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Category Archives: Side Dishes

German Baked Beans For a Crowd


~Photo by Jessica Rose~

Last Saturday was our 37th annual Davis Family Pig Roast.  (My maiden name is Davis, FYI.)  This family reunion was started four years before I was born, and now the responsibilities have been passed on to the next generation and I’m on the planning committee and have been in charge of creating & sending the invitations for the last five years.

The remaining Davis siblings (RIP Jimmy, Doris, and Mary): Margie, Nadene, Donnie (the one who started the pig roast), Ruby, and my Dad, Jon.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

The younger generation that runs the roast nowadays.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

The pig roast is an all day affair, starting early in the morning when a few good men get up at the crack of dawn to put the pig (prepped the night before) on our custom roaster, and it doesn’t end until well after dark, with everyone gathering around a bonfire to drink, chat, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

We spend the day mostly talking, though there are things you can entertain yourself with, such as Bingo, swimming in the lake, bike riding, or walking.  The main event however, is the afternoon meal, which we eat when the pig is done.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

Dennis leads us in a prayer before the meal, and then it’s on.  Well, after you stand in a really long line, then it’s on. :)

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

First we go inside where all the sides that family have brought are lined up on tables…

Then we go outside to the table where the meat has been cut up and laid out, along with garlic bread.

Then we go back inside (or take a chair outside) to chow down.

Some people bring the same thing every year, and I love that because it gives you something to look forward to.  Like Aunt Ruby’s Garlic Salad.  It just wouldn’t be the Pig Roast without her garlic salad (which she actually doesn’t even  make herself any more, her son Tyson does it for her!).   Then there’s people like me, who make something different every year.  This year I decided to bring a big crockpot full of German Baked Beans, which I found the recipe for on The Better Baker’s blog.  I knew when she posted it that it’d be perfect for our reunion, and I was right.  It was devoured!

Dennis said he could taste the saurkraut (and liked it), but if I hadn’t made it and couldn’t see it in there, I would have had no clue.  These beans are sweet and so good with the onion and sausage in them, but if you’d like more sass to them, you can try skipping the rinsing on the saurkraut and that might give them a bit of a zip.  This is how I made them in the crockpot for a crowd.  If you’d like the oven-baked, regular-sized recipe, you can click the link to Marsha’s blog at the end.

German Baked Beans For a Crowd

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2 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
2 (15 oz) cans baked beans
2 (14 oz) cans sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 (14 oz) package kielbasa sausage, sliced & quartered

Combine all ingredients in a 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours, removing the cover during the last hour to let some of the liquid evaporate if desired.

Alternately, you can halve this recipe for a smaller crowd and bake it in the oven. To do this, preheat oven to 400F and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish, coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake uncovered for 1 – 1-1/2 hours.

Recipe source: The Better Baker

I just love my family!

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American Potato Salad

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Haus and I grilled a ton of meat last Saturday (we feel like we’re wasting the charcoal if we don’t load the grill up at least twice) and while it was grilling, I made up a batch of this potato salad from the current issue of Cook’s Illustrated. Reader Kerry C. gifted me with a subscription to Cook’s Country (LOVE it!) for Christmas, and they sent me a complimentary issue of the regular Cook’s Illustrated mag this month-lucky me!

We were starving since we started grilling late, and as soon as the potato salad was mixed together, I took a big bite and hollered for Dennis to come taste it. We agreed it was the best potato salad EVER! We polished off the entire batch, which equals about a pound of potato salad each, and ended up skipping the meat. This potato salad was so good, it turned into our dinner for the night and we just refrigerated all the meat to eat as leftovers throughout the week.

The potato salad was so good I made a second batch within an hour of making the first one, because I knew we’d want it to go with our leftover meat. Luckily we made the second batch last for two whole days, which is like a miracle, people. This potato salad is good. If you don’t have a great recipe for classic American potato salad, Cook’s Illustrated has got you covered. They tested every ingredient, every method, and every amount to get it just so for us. Thank you Cook’s Illustrated!

American Potato Salad

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Printable recipe with picture

2 lbs. (3-4 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise (see note)
3/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
3/4 teaspoon celery seed*
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (optional)

*You can use celery salt in place of the celery seed, omitting the 1/2 teaspoon salt from the dressing.

Place potatoes in large saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.

Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl. Add vinegar and, using rubber spatula, toss gently to combine. Let stand until potatoes are just warm, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together celery, onion pickle relish, parsley, mayonnaise, powdered mustard, celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Using rubber spatula, gently fold dressing and eggs, if using, into potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour; serve.

