GREEN BEEN PICKLED BEET & FETA SALAD

 

 

This was an easy tasty salad - a perfect side dish to any summer meal.  This recipe was great for 2 for a couple of days, but can easily be doubled.  Might be the simplest salad there is!  Fresh green beans are a must for this recipe, and any good quality store bought pickled beets will work nicely.

2 cups green beans ends trimmed cut in half

1 cup pickled beets, chopped

1 round wedge of red onion - rinse well in cold water, then slice into 1 inch lengths

juice of a small lemon wedge

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crumbled feta cheese

Bring a pot of water to a high boil.  Have an ice water bath ready.  Add the beans to the boiling water, and once back to a high boil, blanch the beans for 1.5 minutes, lid on medium high, drain and put into the ice bath to stop the cooking, and once cool, drain and place onto a paper towel.

Add to a bowl with the pickled beets, red onion, juice of the lemon, EVOO,  salt and pepper.  Mix well and add crumbled feta cheese.  Serve along side any main dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a quick and easy marinated beet salad - cooking was the only lengthy process.  Rather than steaming up beets for a side dish,  I thought I would make this simple marinade and turn it into a salad.  This is also delicious on top of a garden salad.

In this dish I used 3 medium sized beets - but you could certainly increase all the amounts here to have the next day or to serve a crowd.  This is best made early in the day and refrigerated 4-6 hours so the flavors develop.

3 medium sized beets, red stocks trimmed off, then wash well leaving the skin on and the beets whole

2 sliced "rounds" of red onion, rinse well in cold water, then slice to 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 Tblsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tblsp. reserved beet water

salt to taste.

Add the clean beets to a pot and cover well with water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium, lid cracked slightly.  Cook 45 min. or longer until tender.  Reserve 2 Tblsp. of the beet water and place into a bowl.  Once the beets have cooled, take off the peels, and cut into even sized chunks.

Rinse the red onion well under cold water, then slice into 1 1/2 inch slices.  Add the beets and onions to a bowl.

In the bowl with the beet water, add the EVOO, Apple Cider vinegar and salt whisking well.  Pour over the beets and red onion mixing well.

Refrigerate 4-6 hours before serving as a side dish or on top of a garden salad.  After this post a new VEGAN POTATO SALAD THAT IS YUMMY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been in a heat wave...very unusual for our area.  We ended up the first day BBQ'ing chicken and hence the above salad to accompany it.  To nite we will thankfully be having cold leftovers.  So, this all dressed potato salad is yummy served warm or cold.

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. new potatoes (scrub well, chop, and cook till fork tender)

2 large green onions, finely chopped

1 tsp. dried dill

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 tsp mustard Dijon is best but here I used regular which was good too

2 Tblsp. Wine Vinegar (mine looks more rose colored so white or red should be fine)

3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

handful of minced Italian flat leaf parsley

good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

paprika to sprinkle over top

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain well and set aside.  Chop the green onions and parsley and set aside.  Mix the dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper, wine vinegar, mustard and EVOO in a small bowl whisking well to combine.  Pour over the potatoes and toss, then add the green onions, parsley, and Parmesan cheese mix gently to combine, then sprinkle the top with a bit of extra flat leaf Italian parsley and top with a good sprinkle of paprika.  Serve along side any other dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this easy dish we originally had the black bean chili over rice for dinner one nite.  Then the next day we turned it into a wrap style or quesadilla - even tastier!  The chili recipe with rice made plenty with leftovers to have wraps or quesadilla's for a few lunches - a quick easy meal that turned into two recipes.

