Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans and Dried Cherries

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

Other ingredients

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 .

Assembly

  • 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.

Adapted from Juliasalbum.com

Book Club · New Traditions

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pine Nuts, Feta

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.

New Favorite · New Traditions

Roasted Stuffed Kobacha Squash (or Pumpkin)

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.

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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)

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  • 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.)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

Recipe Adapted from Epicurious.com

Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Kohlrabi and Beets…Really!

This is the first year that I have participated in Grant Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  My older daughter, Megan, and I decided to try it this year and we’ve enjoyed the fruit and vegetable surprises each week.

Kohlrabi was not a new vegetable to me but I haven’t had it since I lived at home on the farm.  My Mother would slice it and eat it raw with salt. It reminds me of a very crisp, slightly sweet, potato. However, I wanted to try something different and decided to roast it with a few red and gold beets, also in my CSA delivery.

The leftovers were equally good served chilled.  Is this my favorite vegetable recipe? No, but I’m always up for a new adventure and I enjoyed it.

ROASTED KOHLRABI AND BEETS

3 medium to large Kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
5-6 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher or Sea Salt
black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or generously grease with olive oil.
  • Place chopped vegetables on baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir vegetables.  Bake another 45 minutes under tender.
Book Club · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Shallots & Almonds

I was craving green beans and our book club was meeting to discuss ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. Our hostess served Tom Yum Koong Soup, favored by one of the characters in the book when fighting off a cold.  Others brought bar food and I brought green beans…never mentioned in the book but satisfied my craving.

This is a simple and absolutely delicious recipe. I’ll be making it again, and again, and again.

GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH SHALLOTS & ALMONDS

2 lb. fresh green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest

  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Trim ends from green beans. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in plastic bowl. Add olive oil, salt & pepper, parsley, almonds and lemon zest. Toss until ingredients are well coated with oil.
  • Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer. (I used parchment paper for roasting vegetables and the results are great).  Roast 12-15 minutes for thin beans, or slightly longer for regular beans, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from KalynsKitchen.com

 

Family · New Favorite · New Traditions · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Fennel…another new love!

Fennel was a target buy at Trader Joe’s for daughter Megan and I this week. My husband, Karl, used to love to cook Fennel as was prepared for him on business trips to Italy.  It’s been years since I’ve prepared it. Megan suggested we roast it and it was fantastic. I have to say that eating it raw was delicious, too.

The fennel was prepared the same evening as the Zuppa Tuscana (recipe to post next week).  We decided to put some of the fennel in our soup and loved the addition.  I even added cold roasted fennel to a roast pork and goat cheese sandwich…love it!

Next time I’ll try roasting the fennel with other vegetable, perhaps white and sweet potatoes and a bit of rosemary?

 ROASTED FENNEL

2 heads fresh fennel
olive oil
salt & pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rinse fennel.  Slightly trim bottom and top of fennel bulb.
  • Cut each bulb in half lengthwise.  Cut out core and set aside.
  • Slice fennel thinly and place on baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 15-20 or until brown on edges and tender.
Czech Heritage · Gluten Free · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

Roasted Cabbage Slices

Several weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a recipe for roasted cabbage and I meant to copy or print it.  Short story, short…I forgot.  This week I was in the mood for roasted cabbage and…no recipe. After a quick Google search, I found a similar recipe from Martha Stewart for Roasted Cabbage Wedges.

The recipe calls for caraway OR fennel seeds and I AM a caraway seed lover but decided to do a few of both. The fennel seeds won, hands down!  The fennel gives a nice touch to the roasted cabbage where I didn’t feel the caraway enhanced the flavor. My Czech ancestors would probably roll over in their graves if they heard me admit that!

Great recipe to pair with pork, Bratwurst or for a vegan dish.

ROASTED CABBAGE SLICES

1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices
Coarse salt and pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Place 1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices, in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Brush the cabbage slices with 2 tablespoons oil.
  • Season with coarse salt and pepper, then sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
  • Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40-45 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Gluten Free · Vegan · Vegetarian

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts did not make their way into my kitchen until last year.  My early experiences with Brussel Sprouts left me scarred..they were always very bitter and tough.  My older daughter, Megan, set out to convert me starting with roasted Brussel Sprout chips.  From there I graduated to roasted Brussel Sprouts and NOW, I make Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts.

The tender Brussel Sprouts, purchased at Costco, are delicious roasted and the balsamic vinegar/olive oil glaze allows the sprouts to roast to a luscious golden brown. The final product is a taste bud party!

BALSAMIC ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS

3 cups brussels sprouts, washed and sliced in half
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon olive oil
fresh ground sea salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Slowly add the olive oil until the well blended.
  • Put the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the oil and vinegar mixture over the sprouts and gently toss to coat.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.
New Favorite · Skinny

Cocoa Roasted Almonds…nuttin’ to it!

Everyone in my life knows I’m a little nuts about nuts.  Last week I purchased a box of cocoa roasted almonds at my local King Soopers and loved them!  The bit of sweetness along with the nut crunch and cocoa blast was divine.

Cocoa Roasted Almonds

I searched the web and discovered a low-cal recipe: www.ehow.com/how_5850786_make-cocoa-roasted-almond-recipe.html

They were easy to make and store well.  I had dry ingredients left over, so I tried the recipe with English Walnuts.  They were equally wonderful!  Cocoa roasted almonds and walnuts are my new, favorite afternoon snack!

COCOA ROASTED ALMONDS

1 pound raw, shelled almonds
cooking spray
8 Stevia sweetener packets (next time, I’ll try it with powdered sugar)
1/4 teaspoon popcorn salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • Pour the almonds in a large bowl.  Spray the almonds lightly. Toss the almonds and spray again, to assure that the almonds are lightly coated.
  • In a small bowl, combine the Stevia, salt, cornstarch and cocoa powder. Pour the dry ingredients over the almonds and toss to thoroughly coat the almonds.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes, stirring every 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the almonds (or walnuts) on paper towels. Cool.

Each almond has about 7 calories.

Nuttin’ to it!

Recipe adapted from ehow.com Cocoa Roasted Almonds

My Roots · New Traditions

Roasted Eggplant Spread

Roasted Eggplant Spread

My love of eggplant began when I was a young child.  My mother would peel and slice the eggplant, sprinkle with salt, and let rest on paper towels for 30-45 minutes to remove the bitterness.  She would then flour, salt and pepper the eggplant, and brown the eggplant slices in hot oil.  The hot eggplant slices were then put on a slice of bread and eaten as a sandwich.  I STILL love eggplant this way but have searched for healthier ways to cook eggplant.

This spread is a new favorite.  Rumor has it that the original recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa.

It is difficult for me to resist eating the cubed eggplant straight from the roasting pan but the majority usually makes it to the food processor.  I often eat this as a side dish as well as a spread. Either way…you can’t beat the wonderful flavor of eggplant.  YUM!

ROASTED EGGPLANT SPREAD

2 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red (or sweet) onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1 inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

  • Spread on greased baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing one time during the roasting process. Cool slightly.

  • Place the vegetables in a food processor. Add the tomato paste and pulse to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Optional: serve with crumbled feta cheese on crackers, bread or pita chips.