Asparagus Soup…

Ingredients

Last Saturday I visited our local farmers market. I love going there on Saturday mornings. Our famers market has a wide variety of vendors selling vegetables, meats and baked goods. There is also a guy who sharpens knives (I love that) and food and crafts vendors. It’s easy to spend a couple of hours meandering the site, sampling the goodies, listening to live music and going home with in season farm-to-table goodies.

This week the farmers stands were inundated with chives and asparagus. There was asparagus as far as the eye could see. I couldn’t resist buying some (along with some cranberry walnut bread and some cheddar brats). I’ve had a craving for soup lately and thought I’d try my hand at making some asparagus soup. And the rest is history… I could’t believe how easy it was to make but even better than that how delicious it was. I’ll probably head back next Saturday for another batch.

But let’s talk asparagus soup…

Lesson Learned 1 – Learn what parts of the asparagus spears you can use: Quite often you’ll see on television the way to trim asparagus is to bend it and where it breaks off is where you should trim your bunch. I’ve found that sometimes that wastes too much asparagus especially if you’re making soup. I learned early on that even with a very sharp knife, there can be a part of the spear that will very hard to cut – you almost always have to use two hands pressing down on the knife to cut it. That is the part you want to throw out. That still leaves some of the tougher parts of the asparagus, but as long as a knife will go through it without a lot of force you can use it in the soup. Keep in mind that soup is designed to use as much of the asparagus spear as you possibly can so don’t be afraid to use some of the tougher parts of the spear. As long as you can cut through it without a lot of force it will be perfectly fine for the soup.

Lesson Learned 2 – Be careful when using an immersion blender: I recommend using an immersion blender for this recipe. Some recipes have you blend the soup in batches in a regular blender. That’s a lot more work than is actually necessary. But, be careful when you use an immersion blender. If you lift the blade up over the top of the soup you’ll have soup splattered all over the place. (I know, I’ve done this!) Move the blender around slowly in the soup and don’t lift if above the top of the soup. If you have to lift it up higher, turn it off first. Just a little tip to save you a lot of aggravation.

Lesson Learned 3 – You can make this soup and store it: This soup will keep it’s freshness for a couple of days. If you decide not to serve it immediately hold off on stirring in the last tablespoon of butter and lemon juice. I made my soup in the morning, refrigerated it and served it for dinner. Right before I served it I stirred in the butter and lemon juice. It gives the soup that that final finishing touch and freshness.

This recipe is so simple and easy. Most of the work is in the prep of the ingredients. I also like this recipe because it makes a manageable amount of soup, servings for four. That way you don’t have a lot of waste. But if you want more, just double the recipe and it’ll turn out just as good.

This recipe is so good I plan on going to the farmers market again this Saturday and buying more asparagus to make some more soup. It’s so much better than the canned stuff. Enjoy!

Asparagus Soup...

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbs. butter, separated

1 medium sized onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 Tbs. flour

3 cups low sodium chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth as well)

1/4 cup creme fraiche (you can use sour cream)

1/2 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Take the tough bottoms off the asparagus spears. Remove a couple asparagus tips and set aside for garnish. (you can slightly steam them or leave them as is for a bit of crunch). Cut spears into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium size high sided pot melt 2 Tbs. of butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the onions while cooking.

Add the asparagus pieces to the onions and cook over low/medium heat for five minutes. Salt and pepper the asparagus. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the asparagus, stir and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a low boil. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend the asparagus into the soup. Continue until there are no evidence of remaining spears. After a few minutes, if any parts of spears remain remove them – they are probably too tough to be broken down. Add the creme fraiche and stir to thoroughly combine.

At this point you can cool the soup and store it for a couple of days if you like. If you plan to serve it immediately stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the juice from the lemon. If you plan on serving it later, warm the soup and at that time and add the butter and lemon juice right before you serve.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Vegetable Pizza…

Lately I think I’ve become the queen of the appetizers. But as I mentioned in a previous blog my condo community hosts “happy hour” every Thursday and a bunch of us get together to eat some appetizers and drink some wine. It’s been a hoot. I promise I won’t solely be blogging about appetizers but I have to include this one. I’ve been wanting to make this for some time now and was so glad I did. It was so yummy and a nice departure from the usual varieties of chips and dips.

This appetizer is not only tasty but so colorful it brightens up any table. And a lot of it can be prepared ahead of time, which I did. That way the assembly doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming. So let’s talk vegetable pizza.

