Bobbe’s Vegetable Gratin

I made this one night on a whim and it’s become one of our favorite side dishes. It freezes well and is great left-over too!

Start by chopping all of your vegetables. I didn’t photograph all of them, assuming everyone knows what chopped onions and mushrooms look like as well as shredded carrots. The truth of why this photo is posted?  I think this is a pretty picture.

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I used two things in this recipe that you might not have readily on hand. The first is a basic thing you can get at the store: Arrowroot. This is thickening agent that I am told is paleo. You can also use corn starch or even a handful of panko bread crumbs. The second is from Trader Joe’s (and you can totally leave it out if you can’t get it). It’s Trader Joe’s “21 Seasoning Salute”. I really like it because it adds a little more depth of flavor with just a hint of spice. If you can’t find this, just use a Tbsp of Italian seasoning and some dried thyme.

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Then you start with sauteing your onions and carrots. I let them go a little and then add in my chives and salt and pepper. I would also add the mushrooms once these are starting to get soft. I didn’t have mushrooms when I made this last night, so you won’t see them pictured.

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I was using frozen spinach last night so I added it here. USUALLY I make this with fresh spinach. which I think is more fun. IF you use the fresh spinach, wait until the end to add it. Seasoned collard greens are delicious in this too.

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After your veggies are just turning soft, it’s time to add the squash. I wait until later to add the squash because it softens up pretty quickly and you don’t want to over cook it and have a squishy gratin. That’s never cool.

Put the squash in and do your best to incorporate it. Season it again with more pepper and your dry seasonings. I usually will cover the pan at this point and allow the squash to steam a bit.

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Then add the cream. Stir and let cook for about five minutes to heat through. Sprinkle on the arrowroot and stir until it dissolves.

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Once it’s simmering (takes about 5 minutes), remove from the heat and stir in your cheese. We like it really cheesy so I always add more than the recipe calls for but you do YOU.

Here is what it looks like with the cheese stirred in and transferred to a baking dish.

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 Then all this is left to do is top it with fried onions. We love spice, so we usually do a combination of fried onions and fried jalapeños. Then sprinkle a little cheese in with them (optional).

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This next photo is how we usually make it-completely covered with yummy goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick 
  • 3-4 mushrooms sliced (button or cremini work well)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating dish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons Arrowroot 
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino/Romano
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (Use your favorite. I like Gouda or Gruyere)3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups prepared fried onions & jalapeños if you like (French’s or whatever brand you like)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. This dish can be made and baked in a cast iron skillet or you can sauté the veggies, add the cream and cheeses and then transfer it to a casserole dish for baking.
  2. Over medium heat, sauté onions in the olive oil until almost translucent. Add the garlic and stir, then add in the squash, zucchini and sliced mushrooms. Season liberally with salt, pepper, thyme and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. Cover the dish for about 4 minutes. Stir well, then stir in the fresh spinach.
  3. When the spinach has wilted a bit, add the cream bringing it up to a simmer. (About 5 minutes) Stir in the arrowroot. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the cheese, reserving 1-2 Tablespoons for the top.
  5. Transfer to a casserole dish (optional), top with fried onions, remaining cheese and fried jalapeños (optional).
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy, brown and bubbly.

Seriously, Spaghetti alle Vongole!

This dish was so fun to make and turned out so beautifully, I can’t stop smiling about it. This would be great to serve fora dinner party! Don’t forget the bread!

I seriously cannot believe I made this dish! To me, there is something so beautiful about simple food. Basically this dish is clams in a white sauce with tomatoes over pasta. It doesn’t get more basic. I adore the way seafood looks, especially clams and mussels, and this dish is a wizz-bang-show-stopper! I mean, just look at the colors! I loved every part of making this meal and I certainly plan on doing it again!

We started at the fish market. I am a clam virgin so I relied on the fish monger to explain them to me. Turns out, clams are not cheap, so he suggested we buy just the meat to get more bang for our money. I wanted the real deal, so we bought both. I can’t imagine making this dish without the clams in their shells; it’s half the fun!

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As soon as we got home, I put them in a bowl of cold water, sprinkled in some semolina, and let them sit in the refrigerator until dinner. Supposedly, the semolina makes the clams open up and spit out any sand they might be holding onto. (Black pepper works as well.)

Step one of this dish was to prepare my ingredients. I sliced half of my tomatoes and left the other half whole; chopped my parsley; then I smashed my garlic and prepared my pasta and set it aside. (They say to wait until the last minute to chop the parsley so it is as fresh as possible. I’ll do that next time. I was nervous about making this dish so I wanted everything prepared ahead.)

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When I was ready, I heated my olive oil to medium, and then added in the garlic and red pepper flakes. This cooked until fragrant (oh and it was a beautiful aroma!) about two minutes.

