Jul 18

Let’s start with a bit of an introduction. This dish falls under a number of categories, it’s a great side dish, served either warm or cold, depending on the main course and time of year. It’s perfect for those on a diet, as the calorie count for this entire recipe is about 800 calories. It’s frugal and will let you use up the zucchini from your garden or a friend that brought you a basket of it.¬† Zucchini high season is toward the end of the summer so we wanted to get this posted before it was harvest time. Last, it freezes well, so fits nicely with the other recipes we’ve done targeted for the “cooking ahead” strategy.

By the way, if Ratatouille sounds too fancy, just call it “veggie stew,” which reminds me, serve this to your vegetarian friends and they’ll know you really care. Now, let’s get cooking.

Ingredients
4 lbs zucchini
3 red peppers
2 Vidalia (or sweet) onions
2 28oz cans tomatoes (I use one whole and one crushed)
1 tbl crushed garlic

First, fry the garlic with a little olive oil, for a few minutes, then add the onions and cook over a low heat. You want the onions to soften and it’s ok if they caramelize a bit. (Note, this is an 8 qt pot. If your pots are smaller, you might need to cut the recipe in half)

Cut up the zucchini into big chunks, as shown. I cut off the ends and washed the zucchini, but not peeled it. No need to.

This is when the food photographers get my admiration. Five shots and this was the best I could do. You get the idea, though. Once those onions are done, you’re going to put in the zucchini and peppers, and both cans of tomatoes. Cook for about two hours covered, on low heat and be sure to stir every twenty minutes or so.

You can take the lid off once the zucchini has softened and cook till it’s the thickness you prefer. It can be served over rice or noodles, or by itself. You notice I didn’t mention any seasoning at all? If I have fresh basil, I put in a dozen leaves or so, chopped fine. You can add oregano, if you like, about a table spoon or so. After you make it the first time, try whatever variation you wish. You can add eggplant, carrots, turnip, whatever. I know some people will add salt to everything they cook. Not us. Try this dish once and we’re sure you’ll find that you make it again and again. Let us know what changes you make to it by leaving a comment. We love to hear from our readers.

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Jun 21

Couscous is an interesting dish. Traditionally middle-eastern, it’s worked its way into America’s diet, both as an appetizer and a side dish. Couscous can be treated as you would a rice dish or a pasta dish. Today, we’d like to share a side dish¬† that you are welcome to try and alter to your liking.

Ingredients
* 1 cup Israeli Couscous
* olive oil
* 1 Vidalia onion, sliced into slivers
* 2 cloves garlic
* 4 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon of tahini
* 1 large eggplant, chopped
* 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
* salt and pepper to taste

First, the couscous.

Cook for about 3-5 minutes in boiling water and drain. It should be al dente (just undercooked) like pasta.

Slice the onions as shown, and saute in olive oil.

In another pan heat the garlic in olive oil, and brown the eggplant.

Next, mix the lemon juice, tahini, and a tablespoon of olive oil. mix in a bowl with feta, and all other ingredients. This dish can be served either hot or cold. Salt/pepper to taste.

If you don’t care for the feta, leave it out, you can add chopped black olives if you wish. Let us kow if you tried this and if you made any changes to suit your taste.

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Jul 13

We find that the side dishes tend to be an afterthought, the steak is on the grill, and we look to see what we can make before it’s ready, hoping there’s something in the fridge or pantry. Here’s a side dish that goes well with most main dishes, try it and let us know what you think.

swricebeans

2 cups cold cooked rice (We use brown rice for extra nutrition and flavor. This is 2 cups ‘after’ it’s cooked)
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed
1 cup (or 1 can) whole kernel corn
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/3 cup minced scallion (or sweet onion if scallion is out of season)
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin

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So long as you’ve made the rice the day prior (or same morning), the prep for this is very fast, just a bit of chopping, mincing. (Yes, the corn missed the ingredients’ photoshoot, but it did make it to the final dish.) Enjoy!

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Jun 23

Mashed squash makes a nice side dish and it’s very easy to make if you have the time (like when you’re cooking for the week but have a spare burner.)

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Start out with a nice sized butternut squash. This one weighted just under five pounds.

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Peel, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and quarter. Steam the cut up squash for about 25 minutes or until fork tender. Note, after peeling and scooping, we have just over four pounds of squash, if you wish, you can buy it already prepped like this.

squash3

Next put into a casserole dish, this is a 2-1/2 quart size, add eight table spoons brown sugar, and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth.

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Cook for 60 minutes at 350F, covered, then remove cover and cook another 20-30 minutes until the top starts to brown a bit. From start to finish is nearly two hours but the work is minimal, and this will last nearly a week in the refrigerator. Enjoy.

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