Lesson Learned 1 – Chop the veggies ahead of time: I found that to be a lifesaver. I chopped the veggies and put them in refrigerator bags. Then when it came time to assemble the pizza I just opened the bags and sprinkled them on the crust. It was a snap.

Lesson Learned 2 – This is a great refrigerator cleaning appetizer: I had a bunch of left over veggies in my refrigerator and so I decided to use them. I had a bag of carrot coins that I put into my mini food processor and pulsed to shred them. I had a couple of pieces of different kinds of peppers and I just diced those up. And I had a jar with some roasted red pepper marinated in olive oil and garlic and I chopped some of that up. It was great.

Lesson Learned 3 – To the best of your ability, pinch together the perforations in the crescent roll dough: This recipe uses refrigerated crescent roll dough as the crust. Do not separate the dough into pieces. Roll the dough out and pinch together the perforations to form as flat of a continuous base as possible. You can still see the faint outline of the individual pieces, as seen in the picture below, but that won’t matter once you apply the toppings.

The rest is easy. Just mix the cream cheese “sauce” and apply it to the dough, sprinkle on the toppings, cut and serve. I know you’ll enjoy this one!

Vegetable Pizza...

  • Servings: Approximately 25
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened

1 package dry ranch dressing mix

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped scallions (approximately 3)

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

6-8 baby tomatoes, chopped and drained

1/4 cup marinated roasted red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped small

1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic fleur de sel, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. Roll out the crescent roll dough onto a 9/13 pan covered with parchment paper. Pinch together the perforations to form one continuous crust. Bake for 12 minutes and cool for 15 minutes.

Mix together the cream cheese, dressing mix and mayonnaise. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust leaving a small amount of room around the edges. Sprinkle with scallions, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, roasted red pepper and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the flour de sel lightly on top.

Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares. Plate and serve.

Spread On The Cream Cheese Mixture

Add The Scallions

Add The Carrots

Add The Tomatoes

Add The Green And Yellow Peppers

Add The Broccoli Florets

Add The Cheese

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Baked Eggplant Fries…

I have to admit I’ve not cooked a lot of eggplant over the years. If memory serves me right I think I may have dabbled into making eggplant parmesan once but the result was less than memorable. But I happened to be at the market the other day and they had the most gorgeous display of eggplant I’ve seen in a long time. All black and shiny and firm. I couldn’t resist getting one. And I vowed I would not let it spoil in my vegetable bin but do something that would make me want to have eggplant again. And boy did I ever!

I decided to make eggplant fries, but by baking them in the oven versus frying them in oil. I was really jumping into the deep end of the pool on this one as I’d never attempted something like this before with eggplant. But I thought, what the heck – what do I have to lose, right? Now in retrospect I am so glad I did because I guarantee you I will make these often. They are s-o-o-o-o good!

So let’s talk about baked eggplant fries…

Lesson Learned 1 – After you cut the eggplant make sure you salt it and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. The first step of the process is to cut the eggplant into 1 inch rounds.

The picture above shows you the amount of 1 inch rounds you get from a small-medium sized eggplant. It is very important to salt both sides of the rounds and then let them rest. The salt will “sweat” out the eggplant and remove any bitterness. After 20-30 minutes you will be surprised at how much clear liquid is on each slice. Wipe them off with a paper towel and you are ready to go.

Lesson Learned 2 – Cutting the fries. It’s hard to believe but the rounds pictured above produced close to 40 fries. The secret is to first cut about 4 per each round. Then because the rounds are so thick you take each “fry” turn it on its side and vertically cut it once again. That gives you 8 fries per round. I also trimmed some of the skin off on the fries that were cut from the end of the rounds. A small-medium sized eggplant can easily serve 4 people.

Lesson Learned 3 – The secret to dredging. This recipe calls for a traditional dredging station consisting of flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs. What I’ve found is the most important way to ensure a nice coating on your eggplant is to make sure you don’t over-flour them. The eggplant has a degree of moisture that will automatically allow the flour to cling to it. Once you dredge the fries in the flour, tap them lightly against the palm of your hand to remove any access or areas that have too much flour. I’ve found if an area has too much flour the egg wash does not cling to it. With the nice light dusting of flour, the egg clings beautifully which then makes the bread crumbs adhere well to the fries.

Dredged Fries Before Baking

Lesson Learned 4 – Set up a sheet pan with a wire rack for the fries: This can be a messy recipe so I advise that you line your sheet pan with foil before you put the wire rack on top of it. That way any baked on drippings will be easy to clean up. And make sure you spray the wire rack with olive oil cooking spray before placing the fries on the rack. You don’t want them to stick.

