Monday, December 25, 2017

Baked Italian-Style Cauliflower

Photo credit: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
I was introduced to this yummy dish at a recent event, and I am so smitten!  I never would have selected this recipe, especially since I'm not a huge fan of cauliflower (even though I keep working at it!).  But I'm telling you, the combination of the spaghetti sauce and Italian sausage takes cauliflower to a whole new level....

1 T. olive oil or lard
1 c. chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. loose Italian sausage, browned
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/4 t. black pepper
1-1/2 c. marinara or spaghetti sauce
2 oz. pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
1-1/2 lbs. cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 oz. French bread baguette, torn into 1" pieces (yourcould substitute panko or bread crumbs)
1/4 c. grated fresh pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil or lard to pan; swirl.  Add onion; saute 4 minutes.  Add garlic; saute 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Stir in sausage.  Sprinkle with salt and peppers; saute 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Stir in sauce and olives.

Preheat broiler.  

Steam cauliflower 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Place cauliflower in a 11x7" broiler-safe baking dish; top with sauce mixture.

Place bread in a mini chipper; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Combine crumbs and cheese; sprinkle over cauliflower mixture.  Broil 4 minutes or until browned.

Serves 4

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Roasted Tomato Sauce

This has been my go-to method for sauce these past few years.  I simply roast the tomatoes, then puree them and stick them in the freezer.  If I want to turn it into soup, then I can add chicken broth before or after freezing.  I can make a small batch or large batch, depending on how many tomatoes are ready from my garden.  So easy, and sooooo good!

4 lbs plum tomatoes, halved
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
sea salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss together tomatoes, onions, garlic and oil; season with salt and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tomatoes are deep brown in spots and onions are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

For sauce, simply puree in blender.

To make Roasted Tomato and Tarragon Soup from this mixture:
Transfer vegetables and all juices to a large pot.  Add 4 c. chicken broth and bring to a rapid simmer.  Cook until slightly reduced, about 25 minutes.
Puree in blender until smooth.  
Stir in 2 T. fresh chopped tarragon, and season with salt and pepper.
If necessary, thin with additional chicken broth, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Heather's Stuffed Peppers

Make these to your heart's content while local peppers and tomatoes are in season, then stow them away in the freezer for a quick meal when summer's bounty is long gone!

Source: adapted from a recipe from my neighbor, Heather G.

6 large bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 lb. Italian sausage (remove casings if using links)
2 1/4 c. chicken broth
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 c. brown rice
1 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 c. finely shredded smoked Gouda cheese, divided

Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.

Cook rice in chicken broth following package instructions, or follow Martha Stewart's "Better Brown Rice" method.

Place peppers cut side down on a steaming rack.  Steam just until peppers are softened, about 7-10 minutes.  Place peppers on a baking sheet.  

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes and simmer until liquid is reduced.

Stir rice, basil, and half the cheese into the rice mixture.  Divide the filling among the peppers, then top with remaining cheese.  Broil until cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes.

Note: I place the filled peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then freeze until firm.  Then, I bag them individually so I can easily pull out the quantity needed at a later date.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hamburger Squash Skillet

This is a super easy skillet recipe that doesn't really warrant a recipe!  It's home cooking from garden bounty at it's easiest - reminiscent of those love-filled skillet dinners my mother would concoct when I was a child.  I turned to this recipe often to make use of the abundance of yellow squash coming from my garden this summer!

Source: recipe adapted from Low Carb Yum

1/2 lb. hamburger
 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
sea salt & pepper to taste
1 medium yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium green or red pepper, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh basil, chopped

Brown hamburger in skillet with garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.  Stir in vegetables and herbs.  Continue cooking on low heat about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Roasted Beet Hummus

I took the risk and tried this recipe for an open house I hosted this afternoon; it was a hit!  A number of guests commented that it would be a beautiful addition to any holiday menu.  It was good!  I think the cannellini beans as the base allows the bean flavor to take a back seat and lets all the other yummy flavors shine through.

1 chopped clove garlic
1/3 c. chopped roasted beets*
1 c. cooked white beans (I used cannellini beans)
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Puree garlic, beets, beans, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Serving suggestion:  serve with fennel

*Note:  Roasted beets freeze beautifully!  I had roasted some beets earlier in the summer, then stuck them in the freezer.  Out of the freezer they peel super easily, so this was a quick and easy recipe to make since the beets were all ready to go.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Succotash Salad

Source:  The Kitchn

Great way to use fresh soybeans while fresh corn and tomatoes are readily available as well!

2 T. unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, chopped (about 1 c.)
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen soybeans, cooked al dente*
Kernels from 6 ears of corn (about 5 c.)
1 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. basil, sliced into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add chopped onion and a small pinch of salt and cook, stirring, over medium heat until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.  Lower the heat, add the beans and corn and stir over medium-low heat for about 1 minute, until tender, but still crisp.

Transfer cooked ingredients to a large bowl and toss with tomatoes and lemon juice.  Serve immediately with the feta, basil and black pepper sprinkled on top, or let the mixture cool, then top with feta, basil and black pepper.

*You could also use lima or fava beans too!

Serves 6

Saturday, May 9, 2015


This post will tell you a bit of what I've been up to food-wise most recently!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Contest-Winning Hearty Hamburger Soup Recipe

This is home cooking at its best - economical, nourishing, yummy and straight from the garden!

