I am always so happy when the big, juicy tomatoes come into season. One of my favorite things to do is make tomato salad sandwiches. For our house, Fridays are meatless, so this was a perfect sandwich on a hot day.
Sometimes, it’s nice to have something that is a little lighter fare. This Asain dish, Asian Meatballs with Spicy Cucumber Salad really hits the spot flavorwise. It’s very simple and quick to make, so you can make this for a weeknight dinner – I don’t know about having leftovers, this will probably get all eaten up! If you don’t like spicy food, you can leave the chili out of the cucumber salad.
We make this healthy by including wheatgerm in the meatballs, and we bake the balls in the oven instead of frying or sauteing them.
You don’t have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to have this wonderful dish. It’s thrifty, filling, and delicious. The traditional colcannon recipe does not include bacon or cheese, but the way I make it, it’s filling enough to stand on its own.
We really like colcannon, especially in the winter, when it’s cold and even though you really want bright greens, salad just seems too chilly. You want something warm and toasty that will stick to your ribs. Look no further, colcannon is the answer.
Beans in the Instant Pot
I couldn’t help myself. Everyone I knew had one of these new Instant Pots, and everyone was going on about how wonderful they were. Even my therapist had one! So, I looked up to see exactly what it was, and when I realized it was in fact an enhanced pressure cooker, I got kind of scared.
What’s for Dinner, Mom?
My mother was getting the cheese out of the refrigerator while the pressure cooker was happily bubbling on the stove. I walked in to ask my mother if I could have a glass of whatever (probably milk), when suddenly, there was a loud explosion, a red flash, and as we looked up, there was red spaghetti all over the kitchen walls. If my mother had been by the pot, she probably would have been seriously injured if not killed. I swear we picked spaghetti off that kitchen wall for days. It was kind of fun… but, that’s how you get a phobia about pressure cookers.
Times, They Are a Changin’
Despite being deathly afraid of the contraptions, I realized that technology must have made them safer. After all, if we could send a man to the moon in nothing more than a glorified tin can, then why couldn’t we have beans in an instant pot, and not perish. I got a little mini pot just so I could play around and get used to it. The 6 quart, I was thinking about getting is large, but it’s only two of us, and this little guy, just over a quart, makes more than enough for us.
Because I don’t have to heat up a lot of other pots or dirty a lot of dishes, I really appreciate this little pot. Just put this one on sauté, add the vegetables, sauté them, then add the beans, liquid, cover, and I’m good to go. Everything everyone said about how great these pressure cookers are was right. They are wonderful. But, we’re here to talk about Beans in the Instant Pot, so let’s do that.
Don’t you hate the same old thing? I love Jambalaya and with that in mind, I have Polska Kielbasa on hand. I was all ready to make it tonight, but then I looked at the ingredients placed nicely on the counter, ready to go, and I decided I just didn’t want it tonight. Maybe because it is September and fall is coming quickly, and I wanted something to remind me of the cool days to come. Maybe it’s because I had some lovely red potatoes and a half a head of cabbage I wanted to use up. I also wanted something really simple that I could cook in one skillet.
Do you have issues when you try to saute potatoes to make home fries? Do they burn on the outside, and stay hard as rocks on the inside? There is hope, and it’s called a microwave oven. Simply cut up your potatoes, put them in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water, and cook using the Potato button, about 12 minutes. Then drain the potatoes and add them to your skillet. Since they are already cooked, you just have to season and brown them.
I am a semi-regular subscriber to Saveur magazine. I love the recipes and the photography is always spectacular. I am also always on the hunt for something fresh and relatively easy to make for those days I don’t really want to cook. They had a recipe that called for bacon and tomatoes and basil. My three favorite things. That is what inspired this dish.
Making this Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce was very simple. I used a can of stewed tomatoes because I really like them, but you could use regular chopped canned tomatoes, or even fresh if you wanted to take the time to peel them. I also used frozen bell pepper medley that I always have in my freezer just for days like this.
You could add a light red wine to this sauce, but it probably would not taste quite as fresh.
Hasselback Potatoes in the Microwave
So I was hunting around Big Oven one night, getting hungry and trying to find something interesting to make with our dinner. It had to be visually appealing, and it had to go in the microwave, because a) I didn’t want to heat up the house, b) I was hungry! When I saw a picture of these, I was intrigued, and even though all recipes said to use the oven, I figured the microwave would work just fine. I was right, it did.
When I went to the local farmer’s market, they had some lovely leeks and beets available. I bought both. I made pickled beets with the beets, and then struggled with what to do with the leeks. Usually, I make a Quiche, but I really didn’t like the idea of turning my oven on twice, once to pre-bake the shell, and then to bake the Quiche itself. Now that I have my mandoline, I have had so much fun, and I thought to combine potatoes and leeks together in a casserole.
I also had a lovely pork loin in my refrigerator, and leeks and pork go together so nicely. A bottle of white wine was waiting to make it a perfect meal.
One of the reasons artichokes are not that popular is they take a long time to cook on the stovetop. Well, there are easier ways. In this recipe, I offer two ways to have artichokes on the table quickly, either microwave artichokes or if you have one use the Instant Pot.