Category Archives: Vegetables

My Broccoli and Hash Brown Au Gratin

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There are days when you come home from work and you need to make something good out of the things you have in your refrigerator.  Today was one of those days and after taking inventory of what I had in my refregirator I came up with this.  A broccoli and hash brown au gratin.

1 large head of fresh broccoli trimmed and cut into pieces
1 stick of butter
1/2 half of a medium onion diced
1/4 cup of flour
3 cups of milk
8 oz shredded hash browns
2 tablespoons  salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsb ground thyme
1/4 tsb oregano
1/4 tsb garlic powder
1/4 tsb onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the broccoli and cook until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold water and drain well.  In a large pan, melt the stick of butter over medium heat. Cook the onions until soft.  Stir in the flour until thickened into roux, about 4 minutes.  Add  salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, garli powder, onion powder, and red pepper until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Bring to a simmer and add the cheese until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat.  Place broccoli into casserole dish, pour cheese sauce into broccoli and mix well together.  Sprinkle hash browns over the top.  Place in oven and bake until golden brown. 

Brussel Sprouts And Bacon



For any Holiday meal we all look for a great side dish.  I have come up with a great side dish using brussel sprouts and bacon.  At the end of the meal they are always gone so the family most certainly likes them.  You must use fresh sprouts and not frozen ones.   It is a very easy recipe to prepare also.


5 slices of bacon
1 1/2 pounds of fresh sprouts, trimmed and halved
In frying fan fry the bacon until crisp and remove.  Disgard about half the bacon fat.  Add the sprouts to the pan and cook sprouts about 2 minutes and remove.  Lay the sprouts on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the sprouts in a pre heated oven at 350 degrees.  Bake until sprouts appear done approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Take bacon and put in a freezer bag.  Smash the bacon until it resembles bacon bits.  Take sprouts from baking sheet to serving bowl.  Take the bacon and mix together.  You now have a great side dish for any Holiday Meal.  Cheers !!


Grandma Marconi’s Sweet Potatoes


My wife’s grandmother was one of the most incredible people I have ever known.  She loved to cook and after she passed the family put together a recipe book of her receits.  She didn’t call them recipes she called them receits.  Notice the different spelling.  The one recipe that has become a tradition to Thanksgiving in our family is her sweet potatoe recipe.  It’s simple, has pecans, and is great.  If you would like a nice twist on sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving give Grandma Marconi’s recipe a try.

Sweet Potatoes:
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 tablespoon maple extract
1/2 cup of milk
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of chopped pecans
In caserole dish mix the sweet potatoes together.  In seperate mixing bowl mix together the toppings.  Spread the toppings over the top of the sweet potatoes.  Place in oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Happy Thanksgiving.  We all have so much to be thankful for !!!!

Sauerkraut For Thanksgiving


Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, sauerkraut was always a side dish for Thanksgiving.  I married into an Italian family so when I went to their house for Thanksgiving the first time the first thing I noticed was they didn’t have sauerkraut with their feast.  Well now when we have Thanksgiving at my wife’s parents home,  I am in charge of bringing the sauerkraut to the meal.  I put it together in a crock pot before I go to bed the night before and let it slow cook all night long.  A Thanksgiving feast would not be complete unless you have sauerkraut available as a side dish.

2 bags of sauerkraut
2 red apples cored but unpeeled and coarsely chopped 
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 pound of pork neck bones
1 can or bottle of beer
Put all the ingredients in a crock pot.  Add beer to cover the sauerkraut ( it will evaporate ).   Set the crock pot on the lowest setting.  That is 10 hours on my crock pot.  After 10 hours you can put the crock pot on warm and leave it that way until ready to serve.   Remove neck bones before serving.   You may need to add water along the way to keep it from drying out.  Happy Thanksgiving !!

My Incredible Creamed Spinach


If your grilling some steaks there is nothing that goes with it like creamed spinach.  I have tried different recipes of this and have modified those into my own which is fantastic.  I don’t use frozen spinach.  It’s always best to use fresh.

2  10 oz. packages of fresh spinach
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of flour
12 oz of half and half
2 cloves of garlic minced
just a little portion of chopped onion
1/4   tablespoon of salt
1/4 tablespoon of pepper
a few dashes of nutmeg
In soup pot bring water to boil.  Take your bags of spinach and cook about 5 minutes.  Drain spinach in colindar, let cool then squeeze as much water out as possible.  This is a very important step.  You want as much water squeezed out as possible.  In pan melt butter, then add flour and make a roux.  After you have a paste add half and half.  Add garlic, salt, pepper and onion, bring to boil and then simmer for about another 5 minutes.  Now take the spinach and add to the sauce.  Add nutmeg and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.  This is now ready to be served as a side dish.  It is so perfect to go with a big fat steak !!!! 