Lesson Learned 5 – You can use regular or panko bread crumbs: I’ve made this recipe both ways and both ways are delicious. The panko bread crumbs will provide even more of a crunch to the fries but regular bread crumbs work just as well and seem to brown a little better. I really don’t have a preference so use whatever you have on hand. At the bottom of the post I have pictures that show a batch with bread crumbs and then a batch with panko.

That’s it! The rest of the work is done by the oven. These fries come out crispy and flavorful. Pair them up with some Tzatziki or warm marinara sauce and your tastebuds will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. Enjoy this one – it’s a keeper!

Baked Eggplant Fries...

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

1 small-medium eggplant (big enough to produce a minimum of five 1 inch rounds)

3/4 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs (I used roasted garlic bread crumbs)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

A pinch of salt and pepper

Olive oil cooking spray

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425

Slice the eggplant into 1 inch rounds. Sprinkle both sides of the rounds with salt and set aside on a paper towel for about 20-30 minutes. Cover a 9 x 13 baking sheet with foil. Put a wire rack on top and set aside.

Mix together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Prepare a dredging station consisting of beaten eggs, flour and bread crumb mixture.

Pat the eggplant rounds dry. Slice each round into 4 slices. Turn each slice on its slide and slice in half vertically.

Dredge the fries first in the flour, then the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Spray the wire rack with some olive oil cooking spray and set the fries on the rack. Spray all the dredged fries lightly with the olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the fries are golden and crisp.

Serve plain or with the sauce of your choice.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables…

Once again, another chicken recipe. What can I say, I love chicken. I like this recipe because it is quick, colorful and ever so delicious. Just one half hour and you’re putting a great meal on the table.

So let’s talk balsamic chicken and vegetables…

The ingredients.

The ingredients.

Lesson Learned 1 – Preparation is the key to success in this recipe: This recipe cooks relatively quickly. It is important to have everything prepped ahead of time so that you can move seamlessly through the steps.

I got everything ready and had the ingredients in prep bowls so that I could add things systematically. Because this recipe cooks so quickly it would be difficult, if not impossible to prep things as you went along.

Lesson Learned 2 – Cooking with shredded carrots: Boy, did I learn my lesson on this one. When carrots are cut that thinly they cook very quickly. I added them in with the asparagus and tomatoes and they overcooked. If you decide to add shredded carrots to this recipe add them at the end when you put the chicken back in the pan.  That gives them only a couple of minutes to get warm which is what you want. As you notice in my final pictures you don’t see the carrots. They got so overdone that I just tossed them. True lesson learned.  (you see, even cooks that have a lot of successes can have failures too – it’s all part of the process).

Lesson Learned 3 – Use cherry tomatoes and keep them whole: You can use any kind of tomato in this recipe, but I found that if you use cherry tomatoes and keep them whole they cook in the same amount of time as the asparagus. The cherry tomatoes were just starting to burst at the time the asparagus became crisp tender.

Chicken TenderloinsLesson Learned 4 – Use chicken tenderloins for this recipe: You can buy prepackaged chicken tenderloins or you can cut your own from boneless skinless chicken breasts. Chicken tenderloins are slightly thicker than chicken cutlets (about a quarter of an inch or so) and they cook very quickly, I found cooking them for 3 minutes on each side and then adding them back to the pan at the end for a couple of minutes was more than enough time. The tenderloins were cooked and still juicy.

Lesson Learned 5 – Be careful how much oil you use: I cooked this in a well seasoned cast iron skillet so I only used about a tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil. You can use two tablespoons of oil or a combination of one tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter but if you do, measure it and don’t eyeball it. You don’t want the end result to be greasy and if you’re not careful that’s what will happen. Less is more where the oil is concerned in this recipe.

This is a great recipe for a quick meal that tastes special. Try it and let me know what you think!

BALSAMIC CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES…

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables1 Packet Italian Dressing Mix (make according to directions on the packet)

3 Tbsp. good balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 Tbs. honey

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional

1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil (no more than 2)

1/4 cup shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6-8 chicken tenderloins

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, left whole

1 cup shredded carrots, optional (see lessons learned above)

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large prepare the salad dressing mix according to the instructions on the packet. Add the balsamic vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Heat oil in (preferably) a large cast iron skillet. Pat chicken tenderloins dry with a paper towel. Season one side with salt and pepper. Place the tenderloins seasoned side down in the heated oil. Season the other side of the tenderloins. Cook for three to four minutes on each side. Remove the tenderloins from the pan and cover them with foil to keep them warm.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook for only a minute. Add half the salad dressing mixture to the pan. Add the asparagus and tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes or just until you see slightly cracking on the skins of the tomatoes.

