Archive for ‘Veggie’

May 16, 2012

The BEST guacamole

Benjamin Stanley

Serves: 6

  • 6 avocados
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • Southwestern Chipotle Ms. Dash
  • Salt and pepper
  • LIME and/or lemon
  • Olive oil

Serves: 6-10

(If you wanna go “nutritional serving size,” figure about half – to a quarter an avocado per person. If you wanna go “this shit is delicious and we’re having a party”, go with full avo per person or more. That being said, it doesnt keep real well, so take that into consideration.)

Start with your avocados. Kinda squishy and just the right color green. Cut out any ugly spots.

Next are the onions and peppers. Now, if I’m making guac with 6 avocados, I’ll use about half a red bell pepper and half an onion. give or take.

Dice the onion and pepper up, and sautee them in a pan with a little olive oil. I add in a little Southwestern Chipotle Ms Dash ( I forget the exact name, I always just call it “Senorita Dash”). I’ve thought about adding corn into this medley, but have yet to act on it.

While all that is sautee-ing, get to mashing. Just take a fork (or adequate mashing tool) and just smush it all up together. Once pretty well mashed, i like to add a good bit of sea salt and a lilttle bit of cracked pepper, and lately I’ve been adding Season-All to the mix. Even more important is Lime. Squeeze a lime in there, maybe a little lemon if you like, but lime is the superior flavor. Then I pour in the sauteed veggies and mix them into the guac. From here on out it’s basically just taste and adjust, taste and adjust. Its better too be too salty rather than too pepper-y. Maybe more lime, maybe not, just kinda tweak it to how you’re feeling about it.

It is best served warm – but if you must wait to consume, put it all in your bowl/serving dish/whatever, and squeeze more lemon/lime all over the top of it. this will help prevent it from browning – which i dont think effects the taste, it just starts to look gnarly and inedible. I also like to make a little like 1/4 indent in the top of the guac bowl and pour a little salsa in it.

*Chef’s note: This is by far my favorite guacamole. And no, I am not biased because it is my brother’s recipe. He just happens to be a guac god. This is very easy to make, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about eating it. I hope you enjoyed his instruction as much as I did :) Also, my favorite way to peel the avocado is not to peel it. Just slide your knife around the whole avocado until it splits into two, then remove the pit, and the green flesh will slide out like butta with a spoon. Also, notice how there’s no nasty cilantro in this guac? I love my brother.

May 16, 2012

Spinach and ricotta ravioli

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach, finely chopped and squeezed dried
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 small lemon, zested and juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 40 square wonton wrappers
  • 4 butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, shallot, egg and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Arrange 10 wonton wrappers on a clean work surface. Top each with a rounded tsp. of filling. Moisten the edges with water and, working with 1 at a time, fold in half to form triangles; press down around the filling to seal. Transfer the ravioli to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, drop in the ravioli in 2 batches, letting the water return to a boil between batches. Cook until the ravioli bob to the surface, about 3 minutes per batch; strain.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling, until it browns and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat immediately. Stir in the lemon juice, capers, and half of the parsley; season.
Divide the ravioli among 4 plates, drizzle with the butter sauce and top with the remaining parsley.
*Chef’s note: Rach delivers again! Please don’t let my sub-par photograph fool you; these ravioli were not slimy and shiny but scrumptious, indeed. This was great with one link of browned spicy Italian sausage added to the filling. The wonton wrappers were surprisingly easy to work with as well, so don’t be intimidated!
April 10, 2012

Green bean and shallot salad

Rachael Ray

Serves: 6-8


  • Ice water
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound small green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a nonreactive medium bowl, add the shallots, separating them with your fingers. Add 2 tbsp. vinegar and toss to coat; refrigerate.
In a large pot of boiling, salting water, cook the green beans until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, then transfer the colander immediately to the ice bath, stirring the beans gently to encourage even cooling.
In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp. vinegar, the paprika, Worcestershire and mustard; season with salt. Slowly drizzle in the EVOO, whisking constantly to thicken.
Drain the beans and transfer to a towel; pat dry. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the shallots, discarding the liquid. Pour in the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
*Chef’s note: Tasty and easy peasy! Love this change-up with the unique dressing. I may also try a version with sauteed shallots for a different bite. 


March 24, 2012

Autumn golden vegetable lasagna

Rachael Ray

Serves: 6

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (10 oz.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Creamy White Sauce
  • 1 can  (15 oz.) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 10 egg roll wrappers (5-inch square)
  • 1 cup shredded aged gouda cheese (about 8 oz.)
  • 8 large basil leaves
In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the squash and 1 cup water and simmer over medium heat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the water is evaporated and the squash is golden and tender, about 13 minutes; set aside.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . Meanwhile, lightly grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish and spread 1/2 cup white sauce in the bottom. In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and egg.
Cut half of the egg roll wrappers into 3 strips each. Fill a large bowl with hot tap water (as you work with the wrappers, dip them in the water to rinse off the starch). Use 1 whole wrapper and 3 strips to cover the bottom of the dish in a single layer (there will be overlap). Spread a generous 1/2 cup of pumpkin mixture on top and sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat the layering.
Add another layer of egg roll wrappers. Spread with 1 cup white sauce, then top with the squash, basil and 1/3 cup cheese. Add another layer of egg roll wrappers, the remaining pumpkin mixture and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with the remaining egg roll wrappers, then spread with the remaining white sauce.
Cover the dish snugly with foil and bake on a baking sheet in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup cheese on top and bake until golden and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
*Chef’s note: Heavy sigh. I had SUCH high hopes for this recipe. But I had literally been lusting over it since October, so I think I built it up too much. I don’t think it’s a bad recipe, and I can see some veggies just loving it. Still, I have to say, I didn’t like it. Aside from the nicely chewy egg roll wrappers, everything in this has a soft texture and too-similar flavor profile. And honestly, think I was just sick of looking at it, let alone tasting it, after I prepped and cooked everything. (I was hoping to hide this, because I don’t want you to think I can’t eat butternut squash without it, [maybe I can’t? Hmm….] but….) I also added some browned mild Italian sausage, and it still didn’t do it for me. If you are going to make it, definitely splurge for the quality versions of these cheeses. And you’ll definitely need a 9 x 13 dish; I don’t know what those folks over at Rach’s mag were thinkin’! 
January 8, 2012

