Tag Archives: vegetarian

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

17 Apr
Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Strange ingredients? Please hear me out. This is NOT weird at all and received multiple thumbs up from the family. Gosh, even the leftovers were awesome. There is something about the down-home creamy corn base from the polenta and slightly sweet taste from the squashes and then the spinach and chicken that just made this an incredibly surprising meal! My eyes gone wide, you know what I mean? WOW! (This actually doesn’t even need the chicken and could be vegetarian, but the meat was already defrosted.)

I had the defrosted chicken breast and a fresh bag of spinach, and set my sights on something new for the combination. I have made my Balsamic Chicken and Spinach more times than I can count the past few years. Somehow I came across some vegetarian polenta and spinach casserole recipes, and tasked myself with coming up with a recipe my family would actually eat.

I found a great recipe with fresh spinach and mushrooms but it used pre-made polenta cakes. Another recipe I found had a creamy homemade polenta base with zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Well, the daughter doesn’t “do” mushrooms, I only had fresh spinach and dried polenta grain on hand, so decided to mix up the two recipes and came up with my own original. You will NOT be disappointed. (Aside note: I was following the vegetarian version recipes and totally spaced on browning the chicken until assembly. Yikes! So please, follow my instructions below instead of doing what I did. Or, omit chicken altogether. It all worked out, we only ate 10 minutes later than the original plan.)

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Ground black pepper, and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup dried polenta (course cornmeal)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onion
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic and basil (if yours are plain diced, add dried or fresh herbs to taste)
1 8 to 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh Mozarrella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season to taste with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash. Heat a skillet with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium sauce pot to boil. Stir together the milk and polenta to make a slurry, then add to the boiling water. Bring up to a simmer then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (If you want you could brown the chicken now in this step. I just didn’t want you to forget!)

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

When the polenta is done, pour it into an oil-sprayed 13 x 9 or so sized casserole dish and set aside.

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Meanwhile, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and squash and sauté until the onions are softened.

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Add the tomatoes (and spices if tomatoes aren’t pre-seasoned). Bring up to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the browned chicken and mix to combine. Now, by handfuls, tear up the spinach and add to the mixture and stir in until all is added and wilted.

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables ~ WAIT ~ You don’t see that forgotten chicken in the background you had to cook first, right??

Meanwhile (again), preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the vegetable mixture is done, spread it evenly on top of the polenta in the casserole dish. Top with a combination of shredded Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Bake for about 25 minutes until it is heated through and bubbly and the cheese has melted. Turn the heat up to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on plates or in bowls. Nothing else is needed, as this is an entire meal! If this weren’t so fugly coming out of the casserole dish, I’d call it guest-worthy (taste-wise)!

p.s. (My sister arrived today from Texas for 10 days, so I might not get a post out for awhile. Enjoy browsing my archives if you want if you are a newcomer!)

Casserole Half-Eaten

Casserole Half-Eaten~ YEP! Three of us pretty much wiped out half of a lasagna pan of this in one sitting!

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

19 Oct
Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

I love it when I come across a recipe that inspires me to buy the ingredients on my next shopping trip and make it for lunch or dinner. This was such a recipe, and a big shout out to Seana at Cottage Grove House, who makes beautiful, easy-to-make homemade fresh dishes and shares them for people like me! Please go check out her site, if you would, here.

Although it’s been the warmest fall I can remember in the 20 years I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, October means it is soup-making time. Who cares if I’m still wearing capris and t-shirts?

A 3-quart pot is the largest pot available in this tiny temporary kitchen, so I had to make some quantity adjustments to the original recipe. In addition, the store I went to did not have creme fraiche, so I had to use a homemade substitute for that.

This was a perfect, light supper for another beautiful sunny, fall day. And as luck should have it, my husband fried up some extra bacon when he made a BLT sandwich for lunch today, so I added some extra flavor to the soup by subbing one tablespoon of olive oil for bacon grease, then garnishing the soup with some of the bacon bits. The bacon part is totally optional, so this would be a great meatless meal for any day!

