Category Archives: vegetables

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

photo 3 (7) photo 2 (9)This is my go to recipe for the creamiest mashed potatoes around. I make them a few times a year and mostly on the holidays. Occasionally I’ll whip them up for dinner . They are rich and delicious and just the way mashed potatoes ought to be. I’d like to tell you that I don’t use butter and cream but I do. These are pretty easy to make, all I would say is to buy a good potato masher they come in pretty handy for a lot of other uses as well ( great for egg salad) .  I like to work with Yukon Gold Potatoes. This recipe is for 5 lbs. and feeds about 10 – 12 people , just perfect for a holiday dinner. These are my Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes. Since most of us are doing micro Thanksgiving Dinners I would cut this in half and have a little left-overs for a few days. Just cut all the ingredients in half.

* see also Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives for another way to go.

Ingredients:

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russet Potatoes

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ( more to taste) I used at least 1 teaspoon you’ll have to taste for yourself.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper. ( more or less to taste)

Directions:

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size.

In a large enough pot to cook all of the potatoes fill pot with cold water to cover the potatoes. I bring to a boil and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes. When potatoes are cooked through, a fork should easily slide into the potatoes without resistance, potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot back on the stove. Mash the potatoes with masher over very low heat, allowing the steam to escape, before adding the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, mash and mash away.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up using at least a teaspoon of salt, and a bit more pepper.  Place a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes have warmed through.

* if making a day or two in advance–place potatoes in baking dish,  leave covered in fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 2 – 3 hours before heating up to bring to room temperature. Place your butter pats on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or so till completely warmed through.

*

Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I have always felt obliged to have this recipe on my Thanksgiving table because everyone wants it. Even if this year is a “micro” Thanksgiving I will have it on the table. A its the easiest thing to make and B everyone loves it. Believe it or not children and adults alike will always look for this tasty concoction of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. It just wouldn’t be the same without some version of this.  It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have. I have to admit that I love this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

3lbs. Sweet Potatoes or Yams or you can even make this easier and use 2 cans of Bruces Sweet Potatoes drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/2 cup chopped pecans obviously optional

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and melted butter and pecans if you’re using them. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

This has to be one of my all time favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. It really would be great any time of year but for some reason it only gets made for Thanksgiving. It’s super easy and super delicious. My friend Audrey gave this recipe to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

1 8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

1 8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

1 8 oz. can creamed corn

1 8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first with a good cooking spray like Pam or Bakers Aid ) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

This is by far one of my most favorite recipes ever! Super Easy and Super Delicious ! If you’ve been following me since the early days you’ve probably made this recipe by now. It’s perfection in a bowl . I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg. I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for Kerri, who is vegetarian.

*This can be made without cream so easily–but if you want a touch of richness you can add a little heavy cream into soup and mix in before serving. Totally not necessary but just saying.

And clearly this recipe can be cut in 1/2 for a smaller group– I usually use 2 packages of squash for 6 servings.

*feel free to put croutons on top or sprinkle some pepitas on top . It’s delicious just the way it is!! and wonderful for lunch the next day and will freeze beautifully.

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Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

*if you really want to top it off with a touch of cream you can . Just add a little heavy cream to the soup and blend it right in at the end. Honestly it’s not necessary but it def adds a a layer of richness!

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Pumpkin Lentil Soup (can be vegetarian)

It’s Fall and that means it’s soup season and time to cook up some heart-warming soups! Pumpkin Lentil Soup is a delicious, hearty soup that you and your family will love.

This soup can wind up on my Thanksgiving Table if I don’t make my Butternut Squash Soup.   It’s hard to get canned pumpkin any other time of year, so I take advantage of it now and pick up a few extra cans and try to make it throughout the winter. Warm, hearty and pretty healthy. And what’s a little butter between friends? You can freeze this ahead of time and take it out for Thanksgiving. For the holiday, it’s always between this and Butternut Squash Soup, and I like that they can both be vegetarian.

