A quick lunch or snack.

Pesto Naan Pizza

This is a simple, quick lunch or snack. For when the kids come home from school and are starving. Or maybe you need a quick snack to feed them before they head out the door for those after school activities. This fit the bill.

These little naan breads are the handiest things ever. Great for wrap sandwiches, torn apart for dipping in soups or used for a pizza base. Ahem, like I did.

Gather your ingredients. This is an excellent way to use up those small quantities of foodstuffs that accumulate in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 400º. If you have a baking stone, preheat it inside the oven at the same time. I have a stone from one of those Pampered Chef parties, that I’m sure a few of you have attended.

Slice up the tomato into thin slices. Quarter the slices, if you want. I did. Put a thin layer of pesto on the naan and layer on the tomato slices.

Sprinkle on the olives and feta cheese.

Carefully, pull the hot stone from the oven and slide the naans onto it. Return to oven and bake. You’ll need 5 to 7 minutes for a soft crust or 10 minutes for a crispy crust.

After baking slide the hot naans onto a cutting board and cut it up! Eat! That’s it!

Pesto Naan Pizza

Ingredients:

  • One package naan bread There are 2 naans per package.
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons pesto
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of sliced olives
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400º If you are using a baking stone, preheat it at the same time, in the oven.

Remove naan bread from package. Spread pesto on them in an even layer. Add a layer of tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.

Slide onto preheated baking stone or baking tray.

Return to oven and bake. 5 to 7 minutes for a soft crust or 10 minutes for a crispy crust.

When done, slide onto a cutting board, slice and enjoy.

Mushrooms Galore

There’s a knock on the door. On the other side is our neighbor with a gift.                             He’s giving us one dozen, eight ounce packages of baby bella mushrooms.

That’s SIX POUNDS! I thank him and stash the ‘shrooms in the fridge. Boy, am I really grateful that we have an extra fridge in the garage. Then, I sit down to think. What am I going to do with six pounds of mushrooms? Fried mushrooms, sautéed mushrooms, mushroom kabobs, creole mushrooms, mushroom gumbo, coconut mushrooms, mushroom stew, mushroom po-boy, wait, wait a minute! How about the Burgundy Mushroom recipe from the pioneer woman’s website! Great idea. I go over and look the recipe over. Hmm, there’s worcestershire, chicken and beef bouillon in there, so that’s gotta change. Easy enough to do, so I did it. Then I took the hints and put it all in a crock pot.

Here are the results – Delicious! A thumbs up from everyone.

Vegetarian Burgundy Mushrooms

First, get your plethora of fungi out of the fridge. This is about the only time that I’ll dump them in a colander and hose them off. Mushrooms are like little sponges and they suck up water like crazy. Since we’ll be using these right away, I figure I’ll save some time here. Otherwise, (when I’m not doing so many) I’d just wipe them off.

Gather the rest of your ingredients. I cut the mushroom stems off flush with the caps. Also, for being “Baby” Bellas, some of these were quite big. I think they were “Teenage” Bellas. Those larger ones, I cut up, trying to keep a uniform size.

Pile all your mushrooms into your very large, crock pot. Turn the crock pot on, so it gets to preheating. It will only be a few minutes, so it will be ok. Now, you’ll need a large stock pot. Not crazy big, just enough to hold six cups of fluids easily. Get your two sticks of butter out and cut them into little cubes. It will melt faster that way. Take your garlic and crush it with the flat of your knife and give it a rough chop. After you remove the paper-like skin. Be sure to do that. Strip the thyme and dump them all in the pot. Add in the soy sauce. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Measure out two cups of vegetable broth and pour it in.

Then, get out the wine. This is a very good wine from a local vineyard.Southern Red Get a red wine that you’ll like, because it will take all of one bottle and a little of another. You’ll need four cups of wine. 

Pour it into the stock pot. Heat it all over medium heat until it just simmers and the butter is all melted. Now, carefully, pour all the liquids over the mushrooms in your crock pot. This is why you need a very large crock pot! If possible, give the mushrooms a little stir to distribute the spices evenly.  This is why you’ve heated up all the other ingredients. They are already blended up and you’re not waiting for your butter to melt in the crock pot.

Cover it up and cook on high for nine hours. My crock pot kept it at a good, slight boil, so I used high for the entire time. Low gave me no simmer at all. If your crock pot seem to be boiling all the liquid out, turn it to low after four or five hours. This is a peek after four hours.We really need Smell-O-Vision! The aroma was out standing. My guys said it actually reminded them of a pizzeria. They even smelled pepperoni!

