Ever since we got a grill, we’ve been eating a lot more barbeque. And smoked meats lend themselves to delicious Southern sides — including coleslaw, mac and cheese, and collard greens. Last Sunday, Michael smoked a rack of spareribs, so I decided to make these collard greens, which are one of my favorites, as a side. (We ate the leftovers with pulled pork, as pictured above.)
These collards are especially delicious because they’re sauteed in bacon grease with plenty of onions and garlic. I’ve also successfully used fresh kale as a substitute for the collard greens in this recipe (on a side note, spinach is not an appropriate substitute, because it doesn’t have enough structure to stand up to cooking, and will turn into a mushy mess). I will note that you need to simmer the greens for 30-45 minutes, so you may want to try this recipe on the weekend when you have a little extra time.
This refreshing, vinegar-based coleslaw is my new favorite summer side dish. Michael found this recipe a couple months ago when we were looking for something to go with Jamaican jerk chicken. I made a couple small tweaks to the recipe, and we like it so much that I’ve made it at least once a week since.
I like to make this recipe with a mix of shredded cabbage and broccoli slaw, but you could use just one or the other, as long as you still use 6 cups total. Either way, you’ll want to refrigerate the slaw for at least one hour (or overnight) before serving. It’s delicious alongside any grilled meat or picnic meal. Enjoy!
This Mexican rice is one of my favorite rice cooker recipes, and it’s one that we’ve been making for several years — I first posted the recipe in 2012, and we’ve made it countless times since then.
Why do we like it? It’s super simple to make! And it’s a delicious side dish that goes well with nearly any Mexican-inspired meal. I’ve served it with enchiladas, fajitas, and tacos, to name a few. Also, it’s easy to scale this recipe up to feed a crowd. Give it a try!
Like I said in my previous post, my Easter dinner menu is now a 2-year tradition: lamb, minted peas, crescent rolls, and these au gratin potatoes. Apparently the other part of this new tradition is that I don’t make these recipes except on Easter (although the crescent rolls need to make it back into regular rotation, I think).
These au gratin potatoes are creamy and cheesy, with a delicious crunchy panko topping. I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes, because those are my favorite, but you could also use Russet potatoes if that’s what you have on hand (I would peel them). I would also recommend shredding your own cheese, because it will melt better into the sauce. Enjoy!
Happy Easter! This year, I decided to stick with a good thing and repeat last year’s dinner menu: roasted leg of lamb, au gratin potatoes, minted peas, and crescent rolls.
These minted peas are a great (and super easy) way to dress up frozen peas, but I should note that it isn’t the healthiest recipe — after all, there’s heavy cream in it. Hence, it’s once-a-year appearance on my menu at Easter. Give it a try at your next holiday meal!
By the time summer finally rolls around here in the Twin Cities, I’m craving fresh, delicious vegetables. One of my favorite — and easiest — ways to eat them is in a big salad. The great thing about this type of salad is that you can vary the ingredients based on what veggies you have on hand, and you don’t need to measure anything. I usually like to add some sort of cheese and diced meat to make a complete meal, but you could easily omit both to make a vegan side salad.
Instead of making or buying dressing, I keep things light by drizzling oil and vinegar over the salad. My favorite combination right now is a peach balsamic vinegar with Arbequina olive oil — both from Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars (online store and several locations in Michigan).
One of my favorite small appliances in the kitchen is our rice cooker, because it makes perfect rice every time. But sometimes we like to change it up and make a savory, flavored rice (like our Mexican rice or pulao rice recipes) instead of plain rice. This saffron rice recipe, made with raisins and cashews, is the perfect blend of savory and sweet — and it’s a snap to make in the rice cooker.
These rolls are actually based on the same recipe as our crescent rolls — but with a few simple modifications. We didn’t have any eggs in the fridge, so I used a simple “flax egg” substitute. Once I used soy milk and Smart Balance (a vegan buttery spread), the vegan transformation was complete. The best part? They don’t even taste vegan, so you’ll never know the difference.
My mom makes homemade dressing (stuffing) every Thanksgiving, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the meal… along with pretty much everything else. Last year, I made cheesy grits for Michael and myself instead, and was planning to do the same this year. But, we changed our minds on Thanksgiving morning and decided to make a more traditional stuffing recipe.
So, Michael looked up some recipes online, and we decided to make a wild rice dressing with ingredients from our pantry and freezer. It was fabulous! We used cinnamon raisin English muffins for the bread, but you could easily use plain English muffins and add a handful of raisins along with the almonds.
Last week, I whipped up a quick batch of Southwestern chicken chickpea chili for dinner. The chili was delicious, as usual, but the potatoes that Michael made to go along with it were equally good. These lightly-seasoned home fries are quick to make when you microwave the potatoes first and then brown them on the stove. We just used seasoned salt, pepper, and green onions to make this simple version, but feel free to add herbs and spices to your taste.