Sides

Beautiful Sarah’s Ugly Bean Dip:

bean dip

Ingredients: 3 cans of black beans, drained; approximately 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, some chopped cilantro, approximately 12 oz. mild salsa (my kids don’t care for spicy)

Directions: Mix and serve.

Tips: The ingredient list above is a bit vague.  I have really found, though that the measurements can vary and you can still get a great dip.  Sometimes I don’t have cilantro on hand but if I can scrounge a few sprigs from my mom or another neighbor, I can make it work.  Cheese is the same story.  If you’re a bit short, you can still go for it.

Cole Slaw:

slaw

Ingredients: 1/2 head cabbage, chopped; 2 carrots, shredded; few slender pieces red onion (don’t need to much); 1/4 cup cider vinegar; 1/4 cup olive oil; 2 tbsp sugar; few dashes salt; dash pepper

Directions: While you are prepping the veggies, bring the vinegar, olive oil and seasonings to a boil on the stove top.  With the sugar in there this will happen in about 2 minutes, maybe less.  Mix your now kinda-syrupy and warm vinaigrette and pour it over the top of your naked veggies.  Toss all this yummy stuff together and let it sit for a few hours before serving.  That’s it!

Bruschetta

bruschetta

Ingredients (quantities are approximate–I eyeball it every time): 5-6 good sized ripe tomatoes, handful of fresh basil, 1 large clove garlic, 1 rounded tsp. salt, 3 tbsp. decent balsamic vinegar (I like Costco’s Kirkland brand, actually), 3 tbsp. olive oil.

Directions: dice tomatoes, chop basil (stems can go in too as long as they’re not too “stalky,”) press garlic and throw everything together in a bowl.  Mix and let sit for a few hours if possible.  That’s it, baby!

Serve on sliced pieces of french baguette.  If you’re feeling super fancy, you can broil the pieces of bread with a drizzle of olive oil for a couple of minutes each side so they get toasty and won’t get soggy with the bruschetta on top.  If you’re not fancy today (and it’s OK, I won’t judge you); slice the bread and there you go.

Tips: Tomatoes need to be ripe and pretty much any kind will do.  Basil can be droopy or even at that “just before it goes off” stage and still work just fine.  Even if you’re a garlic lover like me, use only one clove per 6 tomatoes as I suggest above.  The vinegar and tomato juice will amplify the garlic as it sits.

Michelle’s Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Baked Beans

baked bean casserole

Ingredients:

Step one:  1 large onion (I used a Maui which is sweet), I bell pepper, 1 diced tart apple, 3-5 crushed cloves of garlic, few handfuls of leftover diced ham (recipes called for bacon but I didn’t have that), pepper, two tbsp. olive oil

Step two: 5 15 oz. cans of baked beans (I used Bush’s, plain), 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup mustard, 1/4 cup brown sugar, many dashes of chili powder, chipotle powder, black pepper, few glugs of Worchestershire, soy sauce, dash of balsamic vinegar, splash of beer (kinda fell in…)

Directions: take your step one ingredients and saute in a pan until the onions and pepper soften (approximately 10 mins) like this:

pre-beans

Then toss everything together in a big’ol pot and bake it at 350 for about an hour.  Broil the top for a nice crusty presentation.  Enjoy!

Michelle’s Citrus Couscous Salad

couscous w pomegranite

Ingredients: 1 cup couscous, veg or chicken stock, several fresh mint leaves, 2 fresh oranges, fresh pomegranate seeds (about a 1/2 cup if you can swing it), 1-2 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Prepare couscous according to package directions.  You don’t have to use stock, but I like it better than water.  When done, add diced mint (start with a little), pomegranate seeds, vinegar and olive oil.  Squeeze your oranges and get some ‘a that juice in there (can use regular OJ too.)  The original recipe called for one orange, and maybe mine were a little bland but I needed two to get that sweet zing that I was wantin’.  Also add the vinegar and oil carefully.  You’d be surprised how much vinegars can vary so it’s better to hit with just one tbsp. and then add more if you need it.  There’s no going back if you add too much.  Serve chilled/room temp.

Michelle’s Cumin Quinoa Salad

Couscous w cumin

Ingredients: 2 cups quinoa, 3 1/2 cups chicken or veg. broth, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 can drained black beans, 1 cup of corn, 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro, 1-3 tbsp. cumin, juice of 1-2 fresh limes, 4 or so tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Cook onion with a little olive oil until onions turn translucent (5 mins or so.)  Then toss in quinoa and stir with onions for a few minutes before adding broth.  Then follow package instructions but modify the liquid quantity (they always call for 2 parts water per 1 part quinoa but this will be mushy.)  After quinoa chills add the other ingredients.  Serve with tortilla chips if you like.  Oh!  We sometimes add fresh avocado too… delish!

Dirty–not really-Rice

dirty rice

Ingredients: 2-3 cups cooked rice, 3 Italian sausages, 1 chopped red pepper, 1/2 chopped onion, 1-2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1-2 stalks chopped celery, 1 can red beans (drained and rinsed), salt and pepper.  (red pepper optional)

Directions: Saute your onion, garlic, peppers and celery in the olive oil.  Place the sausages amongst the these tasty delights.  After the sausages have cooked for a while, remove them and slice to finish cooking and sear each piece a bit.  Cook rice separately.  Drain and rinse your beans.

When meat and veggies are done, simply toss in the rice, beans and a little butter.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I added a few shakes of red (cayenne) pepper to Mike and my dishes to perk them up a little.  Super yum-ola baby!

Tips: You could make this dish with other meats too (chicken would be nice/or hey, go vegetarian!) and don’t be afraid of throwing in other vegetables like carrots or sliced squash.

 

Tumeric Rice with Vegetables (with Chicken too if you like)

photo(2)

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. butter (optional)
1 cup basmati or jasmin white rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 diced onion
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1-2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (for this recipe I used chopped carrots, bell pepper and kale.  Other options include celery, zucchini, cauliflower…)
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken (optional)
1-2 tsp. tumeric
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:
In a pan, medium heat, brown the onions in olive oil (approximately 5-10 minutes.)  Add garlic and rice.  Stir together for a 3-5 minutes until rice has a chance to get to know the first flavors.  Then add vegetables, chicken and butter and stir for another 3-5 minutes for another quick layer of introduction.  Then add broth, tumeric and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Unsolicited Tips: I make my own chicken broth, which accounts for some of the color and, I must say, some extra yummy flavor.  Boxed/canned broth can obviously also be used.  Brown rice can also be used, but it won’t absorb as much color or flavor.

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