I actually had a dream about this recipe and when I woke up I couldn’t help but get a little excited about the idea of creating a recipe from my dreams. This turned out far better than I dreamed (ha! pun! but a TRUE pun!) and will make it’s way into regular rotation. My sweetheart grilled up a couple of pork chops to complete this meal (because apparently we like more pork with our bacon), but you could treat this as a vegetable-laden main course if you like.
Butternut Squash with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
(I really would like to call this B-Cubed, but no one but me would know what the hell I was talking about.)
Makes 4 servings (as a side, makes 2 as a main course)
1 medium butternut squash
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Brussels Sprouts (I counted 16 in my “pound”)
1 white onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and dice butternut squash into 1/2″ cubes. Spread onto rimmed baking sheet in an even layer, drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 30 minutes until soft.
Rinse Brussels sprouts and remove any damaged outer leaves. Slice as thinly as possible with a very sharp knife or mandolin. Stop about 1/2″ from the butt of the sprout when you start to see more core than leaves. Slice the white onion as thinly as you can and then quarter each ring of onion.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Add onion and garlic and stir a few minutes until translucent. Add Brussels sprouts and stir another 2-3 minutes. Add chicken or vegetable stock, turn heat to high, and cover for 4-6 minutes. Add the white beans, salt, pepper, and dry mustard and stir to combine. Remove from heat and keep covered.
When butternut squash is done spoon a small layer onto each plate, top with a little pile of the Brussels sprouts mixture, top with Parmesan, a spoonful of slivered almonds, and bacon crumbles. Serve hot.
*If you cook your bacon in a skillet (instead of in the oven or, my personal preference, on a George Foreman grill) you could saute the onion-garlic-Brussels-sprouts mixture in the leftover bacon grease instead of olive oil.
The perfect summer appetizer, these little Caprese bites only take a little time to put together and will be a huge hit at your party.
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half horizontally
Fresh Mozzarella balls, sliced in half if they are biggish
Fresh basil, ripped into smaller pieces
Wooden toothpicks (preferably not the colored party-style ones)
Balsamic vinegar (or balsamic glaze if you can find it or make it…much thicker, less liquidy)
Get an assembly line going and skewer a little piece of basil, a bit of Mozzarella, tomato half, more Mozzarella, and top with basil. Set onto a pretty tray and start your next skewer.
When you’ve run out of tomatoes, or cheese, or basil (or toothpicks, heaven forbid), drizzle the whole thing with your balsamic vinegar or glaze and serve immediately.
Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge–without the balsamic–covered tightly in plastic wrap until ready to serve.
A quick, delicious vegetarian meal that can be thrown together on a busy weeknight, providing you already have some spaghetti squash roasted and scraped into noodles waiting in the fridge, which I usually do. Adding some store-bought sauce (mine is from Trader Joe’s) and a couple handfuls of fresh spinach completes a tasty, filling meal.
Spinach and Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat
Toss in roasted spaghetti squash* “noodles” and stir occasionally until hot.
In the meantime, cut fresh spinach into ribbons, you’ll want about one handful per person.
Toss into the skillet with the squash and stir a bit to wilt. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. (Remember that squash needs more salt than noodles to be truly savory.) Pour in enough sauce to cover your noodles and spinach well, stir for a minute or three until heated through, and dish up onto your plate. Top with grated Parmesan and fresh cracked pepper.
*If you do not already have a roasted spaghetti squash in the fridge, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and slice the squash in half vertically. Scoop out the seeds and strings and place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour in about a cup of water, enough to cover the bottom about 1/2″ deep, and bake, undisturbed, for 30-40 minutes. When cooled drag a fork the length of the inside of the squash to release the noodles. Freezes well. Keeps in the fridge about a week.
Sometimes you happen across a combination of flavors so deliciously amazing you must wrap it all up in tortillas, smother with sauce, and consume immediately.
