Tag Archives: vegetable

Easy cheesy potatoes

I hope you guys have had an amazing weekend. Like me, you should be sitting back, relaxing, patting yourself on the back for getting those few pesky chores done and smiling on all the fun you just had. Because like me, you just had the perfect summer weekend. That totally happened for you too, right?

This gal got to go to Duluth and see her indomitable brother not only complete Grandma’s Marathon, but do it with a smile on his face. In a word. Amazing. Oh and one more. Inspiring.
It was great to see him and our friends push themselves past their limits. Also super fun was cheering on all those runners, friends or not.

Grandmas Marathon-1

Then today on a foray for breakfast, we met a couple of amazing small farmers, selling produce fresh from their greenhouse. They had everything we were looking to do (albeit on a much larger scale). They were certainly the nicest couple, and willing to share some pointers and fantastic produce. Brekkie was quickly followed by a nap in the hammock and now I’m re-energized for more.

Now, fill in the gap in time (and space) between those two paragraphs and fill it with talking, laughter, and foodie love. Yeah that was my very perfect weekend. And now to top it off with the easiest side dish in all the lands. Now keep in mind, I live in the frozen tundra so even in June, it’s no big to have my oven on for 30, but if you live in warmer climes, pop these into a well oiled foil packet and toss ‘em on your grill. Easy, cheesy, comfort food, and the simplest side dish imaginable.

Enjoy!

Easy cheesy potatoes from thePenandthePan

Easy cheesy potatoes

2 lbs potatoes
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
¾ – 1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Clean, trim, and peel potatoes (if desired). Slice potatoes into ¼ inch pieces and place in 9×13” pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Top with onions and green pepper. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and potatoes are pierced easily with a fork.

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Comfort quesadillas

So here I have the easiest of recipes for you. So easy the ingredient list consists of you opening your fridge and taking a gander at just what is hiding (and perhaps languishing) in there. These are my go-to comfort food, especially when it’s a solo dinner, and they are so crammed full of all those favorite veg that I always, always over buy. In my mind everything can go into a quesadilla fresh mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes – heck yeah. Maybe you found that jar of banana peppers you’ve been meaning to use up, or those green chilies looking for a vehicle to your tum, or maybe its those last two delish olives taking up all that space. Yup, they all belong in there too. And I suppose, you could even throw some meat in there. You know, if you had to.

As a comfort food, they can’t be beat. Easy, delish, and the avocado on top will melt away the worst of days. And I’m putting that to the test. Someone made a rather large mistake, certainly not the end of the world, but I am a pretty harsh critic when it comes to this gal. But you know, I did find out I’ve got an audience. A big one. So there’s that, right?

That said, at least I have tons of fun to distract myself from all of that (and before you start gnashing your teeth wondering, “what the heck did you do, Jess?!” It was a typo. A small typo. But on a big stage). But yeah, fun! Next week marks the start of my summer hours. Yeah, you read that right, summer hours! So that’s pretty rad. But even more immediate is getting to watch my brother cross the finish line at Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday and then another trip to the bear bar! Yeah, bears. In real life.

In the meantime, let’s go comfort ourselves with quesadillas. Quesadillas oozing with cheese and dripping with salsa. Yeah. That.

Enjoy!

Comfort quesadillas from thePenandthePan

Comfort quesadillas

per quesadilla
1 tortilla (the size is up to you, how much comfort are you feeling?)
¼ cup or less shredded cheese
assorted vegetables, raw or cooked
butter for tortilla

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Butter one side of your tortilla and place in pan. Add vegetables to one side of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over entire tortilla.

Just as cheese starts to melt, fold tortilla in half. Continue to cook, flipping frequently, until both sides are lightly browned.

Smashed potatoes from Closet Cooking

You know what’s amazing and awesome and about to happen to this very gal?! Getting to see your favorite band, in your favorite venue, with your favorite sibling! I’ll be real honest here, I can’t focus on a whole lot else right now. Tomorrow immediately after work, I’m hopping in the car for a solo camera venture across the state, landing in Minneapolis just in time for dinner with friends and then a night full of ROCK! All that excitement to be followed on Saturday by lunching with some favorite ladies, a little retail therapy, and another scenic route home. Just me, visits with rad people, and exactly zero pressure.

It did cross my mind to stay for a second day, but on the way into work this week, I looked around at all the peeps coming to vacation in this town, and I thought, “Huh, do I really want to miss out on a fine weekend afternoon in what will surely be the shortest of summers?” The answer was an emphatic no. That coupled with the fact that the ever talented Himself is willing to work on my car on Sunday, and it’s a def no-brainer, not a single moment wasted away from my north woods paradise.

That said, I’m crazy excited to go, and have exactly zero interest in planning elaborate meals this week. So, because I’m a grown up, it’s appetizers for dinner! Boom! Cause I can. I love this recipe because you can fancy it up for your friends, or do what I did and use leftover bits and pieces languishing in my sad fridge. Intentional ingredients, happy accidents with leftovers, either way, these little bites are so yummy. Think a potato skin with more potato and less grease and guilt.

I’ve copied over the original recipe from Closet Cooking in case you’re ready to wow your friends, but if you just want a little comfort snack, you’ll get the gist of it and adapt away.

