Any of you folks out there who were kids of the 1970s will be familiar with this version of a casserole. We had it at least once a week at my house! It may be old fashioned, but it is still delicious, especially if you are hungry for a bit of nostalgia. So sit back, watch some episodes of the Brady Bunch and get groovy with vegetables!

Old Fashioned Casserole

Old Fashioned Casserole

This casserole can be made with any variety of vegetables you have on hand. Mix it up!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers, chopped
  • half a pint of fresh okra, chopped into rings
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (we used Grass Roots chicken tenders)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped, including green parts
  • 1 package butter crackers, crushed (we used Late July organic classic rich crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat a bit of oil over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until starting to get soft. Add garlic, cooking for another minute. Add okra and tomatoes, sprinkling all with a bit of salt & pepper. Really let the tomatoes cook down and get a bit of browning on the vegetables, being careful to stir and prevent any burning.
  3. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in sour cream and cooked chicken. Dump into 9 x 13 pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with green onions and with cheddar cheese.
  4. Mix melted butter and crushed crackers together, then sprinkle over top of casserole.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Enjoy!
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=625

Instead of an Asian wok, the Southern equivalent is definitely the cast iron skillet. Cooking these summer vegetables over high heat seals in flavor, as well as staving off the slimy texture that okra can take on when cooked. Quick, flavorful, and nutritious (also vegetarian and vegan).

Southern Stir Fry

Southern Stir Fry

This dish can be spiced up as well. Add fresh jalapeno pepper in with the bell pepper, or add ground spices at the end, such as chili powder or cayenne.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups very small okra pods, whole
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 small eggplants, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup cooked lentils

Instructions

  1. In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, warm 1 teaspoon oil to almost smoking. Add okra pods all at once, and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown. Add eggplant, and stir, cooking another minute. Add pepper, stirring and cooking for about 2 minutes more. Add chopped tomato and remove skillet from the heat. Squeeze the juice from half of a lemon down over the entire dish, stirring to incorporate. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked lentils. Enjoy!
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=621

This week’s CSA box had so many lovely things in it, and they begged to be roasted. Roasting brings out such a deep, rich flavor in vegetables that it is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. The resulting dip from this recipe doesn’t just have to be dipped. It can be spread on bread or wraps, too, for a tasty summer sandwich.

Roasted Veggie Dip

Roasted Veggie Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant or two medium eggplants
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • splash red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim ends from the eggplant and pepper. Trim ends from the onion and remove outer skin, but leave whole. Slice across the entire head of garlic, removing just the tops from the cloves. Do the same on the bottom side, removing the roots, but leave whole.
  2. On a large baking sheet, place eggplant, trimmed end side down. Add onion, pepper, and garlic head. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over all.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the eggplant is very tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Once it is cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides from the eggplant, leaving the skins behind. Place into a bowl. Open up the pepper and scrape out the insides, leaving the skin behind. Chop finely and add to the bowl. Finely chop the onion and add to the bowl. Taking the entire head of garlic, squeeze the roasted cloves of garlic from the papery skins. Finely chop and add to other ingredients in bowl.
  5. Add about a teaspoon more olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar to the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste (the vegetables took quite a bit of salt, so keep tasting). Stir to combine very well. Enjoy!
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=617

This is a beautiful and flavorful dish that is vegetarian as well as vegan. I used fettuccine noodles that are made from edamame and mung beans. Not only are they grain free, but they are packed with protein.

Mushroom Fettuccine

Mushroom Fettuccine

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic, or two small cloves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 small banana peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 pint fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thickly
  • 1 cup fresh arugula leaves, stems removed and chopped
  • fettuccine noodles
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 stalks fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pat of butter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the fettuccine noodles according to the package directions. When they are drained, add a bit of olive oil and stir well. This will keep the noodles from sticking while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. Slice the garlic clove into thin slices, but do not mince. In a cold skillet, add olive oil and sprinkle the garlic over. Slowly bring the skillet up to medium heat. This will infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavor.
  3. Once you start to smell the garlic and before it starts to brown, add the onion and peppers and turn the heat up to medium high, stirring all together.
  4. Once the onions begin to get soft, add the mushrooms and stir. Let the mushrooms cook several minutes, until they begin to get a little browned. Keep stirring. Once the mushrooms start to color, add the arugula. Sprinkle all with salt & pepper.
  5. Remove the stems from the fresh thyme, if using, and sprinkle over all, or add dried thyme. Stir and cook one minute more.
  6. To really bring this dish together, add a pat of butter to the hot skillet and stir. This adds a bit of extra richness to the dish, as well as a glossiness.
  7. Place fettuccine noodles in a bowl, making a well in the center. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the top, adding extra thyme, salt, or even parmesan cheese, if desired.
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=608

The fresh ginger in this week’s CSA is a very special treat. Saving it for a special dish or a special day is easy. Ginger freezes beautifully, so if you aren’t able to get to it right away, place it in a freezer-safe zip bag and pop it in the freezer. I usually keep some frozen ginger on hand. Frozen ginger is very easy to grate. Grated ginger and minced garlic are the starter for any type of stir fry or Asian dish I am cooking.

