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Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

Most broccoli salad recipes are full of mayo, cheese, and bacon. There’s definitely a time and place for such a dish, but sometimes, you want something lighter. Yesterday, I threw together my healthier recipe, and after all the heavy Thanksgiving food, it was perfect. It’s good for a snack, meal, or side dish.

With this kind of recipe, you can play around with ingredients and the amounts. My recipe can be a guideline, but do whatever you wish. You like pecans or sunflower seeds instead of almonds? Do those instead. Don’t like grapes or don’t like fruit in your savory dishes? Don’t add them. Want more acid? Add it. Want a little cheese? Grate some in.

So, here’s my recipe:

Start by cutting broccoli in small pieces– about five or six cups. Then, chop half a red onion, and halve 20 green or red grapes.

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Put it all in a bowl and then add one cup of slivered almonds.

In a separate bowl, put in one cup of greek yogurt, two tablespoons red wine vinegar, two teaspoons garlic powder, two teaspoons onion powder, two teaspoons salt, two teaspoons pepper, and two teaspoons sugar. Whisk it all together.

Now, add the dressing to the broccoli salad and mix together until everything is incorporated.

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There ya have it! You can eat it immediately or let it chill in the fridge.

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What you’ll need:

5-6 cups (approx.) broccoli, cut into small pieces

1/2 red onion, chopped

20 (approx.) red or green grapes

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup greek yogurt

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

Directions:

Cut broccoli in small pieces. Then, chop red onion, and halve grapes. Put it all in a bowl and then add the slivered almonds. In a separate bowl, put in the greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and sugar. Whisk and then add to the broccoli salad. Mix it all together until everything is incorporated. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge.

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It’s a cool, rainy day here in Vermont, which makes it perfect for a soup dinner. Although autumn is right around the corner, my tomato plants are still giving me a good supply, so a roasted tomato soup will be a great way to use them.

Not only do I roast the tomatoes, but I also roast the onions, carrots, celery, and a head of garlic. Roasting brings out the sweetness and richness of the tomatoes and vegetables and gives a depth to the soup you can’t get otherwise. If you’ve never tried it this way, give it a shot. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Side note: if you’re not a huge fan of garlic, try roasting it. It makes the garlic a little more sweet. Also, if you can’t use fresh tomatoes, I give an alternative at the end of the recipe.

It sounds like it would be a lot of extra work for a simple soup dish, but honestly, it’s easy. Let me show you.

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Rough chop onions, celery, and carrots– cut them on the thicker side. They’ll be going in a blender after they’re roasted, so they don’t need to be pretty. Put them in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Then add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and toss.

Take most of the outer peel off a whole head of garlic and cut off the top.

Make a little garlic house out of aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the top of the head of garlic, close the top of the aluminum foil, and then place it on a baking sheet. Put the onions, celery, and carrots around it. Like this:

Roast at 375 degrees for one hour. Once they’re done, take out of the oven, and open up the garlic house to let the steam out. Put it aside, along with the other vegetables.

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Slice tomatoes in half (I’m using San Marzanos today, but any red tomato will work). Put them on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on top, also sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for 30-45 minutes. (If you have a double oven or want to roast on a rack under the veggies, that works. Just take them out a little sooner.)

Once the garlic is cooled, squeeze out all the cloves, and add to the roasted veggies. Like this:

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After the tomatoes are roasted, put them, and the vegetables in a blender, and add a little vegetable stock (enough to help the blender to blend). Also put in any liquids released while roasting the tomatoes. Blend until super smooth– I mean purée the heck out of it. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do it several batches.

Once blended, put the soup in a large pot, and heat it up on medium heat. If you want the soup a little thinner, add more vegetable stock. Once the soup is hot, add cream, and stir.

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Turn the heat down to low and let it hang out while you grill the cheese sandwich(es).

I use three types of cheeses… cheddar, havarti, and mozzarella. You don’t have to use that many or those kinds. You can use one type or five. It’s your grilled cheese. Go for whatever you want. Also, use whatever type of bread you want. Below, I show what kind I use. It’s delicious and hearty enough to hold all the cheese.

Heat a skillet (I use a cast iron) on medium heat. You don’t want your bread to burn before the cheeses melt, so grilling it slowly is key.

Butter one side of your bread and place the buttered side down on the skillet. (It’s best to use room temperature butter, because it makes it easier to spread.)

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Now alternate your cheese onto the bread– one slice of havarti and cheddar on the bottom, mozzarella in the middle, slice of havarti and cheddar on top (or whatever cheeses you choose).

Then place the other slice of bread on top and butter it.

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Once you see the cheeses on the bottom are melted, flip the sandwich. Remember not to rush the grilling. Let those cheeses melt slowly.

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Do the same on the other side. Then, take it off, and slice in half. Look at that cheese!

