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Pat’s Pantry: Vegetable dishes

By Pat Mills

If you find the right vegetable dishes you don’t need meat on your plate. I’m satisfied with a vegetable casserole for a meal, or you can make a great side dish. – Pat

Creamy vegetable casserole

2 cups fresh baby carrots
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 cups fresh cauliflowerets
1 3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 15)

Place the carrots in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 3 minutes. Add broccoli and cauliflower; steam 5 minutes longer or until tender. Transfer the vegetables to a greased 2 ½ -quart baking dish. In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in cream, bouillon, onion powder, and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese. Pour over vegetables and stir to coat. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Creamed pearl onion casserole

¾ pound pearl onions
4 celery ribs, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 ½ cups half-and-half cream
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 ½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon paprika

In a Dutch oven, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add pearl onions; boil for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Peel and set aside. In a large saucepan, sauté the celery, green onions and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended; gradually add the cream and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in pearl onions and cheese. Transfer to a greased 8-inch-square baking dish; sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Candy corn medley

1 medium potato, peeled and diced
4 medium carrots, diced
5 bacon strips, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon  olive oil
3 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place potato in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender, adding carrots during the last 5 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towel to drain. Reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. In the same pan, sauté onion in oil and reserved drippings until tender. Stir in the corn, syrup, salt, pepper and bacon. Drain potato mixture; add to skillet. Heat through.

Broccoli sauté

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup julienned sweet red pepper
¼ cup olive oil
12 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 1/3 cups water
3 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

In a Dutch oven, sauté onion and red pepper in oil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in the broccoli, water, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

FOOD FACTS

• When steaming vegetables, try adding fresh herbs (such as basil, thyme, rosemary and garlic cloves) for more great taste.
• When time allows, dice and cook a whole package of bacon; drain and let cool. Freeze in a heavy-duty plastic bag. Use the diced cooked bacon to flavor a variety of dishes.

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