I was looking through some old recipes I’d clipped from magazines awhile ago and came across one for Shoepeg Salad. It sounded like a great side dish for summer. I found some other variations on this salad at different recipe sites and ended up making my … Continue reading
Have you ever been to Provence? I have never been to France but if I have the chance to go, Provence will be one of the areas I want to visit! This region of southern France stretches from the Mediterranean to the hills of Haute Provence, and from the Rhone River valley to the Italian Alps. It was the site of the first Roman colony beyond Italy and today it’s known for fragrant lavender fields, beautiful beaches like Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Nice, quaint small villages, and fine wines and food. The cuisine of this area includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts–basically the core of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
I learned these things and more about Provence as I was looking through my review copy of Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living, by François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska. This softcover book introduces you to the geography, history, traditions, wines, and recipes of the region. Here are some images of Provence you’ll find in the book:
Isn’t it beautiful? You’ll find more full color photography of picturesque Provence as well as many of the 47 recipes in the book, which are traditional favorites of the region…like Niçoise Salad, Fougasse with Tomatoes, Olives, and Peppers, Artichokes Barigoule, Tapenade, Swiss Chard Tart, Mediterranean Cod with Caramelized Onions, and Lemon Tart. The recipes are organized by the different areas of Provence that they’re popular in–Aix-en-Provence and Haute Provence, Marseille, La Cote Varoise, and Nice and the Riviera.
I decided to try the recipe for Tomatoes Provençal, because I love tomatoes and this is a simple yet delicious way to fix them–fresh tomatoes topped with a mix of breadcrumbs, chopped fresh parsley, and minced garlic. This makes a great side dish and would even work nicely for a spring or summer brunch. The book recommends serving “as a light meal with other Provençal delicacies and some crusty bread, or with meat.” For best results, use fresh, sweet, ripe tomatoes!
TOMATOES PROVENÇAL from Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living
Makes 4 servings
This traditional Provençial dish relies on the quality of the tomatoes used; they must be fresh and ripe. It’s best to prepare this dish in the summer, when tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness, sweet, and full of flavor….
- 4 small to medium ripe tomatoes, halved and stems removed
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (64 g) chopped fresh parsley (I used Italian flat leaf parsley)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs (I used the very fine breadcrumbs you purchase, but I think fresh breadcrumbs would be even better!)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: I added some additional chopped parsley for garnish
Lightly dust the cut sides of the tomatoes with the sugar.
In a large sauté pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, cut sides down, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until they caramelize.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the parsley and garlic.
Flip the tomatoes and distribute the parsley and garlic mixture evenly onto them, pressing down so the mixture adheres to the tomato. Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Distribute the breadcrumbs evenly among the tomatoes.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and fully cooked through. Remove from the heat. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish and serve warm. Note: I drizzled the remaining olive oil from the sauté pan over the tomatoes and garnished them with additional chopped parsley.
I thought the blend of parsley, garlic, olive oil, and touch of sea salt made a great flavor combination as a topping for the tomatoes.
Have you made or tasted this dish before? And are you ready to take a trip to Provence now? :)
There sure are a lot of big food-related holidays and events during the winter. There’s Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day, Superbowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day–no wonder it’s so hard to diet this time of year! If you feel like you’re needing a little dose of something healthy, this is just the thing. I was inspired by this Beet Rejuvenator at New Nostalgia and decided that yes, I did need some rejuvenating! :) I don’t eat a lot of beets, but I know how good they are for you. This smoothie is supposed to be super cleansing–it also has carrots, cucumber, lemon, and ginger root in it, so I’m sure it is! I made a few changes, using a whole (small) beet instead of half, and using the juice from one lemon. I also added some honey, so I’m not sure if or how that affects the cleansing qualities of the smoothie. I thought the blend of the veggies with the lemon juice and ginger was good, but I liked having the smoothie a little sweeter. I used raw honey, which has more nutrients than the processed kind.
