Yes, Perfect Roasted Potatoes.
Growing up with an Irish mother, roasted potatoes were served on a regular basis along with boiled potatoes. Bisto Gravy was a must in our house. Getting perfect roasted potatoes can be very difficult. I know since growing up, I had plenty. They are hard on the outside and dry on the inside. The Bisto Gravy helped, but still.
As an adult, I like roasted veggies and I have been experimenting with roasting. Unlike when I was young where only the meat and potatoes were roasted while the veg was boiled in water, I have started roasting the potatoes and veg together with success. I toss them with olive oil and lots of herbs making it flavorful. Getting the temperature and timing right is the hardest for me.
The keys to roasting for me are:
- the right amount of oil. There should be enough to brown it and keep it moist.
- the size of the veg. The veg and potatoes need to cut into similar sizes and not too large.
Feel free to use veg you have on had to roast. I have roasted pepper, squash, sweet potatoes, and cabbage. All turn out nicely.
- 1 lb. (bag) small potato medley or baby red potatoes, sliced in half
- 1/2 lb. baby carrots, sliced in half or other veg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, mined or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, baby carrots, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme.
- 3. Spread out the potato mixture into a rimmed baking sheet lined with tin foil.
- 4. Roast in oven stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes.
Simple Bean Salad is a No Cook Side
Let us face it. No one regardless of how great your air conditioning is during the summer, you still hesitate turning your stove on to make something. This simple bean salad is a perfect no cook side or a nice vegetarian meal for the summer.
It is easy to make and beats anything you can buy pre-made out of a bottle or can. Sure it takes 15 to 20 minutes longer than opening a can, but it will taste a lot better and you can control the intensity of flavors.
Try some other sides and salads
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few generous turns of the pepper mill
- Combine beans, celery, red onion, parsley, and rosemary in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Mix dressing throughly with the bean mixture.
- Serve chilled or at room temp.
Fried Green Tomatoes. One of the dishes folks think about when they think about southern cooking. Whenever I come across them on a menu, I must order them. Now I have to be honest, I do not like fried red tomatoes, but I do like fried green tomatoes. It may have to do with the texture.
As my time living in the south comes to end after living in Kentucky and North Carolina, I am trying to make dishes I have become accustomed to when eating out. Fried green tomatoes are one of the dishes. It was time to try.
We stopped at a roadside produce stand. They had wonderful veggies including green tomatoes. I could not pass on them. I only picked up one to try. I asked the girl working what was her suggestion as to make them. She shared that her boyfriend’s mom just soaks the green tomato slices in egg then in flour and fry. That is it.
Basically, there is no recipe. It is a recipe done was with a little bit of this and that. Start off with a green tomato. It is important that is firm. Slice 1/8 – 1/4 inch. Beat an egg. Coat the slices in egg and let soak for a couple of minutes then dredge it in flour that has been seasoned with Jane’s Krazy Salt or just salt and pepper. Heat olive oil a frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the tomatoes 5-9 minutes each side. Serve with a side of ranch dressing.
Need other sides? I have quite a few here.
Simple Pasta Salad for the Summer
It is the dead of summer where there is no escaping the heat and humidity. Too hot to grill even to grill. No one really wants to turn on the stove especially in the afternoon. I am no exception. Even boiling water feels too much. Making this simple pasta salad is worth turning on the stove for it though. I like to make the pasta salad in the morning while the air conditioning is still running before it switches over to day mode. Making it early allows the flavors to blend together by dinner.
l keep this salad as simple as possible. I use whatever smallish pasta I have in the pantry. In the summertime, I usually have fresh tomatoes and seedless cucumbers on hand. I do not usually have bottled salad dressings outside of real blue cheese dressing. I prefer to make my own such as Buttermilk-Basil and Basic Italian vinaigrette. The flavor is so much better and fresh tasting. Just takes a couple of minutes longer than it does to shake the bottle. It is also good to finely grate fresh parmesan cheese. Worth the extra effort on both counts. Really.
This simple pasta salad is good as a side to grilled meats and seafood as a stand alone meal.
- 1 16oz box of small pasta such as elbow
- 1 seedless cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 6 tomatoes
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Basic Italian Vinaigrette
- Boil water of pasta and cook according to directions on the box and drain setting aside.
- Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions placing in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle Italian seasoning into the grated parmesan cheese.
- Mix pasta with vegetables then add cheese and Italian vinaigrette.
- Chill for at least two hours.
- Serves a huge crowd and/or many lunches for days to come.
Basic Italian Vinaigrette, Just Make It
I am a salad dressing snob since I started making my own about five years ago. I do not usually have bottled salad dressings outside of real blue cheese dressing in my fridge. I prefer to make my own dressing now such as buttermilk-basil dressing. The flavor is so much better and fresher tasting. There isn’t a fake aftertaste.
Just takes a couple of minutes longer than it does to shake the bottle. So why not just make your own?
This basic Italian Vinaigrette will dress the Simple Pasta Salad recipe.
Basic Italian Vinaigrette
- 1.5 cups olive oil
- 3.4 cup white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- 4 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- Generous pinch dried oregano
- Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until blended.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Makes enough to dress the Simple Pasta Salad.
Easy Summer Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad
Didn’t finish that baguette? And it is stale. Do not throw it out. Make Panzanella or Italian Bread Salad. It is a filling summer side and a way to get rid of some stale baguette. Sounds like a win-win. It is quick, fresh, and simple.
When I say simple, I mean simple. Especially in the summer time when we tend to have fresh tomatoes, onions, basil, peppers, capers, and cucumbers. Toast the bread in olive oil in a frying pan. Add the bread then add a vinaigrette and you are done. That is all.
This is a wonderful side. It goes perfectly with grilled meats and fish. I have to admit until I made this recipe, I had never eaten a bread salad before outside of some croutons on a Caesar Salad.
A lazy summer dining experience could include a table of cold salads to serve. Most are vegetarian and vegan. Nothing more satisfying than a table filled with different types of salads, fruits, cheeses, and bread to call dinner. Especially if you are dining outside as the sun goes down and day turns into night.
I’m working on adding more of this fresh but filling salads and sides to enjoy in the hot weather.Need other salads to fill your table? Look here.
Let’s get preparing Panzanella!
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 10-20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- For the vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or squeezable garlic out of a tube
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or spicy ground mustard
- 3 tablespoons White Wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1. Make the vinaigrette
- 2. Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
- 3. Make the bread salad
- 4. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt and cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
- 5. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers.
- 6. Add the bread cubes then the vinaigrette tossing to coat.
- 7. Season the bread salad liberally with salt and pepper.
- 8. Serve immediately or let the salad sit for half an hour to allow the flavors to blend before serving.