Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the category “Vegetables”

Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Garlic Scapes

Our garden is a sad state of affairs this year, but my husband still managed to get his garlic  in the ground on time. This means that it is that time where I need to figure out what to do with the garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the flowering part of the garlic plant, that if left on will sap all the strength from the plant and prevent your garlic bulbs from getting plump. In prior years, I have only thrown the scapes into pesto.

But yesterday I decided that my fresh brussel sprouts from the farmer’s market and the garlic scapes would make a nice side dish. I didn’t have a particular inspiration although I think I have seen them being used on Chopped.


  • pint of brussel sprouts
  • pint of garlic scapes
  • olive oil
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pat of butter
  • Adobo & pepper to taste
  • finish salt


1. Clean brussel sprouts by removing outer leaves as needed

2. Cut brussel sprouts in half

3. Remove any brown fibrous pieces from garlic scapes


4. Heat olive oil up in frying pan over medium high heat

5. drop in brussel sprouts and garlic scapes

6. Season with Adobo & pepper


7. Let veggies brown, but stir so they don’t burn


8. Once nicely browned, splash with lemon juice

9. Add water and cover

10. Turn temperature to medium low

11. Let steam until veggies are tender (about 5-10 mins)

12. Remove cover, add wine and pat of butter

13. Continue cooking until sauce thickens


14. Sprinkle a bit of salt over all the veggies


My husband really liked this. My kids are a bit more finicky about brussel sprouts. My older daughter doesn’t really like them, but she did try a bit and say “it’s not bad.” The younger daughter loves brussel sprouts but only steamed. I showed the picture to a friend and they said I should add some shrimp next time. Sadly, there weren’t any leftovers. This was very disappointing to my husband when I was making today’s frittata with all the leftover goodies.



Kale Guacamole

I had the opportunity to taste kale guacamole last week and really enjoyed it. The texture is a little different than I normally make my guacamole but it kept the dip green and added some extra vegetables. I first found this recipe for plumped up kale guacamole and it was ok. I ended up using for citrus, another avocado and wished for onion and jalapeño heat (next time). My friend who made the version I tried used this super bowl recipe as her base.


2 ripe avocados
4 kale leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Large handful cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1/2-3/4 cup water
1 jalapeño
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion


1. In blender combine, 1 avocado, kale, cilantro, juice of lemon and lime, garlic
2. Start blending and add water to loosen mixture up
3. Dice onion, jalapeño and extra avocado
4. Mix spices, onion, jalapeño and avocado into dip
5. Let sit for 3-4 hrs or better overnight



The initial taste is pretty veggie like, but once you get over that and let all the flavors blend it is really good. It needed some spice that wasn’t in the originally recipes. We’ve been using it for dip, and serving it with everything from frittatas to stuffed peppers.

Beer Braised Short Ribs over Pureed Cauliflower

A few months ago I  made braised short ribs on the stove and they came out delicious.  However, I’ve been dwelling on cooking them in my crockpot for a while now.  As there is nothing quite like loading the crockpot and then forgetting about it until dinner.  I use “forget” loosely here as I find that the smell becomes more prominent during the day and every time I walk by I take a tweak through the lid to see how everything is going.

Originally I was going to just used the braising gravy from the last time I made short ribs, as it was so good that I froze it.  But then I was looking around for crockpot recipes just to confirm cooking time and came across this recipe at It’s a Keeper. I made a few adjustments like cutting down the volume of onions, adding garlic and I used a Guiness Extra Stout as that was what I was able to find (I didn’t think the pumpkin lager would go well).  I have been bored of potatoes lately and we had already had rice, so I looked for alternatives – pureed cauliflower or pureed white beans.  Cauliflower was outvoted, and I’m very glad for this decision


2 small onions

3-4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

4 garlic cloves

1 bottle beer (Guiness Extra Stout)

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp beef base granules

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold water

1 head cauliflower

1 Tbsp cream cheese

Adobo and Pepper to taste


1.  Layer onions and short ribs in crockpot

2.  Season with Adobo and pepper



3.  Whisk together beer, brown sugar, mustard, 2 cloves garlic crushed, tomato paste, thyme, beef base, flour and cold water in a bowl



4.  Pour over short ribs and onions



5.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours

6.  Clean and Cut cauliflower into small florets

7.  Boil in large stock pot for 6 minutes

9.  Blend in food processor or blender the cauliflower, cream cheese, 2 garlic cloves until smooth

10.  I kept the cauliflower in a warm oven with a pat of butter on it to keep until we were ready to serve



I served the short ribs over the cauliflower with an arugula salad with clementines and shaved parmesan, dressed with a simple vinagrette.  My oldest daughter devoured 3 short ribs and a helping of cauliflower.  While she said that the cauliflower was not her favorite preparation it was ok.  And at first she didn’t even notice it wasn’t potatoes.  My youngest disliked it from the moment she was told it was cauliflower.  She also devoured a short rib.  My cousin took leftovers for lunch and I can’t wait to heat up the leftovers for lunch.