Also, I used a blender, so I cut my veggies into chunks for easier blending. If you’re using a juicer, you won’t need to do that. If you use a blender, you’ll probably have to stop and stir the ingredients a few times to help blend it, and you’ll have a thicker smoothie. Be sure to use organic veggies if you can! This smoothie does make you feel like you’re getting a little healthy boost, so if you’re in an unhealthy food rut, try this out for a refreshing change!
REJUVENATING BEET SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative, adapted from New Nostalgia
Makes about 2 servings (16 ounces)
- 3/4 cup sliced carrots (about 1 large or 2 small carrots)
- 1 medium-size cucumber, cut into slices or chunks
- Juice from 1 large Lemon
- 1-inch piece of Ginger Root, cut into small chunks
- 1 small Beet Root, cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons raw honey
Put all ingredients in your blender or juicer, and blend till smooth (if using a blender, you may have to stop it and stir to help the mixture along). Pour into 2 glasses and serve.
Have you ever made a smoothie with beets? What other healthy kinds of smoothies do you like to make?
I really didn’t know what to expect when I was making this Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower. I had never tried roasting cauliflower before, so this was something new for me. I’m not a particularly big fan of cauliflower either, but I do love roasted veggies–so I thought it would be worth a try!
When I had my first taste of this, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” I really did. It surpassed my expectations. Who would have thought cauliflower could have tasted so good? The cauliflower is roasted, along with some sliced red onion, in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese, added after the roasting, give this side dish a rich, creamy flavor. And the crumbled bacon on top is a nice touch, although this is great without the bacon, too, if you want to keep it meatless.
I’m sure this is something everyone in your family will love. It’s definitely worth making!
CHEESY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraft Foods
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 8 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Juice from 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup regular or lite sour cream
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 ounces) , regular or low-fat
- Optional: 1 slice of cooked and crumbled bacon or 1 Tablespoon real bacon bits
Preheat oven to 450˚F.
In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; spread onto foil-covered rimmed 10 x 15″ baking sheet. Bake at 450˚ for 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes for even baking (you may get a few burnt edges on your sliced onions and cauliflower, but that’s okay!).
After cauliflower is roasted, spoon back into large bowl and stir in the sour cream. Then mix in the shredded Cheddar cheese. Spoon mixture into an oven-safe baking dish and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is all melted. Top with crumbled bacon or bacon bits, if using, and serve.
This is a great dinner side dish. And something to keep in mind for special holiday meals. It’s not the healthiest way to prepare cauliflower, but it sure is good! Do you have a favorite cauliflower side dish?
I like lots of different veggies, but I’ve never been very crazy about carrots. I wish I liked them better because they’re so good for you! The only way I really like them is if they are cooked with some kind of glaze on them. I became inspired to try some kind of carrot side dish after I saw this recipe that included carrots, goat cheese, and thyme. I thought I’d add some honey, too, for a little sweetness, and I used more olive oil so I’d have a little extra glaze to spoon over the carrots. I love the lightly sweet flavor of the honey-olive oil glaze on these! The savory fresh thyme really compliments that flavor and the tangy crumbles of goat cheese add a nice punch. This side dish is a great combination of lightly sweet and savory flavors–hopefully with recipes like this I’ll be eating more carrots from now on! :)
HONEY ROASTED CARROTS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND THYME by NancyCreative, adapted from Food52
Makes about 6 servings
- 2 pounds whole carrots
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (about 5 to 7 sprigs of fresh thyme, depending on how big your sprigs are)
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (chevre)
- A few extra fresh thyme leaves from another sprig or two, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a 10×15″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Peel carrots and cut diagonally into thirds–if carrots are large, halve or quarter the pieces (doing this makes all the carrot pieces a more uniform size so they’ll cook evenly).
In a large bowl, mix olive oil and honey together, blending well. Add carrots and toss in olive oil/honey mixture. Season with a few dashes of salt and pepper. Add the fresh thyme leaves and toss all ingredients again until salt, pepper, and thyme are evenly distributed among the carrots.
