Parmesan Penne & Kale

March 23, 2009 - Written by Diana

salmon penne &kale When I made the Fintastic Salmon, I wanted a nice side dish, and it had to have Kale.  MUST have Kale.  You see, my husband put a garden tunnel up last fall.  Using sawed off metal pipes set in the ground, then plastic pipe going from one side up and over to the other side, over top of the raised beds.  In the fall we had vegetables a lot longer than other years.  However, the wind and the snow and the rain and ice took it’s toll, and the tunnel collapsed.  It stayed that way until last weekend.  My husband pulled up the plastic and put the hoops back up.  Wonders of wonders, we have Kale, nice baby kale, and some lettuce, and a few small turnips, and some parsley – all growing in the tunnel.  The kale looks magnificent, and right now small and tender and growing bigger.  Lovely, lovely looking Kale – Darn I didn’t get a picture of it for you. 

However, I came up with a dish that was just as lovely to go along with salmon for dinner. 




Saute Kale and onions in olive oil.  When the onion is translucent, add broth and simmer.

saute pumpkin seeds in butter, then put the seeds in with the kale and throw in the parmesan, mixing together.

Throw in the the pasta and toss.


My son and husband went back for more, it was goooooood.

Vegetables – you might not know.

March 12, 2009 - Written by Diana

We went to the store and stocked up.  I sometimes buy vegetables that the kid(or even adult) at the checkout isn’t able to identify.  Usually my husband doesn’t know all of them either, but he eats them.  Yesterday I got a real strange look after one of the veggies and the girls asked,"Do you like use these in recipes?"  I told her I did, but I wondered what else she was thinking I used them for.  So today I will identify for you the three she had difficulty with.


A selection of parsnipsParsnips – they look like a large cream colored carrot.  They also tastes like carrots, only stronger.  You can boil them, roast them, grill them, bake them  or cook them just about any way that you cook your carrots.  I don’t eat them raw, but they can be.  We tried to grow some last year, but I think we need a do over.  We forgot what we planted and had to uproot it to figure it out.  Parsnips need a little bit of frost before you pull them up, so it’s really a northern vegetable.  I love parsnips in my stews – their flavor comes through better than a carrot does.  Sometimes the flavor of a carrot is too mild for me, but often I will use them both in the same dish.  I usually peel my parsnips before slicing them to use them in a dish.


Small turnip rootTurnips – The turnip you find most often in the stores (the ones I frequent) are round white and purple, but you can find red, green and other colors. Turnips have a sharp radish like flavor and are crisp when raw. They grow with a long taproot below the bulb and large green leaves.  Turnip leaves – often called turnip greens are boiled, sauteed or cooked like mustard greens. Turnips can be boiled, roasted, baked, stir fried. Baby turnips are milder and sweeter, great for using raw as in salads.  Turnips are usually peeled before slicing in preparation for cooking.


Celery Root(Celeriac) – Okay, this one, I’ve never tried, but I bought it.  I like buying things I’ve never tried and knew that this might be really safe but pretty good new thing to try. It’s a root vegetable that tastes similar to celery. Slice out the outer surface which looks too difficult to peel. Celeriac has a celery flavor, and is often used as a flavoring in soups and stews; it can also bemashed, or used in casseroles, gratins and baked dishes.



Here’s a simple but very flavorful root vegetable dish that I make. 

Slice the root vegetables to around the same size and thickness so that they’ll cook uniformly. 

2 parsnips peeled & chopped (finger size)

2 turnips peeled & chopped(finger size)

1 celery root peeled & chopped (finger size)  (usually I use celery, but I’m going to try celery root)

1 onion peeled and sliced

1-2 cloves garlic chopped

Lightly toss with olive oil

season with salt & pepper and some herbs.

Bake in casserole dish (I used a clay baker that I have) covered with foil.

Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin

February 3, 2009 - Written by Diana

Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin I wanted to post this last night, but I was too busy watching the Superbowl (and taking nap – don’t tell anyone but I slept through some of it). My husband went to a brother’s home to watch the Steelers play.  I made some Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin for him to bring and share with everyone( which was really only two other people).  My son had school today so we stayed home and monitored the game from home without all the ruckus.  This is a really good side dish, easy to make, and the garlic and parmesan is very fragrant.  I have a mandolin that I use to slice the potatoes to a medium thickness  and onions into really thin even slices. You can substitute Romano for Parmesan in this dish or do a mix of both. I know it was good because my husband brought home the dish – totally sparking clean.  Sharon & John – we know what you have in your fridge.


Spray casserole dish with cooking spray, or use oil or butter to coat the sides and bottom of the dish. Layer the Potatoes, onions & garlic slices, sprinkle the layers with cheese, salt and pepper . Add the cream and thyme into a saucepan and warm it.  Every couple of layers pour warm cream over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake at 4:20 for about 40 minutes and then broil uncovered 5 minutes. 

Honey Spice Acorn Squash with Cinnamon Apples

January 27, 2009 - Written by Diana

Honey-Spice Acorn Squash with Cinnamon Apples I found this recipe for Honey Spice Acorn Squash in my Taste of Home Cookbook.  I changed it up a little by stuffing it with cinnamon apples right before the end of the baking and it turned out really scrumptious.  This dish goes well with a nice roast chicken or turkey breast.



