Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

This was so good. So good I didn’t even get to take a picture. It’s healthy and colorful, and easy. The feta adds a fantastic flavor. We will definitely be making this one again!

Check out Our Best Bites for some photos.

Spinach and Feta Pasta

  • 8 oz. Penne pasta (that’s 1/2 a 16 oz. box. Don’t use ziti–you want the ridges on the penne to “grip” the sauce)
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3 c. fresh spinach
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • A handful of fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions. In the meantime, heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add tomatoes, heat through, and then add drained pasta and crumbled feta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat through and serve; you can crumble a little extra feta on top if you feel the urge.


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Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for yet another delicious recipe! These are a nice change from mashed or baked potatoes. They’re nice enough to serve to company, but simple enough that you don’t have to slave over them. They’re kind of a cross between a baked potato and a french fry – crispy and salty. I served them with a beef roast, and they were great.

PW suggests seasoning them with the herb of your choice, but I chose to use only salt and pepper, which turned out just fine. Whatever floats your boat!

Crash Hot Potatoes a la Pioneer Woman (Recipe found here)

  • 12 small round potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Rosemary or other herb of choice, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

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I am SO ready for fall! Temperatures are still high, but hey – no reason I can’t start making beef stew and pumpkin bread, right?

What I loved about this stew was that it was all mixed together and baked in the oven for 3 hours. You could make it in a slow cooker too, if you wanted a little longer cook time. The flavor was great and everything was perfectly cooked. I couldn’t have asked for an easier recipe to usher in the fall season!

The other plus to beef stew, and especially this one which uses a good amount of V-8 juice, is the amount of vegetables. I am NOT good at eating vegetables, so anything that gets them into me (preferably in a delicious way) gets extra points in my book.

We had this with some of the leftover focaccia bread from the other night, and it was scrumptious. Many thanks to Our Best Bites for another hit!

Oven (or Slow Cooker) Beef Stew (Recipe found here)

  • 1 1/2-2 lb. lean stew beef, cut into even smaller bite-sized pieces (just pull out a pair of kitchen shears and cut anything that looks like you’d need to use a knife and fork on) – or cut up a chuck roast, which is what I did.
  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, chopped
  • 4-5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 12-oz. cans or 3 c. vegetable juice cocktail (V8)
  • 1 10-oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 10 oz. water (just use the can from the tomato soup to measure)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 tsp. beef base)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients in a large oven-safe pot that comes with an oven-safe lid. Cook in heated oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and serve.

You can also cook this in your slow cooker on low for 9-10 hours (or until vegetables and meat are tender) or on high for 5-6.

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I made this to go with our panko baked chicken, and I was pretty pleased with it. It’s kind of a take on that typical oriental salad you see with the Ramen noodles (which this one has too), but it is a little different. I thought it had some interesting flavors, but probably next time I will not add quite as much cabbage – just a personal preference. It’s a texture thing.

The original recipe includes mandarin oranges, but since those are almost (but not quite) up there with broccoli on my Foods-I-Don’t-Like list, I left them out.

For what it’s worth, JW thought it tasted better the second day.

Asian Pasta Salad (Recipe found here)

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta mix
  • 1 pkg (3oz) Oriental flavored Ramen Soup Mix
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup frozen peas (original calls for snow peas or sugar snap peas)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup slivered (or sliced) almonds

Empty the pasta mix into a pot of boiling water. Gently boil for 10 – 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and shake to drain again.

In a large bowl stir together the seasoning mixes from the pasta and the soup mix, sugar, oil, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Add the pasta and the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine.

Just before serving, coarsely crush the dry noodles from the soup mix and stir into the pasta mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

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I had never made corn casserole before last night. Eaten it? Sure. Enjoyed it? Absolutely. But never made it. And this one turned out great. What I like about it is that it is a nice starchy side that isn’t potatoes, pasta, or rice.

An added plus? JW, who does not like corn, cornbread, or sweet things, ate two helpings of this and said I should make it again. THAT, my friends, is success 🙂

I researched several recipes and this one kind of came together as a result of personal preferences and things that sounded good. Sorry… no picture… we ate it too fast.

Corn Casserole

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (15-oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15-oz) can cream style corn
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 box (8.5 oz) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, but probably would be great with sharp Cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and spread into dish.

