Category Archives: Veggie

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls are one of my very favorite foods. I love them and could eat them all the time. That being said, I had never made them before because they seemed intimidating.  Now, that I have, I will be making them all the time.  They are not hard at all, but they are a bit time-consuming. I would make these when you are not super pressed for time or are just enjoying a lazy day. Ok, stop laughing. I realize that we, especially parents,  don’t have a lot of those kind of days, but these are so worth making. Also, there really isn’t a recipe, per se. It is more of a technique. Then, you can fill the summer rolls with whatever you like. If you want to add some shrimp, go for it. I really just like to keep mine vegetarian and then stuff my face with Chicken Satay. Be sure and whip up the peanut sauce (recipe here on the blog) to go with it.

Summer Rolls

I am not going to list any quantities because you can just make how many ever you want. Also, we had the best luck with using 2 of the rice paper wrappers at a time even though it made the outside a bit thicker. When we only used one, they seemed to tear and fall apart more. You can try one at a time and maybe yours will do better.

Here is what you need:

Round Rice Paper Wrappers

Rice Vermicelli

Romaine, green leaf or Bibb lettuce (shredded)

Carrots (shredded)

Cucumbers (peeled and cut into strips)

Fresh Basil (shredded or left whole, if desired. I prefer shredded.)

Fresh Mint

  1. Cook rice vermicelli according to the package directions (in boiling water for about 4 mins). Set aside.
  2. Combine lettuce, shredded carrots and the shredded basil. Have a little place with your lettuce mixture, cucumbers, mint and noodles all set up.
  3. Spread a clean, damp towel on work surface. Fill a pie plate or shallow skillet with about an inch of tepid water. Working 2 at a time (or 1 if you are brave), immerse the wrappers into the water until just pliable enough to work with. Lay the wrapper on the towel. Place a little bit of all your veggies onto the wrapper in this order: Vermicelli, lettuce mixture, cucumbers and ending with the fresh mint. Take care not to over stuff them or they won’t wrap properly. Wrap up the summer roll like you would a burrito. Take the ends and fold together and then roll.
  4. Cut in half on the bias. Serve with peanut sauce.

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Filed under Appetizer, Vegetarian, Veggie, Warm Weather Food

Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

Hello friends!! It has been way too long since I update, I know. But, I am back today with some seriously yummy stuff. One of the best meals I have had in a very long time was a meal we made a few weeks ago with a good friend of ours. It was a Thai cookout and it was FANTASTIC. Ren and I are both huge fans of  Thai food and everything in this meal was just perfect. We had Chicken Satay with Peanut sauce (recipe on this blog), grilled shrimp, Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts and the best fresh Summer Rolls ever. Oh yeah, and if that wasn’t enough gorging to keep us on the Spin bike for the next year, we also had homemade brownie sundaes. Damn. Just damn. This cucumber salad was so incredibly good and fresh that it would be perfect for any time when you are grilling out or, if you have a potluck to go to and want to bring something totally different, this would be awesome.

Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

from Bon Appetit  August 2001

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)*  Don’t be scared of this, it tastes good. Just don’t smell it.
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chili (about 1 large) I used 2 large
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 English hothouse cucumbers, halved, seeded, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Place cucumbers, onion, and mint in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

*Available at Asian markets and in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets.

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Filed under Side Dish, Veggie

Orzo with Everything

This recipe is completely and totally awesome. I know I say that about many of the recipes on here, but this one is. Really.  It has so many delicious things in it!! Sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, fresh basil and pine nuts. Oh how I love pine nuts. I love them so much that our friend Matt commented that I must have put $30 worth of pine nuts in this salad because it had so many in it. I buy my pine nuts for a deal at Costco so I might go a tad overboard with them.  If you don’t want to mortgage your house by putting in so many pine nuts, don’t sweat it. Just put the amount called for. But, please, please don’t leave them out. This also has radicchio in it which is not a veggie I normally use. But, it  made this salad taste great. It is pleasantly bitter and added a nice little bite. If the weather is nice for you this weekend, throw some chicken on the grill and make this pasta salad. Your family will love you for it.

Orzo with Everything

from Cook’s Country August 2007

1 TBS salt

1 pound orzo

½ C. sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed, patted dry, and minced

½ C. pitted Kalmata olives , halved

1 head radicchio, cored and chopped fine

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. pine nuts, toasted

½ C. chopped fresh basil

Dressing
¼  C. Balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves , minced

5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. For the salad: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add salt and orzo to boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain pasta and let cool to room temperature. Combine cooled orzo, tomatoes, olives, radicchio, Parmesan, pine nuts, and basil in large bowl.

