Category Archives: Vegetables & Fruits

Not Elvis’s PB and Banana Snack

Every time I buy bananas, I end up with one or two that turn dark in the fruit bowl. I’m not talking about rotten bananas–just dark. Instead of letting these go to waste or succumb to mold, I decided to experiment. I took pictures of the results, but because this snack is meant to be delicious instead of pretty, you’ll just have to try it out for yourself.

Ingredients:

Bananas
Margarine
Creamy peanut butter
Graham crackers (I use Kinnikinnick’s S’moreables)

Directions:

1. Peel bananas and slice them into pieces 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
2. Heat margarine in a pan and cook bananas.
3. When both sides of the banana slices are golden brown and soft (bordering on slimy) remove from heat.
4. Spread peanut butter on the graham crackers and top with a warm banana slice.
5. Keep napkins handy and enjoy.

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

On a whim, I decided to make potato soup one cold night. I’d never even eaten potato soup before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. After searching for a bit, I came across the following recipe for Creamy Leek and Potato Soup by Emeril Lagassee on Food Network’s site. You can find the original recipe here, as I alter things a bit (because of allergies, I omit the cheese; because of preference, I omit the parsley).

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes (or less)
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp margarine
3 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts
1 tsp minced garlic
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of margarine over low heat.
2. Add sliced leeks and cook, stirring often, until they’re tender (about 3 minutes).
3. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Add the chicken stock and potatoes.
5. Cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes, unless you boil it rapidly like I do–then you’re looking at about 15-20 minutes).
6. Remove from heat and use a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup until it’s smooth.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add parsley or soft herbed cheese as an optional garnish.
8. Serve immediately, or reheat for later. Either way, it’s delicious.

Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

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I didn’t think to take a picture until after I tasted the stew and found out how delicious it was.

I had a little pork loin and half a butternut squash to cook, so I turned to the Internet and found this great recipe. I had everything on hand except the fresh kale, so I used a one-pound bag of kale from my freezer. Next time, I’ll spend the extra time driving to the market for fresh, because the frozen kale made a crumbly mess. A crumbly, delicious mess.

This recipe from Oxmoor House was found on myrecipes.com, and I imagine it would taste great as a vegan stew, as well. I’ll have to try it without the pork sometime.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size 1 1/2 cups)
Cook time: 40 minutes
Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 tsp. olive oil
1 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups coarsely chopped fresh kale (about 1 pound)
5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork, salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and cook 9 minutes or until pork is browned.
2. Remove pork from pan and set aside.
3. Add onion to pan and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
4. Add coriander and garlic. Sauté 1 minute.
5. Return pork to pan and add remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper, kale, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Here’s a pic just before step 6, with frozen kale. Please excuse my greasy stove; browning pork is messy work.

Easy Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries

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Root vegetables helped our ancestors survive harsh winters for millennia, so it only makes sense that I stock my pantry with sweet potatoes this time of year. Twenty pounds next to the paper towels and cat food on the bottom shelf, waiting to be baked and eaten.

But if you’re like me, waiting an hour or more for sweet potatoes to bake in the oven just isn’t always an option. When I need dinner in a hurry, I make this quick-cooking version of a family favorite.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 largish sweet potatoes
1/2 cup dried cranberries or Craisins
3 Tbsp. margarine
Milk or milk substitute
Brown sugar
Cinnamon (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into roughly 1-inch chunks.
2. Place sweet potatoes and cranberries is a small pot of water.
3. Boil until sweet potatoes can be easily mashed with a fork. Drain.
4. Add margarine and drained sweet potatoes back into pot and mash well.
5. Add a bit of milk and stir, repeating until you reach desired consistency.
6. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Mix well.

Pawpaw’s Pear Pie

My grandfather, known affectionately as Pawpaw, made a crazy delicious pear pie using the windfalls from his backyard tree. As for ingredients, whatever was in the fridge would do. Half a can of Sprite… in it goes. Some old roasted pecans… toss those in, too.

While I usually have a less haphazard approach to cooking than Pawpaw did, I really wanted to recreate that creamy, spicy, sweet and all-around awesome taste of his pear pie (which was more cobbler-like than anything). I haven’t yet found his secret, but here’s what resulted from my most recent attempt. I name this recipe after him, but nothing comes close to something Pawpaw cooked up for the grandkids.

Ingredients:

6 ripe pears – peeled, cored and sliced (4 cups)
1/2 cup milk substitute
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg

Topping:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose baking mix
1/2 – 3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup shortening

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Lightly grease a casserole dish (9×13 is a good size).
  3. Add pears, milk substitute, water, raisins and spices to casserole dish. Stir to combine.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, baking mix and oatmeal.
  5. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two forks until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Sprinkle topping onto pear mixture.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until topping is browned and filling is bubbly.

 

Next time I make this dessert, I’ll add an image to the post.

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