Archive for the Category ◊ Veggies ◊

03 Nov 2010 Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple Stuffing

This is one of those recipes where the end product is greater than the sum of its parts.  It’s really tasty!  Who would have thought a little onion, carrot, celery, apple and some dried cranberries baked in a butternut squash would taste so good?   I did!!! (Have I mislead you before?)  This would be great for a fall dinner, all you’d need on the side would be a bit of  roast chicken (see John’s recipe for roast chicken) or maybe a few medallions of (maple glazed…, mmmm) pork tenderloin. When the kids aren’t home, I don’t make anything on the side.  I just enjoy this for dinner (makes enough for two days in a row), in front of the TV, with full and absolute control of the TV remote, and know I am in heaven!

I made this squash today when a friend came over and a light lunch was in order because we had some Maple-Bacon-Pecan Sundaes to taste test after lunch!  I skipped the part about brushing the squash with butter and drizzling butter over the top, and I didn’t miss it.  Feel free to save yourself a a few calories, if you are so inclined (or if  you have Maple-Bacon-Pecan ice cream sundaes to taste test after lunch).  BTW, since I have now mentioned the Maple-Bacon-Pecan Sundaes twice, now THREE times, let me just say bacon just does not belong on ice cream.  Nope.  Not at all.  I found the recipe for the Maple-Bacon-Pecan Sundaes in the November issue of Bon Appetite. I was expecting an amazing taste sensation. Didn’t happen.  I only want to know “Why?” Why print this recipe?  There is absolutely no reason to put bacon on ice cream.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand, and enjoy, that sweet-salty thing going on right now.  But bacon on ice cream? No.  Just say no.  You probably feel your arteries clogging just reading this post…, time to whip up some Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple Stuffing.  Veggies.  Tasty.  Good for you.

I found this recipe at My Kitchen Addiction about a year ago, and have been enjoying it ever since.   I hope you have a good time with it, too!

Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple Stuffing

1 acorn squash
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup carrot, chopped
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 cup tart apple, unpeeled, diced (Granny Smith is my choice)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries
2 cups stale bread cut into cubes (I use sourdough from Le Boulangrie)
1 tablespoon melted butter
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out and discard the seeds.  Place the squash cut side down in a glass baking dish.  Add about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the dish and microwave on high for 10-15 minutes or until soft. While the squash is in the microwave, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the celery, onion, and carrot and saute until soft, about 5 min.  Add the cider/juice, apple, and brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the veggies, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in the cranberries and bread cubes, toss to combine and to evenly moisten the bread cubes. Remove the squash from the glass dish, pour out the water, wipe any excess moisture from the baking dish and the squash, and then return the squash to the dish, cut side up. Brush squash halves with some of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon half of the stuffing mixture into each squash half.  Pour any remaining butter over the top. Bake at 375º for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling sets up slightly and is golden on top.  Serve immediately.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today,  I always appreciate your visits!

26 Oct 2010 Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta

A few weeks ago my friend Nancy and I went to a free cooking class at Williams-Sonoma.  We like free. Part of the free class was a sales pitch, which we had to sit through before the the free food was served.  We were shown $300 pans we couldn’t cook without, $500 blenders to blend and boil soup (I am not kidding), and a $12 bottle of Pumpkin-Parmesan Pasta Sauce that would change our lives.  We like free; a $12 bottle of pasta sauce was out of the question…, but that boiling blender was sooooo tempting. I still dream about it. But I digress… After downing the free samples (and not being that impressed), I went home to Google Pumpkin-Parmesan Pasta Sauce Recipes.  Five popped up. I compared them. Combined them.  Made them. I fed the first batch to my grandson. He loved it (and he doesn’t love everything).  My daughters had the leftovers and they said the words that make me swoon, “This is really good, Mom”.  I love those girls. Feeling I was on the right track, I upped the spices a bit, and made another batch for my Dining For Women group. They liked it too! YAY! They asked me to post the recipe. I love those women.  I hope you bought an extra can of Pumpkin Puree. You are going to want to use one to make this recipe at least once this season.  It’s tasty, it’s different, it’s nutritious and it’s just the thing to be eating this time of year and, drum roll please, it’s FREE!

My only caution about this recipe: don’t make it ahead of time.  Make it, and then serve it immediately. Right after combining the sauce with the pasta, it’s all nice and creamy, but it doesn’t take long for the two parts to congeal into a big blob.  Other people didn’t seem to mind, but I did. Perhaps I need to add more liquid to keep it creamy longer?

I wanted to serve the sauce with cheese tortellini or cheese ravioli tonight, but I forgot to buy some, so I had to make do with what I had in the cupboard, Rotelle. I’ve also made this with with Penne and Bowties, too, and both were good. But I really wanted to try it on cheese ravioli 🙁  If you try it on ravioli, let me know how it is, please!