RECIPE:

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 small onion, diced

3 minced garlic cloves

1/2 a celery stalk, diced

1 cup chopped butternut squash (I used frozen but fresh works too)

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 cup chopped fresh zucchini

14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice plus 1/2 can water

14 oz. can drained and rinsed black beans

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

salt to taste

3/4 Tblsp. chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

grated extra old cheddar cheese

Heat up a pot on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the onion, garlic, and celery, saute about 5 min.  Add in the seasonings and butternut squash sauteing for 5 minutes, then pour in the tomatoes and water stirring well.  Simmer for 15 min. lid off on low heat.  Then add in the zucchini, corn and cilantro - taste to adjust any seasonings, lid on and simmer another 15 min.  Serve over rice with grated cheddar cheese.

For the wraps/quesadillas we found these gluten free wraps (sorry for the poor picture quality!) and they are delicious.

I heated the chili and rice on low heat in a pot on the stove to reheat.  Then using a cast iron frying pan on medium heat add the tortilla then turn over about 25 seconds, and cook another 25 seconds on the other side.

Place on a plate, add the black bean chili and rice, followed by grated cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped lettuce.  Roll up and cut into a wrap or fold over half as a quesadilla.  It is always great to have 1 recipe with leftovers to make another recipe/meal the next day especially a super easy one!

 

 

This was a simple easy meal to make.  In this recipe I used canned lentils (which also freeze very nicely) and some extra vegetables in the fridge that needed using up.  An easy Vegetarian week nite meal.

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 of a large onion, diced

2 minced garlic cloves

1 medium carrot, diced

1/2 cup diced rutabaga

large handful of fresh spinach, chopped

1/3 cup diced celery

2/3 cup chopped fresh green and yellow beans

1  can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes

good splash of Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

1 bay leaf

salt and fresh cracked pepper - to taste

3/4 cup cooked lentils

Heat up a large saute pan on medium/low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the onion and garlic sauteing to sweat out.  Add the fresh vegetables and spices, saute about 8 minutes.  Then pour in the tomatoes with juice, and balsamic vinegar.  Turn to a low simmer and cook about 25 minutes.  Add in the lentils and continue to cook until reduced further - about 10 minutes.

Adjust ragout for any seasonings and serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

 

This is a quick and easy dinner/lunch to make.  What helps make it quick and easy is, we used canned gluten free re fried beans, frozen butternut squash and fresh spinach. (you could certainly use fresh chopped butternut squash in this dish) By the way, I recently learned you can easily freeze fresh butternut squash.  Just peel, chop into pieces place on a sheet pan and pop into the freezer.  When frozen remove and place in a freezer bag to use in any recipe.

Also, you can use any gluten free Taco Seasoning mix you like, but I have included my recipe here, and corn tortillas should work nicely too, although I would put one on top of the other to cook, then flip to the other side to finish cooking in the pan.   The amounts given here make 3 large Quesadillas - plenty for 2 people.

2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - divided

3 large gluten free tortilla rice flour wraps

1 cup chopped frozen butternut squash

4 cups packed fresh spinach

3/4 cup re fried beans

1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1-2 tsp. taco seasoning - to personal taste

Taco Seasoning blend:

2 Tblsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 Tblsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

guacamole - optional

salsa

Heat up a skillet or cast iron pan on medium high heat with 1 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Add the frozen butternut squash to the pan and saute about 8 minutes.  Add in the taco seasoning and continue to saute 2-3 minutes then remove to a bowl and set aside.  Add in the fresh spinach and saute until wilted, then return the butternut squash to the pan mixing to incorporate.  Then remove to a bowl and set aside.

Using a large wooden chopping board or work surface, place down the tortilla wrap with a good spread of the re fried beans.  Add a good helping of the vegetable mixture, then top with the grated cheddar cheese and fold the tortilla wrap in half.

Add the extra 1 Tblsp of EVOO to the pan and place in the tortilla wrap.  Cook about 3 minutes then flip to the other side and cook another 3 minutes.  Serve sliced in half with Salsa, and guacamole if using.

