Archive | side dishes

orzo pasta summer SALAD

You will love this easy & fun dish.  Serve on an avocado (like the picture above) or on a bed of lettuce or with some chicken or fish…I have even eaten it out of the pan!
First make the orzo according to the packaged directions and allow to cool. Season lightly with salt, pepper & EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).
Dice up whatever veggies and herbs you have on hand and gently mix with the orzo pasta (I used tomatoes, red onion, roasted red peppers and Italian parsley). I think it would be great with basil and diced mozzarella…or corn and black beans, some cumin and fresh bell pepper…or olives, cucumber, artichoke hearts and feta…it would even be great with tuna and celery for a crunchy bite. Go crazy trying new combos!
To serve in an avocado just slice it in half, score the flesh inside and pile the salad on…or just mix cubed avo with the salad and get eating!
Good to the last bite!

mango salsa with a TWIST

Want a great twist on a classic salsa?
Simply make or purchase a fresh batch of mango salsa (for a great recipe go my friend Emma’s recipe HERE).
Add a can of rinsed black beans and diced avocado (1 half to 1 whole depending on your preference).
I like to cut a ripe avocado in half, score it while still in the shell and then scoop out the diced pieces with a large spoon! Mix gently and season with salt & pepper to taste!
Enjoy with chips or on fish tacos or grilled chicken…YUM!

road trip chick dip {CORN SALSA}

 I only know two things to say about this summer treat that I love to make: First is that I have no fancy name for it but some people like to call it “Road Trip Chick Dip” (for reasons I can only imagine relate to “chick food” and people loving to snack on road trips). Second, you have to be crazy to not like it. You heard me.  Actually crazy! Okay, all joking aside this is one of the best things I know how to whip up with fresh corn and whatever veggies I have on hand.  There are a million ways to throw it together…so leave those measuring cups in the drawers and just have fun with it!

 First, cut a bunch of your favorite corn off the cob (I don’t even bother cooking it…I like sweet corn nice and raw)!
Dice up your favorite veggies! I used tomatoes, bell peppers, purple cabbage, onion and cilantro! You can also add black beans and/or avocado (just keep in mind that they can get mushy and don’t hold up as well if you are planning to eat this the next day). Spice it up with some fresh diced jalapeno’s if you so choose!
Add some fresh lime juice and/or EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil); I added a little of both. If you are scraping something together you can always add some pre-made salsa.
Season with spices of choice.  Some people like to add a dry ranch seasoning packet and a dry taco seasoning packet.
I like to simply season it with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt and Cumin (which gives it a lovely smokey flavor). Just remember to start with a dash of the cumin, stir and taste…then add in small doses or you will get too much smokey flavor and think this salsa dip is terrible (wouldn’t that be sad).
Now stir and eat…your chips are waiting to meet this dip…they cannot wait any longer…go!
(p.s. I apologize for this lame picture!)
One quick tip (before you chips meet their dip) that I learned from Rachael Ray: Turn a small bowl upside down in a large bowl and use it as an anchor for your corn.  Then just start slicing the kernels right off the cob and you are all set. It makes this process really easy and gives the corn a perfect place to fall (don’t forget to remove the bowl)!

summer & spring RECIPES {easter menu re-cap}

This was our lovely Easter feast…yum!
And as promised here are my favorite recipes from that meal. They are great for spring or summer and would be wonderful for the 4th of July! Whatever you make this weekend I hope you have fun!

Laura’s Bacon & Date Roll-Ups

Select pitted dates (or pit yourself). Add cream cheese. Wrap with bacon (about half a slice per date). Bake at 400 for 15 – 30 minutes (bacon should be cooked & golden)!

Aunt Evelyn’s Strawberry-Romaine Salad
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• ½ cup red wine vinegar
• 2 cloves garlic (minced)
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. paprika
• ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
• 1 large head of romaine lettuce
• 1 head of Boston lettuce
• 1 pint strawberries (sliced) (you can sub w/ raspberries or kiwi’s*)
• 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
• ½ cup chopped walnuts (toasted)
Combine first seven ingredients for dressing. Blend in blender or
shake in large covered jar or container.  Tear washed lettuce into
bite size pieces. Combine lettuce & other ingredients in large salad bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently (you will have more dressing than you need so go easy on pouring it to toss).  The dressing should keep in your fridge for at least a week and the salad should easily serve 12 people making this great for a party & left-overs!
*for 4th of July you could add blueberries for color*




Here are just a few of my favorite side dishes for a special holiday meal or year round!
::Roasted Veggies::
1. Preheat oven to 425 and take any veggie you like and cut to uniform size (my favorites are broccoli, asparagus and/or Brussels sprouts with this method but don’t mix and match too many).
2. Spread with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), Salt & Pepper.
 3. Roast for about 10 minutes or longer.  I like them crispy (see pictures) but that’s not for everyone!  Also, veggies like potatoes or sweet potatoes will take longer so trust your nose and check often! Enjoy as a side or over pasta! 

::Honeyed Carrots and Oranges::

Honeyed Carrots and Oranges
Gentl & Hyers

This is another favorite side dish from Real Simple, its easy and delicious!

  • 2 pounds very small carrots, scrubbed; or regular carrots (trimmed, peeled, and cut into thin sticks)
  • 1 orange, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons small dill sprigs
Heat oven to 375° F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots and orange with the oil, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Roast, tossing once, until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the dill.  Tip: This recipe calls for very small, young carrots—not to be confused with peeled “baby carrots” sold in bags at supermarkets. If young carrots aren’t available, use cut-up regular carrots instead.
Click here for ::Zucchini Fritters::
This may not be in season…but the dressing is what makes it so delicious! So get creative and change it up with pears and pecans or whatever is in season. I always love dried cranberries or dried cherries too!  Thanks Aunt Ev!
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