Enjoy!

Smashed potatoes from thePenandthePan

Smashed potatoes from Closet Cooking

1 pound new potatoes (about 1-1 1/2 inches across), washed
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 strips bacon (optional)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions, sliced

Bring the potatoes and enough water to cover them by an inch to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until a fork can easily be pushed into them, about 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, before draining them.

Place the potatoes on a greased baking sheet and ‘smash’ them by pressing down on them with something like a potato masher, the bottom of a glass or bowl, etc.

Brush the potatoes with oil, season with salt and pepper and bake them on the top shelf of a preheated 450F oven until golden brown and crispy on top, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook and crumble the bacon.

Sprinkle the cheddar onto the potatoes and optionally broil for a minute to melt the cheese.

Top with the sour cream, bacon and green onions and enjoy as a side or as an appetizer!

Option: You can cook and smash the potatoes a day ahead of time.

Samosa wonton cups

You guys! I just want to go outside so badly. Me and everyone else in this town. It’s been rainy and cold, and we just can’t take it any more. Well, ok, there are some things about the rain that are sorta ok. There are few things that smell nearly as amazing as rain in the wet and muddy pines.

Problem is, while I could totally handle the cold in February, it’s April (imagine me saying that last part in the whiniest voice you ever heard). Now I just want to be outside. The birds and animals are all returning despite the cold, and I want to enjoy it too.

Just check out this wolf we spotted on the way to work on Monday. Granted, I don’t want to run into this dude outside, but with zero woodscraft, he’d hear me coming and be gone long before I reached him.

Wolf_Deer River-2

Can’t really blame this guy for coming around, though, check out all these deer (look closely, my friends). We’ve been seeing crazy amounts (16 at a time!) in the field across the way. Yayyy nature!

Deer a-grazing

Oh well, this time indoors hasn’t been put to good use. Just check out these samosa wonton cups I made. This appetizer isn’t really a wonton and it isn’t really a samosa. But what it is, is super crazy delicious, and it’s my blog, so I’m calling them samosa wontons. So there.

There are a lot of steps, but they’re super easy. Though, you can also make the filling and wonton cups ahead of time. Just wait to fill the cups until ready to serve. Either way they’re delish!

Enjoy!

Samosa wonton cups

Samosa wonton cups

24 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced to ½ inch
½ tablespoon olive oil
⅓ cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
½ cup fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon curry powder
pinch cayenne pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350º. Separate wonton wrappers and place in ungreased mini muffin to create a cup. Bake unfilled wrappers for 5 minutes. Set aside

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil potato pieces until just tender, no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook an additional two minutes more.

In a large bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mint, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Add potatoes, onion mixture, and peas.

Fill each wonton with potato mixture. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped clinatro. Serve hot.

Greek green beans

Four glorious days off in a row! I love my jobs, but this dose of “idleness” and sunshine is just what I needed.Note the “idleness” in quotes. You know me, days off of work just means that I’ll find a different way to fill that time. Friday was filled with spring cleaning and today is full of cooking and delicious recipe ideas. Then sandwiched in between was a great visit from my brother and an awesome Easter dinner with g’ma and g’pa.

Today is one of those days I yearn for in the middle of a stressful week. It’s gray and a little chill out, but that just means puttering around in the kitchen with a giant mug of tea is the perfect way to spend the day. I get to fill my house with delicious smells (and tastes, of course), all the while not feeling guilty about being indoors. After all, testing recipes and prepping amazing things for this week’s lunch is awfully important too. Well, that and shopping for purses on the interwebs, I mean, this girl’s gotta accessorize too.

These delicious green beans might have been my favorite part of the aforementioned Easter dinner. The crunch of green beans with the fresh herbs and bite of lemon just gets up and yells “SPRING!” to me. Nope, not a subtle flavor here. These beans crawl right up in your face. And the only thing that’s going to make them any tastier is when the beans, mint, and dill are fresh picked from my garden. This is sure to be my (and yours too!) go-to green bean recipe this summer.

Enjoy!

Greek green beans

Greek green beans

Lightly adapted from Bon Appetit

1 ½ lbs green beans, cleaned and trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh mint leaves
1 ½ tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
zest and juice of one lemon, less if desired
½ cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place into a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Sweet potato, olive, and spinach pizza

Soooooo, lovely invisible interweb friends, here it is another Thursday. With the best of intentions I set goals, oh way back when, that had me posting on Wednesdays and Saturdays. But these days, by the time I get settled in for the week at both jobs, I look around and here it is Wednesday, and all the creative energy? Well, it’s left the building. So Thursdays, you want to get a little creative together? Yeah, me too. You and me Thursday, let’s make a pact to come visit all our invisible interweb friends together. K?

