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Archive for the ‘Rockin’ Veggies’ Category

We’ve got a great, easy and VERY tasty veggie dish!!  I will share my secret ingredient with you and when you make this for your kids… hubby… or boyfriend… they will jump up and down and beg for more!!!  I promise this!!

Let’s start with some yummy veggies.  

Yes, we can find these same veggies mostly year round, but they are far more plentiful at certain times of the year and if you have a garden, you probably grow most of them!  I don’t have a garden, I’ve tried… alas… it is not my calling to grow anything in the ground.

I like to get my veggies at the local Farmers Market…. or in a pinch, Safeway!

Here we go….. Take you beautiful fresh veggies and slice into nice bite size pieces.   Then take your zucchini, yellow squash & onions and place into a skillet with a drizzle of EVOO.  Top with some sea salt and cracked pepper, then saute for about 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat (be careful not to cook too much, we want them nice and firm).  Fight the urge to add more spices… you don’t need them,  the flavor of this dish will dance on your tongue!

When time is up, transfer to baking dish and add 1 can of Italian Stewed Tomato’s.  I also like to chop some fresh tomato and add to the mixture.  Here is where we add the secret ingredient… Ready???

Just shake about 1 to 2 teaspoons of Garlic Bread Sprinkle onto the mixture and stir… top with shredded jack cheese (or whatever you have on hand) and pop into the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes!

Scoop out a serving and taste…. It’s really delicious…. even non-veggie eaters seem to love this dish!!

Feel free to serve with some crusty bread to sop up all those juices…

If you’re anything like me you won’t be able to shove it in your mouth fast enough!!  You’re gonna LOVE this dish!!
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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…  I am truly blessed!  Why, you ask???  So many reasons 🙂 – but this week, it’s because my daughter and my daughter-in-law both love to cook and I get to eat their delicious creations!!!  I was visiting my grandkids in Tucson this week and Cassie (my lovely daughter-in-law) made a dish that I just have to share with you all!!  Cassie is of Lebanese descent and often presents one of her family favorites to us when we visit.  Happily, this visit was no exception!  So get ready for a bit of culture and tons of taste ’cause I’m going to start sharing some of her gems with all of you!  Yay!!  More veggies for Bex to try!!! 🙂

This recipe comes from Cassie’s grandmother.  Lucky for us she inherited her recipes and cookbooks and remembers how she cooked with her grandma everytime she makes one of her recipes.

Okay, so let’s start with the basics… the filling recipe that I’m giving you is used in a variety of dishes and is also great for peppers, grape leaves or cabbage!

Basic Filling

  • 1 cup rice (raw)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice – heaping
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  •  ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 ¼ lb. lamb, coarsely ground or ground beef

In a bowl wash rice in cold water and drain.  Add salt, spices and stir well.  Cassie likes to double the allspice and cinnamon amounts, however if you haven’t used these spices in meat before – you might want to start with the recommended recipe to make sure you like the flavor.  Add your choice of ground meat and mix with hands, adding some cold water to help mix.  Set aside and prepare squash, cabbage or grape leaves.

Ingredients for stuffed squash

  • 12 to 14 medium size squash (yellow summer, zucchini)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 lb can tomatoes and 8oz can tomato sauce

Wash, stem and scoop out each squash. Leave sides about 1/8 inch thick. After pulp has been scooped out, rinse out squash.

Stuff the koosa with the above filling, leaving about ½ inch opening unfilled to allow rice to expand.

Place about 1 to 2 cups of the scooped out pulp like we do or if you used lamb, a layer of small lamb bones in the  bottom of pot.

Add seasonings over mixture and it’s time to place the stuffed squash (koosa) into the pot!

 

Add the tomatoes and enough water to barely cover koosa… I feel so ethnic!!!

For another flavor… try adding one or two teaspoons of dry mint for the last 15 minutes of cooking. 

 

 

Cover with lid and cook on low for about an hour (until koosa is tender and filling is cooked.

