Once again, this recipe comes to you courtesy of multi-generational living, via my daughter. During July and August she prepared this bolognese sauce whenever the tomatoes threatened to take the kitchen hostage. The wide variety of vegetables make the sauce a banquet of flavors mingling together. And it’s a good way to clean out the vegetables languishing in the fridge. Just remember that the secret of good sauce is to let it simmer for several hours. So you’ll be wise to start it right after lunch. But be warned–smelling the sauce all afternoon will work up a big appetite. So make plenty!
Clean Out the Vegetable Drawer Bolognese Sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced very fine
2 carrots, diced very fine
2 stalks celery, diced very fine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 small head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
4 or 5 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons or more olive oil
2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
1/4 cup red or white wine
balsamic vinegar (optional)
In deep, heavy pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté onions, carrots and celery until onions are translucent. While sautéing the vegetables, add the salt. Add the cauliflower, chopped into small pieces, roughly the size of cooked ground beef.
When the vegetables begin to brown, add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is browned. Add in the garlic, pressed or chopped finely. Add the tomatoes. Stir and let the mixture come to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until the tomatoes and the juice reduce and thicken, 2–3 hours.
Once reduced, add wine. Simmer for a bit and taste. Add more salt if needed. Keep in mind that favors will be stronger in the end. Let the sauce simmer and reduce for about an hour more. The end product shouldn’t be chunky but not watery, rather than saucy like marinara. The tomato and red wine should stick to the meat and vegetables much like stir fry sauce does. Taste again. The flavor should be rich and savory. If it’s a little weak ,add 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, stir and let cook for 10 more minutes. Serve over spaghetti noodles.
Sharing the kitchen with my daughter and her family has many advantages. One of the greatest advantages is that I am in charge of only half the meals. Another is the opportunity to learn new recipes from the cook who’s in charge of the other half of the meals. Here’s her take on chicken salad. I never would have guessed how much cauliflower can add to this simple dish.
Anne’s Chicken Salad
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
4 large pickle spears, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Saute cauliflower in olive oil until some pieces begin to brown. Remove from heat.
Combine chicken, onion, celery, pickles, and cauliflower in a large bowl. Add mayonnaise 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches the consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate 2-4 hours before serving with your favorite bread or on a bed of lettuce.
It’s takes a village to feed a high maintenance eater like me. So I’m thankful my village is populated with people like my big sister who keep their eyes open for delicious dairy-free recipes. She’s the villager who sent an email with this recipe for shrimp tacos. The dish is packed with vegetables that are plentiful during the summer months. Plus, it uses olive oil rather than butter to cook the shrimp and doesn’t suggest using cheese or sour cream as a garnish.
Because this recipe is truly dairy-free, there was no need to substitute ingredients or to omit others. Everyone at our house agreed it was delicious and a perfect meal to enjoy at the end of a lovely summer day. The tweaks I made are designed to keep the heat out of the kitchen in case a lovely summer day is also a hot one.
1 pound raw shrimp. peeled and devaeined
1 lime, juiced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
12-6 inch tortillas
- Turn slow cooker on high. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in the slow cooker to warm for 30 minutes.
- Gently mix tomatoes, onion, avocados, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Saute for about 3 minutes, turning often until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Put shrimp, tortillas, and vegetable mixture in separate serving dishes for diners to assemble at the table.
Thanks to our weekly CSA share, the vegetable bin is overflowing with cucumbers. So cucumber-onion salad is gracing our table almost daily. Because today is my birthday and I’m celebrating by not experimenting with a new recipe, I’m rerunning this one that was first featured on Down the Gravel Road in July of 2012. It’s easy, it’s tasty, it’s non-dairy, it’s low-cal, and the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. No wonder this recipe has been consistently discovered and repinned on Pinterest since the day it first appeared there.
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced into thin rings*
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Place vegetables in a small serving bowl. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well and pour over vegetables so they are completely covered with liquid. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad can be stored for several days or a week in the fridge.
I try to make it at least 8 hours before serving so the flavors can meld and the vinegar has time to pickle the vegetables a little. Also, more cukes and onions into the brine after the original veggies are gone. I usually do that once before discarding the brine and making a completely new batch.
*I used red onions, which is why the salad looks so pretty in the picture, but any type of onion is fine.
My daughter and I went to a coffee shop in Madison during my last visit. We spied homemade peanut butter protein bars in the cooler. My daughter picked one up. “These look good,” she said.
“Too bad they probably have whey in them to jack up the protein,” I said.
“No dairy,” the woman behind the counter said. “But they do have flax seed.”
The daughter and I were ravenous as we’d eaten only salad for lunch, so we laid two bars on the counter, ordered our coffee, and sat down to enjoy our treats and watch my adorable grandson be adorable.
The protein bars were delicious. So good we spent every minute we weren’t laughing at the grandson’s high jinks deciding what ingredients were in the bars so we could make them at home.
Here’s the recipe I created after arriving home. That means the daughter hasn’t taste tested them. But the Man of Steel and I both think their pretty good. The recipe’s pretty forgiving, so you can add your favorite ingredients to the mix so they tickle your taste buds, too.
Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars
1 cup natural peanut butter (the gooey kind)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Kirkland chocolate chips
1 cup puffed rice
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until well mixed. Press into a greased, square 9 x 9 pan. Put in refrigerator until firm. Cut into 12 bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.