Summer Lunch

I had lunch today with two sweet nieces and an awesome sister-in-law. If you are looking for a simple and delicious menu, give this one a try!

We ate outside and each place had a tissue paper flower party favor filled with chocolates. I used these instructions, but used toilet paper rolls cut in half (what I had on hand at 10:00 pm) instead of the clear acetate containers. These were simple to make and inexpensive.

We ate salad with mandarin oranges and candied almonds along side a tomato pie.

Tomato Pie

4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
10 fresh large basil leaves chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s light)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
salt and pepper
1 9″ pre-baked deep dish pie shell

Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and place in a colander to drain for at least 15 minutes. I prepared all of the ingredients early in the morning and then assembled just before baking. This gave the tomatoes plenty of time to drain to keep the crust from being soggy.

Combine grated cheeses, mayonnaise and sour cream.

Mix tomatoes, basil and onions and spread in the bottom of the pre-baked piecrust. Spread cheese mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Let set 15-20 minutes before serving. This is also good served at room temperature.

Mandarin Salad Dressing (from my friend Jenny)

Mix the following in a container that can be shaken:

1/4 olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
a dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
1 T chopped fresh parsley

I think it is best to make this dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together and fully get the sugar dissolved. Shake well before dressing the lettuce. This makes enough dressing for about 4-5 nice size salads (about 6 to 7 large handfuls of lettuce)

Candied Almonds

In a dry skillet place 3 T sugar and heat over medium heat. As soon as you see any of the sugar melting add in 1/2 cup slivered almonds. The sugar will turn to syrup and coat the almonds. As soon as you see the slightest color change on the almonds– remove from heat. The almonds will continue cooking and it is very easy to burn them. Sometimes when I make these I get more of a crystallized looking coating. It doesn’t matter—is is all good!

Toss mixed greens with dressing, a regular sized can of drained mandarin oranges and the candied almonds. Serve immediately after dressing the salad.

For dessert, Miniature Cherry Cheesecakes

I used this pan, but I think these could be easily made in mini muffin tins.

Cherry Cheesecakes

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (I used light)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ground pecans
1/3 of a stick butter melted
3 T sugar
1 can cherry pie filling

Spray pan with nonstick spray. Blend cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla. Set aside. Mix ground nuts with butter and 3 tablespoons sugar. Divide the nut mixture between 12 cups. Press in bottom and up sides. Fill cups evenly with cream cheese mixture. Bake about 14 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool on rack about 20 minutes and then remove from pan. Place cherries on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These freeze beautifully without the cherries on top. Makes 12 miniature cheesecakes.


Oh and for drinks, try a little lemon-AID!

Here is a printable version of the recipes


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16 Responses to “Summer Lunch”

  1. aliciaalferman Says:

    um, wow!

    now that’s a lunch!

  2. heidi Says:

    i must try that tomato pie recipe. like tomorrow. or right now. wait. need basil. tomorrow it is!

  3. Inca Says:

    sounds great and love your flower favors….How did you get the yellow in the middle of the flowers?? it looks great

  4. Melissa Says:

    Yummy! I see the appeal of the cheesecake tin — cheesecakes shaped like mini muffins is too much like what everyone else does. I would totally need that pan (if I cooked (maybe when we move…)).

  5. Candace Says:

    I have saved the recipes, and my mouth is watering. I can see that as a nice lunch for my son, who has started being a vegetarian. It’s colorful and special.

  6. Heather Says:

    This looks like the perfect summer time lunch! I’m definitely going to try the tomato pie since our tomato plant is going crazy. Thanks!

  7. Honeygirl45 Says:

    Hi! I just love your blog!
    All your delicious looking recipes and photos. I can’t wait to try some.

    I like them so much that, I was wondering if I could use (share) some of your photos and recipes on our message board at I’m the community leader. Especially the photo of your kids in last 2007 4th of July parade? That photo is sooooo adorable.

    I enclosed my email and message board link so you can let me know if it’s ok to use some. Send to my email though!

    Who knows, you might even enjoy becoming a member!!??


  8. Natalie Says:

    Love love love your blog! I ran onto it last night while my oldest and youngest were finally asleep!!! It was a great and worthwhile way to spend my kiddo break! I love your photos and commentary. I cannot wait to try your felt bracelets. My oldest daughter LOVES jewelry (she’s 2 1/2) so it will be a cheaper way to indulge her. (My youngest is only 5 weeks but I think she exhibits the same tendencies 🙂

    Keep up the good work. What an inspiration you are!

  9. Heather Says:

    Hello, the Tomato Pie sounds great! I was just wondering at what temp you put it in the oven, when you bake it for 30 minutes?

  10. Jenny Says:

    Well, we were the lucky ones to get to enjoy this FABULOUS lunch! Everything was perfect as always! Can’t decide what we liked best — the food or the decorations! Thank you C.L. for our girls garden party — you’re the best! xox

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  12. ReminisceHeirlooms Says:

    Hi there. Love your blog. I am totally trying the tomato pie next week! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Arika Says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog the other day via tastespotting. I have your tomato pie in the oven as I type this. Hopefully it will taste as good as it looks! It’s so hot here is MS I thought it’s make for nice light dinner alongside a simple salad. I’m soooo ready for it to come out of the oven.

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  16. Chopsy Says:

    delicious tomato pie! Loved it and was so excited to serve when I had my girlfriends over for lunch. Salad was also excellent, dressing phenom!

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