Category Archives: Vegetables

Veggie Corn Dog Mini Muffins

Toddlers are funny little people.  One minute, they’re begging for broccoli and just when you set their plate in front of them, THEN they ask for cake.  My little miss LOVES cupcakes.  She calls them pancakes, but I know what she means.  My little mister LOVES ketchup and will dip anything in it- even apples.  And he loves hot dogs.  They also have days where they eat hardly anything, and days I’d swear they had hollow legs!  Well, today they ate four of these mini muffins, each.  And that’s a LOT for a little tummy.  They both said, “yum!” and little miss even said the ‘pancakes’ were ‘so pretty’.  She’s got good taste!

This recipe is easy to pull together, takes literally 5 minutes to assemble, and tastes great to boot!  I hope you love them as much as we did.  They also freeze very well!  Perfect for those crazy week nights!

Veggie Corn Dog Mini Muffins

  • corn bread muffin mix that makes 6 regular sized muffins (I used Marie Callendar’s)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 hot dogs, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly spray 20 of the cups in your mini muffin pan.
  2. Make corn bread according to package directions, using milk, egg and butter.
  3. Place shredded veggies in a clean towel or paper towel and twist/squeeze to get some water out.  Stir into corn bread batter.
  4. Dollop about 1 tsp batter into each of the 20 greased cups.  Use your clean finger or spoon to even it out in the cup.
  5. Add about 1 tsp chopped hot dog on top of the batter, then top that with another tsp of batter.  If you have some left over, just distribute it among the cups.  Use your clean finger or a spoon to make sure the hot dogs are covered with batter.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until sides are golden brown.  
  7. Let cool about 5 minutes, then remove from pan to a cooling rack.  Serve warm with ketchup and/or mustard.
  8. To freeze, let cool to room temperature, then place in a zip top bag and remove as much air as possible.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  Reheat by baking on a foil lined and lightly greased tray at 400 for about 10 minutes.

These would be great chili toppers, too!!


Ham Hocks and Beans

Just because I can see the sun doesn’t mean I can feel it.  It’s that time of year!  Well, if it can’t be warm and toasty outside, I can get warm and toasty inside.

This is the kind of soup/stew that puts a fire in your belly.  Not the kind that has you reaching for the Tums, but the kind that warms from your belly to your toes.  The kind that makes me want to sit back, sigh with contentment, and get out a good book.  Or, more realistically, gives me the energy to chase around two toddlers.  

Wishing you warmth and a full belly!

Ham Hocks and Beans

  • 1 lb pinto beans, rinsed well and picked over
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red)
  • 2 jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise 
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Chicken stock (or water)
  • 3 smoked ham hocks
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place rinsed beans in a large bowl or pot and fill with water until it’s about 1 inch above the beans.  Let sit at least overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the beans and set aside.
  3. Add oil, onion, celery, and peppers to a large pot and cook, stirring often, until veggies are translucent (about 5 mins).  Add cumin, baking soda, and enough chicken stock to cover the beans by about an inch.  Nestle in the ham hocks, and bring to a low simmer. 
  4. Cook low and slow, stirring every so often, until beans are soft.  This will take a couple of hours, so add chicken stock as needed.
  5. Once beans are soft, discard jalapeños, and set ham hocks to the side to cool.  Stir in tomatoes and shredded carrot.
  6. Once cool enough to handle, remove meat from the ham hocks and return the meat to the pot.  Cook an additional 10 minutes or until the carrot is soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of wine and a good crusty bread.  Cheers!

Weeknight Mash

weeknight Mash

Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods.  We are experiencing a mixture of warm sunny days and cold/windy/rainy days.  When it’s cold, I like having something warm and comforting to eat.  And going outside to grill just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

On days like that, I want a comforting side dish.  The most comforting side dish I can think of is mashed potatoes.  But, I grew up in a small town in Idaho where our high school mascot is a potato.  So, if you don’t know how to make a decent mashed potato and you come from Shelley, Idaho, there is definitely something wrong.  Well, these potatoes are more than decent.  They’re delicious.  And QUICK!

