Roasted & Fresh Brussel Sprouts & Bacon Salad with Parm & Mustard Vinaigrette

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

Make the Mustard Vinaigrette first – at least an hour before serving. This makes enough dressing for several salads.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Stir mustard and vinegar together with a whisk, add oil slowly, whisking it int o emulsify. Add salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Let rest for at least an hour. Keep refrigerated.

Salad

Lay four strips of bacon on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400° until browned. Remove when finished (about 8 minutes) and set on a paper towel to cool.

While the bacon roasts, cut 2 cups of brussels sprouts in half, pulling off some of the outer leaves. Set the leaves aside.

Turn the oven up to 450°, toss the brussels sprout halves with 1 TBSP of bacon grease, salt and pepper and lay on a baking sheet to roast. These will be just roasted until done, not charred, so about 10 minutes max.

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

See that the brussels sprouts are only lightly browned.

Slice small pieces of parmesan and chop a bit of parsley.

To assemble the salad, lay down the brussels sprouts, the bacon, the parm, the loose, fresh brussels sprout leaves, the parsley and then add the dressing. Toss lightly.

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Potato Salad with Green Beans

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So, I started out making a potato sad that I intended to use rocket in, to use up some of the rocket I have, but then I got around to adding the rocket and changed my mind and added green beans instead. I am glad I did because the freezer was just starting to extract the liquid from the beans and would have soon dried them out.

This is a pretty standard potato salad. I boiled 4 potatoes in salted water and hard-boiled 4 eggs. I use Martha Stewart’s method to boil eggs and it never fails me. I am not going to reinvent boiling eggs. When the potatoes were done I ran cold water on them to chill. I also chilled the eggs. I then boiled some salted water and blanched the green beans. I did not want them mushy and wanted them to stay bright.

So then I chopped up one whole yellow onion, the potatoes, the eggs and the green beans and tossed them together. I drained a can of black olives and crushed about 1/3 of the can.

In a bowl, I missed 3 TBSP mayo, 1 tsp of mustard, 3 TBSP of apple cider vinegar and a 1/2 tsp of sugar, salt and pepper. I made it to taste and added to the salad and blended.

This made 4 to 6 servings and was better the next day. It’s nice and tangy with the mustard, the olives add an earthiness that I love.

Roasted Grape Vinaigrette

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The Oregon Food Bank is an essential part of my monthly food budget, but except during the summer Harvest Share, it is a better source of canned and dry goods like beans, oatmeal and pasta than fresh foods. Most of the vegetables are at or past their sell-by date and it shows. However, that does not mean they are unusable. I went to the Food Bank yesterday and came home with about two cups of green grapes. They were more brown than green and looked rough around the edges, but I figured I could come up with something. I picked out the few that were actually rotting, only a small handful, and washed the grapes. I tasted one and it was pretty bland, its grape flavor lost, so I decided to roast them, hoping the dry heat would intensify their flavor. I spread them out in a pie pan and put them in the oven at 450° for about 20 minutes. They were starting to brown, but had no charring at all. I tasted another one, it had a rich, deep flavor now. I thought about making a sauce for some roast pork or chicken, but then had the brainstorm to make a vinaigrette – sort of a honey mustard vinaigrette without the honey, letting the roasted grapes provide all the sweetness. I think it was a stroke of genius.

  • 1.5 cups of seedless green grapes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp of mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, cut in a few pieces so it’s easy to chop.
  • 1 clove of garlic

First, clean, dry and roast the grapes at 450° for about 20 minute or so. Set aside and let cool.

In a magic bullet, blender or food processor (I only have the first) put the grapes, olive oil, vinegars and mustard, salt and pepper and puree completely. This whips everything together and the oil and vinegar do not separate later. Add the onion and garlic and pulse a few times so they are chopped up into tiny bits, but not completely liquified. You can tinker a bit, adding more vinegar, salt, pepper, etc to get this to your perfect sweet-tartness.