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Stir the soup and taste it. Add more seasoning if you think it needs it. I usually add a little more salt and pepper. I also like a little heat, so I add red pepper flakes. Ladle it into a bowl, and if you’d like, top with a dollop of sour cream and/or chopped fresh basil.

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Doesn’t this look comforting and delicious? I hope you enjoy it!

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What you’ll need for the soup:

10-20 tomatoes (Depends on how much soup you need to make. I did enough to fill up a baking sheet)

3 large carrots, roughly chopped, on the thicker side

1 large onion, roughly chopped, on the thicker side

8-10 ribs of celery, roughly chopped, on the thicker side

Olive oil– no set amount. Enough to coat the veggies and tomatoes for roasting.

1-2 cups of vegetable broth (amount will depend on how thick or thin you want your soup)

1/4 cup of light cream (optional)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning

Red Pepper flakes (optional)

Dollop of sour cream (optional)

Chopped, fresh basil (optional)

What you’ll need for the sandwiches:

(I’m not going to put amounts, because it all depends on how much cheese you want and how many sandwiches you’re making)

Bread of your choice

Cheeses of your choice

Butter (room temperature)

Directions for soup:

Rough chop onions, celery, and carrots. They’ll be going in a blender after they’re roasted, so they don’t need to be pretty. Put them in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Then add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and toss.

Take most of the outer peel off a whole head of garlic and cut off the top. Make a little garlic house out of aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the top of the head of garlic, close the top of the aluminum foil, and then place it on a baking sheet. Put the onions, celery, and carrots around it. Roast at 375 degrees for one hour. Once they’re done, take out of the oven, and open up the garlic house to let the steam out. Put it aside, along with the other vegetables. Once the garlic is cooled, squeeze out all the cloves, and add to the roasted veggies.

Slice tomatoes in half (I’m using San Marzanos today, but any red tomato will work). Put them on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on top, also sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for 30-45 minutes. (If you have a double oven or want to roast on a rack under the veggies, that works. Just take them out a little sooner.)

After the tomatoes are roasted, put them, and the vegetables in a blender, and add a little vegetable stock (enough to help the blender to blend). Also put in any liquids released while roasting the tomatoes. Blend until super smooth– I mean puree the heck out of it. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do it several batches.

Once blended, put the soup in a large pot and heat it up on medium heat. If you want the soup a little thinner, add more vegetable stock. Once the soup is hot, add cream, and stir. Turn the heat down to low and let it hang out while you grill the cheese sandwich(es).

Directions for sandwiches:

Heat a skillet (I use a cast iron) on medium heat. You don’t want your bread to burn before the cheeses melt, so grilling it slowly is key.

Butter one side of your bread and place the buttered side down on the skillet. (It’s best to use room temperature butter, because it makes it easier to spread.)

Alternate your cheese onto the bread– one slice of havarti and cheddar on the bottom, mozzarella in the middle, slice of havarti and cheddar on top (or whatever cheeses you choose). Then place the other slice of bread on top and butter it. Once you see the cheeses on the bottom are melted, flip the sandwich. Do the same on the other side. Then, take it off, and slice in half.

Back to the soup:

Stir the soup and taste it. Add more seasoning if you think it needs it. I usually add a little more salt and pepper. I also like a little heat, so I add red pepper flakes. Ladle it into a bowl, and if you’d like, top with a dollop of sour cream and/or chopped fresh basil.

Alternatives:

If fresh tomatoes are not an option, use two large cans of diced tomatoes. Sometimes, you can find canned roasted tomatoes. Roast the other vegetables according to the directions above and then add the canned tomatoes to the blender with the veggies.

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Garden Pasta

This is the first year I’ve tried my hands at gardening. I’ve always considered myself a plant murderer. House plants always die under my supervision, so starting a garden felt WAY out of reach.

Well, I do believe I was wrong; I have two green thumbs after all. Obviously, the reason I was killing my plants is because I didn’t treat them right. I didn’t give them the love they need. If you provide your garden with the right mixture of soil, lots of sun, and the water it needs, it will grow like crazy.

Our garden is full of: tomatoes (all sorts), zucchini, pepperoncinis, jalapeños, bell peppers, cucumbers, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, onions, tomatillos, horseradish, and lots of different herbs. This isn’t everything, but here are a few pictures to give you an idea:

Watching my garden grow, picking my own veggies and fruit, and cooking with them, is the most gratifying feeling I’ve experienced. The flavor is far superior over what I buy in the grocery store, and man, it’s so much fun. If you’ve never tried growing a garden, give it a shot. Start small, do your research, and go for it.

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As you can see, I have an abundance of tomatoes. I pressed (using my Weston Tomato Press) the Heirlooms, Beef Steaks, and San Marzanos, and then froze the purée. I don’t want to press the grape tomatoes, so I put them in a lot of salads, or eat them as a snack throughout the day. However, last night, they went into my garden pasta, which included my pepperoncinis, kale, and basil. I also added onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Some people may wonder why I add garden tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes together. It’s just a personal preference. I love them both, so I add both. If you don’t like them together, that’s cool. Add whichever you like.

