Egg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

There are three holidays this weekend: two big ones and one silly one. The big ones are Easter and Passover and since each holiday has entirely different traditions and foods, I was initially stumped. What do I post that works for both holidays? Then it hit me! These holidays do have something in common: eggs.  This egg and tomato gratin is just the thing.

I adapted this dish from a recipe by Jacques Pépin.  It’s from his Fast Food My Way cookbook. I haven’t changed much, other than the quantities, and using canned tomatoes instead of fresh. The fresh tomatoes aren’t very good this time of year, and besides, I dislike fresh-cooked tomatoes.

The eggs are mixed with tomato and onions, garlic, and thyme. The thyme adds a slightly spicy flavor and pairs beautifully with tomato.  The whole thing is then finished with grated, slightly nutty Swiss cheese.  Delicious!

And it works whether you’re on Team Pesach or Team Easter. Not to mention that whether you observe Easter or Passover, you’re likely to want a light lunch before your big meal(s) or want to take it easy the next day.  This egg dish is relatively light and won’t fill you up too much before or after all that heavy food. I’ve listed it as lunch, but it would also make a good breakfast or light brunch.

The third holiday? That’s April Fool’s.  There’s no specific food for that (except in France maybe when they call it April Fish), but somehow the tomato cheese mixture on top of the eggs looks like bacon if you squint. April Fool’s!




Egg and Tomato Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • At the end, turn up the toaster oven to broil and cook for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese
  • Don’t just have a dish that looks like bacon, add some real bacon and crumble it on top
  • Vary the cheeses: try Gruyère or mozzarella or Monterey Jack
  • Sauté some sliced porcini mushrooms with the onion/tomato mixture

Cooking tip: Poking the end of the eggs with a pin reduces the pressure inside, making them less likely to burst in the boiling water.

More Egg Recipes

egg and pasta gratinEgg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

A crispy egg, gooey cheese, and tender pasta layered together equals comfort food. This dish is easy to make too.

 

cherry tomato basil frittataCherry Tomato Basil Frittata

Who says you can’t make something delicious with simple ingredients? This frittata has only five. And you likely have most of them in your fridge and cupboard too.

 

egg chili cheese burritoEgg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

A versatile recipe that’s great for lunch, brunch, or breakfast.  Make the eggs, add seasonings, and wrap it all up.

 

shakshouka for oneShakshouka for One

Haven’t heard of shakshouka before? It’s just poached eggs with a spicy tomato sauce. Think traveling to the Middle East, without leaving home.

 




Egg and Pasta Gratin with Chives

Quick, what’s gooey, melty, cheesy, and great comfort food?  This egg and pasta gratin has crispy eggs, tender noodles, and lots of cheese. It’s almost a cousin to pasta carbonara (but no bacon).  The flavor is simple and delicate and the recipe incorporates two of my favorite “food groups”: pasta and cheese!

It’s adapted from a a new cookbook I just got (because given a bookstore gift card as a gift, I naturally headed straight for the cookbook section!). The cookbook is called Fast Food My Way and it’s chock full of inspiration. As you may have guessed from the title, all the meals are relatively easy and quick. They’re just perfect for those days when you don’t feel like fussing (or simply don’t have the time).  Of course, you can also make this for a leisurely weekend brunch or scale the recipe up and serve it to guests.

The whole thing fits in perfectly with my own philosophy, which is delicious food for one person, made from real ingredients. Because, just because you’re cooking for one rather than two or more doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a home-cooked meal. And, of course, making it yourself is much cheaper than going out, or ordering a meal kit.

As written, the flavor is pure comfort food; not spicy or salty. However, if you want, you can add other flavors (more on that in the substitutions and variations section).




