Pat’s Pantry: Stir up some mealtime excitement

With these delicious side dishes, you can make a wonderful meal and you can use up all those fresh veggies from the garden. – Pat

By Pat Mills

Au gratin peas
and potatoes

6 bacon strips, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups sliced peeled cooked potatoes
½ teaspoon salt
1 package (10-oz) frozen peas, cooked and drained
2 cups (8-oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup milk

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. In the drippings, sauté onion until tender. Layer with potatoes, salt, peas, 1 cup cheese and bacon. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through. Combine mayonnaise and milk until smooth; pour over bacon. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 4 servings.

Cheesy zucchini sauté

½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter or margarine
3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup (4-oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives

In a skillet, sauté onion in butter until crisp-tender. Stir in zucchini, basil, salt and garlic powder. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Sprinkle with cheese, tomato and olives. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

Creamed cauliflower

1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets (about 7 cups)
1-½ teaspoons salt, divided
½ cup dry breadcrumbs, divided
1 cup half-and half cream
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
minced fresh parsley

Place cauliflower in a saucepan; add 1 inch of water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 6-7 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Grease the bottom and sides of a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs. Add cauliflower. Pour cream over top. Dot with butter; sprinkle with remaining salt and breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Garnish with parsley. Yield: 6 servings.


• To prevent rice from boiling over, rub butter or margarine around the edge of the saucepan before cooking.
• For a delightful caramelized flavor, add a teaspoon of sugar to vegetables when you stir-fry them.

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