Category Archives: Side Dishes

Vegetable Couscous Salad

Please note: this post was written last week, so the “today” and “yesterday” are not literal. Thank you for understanding.

ImageDon’t you love the concept of devouring a huge salad? It’s a gorgeous concept—dozens of flavors, textures, and colors, all tossed into one enormous mound. For you. For your hunger and your health. And if salads make you happy, it’s for your happiness, too.

I’ve become a salad fanatic lately, but I have a hard time coming up with new combinations. Sometimes a salad is a salad is a salad. Our side salads are usually lettuce, carrots, purple cabbage, avocado, and nuts. My main dish salads consist of…well, whatever I feel like putting on them. (If you’re really interested, my lunch salad today was lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot, meatloaf, orange bell pepper, and poppy seed dressing. It was fantastic.)

Right now, however, I’m going to tell you about yesterday’s salad. The salad mentioned above is not the All-Gong Oriental Salad of the title. Let me tell you about that one.

I feel like making a huge salad and eating it like a starving herbivore. (Well, not exactly.)

I grab The Two Sisters’ Cookbook and go to the Salad section.

I see the All-Gong Oriental Salad.

I start mixing. Not sure how much of all the ingredients, so this is a non-recipe.

Be advised: This recipe is NOT the same as the All-Gong Oriental Salad in the Two Sisters’ Cookbook! I just used that recipe for ideas and inspiration.

Vegetable Couscous Salad

Salad:

Lettuce, chopped

Carrots, diced

Green onion, sliced

Black olives, sliced

Broccoli, chopped

Frozen peas, thawed

Purple cabbage, chopped

Couscous

Fresh ginger, grated

Dressing:

¼ cup water

1 – 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch

Soy sauce

Lemon juice

Brown sugar

Rice wine vinegar

Fresh garlic, minced

Toss desired amount of salad ingredients in a large bowl. As you can tell from the pictures, I went heavier on the vegetables and lighter on the couscous. But that can change!

For the dressing, combine water and cornstarch. Microwave a minute or two, stirring frequently, until the mixture is bubbly and thick. Whisk in several tablespoons (each) of soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar. Toss in a little garlic. Drizzle over the salad and toss well. I would recommend chilling the salad for awhile, but yesterday I didn’t have time.

Now you can devour the salad!

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In case you’re wondering, I don’t like the calories of normal oil-and-vinegar dressing, so I prefer to thin them out a little with a cornstarch-and-water mixture. Thinner dressings go farther on my salads.

I’d like to know…

What do you like to add to your salads?

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Ah. It’s so satisfying to post, isn’t it?

See you next time!

rachel

“Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).

Special Green Beans

Do you ever want to make something different but not too weird? Or an everyday dish that’s dressed up a little?

Thursday, I was in charge of making lunch for my dad, brother, grandfather, and sister. Meatloaf, baked potatoes, apple slices, and bread made up the menu. Green beans sounded like a good idea, but I did NOT want plain, boiled green beans with a little butter and salt. Vegetables should be delicious. And please, please, PLEASE don’t smother low-calorie vegetables with butter and cream cheese and cheese sauce!

I found a recipe that helped me get started: The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole. Please note, Special Green Beans are not vegan, but please be assured that they are quite healthy. I’ll include nutrition at the bottom of the post.

I had fun mixing up this dish, and I probably enjoyed them more than the rest of the family did. (That’s probably because I’m a vegetable lunatic!) Ah. Green beans covered with a creamy sauce speckled with onions, mushrooms, and bacon bits. Oh yes, and don’t forget the cracker crumbs on top! That’s an idea I got from The Pioneer Woman, but I just realized that she put crackers on broccoli, not green beans. Oh well!

Let’s get on to the recipe!

Special Green Beans

1 pkg. (probably 12 oz.) frozen green beans

2 tsp. coconut oil, olive oil, or butter

1/2 cup onion, diced

3 mushrooms, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 slice turkey bacon (I used Applegate Farms)

1/2 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 T. cornstarch

Salt and pepper to taste

4 crackers (like Ritz, I used Late July)

Boil the green beans in salted water until tender, 7-8 minutes.