Veronica’s Notes: We actually ate the first batch warm and I prefer it that way, though it’s great cold too.  Cook’s Illustrated says the salad can be refrigerated up to one day. Well ours was just fine after two days and I’m sure it would be great after three or four days.

Recipe source: Cook’s Illustrated

Barley with Butternut Squash, Apple & Onion

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This is one of the “meals” (it’s really a side dish but I like to eat it as a meal) I’ve been making for years and usually resurrect come fall/winter.  My family absolutely loves it too, even my little nephew (or at least he did at 4 years old, the last time he ate it)!  I appreciate delicious vegetarian meals that satisfy me and this one fits the bill fo sho. The combination of the creamy squash, chewy barley, crisp red pepper & apple, and the contrasting savories and sweetness–it’s all just magic to me.  And I guess if a four year old boy will relish something that only contains unrecognizable healthy ingredients, it is pretty magical.

Barley with Butternut Squash, Apple & Onion

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3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup uncooked barley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, peeled & diced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, diced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth

Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan; add barley. Cover saucepan and simmer barley until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add squash and cook, stirring often, until it’s starting to soften–about five minutes. Add the onion and red pepper and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Stir in apple, garlic, thyme, black pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, until apple is almost tender, about 2 minutes; stir in broth, scraping bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Stir in cooked barley; toss over low heat to mix and coat. Remove from heat and serve.

Serves 4, about 1 cup per serving.

Per serving: 192 calories; 4.2 g fat; 0 g cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 5 g protein; 5 Points Plus

Recipe source: WeightWatchers.com

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts for An Edible Mosaic’s Virtual Book Launch Party

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Ever since my blogging buddy, Faith, announced that she’d gotten a cookbook deal, I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release.  Pins and needles, I tell you.  The day finally came and her cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flare, is now available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  I’ve been following Faith since I started my blog and it’s been pretty surreal to watch her blossom and become so successful, eventually publishing her very own cookbook.  I’m so thrilled for her!  It is an incredible thing to fulfill your dreams.

Faith Gorsky, photo by Michael Safarini

From the title of her book, you may have guessed that Faith is from the Middle East.  Well, Faith was born and raised in America!  After getting married, she spent six months living in the Middle East where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region.  Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. If you didn’t grow up eating Middle Eastern food, it can be a difficult art to master; Faith understands that, and explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts, photo by Faith Gorsky

An Edible Mosaic contains over 100 Middle-Eastern recipes with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East.  As part of the virtual book launch party, I’m joining with other bloggers to announce her book’s release and share  her recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts from the cookbook (click the launch party link to enter all the giveaways from sponsors on Faith’s blog!).

I made the rice to accompany a simple dinner of roasted chicken and a green salad, and it was fabulous.  She says the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are optional but I highly recommend them.  (I didn’t have the whole spices but added pinches of the ground spices.)  While I’ve never traveled to the Middle East, I felt like I brought a piece of it to my own kitchen as soon as I opened the pot and the fragrant steam wafted up.  The savory rice in combination with the spices & sweet bits of plump golden raisins had me wishing for a complete Middle Eastern meal, and I’ll surely be cooking one up as soon as I have my hands on the cookbook.

FYI, I had some of the leftovers for breakfast, heated with almond milk as a hot cereal.  It was good, I promise!  And vegan & gluten-free, too. :)

If you are interested in getting your own copy of the cookbook, please click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble links above, and don’t forget to head on over to the launch party headquarters on Faith’s blog!

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
ROZ MLOW’WAN

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

 OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

Mixed White & Yellow Rice, photo by Faith Gorsky

VARIATION

Mixed White and Yellow Rice
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) uncooked basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 pods cardamom, cracked open
2 whole peppercorns
¾ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
1-2 pinches saffron threads or ½ teaspoon turmeric dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

  1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan, cover and place over moderately high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the rice, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the boiling water to the rice, turn heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to very low, and cook 10 minutes (don’t open the lid during this time).
  4. After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer 1/3 of the rice to a separate bowl.
  5. Stir the saffron or turmeric-colored water into 1/3 of the rice (the rice will turn yellow). Mix together the yellow rice and white rice; serve.

KFC Coleslaw

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I put random photos throughout the introduction that have nothing to do with anything except the happenings in my life. Hover over for a brief description

I haven’t been blogging much and at first that was really nice, deciding not to blog when all I wanted to do was sleep, clean, spend time with the hubs, play Wii with my nephew, go to the lake with my family, etc.  It was very freeing, recognizing that it was my choice.  But last week, though I didn’t post at all, I really missed it!

