Monday, December 19, 2011

Sally's Stoneless Stone Soup

This recipe is included in the instructions for the fun family game Stone Soup by Gamewright. My daughter, Rachel, was inspired one day to give it a try. It is delicious and definitely a family favorite!

Sally's Stoneless Stone Soup

1/2-1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage (or a combination), taken out of casing and crumbled
1 Spanish onion, chopped (I used a sweet onion.)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4.)
5 carrots, quartered lengthwise and chopped
2 celery stalks, quartered lengthwise and chopped
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, cored and chopped (I used regular cabbage.)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (I used undrained diced tomatoes.)
2 red new potatoes, cubed and cooked (I used 3-4 regular potatoes.)
7-8 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen or fresh green peas (I forgot the peas this time.)
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
grated Parmesan cheese

Place a 6-quart pot over medium high heat and when it is hot, add the crumbled sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat begins to render. Discard excess fat.

Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery, stirring well after each addition. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything looks droopy and golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.

Add the peas just prior to serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Variations: When you add the tomatoes, you can also add 1 cup of corn kernels, kidney or white beans, or when you add the peas, add 1 cup of cooked pasta or chopped fresh spinach. Increase 1 cup of chicken stock for every extra cup of additionals.

Keeps for 5 days if covered and refrigerated.  Yields 10-12 cups.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Simple Vegetable Curry

I was surprised at how much my husband raved about this meal. My kids loved it too. (I'm pretty sure the coconut milk and the curry paste are the cause.) The recipe hails from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and you can print it here. This really is a delicious Fall dish that makes a fantastic vegetarian dinner too.

Simple Vegetable Curry

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use canola.)
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 cup long-grain white rice
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen red curry paste.)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I use the entire 14-ounce can.)
1 sweet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
fresh cilantro, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add mustard seeds and half the onion and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer; cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

2. Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add remaining onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3 minutes. Add curry paste and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add sweet potato and cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Stir chickpeas into curry and increase heat to high. Simmer rapidly until liquid reduces slightly, 2 minutes. Serve curry over rice with cilantro.

Julie's Notes:  I prepared the rice in my rice cooker. When it was finished, I stirred in the cooked onion, mustard seeds, salt, and pepper. Either way works. I'm glad I included the brown mustard seeds even though they are not something I usually stock in my pantry. I liked the visual appeal and the slight flavor addition.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter

Yes, my children eat Brussels sprouts and actually really like them!

Kellie made these one night. (I love it when my girls come home and want to cook.) I had purchased Brussels sprouts at Costco and she wanted to try them a new way. She found this recipe from Julia Child's The Way to Cook. Simple flavors, but oh so good.

Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter

1.  Prepare the Brussels sprouts by first trimming off the stems close to the heads without detaching the leaves; pull off any loose or wilted leaves. For even cooking, pierce a cross 3/8 inch deep in the stem ends. Wash and drain them before cooking.

2.  Blanch the Brussels sprouts as follows:

For 4 to 6 servings

1 to 1 1/2 pounds or quarts prepared Brussels sprouts
6 quarts or more rapidly boiling water
3 tablespoons salt (1 1/2 tsp per quart of water)

Plunge the sprouts into the rapidly boiling water, cover the pan only just until the water comes back to the boil, then boil slowly uncovered. In 4 minutes begin testing:  dip out a Brussels sprout and pierce it with a small sharp-pointed knife--it is done when the knife goes in fairly easily. Drain immediately.

3.  Halve or quarter the blanched Brussels sprouts lengthwise. Shortly before serving, set a 10-inch no-stick frying pan over moderately high heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter, and when bubbling, add the sprouts. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss, swirling the pan by its handle, for several minutes while the sprouts heat through and begin to brown very lightly. Serve as soon as possible.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tahoe Salad

Kellie had this salad when she spent a few days in Lake Tahoe last month. It doesn't really have an official name, so we dubbed it "Tahoe Salad." It is simple and FABULOUS.

Tahoe Salad

black beans
green onions
fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Julie's Notes: Instead of diced tomatoes, Kellie used grape tomatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. We also used fresh corn, but frozen would be fine.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cucumbers in Sour Cream

Cucumbers in Sour Cream Sauce

3 medium cucumbers
1/2 pint dairy sour cream (1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh Dill

Peel cucumbers. Slice into thin rounds. Place slices in a strainer and let drain 1 hour or longer. In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add cucumbers and toss lightly. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving or up to 8 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chicken Cashew Pasta Salad

This is a great summer main dish salad I found in my local paper.

