July 11, 2011

Dinner @6 with American Express: Peppery Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

When American Express contacted me about joining them to celebrate the launch of their American Express Blue Cash Preferred and Everyday Cards I couldn’t quite fathom why. That was, until I learned about their interest in conveying to consumers the potential of using money to make simple, delicious meals with six ingredients are less. I love sending the message that meals do not have to be complicated to be delicious so I jumped on board.

For this program I’ll be posting every Monday for the next three weeks and sharing some of my favorite recipes for summer vegetable side dishes made with six ingredients or less. In return, I’d like you to share your favorite summer vegetable side dishes that are made with six ingredients or less for your chance to win a $600 gift card from American Express! (Yes, that is right, six hundred bucks for your grocery shopping! woo-hoo!)

To kick things off I am sharing my fun riff on caprese salad, a classic summer vegetable side dish. In my version I like to infuse the olive oil with fresh pepper and use small balls of mozzarella and grape tomatoes in lieu of big tomato slices. I prefer the smaller sized tomatoes and cheese and find them much, much easier to eat. I also love that this whole salad takes minutes to throw together. Sometimes I make it during naptime and keep it in the fridge, but it is just as easy to make it in a snap dinner time! I usually served it alongside grilled fish or chicken to round out our meal.

So, here is what is going to happen now. My delicious Peppery Caprese Salad recipe is below. Next week, on July 18th, I am going to return with another FABULOUS summer vegetable recipes using six ingredients or less and issue a last call for recipe submissions. The winner will be announced on Monday July 25th, along with a final recipe from me!

Here are the guidelines for entering to win your very own $600 American Express Giftcard:

1. Leave a comment sharing your favorite summer vegetable side dish recipe that contains 6 ingredients or less. It does not have to be a formal recipe format, just tell me casually how the recipe works and what is in it.

2. Sign up for The Naptime Chef newsletter (upper left hand corner of this screen)

3. Like The Naptime Chef on Facebook.

4. Read the below information about the new American Express Blue Cash Cards


About the New Blue Cash Preferred and Everyday Cards


  • With the costs of food, gas and clothing rising rapidly, the new Blue Cash® Cards provide a simple way for shoppers to put cash back in their pockets as they shop for every day necessities. With these new Blue Cash Cards, there are no spend minimums, cash back caps, ongoing enrollments or rotating categories of cash back benefits.  The benefits don’t change, as they do with some other cards.
  • Both Cards immediately offer cash back in categories in which prices are particularly under pressure: gas, supermarket purchases and department stores.
  • Whether when shopping online or in-store, offers an easy-to-understand rewards structure:
  • For Blue Cash Preferred, it’s as simple as 6%-3%-1% (6% cash back at supermarkets, up to 3% at department stores and gas stations, and 1% on all other eligible purchases). At 6% cash back, Blue Cash Preferred offers consumers the most cash back at the supermarket available in the market today. (Blue Cash Preferred carries a $75 annual fee)
  • For Blue Cash Everyday, it’s a simple as 3%-2%-1% (3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at department stores and gas stations, and 1% on all other eligible purchases) with no annual fee.To learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday cards, visit www.americanexpress.com/bluecashcards
  • For more chances to win please visit these other blogs with this promotion:



 Peppery Caprese Salad



1 cup grape tomatoes
½ cup small mozzarella balls
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 pinch kosher salt




1. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, pepper and salt.

2. Arrange the basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella on a plate and drizzle the olive oil dressing over the top. Serve!



Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

As with all the posts on this ad-free Products Review page, I was compensated to participate in this program and provide the above information to all of you. The opinions and recipe expressed in this article, however, are completely my own. As is the food photography.

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36 Responses to “Dinner @6 with American Express: Peppery Caprese Salad”

  1. […] working with American Express on a great project to launch their new Dinner @6 program. Check out this great post about the program which includes a fantastic giveaway! […]

  2. Winnie says:

    I’ve been making this salad with cooked quinoa, cubed watermelon, minced parsley and feta cheese lately. It’s like a tabbouleh: I add some fresh lemon juice and olive oil to dress it…very delicious!

  3. Lisabeth Ivanchukov says:

    My favorite Summer vegetable recipe is Sauteed Zucchini Parmesan-Melt 2 tb butter with 2 tb olive oil, slice one medium zucchini thinly, sprinkle with 1 tsp of garlic salt, saute over medium heat covered for 5 minutes or until zucchini bottom is lightly browned. Flip zucchini and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese.  Cover and heat until cheese is melted.  Enjoy! Lisabeth Ivanchukov

  4. ilona t says:

    roasted grape tomatoes — halve them, toss with olive oil and chopped garlic – roast at 350 for about 20 min

  5. Allison says:

    Cool idea! Here’s a simple, delicious, fresh veggie side dish that hubby made up last night: fresh zucchini and/or summer squash from the garden, grilled; cooked rotini or whatever pasta you prefer; fresh basil; fresh scallion; olive oil; balsamic. Toss it all together and enjoy!