Remove the veggies from the pan and cover them to keep them warm. Add the remaining salad dressing mix and cook stirring constantly until the liquid begins to reduce and thicken. Turn down the heat and the chicken and veggies back into the skillet. Cook for another two minutes. Serve immediately.

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

Serving Suggestion: Balsamic Chicken And Vegetables With And Individual Sweet Potato Casserole

Serving Suggestion: Balsamic Chicken And Vegetables With An Individual Sweet Potato Casserole

Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots…

This recipe could not be any more basic but it produces a side dish rich in flavor. Whenever you caramelize something it produces a sweetness that is awesomely delicious. And because this blog is dedicated to those beginning to feel their way around the kitchen, this recipe is perfect because it produces spectacular results with very little effort. If you’re looking for something to boost your confidence in the kitchen, this one’s is for you!

So let’s talk garlic butter roasted carrots…

Lesson Learned 1 – Use lots of garlic: I used 4 big cloves of garlic in this recipe and you can even add more if you want. Just be aware that the garlic will turn dark in the oven but that’s ok. It will still infuse the carrots with great garlic flavor.

Saute the cloves in the butter for a good 3-4 minutes and just when you start to see some slight browning on the edges, remove the mixture from the heat and pour it over the carrots. Make sure the carrots are evenly coated with the butter/garlic mixture. Use your hands if you have to to make sure they’re coated all over.

IMG_0198

Lesson Learned 2 – Cut the carrots in one inch chunks on the diagonal: One inch chunks work well for this roasting time. Cutting them on the diagonal makes them look prettier.

Lesson Learned 3 – Make sure you flip the carrots during the roasting process: You want to make sure the carrots caramelize on all sides so check them after 15-20 minutes and flip them over so the other side can caramelize as well.

When I first took these carrots out of the oven I thought perhaps I had browned them too much. I was wrong. These carrots had such a wonderful sweet flavor and the darkened areas were rich and sweet. The main thing to remember is to flip them so they caramelize on both sides.

Image-1

I have to say I could not believe how sweet and delicious these carrots were. This is a great recipe for when you want to impress but also want something insanely easy. Enjoy!

Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

4-6 large carrots, cut in 1 inch lengths on the diagonal

5 Tbs. butter

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Flat leaf parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 3 – 4 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.

Put the carrots in a large bowl and add the butter/garlic mixture. Toss until all the carrots are completely covered.

Spread the carrots out on a prepared baking sheet (I covered my sheet with aluminum foil and sprayed it lightly with olive oil cooking spray), making sure they are not crowded and that all the butter/garlic mixture is poured onto the sheet.

Roast for 30 – 40 minutes making sure to flip them half way through the roasting process. Remove the carrots from oven and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with flat leaf parsley and serve. Enjoy!

Garlic Butter Carrots

Sauteed Spinach With Almonds, Tomatoes and Onions…

Our neighbors across the street were going out of town. Before they left they gave my husband of bag of lettuce from their garden so it wouldn’t go to waste. A little while later my husband said he also found a bag of spinach on his workbench in the garage. He came into the house with it and said, “What are we going to do with all this. I think you should just throw the spinach out.”

Ingredients

Ingredients

The spinach look gorgeous and I just couldn’t rationalize throwing out home-grown spinach. I put the bag in the refrigerator and began to think about how I could use it. Then it dawned on me, I could sauté  it! I’d never sautéed spinach before, only having eaten it in salads, and so I thought this would be a great thing to blog about.

I found a recipe on the Food and Wine website for sautéed spinach with almonds and grapes. Although I did have red grapes on hand, I decided to use up the cherry tomatoes I had in the refrigerator instead. So here’s my rating of the original recipe, my lessons learned and my final version of the recipe.

Rating: A for flavor – C for how the recipe was written. The almonds definitely provided depth of flavor in this recipe but the directions were poor and I totally disagreed with the amount of oil the recipe recommended.

