tomato bread salad

this is such a yummy salad. similar to panzanella salad but it’s easier to throw together. i love how fresh and light it is. you could use mozzarella but i had ricotta in my fridge. you could add bell peppers, olives or anything else that floats your boat.



  • 1 loaf of bread (you can use any kind but i really love to use rosemary focaccia in this salad)
  • 4-6 tomatos
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

seasoning mix ingredients:

  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • seasoned salt
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • tiny bit of cayenne pepper
  • parmasen

here are the steps:

  1. cut the bread into small pieces (like croutons) i like to place a cutting board over a dish towel so that the crumbs can be easily picked up and thrown away. IMG_3729
  2. coat with bread cubes with olive oil and the seasoning mix i described above.IMG_3730IMG_3731
  3. bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. dice the tomatoes and toss with the toasted bread cubes.
  5. slice some fresh basil, mince some garlic and toss with the bread and tomatoes.IMG_3741
  6. drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top of the salad and top with a spoonful of ricotta.

i used this dish as a side but i ended up going back for seconds. it was so fresh and delicious. it will definitely be on my list of fave sides!

tomato bread salad

marinara and stuffed ravioli

today felt like a pasta kind of day. i made ricotta yesterday and wanted to make a yummy pasta to go with it. i’ve divided the ingredients and steps out between the marinara and the ravioli in case you just want to use the marinara sauce for another pasta dish. it’s delicious! here we go!



  • 3 carrots, sliced and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1- 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 28oz can smashed tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 1 pound hot italian sausage
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

steps for the marinara sauce:

  1. pour olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, salt, oregano, pepper and parsley flakes. cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. IMG_3704
  2. add the tomato paste and stir until it is combined and turn up the heat to medium high. the tomato paste will give the sauce a rich color and taste.  let it heat up for 2 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with about a 1/4 cup of white wine. make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to pull up the flavor from the pan. the alcohol in the wine allows you to pick up those flavors that would otherwise be stuck to the pan. yum!
  3. after stirring the white wine into the mixture, move the pot back to the heat and add the smashed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and the can of tomato sauce.
  4. chop and add about a half handful of fresh basil.
  5. let the sauce simmer on medium-high for about an hour. the longer you wait, the richer and thicker the sauce gets.
  6. when the sauce is almost finished, begin cooking 1 pound of hot italian sausage in a sauce pan with some red pepper flakes. when cooked thoroughly, add it to the marinara sauce. i caved last minute and added a handful of mozzarella cheese to give it a creamy texture. don’t judge me! ta-da!IMG_3719


ingredients for the ravioli:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan
  • salt and pepper

steps for the ravioli:

  1. pour the flour on a clean surface and create a well in the center of the flour. sprinkle the salt over the flour.
  2. add 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks and the heavy cream to the center of the well. begin scrambling the eggs in the middle while gradually adding the flour in. once the flour is completely combined, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes super elastic. if the dough is too wet, add flour one teaspoon at a time. if it is a little dry, wet your hands with water and continue kneading.IMG_3707
  3. after 10 minutes of kneading, cut the dough into 4 equal parts and cover with plastic and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.IMG_3710
  4. in the meantime, combine the ricotta, parmesan, salt and pepper. then cover and refrigerate until we stuff the ravioli.IMG_3712
  5. grab a cookie sheet and pour the olive oil in it and spread it across the pan with a paper towel.
  6. create and egg wash with water and an egg and scramble.
  7. after the dough has set for 30 minutes, take one of the quarters and roll it onto the cookie sheet with a rolling pin and then cut the rectangle in half. make sure the dough is pretty thin. if it is too thick, the ravioli will be tough.
  8. take 8 dollops and evenly space them apart. top with the other half of the dough sheet and press down around the filling.IMG_3714
  9. using round biscuit cutter, pizza slicer, ravioli stamp or a knife, cut the raviolis into squares or circles. place the raviolis on the oiled cookie sheet.
  10. in a large pot, start to boil some water and cook the ravioli in small batches. the ravioli should cook for about 3 minutes and they are finished when they float to the top of the pot.

finish the dish by placing some of the ravioli into a plate and top with the marinara, some parmesan and some fresh basil.

this was a super satisfying dish and i am so happy to share it with you! happy eating!

marinara and stuffed ravioli

homemade ricotta

ricotta is a super versatile, creamy cheese. i am planning to make stuffed ravioli pasta in a few days, so i decided to try making the ricotta cheese from scratch. it was surprisingly easy and incredibly smooth. the ingredients are simple and easy to find.

ricotta ingredients


  • 8 cups of whole milk (1/2 gallon)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar (optional)
  • cheesecloth

the steps are pretty simple. lots of waiting and watching. here we go!


  1. in a large stock pot or other deep pot, slowly bring the milk and cream to a boil.
  2. once there is a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the salt. once the salt is stirred in, slowly add the lemon juice. ps- this lemon juice is from costco and is really yummy. my husband and i drink it every morning with a little water for its cleansing qualities and health benefits. that’s a little tip from my father in law!
  3. cook for 20-30 minutes or until you see curds starting to form on a low boil. if it feels like the curds aren’t forming, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to hurry the process. the vinegar/ citrus is supposed to help separate the curds from the whey. (the whey is the liquid that we will dispose of later when straining.)IMG_3675
  4. in the meantime, take a large bowl and place a strainer inside it. next, please the cheese cloth on top of the strainer and make sure there is enough room so that you can tie up the cheese cloth later.IMG_3674
  5. once the mixture has boiled long enough and the curds are forming, pour the mixture over the cheese cloth slowly and let it strain.IMG_3677
  6. after a few minutes, tie up the bundle of ricotta in the cheese cloth and hang from your sink faucet to drain fully. i like creamier ricotta so i let it hang for about 25 minutes but you could hang for an hour for more dry ricotta. if you like super moist ricotta, hang for as little as 5 minutes.  IMG_3681
  7. after hanging, untie the cheese cloth and pour into a bowl. the cheese will last about 7 days in the fridge.

you could spoon some ricotta onto some toast with honey, use it in a healthy bruschetta snack or add a couple of dollops to marinara sauce. check back soon to see how i use it in ravioli! happy eating

homemade ricotta