Author Archives: denisegdias

Tomato and Crusty Bread Salad

tomato salad

Summer and tomatoes, what could be better!  Give this salad a try, I love making it with some multigrain bread from the day old bread rack.  The fresh sweet tomatoes and hearty crunch will make your mouth sing!

Tomato and Crusty Bread Salad                 (Serves 6)

1-1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes 1 cup diced green sweet bell peppers                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 2 ounces Spanish or black olives, rinsed and drained 7 large fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil 1-1/2 tablespoons vinegar 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2-1/2 cups (3 ounces) cubed day-old bread (sourdough, French, or multigrain)

1.  Wash your hands and work area.

2.  In a large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, cheese and      olives.

3.  Wash, dry, and cut basil leaves into strips.  Add to mixture.

4.  Sprinkle vinegar and black pepper over salad.  Mix well.

5.  Cover and refrigerate.

6.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300˚F.

7.  Place cubed bread on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly      crisp, stirring occasionally.  Shut off oven.

8.  Just before serving, toss bread cubes      with salad mixture.

9.  Cover and refrigerate leftovers within      2 hours.

Nutrition Facts: Serving size—1 cup Calories—100, Total fat—4g Cholesterol—5mg, Sodium—220mg Carbohydrates—13g, Fiber—2g Protein—5g Diabetic exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat

Basil Parmesan Spread

basil spread

serves 10

1 cup chopped fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (4 oz) package feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Wash hands and work area.

2.  In a food processor, blend the spinach,
basil and garlic.  Gradually mix in the olive
oil and Parmesan cheese.  Process until smooth.
Salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Blend cream cheese and feta cheese in a
medium bowl.

4.  Line a separate medium bowl with plastic wrap.  Spread 1/2 the cream cheese
mixture in the bowl.  Top with sun-dried tomato paste and spinach mixture.
Cover with remaining cream cheese mixture.  Pat together, cover and chill in
the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving.  Flip out of the plastic lined bowl
onto a medium serving dish to serve.  Refrigerate leftovers immediately.

Serve this yummy, zingy dip with crackers or bread at your next party.  It’s best when chilled overnight before serving.

Naan Bread Margherita Pizza with Prosciutto




(This recipe was featured at our July Saturday Sampler, Beyond Basic Basil.)

   Serves 2

1 large roma tomato, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons olive oil, or as needed

Salt & ground black pepper to taste

1 green onion, sliced

1 slice prosciutto ham, sliced

1 clove garlic finely chopped

6 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped

8 slices mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Substitute naan bread for pizza dough and top with
mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and prosciutto creating
a quick and easy dinner.

1.  Wash hands and work area.
Preheat oven to 350˚F  (175˚C).  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2.  Place naan breads on the prepared baking sheet; brush each naan with olive oil.
Spread green onion and garlic over each naan.  Arrange 4 slices mozzarella cheese
onto each naan; top with tomato slices.  Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Top tomato layers with prosciutto, basil, and Parmesan cheese.

3.  Bake in preheated oven until pizza is crispy on the edges and cheese is melted,
about 8 minutes.  Turn on oven’s broiler and broil until cheese is lightly browned and
bubbling, about 2 minutes.  Refrigerate leftovers immediately.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 490
Total Fat 23g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 1710mg
Total Carbohydrates 41g
Fiber 4g
Protein 27 g


Garlic Cheese Spread

A delicious spread, great on crackers, but even is great rolled up in a chicken breast, tortilla or ready made pizza dough.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened (optional)

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 TBSP shallots, minced

1½ teaspoon fresh dill (½ teaspoon dried)

1½ teaspoon fresh basil (½ teaspoon dried)

1½ teaspoon fresh oregano (½ teaspoon dried)

¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (¼ teaspoon dried)

¾ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (¼ teaspoon dried)


Mix together all ingredients. Spread on crackers, bagels, or sandwiches. Makes 1¾ cups.


Birthday Brownies!

I celebrated a birthday yesterday, ending in “O”  So in honor of this special day, I am posting a delicious brownie recipe.  You can choose to make it either in the original, moderate or low fat versions.  All are delicious!  If you do not have apple sauce consider substituting pumpkin or Greek yogurt instead!


Serving size and frequency of eating are important factors in deciding when to change sweet baked products. This example offers the alternative of replacing margarine with applesauce.


Original                                       Moderate                                    Low Fat

½ cup margarine                           ¼ cup margarine                          Omit

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce                ½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup sugar                                     1 cup sugar                                  1 cup sugar

1 egg                                                 1 egg                                              2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla                         1 teaspoon vanilla                        1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup flour                                    ¾ cup flour                                       ¾ cup flour

¼ cup cocoa                                    ¼ cup cocoa                                     ¼ cup cocoa

¼ teaspoon baking powder         ¼ teaspoon baking powder          ¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt                               ¼ teaspoon salt                               ¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped pecans                   ¼ cup chopped pecans                   Omit

Spray a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray coating; set aside. In mixer bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Pour into pan and bake at 350 °F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 16 servings

Approximate nutritional values per serving:

153 calories                                    117 calories                                     78 calories

9 grams fat                                     5 grams fat                                      0.2 grams fat

49% calories from fat                  34% calories from fat                   3% calories from fat

13 mg cholesterol                         13 mg cholesterol                          0 mg cholesterol