As far back as I can remember, I've enjoyed cooking. And Mom did well to teach me how to put a meal together so that everything is done at once - main dish, side(s), salad, etc. These days with two little ones, I'm practically Frisbee-tossing food onto the table in time for us to all sit down and shovel it in our mouths before bath and bed time. I still love to cook, but lately my challenge has been to make sure we're eating a square meal. I'm bored with the same old go-to green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers or plain jello with Cool Whip.
I know I can do more, and I want to do more. During my days of scheduled naps, reading the same library books over and over, and general predictability, I'm itching to throw in a bit of the unexpected, and dinner time is a venue to do it. So, I'm getting out my cookbooks and recipes to spice up my side dishes. Here are a couple of our favorites that we ALL like, and I hope you'll try them too.
Creamed Green Cabbage
1 small head green cabbage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups warm milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring 1 inch salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add cabbage. Cover and steam, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, and let cool slightly. Squeeze out excess water using a kitchen towel. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook until bubbling but not browning, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove from eat; add cheese and lemon zest. Immediately fold cabbage into sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into a shallow casserole dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbling, 30-35 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Combine in deep casserole dish:
5 cups cooked (crisp-tender) sliced carrots
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
Combine in medium saucepan and heat until just warm:
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar (any kind, but I like apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. prepared mustard
pepper to taste
Combine vegetables with sauce and marinate overnight. Heat in oven until warm through.
I'd love some ideas from you on how you shake up your Tuesday night chicken or Saturday's pizza!