Tag Archives: side dish

Ratatouille

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The transition from fall to summer is my very favorite time of the year. I love the cool mornings and sunny (but not humid) days. It is the perfect time for making my favorite comfort food: Ratatouille. Like all good comfort foods, it is warm and filling and permeates your house with delicious smells as it cooks low and slow on the stove. And during this change of seasons, I love that I can still get great fresh garden vegetables and herbs to use in this recipe.

Ratatouille is not always the most visually appealing dish, but is bursting with flavor. It is full of hearty vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs Then cooked down on the stove until the flavors blend and meld into the most delicious vegetable stew. Eating healthy has never tasted better!

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This is Little A’s very favorite side dish. His face just lights up when he smells it as he comes into the house. All of the kids love it except for Little J (but she hardly counts as she turns her nose up to EVERY vegetable in this dish).

Ratatouille makes a perfect side dish to grilled or roasted meats. I love to serve it this time of year, when we still like to grill chicken, pork, or other things outside. Grilled meat is wonderful, but also begs for something juicy to eat with it. Ratatouille fits that bill perfectly. It is also great later in the winter with a roasted pork tenderloin, roast chicken, or beef roast.

This recipe makes a good-sized pot of ratatouille. You could always scale it back if you don’t want to make that much, but I love to have leftovers of this dish. It makes a perfect lunch all on its own the next day. Or as a sauce for pasta for an easy meal later in the week.

I never measure things when I make this recipe. It is very flexible based on your personal tastes. Below is a good approximation of the amounts that I use.

RECIPE:

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Ratatouille

½ cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, skin on, diced
2 onions, chopped
1 red/orange/yellow pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced and quartered
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
3 cups chopped tomatoes
½ tsp Tabasco sauce (adjust to taste)
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil*
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley*
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme*
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano*

Heat olive oil in a large saucepot. Add eggplant to the hot oil and cook until eggplant begins to soften. Add onions, red pepper and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, salt, pepper, and dried herbs; cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add chopped tomatoes and Tabasco sauce and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, until mixture is cooked down and thickened (30-40 minutes). Stir in fresh herbs during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary.

*Or substitute an additional 2-3 tsp dried Italian seasoning for the fresh herbs

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Szechuan Beans

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Szechuan Beans are one of my favorite dishes at Chinese restaurants. Often at restaurants, they are made with Chinese long beans. When I make them at home, I use the skinny French filet beans.

These beans are slightly spicy, flavored with Szechuan peppercorns, a good dose of garlic, ginger and chili paste. Szechuan peppercorns are actually less spicy than regular black pepper or chili peppers. They have a slightly lemony taste and leave your tongue with an interesting tingly, slightly numb sensation.

Szechuan Peppercorns

Szechuan Peppercorns

I buy whole Szechuan peppercorns from Penzeys. If I am grinding a large quantity of the peppercorns, I use a mini electric coffee grinder. For times when I only need a small amount of ground peppercorn, I have a separate peppermill (the wooden kind you turn by hand) that I keep full of these peppercorns. Don’t use your regular black peppercorn mill to grind the Szechuan peppercorns and then refill with the black ones. As straight Szechuan peppercorns can leave your tongue feeling numb, your kids might not appreciate that sensation when they are expecting regular pepper.

I like to include a small amount of ground pork when I make these beans, but you could leave that out for a vegetarian dish.

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RECIPE:

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Szechuan Beans

1 Tbs oil
¼ lb ground pork
4 green onions, chopped
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp ground chili paste (use more for spicier beans)
1 tsp honey
½ tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
1 lb Chinese long beans or French filet beans, ends trimmed

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground pork, green onions, garlic and ginger. Cook until pork is cooked through.

Add soy sauce, chili paste, honey and ground peppercorns to skillet. Stir to mix, then add green beans to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 Tbs water to the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook beans for about 3 minutes, or until beans are not quite done.

Remove lid and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and beans are crisp-tender. Do not overcook beans. Serve immediately.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Gratin

Squash Gratin

I love butternut squash in the winter. Squash are great, inexpensive vegetables that can be cooked many different ways, both sweet and savory. If you want to pay a little more, you can also buy them pre-peeled and diced. But then you don’t get any of those great seeds for Roasting.

This gratin is a savory side dish that is really flavorful and goes great with roast chicken or beef.