I serve this as a side dish.  Recipe will serve 6-8.  This sauce goes together quickly.  Not as quickly as opening a $12 jar of sauce, but almost!

Pumpkin-Parmesan Pasta Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped shallot (about ¼ cup)
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 box pasta (penne, rotelle, bowtie)
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. ground sage
½ tsp. nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Fill a pasta pot with water, bring to boil, add salt.

While the pasta water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a skillet and stir in onions and shallots.  Saute until translucent.  Stir in minced garlic and saute for another minute or so.

By this time, your water should be boiling.  Stir in pasta, and cook according to package directions.

Add pumpkin, broth, cream, vinegar and spices to the onion/shallots/garlic mixture in the skillet.  Simmer on low for 5 minutes or so.

Gradually stir in 1/3 of the cheese to the sauce.  When that cheese has been incorporated, repeat with another 1/3 of the cheese.  Then repeat again with remaining cheese. Stir in chopped fresh sage.

By this time, your pasta should be cooked.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Stir the drained pasta into the sauce.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Serve immediately. Enjoy!  Happy Fall!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Raise your hand if you are a pumpkin junkie! (I am, I am!!)

17 Oct 2010 Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Chicken with . . .

. . .  New Potatoes and Seared Asparagus Spears!

My friend John, the rugged he-man, Lake Superior Chef (of Asian Glazed Thigh fame), has submitted another recipe.   I am posting this now because it sounds like it’s just the thing for a Sunday supper.  Go now! Get a chicken! You can have this for dinner tonight!

John says: “I adapted the chicken and potato recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  The recipe for the asparagus spears is my own.  I like this recipe for a number of reasons…, you only have to use two pans and one bowl, your kitchen smells wonderful when you’re done, you can drink chardonnay while you cook and the recipe is so easy.”

Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

with New Potatoes and Seared Asparagus Spears

Ingredients:

3 cloves garlic (diced)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (rough chop)
1 roaster chicken (3 to 5 lbs)
1 ½ lbs small red potatoes, quartered
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed.

Directions For Cooking the Chicken and Potatoes:

Preheat oven to 400º.
Pour a glass of cool (not cold) chardonnay to enjoy while you cook.
Mix olive oil, garlic and rosemary in small bowl.
Coat chicken with olive oil mixture, reserving about ¼ of the mixture for the potatoes.
Place chicken in a large oven-proof fry pan, breast side up.  Tuck wings behind back, and tie the legs together.
In another bowl, stir together potatoes and remaining olive oil mixture.
Arrange the potatoes around the chicken, sprinkle both chicken and potatoes with salt and pepper, and transfer pan to oven.
Roast until instant read thermometer (inserted into thickest part of the breast, away from bone) registers 160º F, about 60 to 70 minutes.
Transfer chicken to carving board and cover loosely with foil.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

Directions for Roasting the Asparagus:

Rinse asparagus and pat dry.
Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Heat ribbed skillet over high heat until “screaming hot”.
Sear asparagus, turning frequently.
Transfer skillet to oven (still hot from cooking the chicken) for five minutes.

To Serve:

Carve the chicken and serve with potatoes and asparagus.  Another  glass of chardonnay wouldn’t hurt either!

Now doesn’t that sound good?  I think a slice of the Chocolate-Pumpkin cake–I just posted the recipe–would round off this meal quite nicely!

23 Sep 2010 Veganized! Hoisin Chick’n Lettuce Wraps

These taste a lot like the lettuce wraps at the Yard House and they are super easy and fast to make. After tasting this, I felt it needed a little heat to contrast with the cool, crispness of the lettuce so I added a pinch of red pepper flakes while I was sauteing the veggies. I also opted to include some diced red bell pepper because I had some in the fridge and, well, because they’re pretty… I’ve made this with both the Gardein Chick’n and store-bought teriyaki flavored tofu and both are equally delicious!

Hoisin Chick’n Lettuce Wraps

2 cups diced, cooked Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (or one pkg. of four cutlets)
2 tablespoons oil (1 for sautéing chick’n, and 1 for cooking vegetables)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped is fine
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms
¼ cup diced green onion
8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and diced
½ cup Hoisin sauce
1/8 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce (check the label for anchovies, Lee & Perrins has anchovies, the generic store brands usually don’t)
2 tablespoons regular rice vinegar (NOT seasoned)
½ cup minced cilantro
1 head of iceberg or butter lettuce

Brown the Gardein Chick’n, in a skillet with a smidge of oil according to package directions. Remove from skillet to cool, then dice into ½” pieces. Meanwhile, chop celery, green onions, bell pepper mushrooms and water chestnuts.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet, add ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté until veggies start to soften, about three minutes. Add diced chick’n, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire and rice vinegar to veggie mixture. Stir to combine and sauté for an additional minute or two until everything is saucy and heated through. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and place in a medium sized serving bowl.

