cookie press) (Sylvia Petrillo)

Mrs. Fields Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip  (Rosalie Gabriel)

Nutella Cookies (Angel Marinucci)

OREO Truffles  (Jennifer MacHenry)

Peanut Butter Fingers  (Florence Stewart)

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies (Leanne Bauman)

Pecan Tassies (Marcella Miccolis)russian

Russian Tea Cakes  I (Theresa Weiss)

Russian Tea Cakes II (Karen Williams)

Snickerdoodles  (Marisa Miloszewski)

Spice Cookies (Marcella Miccolis)

Split Seconds  (Sue Miloszewski)

Surprise Cookies (Colleen Fossett)

Vanilla Cristies (Robin Scipione)