Egg and Pasta Gratin Substitutions and Variations

  • Add crumbled bacon on top
  • Go for more sweetness and crunch with a sweet bell pepper
  • Try some leeks instead of the chives
  • Dice some sun-dried tomatoes

More Pasta Recipes

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this light, zesty spaghetti dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

savory mac and cheeseSavory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

This mac and cheese has some ingredients you might not expect. Like garlic and bay leaf. But don’t worry, the flavor becomes savory, mellow, and brings out the cheesy taste of the sauce.

egg and tomato gratinEgg and Tomato Gratin for One Person

Fragrant with thyme, onions, and garlic, and then topped with Swiss cheese. Great for a light meal, especially when there’s a big holiday meal in-between.

 

quick and easy summer pastaQuick and Easy Summer Pasta

Bright, colorful and great either hot or cold.  Perfect as a summer salad (since there’s no mayo to worry about).  And very little cooking too (just the pasta).

 




Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A great way to take advantage of fresh, local strawberries, this strawberry balsamic grilled cheese sandwich is an updated childhood classic meant for grownups. Don’t worry, it’s still wonderful comfort food!

I saw a similar recipe on social media and decided I had to try it.  They used blackberries, but I figured strawberries would work just as well, and I had just a few local summer strawberries left (since the season was delayed by wet weather).  The original post I saw didn’t specify what cheese to use.  The internet suggested a strawberry balsamic brie sandwich, but I didn’t have brie either.  So, I used smoked gouda instead. The gooey, melty, smoky gouda, the tart vinegar, and the sweet strawberries combine for a salty-sweet-tangy burst of flavor. Plus, some crunch from the grilled bread.

You can use the gouda, or brie, or any mild cheese that melts well for this. If you don’t have strawberries, use blackberries instead.  I made this with rye bread, but any crusty bread would work well. Ciabatta would likely be great (it makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches), because it absorbs the oil’s flavor and turns a beautiful golden brown without getting greasy.

There are lots of different opinions on how to grill cheese sandwiches (or toast them if you are in the UK).  Some butter the bread, others slather on mayonnaise (no  no no).  I prefer to just cook them in a mixture of butter and oil.  The oil has a higher smoking point than butter does (so it’s less likely to burn).  The butter adds extra flavor.




Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich Substitutions and Variations

  • use blackberries or raspberries instead of strawberries (blueberries might work too, but they’re harder to cut up)
  • try brie, goat cheese, or Monterey Jack instead of gouda
  • experiment with crusty breads such as ciabatta or a hearth loaf
  • toss in a few fresh basil leaves
  • add some black pepper to the strawberry/balsamic mixture

More Sandwich Recipes

three cheese grilled cheese sandwichThree Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Rich, melty gooey and wonderful comfort food. This sandwich has not one or two, but three cheeses.

 

chicken caprese salad paniniChicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Grilled cheese for adults. It’s got chicken, tomatoes, basil, and toasted, melty cheese…yum!

 

bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwichBacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Bacon! We’re obsessed with it. We eat it on everything (pasta, sandwiches, even ice cream). This sandwich has an extra kick from the aioli (garlicky mayonnaise). Don’t worry, there’s an easy trick to make your own.

vegetarian eggplant sandwichVegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

So maybe you don’t want bacon. Try this vegetarian sandwich with tender eggplant, crisp and crunchy Israeli salad, and hummus.

 




Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it.  You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil?  Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.

This friend does not cook. At all.  I don’t think she’s ever used her oven.  I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).

I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe.  They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!

It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand.  Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.

You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between.  I won’t judge.

 


Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
  • Top it with some red pepper flakes
  • Add a bit of lemon zest
  • Use some anchovies (if you like them)
  • Top with freshly toasted breadcrumbs

 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Want food fast? Just cook some pasta and put together a quick sauce from sweet tomatoes, zesty garlic, and salty olives.

 

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Earthy porcini mushrooms, sausage, beef, white wine, and a bit of cream, all simmered gently and served with hearty fresh pasta.  Sooo good, you may never want the usual red sauce again.

