Alternative Side Dishes

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I love every kind of potato there is, but every now and then I like to try something new. There’s always those close cousins that get ignored like butternut squash. Since squash is in season, I decided to try preparing it in a different way. This would also be great as a replacement in sweet potato casserole or in a standard potato hash. This made a great side to baked chicken and sautéed greens and is easy to prepare ahead. You can always change up the chicken with different seasonings if you want to make enough for the week. Check out the recipe below.

Mashed Rosemary Butternut Squash

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (~2 cups)

1 cup of water

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary

½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste 

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and add water to an oven safe baking pan.

2. Cut the Squash in half and roast for 1 hour or until tender (fork should go in easy).

3. Let cool for 20 minutes, then scoop out and discard seeded center. Using a spoon, scoop out squash and add to a bowl. If the skin is too soft for scooping, peel each half with a knife.

4. Mash squash until smooth and add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta Pot

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I find that cooking is all an exploration of what works and what doesn’t. I am all about finding efficiencies to prepare good meals that are cost effective and saves me time on cleanup. Since I spent time making granola and bread this weekend, I turned to my crockpot for an easy meal. I’ve always wondered if you could cook meat fully in the crockpot without browning it first and whether it would cook pasta for an easy all in one dish; yes you can. I was thrilled with how well it came out and I grated a little Parmesan on top for that final touch of flavor. Check out the easy recipe below and put your crockpot to good use.

1 lb lean ground beef

1 cup sliced mushrooms

8oz frozen spinach

1 25 oz jar of vodka sauce

8oz of dry corkscrew pasta 

1 1/2 cup of diced onion

2 cups water 

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

2 tbsp fresh basil 

Directions:

  1. Defrost lean ground meat at least two hours before starting.
  2. Add meat to a crockpot and breakup thoroughly.
  3. Dice and slice veggies and mince herbs; add them to the crockpot including spinach.
  4. Add pasta then sauce and water.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  6. Enjoy 

Wonderful Legumes

 

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I always keep a can or two of beans on hand for a quick lunch or dinner. Most can be jazzed up in multiple ways and this bean dish certainly packs a lot of flavor. Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are a staple in hummus and other Mediterranean and Indian dishes. It is a good source of plant based protein that is also a good source of fiber. Not only is it a great option for a meatless lunch or dinner, but one that can literally be prepared virtually any way.

I decided to make it the star of a salad on a bed of arugula with tomato and cucumber from the farmers market and an egg. The chickpea salad below can be added to a salad or eaten on its own. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts. 

Ingredients

1 14oz can of chickpeas

1 tsp grated turmeric

1 tsp grated garlic 

1/4 cup chopped parsley 

1/8 cup diced yellow onion

1/2 of a juiced lemon

Pinch of salt and pepper 

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 gloves (for turmeric handling)

Directions:

  1. Open the can of chickpeas, strain and rinse them. Add to a bowl 
  2. Peel and dice the onion and add to the bowl.
  3. Rinse and mince parsley and add to the bowl.
  4. Glove hands (to prevent staining) then peel turmeric and garlic. Grate into bowl.
  5. Add seasoning and juice the lemon directly into the bowl and mix well.
  6. Serve over salad greens with diced cucumber, tomato and boiled egg or other protein.