CARROTS AU GRATIN

Carrots Au GratinCARROTS AU GRATIN
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 cup milk
1 small bunch green onions, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese****
3 1/2 cups peeled, diced and cooked carrots
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 cup Panko crumbs, sauteed in butter

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small sauce pan melt butter over a medium heat.
  • Add flour and whisk until golden.
  • Add salt and garlic powder.
  • Add onions and blend well.
  • Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth.
  • Stir constantly until sauce begins to thicken.
  • Add cheese and whisk until smooth consistency.
  • Alternate layers of carrots and sauce in a buttered baking dish.
  • Top with bread crumbs.
  • Bake 30 minutes.

****Changing the cheese flavor changes this dish considerably. I’ve experimented with several and found that Gruyere’ is an excellent alternative.

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Here a bean, there a bean, everywhere a bean…

Not too long ago I researched Navy beans for my Navy Bean & Ham soup. During that research I also found that navy beans, named that for the bean of choice of the U.S. Navy, are the main bean used in Boston Baked Beans. I have been making my BBQ Bean dinner for years using canned BUSH beans, but decided it was time to make true Boston Baked Beans my way. I found that most versions used salt pork, but I like the bacon too so I chose to use both. You could substitute if your prefer though. I also eliminated all mustard due to an allergy, but also because I prefer the sweeter version.Here is my version:

BOSTON BAKED BEAN DINNER
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 pound salt pork, cubed & browned
2 large Vidalia or Maui onion, chopped small
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 cup ketchup
1 cup molasses
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup vinegar
1 pound navy beans

  • Soak beans overnight.
  • Brown hamburger, drain and layer into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Cube and brown the salt pork. Add to slow cooker.
  • Fry bacon until crisp. Crumble bacon into pieces. Add to slow cooker.
  • Chop onion into small pieces and scatter over the meat.
  • Add the beans to the slow cooker.
  • Scatter the brown sugar over top evenly.
  • Stir together the molasses, ketchup, vinegar, liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. Pour evenly over everything in the slow cooker slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  • Serve with Beer Bread or Cheddar Cheese Biscuits.
  • Great dish for a church pot luck.

OLD FASHIONED BOSTON BAKED BEANS
1 pound Navy beans, washed and sorted
1/2 pound salt pork, diced small
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup PURE maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses

  • Dice salt pork and layer on bottom of slow cooker.
  • Chop onion and scatter over salt pork pieces.
  • Wash and sort beans.
  • Place beans in slow cooker on top of salt pork.
  • Cover with 5 cups water.
  • Cook on low overnight for 12 hours.
  • Drain beans, reserving liquid.
  • Return beans to slow cooker.
  • Add vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses and blend well. Add in 1/2 cup of bean water as desired for consistency.
  • Heat through.
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FRESH INGREDIENTS

I grew up in a neighborhood where fresh ingredients and a local market were always just a stone’s throw away. Grams cooked by “feel” with all natural and fresh ingredients.  Eating dinner together every night was a mandatory ritual, was done around the kitchen table and even though we didn’t always get along real well, we ALWAYS came together over meals…. When I moved to a new area, food was all of a sudden associated with convenience; and markets were big mega-chains with the same staples you could find at any other market.  There was a HUGE gap between culture, community and food.

This is how I cook today – I’m always on the look out for a farmer’s market or mom and pop store that’s BIG on produce!

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Tomato Soup with Chickpeas

It’s finally getting warm outside!  Yet, I can always enjoy a bowl of hot soup.  Seriously, it can be 90 degrees outside and I’d still love to eat this soup. 
I’ve made this a few times and it’s always so good. I always have the ingredients on hand and it’s a great soup to make in a pinch when you don’t know what else to cook!

Tomato Soup with Chickpeas Recipe
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (fresh would work too)
3-15 ounce cans of tomatoes (I used diced)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook for a minute or two, and then add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, a few grinds of pepper, roughly half of the chickpeas, and the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
2. Remove the soup from the heat to purée. If using an immersion blender, purée the soup directly in the pot. Otherwise, wait a few minutes, until the soup cools; then purée it in batches in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Add the remaining chickpeas, and warm the soup over medium heat.
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STUFFED MEATBALLS & ROASTED VEGGIE SPAGHETTI SAUCE

STUFFED MEATBALLS
ROASTED VEGGIE SPAGHETTI SAUCE
  • I start with whatever vegetables I have in the vegetable bin. Today was Roma tomatoes, celery stalks, green onions and snap peas.
  • Then I drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over it all and bake it for an hour at 400 degrees.
  • I started the sauce with a can of Contadina tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Better than Beef Bouillon paste, 2 cups orange juice and a V8. This truly was a clean out the fridge day.
  • When done roasting add the vegetables to the sauce and set to simmer all day. The vegetables will continue to cook down into a uniform consistency with the sauce. Salt & pepper taste.


