To add a bit of an edgier flavor to carrots I use balsamic vinegar and then char them crisp. Flavored balsamic vinegars work well also. Tonight I used a pineapple coconut white balsamic vinegar.
BALSAMIC CHARRED GARLIC CARROTS
2 pounds carrots, sliced on the diagonal or smaller carrots halved lenghtwise
2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced paper thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon garlic oil (avocado or olive work well too)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Heat butter and oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
- Add carrots and garlic, stirring to coat well.
- Cover and simmer 5 minutes until carrots begin to soften.
- Uncover and continue to simmer until carrots begin to char.
- Add balsamic vinegar and stir to coat well.
- Cook 2-3 minutes more until carrots are charred, cooked through and most liquid is absorbed.
This makes a wonderful bundt cake for any holiday!
CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES with LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING adapted from Al Made It For You yield 10 cupcakes
1½ cups grated carrots
½ cup WELL DRAINED crushed pineapple
1 cup (120g) cake flour
¼ cup (31g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ heaping teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 LARGE eggs
¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar
½ cup (120ml) Avocado oil
1 (5 ounce) (142 grams) OUI lemon Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/3 cup crushed finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract.
- Combine the flour mixture, crushed pineapple and grated carrots mixing just until combined.
- Add to wet mixture and blend well.
- Fold in raisins and all but 2 tablespoons of walnuts.
- Scoop out the batter evenly into 10 paper liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes before taking them out to a wire rack to cool completely.
8 oz (225g) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1½ cup (188g) powdered sugar
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- In a mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter until it becomes fluffy.
- Add the cream cheese and continue to beat.
- Add powdered sugar and lemon zest, beating to incorporate until smooth.
- Add frosting to piping bag and pipe cupcake tops as desired. The frosting recipe makes the right amount for piping swirls. You’ll only need two-thirds of the recipe is needed if piping bursts instead.
- Sprinkle with reserved walnuts.
NOTE: This makes a WONDERFUL small bundt cake. Adjust the baking time from 18-20 minutes to 35-45 minutes.
Sweet apricots, zesty marinated artichokes add tons of flavor to this marinated sheet pan chicken dinner.
SHEET PAN CHICKEN MEDLEY
2 1/2 pounds (4) skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into LARGE chunks
4 tablespoons Avocado oil, divided
ZEST and Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground Himalayan Sea Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 large carrots, diagonally sliced
2 LARGE red onions, cut into wedges
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 -2 cups dried apricot halves
1 – 6 ounce can pineapple orange juice
- In a large bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic.
- Generously season chicken pieces with FRESH ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper.
- Toss chicken breasts in marinade and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
- In a separate bowl add apricot halves, juice and artichokes, tossing to mix. Let stand at least 30 minutes or more to plump apricot pieces. I usually let it stand all day.
- Heat oven to 400°.
- Coat a sheet pan covered in foil with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl combine the basil, fennel, tomato paste and remaining avocado oil.
- Season with FRESH ground Himalayan Sea Salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Pour half into a second bowl. Add the onion wedges, apricots and artichoke hearts, tossing to coat, set aside.
- Add carrots to the marinade in the first bowl, tossing to coat.
- Arrange carrots on the sheet pan.
- Roast carrots for 15 minutes.
- Add in chicken pieces in a single layer.
- Top with the apricot mixture.
- Roast 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through to 160°.
CREAM OF CARROT FENNEL SOUP
1 pound of FRESH carrots, chopped
3/4 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon FRESH ground Pink Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon FRESH ground tri-color peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Wondra
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons Cream of Sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fennel fronds for garnish
- Bring water and chicken broth to a boil in a steamer.
- Add carrots and fennel to steamer basket. Steam7-8 minutes or until tender.
- Remove carrots and fennel to cool slightly. Save broth, adding enough water to measure 2 cups. Set aside.
- Add the carrots and fennel to food processor with 1 cup of the steaming broth. Blend until smooth.
- Melt butter in large sauce pan.
- Add shallot, sauteing until soft.
- Add the garlic, sauteing until fragrant.
- Sprinkle in flour, stirring to blend until golden.
- Slowly whisk in the whole milk, heavy cream, cream of sherry and remaining 1 cup of broth.
- Stir in thyme and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.
- Stir in carrot puree.
- Season to taste.
- Top with chopped fennel fronds.
COFFEE POT ROAST ala SLOW COOKER – serves 4
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, quartered**
2 Medium onions, halved and wedged
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid amino acids
8-10 small gold potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork
3 LARGE carrots, rustic large cuts
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cold water
- Place half the onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Top with the garlic followed by half the beef. Repeat the layers.
- Whisk together the coffee and liquid aminos.
- Pour over beef.
- Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, about 8 hours.