Chicken Cashew Pasta Salad

8 ounces tri-color fusilli pasta, cooked, drained

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame chili oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1/2 cup salted cashews
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
6 cups fresh spinach, torn into small pieces (or baby spinach)

Prepare pasta, rinse in cold water; place in large bowl.

Whisk together the oils, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger root and pepper for dressing and pour over pasta. Add onions and bell peppers and marinate overnight or a couple days, depending on when you need it. Just before serving add chicken, cashews, sesame seeds and spinach.

Julie's Notes: I used a 13.25 ounce box of whole wheat rotini pasta instead of the tri-color fussili. I also added a whole red pepper and substituted sweet onion for the green onion since I had that in the house.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Spinach-Strawberry Salad

If you liked the recipe I shared for Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette, give this one a try too. The Worcestershire sauce adds a unique flavor to the dressing and with only two ingredients it is fast and fabulous. My sister, Renee, gave me this recipe years ago.

Spinach-Strawberry Salad

2 bunches spinach
2 pints strawberries (quartered)

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola oil.)
1/4 cup vinegar (I use white vinegar.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sauteed Zucchini and Sweet Onions

This was a common summer side dish my mom served growing up. I hate to admit it, but it was not my favorite as a kid. Age matures our taste buds, I suppose, because I love zucchini prepared this way now--especially with a sprinkling of herbs. And yes, my kids (and husband) really do like it too.

Sauteed Zucchini and Sweet Onions

zucchini, thinly sliced (I usually choose one small to medium size zucchini per person.)
sweet onions, thinly sliced (one or two)
fresh or dried herbs (I use about 1 tsp. each of basil and oregano.)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the vegetables in melted butter until limp and transparent adding the herbs as the zucchini cooks. Stir frequently and serve immediately.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Artichoke and Asparagus Salad

This recipe is from my local paper, the Daily Herald.

Artichoke and Asparagus Salad

2 bunches asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
Two 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set a large bowl of ice water next to the stove.

Place the asparagus in the boiling water and blanch until bright green and just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to the ice water to cool and stop the cooking. Drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, lemon zest, thyme and oil.

Gently toss the drained asparagus spears and the artichoke hearts in the dressing. Serve sprinkled with the feta cheese.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mom's Fruit Salad

This salad is great all year round. It is the fruit salad I remember as a child. When my mom was a girl she had this salad with canned or bottled fruit. In those days fresh fruit during the Winter was nonexistent. It's nice to be able to mix and match now.

Mom's Fruit Salad

This version includes:

mandarin oranges
sour cream

Consider adding:
raspberries, pears, peaches, banana, etc.

Basically, you can use any type of fruit you choose. If you do use canned or bottled fruit be sure and drain it first. Marshmallows add a touch of sweetness, and juice from the cut pineapple sweetens up the sour cream. No other sugar is needed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thai-Style Peanut-Cabbage Salad

This is a fantastic summer salad. I love that it has a slight Thai-flavored "kick", and I'm always a fan of peanuts and fresh basil. The recipe comes from Relish Magazine, and you can print it here.

Thai-Style Peanut-Cabbage Salad

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T water
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 T soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 T peanut oil
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 lb. blanched green beans
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups slivered green cabbage
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, slivered (I diced mine.)
2/3 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped basil or mint (optional)
1 1-ounce package roasted vegetable chips or sweet potato chips, lightly crushed

To make the dressing, combine brown sugar, water, garlic, and pepper flakes in a jar with a lid. Add remaining dressing ingredients. Shake well.

To make the salad, toss together all salad ingredients except peanuts, basil or mint and vegetable chips. Immediately before serving, drizzle about 2/3 of the dressing over the salad. Toss well. Sprinkle with roasted peanuts, herbs and vegetable chips. Pass remaining dressing at the table. Serves 4-6.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cucumbers in Rice Vinegar

This is the simplest of side dishes and one my mom made often when I was growing up. She used regular white vinegar, though, until my grandmother introduced us to rice vinegar. We like the Marukan brand the best and always the seasoned variety.

