because what is life without good food?

Side dishes

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie Noodles

Shhhh … they aren’t really “noodles” … they just look sort of like noodles. They don’t really taste like noodles either, but I love the noodley look of this colorful vegetable medley. The Pesto Rosso (a.k.a, sundried tomato pesto) really complements the sauteed veggies too, especially when you add some crumbles of cheese on top.

It was getting very close to bedtime last night when I realized I was hungry. I didn’t want to have a big, heavy meal right before bed, but I didn’t want my stomach waking me up in the middle of night either. So I decided at the last moment to cook up something light and healthy but filling enough to tide me over till morning. I’ve been toying with the idea of using zucchini and summer squash as noodles with sauce over top, but when I went to make it, I thought “why just zucchini? why not toss some other vegetables too?” … and so I did.

For me, this was a late night snack, but I could envision these lovelies as a beautiful bed for meat, fish or chicken. Can you imagine how appetizing that would look? Or you could eat them as is for a wonderfully healthy vegetarian dinner. If you want a heartier meal, toss them with some whole grain fettucine or linguine. The wonderful thing about eating vegetables for dinner is you can pretty much eat as many as you want without guilt or worry.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie Noodles

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”

This makes about enough for 1 hearty plateful or two side servings. Multiply if you have more mouths to feed!

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 – 1/2 of a small sweet onion
  • 1/3 of a large bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (yielding a heaping cup or so of zucchini “noodles”)
  • 1 roma tomato
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used Basil and Terragon)
  • A splash of wine (or water)
  • About 1 Tablespoon Pesto Rosso (Sundried Tomato Pesto … recipe here)
  • About 1/2 Tablespoon white wine (or water)
  • To top: crumbled feta or queso fresco — or thin “shards” of freshly cut Parmesan & a cherry tomato or sprig of fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop the garlic finely and, in a small bowl, mix it with the olive oil. Set aside to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil while you chop up the vegies.
  2. Slice the vegies into thin noodle shapes. For the onion, slice it vertically and very thin. The zucchini: slice it in half, then slice each half into very thin slices. Cut the slices into noodle-sized strips. The tomato: cut it vertically, then slice like you did the zucchini. The bell pepper: just cut it into very thin strips.
  3. Now heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic with olive oil, onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is soft. Then add the zucchini and tomato and sautee until the zucchini “noodles” are tender. If the pan gets dry while you are cooking, add a splash of white wine (or water) to keep the vegies moist and tender and make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
  4. Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
  5. Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie "Noodles"

This recipe was shared at Tasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayCast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

with breadcrumbs & aged Dubliner (or Asiago) cheese

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

The first time I made these scrumptious vegetables was an attempt to spruce up some of the excess vegies left over from the Blogiversary party. That time I used celery, carrots, cauliflower, onion and grape tomatoes and topped them with whole wheat breadcrumbs and Dubliner cheese. It was so good I gobbled them all up and still wanted more.

I decided I had to try this again with different vegetables. This time I used zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomato, and onion with Asiago cheese in place of the Dubliner. I think you could use any combination of vegetables that you have on hand, although I would recommend including both onion and tomato in the mix.

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • About 4 cups of mixed, chopped vegetables (make sure you include some onion and tomato!)
  • About 3 Tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs (mostly tarragon! … I used tarragon with a bit of sage, dill, basil, thyme and oregano)
  • Red robin seasoning and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat is good!)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Dubliner or Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Romano or Parmesan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and set aside while you are chopping up your vegies and herbs. Let the garlic hang out in the oil for at least 15 minutes so the oil gets a good infusion going on.
  2. Chop up your vegies into chunks, and your herbs into fine bits. In a mixing bowl, toss the vegies with the garlic-infused olive oil and the herbs.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the shredded cheese and Italian seasoning.
  4. Spray a 9×9 inch square pan with cooking spray and spread the oiled vegies out evenly in the pan. Top with the seasoned cheesy breadcrumb mixture and then sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegies are tender. Serve immediately as a side dish … your side dish may just steal the show! These vegies also make an awesome sandwich piled on a bun with a good cheese melted all over.