RECIPE:

Squash Gratin

Roasted Butternut Squash Gratin

2 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp chicken bouillon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbs Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a 2-quart baking dish, combine squash cubes, garlic, onion, olive oil and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, cream, bouillon and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir into roasted squash. Combine panko bread crumbs and 2 Tbs Parmesan. Sprinkle over squash. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until bubbly. If topping is not browned, broil for 1-2 minutes before serving.

 

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Grilled Chicken with Mint Chutney and Indian Spiced Cauliflower

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Most of my garden is finished now: just a few lingering tomatoes and herbs. And mint. Lots and lots of mint. Mint is an indestructible herb; plant it once, and it will be with you for life. Like it or not. Thanks to this mint chutney recipe, I really like the mint in my garden.

There are actually both mint and cilantro in this chutney, but the mint is definitely the star player here. Chutneys are an Indian condiment that are usually a combination of both sweet and spicy elements, and often preserved with vinegar. This chutney does not have a strong sweet component, as it uses mint and cilantro as the base instead of fruit, but it does have a slightly sour tang from lemon juice. The heat comes from onion and hot peppers. I make it pretty spicy, but you can tone it down by using less hot pepper.

Mint chutney is a great accompaniment to grilled chicken, or more traditional Indian foods, like Samosa, tandoori chicken,  or Naan.

I used THIS RECIPE for the grilled chicken, which is called “Spicy Grilled Chicken”, but really isn’t all that spicy. It has a little bit of mint in the marinade, so it pairs really well with the chutney. The Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower was also great eaten with the mint chutney.

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RECIPES:

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Mint Cilantro Chutney

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 of a small onion
1/2 – 1 fresh hot chili pepper (remove seeds if desired)
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tsp whole cumin seeds)

Using a blender, food processor, or mortar & pestle, blend all ingredients until finely chopped. Add water 1 Tbs at a time (usually about 2-3 Tbs total) until chutney is desired consistency.

Serve with Grilled Chicken or roasted vegetables, or more traditional Indian foods, like Samosa, tandoori chicken, or Naan.

Makes about 1 cup chutney

Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower
———————-(adapted from Sassy Radish)

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a Ziploc bag, mix spices with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add cauliflower to bag. Mix well and allow the dressing to coat cauliflower evenly. Spread the cauliflower in a roasting dish (line with foil for easy cleanup) and bake for 20-30 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, prepare mint chutney or yogurt dip, and chill until serving time.

When cauliflower is crisp-tender, remove it from the oven, and serve immediately with chutney or yogurt dip on the side.

Yogurt Dip

1 cup plain yogurt (for a thicker dip, use Greek yogurt or strain yogurt in cheesecloth lined colander)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint (or use cilantro without the dill and mint)
½ tsp cumin (optional)
½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Chinese Vegetable Lo Mein

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For Book Group this month we read Wild Swans, by Jung Chang, which chronicles the lives of a family of 3 generations of women in modern day China, It is an amazing look at the history of modern China and the rise of Communism under Mao Zedong. As I was hosting this month, I made this Chinese Vegetable Lo Mein, Chinese Almond Cookies and Homemade Fortune Cookies (I will share these recipes later).

This Lo Mein recipe is adaptable to a wide variety of vegetables and can be made with or without chicken (or other cooked meat). I served it cold, but it can also be served hot. When I am making this for a main dish, I usually serve it hot with both chicken and vegetables. When serving it as a side dish, I usually make it with just vegetables and serve it cold.

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This time I used broccoli, asparagus, sliced carrots, red pepper, snow pea pods and green onions. I like to slightly blanch the broccoli and asparagus by placing them in a large colander and pouring the hot cooked noodles and water over the broccoli and asparagus in the colander. Then rinse immediately with cold water to cool the noodles and vegetables. The other vegetables I leave raw and stir into the cold noodles with the sauce.

When I am serving it hot, I like to lightly sauté all of the vegetables until crisp-tender and then add the sauce and noodles to the skillet.

I prefer to use Chinese noodles, usually labeled Chow Mein or Lo Mein, but I have also used regular packaged linguine or spaghetti.

RECIPE:

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Chinese Vegetable (and/or Chicken) Lo Mein

1 lb dried Chinese lo mein or chow mein noodles (or use packaged linguine)
1 Tbs sesame oil
1-2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (optional)
1-2 cups chopped raw vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, thin sliced carrots, snow peas, green beans, sliced mushrooms, green onions)

Sauce:
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup soy sauce
3 Tbs Hoisin sauce
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs honey
½ Tbs cornstarch
½ tsp chili paste (or more to taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger

FOR COLD NOODLES:Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until sauce begins to boil. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Cool slightly while noodles cook.

