5-minute roasted cauliflower

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5-minute roasted cauliflowerOk, so I know I’m going a bit crazy with this whole 5-minute skillet veggie concept, but I’ve come to realize that I tend to get a bit obsessed when I find something I like/love, and I love this new 5-minute technique.  In my last post I showed you all how to cook 5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts, and now I’m showing you how to cook cauliflower in 5-minutes, yippee, aren’t you super excited? This 5-minute roasting technique has really saved me time and hassle in the kitchen on those busy weeknights where I want to serve up a vegetable, but don’t have tons of time to heat up the oven and roast veggies for 15 to 20 minutes.  I’m a full-time working mama now, as you all know, and it’s all about efficiency in Marin mama’s kitchen these days.

This method works perfectly if you’re feeding a crew of 5 or less, as you can’t fit too much cauliflower in one 12-inch cast iron skillet.  If you’re feeding a larger crowd, then try my roasted cauliflower method, as it uses a sheet pan. This 5-minute method is perfect for those of you that have one oven. For instance, if you’re cooking up chicken or steak in the oven at a different temperature, you can take out your meat when it’s finished, turn on the broiler and pop these veggies under the broiler for 3-5 minutes while your meat rests.  As I like to say, easy peasy!

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5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts

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5-minute roasted Brussels sproutsI’m starting a new section on my blog labeled 5-minute recipes.  These are recipes that roughly take 5-minutes or less to cook, and who doesn’t love that!  This recipe along with my 5-minute hot quinoa cereal and easy overnight steel-cut oats are the first in the series of great 5-minute recipes that don’t actually taste like a 5-minute recipe. Let’s admit it, we’re all busy and looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, but shortcuts that don’t require the use of a microwave and don’t compromise quality and taste. Well, I found a winner here. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways I’ve found to roast Brussels sprouts, and honestly the tastiest.  These Brussels are charred, crispy and caramelized on the outside, and soft with a bit of resistance (not mushy) on the inside. Pure Brussels perfection for my taste buds.  All you do is set the Brussels cut-side down in a searing hot skillet and place them under the broiler to roast the tops, easy peasy.

This is a perfect and healthy side dish for the fall and winter months.  Between these sprouts and my 8-minute roasted broccoli, I’m all set for easy weeknight healthy sidedishes. I also used virgin coconut oil in this recipe, as it’s a better oil to use at higher heat temps, and gives these sprouts a touch of sweetness, perfect for the kiddos. You can use olive oil here as well, and add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice after roasting, along with some parmesan to add a kick of flavor, like my friend Stacy does.  You could even be bad and toss in some crispy bacon or pancetta, the list goes on and on…

quick and easy roasted Brussels sprouts

5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts:

serves 4 as a side-dish

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (this is the coconut oil that smells like coconut) or olive oil
  • fine sea salt

ingredients for quick and easy roasted Brussels sprouts_… 

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grilled cheese with roasted broccoli

grilled cheese with roasted broccoli

grilled cheese with roasted broccoliThis is the BEST grilled cheese sandwich EVER, at least that’s what Zoe and I said as we devoured this sandwich. Adding roasted broccoli to a grilled cheese sandwich is genius, as it adds an extra punch of flavor and texture, and honestly makes you feel less guilty about eating a grilled cheese.  As one of my readers Samantha says, “can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, but when you add a green- it takes it to a whole new level.”  Samantha, I totally agree with you girl!  Tossing some brocoli into a grilled cheese is also a great way to sneak some veggies into your little ones, so for those of you that have some picky veggie eaters, you may want to give this sandwich a try.  It’s kid approved in my house!

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple in this house.  We eat them for lunch all the time, as well as dinner.  Gilled cheese is just the perfect accompanyment to a creamy soup, and in the fall and winter we eat a LOT soup.  I’m lucky because I have one of the best grilled cheese makers, Zoe!  Zoe is a pro when it comes to making a killer grilled cheese, and I will show you her simple trick later in this post.  All you will need is a cast iron skillet and the lid of a pan.  Come on, let’s make up a grilled cheese sandwich!