Cheesy pearl couscous with roasted broccoli

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (6.3 oz.) box Israeli or pearl couscous
  • 10 oz. frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups ( about 8 oz.) grated aged Gouda

Preheat the oven to 450. In a small bowl, melt 3 Tbsp. butter in the microwave, then stir in the garlic. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with the garlic butter. Toast until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lines plate. Reserve the skillet, discarding all but 1 Tbsp. of the bacon fat.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the couscous until just al dente, 5 to 6 minutes; drain.

Add the corn and scallions to the reserved skillet and cook over medium-high heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the couscous and chicken broth and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, the cheese and the reserved bacon. Serve with the broccoli.

*Chef’s note: This couscous was awesome. I loved the corn, bacon and scallions together. I used closer to 2 cups of cheese (Dutch Gouda and Havarti were on hand), and that was plenty cheesy. You can totally halve the recipe and use it as a side like I did; it went well with roasted shrimp (*Toss shrimp with olive oil or butter, salt and pepper, and minced garlic; drizzle with the juice of one lemon and roast on a foil-lined sheet pan at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until pink). The broccoli was a little disappointing, but then again I don’t love broccoli and used “fresh frozen” florets….

January 1, 2012

Autumn harvest chili

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large or 2 small dried ancho cili peppers, stems and seeds removed
  • 2 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive OIl
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, diced 1/2 inch
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano, 1/3 palmful
  • 1 scant tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, a light palmful
  • 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder, a couple of rounded palmfuls
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen corn or 2 ears of corn, kernels scraped
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup Negra Modela or other beer of choice
  • 1 healthy tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Place butternut squash cut side up on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and some salt and pepper. Roast squash in oven until tender, about 45 minutes. When they’ve finished roasting, turn off the oven and turn on the broiler.

While the squash is in the oven, place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. Add the mushrooms and brown 5 minutes alone, then add onion, garlic, peppers and zucchini to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are tender, about 8-10 minutes more. Puree softened ancho chili peppers in food processor or blender with vegetable stock.

Add the spices, corn, black beans and tomato paste to the pan and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Add the beer to the pan, stir then add ancho stock then simmer over low heat until ready to serve.

Scoop the finished chili over the butternut squash halves and sprinkle with the cheese. Place the squash under the broiler to melt the cheese then serve.

*Chef’s note: Great alternative to meat chili! None of my family members is vegetarian, and we all enjoyed this dish (though it probably would be yummy with some ground beef in there, too). Depending on how small your squashes are, you may want to scoop out more flesh than where the seeds were to accommodate the chili filling. I could find only dried New Mexico chiles, and the dish turned out fine, so I would guess you can sub any medium-heat dried chili. And I would say this chili serves closer to 5 or 6 people.

January 1, 2012

Green beans with warm bacon dressing

Woman’s Day

Serves: 8

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper

In large pot, bring green beans and enough water to cover to a boil. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towel. Remove all but 2 Tbsp bacon fat from skillet. Add shallots and sauté 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar. Add green beans, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Crumble bacon on top.

*Chef’s note: This has become my go-to green bean recipe; a great veggie to serve for company because it’s easy to make and goes well with many different entrees. Not to mention super tasty!

January 1, 2012

Brown sugar-glazed carrots with rosemary and pecans

Real Simple

Serves: 8

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 3 pounds carrots—peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths, and halved lengthwise if large
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 375° F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing once, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the carrots, brown sugar, butter, rosemary, cayenne, ½ cup water, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and cook, stirring often, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Discard the rosemary and toss the carrots with the lemon juice and pecans.

*Chef’s note: This dish was a bit to sweet and a tad too mushy for me. I like all the ingredients going into it, but next time would probably put in about half the sugar!

November 2, 2011

Squash casserole

Paula Deen


Serves: 6

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups cooked squash, drained, with all water squeezed out
  • 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers, plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon House Seasoning (which is 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Saute onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together. Pour into buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

*Chef’s note: Yum yum yum yum yum. Definitely not slimming, but, in (almost) Paula’s words, “Everything in moderation, y’all!” I boiled the squash for 5 minutes or so first. I’m sure it would be great with some zucchini mixed in as well, and you could play around with other ingredients. Easy peasy!

September 24, 2011

Ravioli with sauteed butternut squash and thyme

Woman’s Day 


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp small fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 16-oz pkg cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, uncovered, tossing occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions. Transfer the ravioli to plates, top with the squash mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
*Chef’s note: This dish was simple and delicious. I added a link of mild Italian sausage, my favorite pairing with butternut squash, which turned it into a satisfying, complete meal for us meat-eaters. You could sub your favorite pasta for the ravioli.