It must be getting colder. My feed is full of recipes for hearty soups and desserts. Honestly, I am doing my share of baking and cooking soups too. However, I am trying to balance out the heavy soups and sweet desserts by trying new vegetable recipes, like this one. Simple vegetable dishes I can throw together quickly. Vegetable dishes that use up the bits and pieces of leftover vegetables I have in my fridge.
1 teaspoon butter or ghee (omit if can’t tolerate dairy and add a little more oil)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
½ red or brown onion, sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely diced
3 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves or torn English spinach leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg (optional, but nice)
Drizzle of lemon juice, right at the end
Heat ghee and olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms and onions. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomatoes, lemon zest, garlic, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for a further 2 minutes and press tomatoes down with a spatula until lightly smashed. Finally, add the spinach and stir through. Cook until the spinach is just wilted. Season with a little more salt, if you like, and drizzle with some lemon juice right at the end. Serve with eggs or your choice of protein such as sausage, steak, chicken or fish.
Before I started eliminating processed food from my diet, Suddenly Salad Bacon Ranch pasta salad appeared on my table almost weekly. It was quick, easy and, best of all, cheap. What more could you ask for? I was really disappointed that Suddenly Salads couldn’t be part of my diet anymore.
What I didn’t know then is that homemade Bacon Ranch pasta salad is just quick, easy and cheap as the boxed stuff and best of all, devoid of unnecessary chemicals the manufactures feel need to be there.
Last week I gave you a recipe for a homemade ranch dressing mix. You can use that here. You could also buy a package of Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix or use already prepared ranch salad dressing mix here also. Also, feel free to add or eliminate any vegetables you want.
Bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Add shell pasta and carrot; boil for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together, the peas, ranch mix, bacon bits, onion powder, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Add pasta and carrots. Stir together until everything is coated. Chill and serve.
Every 6 months or so, I do a pantry cleanse, where I plan all my meals around what is in my pantry for a certain amount of time. Once I run out of an item, I am out until the cleanse is over. I am only allowed to buy milk, eggs and produce.
The idea behind a pantry cleanse is, obviously, to use what you have. Beyond that, a pantry cleanse forces you to become more creative and stretch your culinary boundries as you run out of things.
On June 1st, I started a 2 week pantry cleanse. As I was sorting through my pantry, I came across a partially used bag of bulgur. I have no idea why I bought it or what I used it for. It was there and I had to find a use for it.
I started my search for something to do with bulgur by googling it. The most common result was for Tabouli, a bulgur salad. That was disappointing because I have tried Tabouli before and wasn’t a fan.
I tried the recipe I found on the Whole Grain Gourmet because it was different from the typical tabouli recipe in its addition of cinnamon to the dressing and total lack of cucumbers. The flavors are clean and bright. The salad didn’t get watery and the flavors didn’t get diluted. All in all, a very satisfying summer salad.
1/4 cup bulgur
3/4 cup parsley, minced
2 TBS mint leaves, minced
2 1/2 TBS green onion, minced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup boiling water
In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water and bulgur, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes. Mean while, mince or dice the vegetables. Place in another bowl. In small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients, mix well. Combine the vegetables and dressing, toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
I am well known among my family and friends as being unconventional. I don’t drive. I refuse to have a credit card, even for “emergencies”. I don’t have a microwave. I have a noisy flock of 3 cockatiels, 7 parakeets, a gerbil and 2 foster rats. I recently left a position I held for the last 6 1/2 years to become a cake decorator. I love to bake and cook and do it at least once a day, every day.
Of all my unconventional traits, it’s the cooking and baking that most often get me into trouble. Not trouble exactly, but when you have the reputation of being a good cook and baker, you can’t just buy something to take to someone’s event. It always needs to be homemade.
I like to make these pickles as an unconventional hostess gift when I am invited to dinner or a barbecue. I like them because unlike most quick pickles, these are tangy, not sweetish.
The only bad thing about these pickles is Kirby cucumbers are only available for a limited time in the summer. Although, you can occasionally find them at random times the rest of the year, like I did with the Kirby cucumbers I used to make the batch of pickles in the photo. Don’t try to use regular cucumbers with this recipe. They just don’t work for this recipe.
4 kirby cucumbers
½ cup cider vinegar
2 TBS kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 cups water
Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices. Combine 2 cups water, the vinegar, salt and sugar in a non-reactive bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers ensuring that they are completely covered, add more water if necessary. Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cucumbers to a colender and rinse with cold water. Divide the cucumbers garlic, peppercorns and mustard seeds between the 2 pint jars or other non reactive container with a lid. Pour the brine over the cucumbers ensuring that the pickles are entirely submerged. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. The pickles can be kept, refrigerated for about 1 month. 2 pints or 1 quart.
I debated for quite awhile if I should post this recipe or not. First of all, its not a small batch recipe. It makes a lot. Second, it seemed too simple, well, because it is simple.
Whenever I make this recipe for people they can’t believe it has only three ingredients and tastes so good. I have even been accused of leaving ingredients off the recipe so I can keep it and all the praise for myself. I swear this is the complete recipe.