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roasted broccoli

roasted broccoli

roasted broccoliI thought instead of showing you all some fancy staged photo of a bowl of roasted broccoli, that I would show you my kids actually eating and liking it!  I know that if I hear about someone’s kids digging a veggie then I’m more inclined to make it up for my kids.  So, hopefully by seeing my kids enjoying this super healthy veggie, some of you may be more inclined to make this up for your troops!  I’m also letting you all know that this is not going to be a fancy post with jaw dropping photos, but instead it’s going to be a quick and simple post showing you all a quick and simple family approved recipe.  That’s how Marin mama rolls these days.  I’m a full-time working mama, working on some easy family approved recipes for you all!

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how to roast red peppers

how to roast red peppers

how to roast red peppersToday I thought I would share with you all a quick and practical post on how to roast red peppers, because I know there are some of you out there that may not know how to. Roasting red peppers is super easy, and roasting them brings out their natural sweetness. The roasted red peppers that you buy at the market are good, but they really don’t hold a candle to red peppers that you roast at home in your oven. You can roast a few red peppers at a time for a particular recipe, or roast a bunch to use in various recipes throughout  the week.  I used roasted red peppers for soups, sandwiches, pizza sauces, in omelets or scrambled eggs and as a topping for pizza. There are truly so many uses for them.  Once you start roasting your own peppers you won’t go back to buying them.

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how to cook spaghetti squash

spaghetti squash with tomato sauce

spaghetti squash with tomato sauceToday’s post is sort of a recipe, but really more of a “how to” post. I’m going to show you all how to cook spaghetti squash.  I figured if I didn’t have a clue the first time I cooked one up, then there are those of you that are in the same boat. Spaghetti squash is a delicious and nutritious alternative to pasta.  It’s loaded with fiber, nutrients, vitamins and is high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, plus its fun to eat. When cooked, the inside of the squash shreds into long, thin noodle-like strands resembling spaghetti pasta.  I didn’t believe it until I actually made it and saw the transformation.

The squash is pretty mild in flavor and really tastes like pasta.  I have to admit that my kids and hubby were not entirely satisfied with the squash as they would be with a traditional spaghetti pasta.  To make it more of a satisfying meal, I either have to top the squash with some meatballs or if I’m keeping it vegetarian, then I need to add a side of garlic bread for my carb loving kids.

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kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar

kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar
kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddarOk, I must admit, I’m not a holiday recipe kind of food blogger. I don’t feature holiday recipes months before the holidays, unless it’s a recipe that can be used for any occasion, like this salad. I’m honestly not an expert when it comes to cooking turkey or stuffing. I make the same stuffing every year (sausage and chestnut stuffing) and John cooks the turkey, as cooking large birds sort of scare me. I also figure that most of you have family favorite Thanksgiving recipes that have been passed down through the generations. We actually have a family favorite cranberry sauce that John’s mom passed down to us, which John makes every year for Thanksgiving.  

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roasted beets

beets

Finally a new post!  Can you believe it?  I took a mini blogging vacation as we were visiting John’s family in Minnesota. John’s parents, brother, sister and all their kids live there (6 cousins for my kids to play with). We always plan our Minnesota trip the week before the kids start school, as It’s a great way to close out the summer and the kids come back on Minnesota time, so getting them up for the first day of school is a breeze. Unfortunately, we were lame on taking photos. I think I have more photos of food than I do my family, so sad and so lame. I’m definitely going to change that though.

John and I treating ourselves to an ice-cream after our 3 hour bike ride at one of our favorite old haunts, Sebastian Joes.  Zoe took the photo with ice cream in hand.

