Farm Market Veggies and Leftover Spaghetti

August 4, 2011 - Written by Diana

My son’s specialty is now making spaghetti with sauce.  The most difficult part was NOT overcooking the pasta, believe it or not.  He’s not too keen on figuring out portions, which is why he just makes a whole box (pound) of pasta every time.  While this could cause some problems with waste, I’ve found a way to take the leftover pasta and make another meal with it using farm market and garden veggies.  Saute a few veggies, add in the pasta, a little more oil and white whine, toss until heated along with some herbs from the garden and voila you have a great dish.  We served this topped with a luna burger.  I had the garden thyme, my husband had a barbecue .  My daughter said she wanted real meat, but my son crumbled the burger up and mixed it in with the pasta.   My husband and I just broke off pieces with the fork then grabbed up some pasta and veggies on the same fork and ate it that way.  Let me tell you, it was super delicious.




Dice Shallot.  Chop the rest of the veggies to about finger width and 1/2 finger length.  Saute shallots in olive oil, when they are soft and translucent, add in carrots and soften.  Throw in squash and when that is softened add tomato  and herbs.
Chop spaghetti, and throw in with veggies, toss with olive oil.  Pour wine over top and scrap bottom of bits.    Keep tossing, when heated through, serve.

You can substitute any of your veggies  and change up the pasta.   Though I wish my son would think ahead to portion size and preparation, I love that I don’t have to heat up another full pot of water for another batch of spaghetti.  What do you do when you make too much?


Melon & Blackberry Fruit Salad Tossed with a Mint Simple Syrup

July 24, 2011 - Written by Diana

We were invited to my brother in law’s for a small family cookout, and I wanted to throw together something cool and delicious for a side dish.  We bought melons and blackberries at our local farmer’s market.  The mint is something my daughter and I have been trying to cultivate in our garden.  Mint can get out of control easily, so we’re planting patches of mint down at the bottom of the legs of our deck.  It can go out of control all it wants down there.  We have one mint plant my husband mowed totally down to the nub and after it grew back, then my son scalped it with the weed whacker and it’s back again.  I need hardy plants with the two of them around because they can’t tell the difference between weeds and herbs.  I am loving all the different things I can put mint into, it’s so tasty. (more…)

Quick Quinoa Burgers

January 28, 2011 - Written by Diana

Quick Quinoa Burgers is from The 150 Healthiest 15-Minute Recipes on Earth by Jonny Bowden and Jeannette Bessinger.  When Deb, Desiree and I were younger, my dad tried the meatless burger thing.  He used birdseed – or rather millet, but they were dry and not very tasty.  I tried this meatless burger thinking it would end on the same note, but I really was surprised at how good they were.  No, they don’t taste like burgers, not at all, but they are packed with flavor.  Where the recipe said to use a quality salsa – I used my canned salsa.  Where it said to use canned kidney beans, I substituted pinto beans that I made up earlier in the week, and it had a little garlic flavoring in it.  I also topped the burger and sauce with chopped avocado.  Deb are you listening – this meal had quinoa, avocado and salsa in it, you will like it.




Place the beans, oats, cheese and salt in a food processor in that order and pulse until combined and holding together but still chunky, about ten quick pulses (I think I probably over pulsed, but it came out nicely).  Turn the bean mixture out into a medium bowl, add the quinoa, and mix, with your hands just until it holds together well.

Heat the oil on a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat (or just below medium in a regular skillet to prevent sticking), and form the quinoa mixture into four patties.

Place the burgers in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side in until heated through.  Patties will be soft, so handle gently.

While the burgers are cooking, place the salsa, yogurt, lime juice, syrup, cumin, and chili powder into a blender (or a small bowl, and use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth.  Serve burgers with a generous helping of the dressing.

Big Bowl of Whole Grainy Dinner Goodness

January 27, 2010 - Written by Diana

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a store bought frozen lunch I had today.  It had beans, whole grain orzo, dried cranberries, spinach and a little bit of cheese.  I enjoyed it quite a bit and thought I would use it as inspiration to create my own big bowl of whole grainy goodness. Even though the barley and quinoa stuck to his braces, my son thought it was delicious.  My husband also liked it a lot too.  I know my daughter would have enjoyed it, and that she would have grabbed the leftovers thrown salad dressing over top and had it cold for lunch the next day.  One thing I would have changed would have been to add in more chard.  I dug through the snow to find what chard I could from the raised beds in the garden.  I found some small leaves, only about 7 or 8, but it was enough to give it a little color and flavor.  I just wish I had more.  It’s so cool to go dig through the snow for chard in the middle of winter, but your fingers get awfully cold and you have to be careful that they don’t stick to the door knob when you try to get back into the house.  Maybe gloves would be a good idea. No gloves needed to eat it though, just a fork.

Jan 27, 2010 074 Ingredients:


Cook the quinoa, bulgur, orzo and barley according to package directions using vegetable broth instead of water. I took turns with two different small pots on the stove.  In a separate medium size pot, pour in the rest of the vegetable broth.  Simmer the onions, and celery in a shallow amount of vegetable broth. When they start to become translucent, add in the rest of the broth, the cranberries and spiced apple, the beans and chopped up chard.  Heat up and add in the grains, and the herbs and spices.  If it seems too dry, add a little extra liquid (water) when heating. Serve in bowls and sprinkle the cubed cheese on top. 

Note: To make it vegan, leave out the cheese.