I finally got a “permanent” schedule at work (“permanent” because it is still subject to change, based on the demands of the PO), 2:30-11 PM M-F with weekends off (praise God for that!) and I’m trying to go to bed right after getting home each night so that it won’t be as hard to get up early on Sunday mornings for worship.  So that was the main reason I held off blogging, because my intentions were good, to go to bed early, but then I’d get caught up in email/Facebook/Pinterest and I still ended up staying up till 3-4 AM each day, making it also impossible to blog in the morning since I slept through it.  And yes, Sunday was a very tired day for me, as always. Week 1 of trying to go to bed early: FAIL.

So I still don’t know how regular I”m going to be while I’m trying to get on a schedule that will allow me to get up at 8 AM each day with 8 hours sleep, but ultimately my posting time will likely start to be in the late morning/early afternoon as I switch from scheduling my posts for 8 AM the night before, to publishing after typing them each day before work.

Anyway, I’m happy to share something with you today and sorry for the rambling personal introduction that has nothing to do with coleslaw!  Oh wait!  If you can wait one more second, I have something else to share.  When I came home from work after a really bad day almost two weeks ago, I found a package waiting for me on the kitchen table.  It was the kitchen tile I won from Kudos Kitchen by Renee!  It was the happy ending I really needed that day.

She painted it from this image I sent her that I found on Pinterest:

I was pretty demanding for someone who won something (i.e. got it for free!), asking if she could make the colors a deeper red, green and blue to match the colors in my kitchen, and I even went so far as to ask her to change the font to a fancier one.  She didn’t complain at all and I’m totally thrilled with the tile and with Renee.  If you want to check out her work, visit her Etsy shop here.

Thanks for putting up with me today–it’s hard trying to write a short blog when you’ve been silent for so long!  Onto the coleslaw.  Finally!

I’m not a huge coleslaw fan, but I have always liked KFC’s coleslaw.  Have you met my sweet teeth?  (I usually claim they’re all sweet, but a few of my molars are actually partial to savory foods. ;))  Yeah, I think they enjoy the sweetness to it.  So when I volunteered to bring the coleslaw to our family’s July 4th celebration, I searched for a KFC copycat recipe and found one on Amanda’s Cookin’.  I was pretty stoked to find it there, because I already follow Amanda’s blog and have much love for her since she started the Secret Recipe Club, which I enjoy participating in every month.

This coleslaw is just like KFC coleslaw!  So good!  And if you have a food processor, man, this comes together in 10 minutes or less.  Even easier, you could just buy that bagged coleslaw mix and use the dressing on it.  Either way, this is a winner and my family raved over it.  Dennis and I ate an entire batch of it last week, so you know we love it too.

KFC Copycat Coleslaw

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Printable recipe with picture

Slaw
1 head of cabbage
2 medium carrots, peeled (about 1/2 cup shredded)
2 tablespoons dried minced onion

Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Chop cabbage into chunks, discarding the core, and run through your food processor using the shredding blade, or chop fine.  Empty into a large bowl.  Chop the stems off the carrots and shred them too, then add to the cabbage along with the minced onion.  Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a large bowl, whisk well, and pour over the slaw.  Stir well, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving to allow the flavors to marry.  Serve cold.

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from Amanda’s Cookin’

Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

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It’s been a while! And I’ve noticed I’m not the only one blogging less–it seems summer time is a busy time for everyone and I’m no exception.  Except I haven’t been busy with obligations–I’ve been busy having fun!  That’s the best kind of busy, right? :)

I’ve been enjoying my nephew’s baseball games, we celebrated my PIL’s 50th anniversary, we’ve been biking and walking, I’ve been baking for bake sales, birthdays, and banana bread experiments, and we’re going to Lake Afton every chance we get.  When it’s this hot, the only thing I want to do is soak in the sun’s heat on the beach (with SPF 1,000 sunscreen, of course) and then cool off in the water.  Love it so so much!

I haven’t been cooking very much, but this corn salad is one of the dishes we’ve enjoyed lately.  I love eating cool foods on hot days and fresh corn in the summer is so yummy in any form!  This salad has a a Mexican vibe to it and the flavors are great.  You can make it as is for a side dish, or turn it into a meal by adding some leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken.  Fabulous!

I added so much chicken and tomato to my salad that the corn was hardly the main feature any more!

Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

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4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
8 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (and seeded if desired-the seeds will add more heat)
1/2 recipe (about 6 ounces) Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: chopped tomato and leftover rotisserie chicken

Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large stock pot. When the water boils, add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse and then add to a large bowl. Toss together the corn, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper, and crumbled cheese. Toss with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, gently toss in the avocado and season with salt and pepper. Serves 10-12.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

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1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar*
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems removed

In the jar of your blender, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until ingredients are completely combined. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add cilantro and blend until the cilantro has broken down but still maintains some of its texture. Serve with greens, on any type of Mexican salad, or use as a marinade.

*Reduce sugar to 2 teaspoons if using seasoned rice vinegar, which contains sugar.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Greek Salad

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Since this is my first blog of the week, I hope you’ll forgive me for skipping Thankful Thursday in favor of a recipe for Greek salad.  I made it months ago and kept forgetting to share it, but now that the weather is heating up and cool, crunchy salads are especially appealing, I knew it was now or never.

I’ve eaten a lot of Greek salads at restaurants and they are always lettuce salads with kalamata olives, red onions, tomatoes, and feta cheese.  This salad has the same elements but the lettuce is replaced with chopped peppers and cucumber.  The result is a crunchy, more fulfilling salad–it really feels like you’re eating something other than air with some toppings.  And it’s so delicious!  My husband’s favorite salad is a Greek salad and he really went wild for this, somehow managing to eat all but the little bit I managed to grab for myself before he basically confiscated the whole bowl and started murmuring, “My preeeecious.”

It makes a wonderful side dish for a Mediterranean meal and I’ll be sharing the recipe for the chicken I served it with tomorrow.

Greek Salad

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Dressing:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic (from a jar is fine)
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

Salad:
1 large cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed then chopped
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
12 large kalamata olives, quartered
1 cup diced green pepper
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion
3.5 oz good quality feta cheese, diced

Mix the dressing together and store at room temperature until ready to serve, preferably overnight to allow the flavors to develop. Combine salad ingredients, shake the dressing and add half of it, then gently stir everything together. Add more dressing to taste.

Recipe source: Eat Little, Eat Big

***

P.S. As you can see from the video ad below, I’ve been approved for participation in WordPress’s WordAds program.  I’ve been blogging with WordPress for more than two years without having any affiliates or any other monetary support.  I never thought I would want ads on my blog, but I applied for this program on a whim since applying doesn’t mean you’ll get accepted or that you even have to do it if you get accepted.  I was approved and I decided to try it out on a trial basis.  The two commercials I have watched were tasteful and well done, one was actually really informative, comparing our country’s standard of living to other countries with statistics, and I do like that it is optional to my readers to watch them, so I hope you enjoy the ads you do choose to watch.

My reason for not having ads until now has been a fear of turning my blog into work instead of something I do for fun, turning my concentration from creativity to money.  So far there’s no difference in my thinking, so maybe I can make a few cents while I’m having fun without it spoiling my fun. :)

Cauliflower Colcannon

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I’m linking this post with the GreensLove bloghop.  If you are posting a recipe with any sort of greens this month, check it out and join the party!

A couple years ago I made lasagna and garlic bread for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day and happened to mention it in my Facebook status.  I don’t really celebrate the holiday, so it wasn’t on my radar, but one of my Facebook friends was like, “Hey! Where’s the corned beef and cabbage???”  I’d never made any sort of Irish-type food whether on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, and thought I just might try it the following year.

And so I purchased my first beef brisket last year.  It turned out to be the worst brisket in the history of briskets.  It. was. horrid.  I still shudder just thinking about it.  (80% fat, with a foul flavor.)  But, I also made this cauliflower colcannon, which was very good and ended up being the main course rather than our side dish.

The pureed cauliflower serves as a lower-carb, more nutritious replacement for the mashed potatoes that colcannon is usually made with.  I opted for kale instead of cabbage in my colcannon, but it would be good either way.  This made a mighty tasty dish, and a good alternative to traditional colcannon if you are going to be eating a high-calorie dessert afterward.  Kinda helps balance things out.  And I’m a Libra, so I’m all about balance.  Cauliflower Colcannon + 1 dozen Andes Mint Cupcakes = balance.  Right?  Right.  Let’s do this.