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

A burst of bright flavor from nutty olives, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and golden friend panko.  A wonderful, and easy summer treat.

 

tomato artichoke pasta saucePasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Rich, thick, and pantry friendly too with canned tomatoes, dried herbs, and a jar of artichokes.  Start the sauce simmering, make the pasta and you’re ready to eat in half an hour.

 




White Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

The usual standard for white pizza is to use ricotta cheese. While I do like ricotta (heck I like nearly every cheese), I don’t usually have it in my fridge.  So, I switched cheeses and used mozzarella instead.  The nice thing about this recipe (or nearly any pizza recipe) it’s flexible and you can change it to suit your tastes or whatever ingredients you have at hand.

In this case, I used caramelized onions (because I always have onions), sun dried tomatoes (because I still have that huge jar to use up), and some fresh basil.

My original plan was to make the dough myself, but I was tired so I bought pre-made dough at the store. If you have more time and energy, Smitten Kitchen has a great pizza dough recipe for one.




Once the dough is ready (or bought), all you have to do is cook the onions, soak the tomatoes, and cut up the cheese. If you’re really pressed for time (or feeling lazy) use the pre-shredded mozzarella.  I recommend you get the fresh if possible though; it tastes much better.

Substitutions and Variations for Pizza Without Ricotta

Of course, there are almost as many possibilities for this as there are ingredients.

  • Use a mixture of mozzarella and goat cheese
  • Add mushrooms and/or eggplant to the onions
  • Saute some spinach after the onions are done and add that to the pizza
  • Add some garlic
  • Sprinkle some parmesan or manchego on top

 

Tools and Ingredients for White Pizza Without Ricotta


Oxo Box Grater

As much as I love my zester, there are times when only an old-fashioned box grater will do the job. The zester grates far too finely for this purpose. This box grater is from Oxo, so it’s easy to hold. It even comes with a little container to catch all the grated cheese (so it doesn’t get all over your counter). The container (and its lid) all fit inside the grater, to take up less space in your kitchen. Or, you can use the closed container to store any leftovers until the next time.


Trader Joe’s Sun Dried Tomatoes

Soft, moist and delicious. Use this for this pizza recipe, for pasta with sun dried tomatoes and feta, stuff them into chicken, or make them with pasta in a cream sauce.

 

More Pizza Recipes

rosemary potato roasted garlic pizzaRosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza

Another no tomato sauce pizza, this one is a Roman classic, call it potato chip pizza if you like.  Because if one starch is good, two starches are better!

 

goat cheese caramelized onion pizzaGoat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

Goat cheese, and lots of veggies are another different twist on the usual pizza.  Switch it around with spinach, mozzarella, and whatever veggies suit you. You could even crumble some sausage on top.

tortilla pizza for oneHomemade Tortilla Crust Pizza

The super-lazy at home pizza. Just make a tortilla crust (or even use a pita bread or pre-made tortilla), pile on the veggies and toppings, and you’re good to go.

 




Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of mac and cheese recipes out there: three cheese, four cheese, and on and on. This savory mac and cheese recipe is a bit different. First, it’s both savory and cheesy, second it’s sized for just one person. No leftovers.

I got the idea for this recipe from a friend who made it with sun dried tomatoes. I tried it that way, but wasn’t mad about the combination.  However, the idea to add bay leaf and garlic is inspired.  I know it sounds odd, but the garlic becomes mellow once you cook it, and the bay leaf complements the cheese.




I’ve used three cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, and manchego. My friend used cheddar and parmesan. You can follow my version, or his, or make up your own. Provolone would work too.  I even recently had mac and cheese that had muenster in it, which worked surprisingly well.

One thing though, he used low fat milk, which I would never do.  You can, if you want to.

Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • as suggested above, mix and match the cheese you use
  • add the sun dried tomatoes when you mix the cheese and pasta together (just because I didn’t care for it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea)
  • cook some bacon and crumble that on top
  • include some caramelized onions
  • top with prosciutto

Tools and Ingredients for Making Savory Mac and Cheese

small square baking dishsmall square baking dish
Porcelain Square Quiche Dish 

I just got this little dish and I’m really pleased with it. It’s oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe, and it fits in the toaster oven so I don’t have to heat up my big oven to make something small. It’s called a quiche dish, but it was great for mac and cheese, and I intend to use it for single serving apple crisp and brownies. It’s even pretty enough to serve in. The other nice thing is you can buy just one, rather than a set.

small au gratin dishsmall au gratin dish
Porcelain Round Au Gratin Dish

This au gratin dish, from the same company, is also a good option. It has handles to make it easier to pick up and take out of the oven (which I wish I had thought of). It would also make a nice dish for serving scrambled eggs.

More Pasta Recipes

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Take advantage of fresh summer eggplant and make this easy pasta dish with a slightly spicy tomato sauce.

 

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Not your usual ragu sauce, this one is made with cream (not a tomato in sight). Instead, you simmer onions, beef, carrots, and sausage, with porcini mushrooms and white wine. It’s divine!

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A smooth, velvety pink sauce, with just a hint of cream. The salmon adds a smoky flavor that plays beautifully with the rich sauce.

 

Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Also called pasta raphael, this pasta sauce is flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil. It’s got a bit of a kick from red pepper flakes and lots of freshly-ground black pepper. All straight out of your pantry (even the spices).

 




Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Summer is now in full force, and I got some lovely tomatoes and eggplant from the Greenmarket, as well as fresh pasta and fresh mozzarella cheese from the Italian market. Inspiration struck, and I thought I’d put them together to make pasta alla norma (pasta with eggplant) and add a caprese salad.

Caprese salad is simply fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and basil leaves. It’s an easy summer side dish that requires no cooking at all.

Pasta alla norma is  slightly spicy pasta with fresh eggplant, and tomato sauce, topped with manchego cheese. This is a great meal when you’re in a hurry, as it’s pretty easy to throw together.

And, since we’re only making one serving (and using tomato sauce instead of the original whole tomatoes, the cooking time is cut from nearly an hour to about 25 minutes. If you don’t have tomato sauce, use canned crushed tomatoes and add garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and dried oregano to get the same effect.

The original recipe (from the New York Times) called for lots and lots of olive oil.  I think the term they used was “abundant” olive oil.  I love olive oil, but so does eggplant. It just slurps it up! However, I found that by cooking the eggplant on a low flame, it used a lot less olive than it would otherwise.

If you’re really concerned about the oil, you can drizzle the eggplant with it, and then roast it at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.




 

Caprese Salad

This is so simple, it’s hardly a recipe at all.  Just layer slices of fresh tomato, fresh unsalted mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves.  Top with a generous drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Skip the sat if you get salted mozzarella (unless you prefer salty food).

More Eggplant Recipes

vegetarian eggplant sandwichVegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Transform a side dish salad into a full meal in minutes. This sandwich starts with Israeli salad and builds layers of flavor from eggplant, hummus, and an egg.


eggplant parmesan for one
Eggplant Parmesan

This was a favorite treat as a child: tender eggplant, gooey cheese, and a rich, flavorful tomato sauce.  And yes, this is one serving!

 

rosemary olive oil broiled eggplantRosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

Velvety and creamy (but super easy) eggplant infused with olive oil and dusted with rosemary and parmesan cheese.

 

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I love moussaka, but the standard recipe is just too much work. This one is easier (no bechamel), but still full of flavor from spicy/warm cinnamon and nutmeg, tender eggplant, ground beef, and tomatoes.




Compound Butter Cheeseburger

It was National Cheeseburger Day a few weeks ago.  Somehow, I managed to miss it, but celebrating with a compound butter cheeseburger is something you can do any day.  Who needs a holiday?