Make lettuce cups by carefully pulling off individual leaves of lettuce. Be careful of how big you make your cups; think appetizer size, not soft taco size. The larger I made these, the more difficulty I had eating them without dropping filling on my shirt! Place lettuce cups around the bowl of Hoisin Chick’n and serve with a slotted spoon.

This is a great vegan addition to your buffet table and if you use the Gardein Chick’n, no one will know it’s not the real thing 🙂 . Double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.

Thank you, Polly, for the inspiration!

Hoisin Tofu Filling

11 Sep 2010 Zucchini Pasta

I have debated back and forth about posting this recipe…  Pros: it uses up zucchini, which is very important this time of year.  The pasta recipe is good.  Simple, straightforward. Good.  Cons: It’s not GREAT; it’s good, but it’s lacking Emeril’s “Bam”!  I made this for the first time at my friend’s beach house this summer.  We all liked it, but we all thought it needed something else.  Garlic?  Shallots?  Lemon Peel?  Egg yolk?  Not sure…

When we returned from the beach my friend kept asking for the recipe and I kept thinking about making it again.  So it had to have something, right?  I sent my friend the recipe (I had no intention of posting it), and I made it again.  The results were the same.  The pasta was good, not great, but…

…for the last two nights I have had leftover homemade pizza, leftover beef rice bowl, and leftover ribs in the refrigerator, along with the leftover Zucchini Pasta.  Two nights in a row I’ve chosen leftover Zucchini Pasta over all my other choices.  So this dish has to have something, right?  Maybe it’s just comfort food.  End of the summer comfort food.  Yes, that must be it.

This recipe is from a Pasta Cookbook I received as a birthday present and took to the beach to read. (I read cookbooks like novels. Who’s with me on that?) The cookbook is called “Homestyle Pasta” by Bay Books (I don’t think that’s a person and I couldn’t find a link!!)  I’ve changed the recipe a bit, but only to reduce the amount of pasta.  The original recipe called for 1 lb. of pasta.  That’s too much pasta, and not enough zucchini and cheese.

Did I mention how easy this is to make?  While the pasta boils, stir up the zucchini…

Did I mention that my two year old grandson can’t stuff this into his mouth fast enough?

Zucchini Pasta

1/2 lb. fettuccine (the original recipe called for 1 lb of pasta)
1/4 cup salted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium), grated
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the fettuccine in boiling salted water per package directions. Drain pasta and keep warm.  Melt butter in a large frying pan, saute the garlic for one or two minutes.  Stir in grated zucchini and saute until zucchini is soft, about 3 minutes.  Stir in drained noodles and grated cheese. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Good. Fast. Easy. End of the summer comfort food.  And you now have three less zucchini.  HEY! You could attach this recipe to the zucchini you drop off on your neighbor’s porch after dark tonight!

Enjoy these last days of summer.  Enjoy your harvest 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

08 Jul 2010 Chilled Green Beans for Snacking
 |  Category: Appetizers, Veggies  | Tags: , , , ,  | 2 Comments

Move over Doritos. Get out of here bagel bites. Got you beat baby carrots! I find these to be quite an addictive finger food. They are a perfect summer appetizer, seasonal, chilled, and good for you. What’s wrong with a pile of green beans before dinner? Nothing! What’s right about a pile of green beans before dinner? Refreshing. Tasty. A little bit of a crunch. Lots of color. A bit of red onion. A hint of mint. YUMMMMM.

This recipe makes a LOT of green beans. Unless you are serving an army of healthy eaters, I might be tempted to say make half a recipe. But on-the-other-hand, Costco sells green beans washed and trimmed in a 2 lb. bag. Just snip the corner and zap for 8 minutes. Now that’s convenient. And leftovers do keep well for a week or so. My kids hardly complain if they find a few chopped up in their salad or added to a pasta dish…

This recipe is from Epicurious.com. I’ve been making it for about four years now. I make it as an appetizer for almost every large gathering.

Chilled Green Beans for Snacking

2 lbs. green beans, left whole, but ends trimmed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

If you buy the 2 lbs of green beans from Costco, cook according to the package directions. For other green beans cook in a large kettle of boiling, salted water for 2-4 minutes or until they are crisp tender. Transfer hot green beans to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry. Wrap the drained green beans in paper towel and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Mix the green beans, chopped mint, and red onion with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Enjoy!

And thanks for stopping by my kitchen today,