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

The idea of a chopped cucumber salad with rosemary popped into my head the other day. I had some cucumber I bought for my daughter, but she hasn’t shown much interest in eating them lately, so I decided to go ahead and use them up. I cooked up some barley and red lentils to go with it and they took over and outnumbered the cucumbers, but all in all, I was very pleased with the results. Barley is something I usually think of putting in soups, but I thought it would be fun to try it in a salad. It’s a very healthy grain, full of fiber.

Dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and seasoned with a little Moroccan seasoning and some cumin, it turned out to be quite a nice salad. Great for lunch or as a nice side dish to serve with fish or meat.

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

  • 1/2 cup dry barley
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils (you can use any color: I chose red ones)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced and chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (like a Vidalia)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Moroccan seasoning (I used some I purchased from Mystic Blue Spice Company, but if you are in a pinch, there is a recipe for making your own here)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: About 2 Tablespoons toasted pinons (pine nuts), lemon slice(s) & fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Cook the barley and lentils (in separate pots) according to package directions.
  2. While they are cooking, chop the cucumber and onion and gather the herbs.
  3. Zest and juice the lemon into a small bowl. Add the garlic, rosemary, cumin and Moroccan seasoning, then whisk in the olive oil.
  4. In a larger bowl, mix the cooked barley and lentils, the cucumber, onion, parsley and green onion, then drizzle on the dressing and stir to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh lemon slice(s), toasted pine nuts and some fresh parsley leaves. Serve hot or cold. It’s good both ways.

Rosemary Cucumber Barley Lentil Salad

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Full Plate Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Summer Salad Sundays.


Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

So we got back from vacation last night after a long long 14-hour drive. I needed some GOOD food today, something that not only tastes good, but has all those super-nutritional things in it that are hard to find when you’re travelling. So I threw together this wilted kale salad. It has just the right mix of protein, fiber, grains, greens and herbs, with a little salty smoky taste from the bacon and cheese and a bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds. This was just what I was missing while I was on vacation!

The trip to Yellowstone was lovely, the scenery was spectacular, and it was great to spend time together with my kids where we actually TALKED to each other and joked around and just enjoyed each other’s company … we really had a good time … but there were a few aspects of a normal “vacation” we kind of missed. Trips to the coffee shop. Eating exceptional food. We ate our meals in the car or the hotel for the most part. The first night I tried to get the kids to go out with me, but they were exhausted from the drive and just wanted to chill (and play on their computers) in the hotel room. The second and third days we ate sandwiches in the car and breakfast & dinner in the room. The resort we stayed at had a gas grill, so I cooked up grilled salmon one night and chicken and hot dogs the next, but by the third night we were dying for some really good food OUT. So Wednesday after the tour of my favorite brewery, the Grand Teton Brewing Company (which was wonderful!), we decided to try a brew-pub in Jackson, the Snake River Brewing Company. We were disappointed. The food was okay, but the pretzel was cold and hard, the pizzas and fish and chips were mediocre. It wasn’t the really good food we were hoping for at all on our “big night out”. And after visiting Grand Teton, even the beer tasted kind of blah. The whole experience just made us want to go home.

Oh but before we go on, you need to see the awesome beer I had at the Grand Teton Brewing Company … this is the Wake Up Call Imperial Coffee Porter. I really wanted to bring some home with me, but they didn’t have any bottled for sale … I’m hoping like mad that they DO send some our way soon because I really loved this deep dark beer! The other cool part about our brewery tour was my teenagers each got a bottle of the Black Cherry soda straight off the bottling line, which was REALLY cool. It made them feel much more welcome.