Cucumbers in Rice Vinegar

cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
rice vinegar
dill (fresh or dried)

We often add thinly sliced rings of sweet onions as well. So delicious!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

My family loves roasted cauliflower and garlic. This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place the cauliflower and garlic on a baking pan (I use a cookie sheet). Toss with the olive oil and spread in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Julie's Notes:  I recommend using parchment paper on the cookie sheet--makes clean-up much easier.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette

To me, a great dressing makes a great salad, and this one definitely does the job. When my sister was in town I served it with our traditional tossed green salad, and she requested that I post it on this blog. (Renee, this one's for you.)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Whisk together first 6 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil.

Julie's Notes: The original recipe calls for 1 cup olive oil, but I like my dressings a bit tangier so I use less oil. It also calls for 2 small shallots (minced) which would be a nice addition, but I don't always have them in my pantry so I left them out this time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Potatoes and Green Beans Vinaigrette

For some reason my older girls remember me making this salad a lot when we lived in Berkeley. It is from New Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree, and it is definitely a family favorite. 

It can be served either hot or cold, but Nathalie says, "be sure your vegetables are hot when tossed in the vinaigrette. Hot vegetables absorb flavor quickly, so when they have cooled the flavor is even more enhanced."

Potatoes and Green Beans Vinaigrette

1 pound green beans
2 pounds new potatoes

Vinaigrette dressing:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, crushed
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as basil or tarragon (optional)

Remove tips and strings from the beans, but leave the beans whole. Boil in salted water to cover until still crunchy, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and set the color.

Meanwhile, boil whole, unpeeled new potatoes in salted water to cover until done 20-30 minutes. Drain. Make the vinaigrette (see below). While still hot, peel quickly and toss them in half the vinaigrette, adding the herbs if you wish.

If serving warm, stir the green beans with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette in a saucepan and warm them gently before adding to the potatoes. If serving cold, simply toss the cooked beans with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and gently mix with the potatoes. Drizzle the remaining dressing over all, and serve either lukewarm or cold.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the oil into the vinegar, mustard, and garlic; add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.

Serves 6-8.

Julie's Notes: I usually cut the new potatoes in half, depending on their size.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marinated Noodles and Cabbage

Memories of my Grandma Carlson always accompany this salad for she was the one who first made it for me.

Marinated Noodles and Cabbage

1 (3-oz) package ramen noodles with chicken flavor
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or wine vinegar (I use red wine vinegar.)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 (6 3/4 -oz) can chunk-style chicken, drained (I used a 12.5 oz can--Kirkland brand from Costco.)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted (I used slivered because I had them on hand.)
green pepper rings

Break up noodles in noodle mix. In mixing bowl combine oil, vinegar, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, dash pepper, and seasoning packet from noodle mix; stir to dissolve seasonings. Stir in broken noodles, cabbage, chicken, onion, and sesame seeds. Cover. Chill several hours. Before serving, stir in almonds. Garnish with green pepper. Serves 6 to 8.

Julie's Notes: I added pimiento for a bit of color. Red pepper would work well too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Sesame Seeds

Why had I not tried this before? My daughter, Kellie, has been roasting asparagus for a while now, and I never listened to her when she suggested I serve it instead of our faithful Warm Asparagus Vinaigrette. The nutty fresh flavor of roasted asparagus is divine.

This is a modified recipe from Martha Stewart found here.

Roasted Asparagus with Sesame Seeds

2 bunches asparagus (1 1/2 - 2 lbs.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and spread in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 10 minutes. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and roast about 5 minutes more.

Julie's Notes: Next time I will sprinkle the sesame seeds on at the beginning and roast for 10-15 minutes. Perhaps, then, they will be a bit more toasted.  Kellie likes her asparagus roasted with only garlic salt and pepper.

Linking to Mangia Mondays and

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bell Pepper Saute

This dish intrigued me when I first saw it in Everyday Food magazine a few years ago. I gave it a try, and it passed the "keeper" test, especially when I added fresh basil. At dinner this week Abby begged for second and third helpings, but then again, she has always loved red peppers. You can print the original recipe here.

Bell Pepper Saute

2 bell peppers, red, yellow, or both (I used 4 peppers--red, yellow, and orange.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, diced (I sliced rather than diced.)
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Remove seeds and ribs from peppers; cut lengthwise into strips and halve crosswise.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Serves 4.