Spread carrots on lined baking sheet and roast at 400˚F for 20 minutes, until tender–stir carrots halfway through the baking time so they are evenly heated.
Spoon carrots into a serving dish and crumble goat cheese over the warm carrots; garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.
Do you like carrots? What’s your favorite way to prepare them?
Roasted vegetables are so good, especially roasted potatoes! I had the opportunity to try a new kind of potato recently, compliments of Albert Bartlett–the Rooster Potato, grown by farmers in the U.S. The rooster potato has a nutty, buttery taste, and I discovered when making these Lemon-Thyme-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes that it also roasts really nicely. The outer skin is pink, but when baked turns golden brown, and the inside is light yellow with a nice fluffy texture. It somehow keeps its fluffy texture inside even when it’s roasted! The Rooster Potato is a great-tasting potato and works wonderfully in recipes like this one.
These Lemon-Thyme-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes have a great lemony taste that really makes them different from your typical roasted potatoes. I love the tanginess of the lemon and the savory flavor of the herbs in this recipe. I found it at Southern Living and made a few changes…I added extra lemon juice, along with some rosemary, onion powder, and garlic powder for a little extra savory flavor. I never would have thought of flavoring potatoes with lemon, but I thought they were really good. And it’s easy to make, which is always a plus!
LEMON-THYME-ROSEMARY ROASTED POTATOES by NancyCreative, adapted from Southern Living
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 pounds Rooster Potatoes peeled or unpeeled, and cut into chunks (or substitute red potatoes)
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons each of finely chopped fresh thyme and rosemary (or 1 teaspoon of each, dried; or you can use 4 teaspoons of just fresh thyme or 4 teaspoons of just fresh rosemary)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a 15 x 10″ baking pan with aluminum foil; set aside.
Cook olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 4 minutes, until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove butter mixture from heat and add in the chunks of potatoes, tossing gently until potatoes are all coated (the olive oil/butter mixture may splatter a little when you add the potatoes to it, so add them carefully!).
Spread the coated potato chunks in a single layer in a 15 x 10″ baking pan. (I lined my pan with aluminum foil so the pan would be easy to clean up).
Bake at 400˚F for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring twice during the baking time so the potatoes bake evenly (I baked my potatoes for 45 minutes). When done, transfer the potatoes to a large serving bowl and toss with the lemon juice, thyme and/or rosemary, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, until well coated. Serve immediately.
I hope you get a chance to try this recipe, because it’s soooo good! It’s a great side dish for a special meal any time of year!
What’s your favorite way of making potatoes?
This pasta dish was kind of an experiment. I had some extra rotini pasta and wanted to make a casserole with it…something cheesy, but with some veggies in it, too. I also like crumbly toppings. So I tried combining all of that into this Extremely Cheesy Veggie Pasta! This works great as a main dish or side dish for lunch or dinner. And your kids may actually eat this, since all that cheese somewhat disguises the veggies!
I used thawed frozen veggies in this but you could also used canned. And I’m sure fresh veggies would work great, too–just blanch or steam them so they’re a little tender before mixing them in with the other ingredients. The Bread Crumb Topping makes a lot of topping, so if you just want a light sprinkle of it to top of your casserole, you can halve the topping recipe.
EXTREMELY CHEESY VEGGIE PASTA by NancyCreative
Makes a 9 x 9″ pan; about 5 to 6 servings
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 8 ounces dry rotini pasta, cooked and drained
- 2 cups of your favorite frozen vegetables, thawed and drained well (I used a broccoli, cauliflower, green been, carrot blend)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken soup
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese (you’ll also need an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup to top the pasta)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (you’ll also need an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup to top the pasta)
EXTRA CHEESE TOPPING
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
BREAD CRUMB TOPPING (halve the amount if you don’t want a lot of topping)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ baking dish.
In large bowl, combine melted butter, onion and garlic powders, and Italian Seasoning; blend well. Add in the cooked and drained pasta and thawed vegetables, and toss them in the melted butter/seasoning mixture until pasta and veggies are coated.
