Broccoli Salad has always been a favorite of mine, a regular staple at a local restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes. During the hot summer months, this is a great side to BBQ, sandwiches, or really anything. I was so excited about making this salad, I forgot to photograph it WITH the dressing. OOPS! That’s why I’m not a professional blogger. I’m just a woman with a passion for good food!
Broccoli Bacon Almond Salad
½ pound bacon
2 heads fresh broccoli
1 small red onion
¾ cup raisins (I used craisins)
¾ cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo–also vegan)
½ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool and crumble.
Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-sized slices. Combine with the bacon, raisins, and almonds and mix well.
To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad.
Cauliflower is a vegetable I has grown to enjoy, raw and roasted. I’ve roasted cauliflower with or without broccoli and other vegetables dozens of time, drizzled with olive oil and kosher salt. Adding toasted pine nuts and raisins was a delicious treat! I chose to roast flowerettes vs. cauliflower steaks. Either way, it’s delicious!
The recipe could easily be adapted to Vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter. I used traditional raisins and dried parsley and, in the future, I plan to try the recipe with Craisins or dried cherries instead of raisins. Play with it…Make it your own… Enjoy!
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PINE NUTS & RAISINS
2 heads cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, torn
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut off the cauliflower stems, then place the heads cut-side down and slice into 1/2-inch-thick steaks. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a dry medium sauté pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins and butter and season with salt. Cook, tossing, until the butter has melted and coats the pine nuts and raisins. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter. Pour the pine nut-raisin mixture over the top. Season with salt.
Irish Potato Casserole is a favorite recipe shared with me by my sister-in-law, Betty, many years ago. I have served it often as a side with Prime Rib or with Baked Ham with many compliments. This is a wonderful potato dish that you can prepare the day before and have ready for the oven before your guests arrive. Over the years, I’ve substituted low-fat cream cheese and sour cream with equally good results. It’s a winner, winner chicken dinner kind of recipe!
I’ve shared a photo of the casserole before baking. Every time I make this, I am in such a hurry to serve the meal, that I forget to take a picture after. The after picture would be very similar but with a browned top….never said I was a professional blogger!
This Christmas we will again, have the Irish Potato Casserole with Prime Rib and other family favorites!
IRISH POTATO CASSEROLE
8 to 10 medium potatoes, peeled
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt paprika
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add potatoes and all other ingredients (except paprika) and beat until well combined.
Spoon into lightly buttered casserole and sprinkle with paprika.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
In 2020 I planted golden beets for the first time in my garden. I love a fresh beet and goat cheese salad but the big surprise for me was how delicious beet greens are.
My friend, Jan, told me about a Swiss Chard with Tahini recipe, referenced below, which I adapted to use with beet greens, minus the extra sauce. I made it several times last year and will be making it every year that I grow beets or can purchase beets with greens. Out of this world!
BEET GREENS WITH PINE NUTS
2 3/4 lb. beet greens or Swiss Chard
2.5 tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil
scant 5 tbsp. pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1/4 cup dry white wine
sweet paprika, to garnish (optional)
salt and pepper
Clean the beet greens or Swiss Chard. Chop into strips.
Put half of the butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large frying pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the pine nuts and toss them in the pan until golden, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan.
Throw in the garlic. Cook for about a minutes until it starts to become golden
Carefully pour in the wine. Leave for a minute or less, until it reduces to about one third. Add the chopped beet greens and the rest of the butter and cook for 2-5 minutes, until the beet greens are wilted.
Season with slat and black pepper. Divide the greens among the individual serving bowls, and scatter with pine nuts. Drizzle with additional olive oil and paprika, if you desire.
Spring Bliss Bowls are so yummy that I made it twice within two weeks. There were so many ‘wows’ in this recipe. Wow, I have NEVER used pesto on rice…it’s amazing! Wow, I’ve NEVER roasted radishes…they are delicious! I roasted all vegetables on the same cookie sheet and it worked fine. You can also add protein such as sliced chicken breast if you like. If you don’t like the vegetables in the recipe, change it up. Any combination of vegetables will be great. Go for it!
SPRING BLISS BOWLS
1 cup short grain brown rice extra virgin olive oil seasoned salt and pepper 10oz. bag cauliflower florets, trimmed into similar sized florets 3 small golden beets, trimmed, peeled and chopped 1 bunch radishes, trimmed then halved or quartered if large 1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed then chopped into 2” lengths 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto, divided (recipe recommends Buitoni-I used my homemade pesto) 2 Tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth 1/4 cup pepitas/pumpkin seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line two half sheet pans with foil, spray with nonstick spray, and set aside. (I used one cookie sheet vs. two).
Add brown rice plus 1-3/4 cup water, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkling of seasoned salt to a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid. (Refer to the cooking instructions on your particular bag.) Bring to a boil then place a lid on top, turn heat down to low, and gently simmer for 40 minutes. Taste – if rice is still crunchy, add 2 Tablespoons water then continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove pot from heat then let sit and steam with the lid on for 7 minutes before fluffing and cooling slightly. Once slightly cooled, stir in 1/3 cup pesto.
Meanwhile, add cauliflower to a medium-sized bowl then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Spread onto one half of the first sheet pan then oil/season beets in the same bowl and spread onto the other half. Roast for 15 minutes then stir.
