Brown Rice Vegetable Casserole

 

 

Adapted from a recipe in Country Woman magazine; I left out the soy sauce, onion and garlic because I’m sensitive to these.  This dish works well for a potluck.

3 cups chicken broth

1-1/2 cups uncooked brown rice

2 cups chopped onions, divided

3 T. soy sauce

2 T. butter or margarine, melted

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

4 cups chopped cauliflower

4 cups broccoli florets

2 medium red peppers, julienned

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. oil

1 cup salted cashew halves

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, optional

In a greased 3 quart baking dish, combine broth, rice, 1 cup onion, soy sauce,  butter and thyme. Cover and bake at 350 for 65-70 minutes or until rice is tender. 

Meanwhile, in large skillet, saute cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, garlic and remaining onion in oil until crisp-tender; spoon over rice mixture. Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cashews and cheese, if desired. Bake 5-7 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 8-10 servings.
 This recipe can easily be halved. To save time and effort, and perhaps money given the cost of cauliflower these days, use frozen vegetables such as a broccoli/cauliflower blend.

Ode to the Parsnip (aka Root Vegetable Roast)

parsnip
image from thinkvegetables.co.uk

I snuck a parsnip yesterday.  And by that I mean I bought a single parsnip. It felt fantastic buying it (and a little naughty;)).  You see, it’s not a vegetable I eat often, given that my husband is not a fan of the parsnip.  (My husband is also not a fan of squash.  You should have seen me at a potluck we attended last week–there was spaghetti squash and my heart lept!  I proceeded to enjoy my portion – and my husband’s portion – of the same.  Plain spaghetti squash…so good). But I digress.  Back to my parsnip.  I paired it with carrots and roasted in the oven.  Roasting parsnip elevates this humble vegetable into a kind of caramelized sweetness.   I realize this is more of a fall dish, but with the rainy, stormy weather we’ve been having lately in Southern Alberta, it has felt more like fall than summer.

2 carrots, and 1 glorious parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks

1 T. oil

salt, pepper, spice mix

Place in a pan and toss together.  Roast at 400 F for about 20 minutes.  Serves one.

Summer Pasta Salad

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This is very versatile; any combination of vegetables you have on hand can be used.  You can also add cooked chicken or shrimp or, if you are vegetarian, TVP, for a complete meal.

3 c. cooked pasta such as penne (gluten free or other)

1/2 medium zucchini, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

3 mushrooms, chopped

1 c. diced cucumber

1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed

1 T. each walnut pieces and sliced almonds

2 T. sunflower seeds

1/4 c. raisins

Dressing

1 – 2 T. dried dill

1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt, thinned with a little milk

1/2 package Simply Organic Ranch dip

1 T. creamy cucumber dressing

 

Combine pasta and remaining ingredients except dressing in a large bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over pasta salad.  Stir well.  Refrigerate until chilled.

Colorful Quinoa Salad

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1 c. quinoa

2 c. water

Combine quinoa and water in large pot, bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Let cool.

In large bowl combine the quinoa with the following:

2 c. diced cucumber

2 c. diced pepper

1/3 c. toasted sunflower seeds

2/3 c. toasted sliced almonds

1/2 c. raisins

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained (reserve juice)

 

Dressing:

Combine in a jar or other container with a lid, shake well, pour over salad.

1/3 c. reserved mandarin orange juice

1/4 c. olive oil

1 T. each dill, Italian spice blend

1 tsp. mustard

1 tsp. lemon juice

salt and pepper

 

Serves about 8 – 10 as a side salad

 

Salad Rolls {Gluten Free}

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After a friend of mine made salad rolls and brought them to our luncheon a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to try making them myself. These are nice as an appetizer or even a main course when it’s too hot outside to cook.

Recipe and instructions:

You will need a package of rice paper wrappers. I bought mine at a health food store but it’s likely these are available in less expensive stores such as Superstore in Canada.

First prepare your filling ingredients. You will need:

Shred or slice thinly one cooked chicken breast or cooked pork. Cooked shrimp will also work. Slice very thinly (or shred) an assortment of vegetables. Here I used a pepper, cucumber, and green onions. Quantities used for  the vegetables were about 1/2 pepper, 5 or so green onions, and about one-third of an English cucumber (which was enough for 10 salad rolls) Also, about a tablespoon of broccoli slaw and a leaf of fresh basil per wrapper was also used.

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Fill a large bowl with warm water. Take the individual rice wrapper and soak it for 5 seconds in the water. Place the wrapper on a plate or the counter and let it sit for 30 seconds to soften.

