Another summer staple is the almighty dill pickle. Nothing completes the sandwich and chips trio more perfectly. Well, with the insane amount of cucumbers we have growing, I knew I wanted to not only have cucumber water in the fridge daily, but also plenty of pickles! They could not be any easier to make.
I used 3 of our garden fresh cukes about this size.
Chop off the tops and bottoms, and slice the haves into spears.
Bring 3.5 cups of water and 1.25 cups of white vinegar to a boil. Then add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and remove it from the heat. Let cool completely. Meanwhile, chop up a small container of fresh dill and put it in the bottom of a large mason jar. Cram as many cucumber spears as will fit on top of the dill. Drop a teaspoon of minced garlic on top and a handful of black peppercorns. Then pour the cooled mixture in. Once you screw your top on, give it a good shake and put them into the fridge. So Good.👍🏼
Adapted From: My Frugal Adventures
I LOVE banana peppers on sandwiches and salads. They add a little heat and a ton of flavor….however (for me), only if they are pickled. Our garden is kicking off some serious banana peppers already, so I couldn’t waste time preserving these beauties as more are ripening right behind them!
These were literally all picked within the last 3 days.
I cut the tops off, ran my knife around the inside to seed and devein, then sliced away.
After transferring the peppers to a mason jar and topping with about a teaspoon of minced garlic, I combined 3 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar and whisked over medium heat until the salt and sugar dissolved. Let it cool completely, then pour mixture into your mason jar.
Refrigerate for at least 24 hours ~ these puppies just get better with age.😋
Tip of the day: Eggplant is another veggie that many folks seem to avoid. The most common complaint is that they taste bitter. Well, the simple secret to bringing out their wonderful flavor without a trace of bitterness is salt. Peel and slice your eggplant. Arrange a layer of slices in the bottom of your colander and salt HEAVILY on both sides. Now stack the remaining slices on top of each other ~ now you only need to heavily salt the top (see what I did there?!). Let those beauties sit in the colander in their salt rub for a good 30-45 minutes. Now rinse well, dry, and they are ready for your grill, oven or pan.🍆🍆🍆
Aside from eggplant lasagna, eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. It’s a bit labor intensive, but so worth it!! Once you have prepared your eggplant slices, coat each in beaten egg then Italian style breadcrumbs. I place 4-5 slices at a time in EVOO warmed to a medium heat. They take about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Once all of the slices have been lightly fried and placed on a paper towel lined plate, prepare your marinara as follows:
This is how golden I like mine. (I have a freezer meal business and this is a top seller. This pic is from a meal prep.)
One pot of homemade marinara (or you can use a store bought jar if you like) plus 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes and 2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce.
Layer your eggplant in a baking dish, top with marinara, then mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat.
Finish with a healthy amount of cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!
Adapted from: EatingWellSpendingLess
Need another vegetarian option that is packed full of flavor plus fiber and protein? This was another dinner my husband was initially skeptical about, but is now one of his favorites.☺️
Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas:
Heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium high heat in a large saucepan. Toss in one small diced onion, 3 minced cloves of garlic, and one seeded diced jalapeño (or you can leave in the seeds for added heat). Cook for 2-3 minutes.
2.5 cups of cubed butternut squash
1 can undrained Rotel
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cover and cook over medium/low for 30 minutes until squash is tender, but not mushy.
Pour about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce (I use the homemade version I’ve shared recently) into the bottom of a large baking dish. Fill warmed fresh flour tortillas (I love Tortilla Land found in the refrigerated section of Walmart) with a generous helping of your mixture. Roll and place seam down in your prepared baking dish. Top with more enchilada sauce and a generous amount of Mexican blend shredded cheese. Cover with foil and warm for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. We top ours with plain Greek yogurt, avocado, and Sriracha. Sooooo good!!!!
Need a super quick and easy side dish for those tacos? Try these! They are the MOST delicious black beans I’ve ever tasted and only have FIVE ingredients!👍🏼 #cleaneats
Pour an undrained can of black beans into a saucepan with 1 small diced onion and 1 clove minced garlic. Bring to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp of cayenne (or more/less depending on your love of spice) and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with a slotted spoon.😋
Here is another one of my favorite sides to eat with all of our Mexican inspired dishes. This one is a low-carb option bursting with flavor.🌽
Roasted Mexican Corn Salad:
~Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in a heavy skillet.
~Add corn kernels from 5 cobs. Don’t stir it, just let it char for 5-6 minutes, then stir and let char again for 3-4 minutes.
~Add 1-2 seeded and diced jalapeños, sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
~Remove from heat.
~3 tablespoons mayonnaise
~1 grated clove of garlic
~2 sliced green onions
~1 handful chopped cilantro
~Juice of 1 lime
~2-3 tablespoons crumbled feta or cotija cheese
Pour your corn and jalapeño into the mixture and fold together. Sprinkle with chili powder. Top with chopped avocado.💃🏻
I can’t remember the last time I bought a bag of rice. Who needs it when you can beautifully replace it with this superfood? Quinoa is so fluffy and delicious and easy to prepare. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Perfect every time!!
The possibilities of quinoa are truly endless. This time I added diced onions, chopped grape tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and the zest and juice of a lime. It also mixes well with enchilada sauce, black beans, fresh corn…..basically anything you have on hand.
Perfect side to any meal or top it with grilled fish, shrimp, chicken or steak and make it the main event. Oh so good!!!!
You ladies can imagine what my husband said (several years ago) when I told him I was making black bean tacos for our “Meatless Monday” supper. He could no more imagine dinner without meat than he could football without beer. Fast forward to today: This is one of the most popular dishes in my house – even my 2 year old loves it!👍🏼
Combine a drained and rinsed can of black beans, a handful of chopped cilantro, a quarter cup of diced red onion, a teaspoon each of cumin and paprika, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine, mash gently with a potato masher, and stir again.
Typically I use fresh tortillas for everything but these work better with the thin cooked variety. Warm a few tablespoons of EVOO in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, lay down your corn tortilla and place a couple of spoonfuls of your bean mixture down along with a sprinkle of shredded cheese (I love pepper jack with these!). Flip your spatula over and gently fold one side over the other. You should be able to fit 3-4 in a pan. Cook for about 3 minutes per side and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
We top ours with plain Greek yogurt, pico, and Sriracha. OMG SO GOOD!!