German Potato Salad

YIELDS | 12 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 25 MINS

COOK TIME | 20 MINS

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The is a savory, tangy and salty German potato salad to eat alongside a good bratwurst and sauerkraut. Bonus it is a Double Duty Recipe because the leftovers make a delicious potato pancakes. Recipe at Verysmartideas.com search “pancakes”.

INGREDIENTS

* 3 cups diced peeled potatoes
* 4 slices bacon
* 
1 small onion, diced
* 
¼ cup white vinegar
* 
2 tablespoons water
* 
3 tablespoons white sugar
* 
1 teaspoon salt
* 
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
* 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place the potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add onion to the bacon fat and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil, add the potatoes and parsley. Crumble in half of the bacon and stir.
3. Heat through and transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the remaining bacon over the top, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and serve warm.

NOTES

Pasta Caponata

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS plus wait time 30 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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I love the flexibility of this dish. It can be used as an appetizer-spread over crusty bread, as a dip for crackers and crudités. To make a quick dinner, simply mix with your favorite pasta and a few dollops of burrata. It’s warm, earthy, tangy and satisfying.

INGREDIENTS

* 5 tablespoons olive oil (about 1/3 cup)
* 1 medium eggplant, 1-11/2 pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 4 large garlic cloves, peeled, minced
* 1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
* 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons capers, drained and coarsely chopped
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and more for garnish
* 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts, optional
* 1 lb Cavatappi or thick spaghetti
* 8 oz Burrata cheese, 1 large ball ripped into 4 pieces or 4-6 smaller balls.
* Kosher salt for leaching moisture from the eggplant and to salt the pasta water
* Freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat. If roasting nuts, add them to the hot pan now. Swirl and stir for 2-4 minutes or until the nuts are golden and toasted. This step can be done in advance and the nuts stored in a container in the refrigerator.
2. Add the oil to the hot pan and heat for a few seconds, add the eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.
3. While the eggplant mixture cooks, fill a large pot with water and 2-3 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil, cook pasta according to the package directions, save 1 cup pasta water, drain and rinse the pasta and then put it back into the pot and cover to stay warm.
4. Add diced tomatoes and juice, red wine vinegar and drained capers to the pot with the eggplant mixture, stir well and cover. Simmer until eggplant and onion are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 12-15 minutes.
5. Add the Caponata and ½ cup of the pasta water to the pot with the pasta and toss, adding more pasta water as necessary to reach a silky consistency.
6. Transfer caponata and pasta to a serving bowl and mix in the chopped basil, saving some for garnish.
7. Season with fresh pepper. Additional salt is not usually necessary as there should be enough salt in the dish from the tomatoes and rinsed eggplant.
8. Sprinkle with toasted pine or walnuts, if using, and nestle in the Burrata cheese.
9. Drizzle with olive oil, additional fresh basil, and a few good cranks of black pepper and serve
 

NOTES

NOTES
Double Dusty Recipe: Double the recipe and serve it as an appetizer with drinks on a Friday or Saturday night and then over pasta with a crisp green salad for a weeknight meal.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. It tastes wonderful dolloped over fish and chicken too. Caponata can be made a few days ahead, cover and chill.

Vegetarian Bolognese

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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This recipe produces an umami-rich sauce that coats thick spaghetti with a savory meatless sauce. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making this dish again and again. Make extras to spread on toasted Italian bread and broil for an easy appetizer or fill tomatoes and bake for another light, vegetarian meal.

INGREDIENTS

* 28 ounce can, diced tomatoes
* 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
* 1 medium onion, finely diced
* 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
* 2 celery stalks, finely diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup dry white wine or broth
* 2 rosemary sprig, roughly chopped*
* Pinch red pepper flake, optional
* 1 pound regular, or gluten free, thick spaghetti
* 1/2 cup parmesan or pecorino, finely grated, plus more for serving. Substitute nutritional yeast or other cheese substitute for cheese to make the recipe vegan
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Finely chop mushrooms or pulse in a food processor until finely ground and place in a large bowl.

2. Add tomatoes and their juices

3. Heat butter and oil (or all oil) in a large pot over medium and add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and mix well. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Season with salt.

