Mom’s Green Bean Casserole

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned that everything my mom cooked was from scratch.   Why I mention this is that traditional green bean casserole includes a can of soup.  Well, in my mom’s kitchen, she would never use a can of soup in any recipe.  Too many unnatural ingredients and too much sodium to pass my mom’s cooking standards!  So this recipe, is the perfectly titled; Mom’s Green Bean Casserole.  Made with ingredients that you do not need to Google to find out what they are.  This is absolutely delicious and a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving table.  

moms-green-bean-casserole

Mom's Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 16 oz. green beans, cooked ( I used frozen french cut)
  5. 6 oz. shredded swiss cheese
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 3 oz. french fried onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in sour cream. Cook over low heat until combined and slightly thickened.. Add beans, cheese and salt and pepper. Toss gently. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 25 minute or until hot and bubbly. Top with onions, return to oven for 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated. You will need to increase the baking time if the casserole is cold when you put in the oven.
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Zucchini Pancakes

It’s that time of year again!  Gardens and farmers’ markets are overflowing with zucchini.  If you are looking for one more zucchini recipe – Zucchini Pancakes is the one to try.  I received this recipe from a friend of my mother’s who compiled some of her favorite recipes.  Perfect as a side dish or a light dinner.  I served fresh sliced tomatoes along side and the combination was a feast for the eyes and well as a feast for the taste-buds.  The summer is winding down, don’t miss out on the abundance of fresh produce this time of year.

zucchini pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups zucchini, grated
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. salt and pepper, to taste
  5. 1 egg, beaten
  6. canola oil
  7. 1- 2 tablespoons melted butter
  8. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine zucchini with the flour baking powder salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the egg and stir until well blended. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat, coat with canola oil. When hot, drop large tablespoons of zucchini batter on hot skillet, slightly flatten the pancake. Cook until brown on each side. Check carefully, if browning too quickly, reduce heat. Serve with a drizzle of melted butter and grated parmesan cheese.
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BBQ Corn

When we were visiting Hawaii earlier this year, I happened to purchase the most delicious BBQ Corn at a local food stand.  Is was just by chance that I noticed this stand nestled along side other small stands.  While the rest of my group was in line ordering shrimp from one of the many shrimp trucks, I found this stand and just had to try it.  We were all surprised how absolutely delicious the corn was and now that it is peak corn season, this is the perfect recipe to try on the grill.  You will not be disappointed, the flavors blended together are delicious.  A wonderful combination with layers of flavor.  They served their corn on sticks, I have found that wooden skewers are not strong enough to hold the corn, wood chop sticks or small wood dowels work the best.  Enjoy!

corn stand

BBQ corn

BBQ Corn
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Ingredients
  1. Corn on the cob, husks removed
  2. Melted butter
  3. Mayonnaise
  4. BBQ seasoning (there are many delicious blends available at your local grocery)
  5. Juice from one lemon
  6. Juice from one lime
  7. parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Amounts of ingredients will vary depending on the number of ears of corn you are cooking.
  2. Combine lemon and lime juice and put in a small spray bottle.
  3. Place husked corn directly on the grill over medium heat, keep rotating for 12 - 14 minutes until a light char has formed on the kernals. Remove from heat.
  4. Immediately after removing from heat - insert wood dowel
  5. brush each ear with melted butter
  6. brush with mayonnaise
  7. spritz with juice mixture
  8. sprinkle with BBQ seasoning
  9. dust with parmesan cheese
Notes
  1. As unconventional as this sounds, try it - the results are amazing!
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Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa

We just returned from the upper Midwest where the weather is beautiful, waters are wonderful and the farmers markets are at their peak.  When in the Midwest, you absolutely have to try the fresh sweet corn.  Abundant and oh so sweet, the ultimate taste of summer.  After I purchased corn at the market, it was back to stir up this delicious salsa.  I have to admit, it was so delicious, we just could not stop eating it!  Great as an appetizer served with tortilla chips, but this salsa would be equally delicious along side grilled chicken or over fish tacos.

fresh corn and avocado salsa

Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ears of fresh corn, husk remove and kernels cut off of the cob
  2. 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  3. 1/3 cup olive oil
  4. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 2 avocados, ripe but firm, diced
  8. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  9. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  10. 4 - 8 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  11. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  12. 1/2 cup lime juice
Instructions
  1. Mix all vegetables together in a medium bowl. Combine olive oil, cumin, oregano, red wine vinegar, hot pepper sauce, chili powder and lime juice. Pour over vegetables and mix thoroughly, Salt and pepper to taste.
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Green Bean Salad

I was headed out for a very busy day last week and wanted to prepare dinner prior to leaving the house.  I had fresh green beans and decided to whip up a cold green bean salad.  With what was in my pantry and refrigerator, I assembled the following salad.  It was just great with the grilled meat I served.  Just proves how easy it is to serve fresh vegetables and if you happen to have any leftovers, they are perfect for lunch the next day!

