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.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

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.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

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.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

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.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

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.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Tuscan Style Beans

These are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or grilled Italian sausages.  I use dried beans that I soak overnight.  I think it is this one small step that sets these apart from using canned beans.  This recipe includes prosciutto, fresh herbs and tomatoes.  Truly a wonderful combination.

tuscan style beans

Tuscan Style Beans
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Great Northern white beans uncooked
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1/2 pound prosciutto, chopped
  4. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  6. 1 leek, white part only, rinse thoroughly and chop
  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  9. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight in a large of water, add enough water to cover the beans and add an additional 1 inch of water. The next day, drain and rinse beans. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large saucepan oven medium-high heat, bring 4 cups of water and the drained beans to a boil. Add the prosciutto, rosemary, thyme, leek, and oil. Bring to a boil. Transfer to a casserole dish with a cover or cover your oven proof saucepan and bake for 2 hours covered. Add tomatoes, cover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Baked Onions

Looking for that unique vegetable dish to serve?   Try delicious baked onions.  Onions become oh so sweet and caramelized when baked and they are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or fish. 

baked onions

Baked Onions
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large sweet yellow onions, unpeeled and cut in half
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 - 1 cup chicken broth
  6. Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place onion halves in a small cast iron skillet. Melt the butter and lemon juice, stir in the mustard. Spread one half of the mixture over the cut surface of the onions. Pour enough chicken broth in the pan to come up one half way of the sides of the onions. Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drizzle balsamic vinegar over cut side of onions. Add more broth to pan, if needed. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until tender. Preheat broiler. Spread remaining butter mixture over onions. Place pan in the broiler until the onions are browned and the broth thickens. To serve, spoon broth over onions.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Cauliflower Casserole

My typical method for cooking all vegetables is drizzling them with a little olive oil, adding salt and pepper and roasting them in the oven.  However, I have a few recipes that are just too good not to share.  I thought I would share this recipe since it would be perfect to serve during the holidays.  Even non-cauliflower loving guests will love this dish.  Who doesn’t love a creamy, gooey vegetable dish with hints of bacon.  It almost tastes like a wonderful macaroni and cheese recipe with cauliflower.  I think you will agree it is delicious!

Cauliflower Casserole

Cauliflower Casserole
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 4 slices bacon, chopped
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 1 head of cauliflower, sliced thin
  4. 2 tablespoon flour
  5. 1 1/2 cup cream
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Saute bacon until golden brown in a large skillet, add garlic, cook an additional 1 - 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Stir in flour and mix well. Stir in cream, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Pour into a shallow casserole dish, top with cheese and parsley.
  2. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Notes
  1. The casserole can be made ahead and refrigerated. Increase cooking time to 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Zucchini Flan

Looks like everyone’s zucchini crop is peeking and you can find an abundance in every market and at every farmer’s market.  I typically roast zucchini for a quick and easy vegetable side dish.  However, I thought I would try something different.  This flan features zucchini in a wonderful custard.  Perfect with any grilled meat and very easy to prepare.  Plan on letting the flan sit for fifteen minutes prior to serving.  This enables the flan to firm up prior to cutting. 

zucchini flan

Zucchini Flan
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoon chopped onion
  2. 2 tablespoons butter
  3. 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  6. 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
  8. 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook onion in butter until transparent. Add sliced zucchini and cook until tender.
  2. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish.
  3. Combine cream, eggs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle the top with cheese.
  4. Bake 350 - until custard is lightly set, approximately 30 minutes.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Tomato Compote

One more tomato recipe to add your favorites.  This week at the Farmer’s Market I purchased an assorted box of heirloom tomatoes, various sizes and colors.  With a steak ready to be grilled, I wanted to create something with these beautiful tomatoes to complement our grilled steak.  I simply sliced the tomatoes, drizzled them with olive oil, added salt and pepper, fresh basil leaves and baked them for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.  Simply delicious!

compote - tomatoes

tomato compote