The dried fruit gives it a fruity flavor, with the smoky cheese to help balance it out.  The whole meal is delicious, and very quickly comes together.

Gingered Carrots & Kohlrabi

November 15, 2009 - Written by Diana

Kohlrabi from Wikipedia Kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi.  There’s a joke that goes – If you say the name of something 7 times it’s yours for life, and then some girl says – John, john, etc.  It doesn’t matter how many times I say kohlrabi, my mental picture doesn’t match up with that name and I go blank trying to remember. Kohlrabi is a nice crunchy vegetable, similar to a turnip, but tastes more like a cross between cabbage and turnips to me with a little bit of sweetness. My sister in law adds it to salads, or just peels and slices it up for people to chew raw.  My dish was baked, bringing out another level of flavor.

I peeled off the leaves, scraped off the skin and julienned the kohlrabi along with some carrots. I used my frozen ginger in this dish, which smells so wonderful when grating. I did all the mixing right in the baking dish, so it’s truly a one pot dish. Even though this would have served more , with my husband repeatedly dipping into the dish,  it only served 3.  It was delicious, did I say that yet?

Gingered Carrots & Kohlrabi Ingredients:


Throw all of the ingredients together in the baking dish – up to the olive oil, mix around a little. Drizzle white wine over top, sprinkle on herbs and spices,  cover with foil, bake at 375 until veggies are firm soft.



What was the name of that vegetable?  Carrot.  No the other one.  Ummm, (look at title) Kohlrabi.  Yes, that’s it.

Lemongrass-Basil Yellow Squash and Potatoes

September 1, 2009 - Written by Diana

Is there another name for yellow squash?  I only know it as yellow squash, but it’s so tasty I think it deserves a nicer name.  Since it’s major harvest and put up time, soccer season, football and band season, I find my dinners are rather lackluster and repetitive.  I have lots of stuff, but my inspiration is waning as I think about my days and evenings ahead.  Last night though, I had my Yellow Squash and Potatoes out, trying to decide what to do and then it hit me – Lemon Grass and Basil are just sitting in the herb beds waiting to be used.  Well not so much the basil since the Japanese beetles have been munching away at it, but I’ve flicked them into the soapy water bath.  Best way to take care of those things is with a bowl of soapy water.  I do tend to use a lot of the same ingredients over and over, because they come from our garden.  I keep expecting my son to say – No Not Chard AGAIN!!! and run off screaming into the night, but so far he hasn’t.

Anyway, this tasty side dish was divine with our steak last night. I peeled off the outer leaves of the lemon grass, then bent the stem back and forth a little to release the really good stuff before chopping up the white bottom part of the stem.  Not easy to do while fending off four legged lemon grass thieves.  The cats weren’t the only ones in on it either.  I found a big pile in the living room left behind by the dog, who is always eager to join in on the fun.  The basil, I tore the leaves off the stem and chopped into nice thin pieces. mmmm.  If I would have picked the yellow squash a couple of days earlier, it would have been 1/3 to 1/2 smaller than it was.  Smaller seeds would have been nice, but this was still very tasty.


Lemon Grass- Basil Yellow Squash and Potatoes Squash and potatoes - before Ingredients:


Brush oil on to the bottom of a casserole dish.  Slice up potatoes and Squash, spread evenly around the dish.  Sprinkle on garlic, basil, lemon grass, salt and pepper.  Drizzle with a little more oil and stir to coat.  Bake at 400 for about 1/2 hour – basically it’s done when the potatoes are soft.  There was a nice lemony basil taste especially on the squash.  Next time I think I might use lemon basil – that would be cool.

Four Legged Lemon Grass Thieves

Shredded Vegetable Bake

July 28, 2009 - Written by Diana

I tried out this recipe from the Vegan Cook’s Bible by Pat Crocker.  We’re not Vegans, but we do enjoy all different types of dishes.  While my kids and husband are good about trying all different types of meals unlike their friends, they are really great about eating meatless meals.  The Shredded Vegetable Bake was delicious and used vegetables from my garden.  We served it with a tomato, cucumber salad on the side. 

Shredded Vegetable Bake Ingredients:


Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly oil 2 9X13 in baking pans. 

In large bowl toss together potatoes, onion, carrot, rutabaga(turnip), bread crumbs, nuts, garlic and oil.  Divide in two and spread in a thin layer on prepared pans.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 min.

Stir and spread in a thin layer again and grind more salt and pepper over vegetables and bake for another 20 minutes.

Divide chickpeas in half and stir into vegetables in pans spreading out.  bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp and lightly browned.


We’ll definitely have this again sometimes. It was delicious.

Bean salads: healthy fast food

August 6, 2008 - Written by Robin

This took me all of five minutes to make!


I ate this with a toasted whole wheat roll, avocado slices and some fresh corn on the cob.  Bean salad is great when it’s 90 degrees out and you want something super easy to prepare.  You could also stuff it in a pita and have it for lunch. It’s also a great side dish for a more ambitious meal.

I used:

1 can or drained and rinsed cannellini beans (2 cups cooked dried beans if you like)

1 TBL olive oil

1 TBL balsamic vinegar

2 cloves minced garlic (use one if you’re not a garlic addict like me)

1/2 of a small vidalia onion, finely chopped

seasoning to taste:  Mrs. Dash Italian Blend, kosher salt, and shredded fresh basil or whatever you feel like.  Parmesan cheese is also optional.

To prepare, stir everything in a bowl and serve.  You can even serve it in the mixing bowl (as I clearly did!)