Compound butter is just a fancy way of saying that you take butter, soften it a bit, and then add other ingredients. Mix them all together and you have compound butter. Once you’ve got that, you add it to your ground beef, form your burger, and start cooking.

There are two good reasons to use compound butters.  The first reason is that it adds extra flavor. And, you can change the flavors by adding different ingredients to the butter (lemon, parsley and garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, a dash of cayenne, hot sauce, whatever you like).

The second reason is that it keeps your burger moist and delicious.  It won’t dry out as much if you overcook it a bit.

It’s pretty easy to do and fun to play with.

I served it on a fresh potato roll, but you can use a standard burger bun or a kaiser roll,  or even an English muffin if you prefer.




Compound Butter Cheeseburger Substitutions and Variations

  • I’ve used garlic, basil, and tarragon in my compound butter, but you can use any herbs you like.
  • Or, you can kick it up a notch with some cayenne or sriracha.
  • Replace the garlic with a few sun dried tomatoes.
  • Make a quick aioli (mayonnaise, garlic, salt, pepper, a splash of olive oil, and a bit of lemon juice), or add crisp bacon.

5% Off Every Box Crowd Cow ‘s ground beef is raised naturally and humanely. They even tell you what farm it comes from. Crowd Cow ranchers don’t pump up the beef with hormones. And, the cows eat either entirely or mostly grass (not corn), which is what nature intended. Order what you like, and get what you want. No mystery food!

More Recipes with Ground Beef

white ragu papardelle

White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

A fresh take on the usual pasta sauce, this one has white wine, sausage, and ground beef (not a tomato in sight).

Make it with fresh pasta for a real treat.

 

sloppy joes one person recipeSloppy Joe Recipe for One Person

A classic sandwich given a bit of a new twist. The tomato sauce is updated with sriracha. That elevates the flavor, gives it more kick, and modernizes an old favorite.

 

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Classic Italian meatballs, in a portion downsized for one person.  Use them in spaghetti, eat them on their own, or add them to soup.

 

easy italian wedding soupEasy Italian Wedding Soup

Got meatballs? Add them to this soup and have a meal in minutes. You just need a few more ingredients, heat it up, and you’re done.

 




Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

It seems almost silly to write a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich.  This was just too good, gooey, and cheesy not to share.

Grilled cheese and a hot bowl of tomato soup (if not homemade, then Pacific roasted red pepper and tomato soup) is one of the best comfort food lunches ever.  Well, maybe a tie with macaroni and cheese.

OK, OK, I am a cheeseaholic. I must be part mouse.  If something has cheese (not bleu cheese though),  I will probably want to eat it.

Back to the recipe, I had a few slices of whole wheat bread which I had to use up quickly because they were going to go stale.  Plus Passover was coming (so no bread allowed for a week).

I love grilled cheese and this is where buying cheese ends comes in handy.  I had some cheddar, some monterey jack, and some Swiss cheese left in the container, plus I had just bought some fresh mushrooms and spinach.




Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich Substitutions and Variations

  • use olive oil instead of canola oil, or a mixture of butter and oil
  • swap the three cheeses for mozzarella and replace the spinach with eggplant (this would work even better with ciabetta instead of whole wheat)

More Sandwich Recipes

chicken caprese salad paniniChicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Transform a side dish into lunch by adding a few ingredients. The result is crisp, golden-brown, gooey and delicious.

 

bacon spinach tomato aioli sandwichBacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

The BLT with a twist. Skip the lettuce, make it spinach instead, and use aioli instead of ordinary mayo.

 

vegetarian eggplant sandwichVegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Another upcycled side dish. This time it’s Israeli salad, plus creamy eggplant, and smooth garlicky hummus. All wrapped up in a pita.

 

strawberry balsamic grilled cheese

Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Tangy vinegar and sweet berries take this childhood favorite to a whole new level.  The combination adds complexity and depth to a simple sandwich.