Hang on, because this is one of those times.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 of a medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into tiny 1/2″ cubes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup corn (if using frozen corn rinse with beans to thaw a bit)
1 red bell pepper, minced
16 oz jar of salsa verde
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup diced cilantro
1/2 cup shredded cheese (pepperjack or monterrey jack or cheddar or whatever you please, I used pepperjack)
2 or 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach, sliced into ribbons
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
10-12 flour tortillas
Additional shredded cheese for topping
Peel and dice the squash into 1/2″ pieces, you want them tiny because it helps to get all the flavors in each bite. No one wants a bite of enchilada that is entirely squash. Spread the pieces evenly on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of cumin. Roast 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Meanwhile, chop and measure everything else and mix together in a large bowl, do not dump the whole jar of salsa verde into the filling, just about a half cup (you’ll use the rest later). When the squash is done roasting mix it in as well. Spread a bit of salsa verde (1/3 cup) on the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan. Place a few spoonfuls of the filling on each tortilla, roll, and place seam-side down in the pan. Make them cozy now, you don’t want them breaking open and losing all that veggie goodness. When you’ve filled up your pan dump the rest of the salsa verde over the top, sprinkle with some cheese, and bake uncovered for 30 minutes until heated through.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!
I have recently fallen in love with making curries at home, they are ridiculously easy (saute onion and garlic, add spices, add veggies) and are a really good way to use up all the extra vegetables in the fridge. Last week I was flipping through an Indian cookbook that has more or less languished on my bookshelf and came across a recipe for “Red Pepper, Spinach, and Chickpea Bhaji.” Now, I looked up the term bhaji and it was nothing like the picture with that particular recipe, but I did like the idea of making a curry with a chickpea base (sometimes called channa in Indian cooking, or at least, according to both the index of my book and a quick Google search). This is what I came up with, and it was absolutely delicious and would be super easy to make as a complete vegetarian meal.
Red Pepper & Zucchini Channa (Chickpea) Curry
1-2 TB olive oil (or sesame oil, or sunflower oil, whatever you have)
1/4 to 1/2 a large white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
1-2 teaspoons salt – more to taste
1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I also try to take most of the skins off because they are slimy and gross)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into chunks
1 small zucchini, sliced into rounds and then quartered
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
(optional) 1 pork chop or 1 chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
Heat oil in large frying pan, add onion and garlic and stir until soft (2-3 minutes). Add all spices and stir another minute or two. If you are using raw meat, add it now and stir until nearly cooked through. Add chickpeas, red pepper, zucchini and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until liquid is almost gone, 4-6 minutes. If you are using meat that is already cooked, add it now and then heat through and serve with naan or chapatis.
I have been dreaming up all sorts of ways to substitute cauliflower for rice and got the idea to try sauteing it with a bit of onion, garlic, and broth and using as a side for fish (and Brussels sprouts). This was a very excellent idea, the cauliflower was fluffy and soaked up a lot of the flavor from the broth. My next attempt, I think, is to try and make Spanish rice with cauliflower. Eeep!
Savory Cauliflower Rice
1-2 TB olive oil
1/4 onion, minced super tiny
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 section green bell pepper, diced
1/2 head cauliflower, rough chop
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 TB apple cider vinegar
1 TB salt, 1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Other seasonings as desired (chives, thyme, oregano, dry mustard, cumin seeds, etc. Whatever strikes your fancy.)
Using food processor or one of these things turn the cauliflower chunks into a coarse meal that resembles chunky rice. Heat olive oil in medium skillet, when oil is hot (not smoking) saute onion, garlic, and pepper until soft (2-3 minutes). Add cauliflower, broth, and seasonings. Turn heat to high and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is evaporated (10 minutes or so). Splash with vinegar, taste, and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. Turn heat to low until ready to serve.
Makes 2 servings.
A few weeks ago a couple of friends met J-Mo and I at a small, organic restaurant in our neighborhood. As we were looking at the menu, D., my old roommate, mentioned that their Brussels sprouts starter was absolutely delicious, each couple ordered their own plate. Twenty minutes later when the plates arrived, filling most of the empty space on the table, D. remarked “You realize that is $25 dollars worth of Brussels sprouts, right?”
They were worth it! I’ve only had boiled Brussels sprouts, but roasting them until the outside leaves are a little charred and crispy brings out a sweetness in the sprout that you don’t get by boiling them. I immediately decided to try and recreate this appetizer and I think I have had fairly good success!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Slivered Almonds
1/4-1/2 white onion, sliced thin, rings quartered
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed
3/4 cup slivered (or sliced) almonds
salt and pepper
2-3 TB apple cider vinegar
Trim and halve the sprouts, toss with olive oil, onion, and almonds. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes, until sprouts are to desired roastiness. Splash with 2-3 TB apple cider vinegar and serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.