While it’s cooking, either run to the store and get a loaf of crusty bread for soppin’ up the juice or make your favorite bread. I make a rosemary focaccia. It was so good.

Recipe adapted from : the pioneer woman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mushrooms Galore
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
 
Vegetarian Burgundy Mushrooms
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds of baby bella mushrooms
  • ½ pound of butter or 2 sticks
  • 4 cups burgundy (red) wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and rough chopped
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat crock pot.
  2. Rinse mushrooms and trim off stems.
  3. Cut butter into cubes and place into stock pot.
  4. Add in the soy sauce, garlic, thyme, salt & pepper.
  5. Pour in the stock and wine.
  6. Heat over medium until just reaching a boil.
  7. Carefully, pour hot stock mixture over mushrooms in crock pot.
  8. Give a gentle stir. Cover and cook on high for nine hours.
  9. Check and stir after 4 hours. Reduce heat to low if necessary. You don't want it to boil dry.
Notes
You can make this vegan by using a soy spread or a coconut oil product. I haven't been able to find a veg version of worcestershire, so I used Tamari soy sauce.

I served the mushrooms with a rosemary focaccia and some oven roasted rosemary potatoes. Yum!

Preserving basil

I’ve planted several basil plants over the year. Most have done well and kept up with my needs. One, however, felt the need to outshine the others. It’s a basil tree. I had seen the posts on Facebook and the Pinterest pins for preserving herbs in olive oil and I was intrigued. I had done the basil ice cubes before and liked how that worked, but oil? Freezing oil? Did that really work? The short answer is – yes, it worked. The long answer is a post with pictures!

How to preserve basil.

Go pick or otherwise obtain some basil. Pluck off the good leaves. Reserve the bad leaves and stems to feed the chickens.

Rinse off the leaves and give a good spin in a salad spinner to get dry or pat dry with a towel. Grab a handful and chop it up. Dump in another bowl. Repeat until one bowl is empty and the other is full. I ended up with a little less than 6 cups of chopped leaves. Now, about ice cube trays. I had one of those $5 off at Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I went to use it. I bought these    silicone ice cube trays. I think they worked very well. Each cube held 2 tablespoons of water. So, I stuffed about that much chopped basil in each one of them and topped them off with olive oil. Then, I took a chop stick and tamped it down, releasing any trapped air bubbles, too. Fill the cubes up to the top with oil. The 15 cubes held about 14oz of fluid, total.I filled up this tray with the olive oil and then did another with water. Place both trays into the freezer and freeze until solid. After they were solid, I popped them out and sealed each group up in a one quart freezer bag. You can easily tell them apart. The olive oil ones had a yellow tone to them.

NOTE: A friend has reported to me, that grape seed oil does not work for this. It does not freeze!

Olive oil preserved basil.

And, the water kind   Basil ice cubes.

A savory salad

Cornbread Salad

What can I say? The recipe title had me hooked. One word – cornbread. As a girl raised in the south, that was one half of a meal. The other half was beans. And I was happy. I love cornbread.

I also love tinkering with recipes. You know,  just a tweak here and there until you have perfection. Or, at least a dish that the whole family will eat.

After I got done tweaking this recipe, about the only thing that stayed the same was the title. After all, it was cornbread, I can’t improve on that!
Here’s the starting line up.

First off, make yourself a pan of cornbread. You only need a 8 x 8 pans worth, so a box of the mix is perfect. Or, you can go nutso like me, and make a 9 x 13 pan.

I use this masa cornbread  The smell of the dry masa roasting in the oven is enough to send me into a drooling stupor.

This is an easily do-ahead step. It’s a good use for left over cornbread. If there is such a beast. It’s best to start with a cool pan of cornbread so you don’t burn your fingers while cutting it up.

Open your can of black-eye peas and drain them. Set them aside while you make the dressing.

Combine the mayo with the sweet relish and pickle juice. Add enough juice to get a pourable dressing.

Now, bust out the cutting board, you’ve got some chopping to do.

Preheat your oven to 400 º. Cut your cornbread into 1 inch cubes and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, stirring at the halfway mark to ensure even browning. Remove from oven when times up, or when they are toasty brown.

Now for the cold veggies. Give the romaine a rough chop. Core your tomatoes and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. I just happened to have two black krim tomatoes and one pink lady, fresh from my garden. Yum!