This is delicious salad dressing. It’s very tart with a bit of the sweetness of a sweet and sour dressing, but not nearly as sweet as a honey mustard. There’s a layered flavor from the roasted grapes that make me think of wine and a bit of smokiness. I will have fun trying it out.

Broiled Asparagus Salad

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  • 5-6 stalks of young asparagus
  • 3 thin slices of onion
  • 10 grapes cut in half
  • 2 tbsp of feta
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard
  • 1 tbsp of seasoned vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Set oven to broil and prepare the asparagus and onion.

This flavorful and zesty salad takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. The first thing for a single serving is to cut 5 or 6 asparagus stalks in half lengthwise and then in thirds. This is with young, fresh asparagus. Late season asparagus, you will want to cut in quarters lengthwise so you have nice thin stalks.

After I cut the asparagus, I cut three slices of onion crosswise, so I could separate the individual rings and drop them in a baking pan with the asparagus. I used my paella pan because I use it for everything practically. I did not add any oil or salt as I do when I roast vegetables. I wanted to broil just until they began to brown, not until they were cooked through.

When they are browned, put on a salad plate. Cut a few grapes in half and toss on top of the veggies with a couple tablespoons of feta cheese.

While the veggies were broiling, I mixed up a couple tablespoons of seasoned rice vinegar with a bit of mustard (1/2 tsp) and some salt and pepper. I added that on top of everything right before serving.

The blend of flavors are delicious. The asparagus is fresh and light with a bit of sweetness from the onions and grape. The feta adds a nice bit of fat and creaminess and the mustard vinaigrette blended the flavors perfectly.

Grilled Egg Salad and Cream Cheese

Grilled Egg Salad with Cream Cheese

I love a grilled sandwich, especially on rye bread. Rye bread has such a rich, nutty taste and grilling only enhances that unique rye flavor. I buttered two slices of rye bread. I spread the butter as thinly as possible. I laid the two pieces of bread on a medium high griddle and toasted them on one side. While it the first side was toasting, I buttered the other side of the slices. I flipped them over when the first side was crisped and then grilled the other so they were both nice and crispy. I could have toasted the bread, but it would not have the same nutty flavor that gets brought out by grilling buttered bread.

Grilled egg salad

To make this sandwich filling, I chopped and mixed up 1 TBSP each of yellow onions, celery, red pepper, cucumber, 1/2 tsp of mustard, salt, pepper and just enough cream cheese to hold them together in a spread (about 1.5 TBSPs. This made a thick, creamy spread. I also sliced up two hard-boiled eggs. When the bread was grilled, I laid it on a plate, spread the cream cheese and veggies on one slice and laid some romaine and sliced hard boiled eggs on the other with a dash of salt and pepper.

To make good hard boiled eggs, put them in a cooking pot with about 1 inch of water over them. Bring them to a boil and remove from the heat, putting a lid on top to hold in the steam. Let them rest 6 to 11 minutes depending on how much you want them done. I like mine well done.

The crunchy bread and crispy celery with the creamy sauce, tender cucumber and eggs all mixed together in a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. Makes one serving.

 

Couscous with Carrot, Red Chard, Scallion, Dried Apricots, Almonds and Feta

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This is an easy salad. I knew when I was making coffee this morning that I would make a couscous salad this afternoon, so after I heated my water to press some coffee, I put 1/3 cup of couscous in a container, added 2/3rds cup of my hot water and put a lid on it and let it sit. In 15 minutes, I stuck it in the fridge so it would be cold when I made the salad later in the day.

I put about 10 almonds in a dry pan on the stove o medium high heat and let them toast while I was prepping the salad. As son as they were toasted, I removed them from the heat.

I sliced and diced 1 TBSP of fresh scallions and diced on small clove of garlic and put them in a bowl with 2 tsps of olive oil, 1/2 tsp of buckwheat honey, 1/2 tsp of mustard and the juice of 1 small fresh lemon. I mixed this all up. Buckwheat honey is thick so it takes a lot of stirring to mix it all in.