Then, fill wrapper with a small amount of each of your ingredients, placing the ingredients near the bottom of the rice wrapper. The rice wrapper pictured below likely had too much filling; I tended to over fill mine and then, when it came time to eat them, they became “deconstructed salad rolls.”

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Carefully draw the sides of the filled rice wrapper towards the middle. Then fold the bottom in towards the middle and roll up.  Lather, rinse, repeat for as many rolls as you have filling for.  I had enough filling for about 10 salad rolls.  Cover with saran wrap once you’re done making the rolls so they do not dry out.

**Salad rolls are pretty versatile. Today I made them using shredded carrots, thinly sliced pieces of romaine lettuce, pepper, broccoli, and leftover canned salmon.

Enjoy with peanut sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Peanut Sauce:

1 c. water (GF chicken broth could also be used)
2 T. cornstarch
¼ c. peanut butter
1 T. oil
2 T. wheat free / GF soy sauce
2  – 3 T. Thai sweet chili sauce or to taste

Whisk together in a small pot and heat over medium heat until peanut butter is melted. If this becomes too thick, add  a little more water or broth.

Cheesy Kale and Leek Casserole

Ornamental Kale blooming in January in Washing...
Ornamental Kale blooming in January in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a fan of overly bitter tastes. I’m also not a fan of overly sweet tastes but that’s another blog entry.  I find kale super bitter. Somehow, this recipe takes the bitter taste out of the kale. This recipe is from Cheryl, a friend of mine.

3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped

1 leek, cleaned well and sliced

2 T. butter

2 T. flour

1 c. milk

1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Place kale in a large pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.  In the meantime, saute the leek in 2 T. butter in large skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add 2 T. flour and 1 c. milk to leek – butter mixture and cook until thickened.    Add cheese and kale to the white sauce mixture. Pour into a large casserole dish and bake, uncovered, at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Grilled Asparagus

 

English: Asparagus bundled
English: Asparagus bundled (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s asparagus season.  Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables — if fresh, young, and prepared properly.  Old asparagus that’s tough and woody or that awful, mushy, asparagus-from- a- can is very unpleasant and nearly inedible.    We’re able to purchase local asparagus (a crop not normally grown in Alberta) from the farmer’s market.  Edgar Farms has perfected growing asparagus  — a cool climate vegetable — along with other great vegetables. For more information, visit their website:  http://www.edgarfarms.com/

 

1 bundle asparagus

 

1/4 c. oil

 

2 – 3 T. good quality balsamic vinegar (if your balsamic vinegar is quite reduced, thin it by adding an equal amount of water)

 

1 – 2 T. spice blend

 

 

 

Wash asparagus and trim ends.  Place in a container. Mix oil, vinegar and spices together  and pour over asparagus.  Marinate for an hour or two, turning the asparagus at least one to ensure as many of the pieces are covered in marinade.

 

Grill on your indoor grill on mid-max for 4 – 6 minutes. Barbecue on medium until a bit brown but still tender-crisp.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Tomatoes

 

Adapted from “The Girl Can Cook”

So simple, so good.

¼ c. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ c. grated Parmesan cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ c. finely ground breadcrumbs

12 – 18 small to medium tomatoes

 

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and cook breadcrumbs and stir around for a minute or two to toast.  Remove from heat and cool.  Preheat oven to 400.  Stir the grated cheese into the crumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cut the tomatoes in half and remove any large, obvious cores with a paring knife.  Set the tomato halves in a shallow baking dish and season with salt and pepper.  Spread some of the crumbs over each half.  Bake until crumbs are golden, about 5 – 10 minutes.  Serves about 6.

Pomegranate and Feta Salad

1 head romaine lettuce

1 bunch spinach

Seeds of one pomegranate

1/4 c. toasted pine nuts or pecans

1/2 c. crumbled feta

Dressing
1/3 c. olive oil

1 T. red wine vinegar

2 T. maple syrup

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp oregano

salt and pepper

Rinse and spin dry the lettuce and spinach. Rip or chop and place into a large bowl. Toast nuts in a non-stick pan on medium low until they brown. Add to the bowl of greens along with the feta and pomegranate seeds. Combine dressing ingredients in covered jar or container, shake well.  Serve dressing on the side or pour onto the salad.

Serves about 10

Tips and Notes:  Buy a package of the pomegranate arils (the little seeds). Getting the arils out of the pomegranate is a major pain in the butt.  I’ve used packaged baby spinach and romaine in place of the head of romaine and bunch of spinach. I’ve also walnuts in place of the pecans or pine nuts.

Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or the equivalent canned or fresh)
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.