Another way to use this week’s ginger is to make a ginger syrup. Simply peel and chop the ginger. Measure how much you have. Whatever the amount, add twice as much water as ginger and put both in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep and cool for 15 minutes. Strain. At this point it can be poured back into the saucepan and sweetener added (honey, sugar, etc.), simmering for 10 minutes while stirring, then
allow to cool. This can now be the base for creating ginger drinks, like lemonade, ginger ale, ginger teas, etc.

The ginger syrup can also be frozen. Just pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, place the cubes in freezer bags and return to the freezer. The ginger drinks can also be frozen into popsicles for a cold treat!

Ginger is a beneficial as well as tasty food. It is anti-inflammatory. It aids in digestion, dizziness, nausea, and motion sickness.

Fresh-Ginger

This recipe uses lots of delicious things that can be found at any local farmstand or farmer’s market. It is also a great way to use up leftover rice.

Farmstand Rice

Farmstand Rice

A mild cheese works best in this dish, such as colby, white cheddar, or monterey jack.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 pound Grass Roots ground turkey
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 small summer squash, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pint fresh okra, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric root powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated mild cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, cook ground turkey over high heat until no pink remains and it is browning at the edges. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. In same skillet, add about a tablespoon oil and warm over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown and caramelize.
  3. Add squash and okra and cook for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until warmed through.
  4. Stir in paprika, turmeric, chili powder, and salt & pepper.
  5. Add rice and stir together. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Add ground turkey and grated cheese. Stir together to melt the cheese into the warm vegetable mixture. Enjoy!
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=605

Kale is one of those vegetables that is easy to add into other dishes, almost as an afterthought. In this side dish, the kale is the star! Dressed up with simple additions, it is impressive enough for guests.

Fancy Kale

Fancy Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, washed
  • 1/4 cup pecans, raw
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • pinch salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place raw pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake nuts for about 15 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Rip the kale from the stems and chop. In a large skillet, bring the oil and butter to melt over medium high heat. Add chopped kale and stir to coat. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes, or until bright green and crisp tender. Add dried cherries, pecans, and salt & pepper. Continue stirring for another minute, then serve.
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=603

There are so many ways to prepare summer squash. This one is very simple to do and has great flavor. The touch of honey brings out the natural sweetness in the squash without being overpowering.

Simple Squash

Simple Squash

Ingredients

  • small to medium sized summer squash, washed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • dash salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the summer squash down the middle to create two halves. Place cut side up on a baking sheet.
  2. Warm the honey and butter together and stir to combine. Brush the honey mixture onto the cut parts of the squash. Sprinkle with a touch of salt.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=597

My aunt made this dish at a family gathering a few years ago. It was such a smash hit that I asked for the recipe. She cut it out of the paper gave me the clipping. I have heard of other versions of this called Texas Caviar, which uses more Southwest flavors like jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. It is different every time I make it, as the basic recipe is so easy. Sometimes I add corn kernels, sometimes I add farro or quinoa, sometimes I change up the beans, but it always turns out great. It is perfect for picnics, too, as it doesn’t need to be kept cool. I really hope you try this one!

Mississippi Caviar

Mississippi Caviar

Instead of using canned beans, I cooked dried beans in the slow cooker for about 9 hours, then drained and used as per the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion
  • 2 red slicer tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
  • pinch black pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the peppers, cucumber, and onion in a small dice, about the same size as the beans. Slice and remove the seeds from the tomatoes, then dice as well. Grate the 2 cloves of garlic very fine. Place all of the beans and vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, seasoning, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the entire mixture and stir well. Cover and set aside. Let it marinate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Enjoy with tortilla chips as a dip. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Notes

This can also be used as a filling for a wrap. Add some small cubes of cheese to the mixture, if you like. It is very versatile!

http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=594

Peaches do not seem to need a recipe. You just eat them! But I admit to enjoying with relish a good peach cobbler. We often only associate fruits with sweet desserts, but I wanted to create a savory one instead. Not that it doesn’t have its shpch3are of sweetness, but it is balanced with savory flavors, too. I make a version of this in the fall with figs, but peaches seemed perfect for a summer dish.

 

Savory Peach Tart

Savory Peach Tart

Ingredients

  • 3 large peaches
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • handful of arugula leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out thawed puff pastry sheet. Place into a shallow dish and press into the edges.
  2. Beat egg and brush liberally over the puff pastry. Sprinkle arugula leaves on top of egg.
  3. Peel and slice peaches into 1/4 inch slices. Lay over top of arugula leaves. Drizzle honey over the peaches (warm honey slightly if needed to get it flowing). Sprinkle with a touch of sea salt.
  4. Finely chop the fresh rosemary and sprinkle over the tart.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Puff pastry will be golden brown and peaches will be tender. Cool slightly, but serve warm.
http://www.naturalthingsar.com/?p=586