 

 

When finished, you can serve individually or cut into pieces like we did!  It looks wonderful, doesn’t it??

  Let me tell you… it’s tastes even better than it looks… And healthy too!!  Enjoy!

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I think one of the best smells in the kitchen is bacon and onions making friends in a skillet on the stove!  I got to experience this wonderful smell recently and thought I’d share this recipe with you!  It’s really simple to make and tastes truly delightful!

I realize that some of you are thinking… Yuk, Peas!  To you I say… give them another try.  Tastes change and these are so good I am 99% sure that you’re going to love ’em!  There’s always that 1% room for those of you who are stubborn and will say you don’t like them (even tho’ you know you do!). 🙂

Peas, Bacon, & Pearl Onions, really…. I can smell them cooking now! That could be because I just made them and the smell is still in the air… but you get what I’m going for.  The ingredients are pretty basic… you’ll need Peas, Bacon, & Pearl Onions… lol!  You could probably substitute any kind of onion, but I like pearl onions… they’re cute.

First, lets get the bacon going.  I like to cut up the pieces into 1 inch pieces and then fry… you could also fry the strips and then tear or crumple them, but they are super hot and I just don’t like how greasy it makes my hands!!  Cutting them before hand is easier for me!

While the bacon is browning, you can multi task and clean your onions… see???  I told you they were cute!

Just about the time you’re done with the onions, it should be time to drain the bacon and then put it back onto the heat.  You don’t want it cooked all the way yet… now it’s time to add your onions.

Ahhh… that’s beautiful! It also starts to fill your kitchen with that heavenly aroma of bacon and onions coming together!  I would offer you the idea of Heaven actually smelling like this, however I believe it will smell more like fresh cut grass or baking bread. 🙂  Let the mixture cook together for about 5 minutes and then it’s time for peas, please!  Rinse peas (or not) and then add to skillet.

Add the water, honey, salt an pepper – cover and simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes and then it’s done!

So Yummy – It’s Tee-licious!

Ingredients

  • 10 slices of bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3-4 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 dz pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, cook bacon until lightly browned, drain off drippings.  Add the onions and let cook together in skillet for about 5 minutes.  Add peas, water, honey, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat until veggies are tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Feeds 4-6.

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Origin: Grandma made it up. Orrrrr, she got it off the side of the Parmesan Cheese container. Orrrr, the Hashbrown box. (‘member when they came in a box, not a bag? I do!) Doesn’t matter, I no longer care where she got it and neither does anyone else! It’s just good. Gotta have ’em good. Guess I’ll go make some more, cuz we ate these!


3 cups Half & Half

24 oz frozen, shredded Hash Browns

4 Tablespoons Butter (1/2 stick)

1 teaspoon-ish* Kosher Salt (regular or Sea Salt works just fine too)

1/2+ teaspoon-ish* Fresh Ground Pepper

1 teaspoon-ish* Onion Powder 

1 palmful Dried Parsley

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (nuthin’ fancy, just the regular ol’ stuff in the green container!)

Dried Bread Crumbs, and additional Parmesan Cheese and Parsley for topping.

    

* ‘-ish’ is just my way of saying adjust the seasonings to your liking. I never measure the onion powder, salt & pepper. And I always eyeball the dried parsley. Start with these measurements & then add to your own tastes. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once you put it in there! That’s what Granny said, and I don’t know about you, but I always listened to Grandma. That’s some good advice right there!

Also, if your bag of hash browns is actually 32 oz. like mine was, just add the whole quart of half & half. Just that much more creamy goodness later! Oh and since you’re adding more potatoes and half & half, why not throw in another tablespoon of butter…or two…

 

Preheat oven to 400º. Yes, I have a really old oven. Older than me. It works. It’s funky. It’s me. I love it!

Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. It’s hard to see, but I buttered it…I buttered it up good. Take my word for it.

In heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring Half & Half to a medium boil, stirring often so you don’t scorch it.

Plop in that Butter, yes real butter. You can use a healthier alternative if you must, but I really recommend the real deal for this. It’s sooo much better!