5. Add wine or broth and increase heat to medium-high and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often, and until the liquid has evaporated

6. Add tomatoes, 1 cup water, and chopped rosemary. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix well and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 35-45 minutes or until thickened. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

7. While the sauce thickens, bring a large pot of water and 1/4 cup salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and then drain.

8. Return pasta to pot over low heat and add the sauce, Stir gently to combine, add the cheese or nutritional yeast, and drizzle with olive oil. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the dish and stir. Continue adding the water until the sauce reaches a smooth consistency and clings to the pasta.

9. Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary, drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with more cheese or nutritional yeast.



NOTES

Double Duty Recipe:

Make extra sauce to spread on toasted, Italian bread, sprinkle with grated cheese or cheese substitute and broil.
Core and remove seeds from tomatoes, stuff with cremini mixture and bake for at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wild Rice and Pecan Stuffing and Soup

YIELDS | 8-10 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 25 MINS

COOK TIME | 90 MINS

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This double duty recipe blends several tastes that results in a savory, slightly sweet, chewy and tender stuffing. This dish tastes equally as good with turkey as it does with chicken or stuffed into a pork roast. I removed a few steps I felt were necessary and a fair amount of the fat typically found in many stuffing recipes. Be sure to make extra because you definitely will want to make the soup found below in notes-it is that good!

INGREDIENTS

Preheat oven to 350 if not using as stuffing

* 1 ½ cups chopped celery
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 cups uncooked wild rice or 1 cup wildfire e and 1 cup long grain brown rice, will yield 6 cups cooked rice
* 2 garlic cloves, minced 
* 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
* 2 cups chicken broth
* 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage 
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 4 egg yolks, Save the egg whites to use in another recipe
* 1/2 cup sherry or good cooking wine
* 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 orange, peeled, pith removed and chopped
* ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium to large pot or Dutch oven over high heat, bring 5 cups water to a rapid. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add wild rice and brown rice, if using and gently stir rice only once only, reduce heat to simmer and partially cover pot and cook until rice is tender, about 35-50 minutes. Drain and transfer rice to a large bowl.
2. In the same Dutch oven or pot, Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté until onions are golden, 10–15 minutes. Add sage and cook for 1-2 more minutes or until fragrant.
4. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the stock, one cup at a time, stir to thicken and then add next cup, stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Add rice back into pot and stir.
6. Whisk egg yolks and sherry together in a small bowl and then gently mix into rice mixture. Add chopped pecans and orange pieces and mix to incorporate.
7. season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
9. Stuff cavity of turkey just before roasting. If not using as stuffing, bake in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

NOTES

Double Duty Recipe:
Make a Greek inspired soup with lemon and leftover turkey or chicken. Mix 2 cups stuffing with 4 cups chicken broth, juice from one lemon and leftover cooked, chopped turkey or chicken. Heat through, season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and serve.
If you have extra stuffing leftover, put it into a small baking dish, cover it tightly with foil and then place it in the oven for the last 45 minutes the turkey roasts. Add additional broth if necessary.
Add chopped mushrooms in apricot and/or walnuts for different variations.

Heirloom Tomatoes with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 0 MINS

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There really isn’t a vegetable that signals summer’s arrival quite like the luscious plum tomato. The flavors of the marinade in this dish bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and the refreshing lime works beautifully with the spicy jalapeño. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making this recipe often during the warm summer months. This dish tastes especially good when served with grilled fish or chicken.

INGREDIENTS

• 2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes Including cherry tomatoes if desired, in different colors.
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro Plus more for garnish
• One plump garlic clove, minced
• One jalapeño, rinsed, seeds removed and chopped

• 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
• Freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place all the ingredients, except for the tomatoes, into a blender and blend until very smooth.
2. Core and cut the tomatoes in two different sizes and shapes. Place into a serving bowl and poor the blended mixture over the tomatoes and toss to coat.
3. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, garnish with additional cilantro and add additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

This is a double duty recipe: Gazpacho. Make a double batch, add a few extra ingredients to it and have a light and refreshing gazpacho, see the recipe on this website, to serve later in the week. Pair it with a crisp green salad and crusty bread for a complete and quintessential summer meal.