Collard greens with bacon

Collard greens with bacon
Collard greens with bacon (pictured with smoked pulled pork)

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.

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Tangy cabbage and broccoli coleslaw

Tangy cabbage and broccoli coleslaw
Tangy cabbage and broccoli coleslaw

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 usually make this recipe with finely shredded cabbage (a mix of red and green cabbage looks nice), but it’s also delicious with a mix of cabbage and broccoli slaw, 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!

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Easy rice cooker Mexican rice

Easy rice cooker Mexican rice (served with iceberg lettuce, Tapatio hot sauce, avocado, and cheese)

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!

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Minted peas

Minted peas
Minted peas

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, and the lemon zest and fresh mint give the peas a great spring-y flavor. 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!

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Chopped taco salad

Chopped taco salad
Chopped taco salad

I first made this taco salad for a potluck lunch at work last year — I wanted something that was easy to make and transport. But I liked it so much that it’s become a regular part of our dinner rotation. It’s easy to mix up a large bowlful (I serve the dressing on the side) and have several delicious meals. I vary the protein depending on what I have on hand — it’s also delicious with leftover pulled pork.

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Southwestern-style chicken and bean enchiladas

Southwestern-style chicken and bean enchiladas
Southwestern-style chicken and bean enchiladas (served with lettuce and guacamole)

I don’t usually have a lot of time to cook during the week, so I rely on quick and easy meals (like this chef salad). But on the weekend, I enjoy making — and eating — more “homey” meals. These enchiladas are a great choice, and they make delicious leftovers.

I like to use a variety of veggies along with the chicken in my filling, so it’s colorful and healthy. Also, I make my enchilada sauce from a Carlita brand seasoning packet, but you could substitute 2 cups of your favorite enchilada sauce. The pepperjack cheese adds a hint of spice, but you could amp it up with diced jalapeno peppers, if you like. Either way, they’re delicious!

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Chef salad

Chef salad
Chef salad

If you look at our meal plans for the last several months, this tasty chef salad is the dinner you’ll find most often. We’ve gotten into the habit of having salad for dinner at least twice a week — and this is my go-to salad.

If you’re looking for quick meals during the week, you can prep the veggies and hard-boil the eggs on the weekend. Then, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and you’re ready to eat! Another easy option is to use leftover rotisserie chicken in place of the deli ham. Either way, it’s delicious.

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Chilled tofu with kabocha squash

Chilled tofu with kabocha squash
Chilled tofu with kabocha squash

This chilled tofu with kabocha squash is a great, easy Japanese recipe. It can be either a lighter meal on its own (served with rice and miso soup) or served as a side (I like to pair it with sushi). Either way, it’s simple but delicious.

Kabocha squash is a Japanese winter squash that is unique in that you can eat the skin — don’t be afraid, it adds a lot of flavor. This mild, orange squash is one of our favorites.

The chilled tofu (hiyayakko) is topped with bonito flakes, green onions, and soy sauce. Pressing the block of tofu before serving allows it to absorb more of the flavor of the soy sauce. Give it a try — it’s delicious!

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Jambalaya with andouille and chicken

Jambalaya
Jambalaya with andouille and chicken

Happy New Year!

I decided to kick off the year by making a big batch of jambalaya for dinner last night —and I thought it was time to update the recipe and picture, as well.

Jambalaya is an easy meal and it makes leftovers (or feeds a crowd, especially if you double the recipe). I usually use andouille sausage and chicken as my proteins, but you could also add shrimp if you prefer. Either way, it’s a great, hearty meal and I hope you enjoy it!

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Honey mustard glazed salmon

Honey mustard glazed salmon
Honey mustard glazed salmon

For the past couple years, my go-to salmon recipe has been teriyaki salmon. But lately, I’ve been making this honey mustard glazed salmon recipe as a delicious alternative.

When I’m making a meal with salmon, I usually stick to the same simple formula: oven-baked salmon, a starch (usually rice), and a veggie (like broccoli, zucchini, or a green salad). It’s balanced, simple, and delicious.

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