Category: Vegetables, sides & appetizers

Smoky sweet potato side dish

smoky sweet potato side dish

I’m not a huge fan of traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato side dishes. You know the ones I mean. Those super sweet dishes where the potatoes are mashed and topped with brown sugar or marshmallows or some other sugary topping. They have their place but they just don’t do much for me and, in my opinion, they don’t go with all the other savory items on the plate like the turkey, stuffing and gravy. Maybe I’m in the minority but I generally don’t like to mix savory and sweet things. Which is also why I usually skip over the cranberry sauce as well. It’s not that I  truly dislike “sweet” sweet potatoes, but I definitely prefer the savory side dishes. (more…)

Simple eggplant, corn and feta salad

simple eggplant, corn and feta salad

Sometimes it amazes me how simple recipes turn out to be the best ones. Most people often think that complicated cooking techniques, a slew of exotic ingredients, and a lot of time make a good recipe, and sometimes they do. But many times it’s just the opposite. Dishes that utilize only a few, good quality, local ingredients can turn out just as well as the fancy, complicated ones. Sometimes, they turn out even better. And that’s what happened when I made this simple eggplant, corn and feta salad. When I took my first bite, I was honestly surprised at how good it turned out because it’s too easy! (more…)

Spaghetti squash and kale with bacon and parmesan

spaghetti squash and kale with bacon and parmesan cheese

This is my new favorite vegetable dish. When I started making this I really didn’t think it would turn out as well as it did. I kind of just needed to use up half a bag of Trader Joe’s kale and a spaghetti squash that had been sitting in my fridge for some time. I like vegetables. In fact, I love them, but I literally could not stop eating this. I ate it the same way I usually eat fried rice or pasta. I almost finished the entire pan in one sitting, which is okay because it’s relatively healthy. It’s salty from the crispy bacon pieces and the parmesan cheese and a little bit spicy from the red pepper flakes. It’s a veggie dish I’ll be making again and again. I know spaghetti squash is not a substitute for actual pasta but it’s still delicious in its own right. (more…)

Shaved brussels sprouts salad

Shaved brussels sprouts salad

When I originally bought this bag of shaved brussels sprouts, I thought I would sautee it with some bacon, or roast it in the oven like I usually do. But it’s summer and I decided to make a shaved brussels sprouts salad instead. Plus the work was already done for me, thanks to Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you and can’t find pre-shaved brussels sprouts somewhere else, You can chop them thinly with a knife or (carefully) use a mandolin slicer. You may be able to even chop the brussels sprouts up very finely in a food processor. Although, I haven’t tried that yet so don’t quote me on that! (more…)

Warm potatoes with mustard and dill

Warm potatoes with mustard and dill

Recently, I’ve been making a lot of vinaigrettes. There are actually a lot of uses for basic vinaigrettes. There’s the obvious use for it as a dressing on top of cold, green salads, but I’ve come to find that it’s great on many different vegetables and works in warm dishes as well, like my grilled eggplant and corn salad, for one. You could probably even use it as the base for a really great marinade for chicken, steak, or shrimp. A basic vinaigrette also happens to be the star in this recipe, my warm potatoes with mustard and dill. The quick and simple vinaigrette is the reason this dish is so good. It’s tangy and salty and combined with the hearty potatoes and the fresh dill, it’s a match made in heaven. (more…)

Grilled eggplant and corn salad

grilled eggplant and corn salad

I feel like I’ve been cooking a lot with eggplant lately. Hopefully you’re not sick of it yet! It’s just so good this time of year and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I love it. It’s probably one of my favorite vegetables. Hence, the plethora of eggplant recipes. I also can’t get enough of the local sweet corn around here. It makes me sad to think summer is almost over and that a lot of the fresh vegetables and fruit I love so much will be out of season in a month or so. But, summer’s not over yet! So let’s enjoy it while we can and take advantage of all the delicious food this season brings. This grilled eggplant and corn salad is one way to do that.  The hot, grilled eggplant absorbs the tangy vinaigrette and the combination of that with the sweet corn is SO good. I wish I made two batches of the stuff because between my husband and I, it vanished in a couple of hours. (more…)

Savory zucchini cakes with cream cheese

zucchini cakes

Zucchini and yellow squash are overflowing from local farms around here this time of year. If you read my last post, you know I bought a bunch of fresh produce during my most recent trip to the farm stand. Amongst that fresh produce, were a couple of zucchini and yellow squash. I’ve been cooking with zucchini all summer long. I’ve grated it and put it in pasta with mushrooms and parmesan cheese. I’ve chopped it up into bite size pieces and stir fried it with some corn (recipe to come). I’ve sliced it lengthwise, grilled it and drizzled it with soy sauce. There’s a lot you can do with zucchini. My mom sautees it with garlic and a can of diced tomatoes and it comes out delicious. But, out of all the ways to cook and prepare zucchini, zucchini cakes might be my favorite. (more…)

Salty, spicy eggplant stir fry

Eggplant stir fry

I’m obsessed with the produce from local farms this time of year. This past weekend I went a bit overboard and bought a little too much. Everything looked so fresh and beautiful and I couldn’t resist. I bought zucchini, yellow squash, onions, tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, and two GIGANTIC eggplant. Seriously these eggplants were huge. I probably should have stuck with just the one, but I do love eggplant. In an effort to use up all this produce, particularly the eggplant, I’ve been cooking a lot of meatless meals (sorry, Matt). Work was also crazy busy this week with client visits and lunch meetings and so, the office was inundated with all sorts of naughty food (i.e. birthday cake, Philly cheese steaks, pizza, etc.). So the meatless meals, full of veggies, were also part of an effort to counteract all the bad food I encountered (and ate) throughout the week. This easy eggplant stir fry was one such meal. If you don’t like eggplant and prefer to eat meat, you could definitely do this with chicken, or even beef, but I think the eggplant holds up really well in this dish and I didn’t miss the chicken at all (although I rarely do). (more…)

Corn, black bean and avocado salad

corn, black bean and avocado salad

The weather is FINALLY warming up in this corner of the world and it’s got me giddy with excitement. I’m totally over winter and even mildly cool weather. I am ready for the heat, sometimes even sweltering heat, of summer. But this post is not about how much I love summer. It is, however, about a summer-inspired salad. Everything about this salad screams summer from the colors to the bright, fresh flavors. I’m not sure which ingredient stars in this dish, but I think it might be the corn. It’s hard for me to say that because of my love affair with avocados and guacamole, and they definitely shine through in this salad too, but the Jersey corn this time of year is so sweet and wonderful and it pretty much steals the show. (more…)

Easy skillet potatoes

easy skillet potatoes

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t make meat and potatoes very often. However, the other day I stumbled across this balsamic roast beef recipe on Pinterest and it sounded so delicious. It seemed like the perfect recipe to use up a chuck roast I had in my freezer. Plus, the recipe utilized the slow cooker, which I am always excited about. The beef simmered away all day in a savory balsamic gravy. It made the house smell wonderful, and I knew it would be a winner dinner and that my meat-loving husband, Matt, would be so excited.

I just needed to figure out what to make to serve alongside the beef. It needed to be a substantial side dish that could soak up all that wonderful gravy. Potatoes seemed like the best choice. Meat and potatoes is a classic for a reason. Instead of mashing the potatoes, or just baking them in the oven, I came up with these easy skillet potatoes. They are cooked in a cast iron skillet so they get really crispy on one side, but stay soft enough to absorb all the juice from the beef. (more…)

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