Wake up call Imperial Coffee Porter

(No, there’s no beer in this dish … I just wanted to TELL someone about this awesome beer and the great time we had at the brewery … if you want an awesome recipe for dark beer, check out the Black Cauldron Imperial Chocolate Stout Cake)

Okay, anyway, back to the topic at hand … what were we talking about? Oh yes, the quinoa, kale & bacon salad …

So my daughter and I went shopping for shoes and groceries today. (Way fun on both parts!) I had to get some kale. Kale is my new favorite food. It crisps up delightfully to make kale chips, but you can also quick-steam it for omelets and salads. My friend Sonali, the Foodie Physician can tell you how wonderful kale is for your body … and how to make those crispy fun kale chips. But kale also tastes good, and because kale is so good for you, it makes your body feel wonderful all over when you eat it. The bacon and cheese might even win over some of your more skeptical eaters.

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

Wilted Kale, Quinoa and Bacon Salad

for each serving, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 slices lean bacon
  • 2 stalks of kale, stems removed, then take the greens and chop or tear them into smaller pieces
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • About 3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • Red robin seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • A few very thin slices of Dubliner cheese (you could substitute Parmesan or Romano if you don’t have Dubliner)
  • About 2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, in a frying pan, fry the bacon until it’s crisp, then remove from pan and set on a clean towel to soak up the excess fat. If there’s any excess fat in the pan, drain it out, but don’t wipe out the pan … leave a micro thin coating of bacon fat on the bottom.
  3. Over medium high heat, throw in the kale along with a splash of water. Stir them around a little. The kale will soften and turn a brilliant green almost immediately.
  4. Add in the quinoa, bacon, vinegar, oil, basil and season to taste.
  5. Pour the salad into a bowl and top with the cheese shards and sunflower seeds.

For me this was a full meal, but you could serve it as a side with some meat if you prefer.

Wilted Kale, Quinoa & Bacon Salad

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Manic Mondays, Best Healthy Salad Recipes, Recipe of the Week and Summer Salad Sundays.


Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms

{Guest Post from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen}

Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms

It’s Day 4 of my vacation and Carrie from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen is such a sweetie … she is tending the kitchen here today. Carrie is a fantabulous cook and great “virtual” friend that I am so pleased to know. And did you know she’s publishing a cookbook? I’m so excited for her!!! This dish that she is sharing is right up my alley … I can’t wait for zucchini season now.

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s Carrie!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carrie-Farias-of-Carrie's-Experimental-KitchenHi everyone, I’m Carrie behind Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen and I am thrilled and honored to be a guest here today at Sumptuous Spoonfuls! I just LOVE Ann’s blog and the fact that she uses fresh ingredients in her dishes (just like me!), it truly does make the world of difference! I love looking around the kitchen, seeing what I have on hand and creating a meal that is simple yet delicious, whether or not your an experienced chef or a kitchen novice. I have been married for 17 years and am the mother of two girls, ages 15 and 10, who I lovingly refer to as my food testing “guinea pigs”. I reside in a small town in Northwestern NJ and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management. I am also awaiting the release of my first cookbook called “Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen: A Collection of Mediterranean Inspired Family Meals”; which is scheduled to be released in the late summer, early fall of 2012.

And now for the recipe…

Two of my favorite vegetables combined together with garlic and balsamic vinegar make this a must try side dish the next time you’re looking to try something new and easy! I LOVE roasting just about anything, and this was no exception. Just look at the beautiful color and the taste was incredible!

Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms

  • 2 Zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 8-10 Large Mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Add the zucchini, mushrooms and garlic to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Mix well then place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway. Serves 4.

*Nutritional Information: Calories 94, Carbs 7g, Fat 8g, Protein 3g

Enjoy!

*Calculations based on ingredients entered into MyFitnessPal and may not be 100% accurate.

Carrie Palladino Farias
Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

Website: http://www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarriesExperimentalKitchen
Twitter: www.twitter.com/CarriesExpKtchn
Pinterest: CarriesExpKtchn


Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

{Guest Post from Ally’s Kitchen}

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

I’m off on vacation, so I asked a few sweet foodie friends of mine to “blog-sit” while I’m gone. Today my sweet friend Ally from Ally’s Kitchen volunteered to “tend the kitchen” for me and share one of her Bohemian creations. I’ll let Ally introduce herself … she is one of the most amazing cooks I know! I love her Bohemian style … she is so creative and fun. She’s a ray of sunshine in the foodie world. You are going to love this gorgeous recipe she’s sharing today!