I removed the stem from 1 stalk of red chard and put it back in the crisper to use in another meal. I chopped the red chard up finely and mixed it into the dressing. There is just enough dressing to coat all the chard. Then I stirred in the couscous and mixed it thoroughly.

Next I peeled and cut up one small carrot into small matchstick. I also cut up 3 dried apricots, slicing them as thin as matchsticks and then slicing them in the other direction so they were diced small. I tired in the apricots and carrots and shock a couple tablespoons of feta on top. I chopped up the almonds and tossed them in and then put a lid on the container and shook the ingredients together, mixing them up well.

I put it in the fridge for a few hours, letting the dressing flavor everything. It is important to let it rest because when it is first made, the mustard flavor is a bit strong, but it mellows as it merges with the sweetness of the dried apricots and the richness of the feta. I made only a small amount of dressing, so it did not soften the feta, but its flavors still came through. This is a delicious salad and actual prep time was very short. It made one pint, two small servings or one large one.

Couscous almosds chard carrots scalions dried apricots feta

Chicken Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Chicken Soup

First off, this is not a Cream of Broccoli Soup. As a diabetic, I am not going to make cream soups when there are such delicious options without cream. I will make chowders using mashed cauliflower or potatoes to give the thickness and creaminess of a chowder without the cream. This soup, however, doesn’t mimic cream soups at all, but is a simple, yet delicious broth-based soup.

The first thing I did was stew a whole chicken last night. I sauteed one chopped onion, three cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of oregano with some olive oil. While they sauteed, I washed the chicken and removed the giblets etc that were stuffed inside. When the onions were transparent, I added the chicken and the giblets and covered with water. I tossed 2 bay leaves on top and let simmer for about two hours until the broth had a rich, chicken flavor and the meat fell off the bones. I removed the meat and set it in a colander on top of the stock pot so the broth drained back into the pot. Refrigerating overnight, the meat was cold and easy to work with as I removed all the skin, cartilage and bones. This left me with about 4 quarts of broth and 12 cups of chicken meat that I stored in airtight refrigerator containers.

I put 1 quart of broth and 2 cups of chicken in a medium sized sauce pan. The broth was not as deep in flavor as I like so I added 1 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. While the broth and chicken heated, I chopped up 2 broccoli spears and 1 tomato. I added them to the broth when it began to simmer and let them simmer for about 15 minutes – until tender and then added 2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard.

The soup has a rich chicken flavor with a great foundation from the onion, garlic, oregano and bay leaf. The broccoli is perfectly tender without being the least bit mushy and the tomato adds some nice color. The Dijon Mustard top note, though, really makes this a fabulously, flavorful soup and unlike a cream soup, this is nice, light summer fare.

This makes about 6 servings – and of course, there is chicken and broth enough for another soup and several salads or sandwiches.

Beef & Mushroom Tortellini with Salad

Beef Mushroom Tortellini and Salad

I love to cook up a beef roast since I can cut it up for lots of quick little meals such as this Beef & Mushroom Tortellini. My best friend brought me a huge roast from her stockpile. She and her husband buy a whole cow each year directly from the farm and have it butchered for them, guaranteeing that they get grass-fed BGH-free beef at a reasonable price. I am an occasional benefactor and have to say, it’s much tastier than from the supermarket.

I started by sauteing onions and garlic. I think I start everything this way. I used about two 1/4 slices of onion and 1 clove of garlic. I then chopped up 1 large crimini mushroom and 3 ounces of roast beef which gave me roughly equivalent amounts of beef and mushroom. I tossed them in and added 2 TBSP of mustard and about 1 TBSP of water and put the lid on.

Meanwhile I started water boiling and added 1 cup of tortellini. When it was done, I strained it and tossed it in with the beef and folded it in. It was ready to serve.

While the tortellini cooked, I cut up a few romaine leaves, chopped up some olives and added about an ounce of feta with some of Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette. I swear by that dressing. It is so delicious and tangy. I don’t use it just for salad. Sometimes I will dress cooked veggies or pasta with it.