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.

Fancy potatoes

With many entertaining occasions coming up, it is always fun to incorporate new techniques in serving everyday foods.  In this instance, an everyday baked potato becomes something much more visually attractive.  And, as a benefit, the cooking time is greatly reduced.  Thanks to the Companion Group from California, an easy tool makes a more difficult task quite simple.  I have made Hasselback or Hedgehog potato in the past, but a new tool makes the precise cutting technique much easier, resulting in a more attractive outcome for the potatoes.

The slicing rack has a wooden base which cradles the potato and allows for a secure nest for slicing through the equally spaced stainless steel guides.  The rack prevents the accidental slicing through the entire potato.  Potatoes can be traditionally baked in the oven or wrapped and baked on the grill.

I baked my large Idaho baking potato at 400 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.  Potatoes can be spread with butter, margarine, olive oil and salted before baking, or left plain. Typically a large potato would take 1 to 1 1/2 hours to bake thoroughly, so this is a great time saver.  The crispy skin with the creamy potato center is just delicious.

Potatoes can be served with a choice of toppings.  This amazing new tool can be found online at The Companion Group website or at amazon.com

Twice Baked Potatoes

Instead of the typical baked potato, or even hasselback potato, I decided to try a recipe for twice baked potatoes. I adapted the recipe to make it my own, and served this with a classic spiral ham with champagne glaze. It was very tasty and a big hit with my small family. This is a recipe that can be changed based on your own family’s tastes and preferences.  The recipe can also be increased based on the number of guests at your table.

Here is how I made this recipe–gather these ingredients:  3 baking potatoes, 1 cup shredded cheddar, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup light sour cream, 4 chopped green onions, 1/4 cup soft margarine, 2 cooked and chopped bacon strips (optional)

Next, pierce the skins of the baking potatoes with a knife.  Bake at 425 degrees for 70 minutes.  Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp into a small bowl. Mash the potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 cup softened margarine and 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Mix well and then add milk and beat until fluffy.  Stir in the sour cream and add 1/2 of the green onions.  Spoon the mixture into a ceramic pie plate that has been prepared with baking spray.  Sprinkle the last of the cheddar cheese and onions on top of the dish.  Top with chopped cooked bacon if desired.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.

Mushroom rice

Are you looking for a great side dish to accompany fish or chicken?  Here is a great tasting make at home rice that is simply delicious. It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, so it will work perfectly for that timed roasting dish in the oven.

Ingredients to assemble:  1/4 cup margarine, 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper to taste and 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Melt margarine in a large open skillet that is oven safe.  Soften and brown onions slightly. Add mushrooms and wine next and cook for several minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. Next, add uncooked rice and cook for another few minutes.  Pour in broth, and cover. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25-27 minutes until rice is firm.  Remove from the oven and add Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

This recipe could also be made with vegetable or beef broth if desired.

Sauteed fresh corn and zucchini

A week ago, I wanted to serve fresh corn again for dinner since it has been so tasty this year.  My husband loves fresh corn season, and sometimes I don’t feel like corn on the cob. So, I found a recipe for a saute which was simply delicious.

I used margarine instead of the butter in the dish, and it was perfect. It took about ten minutes to prepare and was a wonderful side dish for chicken that evening.  I highly recommend making this dish with fresh corn.

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Here is a recipe that I adapted from allrecipes.com from this summer.  Gather these ingredients:  1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup diced white onion, 2 cups chopped zucchini, 3 ears of fresh corn with kernels removed, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the margarine in a large skillet on the stove and cook the onion first.  Add the zucchini next and cook about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the corn, salt and pepper and cook for another 4 minutes until hot for serving immediately. This was a delicious side dish to serve with any meat entree.

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rosemary potatoes

I love the taste of fresh rosemary and decided to use some from my garden for these potatoes.  They were delicious.  If you have fresh parsley from the garden as well, that would also compliment the taste of this dish.

To make these potatoes, I used my electric skillet, but they can also be prepared on the stovetop.  I used seven small red potatoes, olive oil, black pepper, about 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, crushed garlic, and some chopped prosciutto.

First, I parboiled the potatoes for about 20 minutes.  I chilled the potatoes earlier in the day and then diced the potatoes.  Then, I browned the chopped prosciutto in the skillet with a tablespoon of oil and the flavors.  Then, I added the potatoes.

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I cooked them until they lightly browned, and then added some diced red pepper, grated Parmesan to taste and some fresh or dried parsley to taste.

These potatoes could be used to accompany eggs for breakfast or any meat or fish dish for dinner.  Excellent taste and flavor.

 

Herb Potatoes

Try this easy way to make a small serving of red potatoes which are full of flavor and quite tasty.  No one will have to be committed to eating a large potato, and they look very nice side by side in a chafing dish for serving with a buffet.

I used small red potatoes, but any small size fingerling potato would work as well for this recipe.  The key to the recipe is slicing the potatoes in half and roasting for 30-35 minutes cut side down.

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I set my oven to 425 degrees and just sprinkled the potatoes with a dash of sea salt.  After roasting, I mixed 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese with 2 tablespoons softened margarine and a mixture of oregano, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.  Any green herb mixture will do to liven up the potatoes.

Finish the dish by broiling for one minute.

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