Tag Archives: veggies

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

4 Apr


Although spring is trying to peak out, it’s still chilly here in SoCal where I’m currently based. I don’t mean to wine, I know it’s warmer than my native land. But I thought it would be nice to introduce a Midwestern favorite. A big salad is great for lunch but for dinner a hearty, satisfying, comfort food is in order. The array of vegetables not only pack a nutritional punch but they lend their colors to make this dish really pop. A great make-ahead meal. Prepare it up until the baking, cool completely and freeze, I usually divide into 2. Just defrost in fridge before baking, or up baking time by about 45min. I meant to add mushrooms to this dish but forgot, maybe next time.

Time: 90 minutes           Serves: 6-8


  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Finally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  • Drop broccoli and cauliflower florets into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and drain in a colander. Run cold water over top until cooled through or drop in an ice water bath.
  • In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock in 3 parts, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened somewhat. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and season to taste. Add all vegetables, chicken, and both kinds of rice. Mix well to incorporate. Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Pork & Veggie Stir Fry

15 Jan

A delicious, healthy meal on your table before Chinese take-out can get there. Change this up according to the ingredients you have on hand, easily customizable.

Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4


  • 4 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/3 cup water, stock, or wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 12 oz. pork tenderloin cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed & halved
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (button/shiitake/baby bella)
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 2-4 green onions, white/light green & green parts sliced & separated

How to make it

  • Cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain & set aside. (I ran mine under cold water so they wouldn’t stick together too much – gasp! – but also tossing bit a splash of toasted sesame oil would work.)
  • Combine cornstarch, sugar, red pepper flakes, water and soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat oils in a large skillet or wok over medium-high. Add ginger, garlic, and pork. Cook for 3 minutes then stir and add carrots. Cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, snap peas, zucchini and white/light green parts of green onions. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring. Add soy sauce mixture and rice noodles, tossing to coat. Cover and cook another 3-5 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  • Garnish with green onions.

Cheesy Chicken & Vegetable Bake

8 Nov

This dish is rather light for a casserole (no starchy pasta or rice) and oh so tasty!

Time: 45 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 head broccoli cut into florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 4 oz. baby Bella mushrooms (or button), diced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 tsp dried onion
  • 1/3 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli and cauliflower and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat pour into a colander.
  • Season chicken with salt & pepper. Heat 2 tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until juices run clear, turning halfway through to cook both sides. Set aside. Once cooled, cut into bite size pieces.
  • Add 1 tbsp butter and mushrooms to skillet and season with salt & pepper. Saute until they begin to produce their own juice. Remove & set aside.
  • Add chicken stock to skillet and scrape up drippings. Add cream and sour cream and seasonings. Bring to a slight boil and turn heat to medium low. Add flour and whisk with a fork until well incorporated. Remove from heat and incorporate chicken, vegetables, and sauce. Pour into casserole dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

Roasted Beet Salad With Mint

6 Nov

A recipe found on The Shiksa in the Kitchen website with slight variations. I served it to my family and friends over the Rosh Hashanah holiday and they all raved about it. I was also able to use the dish as part of a ritual and to make a special blessing over it, which was nice.

Time: 10 minutes + roasting          Serves: 8


  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) beets, trimmed slightly on top & bottom so they sit up in the pan
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 425F. Place trimmed beets in a roasting pan. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over all beets, be generous. Place in oven and roast for 35 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then peel. You may want to wear gloves for this part. Once peeled, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • Place cut beets in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Toss well to combine. Serve at room temp or chilled.

Curried Yellow Split Pea Stew in a Crock Pot

30 Oct

I recently tried a curry yellow split pea soup at one of my favorite local delis and was inspired to replicate it at home. My version turned into a more hearty, thick stew rather than soup, which is what I was after. This can easily be thinned out with more stock or water to make it more of a soup consistency if that’s what you’re looking for. As it is it reminds me very much of an Indian dal and pairs perfectly with grilled naan and a dollop of yogurt or a cooling raita.

Time: 15 min prep, 6+ hours cook                Serves: 6


  • 2 cups yellow split peas
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 celery stalks,diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Naan bread (optional, to serve)
  • plain Greek yogurt (optional, to serve)
  • cilantro, roughly chopped (optional, to serve)

How to make it

  • Rinse split peas and soak for about 30 minutes. Drain & rinse.
  • Place onions, celery, and carrots, and garlic in crock pot. Add split peas. Sprinkle cumin, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper over top. Finally, add stock. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or on LOW  for 8 – 10 hours until peas are very soft.
  • Remove top, season with salt, stir and cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes to one hour until thickened up.