In a small saucepan, saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic in oil until vegetables are wilted. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine milk, chicken broth, and cornstarch. Add to vegetables; cook and stir until sauce is hot and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain green beans and place in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over them. Crumble the crackers on top, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Nutrition Facts: (1/6 of a recipe) 76 calories, 2.7g fat, 1.6g saturated fat, 2mg cholesterol, 11.1g carbohydrates, 3.1g fiber, 3.3g protein.

Try these out if you’re looking for something new to do with green beans! Remember? Something different but not too weird. An everyday dish that’s dressed up a little.

What is your favorite thing to do with green beans?

Well, that’s all for now!

Because He lives,

~rachel~

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta Recipe

You’re seeing this recipe title and you’re thinking, “Weird.” So did I. But I was so intrigued I had to try it. Another one of my during-harvest-cook-for-myself recipes. It probably has something to do with my pasta craze.

The combination of flavors is…interesting. The pumpkin and sage reminded me of autumn, the mushrooms added a new dimension, and the sausage…… I won’t say anything about the sausage, because (confession time!!!) we were out of all sausage, so I substituted a part of a hot dog. Truly. Please forgive me. Back to the pasta…Parmesan cheese is the perfect complement.

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta Recipe for 1

Taken from Taste of Home

2 oz. whole wheat pasta (obviously, I used penne, Taste of Home used bowtie)

Sausage (not sure about the amount, an ounce or two would probably be enough)

2 fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 T. onion, diced or onion powder to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/8-1/4 tsp. rubbed sage

Salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

3/4 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Dash cayenne pepper, optional

1 T. Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a small greased skillet, lightly saute sausage, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, pumpkin, sage, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Add pasta and pumpkin mixture to sausage. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until hot and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese; serve immediately. Unless, of course, you take pictures and the pasta gets cold and you have to reheat it in the microwave. Yield: 1 serving

Maybe I should post some harvest recipes – things I make for the cotton harvest crew, not things I make for myself during cotton harvest. That would require me to take pictures, which takes time, which I’m usually a bit short of when suppers need to get out the door. And harvest meals aren’t made for beauty.

That is a possibility for future posts, though.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you people reading this blog! I hope it’s a blessing to you!

Have fun cooking,

~Rachel~

Spinach Pesto Penne

I cook weird things for myself. Really. My family walks in, looks at my plate, and asks, “What’s that?” The answer to that question can be quite long and/or disturbing.

Please don’t be disturbed about Spinach Pesto Penne. Be adventurous. It’s  delicious…and healthy…and GREEN. It’s a combination of my pesto craze and my pasta craze.

Spinach Pesto Penne for 1

2 oz. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked a la dente

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup 2% milk

1 cup spinach

1 – 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1-2 T. pesto

Salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley to taste

Dash cayenne pepper, optional

1-2 T. parmesan cheese

In a food processor or blender, combine chicken broth, milk, spinach, cornstarch, pesto, and desired herbs. Place cooked pasta in a small saucepan; pour spinach mixture over it. Cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly and the sauce coats the noodles. Stir in Parmesan cheese until it’s melted and creamy. Eat and enjoy. Yield: 1 serving

I ate it all. I highly recommend it.

I know the pictures are a bit dark. I had no natural light, I’m afraid.

Please excuse all the appearance changes. I want to play around and find a look I like for my blog!

See you next time for another pasta recipe!

~Rachel~

Roasted Broccoli

Oh, how I love broccoli. Oh, how I love broccoli. Oh, how I love broccoli.

Please don’t tell me you torture your broccoli. Broccoli has feelings, just like the rest of us.

It doesn’t mind being served raw. It likes making you feel healthy as you munch and graze through it.

It loves being steamed until crisp-tender, then flavored with butter and herbs. Just loves it.

Broccoli, however, hates being fully cooked and then served all limp and sick-green. Just hates it. That’s how you torture broccoli….you cook it on high for 20 minutes until it mushes in the bottom of the pot. Please don’t.

But Broccoli’s favorite way to be cooked is this: ROASTED. It just can’t be happier than when it’s tossed with olive oil and minced garlic and roasted in a hot oven until it’s seared, tender, and crispy on the edges.

I realize that this broccoli doesn’t look happy. It’s hard to make it look happy when you take a picture of it. But just know that it is, all the same.

Roasting broccoli is so, so easy.