    I already follow and like you. 🙂

  6. Shalo says:

    Tuna salad- can of tuna, cup of macaroni, 1/2 cup peas, mayo, salt and pepper.  Boil the macaroni in water until half done, add the peas and let the macaroni finish cooking (about 8 minutes total).  Drain.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl till you like the consistency and taste.  (healthy version – use veggie pastas and add other small veggies.)

    My hubby likes fried squash – Pour a half inch of cooking oil into a medium cast iron skillet and heat on medium.  Wash and cut in rounds as many yellow summer squash as desired (one serves one).  Pour some corn meal in a bowl and cover the squash on all sides.  (when cut the squash will sweat, that’s what makes the corn meal stick.)  Fry till crispy in edges drain on paper towel and salt.

  7. This looks delicious!  I love a yummy couscous salad with artichoke hearts and walnuts:

    Make and cool couscous according to package instructions.  Toss with lemon juice and olive oil; add chopped walnuts, chopped green onions and chopped artichoke hearts.  Chill and enjoy- it’s amazing!


  8. Jarwan says:

    Here is my favorite summer vegetable side dish recipe. Coarsely chop 2 large peeled and seeded cucumbers, 3 large tomatoes, 1 small red onion, 1/2 cups mint leaves. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1/3 cup red wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
    Refreshingly simple!

  9. Mmm, I recommend sesame-crusted sweet potato. Peel a great big sweet potato (to serve two, or for four people, use two great big sweet potatoes) and cut into chunks or nice thick batons: anything under an inch is fine. Toss with plenty of kosher salt and let sit for a few minutes until the juices juuuust start to come to the surface. This allows the crust to stick but not get soggy.

    In a medium bowl, mix a generous palmful of cornstarch with a palmful of sesame seeds and a bit more salt if you think it’s necessary.

    Heat a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron frying pan with just a shimmer of neutral-tasting oil. When the oil is nice and hot, it’s time to crust your sweet potato. Toss a few cubes at a time in the cornstarch mixture, then put in the hot pan.

    Let the sweet potato cubes sizzle, turning over to get all the sides nice and brown and the insides just tender. If your chunks aren’t softening quickly enough, partially cover the pan with a lid or even a cookie sheet — but don’t cover it closely or the crust will get soggy.

    These little chunks of nutrient-dense gold are fantastic on their own as a side, tossed over fresh greens, or topping a peanut noodle salad as whole meal. I adore them.

  10. Sarah says:

    My kids love these and they are so easy.

    Baked “fried” zucchini

    Slice zucchini into round pieces.
    Dip in ranch dressing
    Coat with bread crumbs.

    bake at 400 for about 10 minutes until brown.

  11. Arugula, goat cheese and watermelon. Oil. Vinegar.  Love, love love!

  12. Marla Meridith says:

    How fun is this promo. So glad to be running it too 🙂

  13. Here’s one of our favorite easy side dishes.  Great giveaway, Kelsey!

    Grilled Potatoes with Smoked Paprika4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
    3 tbsp canola oil
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1 tsp kosher saltPreheat grill to medium-high heat.Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with canola oil. Add smoked paprika and salt, and toss again.Lay the potatoes slices straight on the grill. Cook until potatoes are tender inside when pierced with a fork, but slightly crisp and golden brown on the outside, turning halfway through cooking, 10 to 12 minutes total. Remove from grill and serve immediately.If you do not serve immediately, cover potatoes with foil. They will become soft. You can enjoy them this way or re-crisp on the grill immediately before serving.Serves 4.

  14. Phoebe says:

    These squash chips are SO easy–they are the best!

    Squash Chips with Basil and Balsamic Drizzle
    Makes 2 appetizer or side servings

    2 medium squash, thinly sliced (on a mandolin or by hand)

    olive oil

    coarse sea salt


    handful basil, torn
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Arrange the thinly sliced squash on a baking sheet. Season with salt,
    drizzle with olive oil, and toss together so all the pieces are evenly
    coated. Spread as evenly as possible (there will be some overlap) and
    place in the oven. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 to 30 minutes.

    Arrange on a plate and season with coarse salt. Using your thumb over
    the bottle top, drizzle a little balsamic over the chips, and garnish
    with some torn fresh basil.


  15. One of my favorite side dishes don’t involve any heat from the kitchen! It’s Tabbouleh! Soak bulgur wheat in water for about 2-3 hours; drain and season with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Chop gorgeous tomatoes, white onion and scallions. Serve with grilled meats! Delicious, here is the link to it on my blog: http://cookingwithbooks.blogspot.com/2011/05/tabbouleh.html

  16. Miranda says:

    I am a newsletter subscriber

  17. Miranda says:

    I am a newsletter subscriber

  18. Miranda says:

    I like you on FB.