*this can be doubled but no need to double the butter (just add a little bit more) or see note below on butter

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)– or you can use 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 large onions (spanish) chopped

1/2 cup lentils (if you can find red lentils, buy them because they look beautiful for Thanksgiving and give the soup a lovely orangey color)

5 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling)

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in large stockpot (Le Creuset). Saute the onions until translucent and golden, then stir in the lentils and the stock. Add pumpkin and herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower it and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.

I use an immersion stick blender to puree it.  It becomes rich and creamy. Of course you can leave soup as is without pureeing it at all.  And another  is to not puree it all the way.  If soup is too thick use the broth as needed adding a little bit at a time to reach a good consistency.  If you’ve run out of broth you can always add water just always check seasonings after adding liquid.

*soup freezes just fine but you’ll need to add broth/water after you defrost and heat up

Kasha Varnishkes–Jewish Comfort Food

This is truly traditional Jewish comfort food made with buckwheat grains and bowtie noodles. I love it and grew up eating it and  try to make it a few times a year. It is super easy and super tasty. If you’ve never made it why not start now. It’s a wonderful side dish to any meal and it can be vegetarian for all of those who need some extra vegetarian dishes on their tables.

Kasha comes in a box. There are different types of Kasha and almost all will work. I use medium or coarse granulation.  Wolff’s brand is really wonderful so look for it and for this recipe I follow the directions on the Wolff’s box of Kasha. I actually had to order it on Amazon this year since I couldn’t find it in Colorado.

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to put together now is the time to look at this great recipe. This is also our go to the night before Yom Kippur. It’s tradition and delicious and comforting all at the same time.

Ingredients:

1 package bowtie ( farfalle ) noodles (app. 3/4 lb.)

1 white/yellow onion thinly sliced or you can use chopped onions , entirely up to you.

app. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  you may need a  little more and may want a bit more to drizzle at the end plus more — probably 1/4 cup in total

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper–to taste

*1 small box button mushrooms sliced 8 ounce box — mushrooms are totally optional but sometimes I feel like they add a little something

1 cup kasha, medium or coarse granulation– I use Wolffs Kasha and follow instructions on the box which I have written below

1 egg for kasha as per instructions on the box

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth as per box instructions

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions on box for al dente.

Saute’ the onions in vegetable oil , salt and pepper until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. I use a medium size frying pan large enough to add in the pasta, and make sure you have a tight fitting lid.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to soften as well, a few more minutes , set aside. Place mushrooms and onions in a bowl and you’ll use same frying pan to cook kasha.

Coat the kasha in a slightly beaten egg. You’ll just place kasha in a bowl and put beaten egg on grains. This will help the grains not to stick to themselves while you are cooking them. Make sure the grains are completely coated with egg.  Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a fairly high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for a few minutes till toasted and the egg has dried on the kasha and kernels are brown and mostly separate. Kasha instructions for cooking are usually on the box as well. Then I pour in the broth that I am using, a little margarine/butter is OK as well ( app. 2 Tbsp) bring to a boil, cover tightly, lower flame to simmer and cook for 10 minutes till kasha is fluffy–these are the directions on the box that I follow .

Add back in the mushrooms and onions and combine with chicken broth. Cook box of Bow Tie Pasta according to directions on box al dente.

Bring to a boil and cook over low heat covered tightly. Check on it after 10 minutes or so to make sure the kernels are tender and the liquid has absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for another few minutes till all liquid is absorbed.

Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if you’d like, mix in cooked pasta, and if you’d like drizzle a little more oil on it. I like to do it all in a large enough frying pan to hold pasta . You can always mix in pasta in a large bowl separately. I like it in frying pan on stove top till I serve it. You can always make ahead and heat up in oven at 350 degrees in a pyrex dish,  you’ll most likely need to add a little oil if you do so.

