Category Archives: Vegetables

Yummy Vegetable Pasta (Slow-Cooker Recipe)

Cooking in a crock pot is so easy and convenient, and there are lots of great recipes you can make. I found some really good ones to try in my review copy of the new cookbook Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. There are lots of great full-color photos in this book that has 100 slow-cooker recipes which include:

  • Vegetable Pot Pie with Biscuits
  • Lasagna in a Soup Bowl
  • 4-Cheese Artichoke Dip
  • Honey Baked Chicken
  • Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
  • Garlicky Mashed Red Potatoes
  • Cider-Baked Apples
  • Pumpkin Spice Créme Brûlée

Such a great variety of recipes to choose from! I decided to try the Yummy Vegetable Pasta because I was in the mood for something comfort food-like, and this sounded like just the thing to make! The recipe was easy to follow and the only thing I did differently was add a cup of chopped zucchini, since I happened to have that already. Fresh sliced green beans would be a nice addition, too, if you want to add in an extra veggie or two.

This pasta dish smells great while it’s cooking. And you do have to stir it well before serving, since the spaghetti may clump together a little. But it’s very good and cheesy and yummy, just like the recipe name says! 🙂

YUMMY VEGETABLE PASTA from Stock the Crock (with a few little changes)

Makes 6 to 7 servings

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, with juice or 1 quart canned stewed tomatoes, with liquid (I cut the stewed tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped zucchini and/or 1 cup sliced green beans
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound spaghetti or fettuccine, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided (if you want this dish to be extra-cheesy, use 3 cups!)
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons sliced fresh chives, for garnish

Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, stir together the chopped onion, chopped green bell pepper, stewed tomatoes with their liquid, sliced mushrooms, and oregano (also stir in the chopped zucchini and/or green beans, if using).

Place 1/4 of the vegetables in the bottom of the crock. Top vegetables with half of the pasta, breaking pasta, as needed, to fit. Sprinkle the pasta with half of the Cheddar cheese.

Spoon in half of the remaining vegetables. Top with the remaining pasta, breaking the pasta as needed; the remaining Cheddar cheese, and the remaining vegetables.

In the bowl used to mix the vegetables, whisk together the soup and milk. Pour over the ingredients in the crock.

Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until the vegetables and pasta are tender.

Before serving, stir the sauce through the pasta and vegetables. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Scatter fresh chives on top just before serving.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t take super-long to make–3 1/2 to 4 hours isn’t bad for a slow-cooker recipe. Have you been making any great-tasting meals in your slow-cooker?

Sharing at Inspire Me Monday.

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Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables

I eat raw veggies with dip every once in a while, but my favorite way to eat veggies is when they’re roasted. I just love them that way! They’re so easy to make–just cube or chop the veggies into bite-sized pieces, coat with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar/herb mixture, spread them out on a large sheet pan, and roast in your oven. I like using a variety of veggies–if you don’t like a particular veggie in this recipe, you can always substitute a different one. So this recipe is versatile as well as easy! If you’re growing a vegetable garden, this is a great way to use those home-grown veggies!

SHEET PAN ROASTED VEGETABLES by NancyC

Makes a large 13×18″ pan (about 8 servings)

  • 2 medium size potatoes, cubed (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini (slice 1/2-inch thick and cut slices in half)
  • 1 small yellow squash (slice 1/2-inch thick and cut slices in half)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 to 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium size yellow or red onions (or 1 of each), quartered, with pieces separated
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil (use 1/3 cup for a lighter coating of oil or 1/2 cup for a generous coating)
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a 13×18″ sheet pan with foil or parchment paper; set aside.

Chop vegetables as indicated and put in a very large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix rosemary, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the vegetables in the large bowl and stir until all the vegetables are coated.

Spread the vegetables evenly on the sheet pan and roast in the oven at 450˚F for 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until veggies are tender. Season with additional salt and/or pepper, if desired, and serve.

These veggies are so good, it’s hard to stop eating them. At least they’re healthy though, so if you eat a big helping you don’t have to feel quite so guilty! Are you a fan of roasted vegetables too or do you like eating your veggies another way?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots

I’ve never been very crazy about raw carrots. But I do like them cooked or roasted. So when I found this recipe for Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots in my review copy of No Excuses Detox, I knew I wanted to make them! As the subtitle says, this book includes 100 recipes to help you eat healthy every day.

