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I really like these. We have access to very large green tomatoes locally from Bell’s Nursery during the summer months. In the fall, sometimes we harvest our own green tomatoes, but they’re usually too small for frying. The reason I like this method of preparation is that the slices hold up well, so you can easily eat them by hand.

  • Ingredients
  • Green tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Beaten egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying

Slice the green tomatoes about a half inch thick. Salt and pepper the slices and let them stand for fifteen minutes or so. Heat about 1/2″ oil over medium heat in a skillet. Dip each slice into the milk, then dredge through the flour, dip into the beaten egg, and finally dredge through the bread crumbs. Gently lay slices in the skillet. Do not crowd them, keep good separation. Fry over medium heat until the bottom is browned, then flip over. It can be tricky to get a good sear on the outside, yet an edible center. Don’t undercook or overcook. Sorry, you just have to watch. I turn mine over frequently until I see bubbles from the center.

NOTES: I use olive oil, but I think a good cooking oil would be better. Olive oil has a low burn temperature and it browns the food too quickly. There are things about this recipe that deserve tweaking because it takes FOUR pans just to get them into the skillet. Why so much finagling? I don’t make these often enough to do the tweaking. I really, really like the way these stand up to the cooking, so it’s worth the four pans a couple times per year.

In what you see pictured here I used two tomatoes, each sliced into four slices. I used a small amount of milk, about two extra-large eggs (could have used only one), about 2/3 cup four, and about 1 cup of bread crumbs. I just sprinkled bread crumbs whenever I needed more. Of course, this will all depend upon how many people are being served.

This is a recipe that started at Taste of Home magazine. I’ve made it many, many times. It’s a good Thanksgiving Day side dish because it can be prepared ahead of time and then popped into the oven to warm. This is the recipe for a 9×13″ pan, serving 12, but you could halve it to serve fewer people.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets (4 cups)
  • 1 medium bunch broccoli, cut into florets (4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups Half-n-Half (1/2 cream + 1/2 milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook the vegetables until tender. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually add half-n-half. Bring to a boil. Stir in orange zest, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare a 13 x 9″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Arrange the vegetables in alternating rows. Spoon the sauce evenly over the top of the vegetables. Sprinkle cheese over all.

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Serves 12.

NOTES: If you’ve prepared this ahead of time and then chilled it, it’s going to take longer to bake. I really don’t care for nutmeg and so I seldom use it in this dish. But I really like white pepper, so that I do use. The original recipe says to cook the vegetables ahead of time to crisp-tender and then rinse with cold water — I’ve never done that. I just cook the vegetables by boiling or steaming and then arrange them in the baking dish.

This may be an acquired taste, I couldn’t say. My dad grew up in Texas and eating okra is not strange to me. I’ve only been to Texas two or three times in my life and we did not have fried okra a lot while I was growing up. On one of the occasions we did visit Texas I remember being with Grandma and stopping by to visit my father’s cousin, Doris Marie. She was in the kitchen frying okra. I will never forget the smell, the look, the taste. Oh, my, it was mouth-watering. But I like mine better! Ha!

  • Ingredients (quantities are approximate)
  • 12 oz. package frozen sliced okra
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • LIBERAL amounts of salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying

Thaw the okra until it’s no longer frozen, but not quite all the way thawed. Sometimes I let it sit in a colander for a few hours, shaking it every once in awhile.

Heat about 1/2″ of oil in a large skillet. I’m not sure of the temp, 350 degrees? I just wait until it bubbles when I drop a pinch of corn meal into it.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the mostly-thawed okra.

In a flat dish (I use a pie plate), stir together the corn meal and flour and salt and pepper.

Lift a big handful of sliced okra from the bowl of egg and okra and place it into the corn meal mixture. Dredge the okra so that all the pieces are coated. Using your hands as a sieve, lift out the okra, and gently drop into the hot oil. Let it fry for a couple minutes. Using a slotted spoon, give it a stir. Stir every once in awhile until all the pieces are golden brown.

Once golden and crispy looking, remove from skillet into a paper-lined bowl using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat the procedure until all the okra is done. You may have to add more oil to the pan. For me, this is four batches. Do not overcrowd the okra or it won’t get crispy. Make sure to salt every batch.

NOTES: I don’t care for garlic salt on this. Just sayin’. Regular salt or seasoned salt will do. This kinda falls into the salty snack category if you have a hankerin’. This has a Cousin Pam thumbs-up rating even though she should not be eating fried foods, but who can resist . . .