So here’s Ally!

~~~~

Ally (a.k.a. Alice Phillips)

My cooking is a reflection of my life—where I came from, my DNA, my experiences, , my travels, my Croatian heritage, my adventurous spirit, and, of course, my humble background growing up in the hollers of West Virginia. ‘Bohemian Bold’ cuisine means taking peasant and everyday ingredients and transforming them into something chic and luxurious.

I was literally born a Cook, and I’ve been cooking since I was a kid.  But, my real passion for cooking, blogging, creating came after I finished raising my 3 sons, all now adults and paying their own taxes, and my 30+ years as a psychologist in private practice.  After appearing on Season 2 of Master Chef, I launched ‘What’s for Dinner? Ally’s Kitchen’ on Facebook and my website ‘Ally’s Kitchen’ at www.allyskitchen.com .

Life for me is like eating an orange—I want to suck out every drop of nectar and when that’s gone, I’ll zest the rind for more flavor.  My Bohemian Life is all about cooking and living adventurously!

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin

What you need:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Canola cooking spray
  • Sea Salt/Pepper
  • 3 tbl butter
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream  (microwave for 10-15 seconds to take off chill)
  • 1 cup milk (microwave for 10-15 seconds to take off chill)
  • 1/2 pound Pepper Jack cheese cut in small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup (divided) grated asiago (or parmesan)
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chiffonade sliced green onions and tops (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)

What you do:

Preheat oven to 425. Place cauliflower on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Coat with cooking spray, salt and pepper.  Toss and cover well all pieces.  Place in preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Turn to broil for the last 5 minutes to get the pieces golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.  Over medium heat in a large skillet, melt the butter.  Blend in the flour making a paste and cook, stirring so as not to burn, for about 5 minutes. Slowly add in heavy cream stirring and blending.  Do the same with the milk.  Reduce heat to low and add the cheeses (1 cup of the asiago) stirring and allowing it all to melt.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place roasted cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.  Add green onions and toss.  Add creamy cheese mixture and blend well.  Pour into a cast iron skillet and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven or until the top is golden brown.  Allow to rest about 10 minutes before serving.  (Now the longer you let it sit, the thicker the sauce becomes!)  Garnish with grated cheese and fresh green onions.

Roasted Spicy Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Gratin


Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

with smoked Gouda and bacon

Spicy Smoky Cornbread Pudding

So what do you do with leftover cornbread? My kids both love it, but they will only eat it when it’s fresh. Of course it’s best when it’s fresh and hot, but it’s still good later! … especially when it’s grilled cornbread. I opened up the container that I stored it in and I could smell that smoky grilled taste all over again … ah! It made a wonderful breakfast.

But still I am only one person … and I tire of the same thing over and over … what if we just work a little bread pudding magic on it?

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

  • 2 cups cubed cornbread (the pudding will have a smokier flavor if the cornbread was cooked on the grill)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (more or less to taste … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapeno if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup corn (I thawed out some frozen corn, but you could use fresh corn)
  • 1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes (or shredded)
  • About 1 Tablespoon bacon, cooked crisp, and crumbled
  • Chopped chives, basil, baby spinach, garlic scapes or other herbs of your choosing (about 1/2 cupful total? I just went out to my garden and started picking random things … my spinach is pathetic … only a few baby leaves to be had, but there are plenty of chives and basil and garlic!)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Spray a small casserole dish or large oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and put the cornbread in the bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
  2. Sitr the jalapenos, corn, cheese, bacon, and herbs into the cornbread mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then fold them into the cornbread mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pudding is “set” (springs back when you touch it lightly right in the center). Let set for just a few minutes, then serve while it’s still hot.

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 571 other followers