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup
Adapted from Luscious Cauliflower Soup by Cottage Grove House

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced sweet yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 head cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade or low sodium
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream whisked with 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (not pre-shredded)
Snipped chives or green onion, for garnish
Chopped cooked bacon, for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped Onion, Cauliflower, and Potatoes

Chopped Onion, Cauliflower, and Potatoes

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or 1 tablespoon bacon grease and 1 tablespoon olive oil) in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 more minutes. Remove from heat

Simmering Cauliflower and Potatoes in Broth

Simmering Cauliflower and Potatoes in Broth

In batches, blend about half the soup until desired consistency. Stir in the cheese, half & half and sour cream mixture. Garnish with snipped chives and bacon bits (optional). Pass with salt and pepper and adjust seasoning accordingly, depending on garnishes used. Serve with warm crusty, buttered bread.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

3 Apr
Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

About everyone and their brother has made this and posted it on Pinterest, BUT not everyone has made it with Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce! Paul whipped up another big batch of his sauce the other night, and I took the liberty of crafting these cute lasagna roll ups before the sauce got all bagged up for the freezer. Recipe here.

I do have a complaint of about 90% of the recipes I looked at. Most of them said to use 2 tablespoons of filling for each noodle. No-way, no-how would 2 tablespoons cover a lasagna noodle. I used at least 1/4 cup for each noodle before rolling them up. Just don’t roll them until you’ve exhausted all the filling, then you can rob Peter to pay Paul if the last couple of noodles are shy of filling.

Spinach Cheese Mixture Spread on Lasagna Noodles

Spinach Cheese Mixture Spread on Lasagna Noodles

Cooking a lasagna this way isn’t necessarily a time-saver, but you do end up with an easy way to package and store leftovers for the freezer. My husband said “This is really good!” so I gathered he liked this version of lasagna. So did my daughter, but she wasn’t very hungry and only ate one. More for the freezer!

NOTE: This can be made vegetarian by subbing in a marinara sauce for the meaty spaghetti sauce.

p.s. I’m traveling out of town this weekend to meet up with about 15 wild and crazy friends, so there will be no weekend post.

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

12 uncooked lasagna noodles
3 cups Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce, or other prepared sauce
1 15-ounce container Ricotta cheese
2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 teaspoons minced garlic
10-ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, beaten
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella, for topping
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, for topping

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups Ready to Bake

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups Ready to Bake

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook the noodles to al dente according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, combine the Ricotta, garlic, spinach, egg, pepper, salt or Mrs. Dash, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.

When the noodles are done, drain the noodles, let cool a bit, pat dry with paper towels, then lay them on parchment or wax paper in a single layer.

Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking pan. Spread 1/4 cup or so of the cheese and spinach mixture onto each lasagna noodle. Roll the noodles and place seam-side-down into the pan.

Pour 2 cups of spaghetti sauce over the lasagna rolls. Top each roll with 1 tablespoon of Mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of Parmesan, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and turn on the broiler. Broil for about 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a green side salad and garlic bread. You can freeze the remaining roll ups in Ziploc bags for a quick and easy future meal!

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Spinach and Lasagna Roll Ups

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

26 Feb
Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

This is one of those “it’s time to clean out the refrigerator” soups. I had a large hodgepodge of fresh vegetables to use up and a half-bag of cheese tortellini in the freezer. So why not make a soup out of it all?

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

I decided on an Italian-style soup with tomatoes and Italian seasoning. This started out to be a semi-vegetarian soup, but a last-minute errand brought me close to the supermarket so I ran in and bought a link of Italian Turkey Sausage. You can leave out the sausage because the tortellini is filling enough, but I’m always wary of serving my husband a vegetarian supper.

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

There is really not much to the recipe other than some slicing and dicing and a little sauteing. Use any kind of vegetables you want in this soup! Don’t have asparagus but have some zucchini? Use that instead! Don’t have any celery? Then add more carrots! What a flexible way to use up those pesky portions of vegetables that aren’t enough for a meal, huh?

Vegetable Base for Soup

Vegetable Base for Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/4 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jar or can of tomatoes, diced, with liquid
6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
Small head of broccoli, cut into florets
Small bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
9 ounces cheese tortellini, frozen or refrigerated
1/2 horseshoe link of Italian Turkey Sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Dice, chop, mince, slice, and cut up all your veggies (and sausage if you use it). You can perfect your knife skills with this soup!

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the seasonings. Plop in two large spoonfuls of tomato paste into the skillet (about 2 tablespoons) then stir to combine with the vegetables. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

Simmering the Soup

Simmering the Soup

Add the diced tomatoes then add the broccoli and asparagus, stirring to combine. Now pour in the chicken broth. Turn up heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, to meld the flavors.

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the tortellini and sausage, bring back up to a simmer, and continue cooking until tortellini is cooked through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian Sourdough bread. I decided to use the one fresh tomato we had left in a side salad that we also ate with the soup.

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Egg Foo Young ~ With all the Fixin’s or Vegetarian!