I’ve been trying to tweak this dish since I first had it at a family gathering. It was so, so good that I wanted to add it to my arsenal of gluten-free foods. You could go a lot of different ways with this to punch up the flavor. I’ve used canned diced green chiles here, but consider how bacon bits would be amazing.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 large russet potatoes, parboiled, then shredded
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 4 oz. can diced mild green chiles
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the shredded potatoes, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, and chiles. Stir in a liberal amount of salt and add pepper to taste. Spread into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Serves 4.

NOTE: Parboiling was an interesting challenge as I had never done that before. It means to boil the potatoes whole, or in large pieces, until the outsides are tender, but the insides are still hard. Kinda tricky. They shred rather nicely, though. I used a hand shredder one time and then another time I used my Cuisinart shredder attachment. Either way is fine. The dish requires a generous amount of salt. The first time I tried this I didn’t use enough and the whole thing was rather, muh blah. The last time I made it using garlic sea salt. REALLY good! When I ate this at Easter dinner for the first time, Andrew and Sharon had added just a teensy bit of diced (I assume pickled) jalepeno. My husband thinks I’m killing him with spicy food, so I didn’t put any jalepenos in the potatoes. The baking time will depend upon how big and how parboiled the potatoes were to begin with. You want to make sure they’re very soft before removing the finished product from the oven. I served these with stove-top pork spare ribs in a type of barbecue sauce. The potato dish’s green chile component complimented the ribs nicely.

I want to put this on the blog so I can remember what I did because these turned out awesome and are easy to make. It was my first time making them myself. I’ve eaten them many times. All in all, I approached this with a great deal of trepidation, but it turned out to be a lot easier than I thought and I’m well-pleased with the results. It’s something I should make again. I put a lot of notes at the end.

  • Ingredient List
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Lumpia wrappers (14-15 should do it), thawed
  • Cooking oil for frying
  • Sweet Chili Sauce

Coat the bottom of a skillet with cooking oil and fry the ground pork until no longer pink. Remove from skillet to bowl. Strain off, and discard, all but a couple tablespoons of fat. In the skillet, stir fry onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Stir in vegetables, cooked pork, salt and pepper, and soy sauce. Keep the skillet over heat just a little while to soften the vegetables slightly. They will continue cooking off the heat. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Set a lumpia wrapper in front of you and place about 3 Tbsp. of filling near the bottom of the wrapper sheet. Roll up a little way, then fold in the sides to make an envelope. Dap the remaining wrapper edge with water and continue rolling. Check to make sure the seam is sealed.

Set the roll onto a plate and go onto the next one. Once you’re finished with the rolls, heat about 1/2-1″ oil in a skillet medium-hot. Using tongs set lumpia into oil. Turn to another side once the first side is brown and continue this way until the roll is brown all over. Remove from skillet and set on paper towels to soak extra oil. Wait till they cool off a little before dipping in Sweet Chili Sauce and wolfing down.

  • NOTES
  • I use real lumpia wrappers. They are round, about 8″ diameter. They came in a box that was supposed to be frozen, but was thawed by the time it got into my house. I kept the box in the refrigerator for a couple days and they worked just fine. There was no indication of how many were in the box, but my estimate is more than 30. This recipe made 14 lumpia. Lumpia wrappers are incredibly thin. I watched a video of how they’re made and basically the dough is just smeared across the frying pan and then peeled off. Thank goodness the box of wrappers has plastic between each wrapper. The plastic sheet may be thicker than the lumpia wrapper itself.
  • Online I’ve seen that many people use egg-roll wrappers instead of lumpia wrappers. I cannot speak to that as I’ve never tried it.
  • The good reason for using cooked filling ingredients, rather than raw, is that you can fry the lumpia quickly and get that nice crispy outside texture without worry that the meat is cooked through on the inside. The frying part of this went very, very quickly on a fairly high oil temperature.
  • Once you dab water on the lumpia wrapper you need to finish rolling it immediately or the wrapper disintegrates. Just sayin’.
  • My friend who makes these a lot uses pork, carrots, cabbage, and french-cut green beans. The filling recipe is flexible and I think every family has their own way of doing it.
  • I read online someone said the filling is easier to work with if it’s been refrigerated. That sounds right. I think you’d end up with more uniform rolls and could make them larger.
  • Also, I read that you can very easily freeze the lumpia rolls before you fry them, just make sure to separate with wax paper or something like that so they won’t stick to each other. Don’t thaw first, but be careful of spatter while you’re frying frozen food. You might have to fry at a lower temperature, too, but I’m not sure as I have not tried this.
  • Lumpia was our dinner and two of us ate a dozen of them.

