Baked Easter carrots

These carrots are perfect any time of year, though I recently prepared them for Easter. I happened to find red carrots at the market, and they seemed to add an extra sweetness to the dish.  I would recommend them highly.

Here is how I prepared the carrots. I used two bunches of red carrots and trimmed the greens down to fit on a baking sheet, after peeling them. I prepared the sheet pan with spray Pam with olive oil and seasoned the carrots to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a sauce pot on the stove, I added 2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Bring up to temperature to melt the margarine and incorporate the ingredients.  Pour over the carrots on the sheet pan.

Bake for 30 minutes until tender.  I checked them and rotated them after 20 minutes.  If the carrots are very thick, they could be sliced again to help with the roasting time.

These were very tasty served with our Easter ham.

Roasted pork chops with vegetables

Are you looking for an easy way to make pork chops?  I found that roasting them with vegetables is a delicious way to serve them, as well as speedy, because the dish comes together in about 30 minutes.

For this sheet pan recipe, I used baby carrots, one Gala apple, Brussels sprouts and fresh mushrooms. Bone-in pork chops would be tasty in this format. I had boneless on hand and seasoned them with salt, ground pepper and rosemary.

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Place the chops and sliced apples and vegetables on a sheet pan prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated oven set at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the ingredients over and bake until the chops are done, around 13-15 more minutes. Monitor and adjust the oven temperature as necessary. Some ovens may need to be decreased to 400 degrees during the roasting process.

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This dish could be served with a starch if desired, such as potatoes or wild rice.

 

marmalade carrots

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Spring vegetables bring a delicious excitement to any dinner plate.  I am encouraged by their fresh taste to begin planting my summer vegetable garden.  Colorful carrots are some of my favorites.  This recipe highlights their beauty with a spectacular glaze.

This recipe is super easy to make and compliments grilled chicken.  I often serve the carrots with fluffy rice, as the glaze is very tasty mixed together.

To prepare the carrots:  Select 4-5 medium-sized colorful carrots.  Peel and cut into bite-sized slices. Boil on the stove top for 12-14 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, add these ingredients:

2/3 cup orange marmalade, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine, and 1 teaspoon maple extract.  Cook until thickened for about 6-8 minutes and then add 1/3 cup sliced almonds.

Drain the carrots and add the glaze. Mix well and serve.

 

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Baking Spring vegetables

 

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Roasting vegetables can move beyond winter side dish favorites.  By choosing spring vegetables, this dish can transform a meal presentation with color and style.  The secret is finding a spring mix of colorful carrots.  At Trader Joe’s, I was able to find a bag of “organic carrots of many colors”. Along with the other vegetables, the carrots alone transformed the color of the dish.

 

Choose a variety of vegetables which are cut about the same size for even roasting.  I roasted for 30-35 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  If you have a hotter oven, these vegetables will also roast well but decrease the time based on how many of each vegetable is chosen.

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Here is how I baked my mix of vegetables:  Cut in half 6 small red potatoes, use 4 colorful carrots sliced on an angle, one cleaned and sliced leek, one sliced shallot, and 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas.  Mix all of the vegetables except the peas in a large roasting pan.  In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, one cup of vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and ground pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Pour over the vegetables in the pan and sprinkle with dried basil.  Bake and stir half way during the cooking process.  Add the peas to the mixture at that time.  Serve with meat, chicken or fish.

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cinnamon carrots

One of my favorite vegetables has to be carrots.  I usually purchase the petite or small carrots in the market, just for the ease of preparation.  Often, I just boil the carrots, drain and add some margarine and a teaspoon or two of brown sugar to finish the dish.

However, I recently tried adding one teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the brown sugar.  This simple addition made my side dish of plain carrots have a wonderful taste profile.  Sometimes just looking into my spice cabinet reveals a great new idea.

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Jamie Deen’s meat and potatoes

Here is a classic recipe for those men in your lives that are looking for a meat and potatoes dinner.  It is easy and quick and comes together with prep and baking time combined at 60 minutes.

It is easy to adjust the ingredients depending on how many men and how hungry you expect them to be at dinner time.

The recipe comes from Jamie’s Good Food cookbook, which has been a great success for me.  Every one of his recipes seems to work perfectly.  I used a smaller amount of ingredients as I don’t have many men to feed.  Here is how I made the baking pouches.  I used Martha Stewart’s foil and parchment wrap, which is amazing. I blogged about the product on May 6, 2012 on this blog. I purchased it on amazon.com, and am still using my box.  It seems to last forever.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix 3/4 pounds ground beef, with 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, one egg, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add minced garlic if desired. Combine well and form into two patties. As an option, could also add 1/8 cup of chili sauce or ketchup.

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Prepare the foil and parchment wraps.  Foil on the outside and parchment on the inside, or use Martha’s wrap. Place into a baking sheet pan.  Into another bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil to 1/4 bag of small-sized carrots, 1 sliced white onion, and 2 Yukon baking potatoes which have been sliced lengthwise.  Mix well and season to taste with herbs or salt and pepper.

Place the vegetable mixture first into the pouch wraps and then top with the meat patty. Seal the pouches and roast for 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are fork tender.

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Open and serve.  Simply delicious for a meat and potatoes meal.  This is a once in three-month meal for us, as we limit our red meat intake.

Perfect for a cold winter night.

 

 

teach children to garden

Since I am an advanced master gardener, I enjoy preparing for my vegetable garden during the month of January. The cold snowy weather gives me a chance to look through catalogs and plan for the vegetable growing season. In past years, I have even started to grow some vegetables under grow lights indoors during the winter months. I received this organic seeds garden gift pack to review and evaluate for gift giving or for summer gardening outdoors. The seeds are nicely packaged and labeled.

The sticker labels with popsicle sticks for pot markers are average quality. I would say for a home indoor garden or for a children’s garden project, these would be fine. The markerSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESs would not hold up outdoors with rain and weather during the summer months.

This kit would be a nice gift for a child along with a set of small pots and a children’s gardening book.  By spring time, children would be anticipating planting the seeds and watching their vegetables get a head start for late spring planting.

 

For more information on this kit, please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QSJ70V4/keywords=organic+seeds