Julie's Notes: Add fresh chopped herbs such as basil, dill, or parsley just before serving.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Green Bean, Walnut, & Feta Salad

This delicious green bean salad is packed with flavor. I always substitute pecans for the walnuts because I like to think that I am a southern girl at heart. I don't have the original source for this recipe, but I did preserve the fact that it is in 1996 Recipe Hall of Fame.

Green Bean, Walnut, & Feta Salad

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 small purple onion, thinly sliced
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
3/4 cup olive oil (I use 1/2 cup.)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut green beans into thirds, and arrange in a steamer basket over boiling water, Cover and steam 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Immediately plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process; drain and pat dry.

Toss together green beans, onion, cheese, and walnuts in a large bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Whisk together olive oil and next 5 ingredients; cover and chill 1 hour.

Pour vinaigrette over green bean mixture, and chill 1 hour; toss just before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Julie's Notes: I reduce the amount of oil in the vinaigrette. Also, I never seem to have enough prep time to chill the vegetables and dressing separately for an hour first, so I simply toss them all together and chill before serving.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Broccoli 'N' Cauliflower Salad

This is one of my very favorite salads. It was originally published in Southern Living Magazine (contributed by Carolyn Gower of Columbia, South Carolina.)

Broccoli 'N' Cauliflower Salad

1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 pound broccoli, broken into florets
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small purple onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola.)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (I use 1/4 cup or less.)
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
lettuce leaves (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside. Combine oil and next 5 ingredients, stir well, and pour over vegetables. Toss gently to coat; cover and chill 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve with a slotted spoon over lettuce, if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Julie's Notes: I use less sugar than the recipe calls for (1/4 cup or less) and less oil (3/4 cup.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Warm Asparagus with Vinaigrette

I adapted this recipe from one I found in The Washington Post years ago. Steamed asparagus is quick and easy and the vinaigrette adds the perfect flavor. Check out some great asparagus tips from Lindsey at Cafe Johnsonia. (Her timing was perfect.)

Warm Asparagus with Vinaigrette

2 pounds asparagus
slightly less than 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 shallots, chopped
1 egg, hard-cooked and chopped

Steam the asparagus just until tender. Rinse quickly with cold water to set the color and stop the cooking process.

While the asparagus is cooking, in a small bowl, drizzle oil slowly into mustard, beating constantly until mixture begins to blend. Slowly add vinegar to mixture, beating constantly. Finish with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle dressing over warm asparagus and top with shallots, egg, and more freshly ground pepper.

Julie's Notes: I use 2 lbs of asparagus to serve my family of six, but they always want more.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

My friend, Pamela, introduced me to this salad at Sara and Tyler's wedding. I absolutely love it. The strawberry vinaigrette made with white balsamic vinegar is the key. The recipe is from and you can print it here.

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

2 1/2 tablespoons strawberry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces baby spinach (8 cups)
1/2 pound strawberries, cut lengthwise into thick slices (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup pecan halves (3 1/2 ounces), toasted and cooled

Whisk together vinegar, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well. Put spinach, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.

Strawberry Vinegar
1 pound strawberries trimmed (3 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar if berries are not sweet
2 cups white balsamic vinegar

Pulse berries with sugar (if using) in a food processor until finely chopped and very juicy. Transfer to a bowl and add vinegar. Let stand 1 hour. Strain vinegar through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. (Vinegar keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.)

Julie's notes: I was very happy to find white balsamic vinegar in my regular grocery store. I halve the strawberry vinegar and use the extra to make more salad dressing throughout the week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Balsamic Baby Carrots

When we had this for dinner the other night, the bowl was practically licked clean. It is my kids favorite carrot dish. I found the recipe years ago (perhaps in Southern Living magazine?) It was contributed by Gloria Pleasants of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Balsamic Baby Carrots

3 cups water
1 pound baby carrots
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 medium-size red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Garnish: fresh Italian parsley sprig

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan; add carrots, return to a boil, and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat; drain well.

Saute shallots and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in carrots, vinegar, and next 3 ingredients, and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced and vegetables begin to glaze. Remove from heat; stir in chopped parsley. Garnish, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lori's Spinach Salad

We call this Lori's spinach salad because she is the one who introduced it to us at a family gathering years ago. It is great for a crowd and has become our salad of choice for birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, and many meals in between. Abby calls it "the special salad."