In a medium bowl, mix together milk and condensed soup (undiluted), blending well. Add in the Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese, blending well. Blend this soup/cheese mixture into the pasta and veggie mixture, and blend everything together well. Then spread into the prepared 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses evenly over top of pasta.
In small bowl, combine the ingredients for the bread crumb topping–melted butter, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta and cheeses.
Bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes (crumbs will be browned). Remove from oven and serve.
Some of the crumbs brown quite a bit, but that’s OK-if you want to keep them from browning that much, cover with foil the last 5 minutes of baking.
Are you a fan of cheese and pasta? What’s your favorite summer pasta dish?
This cheesy casserole is a great way to enjoy spinach! I like it because it’s made with fresh baby spinach, not frozen, and two kinds of cheese–Sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack. I found this recipe at Myrecipes and changed it a little by using spicy mustard instead of Dijon mustard, and adding extra cheese, like I usually do! :) I also used real eggs instead of egg substitute, so my version is not quite as healthy as the original.
I really liked this! When it comes out of the oven, it’s puffy, and the puffiness settles down after a few minutes… and then you have this tender spinach filling with a cheesy crust-like layer on top. Very yummy. Great for brunch or as a side dish for lunch or dinner. If you like spinach and cheese, you’ll want to try this recipe!
CHEESY SPINACH BAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Myrecipes.com
Makes 12 servings in a 9 x 13 pan or baking dish
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
- Cooking spray
- 2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (regular or reduced-fat)
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk (whole, low-fat, or fat-free)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1 cup egg substitute)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons spicy mustard (or Dijon mustard)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Pour melted butter into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or pan coated with cooking spray; tilt dish or pan to coat. Place spinach evenly in bottom of dish or pan and sprinkle evenly with the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.
In a medium size bowl, combine flour and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour this mixture over spinach and cheese in pan. (Note: As you are making this, it may seem like there’s too much spinach and cheese, because it definitely fills up the pan–but put all of it in there! Because when you mix the egg-milk mixture and pour it over the spinach and cheese, that will weigh it down. Before you put this Cheesy Spinach bake in the oven, it will look like what is shown in the small picture.)
Bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Let set for about 5 minutes, then cut and serve.
Here’s what it looks like after it’s been out of the oven and settled for a few minutes…
It’s always nice to find great-tasting recipes with veggies–do you have a favorite veggie side dish recipe that’s really yummy?
Sometimes you come across a recipe that sounds so different, you just have to try it! I love all the ingredients in this Corn and Blueberry Salad, but I never would have thought of putting them together myself! What a brilliant idea this salad is…a sweet and savory mix of lots of yummy, healthy ingredients. The sweetness of the corn complements the blueberries…and the red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro give this salad a nice savory punch. And I have to mention the cucumbers, too, that give this summery side dish a great crunchiness. All of these ingredients are marinated overnight in a slightly sweet and savory dressing, which I think would be good on a salad, too. I found this recipe at Better Homes and Gardens and I changed it slightly by adding extra blueberries–one cup just didn’t seem like enough, so I doubled it to 2 cups. I’m glad I did…I thought it was just the right amount! CORN AND BLUEBERRY SALAD slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 6 ears of fresh sweet corn, husked (or substitute 4 1/2 cups of frozen corn, unthawed)
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In Dutch oven, bring salted water to boiling. Add fresh corn (or frozen corn, if using). Cook, covered, 5 minutes, or until tender (if using frozen corn, just cook about 2 to 3 minutes). When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs. In a serving bowl, combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. For dressing, in screw-top jar, combine lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well to combine. Add to salad; toss. Cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 24 hours). This is such a unique way to use blueberries! What creative recipes have you used blueberries in?