Chop vegetables. If using, place broccoli, asparagus and/or green beans in the bottom of a large colander. Cook noodles according to package directions. Pour cooked noodles and water into the colander with the vegetables (to lightly blanch these vegetables). Rinse with cold water until cool; drain well. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Stir 1 Tbs sesame oil into noodles and vegetables. Add remaining raw chopped vegetables and cooked chicken. Stir sauce into noodles. Refrigerate until cold. Serve cold.

FOR HOT NOODLES:Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and stir 1 Tbs sesame oil into noodles. Set aside.

In the pot that you cooked the noodles, heat 1 Tbs vegetable oil. Lightly sauté chopped vegetables until barely crisp-tender. Add cooked chicken and heat through. Stir together sauce ingredients and pour over chicken and vegetables in the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add noodles to pot and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

 

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Thanksgiving Meal Prep Planning

For me, an enjoyable, stress-free Thanksgiving is all in the advance planning. Best plan: pot-luck meal where you have limited cooking responsibility! But it is still possible to have a low-stress day and prepare the entire meal yourself. With one oven. Here is our menu this year, and the plan for getting it done with the least amount of Thanksgiving Day chaos.

Our Thanksgiving Menu:

Herb Brined Roast Turkey

Gravy

Rolls

Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Stuffing

Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms

Pumpkin Pie

Cherry Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Thanksgiving Gameplan:

  • Monday (or earlier):
    • Make rolls; parbake and freeze
    • Cube bread for stuffing, set out on trays to dry; roast garlic for stuffing and potatoes, refrigerate (see Roasted Garlic Stuffing for full recipe)
    • Eat all of the leftovers in the fridge so you have room for all of your advance preparations and Thanksgiving leftovers! Keep eating leftovers Tuesday and Wednesday until your fridge is empty; no more leftovers? Order pizza.
  • Tuesday:
    • Prepare brine (see Turkey Timetable below)
    • Prepare Make-Ahead Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes; refrigerate
    • Make cranberry sauce; refrigerate
  • Wednesday:
    • Add turkey to brine (see Turkey Timetable)
    • Chop vegetables for stuffing; place in Ziploc bags; refrigerate
    • Prepare veges for Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Mushrooms (this is a new recipe I’m trying this year from Kalyn’s Kitchen. It sounds great, but does require a lot of oven space and time, so I am going to try to roast it for half the time on Wednesday, refrigerate, and then finish on Thursday)
    • Cook bacon and toast almonds for the Green Beans with Bacon
    • Make pies
  • Thursday:
    • Prepare stuffing. Cook for 30 minutes in oven. Transfer to crock pot. Keep warm on lowest heat. **Do this before putting the turkey in the oven
    • Prepare and roast turkey (see Turkey Timetable)
    • Remove mashed potatoes from fridge; place in covered casserole dish; let potatoes come to room temperature (I am going to reheat the potatoes in the oven; you could also reheat them in a crock pot on low for several hours)
    • Remove sweet potatoes from fridge and place on baking sheet;cover and let come to room temperature.
    • Remove rolls from freezer. Place on a baking sheet and cover with foil or plastic wrap.
    • Sit and enjoy family for the next hour or two while the turkey cooks!
    • When turkey is done: remove from oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
    • As soon as turkey comes out of oven: mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes go in the oven
    • Make gravy; keep warm on low heat
    • Steam green beans; stir in bacon and almonds (see Bacon Beans for full recipe)
    • While you are preparing beans, have someone else begin to carve the turkey, and kids begin to put food on the table
    • Remove potatoes and sweet potatoes from the oven. Bake rolls for 5-7 minutes, until hot and golden brown.
    • Relax and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Turkey Timetable:

  • Tuesday evening: Prepare brine. Cover and let it sit overnight.
  • Wednesday morning: Add turkey to brine; Let it sit in a cool place (below 40°F) for 12-24 hours (I usually go with close to 24 hours)
  • Thursday (Thanksgiving!):
    • 4 hours before you plan to serve the meal: Remove turkey from brine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
    • 3 1/2 hours before eating: Prep turkey and put in the oven. Roast until cooked through (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total)
    • 30 minutes before eating: Remove turkey from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.
    • Serving time: Carve and serve turkey.