 

This is a quick easy dish to make if you need to use up the last of the summer zucchinis.  With this dish you could use store bought pesto and marinara sauce or you can make your own.  For the marinara sauce I used this one.  If you make homemade there will be leftover sauce that can be frozen for another use.
2 large zucchinis, sliced 1/4 inch thick- first cut the ends off to carefully slice lengthwise
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cups chopped swiss chard
1 cup cottage cheese - we use lactose free
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 big Tblsp. pesto
1 egg - whisk well
Salt and pepper to taste
marinara sauce
gluten free bread crumbs
grated Parmesan cheese
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat with a good drizzle of EVOO.  Add the chopped swiss chard, and saute until tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl to cool.
Add more EVOO to the pan and turn the heat to medium.  Add in batches the sliced zucchini lightly browning each side about 2 1/2 min. per side, and transfer to a plate.  While doing this heat up the marinara on a low simmer.
Then add the cottage cheese, beaten egg, pesto, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to the swiss chard mixing well.  To a casserole dish, spread a layer of marinara sauce and top with a few zucchini slices.  Then add a layer of the swiss chard/cottage cheese mixture, a handful of gluten free bread crumbs, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  Repeat the layers using up all of the zucchini finishing with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, bake uncovered about 30-40 min. until bubbly and golden.

Oh how I love Italian Food. What I love is, Italians keep their food simple, without any fuss or complex ingredients, always using fresh ingredients and as a result their food is always delicious.  Jamie Oliver once said he was born in the wrong country....I very much think the same thing!
This recipe was quick, easy, elegant and delicious.  What makes this dish so easy is you can make up the polenta the day before or the morning of.  You can also use leftover marinara sauce or use a store bought jar of marinara if you are in a crunch for time.
How this recipe came about is years ago we had this dinner in a restaurant and I fell in love with it.  That was back in the day when I did not know anything about anything in regards to cooking.  However, I never, never forgot about this wonderful meal. This dish would be wonderful cut into smaller portions as an appetizer too.  Anyways, for whatever reason, this recipe popped into my head the other day and I thought .... yes .... it is time to give it a go.  So happy to go down memory lane...and how delicious it was too.
TO MAKE THE POLENTA:
1 cup of milk (we use 2% lactose free)
2 cups water (plus keep extra water on hand)
1 Bay leaf
salt - be generous
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup Parmeasan cheese
Combine milk, water, generous amount of salt to season, and bay leaf in a good sized pot.  Bring to the boil on low medium heat.  Add in the polenta - whisk well, then turn down to a good simmer.  Now using a wooden spoon continue to stir well.  Keep stirring for a good 30 minutes.  I added in total at least an extra 1/2 cup of water a bit at a time continuing to stir.  When it feels smooth to taste remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan cheese mixing well.
Lightly oil an  8 1/2 x 12 inch glass casserole dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Transfer the cooked polenta to the casserole dish spreading out evenly.  Allow to cool 20 min. then refrigerate until 30 minutes before it is to go into the oven.
MARINARA SAUCE:
one  796 ml/28oz can of organic crushed tomatoes with basil
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 minced garlic cloves
fresh cracked pepper
2  generous Tblsp. finely chopped Italian Parsley, and fresh Basil
Heat up a sauce pan of low heat with the EVOO.  Add in the minced garlic, and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute until fragrant - a minute or 2.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, and add the finely chopped parsley and basil stirring to combine.  Take the casserole dish of polenta out of the fridge and put aside.  Keep the marinara on a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 min. and remove from the heat.
Other ingredients:
130 grams herb crusted goat cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
10 asparagus spears - cut in half
While the marinara is simmering, blanch the asparagus for 1  1/2 min. drain and add to a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain well and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add a few generous ladle fulls of marinara sauce on top of the polenta - spreading evenly.  Then a generous layer of grated Parmesan cheese, topping with the blanched asparagus.  Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese through out the dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.
To plate:  Add a small ladle full of marinara sauce to your plate, then add a slice of the baked Polenta Asparagus Goat Cheese.  It is amazing how a few simple fresh ingredients can create a delicious wonderful meal.  Enjoy!  We sure did.

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