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Then came the tomatoes. (Isn’t this pretty? I loved the colors!) The point here is to blister them in the oil. It takes about five minutes.

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Here is a silly video of the tomatoes blistering:

Next comes the wine! I used a Sauvignon Blanc. They say to only cook with a wine you would drink so I followed the rules to the letter. This was left to come up to a boil. (Took about a minute.)

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The clams go in next! Then the pot gets covered for two minutes in order to steam them. (I swear to you, I’m feeling giddy typing this out. I had some much fun doing this!)

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I was a little bit uncertain about when to add the extra clam meat, so I opted to wait until I could see the clams starting to open. I was really afraid of over-cooking them. No one wants to bite into a rubber clam!

Here they have started to open up, so this is the point where I dropped in the other clam meat.

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This is another silly video that captures my giddiness!

Finally, it’s time to add in the pasta. We used angel hair pasta, which is our favorite. The recipe calls for spaghetti or linguine, but I ignored that part. The important part was not to cook the pasta all the way through because it continues to cook in the sauce. Thankfully, I managed to get it right.

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Lastly, the fresh parsley goes in, the heat goes off and then the cheese goes on.

Voila! How gorgeous is this!!!

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Ingredients:
Kosher salt
12 ounces spaghetti or linguine (we used angel hair pasta)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot pepper flakes
8 ounces very small cherry tomatoes, roughly crushed with your hands, or regular cherry tomatoes, halved (I sliced half of the tomatoes in half and left the other whole & I didn’t crush them.)
1 cup dry white wine (I used Kendall Jackson Sauvignon Blanc)
48 tiny clams such as cockles or vongole (We used 24 clams & a pound of frozen clam meat, thawed)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt (salty like the sea!) and the pasta and stir to separate. Cook until a few minutes shy of al dente, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add the clams and cover for 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until the clams open. Discard unopened clams.

Add the pasta to the skillet along with the parsley, cheese and butter. Cook, tossing and stirring and drizzling with olive oil, until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is silky and thickened. Serve drizzled with oil and sprinkled with cheese and parsley.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: If you don’t serve this with a loaf of crusty bread, you will seriously regret it!

How do I know this? We forgot and seriously regretted it! The sauce is divine and crusty bread would have been perfect for sopping it up!

One Skillet Lasagna? I’ll Take It! (So Will You!)

I am about to make this again but I’ll be making it keto-friendly. Until then, enjoy this recipe!

Who in the world doesn’t like an easy one skillet, show stopping dinner? As you probably know by now, I am a Food Network addict. This recipe is adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’, Spicy One-Skillet Lasagna.

The first time I made this, I did it exactly to her specifications and it turned out looking absolutely beautiful. The problem was that it was just too spicy for my family. (I should have realized this prior to cooking. I don’t even like sausage!)

The second time I made it, I adapted it to my own tastes and subbed in ground beef, a little bit of sausage, and a baby spinach & kale mixture instead of the broccoli rabe that she used. (I hate broccoli rabe. To me, it tastes bitter.)

The first step was to brown the meat and then add the onions.

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Once that is finished, add the greens and mix until they wilt.

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Then add in some of the prepared sauce:

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After this is complete, you remove the mixture to a bowl. You don’t even have to wipe out the pan because next, you start the bottom off with a little sauce and then the no-bake noodles. Let the layering begin!

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This was the first time I’d ever splurged and used the Gruyere. Now I am hopelessly hooked forever.

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Then it goes into the oven and comes out just like this. Gorgeous. I have to do better with my photography, however, as I keep forgetting to take a picture of what it looks like plated. Picture lasagna only pie-shaped and just beautiful!

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Here is a stupid video from the first time I prepared this using the spicy sausage. Again, I was so excited about this recipe that I didn’t consider the fact that I hate spicy sausage. LOL!


 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
½ pound sweet Italian Sausage (if you don’t like sausage, leave this out.)
3 shallots, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4-5 cups spinach (I used a baby spinach/kale mix)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
One 25-ounce jar marinara sauce
8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1 pound fresh mozzarella, dried well and torn into large chunks
1/2 cup grated Gruyere

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a 12-inch high-sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meat and cook through until browned.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent and slightly fragrant, another 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and red pepper flakes and cook for additional 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach and salt; cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove the mixture to a medium bowl and return the pan to the stove over low heat.

Spoon a small amount of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the skillet. Mix the remaining marinara with the meat mixture in the bowl. Layer half of the lasagna noodles on top of the marinara, breaking them up as needed to fit the pan. Cover with half of the meat mixture. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan and half the mozzarella. Layer with the remaining noodles. Cover with the remaining meat and top with the rest of the Parmesan and mozzarella and the Gruyere.

Bake until bubbly and golden on top, about 40 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.