11 Jan
Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young

Can you say incredible? Oh my gosh, these were so good that my husband and daughter practically ripped the extra one on my photoshoot plate right off from under the camera! They were like vultures, I tell you! I let them split it with each other, as one egg pancake was plenty for me since I filled mine with all the extras.

I had wanted to make this dish the first time I set eyes on it last April over at Lemony Thyme. Libby makes these wonderfully tasty dishes and presents everything so well with her photography. I pretty much followed this recipe except I sauteed the mushrooms first, cooked up some ground pork instead of using ham, plus I added the optional shrimp. Any of the fillings are optional, so this adapts well to a vegetarian dish. Oh and I don’t own a sifter, so I made a corn starch slurry instead.

Since you can only make these one at a time (unless you want to dirty up more skillets), I made each Egg Foo Young to order. This recipe makes enough for four of them. My daughter only wanted the pork added and no mushrooms in hers. My husband didn’t want the shrimp in his (this surprised me, he loves shrimp!) but did want the pork and mushrooms. I wanted it all, so added all three to mine. The final pancake had only pork so my daughter would eat it.  Aren’t I accommodating?

I have always spelled this dish Egg Foo Young, but Libby spelled hers Egg Fu Yung. I got curious and did a little internet searching, and it turns out both spellings are perfectly acceptable. But no matter how you spell it, this is an incredibly delicious meal to serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Egg Foo Young Ingredients

Egg Foo Young Ingredients

Egg Foo Young
Adapted from Egg Fu Yung at Lemony Thyme

Hint: Before you get started, you will want to have everything mise en place. That’s just a fancy phrase for getting everything prepped and ready in one place before you start cooking the final dish.

Brown Gravy:

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch, mixed with a little cold water

Egg Foo Young:

1 cup ground pork
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup green onions, chopped small
1/2 cup cooked deli shrimp, diced small
8 to 10 water chestnuts, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon flour, mixed with a little cold water
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup bean sprouts
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, for frying
More sliced green onions, for garnish

Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young

Start by cooking the brown gravy and just get that out of the way. You can reheat and stir it a bit on the stovetop when ready to serve. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring all brown gravy ingredients, except the corn starch slurry, to a slight boil then reduce the heat to low. Mix about half the corn starch slurry into the broth whisking constantly. Return the gravy to a simmer, and slowly add a bit more of the slurry while simmering, until desired consistency. Remove gravy from heat and set aside.

If you are going to use pork in this dish, now crumble up the ground pork in a skillet sprayed with a little oil over medium heat. Cook until pork is browned through. Drain and reserve in a bowl and set aside. Next, if using mushrooms, add those to the same skillet and saute about 5 to 7 minutes, until they release their liquid and start to brown. Remove from skillet and set aside in another bowl. Now is the time to dice up or measure all the other ingredients in preparation for the eggs.

In a medium bowl, crack in six eggs and beat in the flour slurry while whisking until well combined. Whisk in soy sauce and sesame oil, then add in bean sprouts, green onions, chestnuts, and black pepper and combine well. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil then about a half cup of the egg mixture. I have this wok-like skillet that has a flat 6-inch bottom I used, but any skillet would do. I suppose a smaller skillet would help make the pancakes thicker. I digress.

Next spread on top of it a portion of any of the pork, shrimp, or mushrooms and cook until the bottom is nice and set. You can swirl the pan around to get some of the uncooked egg on top to add to the sides of the pancake. It’s all good. Flip it over, then cook until the other side is done and set. Add about a tablespoon (or less) of oil between batches. Serve with the reheated brown gravy and sliced green onions. This is seriously amazing!

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

20 Nov
Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

I had it in my mind over the weekend that I really wanted to make soup with white beans and spinach. No rhyme or reason for that. It’s just what I “felt like.”  The afternoon of the day I decided on this, my husband had already put ribs the crockpot in the morning (unbeknownst to me), and the next day we were invited out to dinner. So, no soup for me!

I finally got to the day I would put this into action. White beans. Check. Spinach. Check. Homemade canned tomatoes. Check. Vegetarian? Maybe. But I scrounged around the freezer and found a pound of Spicy Italian Sausage that’s blended at our local grocer. Perfect! I wouldn’t have to spice it up too much with anything else. And this local blend is absolutely delicious! My husband uses it in his huge batches of spaghetti sauce that we always freeze for quick late night meals. I have yet to disclose that recipe. He might have to kill me if I do. 😉

I only used 1/2 pound of this sausage, as it is REALLY spicy. Now I know that 100% of my readers don’t visit this particular store (and if you do, then I don’t know about you) so my suggestion is to buy bulk Italian-spiced sausage, then add cayenne pepper, to taste. I’m going to guess maybe 1/8 teaspoon to start and build up from there? Either way, you can omit the cayenne or add or reduce to your taste.

