Roasted rosemary potatoes

My love affair with the potato continues. It’s been a good relationship. One that has proven versatile and abundant over the years. Growing up on a farm, we planted, dug, and ate a lot of potatoes from the root cellar and I can vividly remember my mother announcing at meal times when a meal was all ‘home grown.’ Namely: the vegetables from the garden and the meat from the cows or deer. She got such great pleasure from it and now I understand why. Nothing tastes as good as growing it, preparing it, and shoveling it into your mouth.

Since I live in suburbia and rent, the CSA share has been bountiful. PIC and I have fun figuring out what to make, how to make it, and generally enjoy the process. We have vegetables planted out at his research farm, but no tubers. Irrigation systems and tubers don’t play well together.

Roasted potatoes. I’m sure there’s a gillion and one recipes, so please, make them your way, but this will get you started.

You’ll need:

30 min.

Serves 2-4 people

  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 t. chopped garlic
  • 3 t. fresh chopped rosemary (dried is fine too)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Chop potatoes into cubes (wash if dirty)
  2. Put potatoes in baking dish of appropriate size. If you want extra crisp potatoes, spread on a baking sheet.
  3. Add garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  4. Add enough olive oil to coat. Eye ball it.
  5. Toss with hands or a spoon to coat.
  6. For extra kick, toss in some cayenne pepper if you like.
  7. Or not.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Turn them once during cooking if you remember, if not, that’s ok too.
  9. They’re ready when they’re fork tender.

**If you want extra crispy potatoes, lay out on a baking sheet and crank the heat up to 400**

**these are also excellent with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on them right before serving**

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Spinach pie loaf

This is perfect for summer.  You can make this early, before the heat seeps into your life and it can be served at room temperature or reheated in slices for serving later.  This makes a great main course, side, or partner to some eggs for breakfast.  It’s also an excellent vegetarian meal for anyone in your life who isn’t a fan of meat.  I did double the cheeses (8 oz.) because I’m a cheese lover.  Feel free to cut it or follow the recipe.  Some like to add ricotta, I don’t like the moisture it adds.

What is it about the word ‘loaf?’ I mean–it means bread, but it’s such an odd word.  Don’t go there….oh well, you went there and so did I.  LOAF. Loaf is like the word ‘moist.’ It’s just so odd.  But thanks to the English language, it means something usually good, so here I am, I made a loaf of spinach and cheese.  It was more out desperation.  I was sick of arm wrestling the phyllo dough.  Darn stuff tears so easily and I have the tenderness of an old wet hen with delicate phyllo dough.  Lesson learned.

I saw a recipe from my imaginary friend, Martha Stewart and she made it sound so easy, so effortless.  What a liar……I made only one loaf, it’s just two of us eating it. No need for two loaves. I used a whole bunch more cheese–you can adjust accordingly. This was meatless Monday supper, so I went big.  I was already home.

You’ll need:

a pair of velvet and delicate hands….. 😀

I kid.

You’ll really need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 packages (20 ounces) baby spinach
  • 1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough (from an 8-ounce package), thawed and cut to 8 by 12 inches
  1. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Return pan to heat. Working in batches, cook spinach, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain spinach and let cool. Press out excess moisture, then roughly chop. Add spinach, feta, and raisins to bowl with onion and season filling with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate, up to 2 days.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll phyllo. Place 1 sheet on a work surface (keep remaining sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying); brush with oil. Lay another sheet on top and brush with oil. Repeat until you have 10 layers of phyllo. Spread half of filling lengthwise down middle of phyllo stack. Roll into a log, brushing the seam with oil before sealing. Brush log with oil. Using a small sharp knife, make 8 diagonal cuts on top. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling.
  4. Place logs, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cut into slices along slashes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Marshmallow cream cupcakes

 

“You had me at marshmallow….”

Usually, I’m not a big fan of marshmallow fluff. I think it’s something you ‘grow out of’ as you get older, but I will say one thing in defense of fluff: “It makes some really good freaking cupcake filling.”

I kind of want to roll in it when I make a batch of this cream filling up. I never have rolled in it, but dang it, I might some day. Anyway….back to the task at hand…..cupcakes……I was prompted to make these when PIC wanted to have a couple over for a cook-out. Always looking for an excuse to make dessert, I did not hesitate to stand in the grocery store with my phone browser hunting and pecking for something yummy. The couple likes chocolate so that was a no-brainer. The rest…..now that took a few minutes to sort out.