So the name is a bit of a misnomer as this is not really “twice-baked,” but it is twice-cooked. You all are probably sick of the cauliflower dishes, but we really did cut potatoes and rice and bread and pasta out of our diet a few years ago . . . until the pandemic. Now I’ve gained 7 pounds (and rising) because of the reintroduction of “carbs.” Sigh.

I was playing a little game whose goal was to successfully acquire yeast to make bread. I mean, who could ever have imagined a run on yeast? Yes, during a pandemic that has happened. My husband won the game (which has been going on unbeknownst to him for over a month) by calling his wine-supply store this morning and asking if he could use brewer’s yeast for bread. No problem. He now has a look like he’s smarter than anyone — it was so easy. I just don’t think he understood the rules. Anyway, we will see how bread turns out using brewer’s yeast in a few days.

This cauliflower recipe comes from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I’ve made it so often that I no longer follow the recipe. We use this dish in place of mashed potatoes. We really like gravy and sauces, so this is what underlies that. Today I’m making a pot roast, without potatoes, and the rich mushroom gravy will be poured liberally over the top of this cauliflower dish.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • Salt
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 3-4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook the cauliflower in little bit of salted water, covered, just to fork tender. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and strain off the water. Make sure the cauliflower is still in the saucepan. Use a potato masher to mash the cauliflower. Cut up the cream cheese into pieces and sprinkle over the cauliflower, still in the saucepan. Put on the lid and let it sit until the cream cheese is really softened. Add bacon, green onions, sour cream, Parmesan, and pepper. Stir until well mixed.

Prepare a baking dish by spraying with non-stick spray. Mine is about 1-quart size. Place the cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Serve as a side dish or with gravy over the top. Yummy!

This is a dish I make often. I’ve used the recipe found at reluctantentertainer.com and that one’s a SkinnyTaste recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups cauliflower, cut into 1″ florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Yes, hot! Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and swazz a couple tablespoons olive oil across the foil. In a very large bowl combine cauliflower florets and garlic. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the vegetables and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl mix the cumin, turmeric, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle a bit of the spice mix over the cauliflower mixture. Stir around. Sprinkle a bit more spice and stir, then add all the spice mixture and stir it into the cauliflower. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 23-27 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the cauliflower is slightly brown, remove from heat. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Serves 4 as a side dish.

I really wish I could take good pictures. Sigh. This is a super easy and delicious dish that I make quite frequently. The recipe comes from The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch. I have started making half batches because I’m usually feeding only two.

  • Ingredients
  • Butter for pan prep (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3-4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-n-half
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I usually use sharp cheddar)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (yes, very hot). While it’s preheating, put a dab of butter into a 9×13″ baking dish, and place it into the oven so the butter melts while the oven is preheating. Start chopping the vegetables.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and swirl the butter around to try to coat the pan. Sprinkle the vegetables over the butter. I do it in layers in the order given in the ingredient list. Place the vegetables into the 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are in the oven, make a cheese sauce by melting 4 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, stir in 1/4 cup flour to make a roux. Stir flour butter mixture until the flour is fully incorporated into the butter. Stir in half n half. Continue heating and stirring over medium heat until the sauce has thickened and starts to bubble. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat.

When the vegetables have a slight char across the top, remove from oven. Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees. Pour the cheese sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the top of the cheese sauce. Return the pan to the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Serve warm. Yield is about 8 servings.

This is a simple idea that I saw on my Instagram feed by @irina.r.georgescu. Her website is www.lifeinsmallbites.co.uk. She gave a description rather than a recipe, so I’ll do the same thing and tell you how I did this. Keep in mind that in the UK and other places, eggplant is called aubergine. This is a gluten-free snack.

  • Ingredients
  • Cooking oil
  • Eggplant (AKA Aubergine)
  • Eggs
  • Corn meal
  • Spices

Heat cooking oil (about 1/2″) in a skillet. I never test my heat, so I’m not sure what the temp should be. Hot.

I had bought these small eggplants from Costco, they’re about 8″ long and 2″ around, however, you can use regular eggplant. Slice the ends off and then cut the eggplant in half the long way, then into slices, about 1/2″ wide. You’re looking for snacking-size pieces.

Beat 2-3 eggs (I used 3 extra large and it was too much for my one little eggplant, but I wish, I wish I had made these snacks using three of the little eggplants).

Spice up a bit of cornmeal. I used salt and pepper and a liberal amount of white pepper. Whatever you want to do will be fine.

Dip the eggplant pieces, in batches, in the egg and then dredge through the seasoned cornmeal, then into the frying pan. Turn pieces over after a couple minutes, then make sure the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.

Remove from oil with a slotted spoon onto absorbent paper.