If you have a vegetable garden, you may may have planted some cucumbers and tomatoes. And throughout the summer, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with quite a bit of these because they seem to grow so well in gardens! Here’s a recipe you can use your cukes and tomatoes in…it’s a quick and easy salad with a lightly tangy apple cider vinegar/olive oil dressing. I like this salad because the taste of the dressing is very light and complements the natural flavor of the cucumbers and tomatoes. I found it at Foodnetwork.com–I used grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes and added a little extra sliced onion. I also added a bit more apple cider vinegar for just a slightly tangier taste. If you have large tomatoes, you can cut them into chunks about the size of a cherry tomato.
CUCUMBER, TOMATO, AND ONION SALAD slightly adapted from Foodnetwork.com
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 pound cucumbers (about 2 medium), peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (or cut larger tomatoes into cherry tomato-size chunks)
- 1/2 to 2/3 of a medium size sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, toss together the cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced onion, and parsley. Drizzle vinegar and olive oil over these ingredients, then add a few dashes of salt and pepper, and toss all ingredients again, coating everything well. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Let salad stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Do you have a summer vegetable garden? What kinds of veggies do you like to grow?
If you’re looking for a new way to fix potatoes, this is a good recipe to try! I found this at Kraftrecipes.com and happened to have just the right amount of potatoes to make it. This particular potato side dish calls for both white and sweet potatoes, but if you only have white potatoes on hand, you can make it with just those. The potatoes are cut into spears (you can also cut them into chunks if you prefer) and coated with Italian dressing, which helps keep them moist as they are roasting. The Italian dressing flavor is pretty mild in these potatoes, so if you want a stronger flavor, you can add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. I changed the recipe a little by using more dressing to coat the potatoes and topping the potatoes with freshly grated Parmesan cheese…a great finishing touch!
ROASTED ITALIAN POTATOES by NancyCreative, adapted from Kraftrecipes.com
Makes 8 servings
- 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into thin spears (Note: the sweet potatoes can be a little hard to cut into spears; you may want to microwave them a minute or two to soften them…then you can cut them into spears or small chunks)
- 1 1/2 lbs. white baking potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into thin spears (or small chunks)
- 2/3 cup Italian dressing (regular or lite)
- dash or two of salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or you can substitute 2 teaspoons of dried parsley)
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Spray or grease a 10 x 15″ rimmed baking sheet; set aside.
In a large bowl, toss cut potatoes with Italian dressing (and salt and Italian seasoning, if desired), evenly coating the wedges or chunks. Spread potatoes onto the baking sheet and bake at 375˚F for 60 to 70 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when tested with a fork –Note: after the first 30 minutes of baking, turn potatoes over in pan so they bake evenly.
The last five minutes of baking, top potatoes with the Parmesan cheese. Then remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
I have a pot of parsley growing on my patio area–it’s so convenient to have fresh parsley to snip whenever I need it! Do you grow your own herbs to use in your cooking?
Linked to Creative Timeout.
If you haven’t heard of The Meatloaf Bakery, it’s a shop in Chicago that specializes in making meatloaf in many yummy and creative ways…like little Loafies, savory meatloaf cupcakes, and even meatloaf pastries! Topped with mashed potatoes, pasta, or veggies, these creations were developed by the bakery’s founder, Cynthia Kallile. And now she’s sharing many of her recipes in The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook (hardcover, with color photos).
When I received a review copy of the book, I fully intended to try a meatloaf recipe. But as I looked through it, I discovered there were also some great recipes for side dishes. So, not only will you find recipes like The Mother Loaf and Kickin’ Cajun Loaf, you’ll also find a variety of veggie loaves, along with sides like Garlic Spuds, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Cheesy Cornbread.
And then there were those Cheesy Taters that were calling my name! I decided I could make meatloaf another time because I love potatoes and cheese, so I just had to try these! Made with sharp cheddar, Asiago, and Parmesan cheeses, they’re a nice cheesy change from traditional mashed potatoes. I didn’t peel my potatoes because I like leaving the skins on, so that makes it even easier to make!