  19. Miranda says:

    I like you on FB.

  20. Emily Bartkowicz says:

    I just had a “poppable” caprese salad the other day for lunch – a tried and true fav!  Thanks for the great recipes as always!

    My fav summer salad is actually called roasted corn salsa:
    fresh corn cut off the cob
    fresh cilantro chopped
    roasted red peppers chopped
    green onions sliced
    some ground cumin
    a little s&p to taste.

    Brown it all in a skillet, let cool and served with burgers or skirt steak – YUM!  There’s nothing like fresh summer corn!

  21. cory says:

    My new must serve is an asparagus salad! Thinly sliced raw [yes Raw] asparagus, finely chopped purple onion, lots of grated pecorino cheese,
    dress with red wine vinegar, and a dash of evoo! Let marinate for about half an hour. So Good!

  22. Drweniki says:

    Summer corn salad:
    Grill corn on the cob til done.  Grill (or saute) grape tomatoes til warm. Slice off corn and toss with tomatoes.  Season with chopped green onions, balsalmic vinegar, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.

  23. Jamie says:

    Grilled peppers and onions….cut up bell peppers, any color or a variety and vidalia onion into strips.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and some dried oregano. Place in a vegetable grill pan on the grill. Stir and saute until soft and a little charred.  A great side dish, especially with some grilled Italian sausages.

  24. […] you may remember from last week, this is my second post for the American Express Dinner @6 Giveaway! Today I am talking about my favorite way to prepare snow peas. I like to cook them for a very short […]

  25. Tania, Love Big, Bake Often says:

    My favorite summer veggie side is so simple….
    Corn on the Cob, slathered with sour cream, sprinkled with Pico Seasoning…it is just perfect…could eat it every day.

    Thank you for the opportunity! 

  26. 2 cups frozen green beans1 egg, beaten1/4 cup all purpose flour1 cup Lemon Pepper Panko bread crumbsVegetable Oil for FryingIn a deep skillet add about 1 inch of vegetable oil and heat to about 350 degrees.Rinse green beans in hot water just until thawed. Dry with paper towels.Dredge each green bean in flour, dip in egg and roll in panko. Place on a plate or cookie sheet until oil is hot.Fry a few green beans at time, turning to brown on all sides.Remove to a paper lined plate to drain.

  27. I follow you on fb.

  28. I get your email. 

  29. merrycarol says:

    I follow you on Facebook (merry cooking contests)

  30. merrycarol says:

    I signed up for your emails! Looking forward!

  31. merrycarol says:

    Grilled Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

    4 (7-inch) zucchini
    ½ cup Italian
    Salad Dressing

    1 cup finely
    chopped sweet red bell pepper

    1 cup chopped
    marinated artichoke hearts

    1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil, and 8 basil leaves for garnish

    1 1/2 cup grated
    Italian 5-blend cheese



    Heat grill to medium-high, 400-450 degrees F. Slice each zucchini lengthwise in half and scoop out the center leaving an 1/4-inch rim. In a large
    resealable plastic bag, combine the Italian salad dressing and zucchini boats; marinade 45-minutes. Place zucchini boats on perforated grill plate. Divide and place the red pepper, artichoke hearts,
    and fresh basil in the cavity of the zucchini and top with cheese. Place grill plate with filled zucchini boats on the grill rack, close lid and grill 10-minutes or until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender crisp. Serves
    4-8.    These are
    absolutely delicious!

  32. kadija says:

    My summer side dish is an Avocado & Tomato Summer Salad. A combo of chopped avocado, cherry or grape tomatoes, fresh basil, sliced red onions, and a little chopped mango tossed lightly in balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious!

  33. won says:

    I have two and I can’t choose which to share so I’ll share them both. 

    Cut potatoes in medium size cubes. I use new potatoes or red potatoes. Put them in some heavy duty tin foil with onions and green peppers. Season to taste and put margarine or butter on the vegetables, then wrap it up tightly.

    Put the package on the grill and flip it after about 15 minutes. Cook approximately 15 minutes more. Take off grill, open package and add Parmesan cheese. Close it back up to allow the cheese to melt then open and enjoy!  


    Second is a corn on the cob recipe. Soak corn on the cob in water. You may have to put a plate or something heavy on top of corn – it’ll want to pop up out of the water. Soak for about an hour. 

    Put on grill and cook for about 20 minutes – turning occasionally. Wearing oven mitts (it’ll be hot), peel the husks down and slather with butter that has been melted on your stove with very small diced jalapenos added to the butter. 

    Enjoy the fresh summer corn! 

    won2xx at gmail dot com

  34. won says:

    Signed up for The Naptime Chef newsletter.

  35. won says:

    I like The Naptime Chef on Facebook.