Day 30: Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan ♥

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2007 ~
A keeper, magnificent in its simplicity especially on nights when the oven is already hot.

Roasting is especially good for fat spears of asparagus and takes only a few minutes to clean, trim and prep the asparagus and then only a few minutes in the oven, too.

Two great kitchen tools were put to use tonight:

Mister - Put your favorite olive oil in a non-aerosol olive oil mister, then spray vegetables, salads or pans. The mister makes a light, even coating of oil - the theory is (and I believe it) that you use less oil. I especially like the mister when roasting vegetables for it's easier to coat a big pile of vegetables with a light spray than tossing them in a tablespoon or two of oil.

Microplane - A microplane makes a big pile of fluffy parmesan in a flash. It's ten times better than your best grater. Multi-tasks with citrus zest, chocolate and coconut too. [Update 4/07 There are several models and I have now invested in two different …

Day 29: Beets in Orange Sauce

Quick 'n' easy, with ingredients already in the pantry. Okay, except for the beets -- canned, mind you! - that are easy enough to keep on hand. And the ruby color can't be beat!

Canned beets are pretty good -- not as good as fresh cooked but not awful, like canned peas or canned carrots. I tried two brands tonight, one a national name brand, another a local chain's house brand. There was a 10 percent price difference but no discernible difference in taste.

Active time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter (omitted, didn't miss at all!)
1 cup orange juice
2 15 ounce cans beets
Salt & pepper

Place medium saucepan on MEDIUM heat. Working quickly while saucepan heats, mix brown sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the saucepan with a wooden spoon, working out the lumps. Slowly add the orange juice,…

Mashed Potatoes & Carrots ♥

These are definitely not your gramma's mashed potatoes! (Mine either!) But they belong in the category of "Why haven't we been doing this forever?" or maybe even a "genius recipe"! Just cook and mash potatoes and carrots together. You'll need hardly any (if any) fat and they'll be creamy beyond belief. Canadian Readers, these would be a great addition to Thanksgiving dinner. Do enjoy!
~recipe updated 2016~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005 Original: Ooooo, if this isn’t comfort food, what is? Potatoes and carrots are verboten for Atkins followers but their extraordinary loss is our magnificent gain. Tonight I cooked and mashed a pound of Yukon golds and a pound of carrots with nothing more than a tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper. The color is extraordinary, the taste … well, let’s just say, oooooooooooooo.

Big TIp: Bypass those bags of prepeeled carrots for they have no flavor when cooked. And come on, it takes only eight minutes – EIGHT…

Day 27: African Pepper, Tomato & Spinach ♥

Today's vegetable quick 'n' easy supper recipe: A quick skillet from pantry ingredients, just five ingredients, not counting the water, salt and pepper, that is. Surprisingly tasty for something so simple. Just 4 PointsPlus for Weight Watchers. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". It’s a great defense to the onslaught of Easter and Passover sweets that will be tempting us over the next few weeks. Gird thyself!
~recipe & photo updated 2006 & 2014, & reposted 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005 ORIGINAL POST Yum! A definite keeper! The start is pretty typical, just sautéed onion and bell pepper. The tomato and spinach are added later, then comes the secret ingredient, peanut butter! It adds flavor, texture and protein – though skip the boring details and tell the kids only that it tastes good. Will kids love this? Maybe? New lesson: Sauté vegetables in water or chicken broth, not fat, especially if there's fat (in this case, the rich peanut bu…

Day 26: Broccoli with Ginger & Garlic

Tonight was a disappointment. The taste was okay but the color unappealing, thanks to the soy sauce. Still, it'd do in a pinch, since it's Fast and Easy. Another time, I'd use fresh broccoli, hoping it wouldn't absorb the soy color.

But we're learning. New Veggie Venture lessons include:
In general, to serve four people, start with a pound of the main vegetable.
In general, a pound of vegetables cookied with 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil will result in each serving with 1 point in the Weight Watchers world, whose regimen, by the way, I recommend for both weight loss and every-day healthful eating.
Active time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 12 minutes
Serves: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from a jar!)
1 pound frozen broccoli heads, thawed slightly if time permits (see TIPS)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Salt & pepper

Heat oil in a hea…

Day 25: Glazed Rutabagas

Today's vegetable recipe: Diced rutabaga (also called 'swedes') boiled, then finished in a glaze of butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and lemon juice. Weight Watchers 1 point.
~ recipe updated & photo added in 2008 ~
2005: Have you had rutabagas before? You'll find them in the produce section along with other root vegetables. They're often cooked like that too, roasted alongside parsnips, potatoes, carrots. This recipe comes from my mother's (and my!) long-time friend, a fellow Home Ec grad and terrific cook. She says she 'loves' these though her family only 'tolerates' them. Me, I'm somewhere in between -- including reminding myself how important it is to taste a new food more than once.

But the real magic here may be the cooking technique, so I'm going to suggest it as another "For Instance" recipe, a basic technique that can be applied to other vegetables. Tonight, for instance ;0), rutabagas, another time carrots or broccoli …

Day 24: Baked Beets ♥

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2008 ~
2005: (F)ED, that is Easy and Delicious but no, not even close to Fast. Thus Baked Beets are a definite keeper but best saved for (1) eating some night when supper is 60 - 90 minutes away or (2) making ahead some time when the oven's already on anyway.

2008: Beets have turned out to be one of the great convenience vegetables. Once they're baked or roasted or cooked some way, they make for great quick salads. So I often throw a few into the oven whenever the oven's on for something else.

For more ways to cook beets, check out (what's turned out to be, as A Veggie Venture continued past its first intended month) a huge collection of beet recipes.

Active time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 60 - 90 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound fresh beets, stems on
1 tablespoon butter, optional
Salt & pepper

Wash beets well, cut off all but about 1/2 inch of stems. (See ALANNA's TIPS.) If desired, peel. (See TIPS.) Wrap in foil and bake at 400F…