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Muscular Gourmet
Free Muscle Recipes

Fabulous, healthy vegetables are indisputably one of nature's great food values. They offer fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and other essential nutrients in a cornucopia of beautiful, colorful, delicious shapes and flavors. Instead of considering them necessary side dishes or plate fillers, think of them as a splashy complement to a main dish, or double the recipe and make vegetables the main dish itself.

These original-recipe vegetable dishes are created to sparkle during the holidays. They won't be intimidated by a turkey. While vegetables normally get lost in the shuffle, these designer dishes will hold their own on any festive table.

So turn boring plain vegetables into a holiday fantasy, and your guests will have one more thing to be thankful for.

Vegetable Lattice Pie

This recipe is great for using up leftover holiday vegetables and potatoes.

2 Tbls. butter

2 carrots (sliced into rounds)

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup cauliflower florets

2/3 cup fresh or frozen peas or lima beans

1 medium onion (coarsely chopped)

1/2 tsp. dried basil

l/2 tsp. dried savory

1 bay leaf (crumbled) Salt and pepper to taste

3 medium white or sweet potatoes (boiled and peeled)

2 Tbls. milk

1/4 tsp. paprika

In a medium Teflon skillet, sauté carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas or lima beans, onions and herbs in one tablespoon butter until vegetables are semi-tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a little water as needed for sautéing, just enough that there's no liquid in the skillet when cooking is done. Arrange vegetables in a 12-inch-square baking dish and set aside. In a medium bowl, mash potatoes and remaining tablespoon of butter, milk and paprika. Pipe the potato through a pastry bag or cookie press, using the large star tip to form a lattice design over the vegetables. Bake in a 325° oven until vegetables are hot. Serves four.

Spinach Stuffed Onions

4 medium white onions

1 bunch fresh spinach (washed, stems removed)

1 egg

l/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt

3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (grated)

1/4 cup onion (finely chopped)

Dash of Tabasco sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel onions and cut a thin slice off the bottom to make the onions stand level. Cut a slice off the top and hollow out the onions, leaving a shell about one-fourth inch thick. Finely chop one-fourth cup of the leftover onion and set aside. Chop the spinach and place in a colander in the sink. Pour a quart of boiling water over the spinach to wilt it. Drain off any excess water by placing a paper towel over the spinach and pressing it down by hand. Set it aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg, then blend in yogurt, half cup of the shredded cheese, onion, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped spinach. Spoon mixture into the onion shells. Place the onions close together in a nine-inch-square baking dish. Add half inch of water in the bottom, cover, and bake in a 350° oven for approximately one hour, or until onions are semisoft. Remove the cover the last 10 minutes of baking and sprinkle the remaining one-fourth cup of shredded cheese over the top of the onion cups and bake uncovered for the remainder of the time. Serves four.

Zucchini Torte

2 tsp. butter

3 medium zucchini (sliced thin)

1 cup mushrooms (sliced)

1 green onion (finely chopped)

1 clove garlic (fresh pressed)

Salt to taste

1 egg

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 sprig parsley (chopped)

1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

1/4 tsp. dried tarragon

3 oz. Fontina cheese (shredded)

In a medium Teflon skillet, lightly sauté zucchini, mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter until vegetables are semitender. Use a little water if needed for liquid. Set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg and combine with ricotta, parsley and herbs. In a greased torte pan, place half the zucchini and mushrooms evenly on the bottom. Spread the ricotta mixture over this and top with remaining zucchini and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the shredded Fontina cheese and bake in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes. Serves four.

Broiled Tomatoes

4 medium ripe tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

2 Tbls. toasted wheat germ

2 Tbls. Parmesan cheese

1 Tbls. olive oil

Cut tomatoes in half decoratively and arrange them cut side up on a flat broiler pan. Cut each garlic clove into eight slivers and stud each tomato half with equal numbers of slivers. In a small bowl toss together wheat germ, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle equal amounts of the mixture over each tomato half and place them under the broiler approximately five minutes or until the tops are toasted. Serves four.

Acorn Squash

Filled With Holiday Fruits

2 small acorn squash

1 Tbls. fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 tsp. grated orange peel

1 orange (peeled and chopped)

1 pear (diced)

1/2 cup fresh cranberries (coarsely chopped)

1/2 cup dates (pitted and chopped)

8 cloves

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1 Tbls. butter (melted)

1 Tbls. honey

Sprinkle of nutmeg

Cut squash in half. Do not remove seeds. Place cut side down in a large, flat baking dish. Add one-half cup of water and bake at 350° 45 minutes or until semitender. Let squash cool, then scoop out the seeds. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except nutmeg. Place the squash face side up in the baking dish and fill each cavity with one-fourth of the fruit mixture. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake covered for another 30 minutes or until fruit is just tender. Add a little more water to the bottom of the baking dish if drying occurs. During the last few minutes of baking, remove the cover and broil until the tops are slightly browned. Serves four.

Wild Rice and Vegetable Dressing

2 Tbls. butter

2 medium onions (chopped)

4 cloves fresh pressed garlic

3 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cups broccoli florets (separated in very small pieces)

l l/2 cups diced carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped parsley

1 cup pine nuts

1 Tbls. poultry seasoning (or to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups wild rice (cooked)*

3 cups brown rice (cooked)*

Turkey broth or bouillon

*  May be precooked in part turkey broth or bouillon. Have some extra on hand as needed for liquid.

Cook rice as directed on the package. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large Teflon skillet. Lightly sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and celery until vegetables are semi-tender. Last, toss in parsley and pine nuts and combine with both kinds of rice in a very large bowl or roasting pan. Add poultry seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Use turkey broth or bouillon if needed for liquid. Toss until seasoning is well blended. Makes enough dressing for one 12-14 pound turkey.

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