Creamed spinach is especially satisfying on a cold winter evening. I sometimes use Romano cheese instead of the Parmesan, and suspect almost any aged hard cheese would be an excellent substitute.

2 10-ounce packages frozen spinach
1 onion
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt
White pepper, freshly cracked and finely ground

Cook the spinach according to package directions. Drain well and set aside in the pan. Peel, clean and mince the onion.

Place the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat; when melted add the onion. Sauté briefly and add the flour, stirring until the flour and butter are thoroughly incorporated. Slowly whisk the milk into the sautéed onion, keeping the mixture smooth. Continue whisking over medium heat until the sauce is thickened. Whisk in the nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to blend.

Remove the cheese mixture from the burner and replace with the spinach. Carefully stir the cheese mixture into the spinach and cook until hot, 3 – 5 minutes. Stir gently and watch closely to avoid scorching or burning the sauce.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Cabbage is a budget friendly vegetable with a good storage life. From a delicious quick side dish to a significant player in the main course, cooks appreciate the versatility of this humble vegetable.

1-1/2 pounds red cabbage
2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar
6 slices bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion

Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Remove the bacon to drain and cool. Drain excess fat from the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pan to prepare the sauce.

Remove tough, discolored or damaged outer leaves from the cabbage head and shred into thin pieces with a sharp knife, mandolin or food processor.

Place the shredded cabbage into a Dutch oven with 1/2-inch of boiling water, to which you’ve added 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar. Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Clean and cut the onion into thin slices. Dice the cooked bacon.

Place the skillet over medium to medium-high heat and stir the flour and brown sugar into the fat until well combined. Stirring constantly, add the water, vinegar, salt, pepper and onion. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Stir the sauce into the cabbage in the Dutch oven. Add most of the bacon and stir until nicely blended and heated through.

Transfer the cabbage to a heated serving bowl and garnish with reserved bacon.

Yield: 6 servings

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Sweet potatoes are versatile and this satisfying pudding makes the point. When it comes to tubers, sweet potatoes are a thrifty yet superior nutritional choice that can replace white potatoes in most recipes. Enjoy!

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.

1 pound sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups butter, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated

6 eggs
1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To save time and energy, I like to cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. We think the pudding tastes better when the potatoes are baked or boiled whole. Check with your grocer to confirm that the skins have not been treated with dye before making a decision to peel or not. So long as the skins haven’t been treated, I leave the skins on all potatoes for most recipes. If you don’t care for the skins, they’re tender enough to peel off with your fingers before proceeding with preparation.

If you don’t have a chance to plan ahead, you can quickly cook the sweet potatoes on the stovetop. Fill a Dutch oven 3/4 full of water and place over high heat. Scrub, or if desired peel, and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. Add the sweet potatoes to the boiling water and cook until fork tender; drain and prepare.

Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mash until smooth. Once the potatoes are smooth, add the butter and stir to incorporate. Place the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest in a bowl and stir to blend. Add the sugar mixture to the sweet potatoes and stir to incorporate. Place the eggs and brandy in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture to the sweet potatoes and stir to incorporate well.

Pour the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until the top is firm. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top and bake 5 minutes longer.

Place the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

Remove the pudding from the oven and allow to cool for 10 – 20 minutes.

To serve: scoop a serving of the warm buttery pudding into a small bowl and top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Yield: 12 servings

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Whipped sweet potatoes is a perfect side dish for a baked ham holiday meal. If you lighten up the butter and cream you can enjoy this dish throughout the year to perk up a simple pork chop dinner or add a little flour and egg to turn out potato pancakes for a nice snack.

10 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked and finely ground
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Scrub the potatoes and place them in a lidded Dutch oven. Fill the Dutch oven with cold water, 1-inch above the potatoes. Place the Dutch oven over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to maintain a low boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Begin checking for doneness at about 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return to the still-warm Dutch oven. If you prefer peeled potatoes, cool briefly and remove the peels while the potatoes are still warm. Mash the potatoes by hand or use a mixer to whip the potatoes until they’re fluffy. Do not add the butter and cream at this stage. Whip the potatoes alone. If the butter and cream are added before the potatoes are whipped there’s a very good chance the potatoes will become stringy before they become fluffy. This applies to white potatoes as well.

Add the salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of the butter and heavy cream to the hot potatoes and blend by hand until thoroughly combined.

Turn the potatoes into a warmed serving bowl and push the remaining 1/4 cup butter into the center.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Tip: I measure the cream and 1/2 cup of the butter into a large coffee mug and park it near the Dutch oven while the potatoes boil. By the time the potatoes are finished, the butter is melted and the cream is warmed, which helps keep the potatoes piping hot through processing.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Whether you use fresh or frozen broccoli, this is a quick and delicious side dish that compliments simply roasted meat very well.

2 bunches of broccoli
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 – 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
Salt
Pepper

Wash the broccoli and cut the flowerets off and into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Slice the stems into 1/4-inch slices, discarding any tough or discolored pieces.

If you’re using frozen broccoli, there is no need to thaw before cooking. Whether using fresh or frozen broccoli, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the steamer and refresh under cold water. Drain the broccoli very well.

Peel and finely chop the garlic. Place the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Stirring frequently, cook the garlic until it is golden and fragrant. Add the broccoli and water. Season with pepper to taste.

Increase the heat to medium/medium-high and cook the broccoli for approximately 5 minutes, until it is tender. Remove the broccoli from the heat and add the butter. Gently toss the broccoli to distribute the butter. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the broccoli before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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