For the meatballs:
1 pound hamburger
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large slices sourdough bread, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseAlign Center
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, jar
mozzarella cheese, about 4 ounces, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • Crumble bread into a large bowl.
  • Toss in Parmesan cheese, parsley, green onions and garlic.
  • Add meat and with your hands mix extremely well until you have a uniform mixture.
  • Roll meatballs around a Parmesan cheese cube.
  • Chill Meatballs until sauce is done.
  • Just before the sauce is finished, brown meatballs.**
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and bring to a medium high simmer until meatballs are cooked though, about 20 minutes.
  • Prepare pasta and Parmesan Cheese Bread while meatballs are cooking.
  • Enjoy

**If you prefer you can add the meatballs directly to the sauce and SLOW simmer for a couple hours instead of browning.


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Bean & Sausage Cassoulet

I’ve already made this twice.  It was that good. It’s on the higher side of calories per portion but it was super filling.  It was wonderful to have this is the refrigerator for lunches all week.

I don’t cook with sausage too often but I happened to have 2 packages of sausages.  Which is why I ended up making this twice.  I could probably drop the calories by adding chicken instead but the sausage was SOOOO good!  I also loved the slight tang from the red wine.  You could use beef broth but I encourage the red wine as it tasted wonderful!

Bean and Sausage Cassoulet Recipe

1 (15 oz) can of black beans
1 (15 oz) can of white beans
1 (15 oz) can of red kidney beans
1 lb. turkey sausage, diagonally sliced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients in an ungreased 3 qt. casserole dish. Cover and bake until carrots are tender, about 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. 

Total calories = 3320 calories
8 servings = 415 calories per serving

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CRAB APPLE BOATS FOR THE BEACH PARTY

It’s beach party time at Seaside Simplicity. Time to grab your virtual beach towels and flip flops, and head on over to the beach!  You can follow me over.  This week I’m taking my CRAB APPLE BOATS.

CRAB APPLE BOATS
2 large cucumbers
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained really well
4 ounces flaked crab
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vinegar

  • Peel cucumbers.  Halve them and spoon out seeds.  Dry the insides.
  • In a bowl toss apple pieces with the well drained pineapple and then with the krab.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Fold into krab mixture.
  • Spoon into cucumbers and chill several hours before serving.
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PARMESAN GLAZED TOMATOES

PARMESAN GLAZED TOMATOES
3 medium sized firm tomatoes
3+ tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
3 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
salt and pepper
flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray pan with PURE.
  • Arrange tomatoes in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Spread on tomatoes evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Turn on broiler and brown tops.
  • Remove from oven and top with parsley.
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CARROT CAKE PANCAKES & CREAM CHEESE SYRUP

I love carrot cake.  If you asked me what I wanted for my birthday cake I would say Carrot Cake!  So when we found this cute little diner, Babycakes Cafe, recently and they had carrot cake pancakes on the menu I had to give them a try.  And then I had to duplicate them.  YUMMY!!!!!!!!!

So I started with my basic pancake recipe and added lots of carrots and spices. Their cream cheese syrup at the restaurant was really more like a glaze, so I used maple syrup as my liquid ingredient to make an actual syrup and like it even better!

The carrot cake pancakes were easy to make and tasted great! And it is always nice to have dessert for breakfast!

CARROT CAKE PANCAKES & CREAM CHEESE SYRUP
1 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups buttermilk
2 JUMBO eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup carrot (very finely grated)
4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
4-6 tablespoons maple syrup (use enough for desired consistency)
powdered sugar to taste
crushed pecans or walnuts

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the milk, egg, sugar and carrot in another bowl.
  • Mix together the wet and dry ingredients making sure to not over mix them.
  • Heat a griddle and melt some butter on it to coat.
  • Pour 1/3-1/4 cup of the mixture onto the griddle for each pancake and heat until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Flip the pancakes and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Blend together the cream cheese and maple syrup and add  powdered sugar to get desired sweetness.
  • Pour the cream cheese onto the pancakes.
  • Sprinkle with crushed nuts.
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MEXICAN LASAGNA~HEALTHY MEALS

This is a huge piece of lasagna. Enormous. I’m totally full. This recipes makes a LOT of food. It’s a great recipe to freeze individual portions for quick lunches or dinners. Packed with protein, this cheesy, tasty sauce is full of flavor but isn’t spicy at all. You do need a big baking pan for this, I think that I used an 11 x 17 in. pan. You probably could split it and use 1 – 9 x 13 pan and 1 – 8 x 8 pan and just freeze one. I might just do that next time.
MEXICAN LASAGNA
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 red pepper, chopped
1 can of corn or frozen corn
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chil peppers
1 (8 ounce) jar taco sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can refried beans
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sour cream
12 – 8 inch, whole wheat tortillas, toasted
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the ground turkey for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the onion, peppers and garlic, and sauté for 5 more minutes. 
  • Drain any excess fat. 
  • Mix in the tomatoes, green chile peppers, tomatoes with green chile peppers, taco sauce, corn, black beans and refried beans. 
  • Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 11 x 17 pan. 
  • Cover with a layer of 3 tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then 1/2 of the sour cream. 
  • Repeat tortilla and meat layers, spreading sour cream on one more layer, until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese. I use 3 tortillas on each layer, 2 side by side and one cut in 1/2 spread over the open area. 
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.

Total calories = 3789
8 huge servings = 473 calories per serving
12 servings = 316 calories per serving

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