Category Archives: Sides

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

 

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

1 pound of Brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed

5 slices of nitrate-free bacon, sliced (I like to use the pre-cooked bacon from Trader Joe’s – see below)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup chicken broth

Trim and halve Brussels and set aside.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add bacon.  Cook until the bacon starts to brown and render.  Add shallots and cook until translucent.  Off heat, whisk in red wine vinegar and mustard.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Clean out the pan and add remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.  Over medium high heat, cook Brussels in the olive oil until browned and caramelized.   De-glaze the pan with the chicken broth and cover until Brussels are cooked through (about 5 minutes).  When the chicken broth has evaporated, add reserved bacon mixture and cook for an additional five to eight minutes.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

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Sunday Dinner in July

Here was our awesome dinner from last night!

First, I made the Blueberry Buckle on Saturday afternoon.  It’s kind of like a lemony blueberry coffee cake.  Add a little extra salt and lemon zest to the recipe below.

Then we looted our garden and hit the farmer’s market to make a Mediterranean salad with lemon dill dressing.  Butter lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, red onion (sliced thin and rinsed under cold water), basil, chickpeas and feta.  The dressing is lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon, fresh dill, salt & pepper.

Butter Rice is a great goon filler staple.  Rice, chicken stock, saffron, butter and lots of salt to taste.

Top it off with sweet corn on the cob.

And perfectly grilled flatiron steak marinated in olive oil, onion, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Loosen the belt buckle for the Blueberry Buckle.

Link to Blueberry Buckle Recipe: http://linboblueberries.com/recipes/CIBlueberryBuckle.html

 

 

Spicy Slaw

Spicy Slaw

I always get asked for this recipe so it’s about time that I write it down.  This is (yet another) low cal favorite that packs in lots of veggies and lasts at least a week in the fridge.  I’ve been eating the leftovers all week tossed with chicken and avocado.  I love it with BBQ, grilled pork and burgers.


Spicy Slaw

4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup low fat mayo
2 limes, juiced
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 bag of shredded cabbage
1/2 bag of broccoli slaw
3 carrots, shredded
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeños, finely chopped

Whisk together vinegar, lime juice, mayo, hot sauce and honey.  Adjust seasoning as needed.  It should be a nice balance of salty, sweet and tart with a little kick from the hot sauce.  Toss with remaining ingredients and chill it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  It’s even better the next day.

Sneaky Tzatziki

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  It’s super easy, healthy and I make a big batch to put on everything.  It’s particularly amazing with grilled chicken or lamb kebabs, or even as pita dip or salad dressing.  It’s sneaky because if you make it with 0% yogurt, no one knows it’s actually healthy.  I’ve also made it with dill, feta, parsley and cilantro for a different twist.

Tzatziki

2 cups 0% Greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons spicy Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 large cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped
1-2 teaspoons honey (just enough to round out the yogurt)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bunch of mint
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Blend everything in the food processor, check for seasoning and enjoy.  That is it my friends.

Goon Approved Sides

Below are a few of my favorite side dishes:

No calories, no carbs, guilt free cheese vehicle….

Light Mac-n-Cheese

1 package of no calorie noodles – drained (in the fridge section @ Whole Foods)

1 tablespoon light butter (or butter substitute)

1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (or spelt flour)

1 cup of warm skim milk (or dairy substitute)

1 cup of light cheese (parmesan and cheddar are my faves; does dairy free cheese actually melt?)

1 cup of thawed frozen peas

Drain the noodles and press out any remaining liquid.  Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook down until it’s a nutty brown color.  Add the milk and whisk to combine.  Bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes until thick.  Off heat, add cheese, noodles, peas, salt and pepper to taste.

Mom’s Brussels Sprouts

1 large bag of Brussels, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise

3 slices of nitrate free bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon of light butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 shallot, minced

½-1 cup chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Sautee the bacon in the butter and olive oil until it starts to release its fat.  Add the Brussels, toss to coat, and brown on each side to caramelize.  Add the shallot and cook until softened.  Add the chicken stock and cover for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat to soften the Brussels.  Drizzle with maple syrup, add salt and pepper to taste.  Add a little more butter if you’re not watching your waistline.  Add to save calories, just brown the Brussels in some cooking spray and sprinkle with cooked crumbled turkey bacon.

They taste like candy.  So good you forget they’re good for you.

And now for more bacon…..

 Goon Approved Stuffed Potato Salad (with less fat/calories)
1 pound of small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into bite size pieces
1/4 cup light mayo
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (or more to taste)
5-6 scallions – chopped
5 slices of precooked, nitrate-free bacon – cooked and crumbled
Boil potatoes until they are fork tender.  Cool slightly and mix with the rest of the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I like to eat this when it’s all warm and creamy, but it’s also great after spending some time in the fridge.  Perfect for summer grillin.

Spinach Pie (to slim the thighs)

This spinach pie is basically a crustless quiche that you can eat any time of day, and works like a charm to keep your diet on track. It’s tasty, healthy, filling and low carb. Add a little ketchup or hot sauce to change it up if you’re eating it more than once a day.

One piece closer to a two piece?

