Just in time for Easter this Sunday, I’ve got a tasty little recipe for glazed carrots. Cuz ya know … Easter. Bunny. Carrots. HA! 🐰 It’s just a little something I whipped up one day for a family lunch that has turned out to be a big hit. My husband said it reminded him of a dish his grandma used to make, and he and my mother-in-law raved. Those were quite the compliments.
Ginger Glazed Carrots
1 pound of carrots
⅓ cup agave, maple syrup, or simple syrup
¼ cup relish
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Wash, peel, and slice carrots. I like to cut mine on the bias. I think it looks prettier that way, but you can slice them any way you like. In just enough water to cover the carrots, simmer until they are cooked but still somewhat firm. Drain the water thoroughly, then add all of the remaining ingredients. Simmer until the sauce reduces, about 15-20 minutes.
Wishing you all a wonderful Easter, full of family and fun and most importantly, time to ponder and be thankful that Jesus rose on that 3rd day. 💗
You’ve been so good and you’ve eaten all your green veggies, right? 😉 Time for a little reward! My dad was the one who showed me how to make 3-2-1 Cakes a few years ago and they have been a staple in our house ever since. Super easy, fun for kids, and the perfectly sized little cake, just for you!
1 box angel food cake mix
1 box regular cake mix (any flavor you like!)
In a large plastic container or bag, pour in the entire box of angel food cake and regular cake mixes. Shake together until fully blended. You can now store this for multiple uses. I like using a gallon sized plastic bag, because I can flatten it out or roll it up to save space in my pantry.
In a mug or ramekin or small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the cake mix and 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until fully blended. Microwave for 1 minute. (Hence the 3-2-1.)
Top with whatever you like – my favs are fresh fruit, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream.
Can you believe it’s already the last day of March? What better day to share a final post on another of my favorite green veggies! (Not that we won’t still enjoy our greens throughout the rest of the year!)
Brussels sprouts are cute little mini cabbage kinda things that get a bad rap in the home cook’s veggie world. I think it’s because most often they’re boiled, which just makes them mushy. No thanks. But they’re soooo good for you, I didn’t want to give up. So I tried pan searing them instead. That’s when I fell in love! So. Much. Better. I’ve since cooked Brussels sprouts for family and friends who were skeptics and they all raved. Even my 8-year-old loves them, and that’s really saying something!
Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt/pepper/onion & garlic powders, to taste
Add your olive oil and seasonings to your pan, coating entire bottom of pan. Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts, then half the sprouts length-wise. Place them flat side down into pan. (Some of the leaves will come off — just throw them in the pan, too.) Sauté on medium-high until the bottom gets a nice sear on them, then add water – enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, adding more water if necessary, until the sprouts are tender.
Serves 4 people
Brussels Au Gratin
1 pound Brussels sprouts, prepared as directed above
Once your Brussels sprouts are done, place them in a baking dish just large enough to spread them evenly across the bottom. Spoon enough cheese sauce over them so that each one is coated and there is some covering the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the au gratin topping and broil on low until golden brown.
for Smoked Paprika Cheese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, give or take
2 cups milk, give or take
1-2 tablespoons smoked paprika, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
Notice the “give or take” and “to taste” references. I find making any sauce is not an exact science. It’s more a matter of finding the perfect flavor and consistency for what you plan to do with it. For a cheese sauce, it also depends on the kind of cheese you use. Parmesan is less creamy and has a stronger flavor, so you’ve got to find what works for you. Parm also melts more slowly, so take your time adding it in. If you add too much or turn the heat up too high in a rush to melt the cheese, you risk singeing or having your sauce separate.
Once I get my flour and butter whisked together, I start slowly adding in the milk and cheese until it looks the way I want it. It should be thick enough to coat your fingertip without being stringy from the cheese or so loose it runs down your finger.
Add as much or as little of the smoked paprika along the way or at the end until it tastes like you want it to taste. It always surprises me how much smoked paprika I end up using. As potent as it seems, it easily gets lost if you don’t add enough. I recommend going until you think it tastes great, then adding just a little more.
It takes just as much time and effort to make a little cheese sauce as it does to make a lot, plus I think making too little is actually trickier because you start with such a small amount of roux. So add a lot or a little of this sauce to your final product, and save any leftovers for another night. It would be great on chicken or pork, mixed in rice or quinoa, added to eggs or sautéed veggies, etc.
for Au Gratin Topping
½ stick butter, melted
1 cups Panko
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients and mix until even coated with butter.