The ingredients are the normal mashed potato ingredients: potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper.  It’s the method that makes these potatoes my go-to recipe.  And there’s enough for 6 to eat, with leftovers!

Sure, you can feed your family potatoes from a box.  Or spend close to an hour waiting for the huge pot of water and potatoes on the stove to come to a boil.  But, seriously, boxed potatoes taste kinda funny.  And who has time to wait for water to boil on a glass-top electric stove?  I swear, the stove we have is the SLOWEST thing I’ve ever cooked on.  Ever.

I hope you’re able to try this recipe, and that you love it as much as we do.

Weeknight Mash

  • about 5 lbs russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
  • 4 quart glass (microwave-safe) casserole dish with lid
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Place potatoes in the casserole dish with enough water to come half way up the sides.  Put on the lid and microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Check the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork – if they are soft and break easily, then they are ready to mash.  If not, give them a good stir, and microwave on high for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain potatoes.
  2. Place milk and butter in a microwave safe dish (I use my pyrex measuring cup) and microwave about a minute.  Watch it to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
  3. Place potatoes back into the casserole dish or in a mixing bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Using an electric mixer, add about half of the milk/butter mixture, and whip on low speed.  Keep adding the milk until your desired consistency is reached.  If you like thinner mashed potatoes than I do, you might need more milk.
  5. I whip mine in the same dish I use to cook it in, but you could also whip the potatoes in another dish and add back to the casserole dish.  I like to serve in that dish because it’s already warm!

You could also flavor these mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, sour cream and chives, sour cream and cheddar– whatever!  🙂

Veggie Cream Cheese


One of my very favorite things is going to a bagel shop and ordering a sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese.  The veggie cream cheese tastes different from the stuff in the dairy section at the store.  It tastes BETTER!

I didn’t feel like driving to the nearest bagel shop- its over half an hour away. So, I decided to make my own.  It was pretty easy!  Plus, it can be customized to fit your tastes.  Don’t like red bell peppers?  Leave them out!  Addicted to kale?  Throw some in there!  Whatever floats your boat!

And when you’re done making this cream cheese, you can slather it on toast, toasted bagels, crackers, celery sticks, etc.  YUM!  And the breakfast BLTs made with this stuff are AWESOME!  I use this cream cheese instead of mayo, then pile the bacon, lettuce and tomato on my toasted bagel.

I couldn’t find sesame bagels at the store that would work with my ‘lower carbs’ diet, but I did find the Thomas Bagel Thins in the Everything flavor.  They’re pretty good- especially with freshly made veggie cream cheese.

Seriously- go make some!!

Veggie Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced scallion
  • 2 Tbsp minced celery
  • 3 Tbsp minced carrots
  • 2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
  1. Bring cream cheese to room temp.  Whip slightly in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add garlic and veggies.  Stir well.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors ‘meld’ before using.
  4. Keep in fridge- should last a week or two in a tight lidded container.  Enjoy!!

Lemon Garlic Herb Vinaigrette


This tangy dressing reminds me of Spring.  I know Spring is right around the corner, but all of this fog we’ve been having lately has been a little discouraging.  I can’t wait to see the daffodills begin to grow.  Heck, I’d settle for a full day of sunshine!

Until then, lets just make a little sunshine in a bottle.  Something tangy, lemony, and herby.  Or is that Herbie?  No, wait.  Herbie is a car…

This dressing will keep a couple of weeks in the fridge.  I like to bring it to room temp before tossing with greens to make sure the olive oil is no longer solid.  And this dressing with a bit of blue cheese is heavenly– almost like Buddy’s salad dressing.  Almost…

Here’s hoping Spring comes soon!  😀

Lemon Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Place olive oil and garlic in a microwave-safe container.  Microwave on high about 30 seconds.  This will help to mellow the garlic a bit so it’s not as harsh as raw garlic.  Let cool.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil/garlic mixture while whisking constantly.  Continue whisking until dressing thickens slightly and is well combined.
  3. Store leftover dressing in a jar with a tight lid in the fridge.


