When warmer weather comes my search through cookbooks begin to change, were during the cold months I would look for casseroles, stews and soups during the warmer weather of spring and summer I look for marinades and side dishes mostly. I love putting anything on the grill, chicken, tofu, portobello mushrooms and burgers. Instead of spending my time cooking a full out meal on hot days I prefer to make a simple marinade and let my protein just soak in it all day, then pick a recipe for a side dish and prepare that. If you have a couple of side dish recipes in your back pocket summers meals can be simple and quick.
When looking through one of my vegetarian cookbooks I came across a photo of a delicious salad, an apple and bulgur wheat salad to be exact. Though I find it hard to enjoy a more savory dish with fruit (I look at fruit as a dessert so it is hard to wrap my mind around savory fruit) I liked the idea of the salad, I omitted the apples and a few other ingredients, added my own preferences and then switched up some of the dressing to make it to my liking, and that is when this delicious and fiber rich Cucumber and Bulgur wheat salad was born.
Cucumber And Bulgur Wheat Salad
1 cup Bulgur Wheat
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cubed cucumber pieces
1 bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot coins
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp mayonnaise (or vegannaise)
to rehydrate the bulgur wheat stir the bulgur wheat into boiling water, simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover until all of the water is absorbed, it will take around 15-20 minutes.
In a salad bowl mix together the bulgur wheat, cucumber, carrots and bell pepper
To make the dressing whisk together the mustard, honey, vinegar and mayonnaise, sprinkle with pepper to taste. Add the dressing to the bulgur wheat mixture, cover and refrigerate until needed.
If you have taken a quick look around my blog you would have seen my “Culinary Bucket List” link at the top of the page, click on it and you will find an incomplete list of culinary “to-do’s” that I have been adding to over the years. One of the things on that list is the intimidating spaghetti squash.
The spaghetti squash has been intimidating to me because I just never understood what to do with it! I’ve heard many people just use it like any other spaghetti, but I didn’t think the lightness of a vegetable would be the best carrier for something so heavy like a red sauce…on top of that fact I’m not a huge lover of red sauce as it is, so that was out of the question. I’ve been looking for ideas for months know, but when my mother and I went shopping with Lily and were planning on just us for dinner we were looking for something more simple and healthy for dinner. I was looking in the produce section and found that this squash was on sale, and nothing makes me take the plunge on a new recipe then something having a good sale.
I wanted to taste the squash as much as possible (you actually don’t get the full flavor of a regular squash with this variety) so I decided on flavors of garlic with some butter to coat the strands and some Parmesan cheese to add some depth. My mother swooned over it, Lily kept staring at it, and I ate it all up! Of course it was all eaten before a good photo of the finished product was able to be taken, but hey what can you do?
Buttery Garlic Spaghetti Squash
1 small spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Bake spaghetti squash (I used a small roasting pan to keep it from rolling) for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.
2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove and discard the seeds.Use a fork to create long strands of “noodles” If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Heat a large saute pan with the butter and the garlic over medium-low heat. When garlic becomes fragrant add salt and spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need additional salt, or even garlic.The spaghetti squash should have a slight crunch (i.e. not mushy) – but if you like it softer, cover the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Have you ever bought an ingredient for a recipe, and ended up with more left over then you expected? Then you have this ingredient in your fridge or cupboard and you are unsure what to do with it? That is what use to happen to me all the time with broccoli, I’m very bad at eyeballing cup measurements (I’m pretty good at eyeballing teaspoons and tablespoons though!) but I’m unable to look at a bunch of broccoli and know if it’s going to be the three cups I need for a recipe. I always end up with another two cups leftover. I buy broccoli for a chicken biscuit casserole I love to make, but am never sure what to use the broccoli for after, Lily hates it, won’t even touch it, and I’m not one to like broccoli just steamed, and I never remembered to search for a recipe.
One day I was flipping through the cooking articles in all of my Todays Parents Magazines (Love the magazine) and I came across Broccoli and Cranberry salad. I remember having my first (and only) broccoli cranberry salad quite a few years ago at a Christmas family get together, and I loved how the dried cranberries at a blast of flavor once you bit into one and it worked perfectly with the sauce and the crunchy broccoli. Finally I had found a recipe to use up that broccoli in my fridge.
I didn’t have 4 cups of broccoli, I had 2. Of course I could have just cut the recipe in half, but I decided to take it as a challenge to make my own recipe. I made my own special broccoli cranberry salad by adding pasta and bacon! I hope you enjoy!
Broccoli Cranberry Pasta Salad
1/3 cup mayonnaise
4 tsp pickle juice (or vinegar)
1 tsp sugar
2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
2 cups Farfalle pasta (measure them uncooked)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
4 pieces of cooked bacon
In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, pickle juice, and sugar.
Into the bowl add the broccoli, the cooled pasta dried cranberries, and crumble the bacon in bowl also.
Mix well in refrigerate for about 30 minutes (I prefer refrigerating for 3 or so hours myself)
What type of ingredients do you always end up having left over after a recipe? What new recipes or ideas have they brought to you?