Focusing on all these green veggies has been so much fun! I feel like we did them proud. 💚
Looking forward to some amazing April recipes next month!
St. Patty’s Day has come and gone, but we’re still celebrating our green veggies here at Saucy. There are just so many great ones to choose from! Today I wanted to highlight another one that’s a little lesser known: Sunflower Sprouts. You can usually find these at your local farmer’s market or at a natural foods store. They can be a bit pricey, so I recommend shopping around for the best deal because once you try them, you’re gonna’ be hooked.
A sunflower sprout is just that — it’s the very first sprout of a sunflower from its seed. Once they get big enough, they are cut from the seed or pulled along with the seed. I don’t mind the seed casings in mine, but The Man does not like them in his. If you get a batch with seed casings, you can usually put them in a colander and kind of shake them free to separate them from the sprout itself.
The first question people usually ask me is, “What do they taste like?” The best description I have come up with is that they taste a bit carrot-like. They’re slightly sweet with a nice earthy flavor to back them up.
The next question I’m usually asked is how I cook them. My first response is that I often don’t! Because of their sweet carroty nature, they make a great raw snack. They have a smooth texture, so they’re good by themselves or added to a salad. Plus, eating them raw keeps them fresh and intact, helping you reap all of their nutritional rewards.
When Sunflower Sprouts are cooked, they behave similarly to spinach. You can have a massive pile and once it’s wilted down, you wonder where it all went! Bear that in mind when making my next favorite way to cook sprouts: a simple sauté with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It makes a great side or base for layering different flavors.
And then there’s stir fry. Throw all your favorite veggies in a sauté pan or wok, starting with those that take the longest to cook and then adding the quicker cooking items — like sprouts — at the end. My latest quick weeknight stir fry was super easy and consisted of just chicken, red peppers, scallions, mung bean sprouts, and sunflower sprouts. I made a sauce by mixing to taste oyster sauce, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, S&P, garlic, onion, and ginger powders, and olive oil.
Once you get the hang of cooking sprouts, you can also step out on a limb and get creative! I found some mini chicken wontons and created a Chicken Wonton Soup with zucchini and carrot noodles, sunflower spouts, and fresh parsley and ginger in chicken broth. It was pretty darn amazing.
Sunflower sprouts are just some of the out-of-the-box deliciousness that’s in season this Spring. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I encourage you to venture out to your fresh markets and try something different. You might just discover a new favorite!
In the world of healthy eating, zucchini noodles have been all the rage for some time now. Maybe you’ve tried them, maybe you haven’t, but this is one veggie craze that is well-deserving of its fanfare.
Zucchini by itself probably doesn’t seem all that exciting. But consider this: it’s fat-free, packed with vitamins, and full of water and fiber. One zucchini has more potassium than a banana (wow!) and it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.
Zucchini has a nice mild flavor, so it can easily be transformed or combined with stronger flavored ingredients, and since it’s not so heavy, you can pile it on your plate guilt-free.
Anyway, back to the zoodles. Similar to spaghetti squash, you can use zoodles in place of pastas, create stir frys, or serve as a side. The overall process couldn’t be easier. Select a medium to large zucchini. Spiralize. Done.
While this seems like a very simple concept, it only takes one hot second to overcook your zoodles and turn them into pure liquid. Like, they just disappear. I’ve learned the hard way to add them in at the very last minute, quite literally. The longer they stay in the heat, the softer they will get. My latest trick has been the easiest: microwave them lightly covered for about 3-5 minutes. They are hot, but still somewhat al dente, and ready to serve.
Parmesan Zucchini Noodles
2 medium/large zucchinis
1-2 tablespoons butter, diced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese per zucchini, or to taste
salt & pepper
Spiralize your zucchini and put them in a microwave safe bowl. (You may want to cut your zoodles a little, as they are pretty long and can be tricky to serve.) Add the diced butter, spacing it evenly on top of the zoodles. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top. Cover lightly and microwave for 3-5 minutes, depending on amount of zucchini. Gently mix ingredients until butter and cheese are combined – creating a sauce of sorts – and thoroughly coat the zoodles. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will give you a simple side dish for about 2-3 people.