So as you can see from the above photo, I ate tons of ice cream and basically ate tons in general.  That’s what you do on vacation, right?  When I got home I was craving salads, kale (no surprise there) and meatless meals.  I was also craving beets, so I decided to roast some up and take some photos along the way.

roasted beets:

  • fresh beets – I typically roast up 2 beets at a time
  • extra virgin olive oil - I use 1 tablespoon for 2 beets
  • salt and pepper to taste – I just use a pinch of salt and omit the pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  
Wash and peel the beets and then trim off the stems and root ends. 
Don’t worry about the reddish/purple stain on your fingers, it will come up when you wash up.
Slice the beets into 1/2 -to-1-inch thick wedges (make sure that they are even in size).  
Throw the beet wedges onto a sheet of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with some olive oil and season with a pinch or two of salt.  
You can also use pepper here, but I chose not to.
Create a roasting pouch for the beets by placing them in the center of the foil, and tightly sealing the foil around them. 
Roast for 40-60 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork.  
The cooking time will depend on the size of your beets and also on your oven.  Sometimes it take 40 minutes for my beets to roast while other times it has taken 50 minutes.  
Check them at 40 minutes and then gage the cooking time from there.  
Let the beets cool a bit and then refrigerate them in a sealed container till needed.  Cooked beets taste best when consumed within 2 days.  You can use roasted beets in a variety of dishes from pastas and risottos to salads.  I actually have 2 great salad recipes that incorporate beets, that I will share with you soon.  

roasted asparagus

asperagas
Sadly asparagus season is almost over, so I wanted to make sure to post my family’s favorite way to enjoy it, and that is roasting it.  Roasted asparagus is so tasty and it’s a perfect healthy side to any spring meal.  We have been eating so much asparagus these past few months that if  you look closely at the photos below you will see that its everywhere in our household.  I kinda think my kids are glad that the season is coming to a close.

Have you ever roasted asparagus before?  If you haven’t, you have to try it.  It has converted me and many of my friends from asparagus haters to asparagus lovers!  It’s so easy to prepare.  All you do is rinse it, throw on some olive oil and salt, and bake for 7 minutes.  I mean, how easy is that?

Here’s a great tip for keeping asparagus fresh.  Fill a tall glass container with about 2 inches of cold water. Take each asparagus stalk and cut off at least half an inch from the bottom. Put the stalks into the glass container and set it in your refrigerator.  Make sure to replace the water if you are keeping the spears for more than a few days as it will get cloudy.

roasted asparagus:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea or kosher salt 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the asparagus and break off and discard the tough ends. 
Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the spears as well as a pinch of sea or kosher salt.  Toss the asparagus with the salt and olive oil until they are all are evenly distributed.
Place baking sheet in the oven on the middle or second rack from the bottom and cook for approximately 7-10 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are.  Roast until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork.  
Make sure to toss them a bit halfway through.
I usually pull them out at exactly 7 minutes and they are perfect every time!
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that pairs with just about anything.
Here are some meals we have been pairing it with below.
salmon with almond-lime yogurt sauceroasted red pepper and arugula whole-wheat pizza
Anyway, I hope you have a chance to roast up some asparagus before the season is over.

warm butternut squash and chickpea salad

butternutsquash

Here is an amazing comfort food that is actually good for you. It’s a great vegetarian dish that you can serve up as a side dish or as a main entree, as its very satisfying and filling.  I love butternut squash and I am always searching for new recipes that call for it.  I found this particular recipe last spring at the Smitten Kitchen.  I made it up one night when I was sick of food and wanted a vegetarian option for dinner.  My kids are not big fans of butternut squash or this salad, so it’s really just something that I make for John and I.  I love making it for lunch on a cool weekend because it’s so warm and satisfying, almost like a good soup.

Ok, here are the ingredients you will need in addition to the squash.

Warm butternut squash and chickpea salad:


for salad:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds) 
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped 

for tahini dressing:

 

  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste

 

 

Preheat the oven to 425°F.