Source: adapted from Taste of Home

1 lb. ground beef
4 c. beef stock
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
3 medium carrots
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. chopped celery
1-1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. dried oregano
1 c. fresh or frozen beans

In large saucepan, brown beef; drain.  Add remaining ingredients except green beans; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.  Add beans.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes longer or until beans are tender.

Yield:  8 servings (2 quarts)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Zucchini Frittata


Source:  Everyday Food magazine, May 2005

1 t. olive oil
10 large eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 t. coarse salt
1/4 t. ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush a 9 1/2" deep-dish pie plate with 1 t. olive oil.  Drain any liquid from roasted zucchini, onion, and peppers (if leftover from previous meal); place in pie plate.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with grated Parmesan cheese, coarse salt, and ground pepper; pour over vegetables.

Bake until top is golden and center is set, 35-40 minutes; cool 5 minutes before serving.

Note:  This recipe halves nicely.  Simply use a small pie plate and bake for 15-20 min.

Roasted Zucchini, Onion and Peppers

This is a quick and easy (not to mention yummy!) way to use up all the zucchini and peppers that are so abundant right now.

Source:  Everyday Food, magazine, May 2005

3 lbs. (7-8 medium) zucchini, cut into 1" rounds
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1" squares
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2" wedges
2 T. olive oil
2 t. coarse salt
1/2 t. ground pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Combine vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Roast until vegetables are tender and browned in spots, 20-35 min.

(If you like, save 4 c. of roasted vegetables for use in a Zucchini Frittata later in the week.)

Serves 8 (or 4 servings if reserving vegetables for Zucchini Frittata).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fresh Mint Shortbread Cookies

It seems a bit of a stretch to include this recipe on an in-season recipe blog when the only ingredient that qualifies it is two tablespoons of fresh mint, but these cookies are the essence of summer and beg to be included!

Source:  L. Fackler

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 t. peppermint extract
2 T. crushed mint leaves
2 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar; add salt, extract, mint leaves and flour.  Mix thoroughly.  Chill dough.  Form into 1" balls and roll in sugar.  Flatten slightly with bottom of drinking glass.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stuffed Jalapenos


Source: Everyday Food magazine, June 2010

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded*
coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and cheddar.  Season with salt and pepper.  With a small spoon, fill each jalapeno half with about 1 T. cheese mixture.  Place peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

Serves 6

*Note:  Just make sure you remove every seed and as much rib as possible if you prefer less heat!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lacinato Kale Salad with Roasted Squash

Why in the world would I be making a butternut squash salad when my garden and crisper drawer are overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash??  Because, I was cleaning up for company and still had two butternut squashes sitting in the kitchen that I hadn't gotten around to using last fall.  They were still in surprisingly good shape, so the choice was to either toss them onto the compost pile or be responsible and eat them.  So, I pulled out my butternut squash file and found this recipe.  I do think it would have been better with fresh squash and a different variety of kale, but I was pleased that the squash ended up in my stomach vs. the compost pile.

Also, this is another one of those massaged kale salads that totally intrigues me, so I was glad for a chance to try it out.

Source:  Martha Stewart Living magazine, January 2012

1 lb. peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 c.)
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 c.)
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 T. flaxseed oil*
1 1/2 bunches Lacinato kale, washed and patted dry
4 oz. aged goat cheese, shaved or crumbled
1/3 c. toasted hazelnuts (1 1/2 oz), roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 1/2 T. olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and pepper, toss well.  Roast until golden brown, tossing halfway through, about 45 min.

Meanwhile, place shallots on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 T. olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Roast until brown, tossing halfway through, about 30 min.

In a large salad bowl, combine lemon juice, flaxseed oil, 1/2 t. salt, and a  pinch of pepper.  Cut 2" off bottom of kale and slice leaves crosswise into 3/4" ribbons (you should have 12 c. loosely packed kale); add to salad bowl.  Toss kale with dressing, squeezing until leaves are soft. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.  

Add squash, shallots, cheese and nuts to kale.  Toss well to combine.

*I substituted olive oil.

Serves 8

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

Adapted from Quick Cooking Magazine

This is a yummy way to use up all those extra zucchini from the garden!  It's basically a vegetarian lasagna recipe, with zucchini substituted for the noodles.  It freezes nicely, so you can make a pan or two in the summer when zucchini are abundant, then pop it in the freezer to enjoy some winter evening.  Those larger zucchini that were hiding under the leaves and got away from you are perfect for this dish (I had a few of those when I returned home from vacation yesterday!).

2 lbs. zucchini
1 (15-oz.) container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs, divided
5 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 T. fresh parsley, minced
1 t. fresh oregano, minced
1 t. fresh basil, minced
1/8 t. pepper
1 (26-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 c. (6-oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/4" slices. Steam for 5-6 min. or just until tender. Drain; pat dry. In a bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, 3 T. bread crumbs, 3 T. Parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, basil and pepper; set aside. Spread a third of the spaghetti sauce in a greased 13x9” baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 T. bread crumbs. Cover with half of the zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Repeat layers of sauce, zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Cover with remaining sauce. Combine remaining crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

If freezing, wait to sprinkle crumbs and Parmesan cheese until just before baking. Allow extra time for heating.

Yield: 12 servings

Monday, July 7, 2014

Garlic Scape Hummus

Adapted from

2 cans of chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. fresh chopped garlic scapes
2 T. agave
1 t. sea salt

Place ingredients in blender or food processor and process until thick paste forms.  Add additional olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.  Add salt to taste.