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Ham & Vegetable Porridge

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

As with a lot of our country we are experiencing an unusually cold winter. Unfortunately it’s been filled with lots of ice. So on those days that you just can’t get out of the house, let alone out of the driveway to get to the store, making porridge is a good way to bring up the mood in the house. For this porridge I used up vegetables that were on the edge of going bad and some leftover ham that I had in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Cajun 15 Bean Soup Mix
  • 2 Fennels, white part only, sliced
  • 12 Brussels Sprouts, quartered
  • 16 Baby Carrots, cubed
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • half a yellow onion, diced
  • half a bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 5 handfuls of kale, chopped
  • 3 cups or more of ham chunks
  • 2 quarts chicken broth

First of all rinse the beans the night before you’re going to make the porridge pick any debris from them. Then soak the beans over night in a large bowl covered by water. The next day drain and rinse and add with the other ingredients to the cooking pot.

In a heavy bottom large pot combine all of the ingredients, stir in the Cajun spice packet. Heat over medium heat until it starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer slightly covered for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The porridge needs to maintain a simmer and the moisture needs a place to escape. Stir a few times during the cooking process. The porridge is finished when the bean are extremely tender and fall apart when pressure is put on them. Generally my porridge is thicker than a stew.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Beans, Rice, Pork, Soups and Stews, Vegetables

 

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Butternut Squash Soup

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I was inspired by my Daughter-in-Law who spent her first Thanksgiving with me this year. I asked her what she would like to have at the dinner table for the holiday. Two dishes came to her mind. The first was corn pudding, which she made for us and it was so delicious there was very little left. The 2nd dish was a butternut squash soup. Well, I have never made this type of soup before so I asked around and a co-worker generously shared an old Women’s Guild recipe with me. I generally serve a special homemade soup the next day and invite my guest back for lunch. So I decided I would make this soup for that day. Plans changed, as they do in a lot of families. Some guest needed to go back to their homes the next day, others had already made plans.  Fortunately my Son and Daughter-in-law were my exclusive guest for the entire weekend. Sadly they too had other plans for us. We visited, we shopped, we went sight-seeing and ate our meals while out and about. Don’t get me wrong it was a fabulous time spent with the two of them, but I never made the soup. That is until this weekend. We had a major snow storm blow through our area and I was hunkered down in the house. What better time than now to make this soup. I doctored up the recipe that was given to me, I don’t know what compels me to do that, but I did.  It was well worth the work. Mark and I loved it thoroughly. Here’s my stab at Butternut Squash Soup.

Ingredients:   yields 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 TB salted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white parts only, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2″-inch pieces
  • 1 3/4 sweet corn kernels, drained if using canned, thawed if using frozen
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 3 to 4 TB heavy cream
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, heat the oil and butter together over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion and garlic, saute them until the onions become soft. Add the chicken broth, squash, corn, salt, nutmeg and cumin. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the squash is very soft.

Using a food processor or blender, strain off the vegetables and puree them until they are smooth. You may have to work in batches and possible use some of the broth to achieve a smooth consistency. Return the pureed vegetables back to the pot of broth. Over medium heat, stir in the cream and heat thoroughly for serving.

Suggestions: The original recipe suggested garnishing with chopped chives and molasses. I wasn’t sure about the whole molasses thing, maybe I’ll try that with the left overs. Now we would like to try garnishing with some shredded sharp cheddar. Or, how about adding some shredded turkey or chicken to the soup once the cream is added?

 
 

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Roasted Bourbon Glazed Vegetables

These vegetables turned out so good. Definitely will be adding this recipe to my Thanksgiving menu.

Roasted Bourbon Glazed Vegetables

Roasted Bourbon
Glazed Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • French Green Beans
  • Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB or so of Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • fresh rosemary, minced
  • fresh parsley, minced
  • about a half cup of Bourbon Sauce, heated over low (see my recipe)

Preheat your oven to 425 and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil that has been sprayed with a pan spray.

DSC_1674In a large bowl toss all the above ingredients except the Bourbon Sauce. Season with salt and pepper, spread out on the foil lined and sprayed baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes, toss and roast another 5 to 10 minutes until the squash is soft. When finished roasting move to a warm serving bowl and drizzle the bourbon sauce by a teaspoon over the vegetables. Drizzle as much or as little as you like.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Thanksgiving, Vegetables

 

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Caramelized Bourbon Cabbage

Caramelized Cabbage

Caramelized Cabbage

Caramelized Cabbage is wonderful on top of steaks, pork chops, chicken or even a brat sandwich. Adding the Bourbon sauce brings a great BBQ flavor to this dish.