A pasta dish is a great way to use up veggies. Throw whatever you want into a sauté pan, toss in cooked pasta, olive oil, and seasonings. It so easy and super tasty!

Here’s how I did mine:

Slice grape tomatoes in half and chop onions, garlic, and pepperoncinis. I used fresh pepperoncinis from the garden, but if you don’t have those, use pickled pepperoncinis.

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Take out the main stem of the kale and then stack the leaves on top of each other and chiffonade them by rolling the leaves and cutting them into long strips. Do the same with the basil. Like this:

Now, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat.  Add the onions and let them cook for three minutes. Toss in the pepperoncinis and kale. Let them sauté for five minutes.

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Then, add garlic, grape tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes (with some of the oil from the jar). Add salt and pepper. I also like red pepper flakes. If you don’t want it spicy, leave it out. Cook for another five minutes.

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While the veggies are cooking on medium heat, put the pasta in the boiling water, and cook until it’s al dente, and then drain.

Stir the veggies. They should look like this:

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Toss the pasta into the veggies. If you feel it needs it, add a little more olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Taste it. Is the pasta cooked to your liking? How’s the seasoning? Let it cook a little more if you think it needs it and add extra seasoning to your taste.

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Put in a bowl and top with the fresh basil. I also like grated Romano cheese.

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Enjoy!!

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What you’ll need:

1 box of pasta (whatever kind you want)

1 package of grape tomatoes (or from your garden), slice in half

6-8 pepperoncinis (from the garden or pickled), chopped

10 kale leaves– main stem removed and then chiffonade

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (and a tablespoon of oil from the jar)

10 basil leaves, chiffonade

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

Directions:

Slice grape tomatoes in half and chop onions, garlic, and pepperoncinis. I used fresh pepperoncinis from the garden, but if you don’t have those, use pickled pepperoncinis.

Take out the main stem of the kale and then stack the leaves on top of each other and chiffonade them by rolling the leaves and cutting them into long strips. Do the same with the basil.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the onions and let them cook for three minutes. Toss in the pepperoncinis and kale. Let them sauté for five minutes. Then, add garlic, grape tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes (with some of the oil from the jar). Add salt and pepper. I also like red pepper flakes. If you don’t want it spicy, leave it out. Cook for another five minutes.

While the veggies are cooking on medium heat, put the pasta in the boiling water, and cook until it’s al dente, and then drain.

Toss the pasta into the veggies. If you feel it needs it, add a little more olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Taste and add extra seasoning, if needed.

Put in a bowl and top with the fresh basil. I also like grated Romano cheese.

Alternatives:

If you want to add protein, go for it! This dish would work great with shrimp, bay scallops, clams, mussels, or chicken.

Any combination of veggies will work, too.

If you don’t like kale, try spinach.

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Happy Friday!!

Last night I threw together a rice bowl, and it turned out so tasty, I wanted to share.

One of our favorite rices is Goya’s Yellow Spanish Style Rice. It’s not overly salty and the other seasonings are just right. I could make my own, but when I want something quick and easy, it’s my go-to. If you don’t care for this type of rice. That’s cool… use the rice of your choice.

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I didn’t take pictures while I cooked last night, because I didn’t think it’d be a recipe I’d post, so I apologize for not having step-by-step pictures. It’s super easy, so I doubt you’ll miss the visuals.

I chose asparagus and onions for my veggies and bay scallops for my protein. You can use whatever you like. However, I suggest not overloading it with too many veggies. Choose two or three, that way the flavors don’t get lost. As far as protein, anything goes… bay scallops, chicken, shrimp, pork. Or leave out the protein all together and add one more veggie.

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the package.

While your rice is cooking, chop the veggies into bite-size pieces. Since they’re going to be mixed together with rice, and a protein, you don’t want them too large. Then, sauté them in a large pan until just tender. Don’t over cook them. You don’t want mushy veggies in your rice bowl. I sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper while they cooked. 

In a separate pan, cook your protein. If you’re using bay scallops, like I did, here’s a tip: Be sure to put them on a paper towel, and pat them dry, thoroughly. Otherwise, they’ll release too much water when you sauté them. I spread mine out on a paper towel and put another paper towel on top and let them rest while I cooked my veggies.

As far seasoning your protein, don’t over salt, because the seasoning in the rice blend has salt in it. I just sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. If you’re using a different rice that’s not seasoned, use a little more.

Once the rice is done, and your protein is cook, put them in the pan with veggies (go ahead and turn off the heat) and mix together.

That’s it! Put in a bowl and enjoy. Simple, easy, and tasty. Each time you make it, mix and match the vegetable and proteins to switch it up a little.

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I hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Next Monday, I’ll be posting a recipe everyone always asks for when they come to Bubs’ Kitchen.

Stay tuned!

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