Bacon Mushroom Green Beans


Maybe these should be called “Manly Green Beans”.  You know, because they have bacon.  And Mushrooms.  And that’s manly food, right?  Because somehow, somewhere, SOMEONE decided lady food should be all pretty and dainty and non-messy.  So glad I don’t have to limit my diet to tea sandwiches and tiny little fruits on skewers.  Sure, those things are good once in a while, but they’re not Bacon Mushroom Green Beans good.

I got the idea for these from a certain BBQ restaurant.  I like their green beans, which had bits of bacon and a little onion in them, but they were always swimming in broth.  I prefer my veggies not to swim unless they are in soup.  🙂

I devoured these beans.  This recipe makes a lot– I ate them all week!  And I took the container to work so I wouldn’t have to share.  Shhh!

Bacon Mushroom Green Beans

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 16 oz. bag frozen steam-in-the-bag Green Beans
  • 8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 shallot, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  1. In a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.  Set aside.
  2. Place green beans in microwave and cook according to package directions.  I think mine took about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour out all but 1 Tbsp bacon grease from the skillet.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft and cooked through.
  4. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and cook to reduce by half, about 3 minutes.
  5. Drain green beans (if needed), then add to skillet.  Stir well to mix mushrooms and shallots with green beans.  Crumble bacon on top.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

Try not to eat the whole pan by yourself.  Unless you’re really hungry. Or it’s Monday.  😉

Zucchini Breakfast Puff


So, I have to go on a temporary low-carb diet.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes– twins can put a lot of stress on their mama’s body!  I’m usually fine with snacks, lunch and dinner, but breakfast has been a bit of a challenge.

Luna bars have become my new best friend for busy mornings.  They taste great, and are low-glycemic– but I still have to balance them with a little more protein like a hard boiled egg or stick of cheese.

Scrambled eggs are off the table for now.  It’s a pregnancy thing- not that there’s anything wrong with scrambled eggs.  I like quiche, but it takes too darn long to make.  Plus, it can be too eggy sometimes.

Then I ran across this recipe in the latest issue of Taste of Home (you need to be a member of Taste of Home to open the link).  This was perfect!  I could bake it up on the weekend, slice into 6 servings, wrap each serving, and freeze a few.  A thawed piece only takes 45 seconds to heat in the microwave.  It’s low enough in carbs for breakfast, high enough in protein to balance the carbs out, and it has lots of veggies.  Veggies for breakfast!  That’s the kind of thing that makes you feel all healthy and stuff.

There was one problem when I made the recipe as directed.  It was… blah.  Very blah.  No flavor kind of blah.  So, I made a few modifications, and came up with some variations to try over the next few weeks.

My modifications included adding seasoning (garlic salt), and using two types of cheese instead of 1.  Viola!  Flavor!

Do you feel all healthy and stuff when you eat veggies at breakfast?

Zucchini Breakfast Puff

  • 3 large eggs (I used the kind with omega-3)
  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 lb zucchini, shredded (about 3 small)
  • 1 cup reduced fat baking/biscuit mix (heart smart Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 10″ oven proof skillet with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Slowly whisk in the oil to the eggs.  Once fully combined and thickened, add zucchini, baking mix, cheeses, and garlic salt.  Stir well.
  3. Pour batter into prepared skillet, smoothing the top.
  4. Bake 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and the center is set.
  5. Let cool about 15 minutes.  Loosen the edges of the puff from the skillet and slide onto a large plate.
  6. Cut into 6 pieces and serve warm.

This recipe stores well- just wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.  Thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then just unwrap, place on a plate, and heat in the microwave on high for 45 seconds.  DIG IN!


  • Broccoli Cheddar Breakfast Puff: Replace Zucchini with broccoli (thaw a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it up into small pieces), use all sharp cheddar cheese.  You could also add some HAM if you have it.
  • Italian Zucchini Breakfast Puff: Add 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, and 1/4 tsp dried basil.  Replace cheddar with mozzarella.
  • Bacon-Spinach-Artichoke Breakfast Puff: Omit Zucchini.  Use a small box of frozen spinach (thawed, and wrung out in a towel to get rid of excess moisture), 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped fine, and 1/3 cup bacon bits.  YUM!