Tag Archives: Vegetables

Collard Greens Gone Wild

Ok, I know, how can collard greens go wild? And I’m not talking fresh collard greens either. Frozen. Yes frozen. I never had collard greens growing up and of course just figured I didn’t like them. My husband suggested I try them so one day at the supermarket I went “wild” and bought a bag of frozen greens. Also since I had no idea how to serve them the Italian in me took over. I prepared them according to the package but when I served them I added butter and a parmesan/garlic seasoning. They came out really good. I was hooked. Then recently I tried them from a menu at a restaurant specializing in “southern/cowboy” type barbecue. I HATED them! They had no flavor, the color was so washed out they did not look very appetizing. Definitely not enough to even eat! Well I tried them. Yuck! I tried adding butter, salt, hot sauce…Still yuck! I was so disappointed! I knew I should have gotten the fried green tomatoes that night! So last night I kicked them up a notch so to say. They came out really good! The only thing is the bag of frozen greens is big that I now have lots left over. I will be using them tonight as my side for the Veal Scaloppini recipe I posted yesterday.  They actually look like escarole and beans a little bit. I originally served it with a Lemon Lime Marinated Chicken recipe from a great food blog called Dana’s Food For Thought. Check it out! (Thanks Dana!)

INGREDIENTS:

1 16-19 ounce bag frozen chopped collard greens

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic chopped

3 cloves garlic thinly sliced

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 cups chicken broth

1 -15 ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a dutch oven or large pot sauté olive oil and chopped garlic. Saute till garlic is lightly browned. Add the basil and oregano and stir for a minute or so.

2. Add the frozen collard greens and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the beans, red pepper flakes and sliced garlic. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Serve greens with parmesan cheese if you like.

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Chicken Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young is a really good chinese dish. But I know how high in calories it can be so I usually stay away from it. My husband loves it too and usually gets the pork variety. This recipe can be made with pork, chicken, ham, or shrimp. Pretty much any protein you want to put in will work just fine. I took parts of this recipe from a Rachael Ray recipe as well as another recipe I had found. I left out what I didn’t like (yes, peppers! Eww…) and added my own touch. Another high calorie part of this recipe can be the sauce. Not in this recipe. There are a lot of ingredients and it does look daunting but give it a try. It’s not difficult and it will taste incredible! And it looks so good doesn’t it! If there are any leftovers they make a great breakfast too!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of egg substitute (I use the plain but you can substitute a flavored one if you like. )

1 cup chopped cooked chicken (leftover chicken is great for this)

1 cup fresh bean sprouts (A few big handfuls is good)

½ cup shredded carrots

¼ pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (I used canned because the fresh were too expensive)

1 cup baby bok choy, shredded

1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on an angle

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated, plus 2 thin slices

2 large cloves garlic, grated or minced

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup fat-free chicken stock or broth

¼ cup tamari (aged soy sauce, use regular low-sodium if you can’t find)

1 teaspoon hot sauce (more if you like a spicier sauce)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat a griddle pan over medium heat and brush it with some olive oil.

2. In a large mixing bowl pour in the egg beaters, chicken, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, water chestnuts, scallions, grated ginger and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix until completely combined.

3. Using a large mixing spoon, drop about ½ cup of the mixture onto the preheated and oiled griddle. Cook the pancakes about 2-3 minutes on each side,until golden. (Careful flipping them, it’s a little tricky. Well it was for me anyway!)

4. In the meantime, combine the cornstarch with a splash of chicken broth/stock to dissolve it. Place the rest of the stock/broth, tamari, cornstarch, hot sauce and sliced ginger in a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened for about 3 minutes or until you can coat a spoon with it. Remove the sliced ginger and remove from heat.

5. Serve 2 pancakes per person with gravy poured over the top.

Serves 4

Scallop Primavera

I am always looking for recipes for scallops. I really like the bay scallops better than the larger sea scallops. Mainly because you never really know if you’re actually getting real sea scallops. But the bay scallops are easy to keep frozen and have on hand when you’re in the mood. I came up with this recipe one day when I was cleaning out the fridge. I used carrots and broccoli in this but you can also use any other vegetable you want. If you don’t have any fresh veggies on hand a bag of mixed frozen vegetables will work just fine. I also like the broccoli/cauliflower mix for this recipe. If you are watching your carbs use a lower carb pasta or my favorite Shirataki Tofu Noodles. Or leave out the pasta all together and add more veggies. Another variation is to throw in some grated cheese of your choice and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and butter and bake it! I’m getting hungry just writing about this! Have fun with whatever you choose!

Scallop Primavera

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound bay scallops

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cups broccoli florets

10 oz. can of cream of chicken soup, reduced fat or fat-free

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ pound  pasta (elbows, small shells, cavatelli, spaghetti, your choice) cooked and drained

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon parsley

Parmesan cheese, if desired

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large saucepan sauté the garlic in the olive oil. Add the scallops and sauté for about 5 minutes. (Don’t overcook). Remove scallops from pan and set aside.

2. Add carrots and broccoli to pan and sauté for about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender, not mushy.

3. Add the cream of chicken soup and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes and add the scallops back into mix. Toss to coat.

4. Add the cooked pasta and mix thoroughly. Cook a couple more minutes till heated through.

Serve with parmesan cheese for topping if you want.