Lesson Learned 1 – AMOUNT OF OIL: Before I made the recipe I happened to mention to my husband what I was planning to do. He said he’d had a conversation with our neighbor about sautéing spinach and they discussed the fact of being very careful with the amount of oil you use as sautéed spinach can become too oily very quickly. The original recipe called for a quarter of a cup of olive oil. Now granted you are also sautéing the onions, almonds and garlic in the oil, but I still think a quarter of a cup is way too much. I started out by eyeballing it and put in just enough to put a very thin coat on the bottom of the pan. Then once the onions, almonds and garlic were sautéed it looked like I might need just a little more and so i added a couple of additional tablespoons. My advice is to be very careful with the amount of oil you use and err on the side of less versus more. You can always add more if you need it. All in all, I’d say I used about 4 tablespoons of oil total (a little more than 1/8 cup) and the spinach turned out beautifully.

Add Spinach By Handfulls

Add Spinach By Handfulls

Lesson Learned 2 – COOKING ORDER: sauté the onions and almonds first. They take much more time. It takes about 4-5 minutes on medium heat for the onions to become translucent and the almonds to brown. I used shaved almonds and chopped them into smaller pieces. Slivered almonds would work as well. After the onions and almonds are done add the garlic and cook only until it becomes fragrant. I’ve found that normally takes a little more than 30 seconds. Once the garlic has become fragrant then add the spinach. At the very end add the tomatoes as you simply want to warm them and don’t want them to break down.

Lesson Learned 3 – COOKING SPINACH: spinach cooks fast, even faster than I thought. I planned for the spinach to cook down in about 5 minutes and it happened in about 3 minutes. So be prepared for how quick it goes once you add the spinach. I used a whole 10 ounce bag of spinach and it was just enough for two people. It was a great way to use up all of that home-grown spinach.

Add Tomatoes At The Very End

Add Tomatoes At The Very End

Lesson Learned 4 – ALMONDS: My advice is don’t eliminate the almonds. They provided a great contrast to the spinach and added a wonderful nutty flavor to the dish. As I was eating it I kept saying to myself what is that fabulous hint of flavor and then recognized it was the almonds.

My husband not only loved the recipe but was pleased I figured out a way to use the spinach. I will definitely make this recipe again. Most of the work entails chopping the onions, almonds and garlic. The rest is pretty straightforward and takes about 7 minutes to cook.

Sauteed Spinach With Almonds, Tomatoes and Onions…

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

4 TBS Olive Oil (eyeball the olive oil making sure not to use too much, just lightly coat the pan)

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1/4 finely chopped onion

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 10 ounce package of spinach, large stems discarded

2 TBS dry white wine

Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Chop onion, garlic, tomatoes, almonds and set aside. In a large skillet (preferably with high sides) heat 3 TBS of olive oil. Add the almonds and onions and cook over medium heat until onions become translucent and almonds become slightly golden. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add the spinach in handfuls and stir adding more spinach as the leaves begin to wilt. Add tomatoes when spinach is just about completely wilted and cook until warmed (less than a minute). Add the wine and toss altogether. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

IMG_7706

Sauteed Spinach With Almonds, Tomatoes and Onions

 

 

Oven Roasted Vegetables…

For a long time I’ve been trying to perfect roasting vegetables in the oven. My last foray into oven roasting was making balsamic parmesan cauliflower which sounds heavenly but had its challenges as a recipe. So I am always on the lookout for new recipes. I found this one the other day on, and this will not surprise you, Pinterest and thought I would try it. It came from a website called foodservice.com and though it looked great I could tell before making it that it had issues from the get-go. Luckily I’m finally starting to trust my instincts and not take recipes verbatim. I adapted it and it turned out beautifully, but I don’t think it would have the way it was originally written. So I will rate how I made it and then describe lessons learned based on the original recipe. For the burgeoning chef who may not have good gut instincts, like myself, I get a little perturbed when I see recipes that I know simply will not work. I’ll include my adapted recipe for you to print.

The Vegetables Used In This Recipe

The Vegetables Used In This Recipe

Rating A – the way I adapted the recipe produced tender crisp roasted vegetables, always a great accompaniment to any meal. I have to admit the original recipe provided a great trick that I will expound on in lessons learned.

