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!


Stuffed November 30, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Pizza,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:51 am

I found this first “stuffed” recipe on Pinterest, of course.  Basically, it’s a pizza-stuffed mushroom.  Yes, please!

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
“Pinspired” by this recipe


  • Large button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned with damp cloth
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • A few green olives, chopped
  • Turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • Pizza sauce, a couple spoonfulls


  1. Place mushroom caps, stem side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees until mushrooms start sweating and getting soft.
  2. Meanwhile, mix cheese and egg together in a bowl.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven and stuff with cheese mixture, a little pizza sauce, and toppings.
  4. Turn oven to broil and broil mushrooms until bubbly and browned.


This next “stuffed” recipe is another stuffed pepper.  I never follow a recipe for these, so this one sort of morphed into a taco-stuffed version.  These might be my favorite stuffed peppers to date.

Taco Stuffed Peppers


  • 3 bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • seasonings such as garlic powder and cajun seasoning
  • 1 package Taco flavored rice
  • Salsa, about 1/2 cup
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup


  1. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 until peppers start to soften and release some moisture, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the Taco rice according to package directions, and saute the hamburger with desired seasonings.
  3. Once the rice is done, stir the hamburger and salsa in with the rice.
  4. Fill peppers with rice mixture and top with cheese.  Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

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.   

Four ingredients March 31, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:27 am

Hello, kiddies.  So I have this book of recipes that all have 4 ingredients or less.  I’ve had it since college, and I dug it out last weekend and found some things to make.  Exciting, no?

Stuffed Yellow Squash


  • 3 large yellow squashes
  • 1/2 block (4 ounces) light cream cheese
  • 1 box frozen spinach
  • 1 packet French Onion Soup mix
  • (I added a sprinkle of Panko bread crumbs too)


  1. Halve squashes lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes until squashes are tender.
  2. In the meantime, cook spinach on stovetop according to package directions.  Drain well and return to pan.
  3. Stir in the cream cheese and soup mix.  Do not let cream cheese boil. 
  4. Spoon mixture into squashes and top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs.  Spray bread crumbs with cooking spray to help with browning. 
  5. Bake for another 15 minutes or so until mixture is bubbly and bread crumbs are slightly browned. 

***Just a note – next time, I would use only half or 2/3 of the package of soup mix, it was a little salty for my taste! 

Spicy Chicken and Rice


  • 2-3 chicken breasts, sliced and cooked
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can fiesta nacho cheese soup
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes


  1. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased baking dish.  Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes.  Remove cover during last 5-10 minutes.