Irina dipped hers in a tomato sauce, but I just ate mine plain. I confess I ate nearly the whole thing while I was waiting for the last batch to fry. I wish, I wish I had made more. Irina says it’s not so good once it’s cooled off. I wouldn’t know.

Late last year I tried a modified version of a Texas Chili Con Carne recipe that used dried chiles. It was my first time working with dried chiles. I had seen them in the grocery store, but had not known what to do with them. The chili turned out really, REALLY good. The flavor was deep, smoky, and rich. Early this year I bought a couple more packages of dried chiles and yesterday thought I’d make a sauce to bind my pulled pork in the stuffing for Stuffed Poblanos. I make pulled pork quite often, but with only two of us, always have a lot left over. I confess that I do not have a crockpot. Nowhere to store it. I’ve got a big Dutch-oven style cooking pot so I use that at a low heat to make pulled pork in the oven.

Various ways I’ve used my pulled pork is to add sauce and make sandwiches, top baked sweet potatoes, fill sopes or enchiladas, and to stuff poblanos. The poblanos are a real low-carb option. If you’re unfamiliar with poblanos, they’re a large chile with a very mild flavor once they’re stemmed and seeded. Once in awhile I’ve had one that’s got a kick at the stem end. I use gloves to stem and seed them.

The basis for the enchilada sauce is from foodiecrush.com. Heidi at foodiecrush.com called for 2 oz. of dried guajillo chiles and 1 oz. of New Mexico chiles. I just happened to have a 6 oz. package of guajillos and a 3 oz. package of New Mexicos. Hmmm. Do the math. Because I find stemming and seeding dried chiles quite tedious, I decided to make a triple batch and freeze the unused sauce, so I wouldn’t have to do it again anytime soon.

I wore gloves to stem and seed the chiles. It took me about 50 minutes hunched over my garbage can to stem and seed them. Like I said, tedious.

I’m a lazy cook when it comes to presentation, so I don’t strain my sauce. I really don’t see what difference it makes since enchilada sauce is usually added over, under, or with stuffed tortillas. Who cares if it’s not smooth?

  • GF Enchilada Sauce
  • 6 oz. dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 oz. dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 9 cups water
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomato (I used grape tomatoes)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin

In a very large cooking pot, place the dried chiles and water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, covered, for thirty minutes. Remove from heat and strain the chiles out of the cooking water. SAVE THE COOKING WATER! Set aside the chiles and the water.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, swazz the olive oil and then add the onions. Let them cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Let it cook down until it’s thick and pasty.

Scrape the onion-tomato mixture into a very large food processor and add the chiles and a bit of the chile-cooking water. Let it process, adding chile-water as necessary to get a sauce consistency that is to your liking. I tried to get my consistency as smooth as possible in the processor because I didn’t want to strain it afterward. Don’t throw out the remaining chile water! More to come.

Pour the processed mixture back into the large cooking pot. I rinsed my skillet out with a little chile-water and added that to the cooking pot, too. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, uncovered, for ten or fifteen minutes. Add more chile-water as necessary. Don’t skip the cooking step, it really creates the flavor.

My yield was about 6-1/2 cups. I stirred 1/2 cup into my pulled pork at that time and then saved the sauce and the leftover chile-water in the refrigerator until the next morning. The next morning, the sauce had thickened a bit, so I stirred in more of the chilled chile-water. In the end I froze three 2-cup portions in vacuum-sealed bags. I discarded about 2 cups of remaining chile-water. Another note on this recipe: I’ve read that the flavor REALLY comes out if you roast your dried chiles on a skillet first, but that’s a step too far for me.

  • Stuffed Poblanos
  • 4 fresh poblano chiles
  • 2-1/2 cups spiced shredded pork or chicken
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the stem-end out of the poblano chiles and cut a slit down one side. Remove the seeds carefully. Place the chiles onto the baking sheet, slit side up.

Stir enchilada sauce into the meat and then stir in about 2/3 cup of the shredded cheese. All these quantities are approximate. I eyeballed the amount of shredded pork, sauce, and cheese that I would need. No worries, it’s a forgiving recipe, hard to go wrong.

Stuff the chiles. I use a fork and my hands to try to get filling all the way into the tips of the chiles.

Bake at 400 degrees for thirty minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle shredded cheese over each chile. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Just so you know, I’ve made stuffed poblanos with all kinds of filling: ground turkey, ground beef, beans, shredded chicken, etc. It doesn’t really matter as long as it holds together. You can use tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, refried beans, whatever you want as a binder. There are several recipes on Pinterest that give good ideas of various fillings you can use. There is no reason to pre-cook the chiles, just stuff and bake!