2. For the dressing: Combine vinegar and minced garlic in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

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Filed under Pasta, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie

Asian Slaw

There is a funny little story to go along with this slaw. The original recipe that I was going to use for this called for Broccoli Slaw. Sounds good, doesn’t it?? Well, my sweet husband went to the store for me Monday and brought home a bag of broccoli and a bag of angel hair slaw. Um, that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but that’s ok. I improvised and used the angel hair slaw anyway and it was fantastic. I wouldn’t make it any other way now!!! I know that the Ramen noodles have one million calories and were put on The Worst Foods in the History of Mankind List, but I don’t care. They are crunchy, delicious and really make this salad super tasty. If you don’t want to eat that low brow sort of thing, just leave them out. The salad will still be good, just not as good as this one. 🙂

Asian Slaw

Adapted from Crisco.com

1 package angel hair slaw

4 green onions sliced, green part only

3 carrots, shredded (or about 20 baby carrots shredded)

¼ C. Canola Oil, plus 2 TBS

1 TBS sesame seeds or more, if desired

1 (3 oz) package ramen noodles crushed (packet discarded)

¼ C. sugar

¼ C. cider vinegar

1 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp dark sesame oil

½ C. cashews

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used more)

  1. Heat 2 TBS oil in medium skillet over medium low heat.  Add ramen noodles and sesame seeds.  Cook and stir until noodles begin to get lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ¼ cup of oil in small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix slaw, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Stir in the cashews and ramen mixture.  When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and toss until coated. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Salad, Side Dish, Veggie

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Unfortunately, I can’t think of one clever thing to say about this orzo, so suffice it to say, this is, quite possibly, one of the yummiest side dishes ever. I love it because it is quick, delicious and you can kill two birds with one stone because it has your starch and veggie all rolled into one side dish. Perfect. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe since it only serves 2.

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

2 TBS pine nuts

1 clove garlic, minced (I used more)

1 TBS butter, melted

1 ¾ C. water

¾ C. uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

¼ tsp. salt

1 C. tightly packed chopped fresh spinach

¼ C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. crumbled Feta cheese (optional, but awesome)

  1. Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often.  Set aside.
  2. Sauté garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo, and salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Stir in spinach, cheeses, and pine nuts. Serve hot.

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Filed under Cheese, Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie

Sesame Noodles

I am always trying to think of something clever to say in these posts. But, honestly the only thing I can say about these noodles is DAMN!!!! Just DAMN! These are not just good, they are crazy good. And, the best thing is that they are extremely versatile. You can have them vegetarian like we did tonight or add grilled chicken for an even tastier treat. This recipe is pretty much mine. I combined about 4 different recipes to come up with this one. Sesame noodles are best served either cold or at room temperature so the veggies stay crisp.

Sesame Noodles

¼ c. soy sauce

¼ c. rice wine vinegar

6 TBS cold water

3 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger-I used more because we LOVE ginger

4 cloves garlic-You might want less

6 TBS smooth peanut butter-I used Trader Joe’s smooth peanut butter but I think next time I will use chunky

3 TBS Sesame Oil

1 tsp. hot chili oil

1 tsp. honey

2 tsp. Sriracha chili garlic sauce, or to taste

12 oz pasta cooked al dente-I used the Barilla Plus spaghetti

Cucumbers, red bell pepper, shredded carrots, green onions, snow peas, grilled chicken and sesame seeds.

  1. Place the soy sauce, vinegar, water, ginger and garlic in a blender or food processor.  Process on high speed until the ginger and garlic are smoothed into a liquid, about a minute.  Add the peanut butter and process one more minute.  Combine the oils and, with the processor running on low speed, drizzle them in through the feed tube. Add the honey and Sriracha sauce and process just a bit more.
  2. Place the cooked pasta in a bowl and toss well with 1 ½ cups of the sauce or as much as you would like.
  3. Add any of the veggies or grilled chicken that you would like. We used cucumbers, shredded carrots, green onions, red bell peppers and sesame seeds.

**You can make this ahead of time. Simply remove from the fridge an hour before serving. I also served this with extra Sriracha and soy sauce.

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Filed under Pasta, Spicy, Veggie

Squash Casserole

Ok, here’s the deal. I am Southern. That doesn’t  just mean I live in the South. I mean I eat grits, say y’all and most definitely eat at Waffle House. One of the best things about us Southerners is that we can take a healthy vegetable, say like, squash and turn it into a completely unhealthy dish that is OH SO GOOD! We add things like cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and any other fattening thing you might come up with. But, the true hallmark of any good Southern casserole is that it has a topping of some sort like Ritz crackers or even potato chips. This is the food of my childhood and the food I run to when I need comfort. So, if you are not concerned about fat, sodium and the like, try some Squash casserole. You will be glad you did. This recipe is from Southern Living magazine.

Squash Casserole

3 pounds yellow squash, sliced
5 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese-I used about 1 1/2 cups of cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
20 round buttery crackers, crushed (about 3/4 cup)

Cook squash in boiling water to cover in a large skillet 8 to 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain well; gently press between paper towels.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove skillet from heat; stir in squash, cheese, and next 4 ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Stir together melted butter and crushed crackers; sprinkle evenly over top of casserole.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.

Note: To lighten, reduce butter to 3 tablespoons, using 2 tablespoons to sauté onion. Substitute 1/2 cup egg substitute for eggs and low-fat versions of mayonnaise, cheese, and crackers. Proceed as directed.

Yield:  Makes 8 servings

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Filed under Casserole, Cheese, Veggie