🍀 Feeling Lucky? 🍀
Got the hang of it? Wanna get a little fancy?? I’ve made this next side dish 3 different times for 3 different people and they all RAVED. I served it with chicken, but I bet it would go well with some corned beef this Sunday, too.
Zoodles with Summer Fresh Alfredo
3-4 medium/large zucchinis, spiralized
2 medium vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup of corn kernels
3 tablespoons butter, diced
2/3 grated Parmesan cheese, divided
salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders
protein of choice
Layer zoodles, half of the butter, and 1/3 cup of the cheese. Next, layer tomatoes, corn, other half of butter, and remaining cheese. Add seasonings as desired. Cover lightly and microwave for about 5 minutes. Again, gently mix ingredients until the cheese and butter have created a sauce. It’s more of a faux alfredo, but it works with the lighter Summer fare. Top with your protein of choice. Honestly, it goes great with just about anything. Makes about 4-6 servings.
Ahh, March. The month that tells us, despite a lingering chill in the air, that Spring is right around the corner. The month where we focus on all things green for St. Paddy’s Day. And the month when broccoli rabe shows up! I found some just this morning at my local natural foods grocery store … and it was on sale! You know I love a good bargain. 😉
Green is clearly the color of the March, so I’m going to center this month’s recipes around a few of my favorite green veggies. There are so many great ones to choose from, but since broccoli rabe is only around for a small window of time, I wanted to do a repost of my absolute favorite broccoli rabe dish. I will seriously eat this at least 4 times in the next 2 months with absolutely no regrets. It’s just that good.
Aside from the recipe in the link above, you can also do a simple sauté with a little olive oil, S&P, onion & garlic powders, plus a splash of chicken stock – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Serve as a simple green side, or get creative!
One idea: Try adding it to a sweet potato hash with some red peppers for a beautiful contrast of sweet and bitter.
Another idea: Make a “risotto” using quinoa instead of arborio rice, folding in finely chopped broccoli rabe, diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese. Let the heat from the quinoa and sauce mix wilt the rabe and sweat it down. The result is a flavor similar to horseradish from the rabe, combined with the creaminess of the Parmesan cheese and acid of the tomatoes. This pairs amazingly well with steak or lamb!
Keep trying new things or sticking with the old … until the rabe runs out!
Back in November, I shared on my Saucy Facebook page that I had some pretty amazingly feel-good news. At that point in time, The Saucy Tomato page was coming up for renewal, but after a crazy and expensive year, I was dubious that I would ever get back to blogging. I had ended up having hernia surgery in February. Shortly afterwards, my husband developed a blood clot in his leg in April. It wasn’t life-threatening, but he grew increasingly uncomfortable and was unable to work. After weeks of testing, they scheduled him for bypass surgery in July. The very same week of his surgery, my daughter had a freak accident that resulted in emergency room stitches and our dog ate a rag that unravelled in his intestines, resulting in emergency surgery. Somehow, I managed to remain unscathed, so long as you didn’t count my mental state.
I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and very in debt. I honestly didn’t know if it would be worth the time or money to invest in a renewal. The day before Saucy was due to expire, I was talking to a complete stranger about my blog. I told them how much I enjoyed doing it, but how I’d fallen behind on posting and still had too much on my plate (no pun intended) to keep making it work. I commented that I couldn’t justify spending the money to renew the blog. I would miss it, but I felt this was the right move.
The person – who is a blog aficionado themselves – went online and checked out my page. The first thing they said was how much they loved the name. (I know, riiiight?? 😄) After taking a further look, they said my site was “really fantastic” (a pretty big compliment from someone like them!) and asked if I could picture myself going back to it. I said I would love to at some point. So this person – a complete stranger to me – gifted me with a year’s extension on my blog. I could now take my time getting life in order again without the pressure of a renewal deadline looming ahead. They said: “I just could not let the Tomato go.”
I was speechless. I could not thank them enough. There are still some pretty amazing people in this world, and I was absolutely blessed by one of them that day.
While this is such a small thing in the scheme of life, it was a huge gesture to and for me, and it reignited the Saucy flame within. It has taken a bit to catch my breath, but I am elated to announce that I am kicking off a refreshed Saucy this month. I thank all of you who are still with me, and I can’t wait for our next food adventure together. Here’s to you, here’s to me, and here’s to Saucy! 🥂 Cheers!