While the cauliflower and beets are roasting, oil/season the radishes then spread out onto one half of the second sheet pan. Roast for 10 minutes with the beets/cauliflower then stir. Add oiled/seasoned asparagus to the remaining empty half of the second sheet pan then roast with all the other vegetables for 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish filled with wonderful flavors. Every time I say the word ‘Ratatouille’ I have to smile and think of the Disney animated film Ratatouille. The young rat, Remy, dreams of becoming a famous French chef. Such a funny film, great to watch with children, grandchildren or in the privacy of your own adult home…no one needs to know you’re watching a cartoon!
Celebrate after watching the film by enjoying the real deal!
LAYERED BAKED RATATOUILLE
2 cups (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry) (plus more for sprinkling)
½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling)
¼ tsp. pepper (plus more for sprinkling)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced*
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced*
2 small eggplant, thinly sliced*
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1” squares
Parmesan cheese, to top (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. In a small bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the base of your skillet.
Layer the sliced vegetables vertically around the skillet, packing them as tight as you can. (We find that it is easier to layer the zucchini, squash, and eggplant in the skillet and then go back in and tuck the red peppers within the layers after the other vegetables have been filled in.)
Season the top of the vegetables with additional salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the vegetables are softened and starting to brown slightly.
Autumn brings cooler weather, falling leaves and wonderful vegetables. I’ve become a huge fan of roasted vegetables and loved the idea of combining squash with Brussel sprouts. Adding cherries, nuts and honey were the icing on top of the vegetables.
This is a wonderful dish for a potluck, holiday and just an ordinary night at home.
ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
4 cups Brussel Sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaved removed, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and dubbed into 1 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or halves
1/2 cup dried cherries (or Craisins)
optional: 2-4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (I did not add additional honey)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt (to taste) and toss. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning. The cut sides should be nicely browned and partially charred.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a foil-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded), olive oil, honey, and cinnamon. Toss to mix.
Place butternut squash in even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until squash is softened.
NOTE: You can roast both the Brussel sprouts and the butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time .
In a large bowl, combine the roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cherries (or cranberries) and mix to combine.
OPTIONAL: For more sweetness, add 2-4 tablespoons or honey or maple syrup…add slowly to desired amount of sweetness.
Quinoa with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, pine nuts and feta…what’s not to like! I often try new recipes to share with others so my Book Club buddies were once again Guinea Pigs. This recipe takes a while to prepare but well worth the effort!
QUINOA WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PINE NUTS & FETA
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large onions, sliced
2 pounds cubed butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
salt French Vinaigrette salad dressing (add generous amounts of dressing to individual portions)
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Peel the squash and slice it into 3/4 inch cubes, about 2 pounds. Toss the squash cubes in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt.
Put butternut squash on the greased baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. Flip the squash cubes over midway through baking. Cool slightly before adding to the salad.
Caramelize the Onions:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in a large skillet. When oil is heated, add onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly string with wooden spoon. The onions will start to brown, but not brown.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes, continuing to stir as onions brown even more. Add a pinch of salt over the onions.
Continue cooking the onions for 10 more minutes on medium to low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions don’t stick to the pan. Add a bit of water if the onions begin o stick. Total cooking time is 30 minutes.
Remove the onions from the heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using the wooden spoon, mix the onions scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
Assembling the salad:
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, and mix with the dressing. Add the dressing only before the serving, and add as much as you want to individual portions, as both quinoa and butternut squash tend to be on a dry side, and this dressing (when generously applied) fixes this beautifully!
Top each individual serving with Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Note: This salad keeps very well refrigerated for up to a week, but only without dressing. Add the dressing before serving.
Stuffed pumpkin (or in my case Kobacha Squash) was a novel idea I heard about from friends. I found this wonderful recipe and adapted it to use the Kobacha squash I’d recently purchased from Trader Joe’s.
It was a fun, and delicious, experiment and one I’ll try again, shaking it up with different ingredients. This is a great way to use leftover pumpkins from Halloween or Thanksgiving. A new tradition perhaps.
ROASTED STUFFED KOBACHA (OR PUMPKIN)
1 pumpkin (I used Kobacha squash), about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, shredded
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste) coarsely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn’t so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I’ve always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I’ve been lucky. (Note: I baked my squash in a round Pyrex casserole lined with parchment paper)
Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It’s easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It’s hard to go wrong here.)
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it’s heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you’ll bring to the table.
You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I’m a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it’s just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.
It’s really best to eat this as soon as it’s ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.
Zucchini and rabbits have a lot in common. They multiply…and multiply…and multiply. My zucchini plant has done well this year, keeping my daughters and I supplied in plenty of zucchini for salads, pastas, breads and, one of my favorites, Zucchini Fritters.
I’ve made these for years but with the remodel, the recipe disappeared. I found this recipe online which sounded almost exactly like my tried and true recipe. It’s easy and delicious, a bit like latkes.
4 cups shredded zucchini
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sliced scallions (green and white parts)
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Place the shredded zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle the zucchini lightly with salt. Allow the zucchini to stand for 10 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl.
Add the flour, eggs, sliced scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the bowl, stirring until the mixture is combined. Line a plate with paper towels.
Liberally coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with vegetable oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, scoop 3-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini mixture into the pan, pressing them lightly into rounds and spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook the zucchini fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them once and cook an additional 2 minutes until golden brown and cooked throughout.
Transfer the zucchini fritters to the paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle them with salt. Repeat the scooping and cooking process with the remaining zucchini mixture.
Serve the zucchini fritters topped with sour cream (optional) and sliced scallions.