Next, I’m going to demonstrate how to cut and peel a squash.  
If you already know how, then you can skip down past these photos.   
Cut off both ends of your squash.
Peel your squash from the top down until you see the bright orange color.
Once your squash is peeled, cut the squash in half.
 Cut the squash again into these large chunks.
Scoop out the all the seeds and that middle gooey stuff.  I use my melon ball scooper for this as it is quick and easy.
I always save and rinse my seeds so that I can roast them later.  Roasted squash seeds make a great snack.
Now you just need to cut up your squash into even sized chunks.
In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, olive oil and a few pinches of salt.  Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated.  Roast them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 20-25 minutes, or until soft.  Remove from the oven and let cool.
While your squash is cooking, chop up your onion and cilantro and rinse & drain your can of chickpeas.
While the squash is cooling, you can make up the tahini dressing.  In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice.  
Note: You will want to use fresh lemons here for your lemon juice.  It typically takes 2 lemons to get a 1/4 cup of juice.
Add the tahini, and whisk to blend.  Add the water and olive oil and whisk well.  If you want a thinner sauce, you can add a bit more water.
To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add the tahini dressing to taste, and toss carefully.  
Note: If I am serving this up for guests, then I will add the sauce (add it slowly to taste, don’t use the whole bowl of sauce) to the whole bowl.  If I’m just serving myself a small bowl for  lunch or dinner, then I will just add a spoonful to my dish, and reserve the rest of the sauce in the refrigerator.

This is my third day of eating this for lunch and I am one happy camper :)  Today was cool and misty so I paired it with some warm tea.  Perfect fall dish!

Roasted Brussles Sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

How are you feeling about Brussels spouts?  Do they bring up childhood memories of being stuck at the dinner table for hours until you finished every last one?  Do you have memories of gagging each time you ate one?  I do!  I use to hate Brussels sprouts, especially ones that were boiled.  They were sodden and vaguely buttered and hard to chew.  Then I tried them roasted, and I was converted.  Roasting them takes away that bitter taste and brings out their nutty flavor.  I’m hoping to convert those of you that are Brussels sprouts haters to Brussels sprouts lovers.

OK, lets get started!  You don’t need much to make these;  just some olive oil, salt & pepper.  First wash up your Brussels sprouts and then pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

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Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves.  Then cut them in half from stem to top.DSC_0020

On a rimmed baking sheet, gently toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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 Roast, tossing occasionally, until sprouts are browned and tender when pierced with fork, about 15 minutes.

roasted Brussels sprouts

Serve them up alongside your favorite dish.

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflowerWant to get your kids to try and love cauliflower?  Then try roasting it. We all want to get more veggies into our family’s diet, right?  Well, a few years back, I tried cooking cauliflower for dinner. I steamed it as you would any vegetable and it tasted OK to John and I, but my kids HATED it!  There was a lot of gagging going on at the dinner table that night.  So I took a break from cauliflower and went back to the old familiars like broccoli and green beans, but I really wanted to get some new veggies into our diet, so I was determined to find other ways to cook them.

I heard that roasting cauliflower brought it to a whole new level, so I decided to give it a try.  The response I got that night from the kids was way different then the one before. The kids were like, “This can’t be cauliflower, it tastes too good, what is it really?” I told them it was indeed cauliflower but that I cooked it a different way. From that night on they were hooked!  Roasting cauliflower intensifies its flavor, rendering a caramelized, crispy product. Tender, aromatic, and slightly sweet, oven-roasted cauliflower is a wonderful veggie accompaniment to any meal.  Give it a try and I bet your pickiest eater will love it!

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse kosher salt

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Cut up your cauliflower into even sized pieces.

chopped cauliflower (1 of 1)Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower and put it on a rimmed baking sheet.  Season with a bit of olive oil and a few pinches of salt, toss to mix well.

Spread the cauliflower out on in a single layer.

chopped cauliflower (1 of 1)-2Bake, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is browned and tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.

This is what your cauliflower should look like when its finished!

roasted cauliflower on baking sheet

roasted cauliflowerPair it up with any entree or throw it into a pasta. We paired it below with a buffalo burger and kale salad.  

roasted cauliflower, kale salad and buffalo burger roasted cauliflower, kale salad and buffalo burger Have you tried roasted cauliflower? If not, you should give it at try and I bet you will become a fan!