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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

25 Jan

6 medium potatoes, baked
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lb bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
3 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped
Hey, I didn’t say this stuff was *healthy*.

Cut baked potatoes into 1 inch cubes (leave skin on – I’m using red potatoes). Place half in a greased 13×9 baking dish. Sprinkle with half the salt, half the pepper, and half the bacon. Top with half the sour cream and half the cheeses. Repeat the layers. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with green onions when you remove it from the oven.

Editor’s note, later: I used maybe two cups of the sour cream, and maybe 1 1/2 cups of both of the cheeses. Otherwise, there’d be like way more of that stuff than actual potatoes.

Zucchini Tomato PERK with Pasta Spirals

25 Jan

I actually came up with this recipe right out of my little own head. You really need to trust me on this – it may sound like a somewhat odd combination of ingredients, but it’s truly, truly good. PERK stands for Peperocini/Edemame/Roasted Red Pepper/Kalamata Olives. I’m so cute.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced (optional)
2 tbs. cold pressed olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
1 medium summer squash, sliced thin
1 can Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Balsamic, Basil, and Olive Oil (or two medium diced tomatoes, two tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. basil, 1/4 cup water)
1/4 cup light white wine, or chicken broth
1/2 cup shelled cooked edemame (prepare frozen edemame in microwave according to package directions)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2 peperocini peppers, de-stemmed, drained, and diced (optional)
salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. corn starch, dissolved in 2 tbsp. water
whole wheat pasta spirals

In a large skillet, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until golden. Add zucchini and squash, saute until softened. Add canned tomatoes, edemame, olives, roasted red peppers, peperocini peppers, and wine or broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, drain, and rinse with warm water.

Add corn starch dissolved in water to sauce/zucchini mixture, a little at a time and stirring constantly, until the mixture has reached desired thickness. Serve over warm pasta spirals.

To make this a “One-Pot Wonder”, simply cook the noodles first and drain, then use the same pot to prepare the recipe, stirring the noodles back in at the end.

Maine Baked Beans

25 Jan

This recipe needs no preamble. This is a staple dish in any Maine household. This recipe works well in a crock pot, too – just mix all the ingredients together, dump ’em in, and cook on low all day.

2 lbs kidney beans
1 lb salt pork (or more, up to 2 lbs if you love it)
1 tsp. salt
3/4+ cup molasses
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups water
2 sweet onions

Soak kidney beans in a cold water bath overnight. In the morning, put one onion, cut into large chunks, into each of the pots (2 bean pots, or 2 large baking dishes, or what have you). Put 1/2 lb of salt pork (“salt pork makes the beans!”), cut into chunks, into each pot. Drain the beans, and evenly divide them into the pots (leave enough room to add liquid for the cooking process). Mix salt, molasses, dry mustard, and brown sugar into 2 cups of water. Pour half of the mixture into each pot, and stir (I tend to double this mixture to make the beans extra saucy).

Put a cookie sheet under the bean pots as it may boil over into your oven. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Cook for three hours or until beans are tender – monitor cooking process continually and add additional water and molasses to the pots as needed.

Zucchini Relish

25 Jan

This is a VERY prominent fixture in my childhood memories. This stuff is FANTASTIC. My grandmother would make it once a year, jarring enough to last us until the next fall. She’s spend hours in the basement (where it was cool), grinding away at her hand grinder, going through huge amounts of zucchini. There was always plenty – the garden usually exploded with them. That’s what I like about Maine – you cast down the seeds, and barely need to tend to anything before you have an explosion of veggies.

I’d put this on my hamburgers and hot dogs, and on my “nice” ham and cheese sandwiches. My grandmother would mix it into her potato salad. Aw, man, this stuff is SO GOOD, I’ll have to make it sometime. But I’ll have to get a grinder.

12 cups ground zucchini
4 cups ground onions
1 red pepper, ground
1 green pepper, ground
5 tbsp salt

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
6 cups sugar

3/4 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground tumeric
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix ground veggies with salt and sit over night in an enamel kettle (big ol’ pot with a lid). In a.m., rinse with cold water. Mix the cider vinegar with the water, add to sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour over veggies. Make a paste of the corn starch, dry mustard, ground nutmeg, ground tumeric, celery seed, and black pepper – adding just enough water for a paste consistency. Add to the veggies. Stir well.

Bring the pot to a boil, cook and stir over moderate heat for 30 minutes. Can in jars at once.

Here is some information on canning jars, the hot packing method used here, and the boiling water bath canning procedure. Also, About.com has a whole section dedicated to canning.

Dinner Salad

25 Jan

3 cups baby field greens
3 large mushrooms, sliced
2 radishes, sliced thin
1/4 cup bell pepper (I use red and yellow), sliced thin or diced
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced
8-10 grape tomatoes (LOVE these things)
1/4 cup shredded carrot
6-8 black olives, sliced
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced or julienned
1/4 cup (or MORE, in my case) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup shredded chicken
Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

Place greens on a large dinner plate, top with remaining vegetables, feta, and shredded chicken. Dress to taste.

Garbanzo Bean Salad

25 Jan

From “The Schwarzbein Principle Cookbook”

13 3/4 oz canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
1 cup diced red bell pepper

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. In a second small bowl, combine the following for Vinaigrette dressing:

1 minced garlic clove
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsemic vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
4 tbsp pure pressed extra virgin olive oil (the only kind to have!)
ground black pepper and salt to taste

Mix dressing ingredients well, pour over bean salad and toss to coat.

garbanzobeansalad

Connoisseur’s Vegetable Casserole

25 Jan

1 11oz can white corn, drained
1 15oz can green beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 2oz jar chopped pimentos
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup crushed butter crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, mix corn, beans, celery, onion, pimentos, sour cream, Colby cheese, cream of celery soup, salt and pepper. Transfer to medium baking dish.

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in almonds and crushed crackers. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake 45 minutes, until bubbly and lightly brown.

Four Bean Salad

25 Jan

1 15oz can green beans, drained
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound wax beans
1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. celery seed

Mix together all ingredients. Allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Mashed Potatoes

25 Jan

5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tsp garlic powder (or you could use a few cloves of roasted garlic if you’re feeling ambitious)
1/1 to 1 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine, but not fat free!)
1/2 cup or more of cream or milk, to desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender, drain. Over low heat, combine garlic, butter, milk or cream, salt and pepper, and potatoes. Mash until it’s as lump-free as you can get it, then use a mixer to make it smooth.

Serves 6.

(recipe edited 10/22/09 to update ingredients and details)

Stuffed Mushrooms

25 Jan

1.5 to 2 lbs fresh mushrooms (look for ones with large caps)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 lb butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 – 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 6 oz. can crabmeat
paprika
chopped parsley

Clean mushrooms. Remove stems and chop. Melt butter, add onions and chopped mushroom stems, saute until tender. Add breadcrumbs, cheese, Worcestershire, and crabmeat. Spoon mixture into mushrooms. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve hot.