Ever wonder about the history behind balsamic vinegar?  Check-out this website; very interesting.

 http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/everything-you-need-to-know-guide-to-balsamic-vinegar.html

Green Bean Salad

 

Green Bean Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. fresh green beans
  2. 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  3. 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, immediately drain and then shock in ice cold water. Drain. Toss green beans with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add pine nuts. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Top with crumbled goat cheese. Refrigerate until serving. Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar when serving, if desired.
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Jalapeño Popper Potato Casserole

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine made these amazing jalapeño poppers.   I started thinking what else could I create with this great taste sensation.  I immediately thought of my favorite potato casserole recipe and decided to turn the heat up on this recipe.  I switched from using cheddar cheese to smoked gouda, diced the jalapeños and cooked them with red onions until the peppers were slightly charred and added them to the mixture.  This gave the peppers the smoky taste that you would get when roasting the poppers.  This re-creation of the my potato casserole recipe turned out terrific.  To add more spice to this recipe, you can certainly add additional peppers or add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.  This recipe is very easy to customize and you certainly can add your favorite add-ins.

jalapeno popper casserole

 

 

Jalapeno Popper Potato Casserole
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 large baking potatoes, baked
  2. 1/2 pound smoked gouda cheese, grated
  3. 4 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed, diced
  4. 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 1/3 cup cream cheese
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 4 tablespoons butter, divided
Instructions
  1. Bake potatoes (rinse clean, prick skin and roast 375 degrees for 1 1/4 hours), remove from oven, cut in half and let cool slightly. Scoop insides of potatoes into a medium mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, sour cream, 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper. In a heavy small skillet melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter, add jalapeños and red pepper. Cook over medium heat until the peppers begin to slightly char, remove from heat and add to potato mixture. Stir well. Fold in grated cheese (reserved about 3 tablespoons for the top of the casserole). Spoon into a greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 350 degrees until hot and bubbly, approx.. 20 - 30 minutes.
Notes
  1. You could also make these twice baked potatoes - fill the potato shells with the mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake 350 degrees until hot and bubbly, approximately 20 minutes.
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Whole Wheat Orzo Salad

Pasta salads are one of our favorites during the warm spring and summer days.  Easy to prepare early in the day and great to serve with your favorite grilled meat, fish, or chicken.  I use the marinade from the marinated artichokes as the dressing, I also love to use feta cheese that is infused with pepper.  It just adds the perfect piquancy to this salad.

orzo salad 2

 

Whole Wheat Orzo Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup whole wheat orzo, cooked
  2. 1 jar marinated artichokes, drained, marinade reserved
  3. 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  4. 1 zucchini, shredded
  5. 1 carrot, shredded
  6. 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  7. 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I use feta with pepper)
  8. Salt and pepper, to taste ( I omit the pepper when using feta with pepper)
Instructions
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. While hot, toss with 3 tablespoons of reserved marinade from artichokes. Let cool, if preferred, add additional marinade to desired amount of dressing. Add remaining ingredients, toss. Refrigerate until serving. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving. Add additional feta when serving, if desired.
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Mexican Squash

Looking for a side dish that is perfect to serve on Cinco de Mayo next week?  This vegetable dish is perfect with all of your Mexican favorites.  You will be hoping to have leftovers, terrific to add to eggs, omelets, and even great tossed with pasta.  Now, time to find your favorite margarita recipe,,,

mexican squash

Mexican Squash
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 clove garlic, minced
  3. 4 medium zucchini, cut in 1 inch pieces
  4. 3 medium yellow squash, cut in 1 inch pieces
  5. 1 green pepper, cut in 1 inch pieces
  6. 1 red pepper, cut in 1 inch pieces
  7. 1 sweet yellow onion, minced
  8. 1 cup chopped celery
  9. 1 1/2 cups picante sauce
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste
  11. 1 cup shredded cheese - Monterey jack and cheddar
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add vegetables. Saute for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add picante sauce and salt and pepper, stir. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until all of the vegetables are tender, 5 - 8 minutes. Top with cheese and cover until the cheese is just melted. Serve.
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Crazy Summer Squash

When I first saw spiral cut vegetables I was certainly intrigued.  Friends were purchasing them and stores were selling spiral vegetables slicers and spiral sliced vegetables- so, what to do?  Try them.  I am a fan and I think the more interesting ways you can cook and serve vegetables the better.  I took our favorite pasta recipe and instead of pasta, substituted summer squash.  I think it is delicious and fun to eat.  If you haven’t tried spiral cut vegetables, now is the time!

crazy summer squash

Crazy Summer Squash
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Ingredients
  1. 4 spiral cut zucchini or yellow summer squash
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  4. 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  5. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  7. Fresh ground black pepper
  8. Additional olive oil to drizzle over the squash, if preferred
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. When hot, saute squash for approx. 2 - 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, in a medium bowl, toss squash with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. A great variation is adding sliced cherry tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the squash when cooking.
  2. You can adjust the amounts depending on the number you are serving - the above recipe serves 2 - 3 vegetable lovers.
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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts

When was the last time you served Brussels Sprouts ?  If you have not tried brussel sprouts lately, now is the time to give them a try.  My husband remembers boiled brussel spouts as a child and I must say he was not too eager to try these.  Happy to say he is now a brussel sprout fan after I starting making brussels sprouts this way.  I think you will agree that these are too good not to try!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 20 - 30 brussel sprouts, ends cut and brussel sprouts cut into 4 quarters
  2. 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 tablespoons balsamic Vinegar
  4. 1/3 cup pine nuts
  5. Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large ovenproof skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the brussel sprouts and cook until the edges of the Brussels sprouts turn golden brown, stir frequently. Put the skillet in the preheated oven, bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to become caramelized and dark brown. Stir frequently. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and top with the pine nuts, return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Stir frequently, you do not want the pine nuts to burn, just turn light golden brown. Remove from the oven, drizzle with additional olive oil, salt and pepper and top with grated parmesan cheese.
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