Spinach Pie

– 1/2 large bag frozen chopped spinach (thaw and squeeze out excess water)
– 1/2 onion, minced
– 6 whole eggs, 2 egg whites
– 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
– 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
– salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk all ingredients until combined. Spray a non stick pan with cooking spray. Add ingredients and bake 30-35 minutes or until center is cooked through. Cool, cut into squares and refrigerate.  Reheat it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds on high heat.  Yum!

The Long and the Short(ening)

This recipe is courtesy of friend’s mother in Georgia.  In my cooking frenzy, I tried to cut the flour with the shortening in my food processor; however, I quickly realized that the food-pro can only handle three cups of flour at a time.  It helps to halve the recipe.

I served these tasty mounds of love with country ham, pickles and mustard, and others with pimento cheese and black olives (see previous post) at an event for wine bloggers at Weygandt Wines (www.weygandtwines.com).

This recipe makes approximately 35 small biscuits.

Angel Biscuits

1 1/2 packages yeast
5 tablespoons warm water
5 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Sift dry ingredients together, then cut shortening into the flour mixture.  Add buttermilk and yeast.  Knead lightly but *do not let the dough rise*.
  • Roll out and cut with a round biscuit cutter
  • Put on a baking sheet touching each other (helps keep the biscuits moist)
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Brush with melted butter on top after baking.

Mmmmmmm….buttermilk biz-kits

Thai Punk-in Curry

This recipe was inspired by a terrific pumpkin curry dish that we enjoyed a few weeks ago at Thai X-ing (http://thaix-ing.com/).

My version has a little less sugar, much more spice, and uses several types of squash.  I recommend that you make this ahead and let it sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors meld.  Enjoy!

 

 

Serves 8-10 goons!

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, 1 butternut squash, 1 kabocha squash – peeled and cubed (or any other orange squash except spaghetti)
  • 2-3 small red or sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • ½ red onion, cut into thick ½ moons
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can chick peas

Curry Sauce:

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh Thai chilies
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (possibly more as needed)
  • 2-3 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 4-5 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3-4 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • ½ orange – juiced
  • 1 TSP tumeric
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander seeds, 1 TBSP ground cumin, 1 TSP fennel seed
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 TBSP red curry paste

Garnish:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Thai basil

To make the vegetables, heat the canola oil over medium high heat and cook the squash, potatoes, carrots and onions until they start to get some color.  While they’re cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the curry sauce in a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the curry sauce to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer to thicken.  Add the rest of the vegetables (except the chick peas) and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.  At this point, check the seasoning!  Add more chili sauce, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce as needed.  Add the chick peas at the very end until just heated through.  Garnish with cilantro and basil, and serve over warm sticky rice.

Crack ‘n Cheese

This is the perfect crowd pleaser side dish to bring to a dinner party or cookout.  Once baked off and cooled, it travels well, and if you lack confidence in the chef’s skills, crack ‘n cheese is a filling and reliable back up plan.

Take your lactose pills

Crack ‘n Cheese

1 box large shells pasta

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

5 cups milk, heated lightly

5 cups shredded cheese (parm, pecorino, aged cheddar, and gruyere are my faves, but it’s a great way to clean out the cheese drawer)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/3 cup bread crumbs

Cook shells al dente.  Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and melt butter.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Cook until the flour and butter mixture until the roux becomes caramel colored.  Add warm milk, whisk to combine, and stirring frequently, bright to a boil.  Let the sauce thicken, approx 3-5 mins, and add the cheese off heat.  Taste for seasoning.  Add the pasta and toss to coat.  Put the mixture into the greased pan, and top with extra cheese and bread crumbs.  Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and brown on top.

Serves 10-12 goons.

Mmmmmm….crack

Meg Ling Big Bowl

This is our favorite recipe!

It’s best to compose this dish in a large, shallow bowl.  This recipe serves two goons and two goon-ettes with ample leftovers to perk up your Monday lunch.

Meg Ling Big Bowl

  • 2 cups Kagayaki rice (California grown Japanese style sticky rice, cooked at a one-to-one ratio)
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 1.5 pounds of steak tips, marinated and grilled (I like to marinate the meat in teriyaki style sauce for 1-6 hours with chopped lemongrass)
  • 1 bag mung bean sprouts
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 T fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 3 T fresh mint, stems removed
  • 2 T fresh Thai basil, stems removed
  • 1 cup pickled veggies (I like this recipe the best http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/dining/081brex.html)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1 cup of your favorite sesame dressing (you can make this from scratch, but the real stuff from my local Japanese market tastes better than mine)

Make sure that you have all of your veggies prepped and ready to go when the rice and meat are cooked.  To compose your big bowl, divide the ingredients among four bowls.  First, put the lettuce in the bottom of the bowl, and then place handfuls of sprouts, pickles and peppers in each quadrant (like an Asian cobb salad).  Add heaping spoonfuls of the sticky rice and sprinkle generously with the fresh herbs, green onions and nuts.  Spoon dressing over the salad mixtures and add the meats to the top of the dishes with an extra sprinkle of sesame seeds for good measure.  Serve with extra dressing and Siracha on the side.