Lesson Learned 1: In this recipe I used zucchini, yellow squash, thick asparagus spears, carrots cut in one inch size rounds and grape tomatoes. The original recipe also called for baby red potatoes and snow peas as well. So now I will get on my high horse for a minute. What I’ve learned over the years is the secret to successfully roasting vegetables starts out with veggies that have similar roasting times. If they don’t you will, and I guarantee it, overcook some and undercook others. Adding potatoes and snow peas to this recipe made absolutely no sense to me. Even baby red potatoes take a longer time to cook than most veggies and snow peas cook in nothing flat. And the original recipe called for roasting the veggies at 425 for 30 minutes covered and then uncovered for 15 minutes. That may well be the correct time allotment for cooking the potatoes, but I think the rest of the vegetables would have been annihilated. In defense of the recipe it does state to shorten the cooking time somewhat if you like your vegetables al dente, but 45 minutes at 425 would have, in my estimation, produced mush. I roasted the vegetables at 400 for 1/2 hour total, 20 minutes covered and ten minutes uncovered. You can see the results at the bottom of the blog. Next time I may even take 5 additional minutes off the cooking time as I like super al dente vegetables.

Vegetables Seasoned For Roasting

Vegetables Seasoned For Roasting

Lesson Learned 2: When slicing the squash, I cut them into 1 1/2 inch rounds and then cut them on the diameter both ways producing four pieces for each slice. That gave them sufficient “chunkiness” to withstand the cooking time.

Lesson Learned 3: You can see I used a thicker asparagus spear. When you buy asparagus quite often you can find it in various thicknesses. I bought the thickest one I could find so it was of sufficient “chunkiness” (I’m starting to like that word) to withstand the longer cooking time.

Lesson Learned 4: The original recipe called for baby carrots. I only had regular carrots so I took a couple that were about an inch in diameter and cut them into one inch rounds. You don’t want your carrots too big or they will remain hard.

Lessons Learned 5: I also looked for larger rather than smaller grape tomatoes for this recipe. I was most concerned about how the tomatoes would turn out but they were fine, nicely soft but not annihilated and that is ok.

Lesson Learned 6: The original recipe called for about 1/4 cup of EVOO – way too much, especially if you are adapting the recipe using smaller amounts of veggies! You want to make sure that your veggies are evenly coated but you don’t want them swimming in oil. You have to eyeball the EVOO and follow the rule of thumb that you can always add more if you need it. As long as they all have a nice shimmer of oil they will be fine and roast beautifully.

Lesson Learned 7: There is very little “exacting” to this recipe. I made this for my husband and myself and added amounts that I felt were appropriate for 2 people (and it could have probably served 3). I only cut up two rounds each of the squash, used 4 asparagus spears about 6 plum tomatoes and I think I was a little heavy handed on the carrots. There are no right or wrong amounts here. The key is to cut the veggies into sizes that will stand up nicely to the cooking time.

Lesson Learned 8: What I liked about the original recipe is the inclusion of steak seasoning. I never thought about using that on vegetables. I used Montreal Steak Seasoning and it really gave the vegetables depth of flavor. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend it. I was pleasantly surprised.

Lesson Learned 9: The recipe calls for dried rosemary, and even states that you might want to add more of it than the basil. I’m not a big fan of dried rosemary unless you really crush it. I’ve found that if you don’t you get these tasteless rosemary spears in your teeth. But you can certainly add your desired amount to the recipe below.

I would have rated the original recipe an “F” as I felt, as written, it would have been a failure. The ingredients were not well matched and the cooking time was outrageous. These types of recipes always get my goat since someone, like me, who is not an intuitive cook finds it sets you up for failure – and when you are learning in the kitchen you want easy successes to build your confidence. So, I am sharing my adaptation of the recipe. If you want to check out the original just go to the website I listed above and search for oven roasted vegetables. Good luck with that one. If you get it to work as written, let me know. I would like to hear how you accomplished that.

Oven Roasted Vegetables

  • Servings: Varied
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

Thick Asparagus

Yellow Squash

Zucchini

Carrots cut in one inch rounds or baby carrots

Grape Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Dried Rosemary

Dried Basil

Montreal Steak Seasoning

Garlic Salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In this recipe you will need to use amounts based on the number of servings you want. Cut the squash into 1 1/2 rounds and then into quarters. If you don’t use baby carrots, use carrots an inch in diameter and cut into one inch rounds. Make sure to snap the bottom of the asparagus to remove the woody part. If the remaining spear is large, cut it in half. If not, keep the spear whole.

Evenly coat the veggies with olive oil and add the herbs and steak seasoning so that the veggies are evenly covered and toss. Place in a deep casserole dish and sprinkle with garlic salt. Roast covered with foil for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and roast uncovered for the remaining 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Oven Rosted Vegetables

Oven Rosted Vegetables