Written by Megan Gilmore, No Excuses Detox features recipes that are quick and easy, affordable, and yummy–not the kind of recipes you’d expect to find in a “detox” cookbook. In fact, I was surprised that there are recipes for lots of comfort food-type foods with a healthy twist–like Butternut Mac n’ Cheese, Skillet Breakfast Hash, Speedy Black Bean Burgers, and even Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Lots of great recipes to choose from! But the Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots recipe was calling my name and I had just bought some organic rainbow carrots at Whole Foods, so it was the perfect time for me to try this out.

I used large carrots when I made this, but you can slice your carrots or use baby carrots and if you do, your cooking time will only be about 10 minutes. Since I used large carrots I had to cook mine a little longer. So here’s the recipe–it’s a great way to eat your carrots!

CINNAMON-GLAZED CARROTS from No Excuses Detox

The addition of cinnamon and naturally sweet maple syrup makes these carrots taste like dessert, plus they can be ready in just 15 minutes!–Megan Gilmore

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound baby carrots, sliced carrot coins, or halved large carrots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

In a Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the water, which should start bubbling right away, and lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook the carrots for about 10 minutes, until fork-tender (note: since I used larger carrots, my cooking time was more like 15 to 18 minutes). Check the pot periodically to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate so the carrots don’t burn.

Once the carrots are tender, raise the heat to cook off any excess water, then stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt (adjust seasonings to taste). Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

There are other recipes I want to try in this book. It’s always nice when you can make great-tasting food that’s good for you, too. Do you have some favorite healthy recipes of your own?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday.

Cheesy Mixed Vegetable Casserole

Cheesy Mixed Vegetable Casserole @NancyC

This past holiday season, I went to a special Christmas lunch where one of the items they served was a vegetable casserole side dish. It was really, really good. One of my co-workers decided to try making one herself and she talked about how good it was. So I finally decided to try my own version of a mixed vegetable casserole and if you like comfort food and cheesy side dishes, then you’ll really like this recipe! I added lots of cheddar cheese and made a crunchy topping that includes crumbled Ritz crackers and those yummy french fried onions. This is a great potluck dish or something your whole family would probably eat up in no time!

CHEESY MIXED VEGETABLE CASSEROLE by NancyC

Makes about 10 servings

  • 1 (19-ounce) bag of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained (I used Birds Eye Steamfresh® Fresh Frozen Mixed Vegetables)
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed, and drained chopped broccoli (or substitute more corn, peas, or carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery ribs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup french fried onions (or you can use 2 cups of french fried onions or 2 cups of Ritz crackers)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9×13″ pan or baking dish; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the thawed mixed vegetables, broccoli, onion, celery, mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, mushroom soup and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese, blending everything together. Spoon into your 9×13″ pan.

Sprinkle the last cup of shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the vegetable mixture. Then combine the crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter, mixing until crumbly, and sprinkle that evenly over the cheese. Last, sprinkle the french fried onions evenly over everything.

Bake at 350˚F, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, and serve.

This casserole is so tasty it really is hard to stop eating it! With all the cheese and toppings, it’s not low-calorie, but it’s nice to indulge in when you’re craving comfort food on a chilly day. And it makes a great side dish for the holidays or any time of the year for that matter. Have you made any comfort-food type dishes this winter?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets

popcorn-cauliflower-nuggets-nancyc

This recipe had me at the word “popcorn,” being the popcorn-lover that I am. But it actually doesn’t have anything to do with popcorn; it’s a roasted cauliflower recipe, flavored 61lqkjHsHuL._SX402_BO1,204,203,200_with some spices that really give it some punch–chili powder, cumin, and paprika. I found this recipe in The Quick Six Fix, a cookbook by Stuart O’Keeffe that has 100 easy recipes with six ingredients, six minutes prep time, and six minutes cleanup. That’s my kind of cooking!

The Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets recipe calls for an 18 x 26″ pan, and the largest size pan I had was 13 x 18,” so I halved the recipe below. I loved the spicy taste of these nuggets! It was hard to stop eating them, they were so tasty. The recipe says it makes 4 to 6 servings, but if you’re really hungry and you really like these, it may just make 2 servings! 🙂

POPCORN CAULIFLOWER NUGGETS from The Quick Six Fix

Serves 4-6

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, broken into popcorn-sized florets
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place a rimmed 26 x 18-inch baking sheet on the center rack in the oven and preheat oven to 425˚F.