Add Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper & Parsley.

Stir in Hash Browns.
Cook, continuing to stir often.

When mix begins to thicken, add 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese.
The parmesan acts as a thickener in combination with the half & half. You can walk away, if your kid is killing his little brother, but otherwise I’d hang around and keep stirring the pot. Cook until the mix really thickens up or until your arm is sore because you haven’t been to the gym lately. You can tell it’s ready when you pull the spoon around the edge of the pan and it makes this sizzling kinda sound and the mixture pulls slightly away from the edge of the pan.

 

Pour into buttered pan…you did that right? Cuz it’s too late now if you forgot! This mix won’t wait. Well okay, of course it will, but it’s better to be prepared as the Boy Scouts say. But pull it from the heat and grease up that pan quickly.

    

  

This is the shaking stage. Now you’re gonna get some aerobic exercise! Oh yeah, shake, shake, shake! Shake those Bread Crumbs all over the top.  Shake on more Parmesan Cheese. Make it just as cheesy as you like! Then shake a little more Dried Parsley, so it looks pretty.  (Sometimes I even shake, shake, shake on a little Paprika, especially at Christmas becauzzzz…it’s red & green! – but hey that’s your call.)

Finish by dotting little butter pats (yes, more butter) all over the top so the bread crumb & parmesan cheese topping will brown.

Pop into 400º oven.   I told you it was old. Yes I know it looks like a washing machine.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until bubbly, golden brown, and topping is crisp.

If it’s not crispy enough you can pop it under the broiler for a few minutes, but hey, pay attention, will ya? It can go from not quite done to a crispy critter pretty quick. There was many a year when I couldn’t put anything in the broiler without having a fire extinguisher nearby, so listen up. I know what I’m talkin’ about here!

Mmmmm…this is a family favorite. We serve it with almost every holiday meal. And when we don’t…there’s often some whining person asking where the heck are Grandma’s potatoes! So to quell the outcry, even if we’re mashing spuds, we often make these too. What can I say? We’re potato people. You can be sure they never go to waste.

This week, I served it up with ham and green beans. Yes, I made green beans. No, they are not on the plate. There was a little mental lapse. You’ll have to cut me some slack, I’m still learning how to cook and take pictures at the same time. By the way, who knows what’s best to clean greasy finger prints off my camera?

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I just LOVE Asparagus!!!  No, I’m not going to marry it… but I am going to cook it and eat it!!!  There was a time when I thought vegetables had to be steamed to be healthy or good for you.  The only problem with that is they come out a bit bland.  Of course if you slather them with butter when they are done they taste much better…. but that’s kind of defeating the whole ‘healthy’ approach.

A couple of years ago I happened to be at a pot luck where a friend of mine was at the stove, quickly preparing her asparagus to join the other goodies on the table.  I was pretty skeptical, but OMG… BEST ASPARAGUS EVER!!!  So fast and easy!

Start with fresh asparagus!  You can use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin towards the lower part of the asparagus (and then trim off the bottom) so you don’t have any stalks that are tough or the more popular method (and the one I use) is to bend the asparagus near the bottom end and where ever it snaps off is where you trim it!

Drizzle your pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I use a med to high heat.

When pan is hot, add asparagus.  Make sure to leave just enough room to roll each stalk to the other side to cook.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt and ground black pepper and it’s okay to add more EVOO if needed

Cook 1 – 2 minutes on each side.  These suckers will brown a bit and get just a little crispy on the outside.  Oh my goodness… I made these a couple of days ago but looking at these pictures again… my mouth is watering!!  I think I’ll have to have them again tonight!

Remove from pan and drain on paper towel – if you haven’t already, taste them…. I’ll wait a moment for you to close your eyes, moan just a little, nod your head and grab another…  Now it’s time to move to serving dish (if there are any left!)

Top with shredded parmesan and eat up!!

Do I even need to list the ingredients?

  • Fresh Asparagus
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper (in a grinder is best)
  • Shredded parmesan

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