1. Cut your broccoli into medium-sized florets.

2. Place it in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil.

3. Mince up some fresh garlic and sprinkle it over the broccoli. Add a little salt and pepper if you’re so inclined.

4. Stick it into a 425- or 450-degrees oven. Let it roast for around 10-15 minutes until it’s just tender. Don’t overdo!

5. And there you have it. Dump it into a serving bowl and feed it to your ravenous family before it gets cold.

You will love it as much as the broccoli does.

Forever and always,

~Rachel~

 

Pesto is Wonderful Stuff

Have you ever tried pesto? There’s nothing like it – how do I describe it? Sweet, earthy, a little spicy. And absolutely addicting!

And what to do with pesto? Eat it on a cracker, spread it on your sandwich with some mayonnaise, toss it with noodles, or add it to any recipe where you just want some extra basil flavor.

Here’s the recipe.

Pesto As It Should Be

3-4 cups fresh basil leaves

4 garlic cloves

1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts

1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste

Water for texture

This isn’t hard. Why am I even writing directions? Throw everything into a food processor and process until smooth. Take off the lid and smell it. Mmmmm. Try it on a cracker. What does it need? Definitely some more garlic. Or just a little water so it’s not so greasy. Or extra basil if it’s too soupy.

That’s all there is to pesto! Now you know what it is, and you don’t have any excuse for not making it. =) You can freeze it or store it in the refrigerator. I’m not sure how long it will survive in the refrigerator, but it lasts in the freezer for quite a long time.

Do you like pesto? What do you do with it?

Thanks for stopping by!

~rachel

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession through Him…

Herb and Herb Recipes: Thyme

Thyme. It’s such a cute little bush. But it smells amazing and tastes even better.

I know this thyme looks like a holly bush. It isn’t, really. That’s a result of close-up and a little editing.

One of my favorite things to do with thyme is add it to steamed green beans plus a little butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice. It’s also great with roasted vegetables or in any Italian food.

How do you like to use thyme? I mean, really, you’ve used it some, haven’t you?

Creamy Thyme Spread

Roasted Asparagus with Thyme

Thyme Grilled Vegetables

Gnocchi with Thyme Butter

Note: we HAVE made the Gnocchi with Thyme Butter. Really yum. Actually, just the gnocchi by itself is really good. Don’t make too much gnocchi, though. Too many carbs is just too many carbs.

Thyme, I love you.

~Rachel~

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

I haven’t been updating much lately, have I? No, I haven’t. And I’m not making any promises to do it a lot, but here’s a couple posts for now. =)

I tried (and adjusted!) a recipe for Chipotle Sweet Potatoes today. They were good and a little different…the chipotle peppers added a new and spicy twist!

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes

White wine vinegar

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

2 T. honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup oil

1-2 T. fresh cilantro, minced

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

Additional salt and pepper

Place sweet potatoes in a large greased pan (9×13 or larger). Drizzle with white wine vinegar and sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic to your tastes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until tender, stirring once. Meanwhile, combine honey, apple cider vinegar, oil, cilantro, and chipotle peppers in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over roasted sweet potatoes. Yield: 8 sevings

Note: These are pretty spicy. One chipotle pepper might be enough. You can probably find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with other canned peppers/chilies at the grocery store.

Here’s the original recipe! Enjoy!

~Rachel~

Homemade Apple Sauce

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing a recipe for Homemade Apple Sauce that Bethany sent me. Thank you so much, Bethany! The apple sauce looks really good!

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Homemade Apple Sauce

 2 Granny Smith apples
 2 Gala apples
 3-4 shakes of cinnamon and sugar
 3/4 c water
 
Peel and core apples. Cut them into quarters. Put everything into 2 quart pan and cook at medium heat for 20 min. Let apples cool them mash with potato masher.
Note: I normally mash them early because it’s good warm as well as cold.

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Thank you again, Bethany!

God Bless!

Rachel

Southwestern Sweet Potatoes

Here’s a surprise-surprise version of sweet potatoes, which we usually make with cinnamon and like spices, maple syrup, and such. These are really good!

sweet-potatoes

Southwestern Sweet Potatoes

3-4 large sweet potatoes, baked

3 T. butter

1/2 cup sour cream/yogurt

1 (4-oz.) can green chilies, diced

Salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and cumin to taste

Mash sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add other ingredients and mash well. Serve hot.