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Veggie side dishes

Charlette wrote to me and asked,

Could you tell me how you prepare your side vegetables (the broccoli, carrots etc) that you show often with the main dishes? They look so bright and inviting. I'd love to know your recipe and how you prepared them. Thank you.

Charlette, thanks for asking! Most of our meals involve at least one cooked vegetable, and most of the cooked vegetables I serve are prepared very simply.

My main tip is not to over-cook vegetables. I used to add salt and pepper to our cooked vegetables, but I somehow got out of that habit and we still enjoy them. It's one less step for me! :)

Here's a run-down of the veggies we eat:

I always buy frozen green peas. We can't stand the canned ones! We eat peas several times a week, because we both love them. We also buy a frozen carrot/cauliflower/broccoli mixture from Aldi.

We eat either canned or frozen green beans and corn. These garlic green beans call for frozen green beans; this easy green bean casserole uses canned green beans. Of course, when we have fresh green beans from the garden, I use those in either recipe. :)

We like broccoli best when it's freshly boiled/steamed to crisp-tender. Frozen broccoli just isn't as good, in my opinion!

Carrots taste best when they're freshly coooked, too. I love cooked baby carrots tossed with butter and salt!

We also eat some seasonal veggies from the garden -- asparagus (almost always prepared as Asparagus and Onions), cabbage (here's my quick and easy fried cabbage recipe), yellow squash (usually cooked accrding to this recipe, but also in this summer squash casserole), and sugar snap peas (cooked until crisp-tender, or added to egg noodles).

This time of year (March), you're seeing a lot of frozen peas, cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli on our plates. I remember last June/July, almost every meal that we photographed had asparagus on the plate. ;)

Our lunch: Last-minute guest menu

Cheesy Potatoes and Chicken Vermicelli, along with some cooked veggies

Today was busy, but fun! The children and I were eating our breakfast this morning when a friend of mine called and asked if she and her 3-year-old grandson could come for a visit. Thankfully, I wasn't planning to go away or anything today, so I said "sure!" and invited them to stay for lunch, as well.

I had leftover oven-roasted chicken from yesterday, which I had de-boned and was planning to use for something. When I found out we were having guests for lunch, I started some water for pasta, and made a dish of Cheesy Chicken Vermicelli -- a quick and easy casserole that usually goes over well.

I also had some potatoes in the fridge that Joshua had cubed for me, which I had cooked and planned to use for cheesy potatoes. In a matter of minutes, I had a dish of Cheesy Potatoes to put in the oven with the vermicelli.

I cooked some canned corn and some bagged frozen peas, and rinsed off some fresh grapes that I got at the grocery store yesterday. And that was our lunch!

I did prepare most of it while our guests were here, since it was on short notice (and I spent most of that 45 minutes tidying up the house, getting dressed, and caring for the children!).

I was reminded of why I prefer to have the food already made when company comes. I am practically incapable of cooking and visiting at the same time. Is that odd? I can generally multi-task quite well (what mom can't?! ;D) but I always have difficulty entertaining guests while trying to prepare the meal. :)

Weekly Menu -- January 28, 2007

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

  • My Mom's Easy Fried Chicken (I have a bag in the freezer from the last sale! Usually I don't have room to freeze extras. :D) with rice and cooked veggies on the side

Wednesday

  • Try-a-new-recipe day :D

Thursday  

Friday

Saturday

  • A new make-ahead recipe (still deciding)

Weekly Menu -- January 21, 2007

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Try-a-new-recipe day :D

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

Weekly Menu -- January 14, 2007

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

  • Hot Chicken Sandwiches (A favorite with Joshua and a quick and easy use of leftover chicken meat!), cooked veggies

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

Weekly Menu -- January 7, 2007

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

Weekly Menu -- December 31, 2006

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • Leftovers

Saturday

  • Not sure yet, since we may or may not have company coming :)

Weekly Menu -- December 17, 2006

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

Weekly Menu -- December 10, 2006

Sunday

Monday

  •  Leftover taco pizza (Yay! A break from cooking!)

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday 

Friday

Saturday

  • Guests are coming; menu still being decided! :D

Weekly Menu -- December 3, 2006

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday 

  • Something in the crock pot! Any good suggestions? I rarely use my crock pot, and want to find some delicious meals to make with it. I'd love to hear about a crock pot meal that isn't roast beef or soup!

Friday

Saturday

  • Something else in the crock pot. I am determined to start finding good slow-cooker recipes!!!!