Place all florets in a Ziplock bag along with the rest of the ingredients. Shake and toss well to combine. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and empty the bag onto the piping hot baking sheet.

Return the pan to the oven for 25 minutes, or until cauliflower is browned all over.

I liked these cauliflower nuggets more than I thought I would, and I’ll definitely be making them again! What’s your favorite way to fix cauliflower?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Blue Cheese Dip

Blue Cheese Dip @ NancyCIf you like thick, creamy dips and blue cheese, you’ll have to try this! This Blue Cheese Dip is made with plain Greek yogurt (or you can substitute light or fat-free sour cream). I like to use fat free Greek yogurt. I know not everyone is a fan of blue cheese–in fact, people seem to either really love it or hate it. I’ve always liked it. Actually, I can’t think of any kind of cheese that I don’t like! 🙂

This is a good recipe for summer, if you want to have a snack with fresh veggies. It’s good with crackers or chips, too. And it would also be yummy with something spicy like buffalo chicken wings. It’s super quick and easy to make and if you have time, you’ll want to make it a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it–for some reason, this dip seems to taste better when made ahead!

BLUE CHEESE DIP by NancyC

Makes about 1 2/3 cups (tastes best when made a day before serving)

  • 4 oz. finely crumbled blue cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream (or 1/2 cup of each)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste; you can also add in some garlic or onion powder too, if you like!

In medium size bowl, mix blue cheese crumbles with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Add in the lemon juice and mayonnaise, blending everything well. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Spoon mixture into serving bowl and serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve–it tastes best if you make it the day before serving it!

Serve with crackers, veggies, or chips. Also tastes great with spicy foods like Buffalo Chicken Wings!

So are you a fan of blue cheese too? Do you have a favorite blue cheese recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Show and Share.

Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potato Casserole @ NancyC

I made this sweet potatoes casserole this past Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I was kind of craving it again, even though you normally don’t think of having sweet potato casserole in January! But it’s one of those classic comfort food recipes and we had some cold winter days last week, so I thought, why not? Why not make a sweet potato casserole in January? Besides, it’s such an easy side dish to put together!

I used a little more sweet potatoes and made this casserole in a 9 x 9″ pan, slightly smaller than the 12 x 8″ pan the original recipe from Pillsbury said to use. I don’t have a 12 x 8″ pan, and a 13 x 9″ pan is too big for this. So that’s why I used 9 x 9.” It work out fine, although I’d probably use a 12 x 8″ pan for this casserole if I had one. Using two 29-ounce cans of sweet potatoes might seem like a lot, but it’s really not that much when you drain and empty them out of the can. They fill up a 9 x 9″ pan quite nicely, and in a 12 x 8″ pan, you have a little more room to spare to nicely tuck in all those marshmallows!

MARSHMALLOW-TOPPED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE by NancyC, adapted from Pillsbury

Makes a 9 x 9″  or 12 x 8″ pan

  • 2 (29-ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 15 to 16 large marshmallows (or use an equivalent amount of miniature marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ pan or baking dish (or use a 12 x 8″ size) with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon sweet potatoes into your greased baking dish. Pour melted butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt, then top with marshmallows.

Bake at 350˚F for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are completely heated and marshmallows are lightly browned.

I think my marshmallows got a little more browned than they should have. Next time I make these, I need to remember to lower my oven rack a notch below the middle and see if that helps keep them from browning so much–or maybe I could cover the casserole with foil the last ten minutes of baking. Any other ideas?

I really love the way the butter and brown sugar blend and give the sweet potatoes an almost caramely coating! And of course the melty marshmallows are the perfect topping! If you are a sweet potato casserole fan, then you may have already made something similar to this recipe. But if you haven’t, you’ll want to try it! Don’t feel like you need to wait till next Thanksgiving! 🙂

So are you a sweet potato fan?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Onion-Roasted Potatoes

Onion Roasted Potatoes @ NancyC

This is a super-easy recipe I found a while back on the box of a Lipton® Onion Soup package. It’s so good! And I also like it because you don’t have to peel the potatoes–just leave those skins on and cut them into chunks! This is a very versatile side dish–you can serve these potatoes at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Many friends have asked me for this recipe over the years, and I posted it several years ago but didn’t have a very good photo of it– so this is a re-post of the recipe with a new photo. I also added suggestions on other ingredients you can add to these potatoes if you want.

