Letting my son use my camera is always a bad idea. I had two meals worth of pictures disappear when he was taking pictures of himself with his sister and uncles today. Which is too bad, because both recipes were a family hit. One I plan on remaking this week, this one I’m going to post without the pictures because I don’t know when I’ll be making it again (though it should be soon since my husband ate four helpings!).
Calling it a casserole is inaccurate because the only thing binding it all together was cheese.
I sauteed three small squash with half an onion in a little olive oil until tender. Drain and rinse a can of beans (I used black beans), and add a couple cups of corn (either a can of corn or half a bag of frozen). Mixed with cooked brown rice (I used one Success Family Size Boil In A Bag Brown Rice which equals about three cups cooked). Add a couple of cups of cooked chicken breast and mix with cheese (I mixed cheddar and monterey jack). Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes at 350. I put this together the night before and put it straight from the fridge into the oven! If you want to bind it altogether a little salsa will work well, and you could also use this as a stuffing for peppers!
Kick out the chicken to make a still-very-filling vegetarian dish!
Read more about how some Native American tribes planted corn, beans, and squash together (hence the name “three sisters”).
ETA: Found one remaining picture of a mostly finished casserole taken before my husband hip checked me to finish it off.
Assemble all but the pine nuts and the balsalmic vinegar in a large roasting pan.
While the green beans and potatos are roasting, toast the pine nuts over a medium high heat.
Add the toasted pine nuts to the mix. I serve the balsalmic tableside since the kids prefer this dish without!
I don’t usually write about soup in the summer but we have been having afternoon showers every day over the past two weekends and I thought a nice toasty bowl of onion soup would warm us up (I keep getting caught out in it) but not be too hearty or over the top. I made the soup with onions from my farmer’s market (as was the bread I made the cheese toasts with) and stock from my own freezer (made from a local chicken we roasted). After dinner we played Yatzee and ate peanuts I had roasted. Because we have become the Waltons, apparently.
Onion soup isn’t hard, but it can be a bit time-consuming. Good thing to have going when you are working on other kitchen projects. Or you have a 9 year old who wants to be a chef when he grows up and will stir things for hours if you let him.
You can serve the soup with cheese and croutons (guyere or parmesan is usual). Or if you have a nice hunk of bread, slice it into 1 inch thick slices, put the cheese on the bread and put it under a low broiler until it melts and browns a bit. Serve it on the top of the soup as one big crouton and it is SO GOOD. I used a sour batard from Luna y Sol, a local bakery that sells at the Pearl Farmer’s Market.
Onions from Oak Hills Farm at the Pearl Farmer’s Market. It’s a completely unofficially and made-up fact that local onions will never make you cry. But I may cry if you insist on proving me wrong on that one.
Chop the onion into thick slices and seperate out the rings. In a large pot, melt 3 tbs of butter with 2 tbs of oil (the oil will keep the butter from burning as easily) over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. They will look like this.
Reduce the heat and cover the onions with a lid and let them steam down for about 15 minutes. No need to stir during this part. They will look like this.
This is the stir-y part. Add a teaspoon of sugar and turn the heat back up to medium and let these puppies cook for about 40 minutes. You don’t need to stir constantly, until about the last 5 minutes when you really need to make sure they carmelize and don’t burn, but you need to stir consistently every couple of minutes. This is what they will look like halfway through. It won’t look like much difference for a long time, but hang tough…
At the magic 40 minute mark you will have this. Carmelized and practically melted. So delicious you will want to eat them out of the pot! Now you can add a quart of stock (Beef is traditional for french onion soup, but I used the stock I had in my freezer. Veggie stock is also fine, if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian.). My stock was well seasoned but you can always add more salt, pepper, and herbs if you need it. You can also add a bit of sherry if you want to really get jiggy wit’ it.
Bring the soup to a simmer and let simmer a good 20 minutes while you make your cheese toasts. I would show you a picture of the final soup but it didn’t last long enough to get one. So send me one of yours and I will post it!
Are you pesto’d to death? I just wanted to show how easy it is to reconstitute frozen pesto. I threw the cubes in the food processor and let them defrost while I did other things, added the parmesan cheese back in and whirled it until blended. Mixed it with my cooked pasta and watched my kids eat two helpings!
This recipe is very forgiving, I made this version with chopped onion, garlic, some leftover pesto that didn’t make it to the freezer and some parmesan cheese. Roasting your tomatos really brings out the sweetness, give it a whirl!
This sauce also cans well if you have a plethora of tomatos to do something with!
…isn’t hard to do at all, you just omit the parmesan cheese and add it back in later after you defrost. If you freeze it in an ice cube tray then you pop out just the small amounts needed to add to spagetti sauce. If you want to make pasta with pesto, you can put the whole bag of cubes in a bowl of warm water, then snip off the end of the bag and squeeze out the pesto once it has defrosted, add the parmesan cheese, then toss it with your pasta.
I made three batches of pesto using a mix of the three different kinds of pesto (sweet basil, lemon basil, and thai basil) I grow in an old washtub on my front porch (The washtub was rescued from a pile of trash by the side of the road. Don’t ever say I’m not classy.). The amount picture made two batches, and I made a third batch from sweet basil alone from my mom’s garden. One ice tray filled equaled one batch and I put each batch in a seperate freezer bag.
Classic Pesto Recipe
2 cups of fresh packed basil leaves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I have also used sunflower seeds in the past)
1/2 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of fresh garlic
salt and pepper to taste.
Whirl all the above in a food processor. Wave your hands in the air and say “TAH DAH!” and you’re done!