WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Vegetable Tian January 31, 2012

Filed under: Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 10:46 am

If you’re like me, you have no idea what “tian” means.  Well, a quick Google search tells me that a “tian” is a layered vegetable dish that originated in France.  Works for me!

Vegetable Tian


  • 1 large summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • Shredded Italian style cheese


  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic and saute in a skillet with some EVOO until softened and transluscent.
  2. Thinly slice the other veggies.  I recommend slicing the potatoes slightly thinner than the other veggies because they take longer to cook.
  3. Spray a 2-qt or 8×8 or 9×9 casserole with cooking spray.  Layer the cooked onions and garlic on the bottom of the dish.
  4. Layer the sliced veggies in an alternating pattern in the dish.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes until veggies are tender.
  6. Remove foil, cover veggies with cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and starts to brown.  You may need to switch to broil if you’re impatient like me 🙂

This was a very tasty side dish.  We had it with salmon and garlic knots.  I think this would be really good with sweet potatoes, and you could change up the cheese and seasonings, too.


Thai Sweet Chili Salmon and Spinach Salad January 11, 2012

Filed under: Fish,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 11:35 am

Here’s a healthy and yummy dinner for you!

Broiled Salmon with Thai Sweet Chili Glaze
Recipe from HERE

Basically, I just combined some Thai Sweet Chili sauce and soy sauce, marinated the salmon in it for about an hour, and broiled it.  Then I topped the salmon with some of the same sauce after it was done.  Delicious!!

Spinach Salad
This simple spinach salad has been my go-to side dish lately.  All I do is put a ton of fresh spinach in a big bowl and top with balsamic vinegar, honey, and EVOO.  Then I toss it really well and let it sit for like 15 minutes so the spinach breaks down a little.  This salad is good on its own, or you can top it with whatever you want.  Last night, I used toasted pecans and shaved parmesan.  Simple and tasty!


Meatloaf and broccoli January 10, 2012

Filed under: Side dish,Turkey,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 11:39 am

Happy Tuesday!  It definitely doesn’t look or feel like January around here.  We actually went outside for a walk the other day!  Very strange.  Anyway, I’ve got two recipes to share.  First up is the best broccoli you will ever eat.  Really.  I could easily eat an entire pan of this.

Roasted Broccoli
Based on recipe HERE, found via Pinterest


  • 1 head fresh broccoli (I threw some cauliflower in, too)
  • EVOO
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Do not wash the broccoli (the heat of the oven will take care of any bad stuff).  Preheat oven to 400 F.  Cut broccoli into bite size florets.
  2. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Spread broccoli in a single layer on cookie sheet, do not overcrowd.  Use a second pan if you need to, as overcrowding will just cause the broccoli to steam instead of roast.
  4. Liberally drizzle EVOO on broccoli, and liberally season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Roast in oven 20-25 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender and starts to brown.  Keep a close eye on it, and toss halfway through.
  6. Remove from oven and squeeze some lemon juice over it and toss with a handful of shaved parmesan.  Serve immediately.

The second recipe of the day is a new (to me) twist on meatloaf.

Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Meatloaf
Recipe from HERE, found via Pinterest

I used turkey instead of chicken, and omitted the parsley and fennel seed.  I also used fresh spinach and wilted it in the microwave for a minute.  This meatloaf was very tasty, and it smelled like pizza while it was cooking!


Time for some thyme November 8, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Potato,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:28 am

Sunday was the end of Daylight Savings time, so I thought it would be appropriate to make Lemon Thyme Chicken…. hardy har har.  Or maybe I just had some leftover thyme I wanted to use, and I found a recipe.  I’m really liking fresh thyme.  It’s so flavorful, and the smell of it reminds me of Thanksgiving and cozy comfort food.  I also made two yummy side dishes: hashbrown casserole and roasted asparagus.  It was a pretty darn good Sunday dinner, if I do say so myself!