Potato Latkes

We are the proud beneficiary of all the potatoes and carrots from our friend’s CSA basket. Due to allergies she can’t eat them, and her husband is incredibly supportive and sacrifices with her. The downside though, is the week after Thanksgiving everyone is a little bit tired of the regular mashed, steamed or baked potatoes. After watching the potato pancakes made on chopped, I decided to try something new. The recipe at the Smitten Kitchen helped.


6 small potatoes (~1 1/3 pounds)

1 small onion

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

salt and pepper to taste


1. Peel potatoes and onions

2. Grate potatoes and onions (note – if I make these again, I’m going to pull out the food process and use the shredding attachment


3. Wrap potatoes and onions in cheesecloth or lightweight clean dish towel

4. Wring out excess water

5. Meanwhile, whisk the 2 egss and mix in flour

6. Add in potato and onion mixture


7. Form into patties (I experimented with different size spoons. The tablespoon worked better)

8. Saute in large saucepan over medium high heat until golden brown (the recipe said 1-2 minutes, but mine took 2-3 to crisp up)




Obviously, I had to try them when they were finished. I adjusted the size of them after the first round and they turned out better. For dinner, I served them with kielbasa and then I had leftovers with a sunny side egg. I liked them and my oldest daughter said they were a hit (although she smothered them in hot sauce, as she does everything so I don’t know if that detracts from her opinion). My youngest disliked them, even covered in ketchup and my husband was indifferent. This might be designated as a brunch item for guests.

Baked Potato Soup

I love a good baked potato soup. I had never made it before although I figured it really couldn’t be that difficult. But the other night after dinner I had 3 little and 1 big leftover baked potatoes. We don’t eat a lot of hash browns or breakfast potatoes so I started dwelling on what I was going to do with them.

As a general rule, baked potato soup can’t be that hard to make. It has a cream and roux base and usually includes bacon and sometimes cheese. I skipped the bacon because I didn’t feel like dealing with an entire frozen packet. And once I skipped the bacon, I figured I would jut lighten it up a little with stock, adding cream at the end.

3 small and 1 large baked potatoes (you can really use whatever you have leftover, or bake a coupe extra)
Olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk or cream
Adobo, thyme, oregano to taste

1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan
2. Dice onion and toss in pot
3. Cook onion for 2-3 minutes
4. Meanwhile, peel and cube potatoes
5. Toss potatoes into pot and stir
6. Slowly add vegetable stock
7. Use potato masher to mash potatoes a little bit
8. Add remaining stock and crushed garlic
9. Being to a boil and simmer 15 mins
10. Add in seasoning to taste
11. Add cream
12. Mix thoroughly and cook for additional 5-10 mins


This soup was very hearty and filling. It tasted like a baked potato soup should, without the weightiness of the cream based roux. I would definitely encourage everyone to use their extra potatoes like this.

Green Chile Salsa

It has come to that part of the year where you begin to wonder about when the first frost is gina to take out your tomato plants. For us that hasn’t quite happened. Our tomatoes plants are still flowering and ripening fruit. About 2 weeks we heard the temperature was going to drop significantly so I stripped most of the worthy size tomatoes off the plants, regardless of their ripeness. I’ve used this in the past successfully for salsa, so it seemed like a good idea. I added in some tomatillos and mixed peppers.


~4 cups tomatoes (I used whole green and yellow hartmann)
1 jalapeño
6 mixed Cubanelle peppers
6 tomatillos
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cilantro
Juice of 1-2 limes
Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano to taste

1. Wash tomatoes and remove any bad parts
2. Peel tomatillos and rinse off sticky residue
3. Peel garlic and onions, cut onion into quarters
4. Place vegetables in pans and drizzle with olive oil



5. Roast vegetables at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. You should start to see a char on the peppers. It is helpful to stir up tomatoes half way through cooking time.



