Side dishes are just important as the main course and the selection of these dishes should complement the meat or main dish. Vegetables are always welcomed and two or three dishes of these are adequate for normal family gatherings. The basic rule I was taught when planning a meal goes like this: for every meat course, plan on two or three vegetable servings, one fruit, one starch like rice or potato and one bread serving. The salad could count as one of the vegetables. However, in my family, we often had bowls and platters filling up the table with five or six vegetables and two starches to chose from even though there was only one meat dish. That’s just the way we ate.
Today I give you two vegetable dishes. The first is really good, actually both are, but the latter is one I know you have made many times. Hopefully, you have not had the eggplant cooked in this manner. Enjoy!
serves about 6
4 large eggplants, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
2 large white onions, finely chopped
1 stick butter plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
a few dashes of Tabasco (hot red pepper sauce)
4 egg yolks, beaten
Ritz crackers, finely crushed (butter type cracker)
Cook the eggplant in water with salt until tender. Drain throughly and mash through a ricer or use a food processor. Sauté the celery and onion in the 1 stick of butter until soft. Stir in the sugar, eggplant pulp and season with salt, pepper and the Tabasco. Mix in the egg yolks and pour into a greased casserole dish. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and mix with the Ritz crackers. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 30 minutes or until eggplant is set and crumbs are brown.
Note: This is also great with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.
Spinach Artichoke Casserole
serves about 6
2 -10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup melted butter
1 -8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 -14 oz can quartered artichokes
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or panko
Cook spinach in boiling water and drain well. Squeeze out any water. Add butter, lemon juice and cream cheese to spinach and mix well. Add salt if needed. Place artichokes in the bottom of a greased casserole dish and top with the spinach mixture. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top and bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 25 minutes.