Wild Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries, Apricots and Butternut Squash

This delicious rice pilaf is festive for the holidays. Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma.

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Stuffed Zucchini

Great recipe if you’re entertaining! Adapted from Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead cookbook. It can be refrigerated  up to 6 hours, just finish baking it before serving.

Stuffed Zucchini

  • Servings: 5 to 6
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Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 small zucchini, trimmed (1 1/2 pound total)
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup (1/2 inch diced) sourdough bread, crust removed
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (2 tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Bring to a boil a large pot of water. Add the zucchini and simmer until tender. Remove the zucchini to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Cut the zucchini length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Set aside with side down on paper towels.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan. Add the bread cubes, and cook over medium-low heat for a about 5 minutes.. Tossing frequently until golden brown. Transfer to a medium bowl. In the same pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil, add the scallions, tomatoes, thyme, and garlic.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, tossing frequently. Add to the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the Parmesan, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss gently.
  4. Place the zucchini snugly in a 10 x 14-inch baking pan, in 1 layer and cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fill the zucchini with the bread mixture. Sprinkle with the Gruyere. Bake for 10 to 12 minute or lightly browned.

 

Braised Broccoli Rabe

A quick and easy side dish from Lidia Bastianich’s, Lidia’s Kitchen.

Wash and peel the ends of the broccoli rabe, like an asparagus. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet with a lid. Slice 3 to 4 cloves of garlic and saute in the oil till fragrant. Add the broccoli rabe, teaspoon of hot pepper flakes salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cove and cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

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Olla Gitana (Gypsy Pot)

This winter squash, potato, pear and chickpea stew was even better the next day. You might have to cook the chickpeas a little longer and I would taste for salt. It didn’t say to add salt to the stew in the recipe but, I thought it needed it. It is a wonderful protein-rich, and no meat stew. Adapted from Rustic Spanish by Paul Richardson.

 

Olla Gitana (Gypsy Pot)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 12 oz butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 12 oz romano beans or any other green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces

For the sofrito: 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pimenton (Spanish smoked pepper)
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves

 

Directions

  1. Drain the chickpeas. In a stockpot, combine the chickpeas, 3 quarts of cold water and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes until the chickpeas are tender.
  2. Add the potatoes and squash and cook another 15 minutes.
  3. Add the pears and green beans and cook till tender, 4-6 more minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make the sofrito. In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minutes. Add the tomato, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt and the pimenton. Mix well, lower the heat and cook for another few minutes. Add the sofrito to the soup.
  5. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have mingled and the chickpeas are completely soft. Salt to taste.
  6. Remove from heat and cover. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Stir in the mint leaves and serve.

 

 

 

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Vegetable Meatloaf

The great thing about meatloaf is that it can be served many different ways. Hot right from the oven for dinner or served cold for a buffet lunch or dinner. The recipe called for 40 minutes baking time but, it might depend on the oven. I had to cook it it a little longer, so I added an extra 10 minutes.   Adapted from The American Home circa 1950’s.

 

Vegetable Meatloaf

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix onion, green pepper, carrots, and ground veal together. Add the cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Stir in the tomato juice.
  3. Shape into a loaf. Place in a oiled loaf pan and cover.
  4. Bake in the oven or 40 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Candied South Carolina Sweet Potatoes

This is another great side dish from Carolina Cooking.  I made a couple of changes, I cut the sweet potatoes in rounds instead of lengthwise and I raised the temperature to 400 instead of 350. It also called for baked sweet potatoes, I was confused if that meant to bake them in the oven first then peel and slice. I suppose you could try it this way too.

Candied South Carolina Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

6 medium baked sweet potatoes

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup margarine

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup syrup (drained from peaches, apricots or pineapple)

 

Directions

Peel and cut the potatoes. Place a layer in a casserole. Mix the rest of the ingredients and spoon over the potatoes. Alternate with the layers. Bake covered in 400F for 30 minutes and uncover and cook for another 10 minutes.

 

Dillon Fresh Corn au Gratin

This was a great side dish I made the other night alongside grilled chicken. This is courtesy of Carolina Cooking given to me by a friend, while visiting Charleston, North Carolina.

Dillon Fresh Corn au Gratin

  • Servings: 5 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

3 tablespoons of butter or margarine

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded American Cheese

3 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup soft white bread crumbs

 

Directions

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in saucepan; blend in flour. Stir in milk; cook until medium thick, stirring constantly. Add cheese, corn, nutmeg, sat and pepper; mix well. Place mixture in a buttered 1 quart casserole dish. Melt remaining butter and mix with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in a 350F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or til the bread crumbs are brown.