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out…
CHEESY TATERS from The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook
Serves 4 to 6
- 8 Russet potatoes (about 2 lb./900 g), peeled and cut into 2-inch/5-cm cubes (I left my potatoes unpeeled)
- 2 Tablespoons 2% (or low fat) milk
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sour cream
- 1 1/3 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat and continue cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. In the meantime, warm the milk in a microwave.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the pan. Add the warm milk, softened butter, and sour cream, and then mash with a potato masher. While the potatoes are still hot, add the cheeses and continue mashing until they are melted. Season with salt and pepper–because these cheeses can be salty, you may not need to add any salt, perhaps only a little white pepper to bring out the flavors. As for the lumps, they’re totally acceptable if you don’t intend to do any creative piping. However, if you’d like to try your hand with a pastry bag and your favorite decorative tip, be sure to minimize lumps, because they make piping more difficult.
There’s nothing like mashed potatoes on a cold winter day, and cheese added in makes them even better! :) I was thinking if you wanted them even cheesier, you could spoon the potatoes into an oven-safe or microwave-safe serving dish, sprinkle extra cheese on top, and put in the oven or microwave for a few minutes just until the cheese is melted over the potatoes–yum!
Do you love mashed potatoes, too? What types of things do you like to add in to your potatoes?
I’ve been wanting to try roasting tomatoes ever since I saw some recipes for that this past summer. But it was way too hot to have the oven on that long! Now is a great time to do it, though, with the weather cooling off. And besides, I received a review copy of Cooking Light’s new cookbook, The New Way to Cook Light, and there just happened to be a recipe in there for Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes! So I knew right away which recipe I wanted to try first. :)
This book has a great collection of tips, techniques, and over 400 recipes focusing on ingredients that are fresh, local, and organic. And the more than 200 full-color photos throughout the book will get you excited about cooking and eating healthy, too.
The New Way to Cook Light starts off with a chapter about cooking light. Then you’ll find chapters on Appetizers, Salads, Fish, Vegetarian Entrees, Meats, Poultry, Pasta & Pizza, Sides, Sandwiches, Soups & Stews, Quick & Yeast Breads, and Desserts. The book ends with a chapter on Strategies and Techniques for healthy, light cooking and there’s also a handy seasonal produce guide.
I really liked the Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes…slow-roasting tomatoes gives them such a rich flavor, or as the book says, “an intense tomato essence.” I used store-bought tomatoes and was happy with the results, so I can just imagine how wonderful home-grown slow-roasted tomatoes would be! The recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of sugar to give the tomatoes a light sweetness, and I substituted honey instead and was happy with the result. If you like tomatoes, you’ll want to try this recipe out! The only downside is that you’ll need to plan ahead when you are making these, since the tomatoes roast in your oven (at 200 degrees F) for 7 1/2 hours. But I think it’s definitely worth the time it takes! Here’s the recipe…
AROMATIC SLOW-ROASTED TOMATOES from The New Way to Cook Light
Serve alongside roast beef or lamb, seared steak, or fish, or make Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe below) and toss with pasta.
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (I substituted 1 Tablespoon honey)
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise (about 16 medium plum tomatoes)
- Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 200˚F.
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing gently to coat. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Roast at 200˚F for 7 1/2 hours. Serves 8 (serving size: 4 tomato halves).
Calories 63; Fat 2.2g (Sat. 0.3g, Mono 1.3g, Poly 0.4g), Protein 2g; Carb 10.6g; Fiber 2.8g; Chol 0mg; Iron 0.7mg; Sodium 157mg, Calc 26mg
SLOW-ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
Process slow-roasted tomatoes until smooth; put through a food mill. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, swirl to coat. Add 1 large garlic clove, sliced, to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato puree.
Simmer 1 hour or until sauce is reduced to 1 3/4 cups, stirring occasionally. Serves 6 (serving size: about 1/3 cup).