6. Blend the vegetables in batches, adding cilantro and lime juice
7. Bring salsa up to a boil a simmer for ~10 minutes
8. Add seasoning to taste
9. Put on water to boil for sterilizing jars and lids
10. Sterilize jars and lids for 5 mins
11. Remove jars and add salsa
12. Put jars back in hot water bath and boil for 25-30 mins
13. Remove from hot water bath and cool jars for 12 hrs before storing



This salsa has a lot of flavor but did was not spicy at all. The problem is it is difficult to know the spice level of the mixed peppers so I was a little cautious. Next time I might have to go to an international specialty grocery store. I can’t wait to break these open and use in my salsa.

Apple Brie Quesadilla and Broccoli Squash Soup

My family really likes broccoli, so I buy a lot of it and we eat a lot of it.  In recent years, I have gotten in the habit of keeping the stems and stalks and using them for soup.  It does require a little prep time to peel the stalks of the fibrous outer layer, however you end up with a better soup at the end.  If you choose not to peel it, you will need to strain it so you do not end up with strings of fiber in your soup.  The broccoli stalks last for a pretty long while in your vegetable drawer in the refrigerator.

It was a nice rainy day today and I had a little extra time so it seemed perfect to make up that pot of soup.  Besides tonight was leftover night anyway as we have lots of food in the refrigerator we need to eat.  It just makes sense to add something else.

Broccoli Squash Soup


5 broccoli stalks

1 14 oz package frozen butternut squash (this can be made with squash in any form – fresh, frozen cubes or variety)

1 small onion

3 garlic cloves

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Adobo, tumeric, cumin to taste



1.  Peel the broccoli stalks of the fibrous outer layer – The easiest way to do this is to start from the bottom up and cut off smaller stalks as you going, peeling each one individually


2.  Cut the peeled stalks into roughly the same size chunks (you want it to cook evenly)



3.  In medium pot, add broccoli, garlic cloves, onion (cut in into equal size parts – I had about 8), squash and vegetable stock



4.  Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, until broccoli stalks are tender and squash has defrosted


5.  Use blender to puree all the ingredients, return to pot


6.  Season to taste with adobo, cumin, tumeric


Broccoli squash soup is incredibly simple, delicious and versatile.  You can flavor it with any flavor combination from curry spices (as I have done) or Italian spices (oregano, basil, etc).  You can add cream, or roast the vegetables beforehand.  It is healthy and hearty.

Apple Brie Quesadilla

I stumbled across this in a food network recipe on 5 dinner meals in 45 minutes.  It sounded pretty interesting and I just happened to have some granny smith apples that I needed to eat.


1 tortilla

1/2 granny smith apple

4-5 slices brie

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon mustard


1.  Cut apple in halve and use mandolin to cut thin, even slices


2.  Drizzle with olive oil and grill for 3-4 minutes in grill pan, over medium high heat, until marks appear



3.  Layer tortilla with brie and grilled apples




4.  Grill quesadilla in grill pan for additional 3-4 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear and cheese melts


5.  Mix maple syrup and mustard together to drizzle over top




This meal was perfect.  It was the right size, and it balanced out the rainy weather perfectly.

Grilled Romaine Salad

xMy kids have been gone for the last couple of weeks so the house has been quiet and my husband and I have found plenty to keep us busy.  Unfortunately this means I’m not getting to cook as often as I’d like.  The alternative of eating out almost every day does wear on you.

On a rare occasion during this period, I was home for lunch.  I was pretty bored of the lunch options and thought I would try something that I had been thinking about periodically.  I wanted to grill my salad.  While initially odd, there are all sorts of Food Network chefs preparing grilled caesar salads.  I figured it couldn’t be all bad.

The other factor in all of this is that our garden is turning out a great crop of tomatoes this season.  And with us not being home as often, and there only being two of us, we have an excess of tomatoes.


1/2 head romaine lettuce

olive oil

Parmesan cheese to taste

8-9 cherry tomatoes (these are hartman yellows)

salad dressing of your preference (I used a homemade roasted red pepper dressing that I made from the marinade of jarred roasted red pepers, olive oil, oregano, 1-2 crushed garlic cloves, Adobo and pepper)


1.  Preheat broiler

2.  Drizzle olive oil on cut side of romaine lettuce

3.  Broil lettuce until it starts to brown (~5 minutes)

4.  Remove lettuce from oven, layer with tomatoes (cut in halves), drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with cheese



I was happy to be at home that day, eating that lunch.

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