Cucuzzille

I know some of you are saying, huh? I am not sure if I even have it spelled right or not. The name is pronounced “cook it seal”. Or as I used to call it “Crooked Seals”. My dad makes this recipe alot though it is not one of my favorites. The rest of the family likes it though. The base of the recipe is Italian Squash, or cucuzza or cucuzzi. It’s sort of a stew type dish. My dad doesn’t add any seasonings to it either. But I think if you added parsley or basil or garlic it wouldn’t hurt. It is a pretty easy recipe to make but it does take time. It is a dish that cooks slow so don’t rush it. And it is better to let it sit for a little before serving. You can make it the day before and then just reheat when you are ready to eat it. It’s a great vegetarian dish as well.

INGREDIENTS:

4-6 medium green or yellow Italian squash, trimmed and sliced round. (about ¼” thick)

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1″ chunks

2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced round (about ¼” thick)

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1-2 red bell peppers, sliced in 1″ wide slices and cut in half

2- 8oz. cans tomato sauce

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Cucuzzi Squash

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill a large saucepan with 1-2 inches of water. Place all ingredients into pot and steam on medium heat until vegetables are tender. This should be about 45 minutes to an hour-long. Add a little more water if needed to keep it from drying out.

2. When vegetables are just about ready stir in the tomato sauce gently. Try not to break up the vegetables but it’s ok if they do. Let sit about 15-30 minutes or serve next day. The more it sits the better the flavors will be.

Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 2)

As promised here is the list of when it is the best time to buy fresh vegetables, when they are in season.  What are the best vegetable to buy now? Or in 3 months from now?  Right now in Florida where I live the corn is just starting to come out where in the north it won’t be at its best until August or September. I remember when we spent the summers in Maine as kids and we couldn’t wait for August because we’d go to the farm stands and get all of that delicious sweet yellow and white corn, fresh from the farms. It was so crunchy and sweet and you could eat 2 or 3 ears at a sitting without any problem.  Some vegetables are great all year-long which is a good thing! I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! Happy shopping and eat your veggies!

  • Artichokes: March-May: Look for heavy, compact, plump globes. Large tightly closed, fleshy leaf scales. Good green color. Heavy for size.
  • Asparagus: March-June: Look for tightly closed buds. Straight, tender, rich green stalks. Open tips and angular or ridged spears are signs of over maturity.
  • Green/Wax Beans: April-October: Look for crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
  • Lima Beans: April-August: Look for bright color for the variety. Crisp, dark-green, well-filled pods.
  • Beets: June-October: Look for firm, round, smooth, deep red-colored roots. Fresh-looking tops. Avoid those with long roots and rough, scaly areas on surface, because they are tough, fibrous and strong flavored.
  • Belgian Endive: October-May: Look for firm without bruises. Color should be white with greenish cast.
  • Broccoli: October-May: Look for firm, closed, dark-green florets. Firm, tender stalks. Yellowing green-colored heads of broccoli are over mature.
  • Brussel Sprouts: October-November: Look for miniature, compact, bright-green heads.
  • Cabbage: All Year: Look for well-trimmed, solid heads. Heavy for size.
  • Carrots: All Year: Look for firm, bright-colored, smooth, clean, well-shaped. Avoid rough, cracked or green-tinged roots.
  • Cauliflower: September-November: Look for bright-green leaves enclosing firm, closely packed creamy-white curd or florets. Avoid bruised or open florets.
  • Celery: All Year: Look for fresh, crisp branches. Light green to green color. Should not have wilted, rough look or puffy feel to the stalk.
  • Corn: May-September: Look for fresh-leaved, green husks. Plump, milky kernels. Avoid cobs with small or large, dented or shrunken kernels.
  • Cucumbers: May-August: Look for bright, shiny green; firm; well-shaped.
  • Eggplant: August-September: Look for firm, heavy, smooth, even dark purple. Free of bruises or cuts.
  • Lettuce: All Year: Look for fresh green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Heading varieties of lettuce should be medium weight for size.
  • Mushrooms: November-April: Look for dry, firm caps and stems. Small brown spots or open caps are still good in flavor.
  • Okra: May-September: Should have tender, bright-green, bruise-free pods, less than 4½ inches long. Pale, faded, hard pods are tough and fibrous.
  • Onions: All Year: Look for well-shaped; hard; small necks. Dry paper skins. Free of green spots or green-depressed leathery areas. Crisp green tops. Two to three-inch bleached-white roots.
  • Parsnips: October-April: Should be small to medium size; smooth-skinned; firm. Decay and bruise free.
  • Peas: April-July: Look for well-filled, bright green. Swollen, light-colored or gray-flecked pods contain tough, starchy peas.
  • Peppers: All Year: Look for good shape; firm exterior; thick flesh and bright, glossy skin.
  • Potatoes (White): All Year: Should be fairly smooth; well-shaped; firm. Free of most blemishes. Avoid bruised, sprouting, shriveled or green-tinged.
  • Potatoes (Sweet): September-December: Look for thick, chunky, medium-sized with no bruises or decay. Should taper at the end.
  • Radishes: May-July: Look for medium-sized (¾-1 inch diameter); good red color; plump; round; firm; crisp. Bright-green tops.
  • Spinach: March-May: Look for large, bright, blemish-free leaves with good green color. Yellowing indicates the start of decay. Avoid leaves with coarse stems.
  • Squash (Summer): June-August: Look for bright color; smooth; glassy skin. Heavy for the size; firm; well-shaped.
  • Squash (Winter): September-November: Should be heavy for the size. Hard, good-colored, unblemished rind.
  • Tomatoes: May-August: Should be well-formed; blemish-free; plump. Over all rich red color and slight softness.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas: September-March: Should be small to medium size; smooth; firm; heavy. Few leaf scars at top and few fibrous roots at base. Purple-tinged white ones are turnips. Yellow-skinned, larger roots are rutabagas.

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