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Thanksgiving: “Bacon Beans”

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This side dish comes together really quickly for a great Thanksgiving vegetable. With all of the heavy items on the table: mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes- I like to have a vegetable that is crisp and tender and tastes fresh. These green beans are perfect for that.

Of my five children, only one of them thought that they liked green beans. Until I added bacon. It is amazing what a little bit of bacon will do! Adding some nuts and garlic didn’t hurt anything either. This is the one vegetable I cook where there are NEVER leftovers. They go back for seconds on this dish before anything else on the table. What a change! Whenever they smell bacon cooking around dinner time, the first question out of their mouths is, “Are you making bacon beans?”

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I love to use these skinny French green beans, sometimes called filet beans. They are super tender and very flavorful; not at all stringy. They cook very quickly, less than 5 minutes. Be sure not to overcook, or they will be mushy. Both Costco and Sam’s Club carry French beans (different brands, however). I think the one below is from Costco. You can also use regular green beans, but I really love these skinny ones. Bonus: they come with the ends already snapped. No advance prep necessary!DSC02693-1

RECIPE:

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Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic Pine Nuts (or Almonds)

1 lb French green beans (or regular beans, snapped)
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds
1/8 tsp garlic powder (optional)

In a skillet, combine beans and about 1/2 cup water. Add a small amount of salt to the water, if desired. Bring to a boil; cover pan and cook beans for 3-5 minutes, or until beans are crisp-tender. Do not overcook. Drain water and place beans in a serving dish.

Cook bacon in the same skillet until almost crisp. Drain excess grease, leaving 1-2 Tbs of drippings. (If you are using precooked bacon, and there are no drippings, add 1-2 Tbs butter to pan). With bacon still in the pan, add pine nuts or almond slices and cook until nuts are lightly toasted (about 2 minutes). Stir in garlic powder, if using.

Add green beans back to the pan and stir to combine and warm beans.

 

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Thanksgiving: Roasted Garlic Stuffing

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When it comes to stuffing, I stand firmly on the “outside of the turkey” argument. I am not a fan of soggy stuffing straight from the bird. Or that you have to overcook your turkey in order to bring the stuffing to a safe temperature.

The problem with this can be: how do you fit everything in the oven that needs to be baked and have it all hot at serving time. Especially when you only have one oven. I am experiencing some serious Dual-Oven-Envy at my house. Especially at holiday times.

Solving the problem of competing oven-needing foods is doable with a little advance preparation. Pies can be cooked the day before. Rolls can be prepared and partially pre-baked (more on this later this week). But what about things that need to be cooked same day?

An appliance that can be used to your advantage here is your Crock Pot. With stuffing, however, I really like the crispy bread edges that you can only get in the oven. So I compromise: early in the day, before I put the turkey in the oven, I bake my stuffing at 400°F for 30 minutes, ensuring perfectly crispy edges. I then transfer the stuffing to my crock pot, set it on the lowest heat possible, and keep it warm in the crock pot while the turkey cooks. If you are not making a huge amount of stuffing, some oval casserole dishes will fit directly into the bottom of a large crock pot. If not, just scoop the stuffing into the crock pot, trying to keep the crisp top edges on the top in the crock pot as well.

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This is a pretty standard bread stuffing recipe, with the addition of roasted garlic and dried cranberries. I love the contrast between the smoky flavor of the roasted garlic and the sweet tang of the cranberries. Need help roasting garlic: click through to How To . . . Roast Garlic. It is pretty simple.

You can also add mushrooms, but I usually leave them out to appease my Mushroom-Hating-Children. Occasionally, however, I will chop them finely in the food processor, and then no one is the wiser.

You can use store-bought bread cubes, or make your own (highly recommended). Cube several different varieties of bread: white, wheat, rye, English muffins, bagels—all those ends that no one wants to eat. Spread in a single layer on large baking pans. If you have the time, and the humidity is not too high, just leave them sitting on the counter for 2-3 days to dry out. Stir them around occasionally. Be careful though: these sandwich ends that no one wanted to eat yesterday become just like candy to little fingers when they are turned into bread cubes. So start with more bread than you think you will need. Also: the bread will shrink as it dries, so start with more fresh bread than the dried cubes called for in the recipe.

If you are short on time, dry them in the oven at a very low heat (200°F max), stirring often. It will take about 1 hour to dry the bread in the oven.