Bake 45-55 min. or until golden brown and set.

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If you’re a fan of goat cheese, you will LOVE this pasta. Goat cheese is milder and softer than feta, but is still “crumble-able.” It just melts in your mouth and has this tangy flavor that is just fantastic.

While I was standing at the deli counter yesterday looking at the packaged cheeses and eyeing the store brand of goat cheese, which was considerably cheaper than the others, an elderly woman with a German accent came up beside me.

“No, you don’t want that cheese,” she said, “I bought some a few weeks ago and it just had a terrible flavor. Try this kind instead.”

The log of cheese she handed me was more than I needed, but had a brand name I couldn’t pronounce – which meant it must be good, right? And after looking at my options for a while, I decided that since I wasn’t buying meat for this meal, I could splurge on the cheese. And it was well worth it! I highly recommend purchasing a good goat cheese, since it really is the star of this dish and there are so few other ingredients (and no meat, remember? Just think of how much you’re saving…)

I also realize (now, after looking everywhere for it last night) that asparagus might be difficult to come by at this time of year. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you prefer. Or you can leave them out altogether – JW said he actually would have preferred the asparagus separate from the pasta. But that’s JW, and he can be a bit anal different in his food preferences. I actually used about half the amount of asparagus called for in the recipe, and it was plenty for me.

I do recommend you let whoever is eating this know that it is not fettuccine alfredo. It tastes a bit similar because it’s creamy and cheesy, but it has a distinct goat cheese flavor that makes a bit more sense when you know what it is 🙂 This would be a great dish if you’re having “foodies” (especially vegetarians) over for dinner, or make the pasta sans vegetables as a gourmet side to a delicious steak, prime rib, whatever. Mmmm…

Many thanks to my friend Elizabeth at Freezer Gourmet for this dish! Be sure to pay a visit to her blog and check out her other recipes when you have some time. She has quite a variety of easy-to-prepare, and delicious, meals. I have several bookmarked, so I’m sure you’ll see her influence again!

Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Asparagus (Recipe found here, original recipe here)

  • 1-2 bunches asparagus (1-2 pounds total), tough ends removed
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
  • 12 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta
  • 1 small log soft goat cheese (5 ounces), crumbled
  • 2-3 Tbsp snipped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add goat-cheese mixture and asparagus to pasta; toss to combine, adding more pasta water if necessary for sauce to coat pasta. Serve pasta garnished with chives, if desired.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Place asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet; dot with 1 tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, tossing occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes; cut into 2-inch lengths.

While asparagus is roasting, generously salt boiling water. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Set aside 1 1/2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

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Here is the part of the post where I make some cute remark about the Ratatouille movie — except I didn’t see it, so just pretend that said remark is here.

Also here is the part of the post where I apologize for not having a picture. The fact is, I simply just forgot to take one, so I don’t have a photo to show you. But you can visit the original recipe here at Recipezaar where there are a few pictures there from others who have made this dish. I think they ended up looking better than mine did anyway.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, this is an easy and healthy dish that is chock full of vegetables and which JW said he would eat again. Translation: Success! You can vary the vegetables depending on what you like or don’t like. I, for one, would have loved to add a whole bunch of mushrooms to this dish. But that would result in my eating it all by myself, and I thought that might be a tad selfish.

I boiled some pasta (whole wheat in our case, but not necessary if you’re not crazy about it) and actually added it straight to the pot with the ratatouille, then we topped with parmesan cheese. But you could do a lot of different things with this. It would probably be great over rice, or even as a side dish.

This also makes A LOT. I halved the recipe and it was more than enough for us, plus I would have really had to cram it down to get it to all fit in my crockpot if I’d made the whole recipe. That said, the recipe says it freezes well, so it wouldn’t have been so bad.

Crockpot Ratatouille (Original recipe here)

  • 2 large onions, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 4 small zucchini, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large bell peppers, de-seeded and cut into thin strips (orig. recipe called for green, I used red)
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Layer half the vegetables in a large crock pot in the following order: onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes.
Sprinkle half the basil, oregano, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper on the veggies.
Dot with half of the tomato paste.
Repeat layering process with remaining vegetables, spices and tomato paste.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours.
Refrigerate to store. May freeze up to 6 weeks.

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