Ham and Northern Bean Soup in a Crock Pot

25 Oct

A hearty, satisfying soup perfect to chase away the cold this season.

Time: 15 min prep, 4+ hours cook            Serves: 6


  • 1 pound Northern beans, picked over, soaked over night, drained & rinsed
  • enough water to cover beans + 2 inches
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves torn or roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup smoked ham (I used Bavarian), cubed small
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • several drops liquid smoke (I used hickory flavor)

How to make it

  • Place beans and water in crock pot with 2 bay leaves, half of rosemary, and half of salt. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours – until tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or low 4-5 hours.
  • Remove top and cook an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Broccoli And Sausage Pasta In Creamy Tomato Sauce

12 Oct

Another quick, versatile pasta recipe that may be mixed & matched to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.

Time: 20 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used penne), cooked al dente
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 specialty chicken sausage, sliced or diced (I used spinach & Asiago)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about one medium)
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms (or more if you’d like, that’s all I had)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – with liquid
  • 1/2 large head broccoli cut into florets – lightly steamed
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • grated Parmesan to garnish

How to make it

  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, stir, cook for 5 more minutes. Add broccoli, tomatoes with liquid, and cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to incorporate. Add pasta and toss well. Serve garnished with basil and Parmesan.

Pattypan Squash Stuffed with Chicken Sausage

25 Aug

Pattypan squash are in season now and may be found at your local farmers market. They are so lovely! The small ones are perfect for a simple saute and the larger sized variety are perfect for stuffing to showcase their beauty.

Time: 30 minutes           Serves: 4


  • 4 large pattypan squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz. chicken specialty sausage (about 2), diced
  • 1 small-medium vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste, freshly ground
  • splash lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated + more for sprinkling

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking dish or sheet with cooking spray.
  • Bring 2 quarts of salted water to boil. Add squash and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool completely. Once cool, carve tops and scoop out middle to create a vessel. Discard hard seeds and dice usable flesh. Be sure to leave the walls at least an inch thick to retain shape. If needed, cut bottom slightly to level.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring, until beginning to brown. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add spinach and parsley and toss so it begins to wilt. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Spoon mixture into squash and sprinkle tops with more cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until heated through and beginning to brown slightly on tops.

Crustless Quinoa And Kale Quiche

15 Aug

Talk about a tongue twister. A protein-packed, vitamin rich dish that is very tasty! Easily customizable, add your favorite meat if you’d like. Goes great with Mild Italian Sausage. An idea I came across on Food52.

Time: 1 hour               Serves: 6-8


  • 1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked according to package instructions & cooled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms, optional
  • 1 large bunch kale, stems removed & chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded New Zealand White Cheddar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese OR 3 oz. spreadable white cheddar & sage cheese OR 2.5 oz Creamy Goat Cheese (TJ’s), softened on the counter
  • 4 large eggs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

How to make it

  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add vinegar, water, and kale. Cover allow steam to wilt kale. Stir occasionally, cook for about 7-10 minutes until tender and dark green. Remove from heat and spread out onto a plate to cool. Place in fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-inch round pie plate or similar with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add cheeses and mix to incorporate. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add cooled quinoa and cooled kale to egg mixture. Mix to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish, making sure to smooth out the top so its even.
  • Cover with a piece of tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with grated Parmesan and bake an additional 10 minutes. If top has not reached golden brown, place under broiler for about 2 minutes.

Green Beans with Shallots

2 Aug

This is a simple, quick, and delicious veggie side dish. The green beans are still crisp, retaining their color and vitamins & minerals. Recipe courtesy The Barefoot Contessa.

Time: 15 minutes               Serves: 6


  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed and broken in half if desired
  • 3 shallots, large-diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to make it

  • Bring a pot of slated water to boil. Add green beans. Cook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. When 3 minutes are up, drain beans immediately and immerse in ice water.
  • Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until they begin to brow, stirring often. Drain green beans and add to pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well & remove as soon as beans are heated through. Serve while hot.