Cauliflower Colcannon

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1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 lightly packed cups kale, cabbage, or other greens
½ cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
Milk or heavy cream for thinning, if necessary

Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, clean and cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until very tender. Drain the cauliflower well and pat it very dry between several layers of paper towels, not allowing it to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt, and pepper until almost smooth. Set aside.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add the greens. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until greens have wilted and given off some of their water. Add the onions and garlic and cook one minute more. Stir in the cauliflower mixture and thin with milk or cream, if necessary. Serve hot with a pat of butter, if desired.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

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Someone asked me about the “mashed potatoes” I served with the Steak au Poivre yesterday, and how I kept them so white. Well, the secret is that it wasn’t mashed potatoes! Since the steak itself seemed pretty rich, I decided to keep the sides healthy and low-calorie, and served it with roasted asparagus and this creamy mashed cauliflower.

I have made mashed cauliflower before that has cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and butter in it, but I wanted to make it a little lighter this time. There is still a bit of butter, but also an equal amount of heart-healthy olive oil, and the cauliflower gets its creaminess and mild tangy-ness from nonfat Greek yogurt, giving it a closer taste to potatoes in that it reminds me of a baked potato with sour cream…minus the potato flavor. This dish definitely won’t fool you into thinking you’re eating potatoes, but it is delicious in its own right.  I actually like the taste of it even better than the higher-fat version, not to mention it’s much healthier.  To prove it’s not just me and my own weird tastes that finds this dish tasty, my husband heartily approved of the creamy cauliflower, despite being an avid mashed potatoes aficionado, polishing off a generous pile of it just as fast as he did the steak!

*Note: I updated yesterday’s steak recipe because I forgot the first and most important step in cooking them (letting them rest at room temperature prior to cooking to help ensure a tender steak).  If you saved the recipe or plan to make it, please revisit it and save the new instructions.  Sorry for the inconvenience of my memory lapse!

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

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1 head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon salt
Snipped fresh chives or parsley for garnish (optional)

Separate the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover, and steam until tender, about 15 minutes. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment, add remaining ingredients, and process until smooth and creamy. Serve hot with a sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley, if desired.

*Veronica’s Note: using nonfat yogurt and milk is perfectly fine!

Recipe source: adapted from Eating Well

My Eggland’s Best Birthday Brinner, Bacon Devilled Eggs & a Giveaway!

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Last month, Eggland’s Best contacted me to see if I would like to participate in the “Eggland’s Best Double Dozen” in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, to help raise awareness and funding for the fight against breast cancer.  To participate, I would host a brunch or brinner party using their eggs and blog about it.  Well, Dennis’ Aunt Dorothy is a breast cancer survivor and so I would have agreed simply because they offered to make a $100 donation in my name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, but they sweetened the deal even more by sending me a box of goodies, including free egg coupons, and a gift card to pay for all my ingredients!  It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. :)

I decided to host a brinner party for my birthday with the money and free eggs they supplied me.  I got enough coupons to give to all my guests, and to make all my egg-y dishes.  Since the weather has been so nice, I decided to have an outdoor dinner and though it rained the day before, the weather behaved itself in honor of my birthday and was quite nice the day of the celebration!

The only problem was that I started dinner too late, forgetting the sun sets earlier in fall, and we ended up eating most of the meal by moonlight!  Learn from my mistake, and be prepared with candles if your outdoor dinner party runs late.  I have to say, though, it was a relaxing and unique experience.  You will see from the photos that I had less and less daylight as they become more and more terrible. I apologize for that!

The first thing I made was poppy seed crescent rolls, which calls for four eggs.  It’s a recipe I’ve been holding onto for a few years which comes from the recipe box of none other than my heroine, Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Did you know she has a cookbook?

I’m sorry to report they were disappointing. Everyone said they were “good,” or “OK,” and I agreed.  If I hadn’t put a lemon glaze on them, they wouldn’t have been worth eating.  They weren’t bad, but they weren’t good enough to share the recipe.  But they did turn out pretty!

I got the hashbrown casserole and two spinach-ricotta quiches in the oven and while they were baking, I shot some pics of my birthday “cake,” a Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte, which I topped with good-quality raspberry preserves because I adore the combination of dark chocolate and raspberries.

I’ve made this once before for Dennis’ birthday long before I was blogging, and I’m happy I finally made it again so I could take pics and share the recipe. It is just outstanding.  Creamy, melt-in-your mouth rich chocolate, the texture lightened with whipped eggs (6 of them, which is why I chose this for my brinner–because I could use so many of the Eggland’s Best eggs in it!) and butter.  And those are the only ingredients!  This is for the serious chocolate lover.  It’s like eating a slice of chocolate truffle or mousse.

