We decided to celebrate “World Vegetarian Day” yesterday with a hearty vegetarian entree. This macaroni is cheesy and crusty and saucy and flavorful and not terribly difficult or time-consuming. I grated the cheese and tore up the bread a little earlier in the day, to get it to come together even more quickly. I also microwaved the milk in a large, glass batter bowl (about 3 minutes,) which was a little quicker and more “hands off” than waiting for it to warm up in a saucepan. Recipe here. I added a couple of pinches of dried herbs (parsley, oregano and basil) to both the breadcrumbs and the cheese sauce and also a bit of dry mustard powder to the sauce.
Category: Side Dishes – Starch
Bacon and Butternut Pasta
This was really yummy, but we are a household (mostly) of veggie-loving folks. If you already love kale and butternut squash, you’ll love this pasta (the nutty Gruyère and luscious crème fraîche are a fantastic and classic combination). If you don’t, this recipe isn’t going to be the one to convert you (try this or this, instead). This recipe isn’t the simplest or the quickest (there is decent amount of peeling and chopping of kale, squash and onions and many of the components must be cooked individually first, before assembling the casserole,) but it was quite good. The red pepper flakes add a nice kick, too.
Flexitarian Note: I simultaneously prepared a veggie version of this for The Girl. I made a 1/4 batch (one pound of pasta, in total, for both versions) for her, cooking the onions in butter instead of the bacon grease. I cooked all of the pasta, kale, squash and sauce (substituting veggie broth, instead of chicken) together, then separated out 4/5ths of the mixture and just added the bacon and bacon-fat onions to that to create the carnivorous batch. I baked it in a smaller dish, but for the same amount of time.
If I haven’t scared you off, the recipe can be found here.
Mustard-Roasted Fish, Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli, Dill Fingerling Potatoes
I made all of the recipes out of this episode of Ina Garten’s show, except for the dessert, and they were all wonderful. I’ve always had good luck with her recipes and I really did have this on the table, start-to-finish, as Ina promised, in one hour.
New Potato Salad
This potato salad (recipe here) is one from Ina Garten. Every single one of her recipes that I’ve ever made has turned out beautifully and was delicious; that chick knows her stuff! I made this batch with Yukon Gold potatoes, because that’s what I had on hand today, but it really is better with new potatoes.
Quite possibly the least attractive dish that I’ve ever made…
But…wholesome, healthy and hearty, tasty and quick and easy to make.
It looks HORRID. It is something that I would NEVER serve to company, but it was good.
If, after that resounding endorsement, you’re still interested in making it, the recipe is here.
Black Bean Salsa from our friend A.F.
Black Bean Salsa
1 16 ounce bag frozen sweet corn, thawed to room temperature and drained
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, cooked until tender and drained)
1 large (or 2 small) white onion, finely chopped
one 10-ounce package cherry or grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
leaves from 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
3 large jalapeño peppers, minced (Remove seeds from 1 or 2 of the peppers before chopping to control the spiciness; the “heat” is in the ribs and seeds.)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
salt to taste (start with about 3/4 tsp)
Heat the butter over high heat in a large sauté pan until foamy. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is browned and very fragrant.
Place corn in a very large mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Toss gently to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Feel free to add a little cumin or a minced garlic clove or a little Adobo seasoning or chili powder, if that suits your taste. Of course, you can always adjust the proportions if you prefer less onion, more
Serve with tortilla chips (these are fun and hold lots of chunky salsa) or use
in quesadillas, soft tacos or nachos.
This recipe makes a HUGE batch, fit for a large BBQ or potluck, but it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days or the quantities are easy to adjust, if you’d prefer to make a smaller batch.
Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas
Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas
This is a great Giada recipe (recipe here). That girls never steers me wrong. Every one of her recipes that I’ve tried has turned out well.
If you use veggie stock, instead of chicken stock, this recipe would be vegetarian, but my vegetarian daughter was out for the evening, so I went the other way and added a cup of chopped ham. Really nice and made it more of an entree than a side dish. The Marsala flavor in this is really yummy and the crusty bread crumbs on top add something special to the warm, cheesy goodness of the inside.
Blueberry Farro Salad
Yum. Definitely not for everyone, but if you LOVE blueberries and you LOVE Indian flavors, as my vegetarian daughter does, you will love this salad. When I saw this recipe, I knew it had her name on it.
Couscous Salad with Chickpeas
Very quick, easy and tasty. I used halved grape tomatoes, instead of the chopped, ’cause we like those. Loved the subtle mint and cinnamon flavors.
Who Needs Lettuce? Greek Farro Salad
Greek Farro Salad
3/4 cup farro, cooked according to package directions, drained, rinsed and set aside to cool
1 and 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and slice into bite-sized half-moons
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
4 ounces fresh feta cheese, cut into large dice
1 batch of my friend Arnie’s Greek salad dressing
Gently toss all ingredients together until lightly coated with dressing. You may not need ALL of the dressing, so reserve a few tablespoonfuls and adjust as needed.