RECIPE:

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Roasted Garlic Stuffing

½ cup butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup sliced or finely chopped mushrooms, optional
1 head of garlic, roasted (about 10 cloves)  <see How To. . . Roast Garlic>
12-13 cups dry bread cubes
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbs fresh sage, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried sage
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp marjoram
1 ½ – 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 cup dried cranberries, optional

Sauté onion, celery and mushrooms in butter. Crush roasted garlic cloves and stir into skillet. Pour vegetables over bread cubes in a large bowl. Mix in seasonings. Stir in enough broth to moisten. Stir in cranberries, if desired. Place in a covered casserole dish and bake at 325°F for 1 hour (or 400°F for 30 minutes).

COOKING TIPS: Stuffing can be prepared the day before and refrigerated overnight. If oven room is a problem, cook stuffing early in the day (before you put the turkey in the oven) for 30 minutes at 400°F. Transfer stuffing to a crock-pot and heat on very low heat until serving time.

Yield: this makes a lot! About 15-20 good-sized servings

 

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Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce with Orange & Cinnamon

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Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to start planning your menu. Over the next week, I will share some of our family’s favorites.

We love our cranberry sauce around here, especially on leftover turkey sandwiches the next day. The addition of orange peel and juice, and a hint of cinnamon gives this cranberry sauce a nice tang. The picture above is a Sugar Free version, made with stevia. The recipe below includes instructions for making it with full sugar or a sugar substitute. In the past I have had problems getting a proper gel with sugar substitutes, so I now add a little unflavored gelatin (Knox). I like it sprinkled with toasted finely chopped pecans, but the kids don’t like it as much this way, so I usually leave it plain.

RECIPE:

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Cranberry Sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (or additional water)
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (Stevia, Splenda) **
1 tsp Knox gelatin (if using sugar substitute)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup toasted pecans, optional

Place water in a medium saucepan. If using a sugar substitute, sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand 5 minutes. Heat to a boil. Stir in orange juice, sugar (or substitute), cinnamon stick and orange peel. Return to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, return to a boil. Boil 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm or cold with toasted pecans.

**NOTE: Sugar substitutes vary a lot in sweetness, especially stevia. I use Sweet Leaf brand powdered stevia and usually use about 1/2 tsp. Start on the low side; taste cranberry sauce and add more to your taste, if necessary. You can also use part sugar/part sugar substitute.

 

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Not Just for Summer: Open-Faced Sloppy Joes and Baked Beans

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Sloppy Joes with Baked Beans is always sure to please even the pickiest of eaters in my house. Again it is all about the toppings around here: cheese and sliced green onions go perfectly with the simmered savory meat.

I know that baked beans are traditionally a summer barbecue food, but I prefer to make them when it is cold outside and I need to heat the house up with some extended oven baking time. I usually start with canned beans because I am rarely successful in getting good finished texture when cooking this with dried beans.

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Want the convenience of canned beans at the price of dry beans? Can your own with a pressure canner: 1 cup beans + 1 tsp salt in each quart jar. Add hot tap water, leaving 1” headspace. Process in a pressure canner at 15 lb pressure for 60 minutes.

Some in our family like to eat our Sloppy Joes open-faced. When I don’t have homemade bread on hand, I serve the Sloppy Joes on these thin sandwich breads, toasted:060610 009-1RECIPES:

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Sloppy Joes

2- 2 ½ lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1/2–1  red or green bell pepper, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped or 1 Tbs dried parsley
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbs chili powder
1/2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2–1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch ground cloves

Hamburger buns or Homemade Bread, toasted
Shredded cheese
Sliced green onions or finely chopped red or yellow onions

Brown ground beef in a large skillet until thoroughly cooked; drain fat. Add onion, red or green pepper, garlic and parsley to the skillet. Cook until onions are translucent.

Add remaining ingredients (except buns and toppings) and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until Sloppy Joes are thickened as desired.

Serve over toasted buns (open-faced or full buns) with shredded cheese and onions for toppings.

**NOTE: Use a food processor to chop the onion, peppers, garlic and parsley if you want fine pieces that are less noticeable to children!

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Baked Beans

8-12 oz bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 cans (16 oz) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (16 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (16 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp liquid hickory smoke flavoring
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Chop bacon and cook until almost crisp. Remove bacon from pan; drain grease, leaving 2-3 Tbs drippings in the pan. In the bacon drippings, sauté onion until soft. Combine bacon and onion with remaining ingredients in a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 300°F for about 3 hours (or 325°F for 2 hours), stirring every 30-45 minutes. Add additional water if the beans begin to stick to the pan.

Or cook in a crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours.

 

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