- At 6 hours add the carrot pieces.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to cooking juices, stirring to blend.
- Cover and cook on HIGH (about 30 minutes) until gravy is thickened.
**The original recipe was for slow cooking, but I prefer the oven unless I’m going to be gone all day. If I use the oven I DO NOT quarter it. If using the oven adjust the roasting time to 2-3 hours of covered and undisturbed roasting with the potatoes and carrots.
The original recipe had you slicing the onions thin. BUT, if you halve it root to tip and then wedge it you not only get thin pieces, you also get MORE flavor when you cut the onion in this direction.
The original recipe did NOT call for browning the meat, but I find you get a juicier roast with more flavor if you do so when roasting in the oven.
CARROT LEMONADE – serves 6
1 pound carrots, cut into chunks
2 cups water
3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice or white grape juice
4 lemons, juiced
2 cups cold water
- Place carrots in a large sauce pan.
- Add water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until carrots are tender.
- Cool slightly, but DO NOT DRAIN.
- Transfer to a blender.
- Add 1 cup of the pineapple juice.
- Cover and blend until smooth.
- Stir in remaining pineapple juice and lemon juice.
- Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
- Mixture may thicken as it chills, whisk in cold water as necessary to reach desired consistency.
- Serve over frozen pineapple chunks with pineapple wedges.
Meatloaf is really just an oversized meatball. So, why not make it a personal size so you can get more finished edges covered in delicious gravy?
Swedish Meat Loaves are spicy beef meatloaves smothered in a rich tasty gravy served over mashed potatoes with roasted carrots with Lingonberry jam on the side—in other words, Thanksgiving for the rest of the year.
SWEDISH MEATLOAVES with MASHED POTATOES, ROASTED CARROTS & LINGONBERRY JAM
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced into thick coins
3/4 pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
several sprigs Parsley, finely chopped
1 slice white bread
3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup milk
2/3 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup beef consomme
2 tablespoon Lingonberry Jam
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground salt and pepper, taste
- PREHEAT oven to 425° and adjust rack to upper position.
- Toss carrots on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
- Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
- Add potatoes to a medium pot with a large pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to empty pot off heat.
- Place bread and 3 tablespoons milk in a medium bowl. Break up bread with your hands until pasty.
- Add in beef, 2 tablespoons minced onion, half the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper and salt to taste. Mix by hand gently until thoroughly mixed.
- Shape mixture into two 1-inch-tall loaves.
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add meatloaves and cook until browned on surface but not yet cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
- Once carrots have roasted about 15 minutes, remove sheet from oven and give carrots a toss. Add meatloaves to same sheet and place back in oven.
- Bake until meatloaves are cooked through and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes more.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan you browned the meatloaves in over medium heat.
- Add remaining minced onion. Cook, sauteing, until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add flour and cook, stirring, until pasty, about 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in beef stock and 1/4 cup milk.
- Bring to a simmer, then whisk until thickened, about 1 minute.
- Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg to taste.
- Add more water if too thick.
- Place pot with potatoes over low heat.
- Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 tablespoon butter mashing until smooth. Add more milk if too stiff.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- Plate potatoes and meatloaves.
- Drizzle with gravy.
- Add carrots and jam to the side.
- Garnish with remaining parsley.
HOUSE SEASONING MIX
1/4 cup fine sea salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon FRESH ground black pepper
- Combine in a small bowl until well blended.
- Store in an air tight container.
For a nice change of pace in the spring and summer I try to make lighter AND healthier dishes. I ran across this recipe at the dentist office and instantly fell in love after a few adjustments for our tastes, especially with my new restrictive diet! I’m ALWAYS looking for more flavor and it has been hard to come by – until now!
CARROT ORECCHIETTE serves 4
1 pound large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2+2 tablespoons cup avocado oil
4 ounces dry orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 sprigs FRESH thyme
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped chives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 475°.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat.
- Add carrots to a large bowl.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
- Generously season with the salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat well.
- Spread carrots onto baking sheet in an even layer.
- Nestle thyme sprigs randomly into carrots.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until tender and carrots are beginning to curl at the edges.
- While carrots are roasting cook pasta per package directions. DO NOT ADD THE SALT OR FAT.
- Drain pasta WELL.
- Add pasta to large mixing bowl.
- Add vinegar, 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
- Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat.
- Remove thyme sprigs.
- Add carrots and GENTLY toss again.
- Divide among the plates.
- Top with chives and Parmesan cheese.
MAPLE GLAZED BACON WRAPPED ROASTED CARROTS serves 6
The crisp carrot meets the salty bacon and is glazed in sweet PURE maple syrup to become the new family favorite!
2 pounds carrots (not too thick), peeled
1 pound bacon
1/4 cup PURE maple syrup
- Pre-heat oven to 400°.
- Wrap the carrots evenly in the bacon slices.