  1. In a small bowl, combine the honey, butter, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Cut squash in half; discard the seeds. 
    With a sharp knife, cut a thin slice from the bottom of squash to allow it to sit flat.
  2. Place cavity side up in greased 15 in X 10 in X 1 in pan.  Fill Squash halves with butter mixture.
  3. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover, bake for 10 minutes longer or until squash is tender.


Changes I made.  I mixed all of the ingredients and used a brush to brush it around the inside of the squash.  Then after it cooked for about 45 minutes, I filled it with my cinnamon apples (that I canned earlier) and put it back in the oven.  Hot cinnamon apples and honey spice acorn squash are really delicious together. 

Smashed Cauliflower Potatoes

December 1, 2008 - Written by Diana

temp 026 I love this delicious great tasting dish. It doesn’t take a long time to make, and the garlic, potatoes and cauliflower all blend together quite well.  I used Grana Padano Cheese, a cheese that is similar to Parmesan Reggiano.  It’s a hard cheese that adds a really nice flavor to this dish.  PR – may be substituted. 



6-8 small red potatoes

1/2 head of cauliflower

3 -4 cloves of garlic

Olive Oil

Salt& Pepper

Herbs du Provence

Grana Padano Cheese



Quarter potatoes and cut cauliflower florets into similar size pieces.  Boil water in a large pot, add potatoes and cauliflower. When fork tender, drain off as much water as possible.  In a high sided skillet, saute garlic in about 4 tbs of Olive Oil on a low heat until cooked really well in order to infuse the oil with a garlic taste.  Take garlic out and throw  into compost.  After Potatoes and Cauliflower has drained, put back into pot and smash with potato masher, or with potato ricer and mix together.  Add 2 new cloves of garlic – smashed and chopped into potatoes and cauliflower, add salt , pepper, seasonings and mix together.  Put mixture and heated garlic oil.  Grate cheese and stir into mixture.  Place into greased baking dish and into the oven at 400  until cheese is melted. 

Apple Raisin Stuffing

November 25, 2008 - Written by Diana

I’m not a big fan of sausage or meat-turkey stuffing recipes.  I added apples and raisins to my turkey stuffing a few years back and it became a big hit with my family.  You could go totally vegetarian by using a vegetable stock instead of turkey or chicken.

3/4 cup butter melted
1 onion chopped small
1 celery stalk chopped small
1 apple peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock) 
5 cups dried(or lightly toasted) bread cubes
1/8 tsp sage
1/8 tsp thyme
Salt & pepper

Sauté slowly onion and celery in butter.  When soft, add raisins, apple and stock, bring to boil.  Mix with bread crumbs, sage, thyme, salt and pepper, put in butter baking dish, cover and bake in oven at 350 for a half hour.  Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes uncovered. Add more liquid if you like it moister, or keep it covered the whole time. 


Cinnamon Apples

November 22, 2008 - Written by Diana

Last weekend, College Girl and her friends stopped by for breakfast.  It was really a fun, loud, easy going, young person’s time at our home.  My husband, son and I enjoyed having everyone there and I made a bunch of different things to fill them up.  I also like to have a variety because not everyone enjoys the same things.  My husband and son helped out with all of the preparations, so it went pretty smoothly.  Most of what I made I stuck in the oven, even the bacon (although I did burn a batch and had to start over).  One of my favorite great food dishes to make is cinnamon apples, and it’s simple too. This would make a great Thanksgiving side dish or dessert.


It’s like apple pie without the crust.  The insides are my favorite part, so this is my way of eating the insides without the crust. I have also done this in a crockpot and thrown in fresh cranberries and raisins and even toasted pecans.  You can top with ice cream, that will melt on the hot apples.  I don’t have a picture, because it’s all gone.  I didn’t do the crazy lady taking pictures of the food routine for the kids, sorry.

We picked enough apples this month to can.  Instead of apple sauce, we do apple slices – which is kind of this recipe on a humongous scale.  Then we jar them up and use them with our dinners.  I had some to put out at Easter one year and my brother in law thought it was the best thing at the table.  That was a real compliment and such an easy side dish since I just opened the jar and poured it into a dish and baked.  The apples will brown, but since they’re covered in apple cider and cinnamon I didn’t worry about it.  If you want your apples to look less brown, you can put them into a bowl with some lemon juice before you put them into the baking dish. 



Red cabbage & Onion

September 27, 2008 - Written by Diana

I made this dish and we loved it. The picture does not do it justice, but it’s all I have. I also added carrots to mine, but I prefer it without the carrots.college 828 030  It’s especially the right time to do this recipe since you may be pulling cabbage and other crops in out of the garden now.  Red cabbage seems to do better in my garden, the cabbage worms don’t hit it as hard, so we get to enjoy it more.  With the vinegar and brown sugar it makes kind of a sweet and sour combination that is really filled with flavor. I like my cabbage to be a little on the crunchy side, but you can cook it longer if you like.  Enjoy!


2 tbs Olive oil

1 onion sliced

1 small head of red cabbage – sliced into strips

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

salt & pepper


Saute the onion in olive oil.  When onions are soft, add the cabbage and cook until it starting to wilt.  Stir the cabbage and onions around. Add the brown sugar and vinegar.  Cook it down until the cabbage is just slightly crunchy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spaghetti Squash Medley

August 6, 2008 - Written by Diana

Food2 005  I made this spaghetti squash medley when my cousins visited the other day. I wanted a special side dish, that would seem summery and light, and also would use some of the vegetables I grow in my garden.  The spaghetti squash itself was the only vegetable I didn’t have planted, but I may try it next year.