Calories 98; Fat 4.4g (Sat. 0.6g, Mono 2.9g, Poly 0.6g), Protein 2.7g; Carb 14.3g; Fiber 3.7g; Chol 0mg; Iron 0.9mg; Sodium 209mg, Calc 35mg
I love the rich flavor of these roasted tomatoes. I’m sure you could make great soups with the puree from these, too! Have you tried slow-roasting tomatoes yourself?
I made these yummy green beans the other day. Not sure why they’re called ARKANSAS Green Beans…maybe someone from Arkansas originally came up with the recipe. But wherever the recipe originated from, they sure are good! My friend Jane told me about these green beans, which she found at AllRecipes.com. My version is slightly different…I added more bacon. And instead of laying slightly-cooked bacon strips over the green beans, I cooked my bacon strips a little longer and divided them into large pieces so there would be more bacon in every bite! Be careful not to cook the bacon until it’s real crispy because then it will be too dry after baking in the oven. This is a side dish that is worthy of being called comfort food! The brown sugar-butter-soy sauce mixture that you pour over the beans is what gives this dish such a great flavor. Give these Arkansas Green Beans a try and see what you think!
ARKANSAS GREEN BEANS (adapted from AllRecipes; makes 10 servings)
- 5 (15-ounce) cans green beans, drained (note: you can substitute a similar amount of frozen green beans, about 4 (12-ounce) bags, thawed, or you can use fresh green beans, too)
- 12 slices bacon
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 7 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the drained green beans in a 9×13″ baking pan. Cook bacon in a frying pan on your stove top or in a microwave on a microwave-safe plate until bacon strips are cooked enough to chop into large pieces (they should be done, but not real crispy). Sprinkle the bacon pieces on top of the green beans. Combine the brown sugar, melted butter, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the green beans and bacon. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. I like these green beans so much, I could eat several small platefuls of them! :)
It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is coming up so soon! And who doesn’t look forward to eating all that special holiday food? It’s always great when you can find delicious and healthy holiday recipes, which is why I was so interested in reviewing the new cookbook, Vegan Holiday Kitchen.
I’m not a vegan myself, but I do like to eat healthy and enjoy making vegan dishes. Author Nava Atlas has put together a collection of more than 200 tasty-sounding recipes you can whip up for different holidays year-round: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Jewish Holidays, Easter, and Independence Day/Summer Entertaining. There’s also a chapter devoted to Brunches, Appetizers, and Potluck Dinners.
This hardcover book is beautifully designed and has lots of great photography. It would make a wonderful holiday gift–or you may want to add it to your own “wish” list! :)
There are so many unique, great-sounding recipes in Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Here’s a few to give you an idea: Coconut Butternut Squash Soup, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Green Chili Cornbread, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tortilla Casserole, Smashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, Cranberry-Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting…and these are just from the Thanksgiving recipe section! There’s so much more, you’ll have plenty of delicious recipes to choose from and make throughout the year!
I decided to try the Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes, because I love the flavor of pure maple syrup and the maple-sweet potato combination just sounded wonderful to me! You may want to try this yourself at Thanksgiving. It’s a great side dish, both yummy and healthy. I love the natural sweetness of the maple syrup baked into those tender sweet potatoes! The recipe says to make this in a shallow 2-quart casserole, but the closest thing I had on hand was my glass pie plate. That worked fine, although I couldn’t quite fit all the potato slices in.
Here’s the recipe…hope you get a chance to try it over the holidays!
MAPLE-PECAN SWEET POTATOES (Gluten-Free, from Vegan Holiday Kitchen)
- 4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance or other non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
- 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- Leaves from 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Arrange the sweet potato slices in overlapping rows in an oiled shallow 2-quart casserole. In a small bowl, combine the syrup, margarine, juice, cinnamon, and salt. Pour evenly over the potatoes.
3. Cover with lid or foil and bake, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until readily pierced with a fork but still firm.
4. Scatter the pecans and rosemary leaves over the surface of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, uncovered, or until glazed and golden around the edges. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
What yummy side dishes are you making for Thanksgiving this year?