*Wolff’s Kasha has directions for cooking kasha on the box. It’s pretty much the same , I just add in the mushrooms and onions for more flavor.

*should serve 8 people

Summer Bolognese

this is the masher I used

I made this sauce the other night and I have to say it was just perfect . It cooked up in no time ( about 1/2 hour) and tasted fresh and delicious. Of course if you would like it vegetarian just omit the chicken. I wanted the protein so added a pound of ground chicken you can also use turkey and if you want ground beef. This time I kept it fairly light and used ground chicken. Used a thick ropy pasta — Bucatini and it was perfection on a plate made with fresh tomatoes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 garlic cloves– minced– I use a mini food processor always for mincing garlic — just makes it easy

1 lb. ground chicken, turkey or beef

Kosher Salt to taste

1/4 cup dry white wine

4 Tbsp. tomato paste if you use double concentrate use 2

1 lb. cherry tomatoes ( which are abundant and fresh right now)

12 oz. Bucatini or any spaghtetti you like or rigatoni or penne would work here as well

about 1 cup of Pasta Water — which you may or not need

Finely Grated Parmesan for serving

Directions:

In a large skillet or pot heat oil then add garlic and cook till softened ( a few minutes) don’t brown it just soften it — sometimes you’ll need to turn off stove and let it just cook for a couple of minutes to soften.

With pan at medium high add chicken and cook, breaking up chicken for about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and fully cooked.

Add wine and reduce heat to medium low. Continue breaking up meat till it’s small pieces until wine is evaporated– another 5 minutes or so. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring till absorbed into chicken and cook for another few minutes.

Add tomatoes and let it cook down, stir to coat the tomatoes with the mixture — allow the tomatoes to cook till they are ready to burst — about 5 minutes. I used a masher ( see photo) and I smashed down on the tomatoes and burst all of them. You can leave some whole if you like but I didn’t because this is where the sauce will come from. Stir occasionally on medium low but don’t allow to burn. Allow sauce to thicken for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until very al dente ( at least that’s how we like it)

Reserve about 1 cup of cooked pasta water because you may need it if sauce is too thick.

Taste sauce for salt and add accordingly. I probably added a teaspoon of Kosher Salt — everyone’s taste is different for salt so add to your liking.

Drain pasta and I used tongs and transferred pasta to pan with sauce. Tossing it in and cooking at a low simmer the pasta and the sauce thickened and I added a little pasta water at a time till I reached a perfect consistency . I probably used about 1/2 cup of pasta water. ( which also contains salt so consider this and don’t over-salt sauce — you can always add salt but it’s tough to take away if you make it too salty. The sauce was creamy and delicious .

Remove from heat and if you’d like add fresh basil.

Transfer to pasta bowls and top with Parmesan.

Chopped Vegetable Salad

FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRenderThis chopped salad is a great addition to any menu or add a protein and make it a meal which would be ever so perfect!  It contained fresh  vegetables and a salad all in one!  Perfection in a bowl. This is what I did and what veggies I used, feel free to use the vegetables you would love. These were the quantities that worked perfectly though. I won’t lie it took some prep for this and a good idea would be to chop a lot of the veggies ahead of time and have them ready. Avocado and lettuce must be added right before serving though. Dressing and veggies can be made ahead of time .

*I served as a side dish and it was generous for about 6 -8 servings , if you’re using for a main probably 4-6.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

1 garlic clove–minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt plus a little more to taste at the end

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste at the end

1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into small pieces — about 1/2″

2 medium carrots, cut into small pieces

3 ears of corn, cut kernels off cobs

1/2 pint small cherry or grape tomatoes cut in 1/2

2 ribs celery, cut into small pieces , about 1/2″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into small pieces , also about 1/2″ size

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1 head romaine , chopped

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Lastly, whisk in the oil slowly. Set aside.