I made this soup in less than a half-hour while on a conference call at work, as I was working after hours. Thank goodness for hands-free headsets and mute buttons, huh? While I’m sure you won’t be in that situation while preparing this soup, it’s nice to know you can.

I know this would convert into a wonderful vegetarian recipe by using vegetable stock and omitting the  sausage, as there are plenty of beans in this! You’d probably have to add salt and play with the seasonings, though.  I hope you enjoy!

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

1/2 pound Spicy Italian Sausage (or bulk Italian Sausage and add cayenne pepper to taste)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thin
2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 cloves minced)
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Italian dried seasoning herbs
6 to 7 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint jar homemade canned tomatoes, diced, or one 14-0unce can low sodium diced tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped (this was half of a 9-ounce bag)

In a dutch oven or soup pot, add the sausage, onion, and carrots over medium heat. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain grease, if needed. Mine was lean enough and did not have to. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, add the Italian dried seasoning herbs, chicken broth, beans, and tomatoes (including liquid). Bring it up to a simmer, and then add the spinach. Give it a good stir, and as soon as the spinach wilts, it is ready to serve!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

7 Aug
Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Meatless Mondays! OK so it’s Wednesday or later by the time you read this, but I’ve decided to get in on the Meatless Monday dinner idea and made this on Monday. This is not only meatless, but it’s a one-pot meal. Sort of, if you don’t count the strainer.

I had a small head of broccoli and a bag of fresh spinach in the fridge, along with some mushrooms, ALL of which needed cooked ASAP because I forgot to bring them on my four-day camping trip last weekend. Well, not so much forgot but knew we were eating out a lot (I thought) so ignored them by default. We actually ended up cooking dinner two out of the three nights due to unforeseen circumstances. This is also a “by the seat of your pants” meal, meaning I really didn’t know what I was going to add to except for the veggies and pasta it until I started cooking it.

My hubby was pleased and my daughter kept eating my leftovers, darn it! Since this was meatless, I decided to use the hearty Rigatoni pasta to give it a bit more ooomph. I also added a large dollop of sour cream at the last minute, since the Greek yogurt didn’t make it as thick as I wanted it. Per usual, I added lemon and crushed red pepper flakes since it had spinach in it. I can’t say it enough, those two ingredients just make spinach sing! Instead of regular butter, I also used my Tarragon Lemon Chive Butter compound, but of course you can use any butter instead. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this for a delightful Meatless Monday Meal.

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

2 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces dried Rigatoni (or other sturdy pasta)
1/2 tablespoon Tarragon Lemon Chive butter, or unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 to 5 cups cups fresh spinach, torn
1 cup reserved pasta water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A couple of pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
7-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish

Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions Ready for Sauce

Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions Ready for Sauce

Bring a big pot of water to boil.  If you have a steamer basket that fits inside the pot, put the broccoli in it and place it in or above the boiling water to cook the broccoli for about 5 minutes (steaming might take longer). If you don’t have anything like that, then just add the broccoli to the boiling water for same amount of time. Remove the broccoli from the water without pouring the water down the drain. Set broccoli aside. Now add the pasta to the water, and bring it back up to boil and cook according to package directions.

Once the pasta is done, reserve one cup of the pasta/broccoli water and set the pasta aside. (I just added it to the broccoli basket.) Return the pot to the burner, and add the butter and oil to the pot and reduce heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions start to soften and the mushrooms release their liquid. Now add the garlic, and cook for about a minute more. Next add about half the spinach and a half cup of the reserved pasta water. Add the rest of the spinach, and stir until all is wilted.

At this point, grind a bunch of black pepper over it to taste, the crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice, yogurt, and sour cream.  Now add the broccoli and pasta back into the pot and stir around. Last, add the grated Parmesan cheese, and mix around to incorporate. Add more pasta water as needed to desired consistency. This sauce will be a bit clumpy on the veggies, but it’s all good. Heat for a minute or two more, then serve immediately with more Parmesan. I had some garlic bread I was going to serve with this, but I totally forgot to heat it up. Oh well!

