Category Archives: Vegetables

The Farmer & The Box

The Produce Box delivery is every Wednesday.  Wednesday is quickly climbing to be a favorite day of the week somewhat like Saturday and Sunday although it has no chance of getting really close due to the 8-5 gig.

There are many reasons to like The Produce Box but for the sake of brevity here are 4.  1. I have fresh seasonal veggies weekly. 2. Our grocery bill has been pretty much cut in half so I do a little frugal happy dance every week. 3. I cook with vegetables (and this week fruits–thank you persimmon) I’ve never used.  4. I try new recipes instead of sticking to just my “tried & true” box.

A little change to a James Farmer recipe

Here’s one of the new recipes I tried in an attempt to use all of my squash.  I received A Time to Plant from my parents last year for Christmas and thought it was a book related only to ornamental vegetation but was pleasantly surprised to find that recipes are sprinkled throughout.  One was Mr. Farmer’s Squash Spoonbread.

It was a nice try at getting Andrew to eat squash in another form than the 1 he will eat.  I always use the test of “does he eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven” which he did in this instance, going back several time.  I added green chiles to the dish and was able to persuade him a little more with the promise of the dish have the slightest “kick” to it–that might have been a slight stretch.

With the sausages and salad it pretty much made the “comfort” meal that has been a theme lately.  Looking forward to tomorrow and what the box will bring.

Recipe:

3 c. shredded squash

1 small Vidalia onion or 1/2 a large onion, shredded

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 package corn bread mix

1/2 c. Bisquick

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 stick butter, melted

*I added one small can diced green chiles

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the squash and onion with dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together and then combine them with the above mixture. Slowly stir in the butter.  Pour this mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish or into 2 pie pans sprayed with cooking oil.  Bake for about 20 minutes, watching after 15 minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.

The Bibliography: A Time to Plant by James T. Farmer III

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And We’re Back!

What do we eat when we finally get over food poisoning (or the Norovirus if you aren’t sure if that’s what it is)?  For us it would be homemade pizza.Four days later and five pounds lighter, we set out to test our stomachs and use some of the items we had in our refrigerator.

I always use Fleischmann’s yeast when making cinnamon rolls, cream cheese braids, etc. When last at the grocery store, I noticed that they had a pizza dough yeast which I opted to try instead of buying pre-made pizza dough.  We had fresh spinach and tomatoes from the farmer’s market, sausage from McLaughlin’s Farmhouse, and jars of pesto that we’ve been trying to finish.  The ingredients came together for a meal that Andrew and I had been craving and put us on track to gain a bit of our weight back.  The crust was a nice combination of a thick crust, but with plenty of flakiness.  Having pesto as the base sauce on this pizza was also a good call as our stomachs probably weren’t quite ready to handle the extra tomatoes.

Happy to have  real meal again that didn’t consist solely of chicken noodle soup or applesauce!

Recipe:

Crust: Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast

McLaughlin’s Farmhouse Sausage

Fresh Spinach

Fresh Tomatoes

4 Tbs. Pesto

1 c. Parmesan Cheese

Instructions:

Followed instructions on the back of the pizza crust package to create dough.  Spread 4 Tbs. pesto on the dough and added sausage, spinach, and tomatoes. Spread 1 cup parmesan cheese on pizza and bake for 15 minutes in 425 degree oven.

The Bibliography: Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast Recipe & Veggies

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Baja Potatoes, Skinny Style

Plump potatoes needed a cousin, a slightly slimmer cousin.  And, I needed a way to use a lot of the vegetables (and some different cheeses) in the fridge to make a one-dish dinner during the busy week before the holiday.  Baja potatoes were born with Skinny Cows and veggies.

Recipe:

2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced

1 zuchinni, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 baking potatoes

4-5 wedges of Skinny Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle

1/2 c. fat free half and half

salt and pepper to taste

cheddar cheese and monterrey jack cheese for topping

Directions: Boil potatoes until they soften and the skin easily separates.  This time I left the skins on, but they can be easily removed too. Saute peppers, zucchini, onion in a bit of olive oil until they become tender. Add the black beans and saute 5 minutes more.  Place softened potatoes in a mixing bowl and add the vegetable mixture along with the Skinny Cow wedges, salt and pepper, and half and half.  Beat with a hand mixer until they become somewhat smooth, but they don’t need to look like mashed potatoes.  Place in a casserole dish or bowl and top with the cheese of choice.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until heated through and the cheese has melted.  If baking after being in the fridge for a while, increase the time allowed.

To Try Next Time(s): Red pepper flakes for some extra heat

The Bibliography: SFD Test Kitchen

Everyday with Wontons

I discovered wonton wrappers this year and I am certain 2012 will be filled with them.  They are quite the chameleon and can be used in desserts, appetizers, main courses, decor (okay, maybe not that far).  I’ve made taco cupcakes for appetizers, veggie filled cups for dinner and tried another variation with a Southern staple–the sweet potato.  Philip S. (my brother) made a valid point this year during the holidays that he didn’t understand why the pineapple was a symbol of Southern hospitality (there seem to be plenty of theories on the web from a symbol of status to meaning the “man of the house was home,” providing a real treat for your guests, etc.).  To him a piece of cotton, tobacco leaf, or sweet potato made much more sense. So this my version of stuffing Southern hospitality into a not so Southern food item.