Give your pepper a 1/4 inch dice. Here’s where I wish I’d used a yellow pepper. The contrast in colors would have been pretty. Then, halve your leek and slice into thin half moons. If you don’t have a leek, scallions work just fine.

Gather all your chopped, diced and cubed ingredients, cause it’s assembly time! Get out a large bowl. Start with a layer of cornbread cubes to the bottom. Then, add the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, leeks and black-eyed peas.

Use approximately 1/2 of your ingredients for each layer. Drizzle on a layer of dressing.

Repeat with remaining ingredients, and dressing, finishing with a few cornbread cubes on top.

Cornbread Salad

Serves 8.  Chill 1 hour before serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 box cornbread mix prepared or whatever gives you an 8 x 8 pan full             For the salad:
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes cored and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, your choice of colors, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 leek, the white and light green parts only or 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 Can of black-eyed peas 15-ish ounces, drained and rinsed                        For the dressing:
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice

Preheat oven to 400º.

Cut cooled cornbread into 1 inch cubes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400º. Turn cubes at the halfway mark to ensure even browning.

Remove from oven when toasty brown and cool completely.

Drain and rinse the black-eyes peas.

Mix the dressing ingredients to make a pourable dressing.

Chop all vegetables.

In a large serving bowl, place a layer of cornbread cubes. Top with half the vegetables and a layer of dressing. Repeat layers, ending with dressing and top with the prettiest cornbread cubes.

Chill one hour before serving.

Enjoy!

Quinoa can be your friend, too!

I’ll admit it. When I first started hearing about quinoa, I ignored it. Bird food! Who needs it! Bah! (hangs head in shame) I was wrong. I needed it. Me. My local food warehouse had it on sale, really, really cheap and there was this one recipe I wanted to try, so I bought a bag. Then another and another and now, I’m addicted. I love the stuff. In salads, casseroles, in breads, even in my smoothies! The Incas called it the mother of all grains.  Who can argue with that! Since the United Nations has decreed 2013 to be International Year of Quinoa, we’d better get busy! This patty is a nice easy recipe to get you introduced to quinoa.

Quinoa Patties with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

First, assemble your ingredients.

Add some flour, shredded cheese and an egg to that picture. They were being camera shy. What I usually do for the quinoa, is boil up a batch and then measure out what I need for a recipe. The rest gets stuck in the fridge to be used on salads or in veggie wraps.

Get yourself a large mixing bowl and add your chopped or spooned out ingredients. My produce co-op offered those chopped shallots and I bought some to test out. I thought they were pretty good. Sometimes, we just can’t find fresh shallots at our grocery stores. You don’t have to use shallots. A regular yellow or sweet onion is just fine.Oh look, the camera shy ingredients showed up! Just in time, too. Grab yourself a big spoon and mix it all up.Now, you need either a 1/4 measuring cup or a cookie dough scooper. Actually, you can use whatever you have that will plop a 1/4 of mix into the frying pan. I have the scooper. Just like this one. 1/4 cup scoop  Get out a large non-stick fry pan. Give it a couple of swirls of olive oil. Drop 3 or 4 patties in the pan, smoothing out their shape with a spatula. You don’t want to crowd the patties in the pan. You’ll need flipping room. Fry them on one side for 2 to 3  minutes over a medium heat.

I fry three at a time in my 12 inch skillet. Flip them over and fry the other side.

Look at all the golden brown yumminess. Yumminess is a perfectly good word. Feel free to use it yourself. Drain the patties on paper towels and keep warm while frying up the rest. Serve up with a dollop of avocado dressing or use your favorite toppings.

 

Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

Assemble the dressing ingredients (even the ones not pictured. oops). You’ll need to get out your blender or food processor.Scoop and chop the avocado. Place all your measured out ingredients in the blender jar. Squeeze in the lime juice and sprinkle on the dill and add the olive oil.Looks so good already. Put your lid on and give it a whirl. Blend until smooth.Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Recipes!

Quinoa Patties with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup grated swiss cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, rough chop
  • 1 lime, zested and half of the juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil for frying

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except olive oil, in a large bowl. Mix until fully combined.

Over a medium setting, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick fry pan.

Using a 1/4 cup scoop or measure, place quinoa mix into the frying pan. Use a spatula to help keep the patties shape.

Fry 2 to 3 minutes until golden, then gently flip and fry the other side. Add additional oil as needed. Drain patties on paper towels and keep warm as you fry the others. Makes 8 patties.

Serve with Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

Avocado Buttermilk Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons grated sweet onions
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.


Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.


Yield: 1 3/4 cups