When water comes to a boil, add cut up green beans and carrots to boiling water and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add corn and cook a couple of minutes more. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water, let veggies completely cool down. I let them sit till they were completely cool. Give vinaigrette a quick whisk, and add veggies to the bowl. Add in the tomatoes, celery , bell pepper and onion and toss well. Set aside and let marinate for at least 1/2 hour. I probably let it sit in marinade for about an hour.

Right before serving, add chopped romaine, avocado and parmesan . Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed. Toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately.

Summer Salad–Farm Fresh Farro

photo 5 (4)photo 4 (65)photo 2 (69)photo 3 (4)

I am always on the search for some new vegetarian recipes to try out.  The inspiration for this salad came from some beautiful radishes from the farmers market and some fresh sugar snap peas. During the summer months with all the beautiful fresh vegetables available it’s super easy to throw together these salads. The fresh parmesan pieces give it the extra kick and salt it needs, use as much or as little as you like. I prefer pearled farro for this recipe.

*original recipe from Jessica Seinfeld website Do it Delicious

Ingredients:

1 cup pearled farro

1 cup sugar snap peas

4 large radishes

2 scallions

1/4 cup mint leaves loosely packed

1/4 cup parmesan pieces

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Follow directions on the box of farro or fill a saucepan to about an inch from the top. Bring to a boil, and add the farro and cook until tender but still chewy, about 10 minutes. Drain in a strainer and run under cold water to cool down. Drain out excess water and let sit while you prep the rest of the salad.

Wash the snap peas and radishes. Remove the stems from the snap peas, cut them crosswise into 1/2″ pieces and add to a medium bowl. Trim the stems off the radishes and remove the root ends. Slice the radishes in half , then slice crosswise into thin half moons. Add the radishes to the bowl. Trim the ends of the scallions, wash and then slice the white and light green parts of the scallions into small rounds. Add to the bowl. Tear the mint leaves and add to the bowl. Take the parmesan and crumble into the bowl, you can use your hands or a knife to crumble parmesan. Add the cooled farro to the bowl.

Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to the bowl. Taste for seasonings. Mix and allow to sit for a bit before serving. I made ahead and stored in fridge. I removed before serving for a while to bring to room temperature.

 

Greek Salad

I originally posted this way back and figured what a perfect day to re-post. This has become my go to Greek Salad and Salad Dressing when I want to make it at home. I of course love anchovies and feel free to put in there. I didn’t have any whole garlic cloves so I used garlic powder and you know what? it worked out just right. If you’d prefer to use chopped fresh garlic go right ahead. I am going to give you ingredients from tonite’s dressing because it tasted just right. This is salad , so please feel free to substitute and leave out whatever you don’t like and add in whatever you like.   I like to chop up a grilled piece of chicken and add in or a piece of salmon if you’re looking to make this more of a meal. Last night I made Greek Chicken Patties from Jennifer Fisher  check them out @jenniferfisherjewelery.com

 

Ingredients:

1/2 head of iceberg and 1 whole head of romaine (you can use less lettuce and you’ll just have a little more dressing left over depending on how you like it) you can also use all iceberg or all romaine, I like the combo.

grape tomatoes cut in 1/2 ( about 1/2 the package that it comes in )

1 small cucumber diced up, I take the seeds out first and then slice it up with skin on, do it however you like

red onion diced, use as much or as little as you like

1/4 cup Kalamata Olives cut up without pits

3/4 cup of cubed Feta Cheese – I like it cubed for some wierd reason in this salad, again use whatever you prefer

Dressing:

In a small mixing bowl using a small whisk

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon of oregano, I love oregano so I used a heaping amount, if you don’t use less

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix spices and red wine vinegar and then slowly whisk in the olive oil, when you’re ready to serve pour over salad and mix. Add as much as you’d like. This dressing should dress the whole salad depending on how light or heavy you like your salad dressed.

Enjoy! this is a perfect meal with fish or chicken or any protein you like.  I loved the Greek Chicken Patties on top !