I did a fall tablescape because of the time of year, and I saw this cornucopia and had to have it in honor of my blog’s name. :)

After shooting this, we added two more chairs, just in case you counted the plates and were wondering why the chairs didn’t add up.  :)

And in honor of my blog’s Thankful Thursdays feature, I just had to have this pumpkin too!

I am thankful that breast cancer does not run in my family, and that my husband’s aunt survived it with flying colors!  She seems even healthier now than before the cancer and she is an inspiration.

While we were waiting on the food to finish baking, my nephew, Owen, and I posed for some silly photos with the plush egg that Eggland’s Best sent me.  Someone please warn me if those are gang signs he’s making!  lol It’s so funny because his mama used to do the same crazy things with her hands in photos that he does now.

By the time the quiche was done, the sun was nearly set so the following photos are awful!  Here is the spinach-ricotta quiche,which I wasn’t overly impressed with anyway so I don’t regret not having great photos to blog the recipe with.

The hashbrown casserole (à la Cracker Barrel) was another story!  This was my favorite dish of the evening.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had it at Cracker Barrel, so I’m not sure how close this was in taste but without comparing the two, I thought this was incredible.  So creamy and cheesy.  Oh, yums.  Thankfully there was a tiny bit leftover so I was able to snap a picture at home the next morning in better light for when I share the recipe!

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared a picture of Owen’s mama, my sister, Lacey, so here she is for the curious, digging into her food:

I didn’t bring the veggies out until later, so here is a picture of my plate before they were added.  You can see I also have meatballs on my plate, and they’re the same ones I bring to almost any party.  I have the recipe here.  The cups, though not filled yet, later housed iced coffee with sweet cream, which I made by combining a can of sweetened condensed milk with a cup of heavy cream. Yums.

I finally took off my apron so you can see my shirt.  I wore my hot pink tank top underneath an Aerosmith (who just happens to have a song called “Pink!”) net shirt in honor of breast cancer awareness month and the purpose of the party.

The crazy thing is that I wore this exact same shirt on my birthday last year for my 80s themed party!  This is me and my sisters at my party last year (Lacey is in the middle-she was a redhead last year-and Danielle on the right):

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/65795_480086506479_541706479_7296860_3623895_n.jpg

Here is the only photo which hints that we ate vegetables!  I just nuked some Green Giant steamers and we poured them out onto our plates.  We couldn’t see anything anyway, and we were kind of like barbarians in the dark, as you can see from the devastation of the table. LOL!


After all these photo shenanigans, I realized I forgot to serve the bacon devilled eggs!  I ran in and brought them out and forced everyone to take them, despite their full stomachs.  Although I was sure these would be the winning dish of the evening, I guess devilled eggs are either a love ‘em or hate ‘em thing, even if they have bacon in them.  I love devilled eggs and along with the others present who did too, I loved these!  The bacon and cheese really made the filling good enough to eat with a spoon as a meal.  :)  I took this photo of the leftovers in better light:

Bacon Devilled Eggs

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

10 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise (I used homemade Miracle Whip)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used regular)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used 1)
8 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled into tiny pieces (um…I used a lot more :) )
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
Smoked paprika for topping

Hard boil the eggs and cool completely. Once cooled, peel them, then slice in half, placing the yolks in the bowl of a food processor. Plate the egg whites on a serving platter. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar to the egg yolks, and process until smooth. Add the bacon and cheese and process until combined. Season to taste.

Transfer to a small Ziploc bag and snip off the corner to use as a piping bag. Squeeze filling into each egg white half. you will have a lot of filling so be generous with it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving.

Recipe source: Cairns Manor

OK, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  As the title of this post suggests, I have a giveaway for you!  Eggland’s Best is offering to award one of my readers with a prize pack which includes:

  • 2 Free EB Dozen coupons (Any variety- classic, cage-free, or organic)
  • 1 Free EB Hard Cooked and Peeled variety coupon
  • 4 EB ramekins
  • 1 EB apron
  • 1 EB whisk
  • 1 EB spatula
  • 1 EB egg timer
  • 1 EB eco bag
  • 1 EB plush egg

If you would like to enter to win, leave an inspiring comment below, or share how you contribute to raising awareness or funding for breast cancer.

For additional entries you can do one or all of the following, and be sure to leave a separate comment for each, letting me know you did (or already do) it.

Drawing will end Friday at 11:59 PM, and winner will be announced Saturday along with the winner for this week’s Postcard Project prize.  Good luck!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Britany!

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