Recipe:

2 sweet potatoes, boiled until softened, peeling removed

1 1/2-2 tsp. honey

1/8-1/4 c. light brown sugar (depending on the skinny of slightly plump kind)

Cinnamon Sugar mixture (for the last batch I used 2 cups of sugar to 2 Tbsp. of cinnamon)

Mash the sweet potatoes while still hot with a potato masher or anything comparable in the house.  Stir in honey and brown sugar.  Add 1/2-1 Tbsp. of the potato mixture to the upper middle portion of a wonton wrapper.  Fold the square wrapper in half to make a triangle (the point being trying to keep the potato mixture in the wrapper).  Slightly wet your fingers with water and press the edges of the wrappers to seal them.  Bend the two ends slightly back to make the shape above. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on the wrappers and put in the oven at 350 degrees until they have lightly browned.

For next time(s): 1. Add a bit of cream cheese when placing in wrapper, 2. Add crushed pecans or walnuts, 3. Add a type of cheese that I wouldn’t normally think of, 4. Add cranberries or raisins

Notes to Self: Much to my surprise they were good as cold wontons the next day as well.

The Bibliography: SFD Test Kitchen

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My “Go-To” Side

During Thanksgiving Prep I was looking for another side to add that wouldn’t add many additional calories.  Like usual in this instance, I cracked open the 3 latest issue of Southern Living and looked for good sides hidden within the pages.  Hidden meaning that there might not be a scrumptious picture, but would be quality if it made the magazine.  Bingo with the grilled peppers and mushrooms!

For the first time making them, we grilled them individually.  After losing several through the grate, we decided that skewers would be helpful for that step.  We’ve also tried green beans in another iteration.  While good, they didn’t hold a candle to the peppers and mushrooms.

We’ve had them at least 3 times since Thanksgiving and I think these will be the vegetable/side of choice for 2012!

Recipe:

Grilled Peppers and Mushrooms (Southern Living, October 2011)

1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar (can substitute white vinegar)

2 Tbsp. coarse-grained Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

1/2 c. olive oil

4 large, assorted bell peppers cut into 2-inch wide strips

1 large red onion, thickly sliced

1 (8 oz.) package baby portobello mushrooms.

Whisk together first 5 ingredients.  Gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until blended. Reserve 2 Tbsp. mixture; cover and chill.  Stir bell peppers and next 2 ingredients into remaining vinegar mixture.  Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Pre-heat grill to 350 degrees.  Remove veggies from mixture and place on grill (peppers skin side down).  Grill veggies (with lid covered) until peppers look blistered and grill marks appear.  Turn veggies and grill them 2 more minutes.

Drizzle with reserved vinegar mixture.  We didn’t do this, but I’m sure it would be good.

The Bibliography: Southern Living, October 2011

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Plump Potatoes

Andrew J. (also know as THE HUSBAND) turned 33, so with that momentous day also came his annual birthday dinner attended by the same small, but mighty group of 6. Side note: Another perk to having this online record is that I will (hopefully) be able to remember the menus I’ve served in previous years.  Before now, I’ve been able to pick out maybe 1 dish that was served in years prior. 

AJ’s opinion of potatoes is that you don’t get much out of them.  I’m not sure who taught him that, but I disagree.  His tagline for the veggie immediately sealed the deal that I was going to make a starchy dish for this event.  Of course I’d throw in a few of his other favorites, but I was going to make the best twice baked potatoes dubbed the Plump Potatoes.  A little cream cheese, green onions, salt & pepper and……..there you go, a dish he couldn’t resist!

Plump Potatoes in the Oven

Post dinner AJ’s opinion still isn’t really changed, but that just gives me a challenge .  The fact that everyone else at the table devoured theirs let me know that they were along the lines of what I had hoped for.  To be fair here,  AJ did eat his potato, but wasn’t converted like I had hoped.

They are still one of my favs and called Plump Potatoes for a reason.  Now I need to make a Skinny version.

Ingredients:

baking potatoes (I started with 12)

3/4 c. of fat free half & half

half a block of cream cheese (left soften for 20-30 minutes before using)

salt & pepper to taste

3 green onions cut into small pieces

3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Baked the potatoes until easily stuck with a fork. Cut them in half and tried my best to preserve the shapes of the potato skin when spooning out the inside.  Mixed the rest of the ingredients in potato using a hand mixer to make them more smooth.  I probably should try at some point not mixing so much if I want more of the “chunky” effect instead of the “creamy”–think peanut butter descriptors.  Evenly distributed the potato mixture back to the skins and placed on the same cookie sheet used to cook the potatoes originally.  Shredded cheddar cheese on top for an aesthetic effect (and who doesn’t like more cheese).  Baked at 350 degrees until warmed through and cheese melted.

To Try in Future (not all at once): Pepperjack sub. for Cheddar, Fresh Garlic, Black Beans, Salsa

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