Spinach Salad

1 bunch fresh spinach, torn in bite-size pieces
1 small head lettuce, torn in bite-size pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
3/4 lb. grated Monterey jack cheese
3/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. rinsed cottage cheese

3/4 tsp. onion salt
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
3 T poppy seeds
3/4 c. canola oil
1/3 c. white vinegar

Dressing should be made several hours in advance. Just before serving, toss the salad and dressing.

Julie's notes: My dad always asked me to substitute feta cheese for the cottage cheese. It's great either way.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli is a vegetable staple in my home all year round. It keeps well in the fridge, it's packed with nutrients, and everyone likes it. Fresh trumps cooked most days.

Broccoli Salad

4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 medium-sized purple onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 T capers, drained
1/4 cup pecans, toasted (optional)

TOSS together first 5 ingredients. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans before serving, if desired. Yield: about 5 cups

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T sugar
1/2 T salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

WHISK together all ingredients. Yield: about 2/3 cup.

Julie's Notes: I wish I knew the source for this salad, but I don't. I've been making it for a few years and can't recall where I acquired it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chopped Salad with Shrimp and Lime-Buttermilk Dressing

I'm a big fan of main dish salads. Serve this with a crusty bread, and it's my kind of dinner.

This recipe is from Everyday Food Magazine (November 2010). You can print it here.

Chopped Salad with Shrimp and Lime-Buttermilk Dressing

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
1 teaspoon lime zest plus 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 hearts romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a blender, combine buttermilk, avocado, lime zest and juice, and 2 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth, 20 seconds. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes, flipping once. In a large bowl, toss together romaine, pepitas, cilantro, shrimp, and 1 cup dressing until combined and serve immediately.

Julie's notes:  I must confess that after all these years I have just recently started cooking shrimp at home. I purchased frozen, raw, tail-on shrimp at Costco and was very happy to find printed right on the package that 31-40 shrimp equal one pound.

In addition to seasoning the shrimp with salt and pepper I used Old Bay Seasoning.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Old-fashioned Cabbage Slaw

This is the coleslaw I grew up with. I love that it is vinegar based rather than mayonnaise based. Thanks Mom!

Old-fashioned Cabbage Slaw

1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 to 1 tsp. celery seeds
2 T sugar
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 T chopped red pepper or pimiento
1/2 tsp. grated onion
3 T. vegetable oil (I use canola oil.)
1/3 cup vinegar (I use white vinegar.)
3 cups finely chopped cabbage (I use half a large head of cabbage.)

Place ingredients in large bowl in order given. Mix well. Cover and chill thoroughly. Garnish with watercress and sliced stuffed olives just before serving if desired. (4 servings)

Julie's Notes:  I double the amount of green pepper and pimiento. I often use chopped green onion rather than grated onion, and I always use much more than 1/2 tsp. Modify however you like. Shredded carrots work well too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

This recipe is attributed to my cousin, Rachelle, who blogs at Dishing It Gluten Free. The combination of flavors is fabulous. I wasn't sure how my kids would like the goat cheese, but they gobbled it up and wanted more. I loved it so much that I made it for my lunch three days in a row!

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

Green leaf lettuce
Goat cheese
Pears, peeled and cubed
Dried blueberries
Pecans, chopped

Julie's notes: I dressed this with Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette. Delicious! Use any type of lettuce--even spinach. I found the goat cheese and dried blueberries at Costco. I don't mind the larger quantity. It just gives me an excuse to find more recipes that call for goat cheese.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Marinated Broccoli

One of our family's favorite side dishes is marinated broccoli. It is simply raw broccoli cut into bite-size pieces and marinated over night in a vinaigrette. Quick, easy, and healthy. We always fall back to this recipe for company and family dinners alike.

Marinated Broccoli

1 lb. fresh broccoli--wash, cut into bite-size pieces

Mix together:
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dry dill weed
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Pour over broccoli and marinate 24 hours in refrigerator. Turn a few times. Enjoy!

Julie's notes: Add grape or cherry tomatoes just before serving, if desired. Always use cider vinegar. Marinating this in a ziplock bag works really well.