Ingredients:    yields 4 servings

  • half a green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 2TB salted butter
  • salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Bourbon Sauce (see my recipe)
  • 1/4 cup honey

In medium skillet over medium heat melt the butter into the olive oil. Add the sliced cabbage, season well with salt and pepper, saute until it starts to brown. Whisk together the Bourbon Sauce and honey, pour over the cabbage. Increase the heat to medium high and stir until the cabbage is completely wilted and the sauce has not only thicken but has adhered completely to the cabbage.

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Oven steamed Cabbage & Squash

Oven Steamed Cabbage & Summer Squash

Oven Steamed Cabbage
& Summer Squash

Fall is upon us so the window for grilling outdoors is narrowing. I find myself wanting the flavors I find in my grilled foods but with the ease of cooking them indoors. That’s exactly how I found myself cooking cabbage and summer squash in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small green cabbage, cut into four wedges
  • 1 summer squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a couple tablespoon of herb butter (see my recipes)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • foil

Preheat your oven to 350. Lay out about double an arms length of foil.

Using a bowl, toss together the squash, onion and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Using your fingers press some of the herb butter into the sides of the cabbage wedges and season with the salt and pepper. Lay the vegetables in the middle of the foil and fold up to resemble a packet. Once sealed up, wrap with another layer of foil. Bake for 45 minutes, let rest 5 minutes before unwrapping. Careful when removing the foil as there will be hot steam escaping.

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Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

Baked Butternut  Squash Casserole

Baked Butternut
Squash Casserole

Every Friday I go down to the local farmer’s market. Mainly because our Amish friends are there selling their produce, but also because I love getting all their product. It’s so fresh and wonderful to cook with. This time my friend Donna Sue asked if I would like a Butternut Squash. Truth be told I don’t like squash but I took it anyways. (Didn’t want to be rude) Then I asked her how to prepare it? She told me just use it like a sweet potato. So here’s my first way of trying butternut squash.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Butternut Squash
  • 2 TB Sour Cream
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • DSC_15211 TB salted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • roasted seeds from the squash

Peel, cube and seed the Butternut Squash. Clean and save the seeds. In a large pot cover the squash cubes with cold water and boil until soft. (Toss the squash seeds with salt and ground black pepper and roast in the oven until lightly browned and crispy. I use my low broil setting and place them on a foil lined cookie sheet. Once roasted set aside for later in the recipe.)  When the squash is entirely soft, drain, but save a bit of the cooking liquid. Place in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer beat until smooth. You may need to add a bit of the cooking liquid to reach a smooth texture.

DSC_1527Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a small 1 quart baking dish.

Fold in the sour cream, cream cheese, butter, marshmallows, ginger and pumpkin spice. Place this mixture in your baking dish. Now in a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and the roasted butternut squash seeds. Sprinkle this over the squash mixture.

Cover the dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20-30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Casseroles, Thanksgiving, Vegetables

 

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Potato Cakes “Leftover Delight”

Fried Mashed Potato Patties

Potato Cakes

Over the years I have tried and tried to make potato cakes from left over mashed potatoes, never successfully. Well never successfully until now. I used my left over “Baked Mashed Potatoes” ….. and yes, finally, something I can’t get enough of.

Ingredients:

  • 9 to 12  patties made from leftover cold “Baked Mashed Potatoes”, about the size of a big biscuit, flattened.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a fork
  • bacon grease or vegetable oil

First thing, make sure the Baked Mashed Potato leftovers are cold, hopefully refrigerated overnight. Patty up the potatoes. I make them about the size of a big biscuit. In a bowl stir together the flour, Italian Bread Crumbs, salt and pepper. In second bowl, add your beaten eggs.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, then add your bacon grease, or vegetable oil if that’s what you prefer. But I promise the bacon grease brings another level of flavor that is wonderful. You’ll need it about 1/8″-inch deep. Fry on each side until golden brown. Serve hot or warm.

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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Breakfast, Left-Over Delights, Vegetables

 

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