St Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

St. Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

Go green on St. Patrick’s Day with a creative and healthy twist on the classic irish-inspired recipe.

The secret ingredient is green cauliflower! It’s actually a hybrid version of broccoli and cauliflower and is sometimes referred to a broccoflower. It’s flavor is sweet, mild and nutty.

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and provides your body with vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene while also boosting healthy digestion and detoxification. Try it on March 17th and you will make it again and again! 
Faux-Tatoes 
Serves 4


Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower (try it green or traditional white, about 1 ½ pounds)
½ cup butter or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch thyme, dried
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Break up the cauliflower stems and stalk and place in a steamer basket or a small amount of water in a saucepan. Steam it until tender (approx. 10-15 minutes). Drain.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower, butter, garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Plate your dish immediately or transfer to a small casserole dish for family style eating.

Enjoy!

Spiced Lentils & Collard Greens

img_1843Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup black lentils
1 bunch of collared greens
1 yellow onion
1 lemon (including 2 tsp of lemon zest)
2 tsp. Ras El Hanout ( I like the one from William Sonoma)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Cook the lentils:
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. (discard any pebbles you see in the lentils;   Rinse the lentils and drain thoroughly. Add the lentils to the pot of boiling water and cook, uncovered, 24 to 26 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

4. Prepare the ingredients:
While the lentils cook, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the onion.
Remove and throw out the collard green stems and roughly chop the leaves.   Use a zester to get 2 tsps. of lemon zest from the lemon.  Cut the lemon in  quarters and take out the seeds.

img_1839

3. Cook the collard greens:
While the lentils continue to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and ras el hanout; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the collard greens; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add ½ cup of water and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the collard greens have wilted and the water has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Finish the lentils & plate your dish:
To the pot of cooked lentils, add the cooked collard greens, lemon zest and the juice of 2 lemon wedges (just 1/2 of the lemon); stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with your favorite fish or chicken dish.

Grandma’s Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes


Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 to 15 servings

 

Ingredients:

15 medium (5 pounds) potatoes peeled and quartered
6-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup  light sour cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 egg whites slightly beaten (or one whole egg)
2-4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)

Instructions:

Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

In a large pot, add cut-up potatoes and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.   Overcooking can cause the potatoes to become gummy.

Remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander.  Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.  NOTE: Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume (becoming swollen and watery).  That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

In the same cooking pan, mash potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer until there are no lumps.

TIP: NEVER use a blender, electric mixer, or food processor to make mashed potatoes.Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell.  If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives (if desired); blend well.

Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Add potato mixture and dot with butter.

Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover, and then refrigerate.

The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to 7 days ahead of time.  If preparing ahead, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place in an ovenproof baking dish if not already stored in this dish.


When ready to heat the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take potatoes out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, loosely covered, 40 minutes or until steaming hot in center.

Crock Pot – Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:

Mashed Potatoes in slow cookerYou can use this crock pot/slow cooker version, if you need to free up your oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals.

Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hours before serving time.  See Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes above.  Place the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker.  Cover and use low heat for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.

When you are ready to serve the mashed potatoes, stir, and then add some additional dollops of butter.

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

img_7430Savory Sweet Potato Fries

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
2 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme (rough chopped)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Wash and prepare the fresh ingredients:
– Cut the sweet potatoes in 3rds and then cut each “wheel” in 8ths to make wedges
– Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.
– Chop the fresh thyme.
3. Prepare the Fries:
– Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the potatoes.
– Place the potato wedges on a Teflon coated jelly roll pan (or lightly greased cookie sheet) and spread in one layer on the pan.
4.Cook the Fries:
Cook for 20 -25 minutes on until nicely browned turning once with a spatula after about 10 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Summer Vegetables

My daughter and I started a SP cleanse recently that required us to refrain from  grains, dairy, nuts, meat or fish during the purification process.  We were getting bored with simply raw or steamed vegetables and fruit along with our SP Shakes.

Here is a yummy side dish we stumbled upon via Blue Apron, that is both full of flavor and guilt-free too.

Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

  • 3 ounces of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 ounces of summer beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

1.  Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce.  Snap off and discard the bean stems; cut into 2-inch pieces.  Half the tomatoes. Peel and mince the garlic; smash with the side of your knife until it resembles a paste (or use a zester).

2. Cook the vegetables:

In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the beans; season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add ½ cup of water and cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the water has cooked off. Add the tomatoes and garlic paste; add a little bit more of sea salt and pepper if needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Transfer to a bowl. Enjoy!

Easy Bruschetta

IMG_3385

Bruschetta is and italian antipasto  that boasts a  mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic, basil, and garlic, spooned over olive oil brushed slices of toasted baguette or rustic bread. It’s like summer on toast!

You can  prepare the topping  and toast the baguette slices ahead of time if needed. Then you can assemble right before serving.

Easy Bruschetta 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 24 small slices (serves 6-10 as an appetizer)

Ingredients

  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (I like to use 1 red and 1 yellow)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced* or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus a little more for brushing the toast)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Prepare the topping: Finely chop the cherry tomatoes (in 6 pieces) and place them in a medium bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir in the thinly sliced basil and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding more to taste. Set aside to marinate.

3. Prepare the baguette slices: Use a bread knife to slice the baguette on the diagonal making half-inch thick slices. Brush one side of each slice with olive oil with a pastry brush and place on a baking sheet or roasting pan.  Sprinkle with a little kosher salt.  Place in the oven on the top rack and toast for 5-6 minutes. Check for doneness and if needed, toast for 1-2 minutes more until lightly browned and slightly crunchy.  Allow the toast to cool.

4.  Assemble the bruschetta:  Place a small spoonful of topping on toasted bread and place on a serving platter. These can be made up to 30 minutes before serving and still be crunchy due to the toasting with olive oil.

You can also serve the toasts plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for people to top their own.

Psst!   Trader Joe’s offers Bruschetta Sauce in a plastic carton in the refrigerator section and is a great substitute for making your own tomato bruschetta mixture when you are in a hurry.

 

Grilled Artichoke Frittata Squares

Grilled Artichoke Frittata Squares

Yield:   16 frittata squares
Cook Time:   35-40 minutes
These tasty protein-rich appetizers are delicious served fresh and hot from the oven but are also great served cooled, or after having chilled in the fridge. They also make a great on-the-go quick breakfast treat for those rushed mornings when made the night before.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz. jar Trade Joe’s grilled marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (approx. 1 cup) -Don’t forget to reserve the liquid
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 crispy crackers, (I like Ritz toasted original crackers) crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups of your favorite cheese, shredded (I use sharp cheddar cheese – approximately 8 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus a sprig for garnish

Directions

Pour 1/4 cup of artichoke marinade into a skillet and set aside. Chop artichoke hearts into roughly 1/2-inch-sized pieces and set aside. Heat marinade in skillet and add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are tender (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until thoroughly beaten. Add crumbled crackers, salt and pepper, cheese, parsley, artichokes and onion and stir to combine.  Pour mixture into a 8×8-inch baking pan prepared with nonstick cooking spray) bake for 35-40 minutes or until set and very slightly browned on top. Allow to cool in pan, then cut into 16 bite-size squares.