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

31 Jul
Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian Assembled

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian Assembled

Wow! This was so darned good that I plan on putting this in my rotation as much as possible. I have to thank my foodie blog friend Richard over at REMCooks for this idea. He got it from another friend and mixed it up a bit by adding some of his homemade hot sauce. I decided to leave that out but threw on some fresh chopped herbs from my herb garden instead. One of my local stores just started selling organic produce and I made a special trip just to buy the fresh, organic veggies for this. If you cruise on over to Richard’s blog he has a great history of Tian in his post, so I won’t bother repeating that here. But wowee! This was soooo delicious! It’s a light, fresh, mouthful of summer in every bite.

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced small
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Butter to grease the casserole dish
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
2 medium red potatoes
2 medium tomatoes
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
Olive oil to drizzle
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian 2

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

First chop and slice up all those veggies. I don’t have any fancy slicing apparatus so this took me about 15 minutes. Maybe I’m just slow. I tried to get nice even slices but even then that wasn’t very successful, but close enough! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the oil to a skillet heated to medium and saute the onions and garlic until softened, about five minutes.  Grease a two-quart casserole dish (any shape) with butter. I used my Tarragon Chive Lemon Butter compound for that task, but just regular ole’ butter will do. Once the onions and garlic are soft, spread them in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Now layer the slices on edge, alternating the vegetables around the contour of the dish, then fill up the middle after that. I ended up with different amounts of slices so my alternating became messy at the end. Then I began running out of room and began stuffing the rest of everything in there willy nilly. If you are a perfectionist you may just want to compost the rest or save it for another dish. I still think it came out purdy, what do you think? Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, sprinkle the chopped basil and tarragon over it, then drizzle some olive oil over the rows.

Now pop that purdy thang in the oven, covered, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Because of high altitude I did the 40 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and spread the two cheeses over top. Return to oven, uncovered for 15 minutes. In the last few minutes I bumped the oven to broil to crispy up some of the cheese. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving. This makes enough for four to six servings. We ate this with some leftover rotisserie chicken. What a truly delightful, summer-tasting dinner!

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

p.s. Once again we are headed to our RV property on the coastal river. We are going with my parents and will be meeting up with a childhood friend (and her three boys) that I’ve not seen in 25 years! I’m very excited for this trip, but once again, no weekend post. So I’ll see you next week!

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

2 Oct
Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

I set out to make this a vegetarian dish for a work Fall Harvest Soup Potluck, but after finding I didn’t have enough veggie broth for it and used chicken broth instead, I said “what the heck” and added some ham chunks I had in the freezer. But feel free to sub veggie broth and omit the ham. I was gone again for four days from Friday through Monday, then had this soup potluck to prepare for after we drove four hours back from the coast. (No Big Fish, AGAIN! We did come back with more Dungeness crab for the freezer. MMMM.) I made this AFTER fixing a dinner of chicken tenders, baked potatoes and broccoli, so wasn’t exactly in the mood to dash out to the store to buy more veggie broth. But that’s OK. From the ingredients you can see that it’s easily adapted to a vegetarian meal. No gluten either! We had nine large pots of different soups show up at the potluck, plus a full salad bar for whatever you wanted with three different greens and all manners of veggies. Oh and real bacon bits. We do have our bacon lovers in the office, too. Full bellies, happy workers.

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Veggies and Ham

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Lots of black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
6 to 7 cups of chicken or veggie broth
3 or 4 cans of Canellinni beans (or any other white beans), drained and rinsed
1 can of diced petite tomatoes, drained
1 cup of diced ham, optional
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, sauté the carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté another two minutes or so. Add black pepper and Mrs. Dash to taste. Pour in the broth, and bring to a simmer for about another half hour until the veggies are tender. Add all but one can of the white beans. Take the other can of rinsed and drained beans and add to a blender with about a cup of the broth and puree until smooth, then add to the soup. Now add the can of tomatoes. One interesting factoid I’ve learned in the past is that the acidic properties of tomatoes will hinder your veggies from getting “more tender” after adding the tomatoes, so wait until you are happy with the softness of them before adding. Next, add the ham if you want. Lastly, add your fresh minced herbs. Feel free to exchange for different fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc. These are just the ones I had fresh, but I made sure the rosemary was the overriding herb of this soup. Feel free to add some salt to taste, but I really didn’t think it needed it with the ham, but you might want to if making this vegetarian.  Bring back to a simmer for a bit now to let the herbs meld. I then transferred the soup to the crockpot then refrigerated overnight to heat up when I got to work. Soup’s On!

p.s. Just a photo note, I took the main photo BEFORE I added the rosemary. Only had the tarragon in at that point. I added the rosemary the next day, as it was a true Duh moment for me.  I was tired and cranky, lol. But the rosemary shined through in the end.

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