- Arrange on a wire rack on a baking sheet and roast in oven until the bacon is crispy and the carrots are tender, about 20-30 minutes until carrots are tender and bacon is crisp.
- Start glazing with the maple syrup at the 10 minute mark and glaze every 5 minutes.
- OPTIONAL: Mix some Dijon mustard into the maple syrup.
- Depending on your carrot sizes you might want to halve your carrots for easier cooking.
- Using pre-cooked bacon (to the point where it is still easily wrapped but a lot of the fat has cooked out) makes the process quicker.
I recently ran across a recipe for “Swiss Steak en Casserole” from an old 1958 booklet of recipes that was quite similar and it reminded me of this recipe I make primarily in the winter because of its “comfort” quality of rib sticking goodness, which means I haven’t made it in a few years since it hardly gets cold here.
I have NO idea why this is called Swiss Steak. I just know my mom called it that and so did her mom. Grams said it had something to do with how the meat is prepared, but don’t quote me on that! That conversation was eons ago. But, as I typed this my curiosity got the best of me so I looked it up.
According to Wikipedia, “Swiss steak is meat, usually beef, prepared by means of rolling or pounding, and then braising in a cooking pot of stewed tomatoes, mushroom sauce, or some other sauce, either on a stove / log (cooker) or in an oven. In England and in some parts of the United States such as the Deep South, it is also called smothered steak. The dish does not stem from Switzerland, as the name suggests, but from the technique of tenderizing by pounding or rolling called “swissing“. So that was clear as MUD 😀
Mom used to add sliced green peppers and I ALWAYS picked them out so I don’t bother to add them now. Green peppers and I are NOT friends – never have been, never will be especially now with no stomach tolerance. I do use quite a bit of FRESH ground tri-color peppercorns instead. I remember it sometimes being served with mashed potatoes, but I prefer the sliced potatoes cooked in the sauce. I cannot be sure of the original measurements or even the original ingredients as I have adjusted it over an over through the years to suit our tastes. I know the original recipe called for water, but I love using the buttermilk as it makes a thicker, more flavorful gravy.
I also remember a similar recipe using a brown style gravy with mushrooms that was using this same cut of meat like a faux stroganoff.
TOMATO SWISS STEAK
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of tenderized round steak
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1-2 teaspoons FRESH ground tri-color pepper
1 large shallot, sliced
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Bisque Soup
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Yukon potatoes, sliced thin
1-2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cut the round steak into 6 to 8 serving-size portions.
- Add flour into a shallow bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Generously season each piece of meat on both sides.
- Dredge each steak in flour mixture, pushing down to secure flour to meat.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Quickly brown each piece of meat and the remove it.
- Add the shallot and bell pepper if you are using it, stirring to sauté for a few minutes, scrape up bits from bottom as you go. Scoot shallots and peppers to the edges of the pan.
- Alternately layer potato slices in the middle of the shalllots.
- Whisk together the tomato bisque and buttermilk.
- Add meat pieces over top of the potatoes.
- Pour tomato soup mixture over everything.
- Cover and bake 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Using the vinegar makes a tangier sauce – just depends on your mood. 😀
- In the winter I like to make this with sliced carrots also which add some GREAT color.
- I also sometimes make this with sliced baby red peppers instead of green peppers.
Linking to FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.
When I was in college, I worked at several restaurants, but by far one of my most favorite was a dinner house called the Four Winds. It was originally a steak house, but as time went on it transformed into a more casual menu at lunch and with the sandwiches we served a slaw that we made fresh daily. Best as I can remember this is the closest version to it and it is soooooooooooooooooo good!
FOUR WINDS SWEET & SOUR SLAW
2 celery stalks, diced small or sliced thin
1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
1/2 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup mayonnaise
3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 tablespoons sugar
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar until well blended.
- In a large bowl toss together the cabbages, celery and carrots.
- Pour mayonnaise mixture over cabbage mixture, sprinkle with caraway seeds and toss until well coated.
- Fold in raisins.
- Adjust salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar to your personal tastes.
- Cover and chill several hours before serving.
RUM RAISIN CARROT CAKE
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Jumbo eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup golden rum*
3 cups grated carrots
8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Pour rum over raisins and set aside for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour 2-9 inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugars.
- In another bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and 1 egg. Add additional eggs and beat until well creamed.
- Add dry ingredients gradually until well blended.
- Add carrots, pineapple and walnuts until well blended.
- Drain raisins and fold in last.
- Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes.
- Invert cakes onto rack and cool completely.
NOTE*: As an option you could soak the raisins in orange juice instead and then substitute 1 teaspoon maple flavoring for the rum.
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
- In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
- Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
- Ice first layer and then add 2nd cake top and ice again including sides of cake.
- Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.
This recipe is also great as cupcakes.
Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.