I used my “go-to” of the hungry girl recipe of devils food cake mixed with non-fat yogurt. I figured the stick of butter I used to make the filling was a sufficient amount of artery-clogging-goodness. Honestly, I don’t miss anything in the cupcakes with the yogurt. I have never once sat there and thought, ” eggs and oil, I really miss you……” Nope, never. I used Martha Stewart’s recommendation on fluff vs. butter ratio, I did find that the manufacturer is only selling 7 oz. jars of fluff or the super huge jar, so I purchased a smaller (7 oz.) jar and it turned out just fine. Keep these in the fridge until ready to serve, the fluffy frosting will stay set up in whatever nifty decorating you do!

You’ll need:

  • 1 package of devils food cake mix
  • 1 c. non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1. c. water
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme (7-ounce jar)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Prepare the cake mix combining the mix, yogurt, and water with a whisk until combined.
  2. Fill cupcake tin or liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Let the cupcakes cool.
  4. Once cupcakes are cool, use the round end of a wooden spoon or another round object to poke a hole in the middle of each cupcake, going down about 2/3 of the way.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk marshmallow creme and butter until smooth.
  6. Chill until slightly firm, 15 to 30 minutes.
  7. Transfer mixture to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, and seal; cut off one corner of the bag to make a 1/8-inch opening.
  8. Put the cut end of the bag into each hole and fill with frosting.
  9. Decorate tops of cupcakes with remaining frosting.
  10. I would recommend a double batch of frosting in order to fill and frost them, but that’s up to you.
  11. Enjoy! Keep the leftovers in the fridge.

Strawberry salad

The only time of year I like salad: summer. The greens are fresh. The rest of the year, it better be one heck of a lettuce for me to eat it or topped with a lot of good stuff (making it terrible for anyone nutritionally).  I like spinach salads too. But in regards to lettuce mix: summer.

Strawberry salad is a favorite.  The local grocery store puts it in their fresh bar and occasionally I buy it.  It’s easy to replicate. Promise.  Add some protein for a packed meal or sliced almonds for some extra crunch.  You’ll love this salad.

I’d like to give this post a blogger ‘shout out’ to a Historic Virginia Plantation–who follow me and remind me of my fattening, calorie laden foods that I produce in my humble kitchen….while I have shared my journey to maintain a healthier lifestyle, sometimes it tastes too good not to make!  This post is for you VA Plantation–omit the goat cheese and it will be the healthiest thing across your lips! 😀

You’ll need:

  • Greens of choice
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Red or white onions, sliced thin
  • Goat cheese or other crumbly cheese, blue cheese is also very good
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Assemble salad ingredients. Greens on the bottom and top with berries, onions, and cheese.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

Asparagus & goat cheese tart

I saw a really nifty recipe from the wicked noodle and figured I could do it justice. I opted for phyllo dough to save some of the calories, a good move as it was still light, flaky, and delightful. I also used more asparagus and mixed in some laughing cow herb and garlic cheese with the goat cheese.  This version is delightful, bringing out the great flavors of the asparagus and taking advantage of it while it’s in season in my town. This dish is great for warm weather and isn’t heavy in your stomach.  This would make a great main course, side dish, brunch dish, or appetizer–just cut it in different sizes according to your needs.

You’ll need:

  • 1 package of frozen phyllo dough, defrosted per manufacturer’s directions
  • 5 oz. of goat cheese or spreadable cheese
  • 2-3 T. milk of choice
  • 1 bunch (approximately 1 lb. of asparagus with ends trimmed)
  • 1 green onion
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • olive oil
  • pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Lay down parchment or wax paper on a standard size cookie sheet.
  3. Remove phyllo dough in small batches, keep the unused portion covered with a damp cloth to keep it moist.
  4. Using 4-5 layers of phyllo, form to fit desired size.
  5. Spray or drizzle olive oil between each sheet of phyllo to keep it moist.
  6. I have a larger size cookie sheet, so I formed a ‘grid’ with my phyllo, but if you only want to make your tart the size of the phyllo, that’s ok too.
  7. Drizzle or spray olive oil on the top layer of phyllo. I used a misto.
  8. Mix softened goat cheese and milk to form a more malleable mixture.
  9. Spread cheese onto phyllo.  It can get messy, your fingers or a small spatula might be a good help!
  10. Lay trimmed asparagus across the cheese and press it in a bit.
  11. Sprinkle to top of the tart with the bacon, green onions, and pepper.
  12. You can leave the outside edge flat or curl it over, you choose.
  13. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, maybe 20, until golden brown.
  14. Cut and serve hot!
  15. Enjoy!