Baked potatoes are a cheap and easy side dish or main meal. However, I especially like a baked potato with the skin slightly crunchy. It was only about five years ago that I figured out how to get the skin crunchy instead of steamed and soggy.
First, clean your baking potato with a vegetable brush. Place the baking potato directly on the oven rack. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.
It is not necessary to preheat the oven before placing the potato in the oven. I happen to have a husband who indulges me with the best kitchen equipment I’ll use. I refer to my oven as a “magic oven” because I can set the baking temperature, cooking time, and delay the start time. Usually, I will place the potatoes in the oven before I leave for work in the morning. I set the oven to start baking about an hour before I anticipate dinner time.
If I’m home around 30 minutes into the baking time, I turn the potatoes over. If not, I don’t worry about it. Remove your potatoes from the oven after about an hour. They will be be soft if you squeeze them. Load them up with your favorite toppings. I usually top mine with steamed broccoli or asparagus and cheese.
My husband likes LOTS of bacon and butter. In reality, the choice of toppings are endless–pulled pork, taco meat, cubed chicken, chili…
When I was a child, my favorite food was spaghetti. It was a quick and easy meal for my mother to make. Although I admit to often using spaghetti sauce from a can or jar, spaghetti sauce is actually quite easy to make especially if you use the slow cooker. Be sure to make up plenty because it freezes well.
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
1/2 cup vegetable or beef broth
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker except the baking soda.
Cook on low for 4 hours. Add baking soda toward the end. This counteracts the acidity of the tomatoes. Use more or less baking soda depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and your preference.
The only thing I love more than potatoes is pasta. Pasta and potatoes are so versatile, how you you not love them? Lately, I stumbled on a new food blog that I love–twopeasandtheirpod.com. I recommend you explore their website. Since I had recently acquired some fresh basil from the teacher next door, I was looking for ideas for how to use pesto. This recipe is almost too easy.
I work with the best people. They make my job worth going to even on days when the lesson flops and I feel like a failure as a teacher. My next door neighbor at work has fresh basil that she shares with me on occasion. I love the smell of basil and because of her generosity I now make my own pesto. I found that it also freezes well, so I recommend that you try this recipe and freeze what you don’t use for later use.
I’m always looking for another salad recipe in the summer. This is partly because I don’t get a lunch break while teaching summer school. Therefore, my lunch is often consumed in 10 minute increments while the students are on break. However, the best reason for finding good salad recipes in the summer is the abundance of fresh vegetables! The salad dressing is the best part of this salad, so be flexible and use it for any sort of fresh vegetable salad you wish. You’ll be pleased with this even if you just pour the dressing over your favorite lettuce.
8 cups of chopped fresh vegetables
1 cup dried cranberries
For this post I used what I had in the refrigerator at the time…
red cabbage, carrots, celery, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini squash, bell pepper
Use whatever you have on hand, or go buy your favorite veggies
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons grated onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
six slices of bacon, chopped
Chop the vegetables.
Mix the dressing ingredients.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Stir in the dressing and desired toppings.
This recipe is inspiration from a vendor at the farmers’ market. He had some small round zucchini and yellow squash. Well, maybe they are called something else, but they look like zucchini and yellow squash. In fact, a zucchini or yellow squash could be cut lengthwise and stuffed with this same filling. He told me his wife hollowed them out and stuffed them, so I decided to give it a try with a Middle Eastern flair. Feel free to substitute some browned extra-firm tofu for the ground beef to make this vegan.
1/3 cup uncooked bulgur
2/3 cup vegetable broth
1/2 lb cooked ground beef or 7 oz. extra-firm tofu, browned and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup zucchini center
4 round squash
1 can tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup vegetable broth
Place the bulgur in a small sauce pan with the 2/3 cup of vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 1-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Brown the ground beef. Cut the tops off the squash.
Hollow out the center of the squash using a spoon.
In a skillet saute the onion, bell pepper and about a cup of the squash flesh that was scooped out.
Add the ground beef bulgur, allspice, cumin, salt, and pepper.
Mix together for the stuffing.
Place the squash in a casserole dish. Fill the squash with the stuffing mixture. Mix together the tomato paste, cup of vegetable broth, and garlic powder.
Spoon the tomato paste mixture over and around the squash.
Cover the casserole dish. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the covered casserole dish in the oven and bake for an hour.
Once again, I was in search of a salad and happened along a recipe for inspiration. This is an easy salad you could take along on a summer picnic. I made it without chicken, but I’ve left it in as an optional ingredient.
1 (15.5 oz.) can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
4 oz. snow peas
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 navel orange, halved and sectioned
1 cup cooked cubed chicken (optional)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
3 Tablespoons orange juice
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Section and cut the orange.
Wash the snow peas. Combine all of the salad ingredients except the peanuts.Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and refrigerate overnight. Stir and top with peanuts before serving.