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  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 handful fresh dill

In a skillet, heat olive oil. Stir fry onion over medium heat until nearly transparent, then stir in garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in the green beans. Make sure they are well-coated with the onion-garlic mixture. Stir in tomatoes and water. Let simmer about an hour, uncovered, stirring frequently. The tomato should cling to the beans by the time an hour is up. Just prior to serving, check the salt and pepper, sprinkle with lemon juice and fresh dill.

NOTES: I don’t eat green beans often, not a huge fan, but I do like them like this. It’s very flavorful. I originally acquired the recipe from Great British Chefs.

  • Ingredients
  • Zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoned Salt (any kind)
  • Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, very hot.

Cut each zucchini lengthwise in half. Cut in half lengthwise again. Now cut in half cross-wise. Each zucchini should yield eight long pieces. If your zucchini are ginormous, you’ll have to make extra cuts, but you can figure it out.

Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil. Swazz some olive oil around on it. Using your hands, dredge the zucchini through the olive oil so that the zukes are well coated. Place the zucchini skin-side down on the baking sheet in a single layer. Keep the zukes well-spaced from each other. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning salt and pepper. I like to use Angelo’s Gourmet Seasoning.

Roast for 8-15 minutes. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Don’t touch them. Remove from oven and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Serve hot. Oh, yum! So good!

  • Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. dill weed, or 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1# package of “baby” carrots
  • 1-1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar

In a medium skillet, pour a bit of olive oil and stir-fry shallot and garlic until soft. Stir in dill weed and parsley. Stir in carrots until they are well coated with the oil and herb mixture. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender, stirring only occasionally. It’s tasty-good if the carrots turn brown along the bottom. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a splash of white-wine vinegar before serving. Serves 4 as a side dish.

NOTES: This also works well if you prepare it ahead of time and reheat in the oven until warm. I doubled this recipe and it worked out great, just make sure you use a larger skillet. Herb Garlic Carrots were the hit of our Easter 2022 dinner. As recipes do, this morphed from the awesome Chungah at Damn Delicious. Check it out.

I used to make this often using a different, more time-consuming, method. Since discovering Olive Tomato’s method, I’m back to making Briam again. I do love it.

  • Ingredients (any of the following vegetables — it’s okay if you don’t have them all)
  • Potatoes, 1/2+” slices
  • Tomatoes, any kind, chopped
  • Eggplant, 2″ chopped
  • Zucchini, 1/2+” slices
  • Onion, quartered
  • Bell pepper, sliced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tomato paste (1-2 Tbsp.)
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Feta cheese, crumbled

Prepare a sheet pan or other flat baking pan by rubbing with olive oil or spraying with non-stick. I used a cast-iron 9×13″ pan for what is pictured here. I’ve used two 9×13″ glass pans before. The goal is a single layer of vegetables, but since you will be covering the pan to bake it, a sheet pan may be too difficult. I’ve used the 9×13″ with great success. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Into a very large bowl, place all the vegetables. Stir in the seasonings, a pinch of this and that. Dilute a tablespoon or two of tomato paste with a bit of water. Use your hands to stir it into the vegetables. Swazz olive oil over the mixture and also stir it, again, with your hands works best. Place the mixture into the baking pan, scrape the bowl. Without sprinkling the dish with water, pour in about 1/3 cup water and tip the pan to distribute. Cover and roast at 350 degrees for an hour. The vegetables should be cooked. Remove cover and roast an additional 30-45 minutes to brown them.

Remove from oven and serve warm (or let them cool down and serve at room temperature) sprinkled with Feta cheese. Serve some nice warm bread with this and it is perfection.

NOTES: you can see in the picture that I didn’t have potatoes or tomatoes. Last time I didn’t have eggplant or zucchini. It really doesn’t matter, it’s all good. One last thing, I served it with Savory Spinach and Artichoke Bread Pudding and that was a great accompaniment.

This recipe is based upon the one found in Carpathia by Irina Georgescu (2020 Interlink Books). I cut the recipe in half because there are only two of us and it still serves 3-4 people as a side dish. This is super simple and fast to make. The piquant sour cream with the earthy cauliflower makes a really interesting combination of flavors. Love it!

  • Ingredients
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 small cauliflower (about 1#)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Grease a small baking dish with butter and then sprinkle the bread crumbs over the butter until coated. Shake the dish around to evenly distribute any non-sticking bread crumbs.

Cut the cauliflower into florets and then cook in boiling water until slightly soft. Drain off water and leave uncovered to let steam escape and cauliflower to cool a little bit (or a lot).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine the sour cream, most of the cheese, egg, nutmeg, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Place the drained cauliflower into the prepared baking dish. Pour the sour cream mixture over the top of the cauliflower. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve warm. Yield: 3-4 side-dish servings.

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) jalapeno. My husband thinks I’m killing him with spicy food, so I didn’t put any jalapenos 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.

  • 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.

What kind?