Cremed Cabbage


A different way to fix cabbage as a side dish.  This is simple and has plenty of flavor.


1 head of cabbage
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup of Sherry
16 ox heavy whipping cream
Chop head of cabbage into small pieces.  In pot heat some vegetable oil and add garlic.  Add cabbage and cook down until semi-soft.  Add sherry and cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add whipping cream and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and let it go for approximately 1 hour until 1/2 of the liquid cooks down. 


Greek Chicken And Vegetables


I remember growing up my mom would fix a greek chicken recipe.  I have added a greek vegetable medley which goes perfect with it.

1 whole chicken cut up
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into thick slices
2 zucchini cut into thick slices
1 large onion cut into thirds
2 medium tomatoes quartered
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 pound of hard cheese cut into chunks
1/4 cup of olive oil
oregano (frest is best)
fresh mint
cilantro (fresh is best)
lemon juice (fresh is best)
Place chicken in baking dish.  Sprinkle salt and pepper and oregano over chicken and lemon juice.   Cover and cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Cook uncovered the final 15 minutes:
Place vegetables and cheese in baking dish.  Pour olive oil on top and herbs.  Make sure you put lots of herbs in this.  Mix generousloy together.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour mixing together on occasion.  Serve the chicken and vegetables for a great greek dinner.  CHEERS !!!

My Awesome Stuffed Peppers

When I was a kid I really didn’t care for stuffed peppers.  Recently I have experimented with them and have put this recipe together that I think is awesome.  I have tried using tomato sauce, tomato soup, and ketchup to top them off with.  Ultimately I prefer the ketchup sauce to top them off with.

6 large bell peppers
2 tablespoons  salt
2 tablespoons pepper
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 table spoon of parsley
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 medium onion chopped
1 pound of lean ground beef
1 cup of long grain wild rice
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons of worchestershire sauce
In large soup pot boil water.  Cut tops of the peppers off and remove all seeds.  Place peppers in boiling water until softened, approximately 5 minutes.  In smalll pot cook long grain wild rice, I prefer the Uncle Ben’s but any kind of rice will work.  In large skillet saute onions until soft, add ground beef and garlic, cook until beef is completly cooked.  Add crushed tomatoes, parsley,  oregano, salt and pepper.  Blend together and cook until it thickens approximately 10 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In baking dish put enough water in the bottom to cover it.  Place peppers in dish and pack each pepper tightly with mixture.  In seperate small pot mix ketchup and worchestershire sauce and heat until hot.  Spoon ketchup mixture over the top of each pepper.  Place in oven and cook approximetly 45 minutes. 






This is an outstanding side dish for any meal.  It is particulary a great side dish that goes with a holiday feast.

1 32 oz. bag of frozen green beans.  If you can get good fresh green beans what would be better yet
3 tablespoons of butter
1 can of creme of mushroom soup condensed
1 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of sour creme
1 8 oz package of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of french fried onions
In large skillet melt butter and add flour making a paste.  Add the can of creme of mushroom soup, milk, and sour creme.  Blend together then add the cheese.  Mix the green beans into the mixture,  add salt and pepper and half of the can of french fried onions.  Transfer to a caserole dish and put in pre heated oven at 350 degrees for apporximately 30 minutes.  Add the other half of the french fried onions on top and bake an additional 10 minutes. 





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Being from central Pennsylvania, I never had collard greens until I worked for a company based in Georgia.  My friend Lea kept talking about how great collard greens are.  I finally one day took her advise and went and got all the ingredients and gave it a try.  I have been hooked ever since.  Like they do in Georgia, I have added collard greens to our Thanksgiving menu.  The key to good collard greens is to get the bitterness out which is what baking powder does along with the other ingredients.  You can use any kind of pork as a base.  I like using pork neck bones but many other recipes use bacon or fatback.

1 to 2 bunches of fresh collard greens stems removed and chopped
1 pound of pork neck bones
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
3 packets of splenda or sugar
1/4 cup of molassis
2 pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
Place neck bones in large pot of water and boil for approximately 1 hour or until the meat falls off the bone.  Remove neck bones and pick the meat off the bones.  Add garlic, salt, pepper, baking powder, sugar, molassis, and red pepper flakes to the boiling water.  Place all the chopped greens in pot. Simmer about 45 minutes or until greens are tender, Enjoy !!!