ONION-ROASTED POTATOES adapted from Lipton®

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 lbs. of potatoes (about 4 medium or 3 large), cut into large chunks
  • Optional: 1/3  to 1/2 cup finely chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup non-GMO canola or light olive oil

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Add all ingredients in a gallon-size plastic ziploc-type bag. Seal bag and shake until all the potato chunks are evenly coated with the oil/onion soup mixture. Then put potatoes in a 13 x 9″ baking or roasting pan and discard the bag. Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

FOR BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH: These potatoes are great served with a breakfast casserole and fruit salad for a filling breakfast or brunch. After roasting them, you could add 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh chives and/or mix in some crumbled bacon if you want to make the potatoes a little fancier.

FOR LUNCH AND DINNER:  For lunch, these potatoes are great with just about any hot sandwich that you would serve french fries with–and they’re probably healthier than fries. It’s a great potato side dish for dinner, too. If you have cheese-lovers in your family, you could sprinkle some cheddar cheese on the potatoes after they’re done roasting, and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes, just to melt the cheese a little. Yum!

These potatoes get eaten up pretty quickly, so you may want to think about making a double batch in a larger baking pan if you’re cooking for more than 4 people.

Hope you enjoy them! Have you made roasted potatoes before?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Simply Sundays, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Sunday Features, Create With Joy, Show and Share, Handmade Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Inspiration Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Share Your Style, Feathered Nest Friday, Fabulous Foodie Friday.

Three Bean Salad

ThreeBeanSalad@NancyCreative.com It’s hard to believe summer is almost here! Some days have already been hot and humid–too warm to cook or bake. So that’s when I start thinking of recipes to make like Three Bean Salad. It doesn’t require any cooking at all and is super-easy to make. It’s a great summer side dish for lunch or dinner and perfect for picnics. I decided to try sweetening my version with honey instead of white sugar and that worked out well. You need to make this salad at least 4 hours before you serve it, to give the salad time to marinate…and this is one of those recipes that tastes better the longer it marinates. So making it the night before you serve it works out great, too.

THREE BEAN SALAD by NancyC Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped (chop both the green stems and the white onion tip)–or you can substitute 1 medium chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • Optional: 1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons honey, depending on how sweet you want it (or substitute 1/2 cup white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In large bowl, add drained and rinsed beans, then add the chopped green onions and bell pepper; toss all ingredients together with a large spoon. In another bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; whisk together or, if using a jar with lid, shake ingredients together well. Pour this dressing mixture over the bean salad mixture, tossing gently to coat everything well. Chill in your refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight before serving (the taste gets better the longer it marinates). Stir and toss mixture several times as it is marinating. Toss mixture once more right before serving.

Salads like this are great for summer! I really like making no-bake recipes when it’s warm outside. What easy warm-weather recipes do you like to make? Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday.

Green Pistachio Smoothie

ncGreenPistachSmthienm Because of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been seeing lots of green when it comes to recipes the last few weeks! A lot of them have pistachios as an ingredient, and I love pistachios! So I thought I’d try them in a smoothie. A green smoothie, of course, with a healthy blend of milk, yogurt, honey, frozen banana, baby spinach leaves, and pistachios. It’s a lightly sweet, creamy smoothie that doesn’t taste super-spinachy. If you’re put off by green smoothies, you might want to give this one a try–it has less of a veggie taste than others I’ve had. You do have to do a wee bit of planning ahead to make this by putting a banana (or half of a banana) in the freezer the night before you make it, but otherwise this is super quick and easy to make!

GREEN PISTACHIO SMOOTHIE by NancyC Makes 1 (10-ounce)  serving

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or use soy milk; use 1/3 cup if you want a thicker smoothie)
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or use soy yogurt)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana, broken into chunks
  • 1/2 cup well-packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios (plus a little more for sprinkling on top)

In a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass, top with a light sprinkling of pistachios, and serve. Makes about 10 ounces.

Have you made any green smoothies? Do you have a favorite recipe for one? Hope you are having a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Linked to Let’s Get Real Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Sunday Showcase, Full Plate Thursday.