Lemon Thyme Chicken

I only made two chicken breasts, not four, but I did make the entire amount of sauce.  I just like having lots of sauce 🙂  There was a lot leftover, so cut the whole recipe in half if you desire.  However, I think if you served this with mashed potatoes or noodles, you’d want the extra sauce.  A couple adjustments I made: used ~2 tsp fresh thyme instead of dried, used about 1/2 an onion instead of a whole one.  

Hashbrown Casserole

I’ve made this before, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever blogged it.  Everyone seems to have their own version of this cheesy hashbrown dish, and you can’t really mess it up.  I used this recipe as a guideline.  I only made half of the recipe, and it’s enough for a 9×9″ pan.  I omit the corn flakes, use finely chopped fresh onion instead of dried, add some garlic powder, and probably use more cheese than the recipe calls for (I don’t measure it). 

Roasted Asparagus

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray
  • Trim bottom portion off a bunch of asparagus, rinse under cold water, shake excess water off
  • Line up asparagus on baking sheet
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • Bake at 375-400 until tender and slightly browned/crispy

Crunchy May 13, 2011

Filed under: Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:24 am

I just have a quicky side dish to share today.  I made this last night to have with our grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches and cantaloupe.  Despite the terrible picture, this slaw tasted really yummy.  I loved the flavor of the dressing and the crunch of the apples and almonds.

Crunchy Apple Slaw
Slightly adapted from Pennies on a Platter


  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip Light
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (approx the juice of 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 smallish head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pink lady apple, sliced into matchstick-type pieces
  • 2 green onions, whites and most of greens, chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup toasted chopped almonds
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • black pepper to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Miracle Whip, sugars, vinegar and lemon juice.
  2. Stir in the cabbage, apples, and green onions.  Toss to thoroughly coat with dressing.  Season with black pepper to taste.   
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Stir in the almonds and sesame seeds just before serving.   

Easter Treats April 25, 2011

Filed under: Potato,Side dish,Sweets — WannaBe Chef @ 10:02 am

Happy day-after-Easter, friends!  It’s hard to believe this was our second Easter here in MN.  Hopefully we will be back in MI by next Easter.  Anywho, the weather finally decided to cooperate, and it was really nice yesterday.  After a relaxed day of cleaning, Skyping with the family, and having an iced (decaf!) coffee from the only place that was open, I made a nice Easter dinner for two. 

The menu included:

  • Smoked, glazed ham for Wayne (Glaze = my mom’s recipe: brown sugar, mustard, and pineapple juice)
  • Glazed chicken breast w/pineapple for me
  • Cheesy hashbrown casserole  (I halved the recipe, used more cheese, and omitted the cereal topping.)
  • Green beans
  • Deviled eggs
  • Raspberry swirl cheesecake  (I doubled the crust and used raspberry yogurt and jam instead of strawberry.)

Those are my anniversary flowers! 🙂


Yummmy April 20, 2011

Filed under: Side dish,Turkey — WannaBe Chef @ 1:56 pm

Good afternoon, sweeties.  So I am officially 32 weeks pregnant today.  Holy.  Crap.  I have been thinking about making some freezer meals to have on hand for after the big event.  Last night, I made the first contribution to the stash…. mini meatloaves.  They’re easy, they freeze well, and all we have to do is throw them into the oven and whip up a quick side dish. 

I used THIS RECIPE, and doubled it… sort of.  I ended up using two pounds of lean ground turkey.  I forgot to add the rosemary, but I think they turned out just fine.  I also divided the meat into six individual loaves instead of eight so we could have slightly larger portions.  We ate two of them for dinner, then I wrapped the others in foil, put them in a freezer bag, and shoved them in the freezer! 

For a quick side, I made a sweet potato black bean hash.  It couldn’t be more simple:

Sweet Potato Black Bean Hash


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper


  1. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat.  Add the potatoes and onion and cover the pan so the potatoes can steam a little and cook through.  Stir occasionally.
  2. Once potatoes are tender, remove the lid and let potatoes/onions brown.  Stir in the black beans and let them heat through.  Season with salt and pepper.