Whew, now that’s out of the way, I can feel a little less like I’m playing catch-up. Which is good, cause I feel like we’ve been catching up from being in this cities this weekend too. We had a wonderful, amazing, super fun whirlwind trip getting to see family and friends. And came away laden with the raddest of gifts. All in some way related to food. There were fantastic wine coasters from my BFF; homemade beer and Penzey’s spices from my brother; cookbooks from my mother-in-law; muffaletta from my father-in-law, and sourdough starter (!!!), green tomato relish, salsa, and pear sauce from Himself’s woodworking buddy just to name a few. Unrelated to food, but also AMAZING, is a poster that my brother got me – all of the words in all of Emily Dickinson’s poems used to create a gorgeous image and a beautiful necklace from my sister-in-law. All that, plus foodie dinners and sushi, and a trip to the co-op to visit friends and stock up on vanilla pods and smoked salt, and all in just two days.

I’m feeling awfully rich in friends and family after all that. But once we got back, someone asked Himself, “So when did it feel like you were headed home? Saturday afternoon on the way to Minneapolis, or Monday afternoon headed back up north?” The answer for both of us was unmistakably when headed north. In fact, right now I am relishing the quiet (and that homemade beer!), taking a moment to breathe before another fun-filled weekend.

Fun-filled weekends are the inspiration for this pizza. Ok, actually a recovery from a fun-filled weekend. Looking in my fridge, I realized that those items I had bought with the best of intentions last week were getting a little close to the use it or lose it stag. And from necessity, amazing deliciousness is born! Ok, I can just imagine my father-in-law’s face as he reads the recipe, but I promise you Peter, and you too, invisible internet friends, something magical happens between the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, the salty goodness of the olives, the tang of the blue cheese, and the warmth of the spinach. In fact, I love the combination so much, it’s going in tonight’s dinner of falafel and sweet potatoes on a bed of spinach, drizzled with olive dressing. Are you drooling, cause I am! Just five more minutes until that falafel is done a-baking.

K, enough with the chitter-chatter, let’s eat already. You go make this pizza, whilst I make a salad out of my leftover sweet potatoes.

Enjoy!

Sweet potato, olive, and spinach pizza

Sweet potato and olive pizza

Per individual pizza:
Pizza dough
Scant 1/2 cup roasted sweet potatoes (see directions)
1/2 cup pizza cheese
2 tablespoons chopped olives
Small handful torn spinach
Sprinkle of blue cheese

To roast the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Peel potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Slice into 1/4 inch slices. Place into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss potatoes to coat. Roast 30 minutes.

For the pizza:
Stretch favorite dough recipe (of course, by that I mean mine) into oblong shape on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with pizza cheese. Top with sweet potatoes, olives, spinach, and blue cheese. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Fresh corn and zucchini quiche

Well, he did it. Himself is jumped into a frozen lake! We have the greatest friends and supporters. With matching funds, he raised over $1,100! Color me super impressed.

As for me, this girl is going to take a much needed breath. I’m still not quite recovered from that terrible sick, but I’ve managed to be quite the go-getter regardless. Himself and I had a rad dinner with some of his friends on Wednesday, followed by a little exploring where we found that a neighborhood bar has a BEAR PIT, you can enjoy an adult beverage and watch BEARS eat (not that I’m excited or anything). Thursday was all Hibbing and hanging with the grandparents, and last night was date night happy hour with fancy pants gin drinks and pie, it being Pi Day! Whew.

Speaking of pie, I still haven’t managed to master a pie crust. Ok, if I tell the truth, I haven’t even made space to try. So, for now, this delicious quiche I have for you was made with a store-bought, frozen pie crust. I know, shame, shame. But after taste testing a few, I found one that is pretty dang good, so let’s just focus on the quiche filling, mmmmkay?

I’ve spent a little time lately pouring through all of my pins on Pinterest (how in the world did I think I was ever going to make all of that?). Anyway, one of the pins I had marked ever so long ago was a quiche with corn in it. Now I pinned that so long ago that the original link has disappeared, so here’s my version. Corn, turkey sausage, zucchini, YUM! Here’s the thing, though, you need to shred that zucchini AND give it time to drain. Trust me on this, you don’t want a big sloppy mess of a quiche. I just use my big ‘ol box grater and then transfer the shredded zuch to a cheesecloth lined colander. If you don’t have a cheesecloth, a coffee filter’ll do in a pinch. I set a bowl on top of the zuch to help squeeze even more water out. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup shredded zucchini, but an average zucchini will give you about 2x that. Simply put the rest of the drained zucchini into a freezer baggie, and pop it into your freezer. Add it to your next omelette, quiche, or soup.

Now, you guys are going to think I’m a terrible cheater, but I used a pre-cooked sausage (Jimmy Dean’s pre-cooked turkey sausage), and it was surprisingly delish. Not to mention sped up the on-hand time enormously, allowing me to bask in a feeling of well-being and early evening sunshine. Not a bad trade off, I say. If you do cook your sausage fresh, just make sure to let it cool slightly and drain on a paper towel before adding to your pie crust.

Enjoy!

Corn and zucchini quiche

Corn and zucchini quiche

Deep dish pie crust, unbaked
¾ cup shredded zucchini
¾ cup fresh corn
¾ cup cooked sausage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread zucchini, corn, sausage, and cheese evenly in layers on the bottom of the pie crust.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and a pinch of salt and pepper, mixing well. Pour evenly into pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees 40 – 50 minutes or until the middle is set. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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