Tag Archives: side dish

Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Kalamata and Rosemary

10 Oct

As part of my end of the season bounty, I have a big pile of slowly ripening cherry tomatoes.  At the peak of the cherry tomato season, we’d easily polish off a bowl in an afternoon just as a wander-by snack.  They were delicious eaten that way, but now that it’s the end of the season, they are a little more sour and less popular.  And at this stage, the time between “almost ripe” and “super ripe” is pretty short.  So, to boost the sweetness and encourage consumption, I decided to roast the tomatoes with a few of our favorite things and serve it up as a side.  And. It. Was. Awesome.

Unless you are my son, who says that the smell of rosemary can ruin a life.  And of course, he is wrong.

This dish could not be easier.  Cut up a bunch of stuff, throw it in a covered casserole, put it in the oven, stir and serve.  It would be excellent served with pork, chicken, turkey, or wild game.  It is very versatile and packed with flavor.  If you were cooking for a crowd, it would be easy to double – just increase the cooking time until the potatoes are tender.  So easy, so delicious.  You should make some.

Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Kalamata and Rosemary
Serves: 6

 

1 lb. red potatoes, cut into big chunks
½ lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 t. rosemary, minced
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
½ c. kalamata olives, halved

 

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a casserole dish combine potatoes through rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir in kalamata olives and set aside for 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

 

Estimated Calories:  123 cal/serving

Print it:  Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Kalamata and Rosemary

 

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese

14 Aug

In Minnesota, there’s a slim space in time when fresh tomatoes are available.  After making it through a long winter filled with mealy, flavorless tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes taste gloriously wonderful.  If you are like me and your green thumb is actually plant poison, what you hope for is that someone in your family or one of your neighbors have a bumper crop of tomatoes and want to share their bounty.  For the past few years, this has been the case, and almost nothing makes me happier.

For a few awesome weeks, I will have a tomato at every meal.  And I will be so happy.

Last week, my mom loaded me up with treasures from her garden including cucumbers, green beans, and a bag full of tomatoes.  Earlier in the day, I had also purchased a few yellow and pink tomatoes from the farmers market.  And as they lined up like a tomato beauty pageant waiting to see who would be crowned, I pulled a few winners out of the queue and whipped up some dinner.

This is a very simple and fast dish to prepare.  Wonderful as a side dish, or in my case the main course, the combination of tomatoes, green beans, and bacon is divine.  Throw a little goat cheese on there and you can practically hear the archangels sing.  For real.  You can use any variety of tomato, but know that they cook down so the colors that show up when using non-red varieties are fleeting.  But for those few moments, your pan will look really, really pretty.  For my own dinner, I used pink and yellow tomatoes from the Tomato King (location: Albany, MN).  If you’re lucky enough to spot his tomatoes at your local Farmer’s Market or co-op, grab a few.  They are mighty fine.

To start, I cooked up a little bacon until it was crisp, then removed it and set it aside until it was cool enough to crumble.  In the meantime, I added the veggies and a little garlic wine to help sauce it up and add some flavor.  This was my first time using a garlic wine and it might be one of my new favorite things.  Made at the Crow River Winery (location: Hutchinson, MN), the wine is light in color and packed with roasted garlic flavor.  Added to this dish, it gave a nice, mild, and slightly smoky garlic flavor.  If you don’t have any garlic wine on hand (which is a very likely scenario), feel free to use another wine or water in its place (see notes below).

For those of you who love making foods ahead (hey mom!), this dish is excellent reheated.  For best results, add the bacon and goat cheese after reheating.    As a side, I’d definitely recommend this with pork, BBQ, or any grilled or smoked meats.  As a main dish, I’d recommend grabbing a big bowl.

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese
Serving size: 1 to 1-1/2 c.
Serves: 2

2 strips pepper bacon
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and snapped into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. garlic wine
Dash crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. goat cheese, crumbled

In a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add green beans and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add wine, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Divide mixture between plates or bowls.  Top with goat cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serve.

Estimated calories:  247 cal/serving

Print it: Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon and Goat Cheese

Notes:
– Although this was a really great way to use fresh produce, this is the kind of dish that would also be pretty good in the winter, using frozen green beans and canned, diced tomatoes.  It would not be as fresh tasting, but the flavors would hold up really well as a tasty winter side.
– Don’t have any garlic wine?  You could substitute any wine.  Red will give it a full flavor, white will be a bit crisper.  I’d stay away from any sweet wines for this one.
– If you’re a vegetarian, substitute the bacon for some olive oil.  The flavor will be different, but it will still be quite tasty.
– Need to make it non-dairy?  Simply omit the goat cheese or top it with a dollop of non-dairy sour cream.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Kalamata Olives

11 Jul

A few weeks ago we visited one of our favorite restaurants, Russo’s, located in Marble Falls, Texas.  They have wonderful food and so many tasty options that it’s really hard to decide what to order.  I wanted a little bit of everything, and luckily my mom was willing to share the zucchini spaghetti that she’d ordered.  And by sharing, I mean one bite.  With that one bite, I’d decided that I’d found a new favorite.  Offered on Russo’s menu as an alternative to regular pasta, zucchini spaghetti provides the sauce delivery system that I love, while leaving behind the heaviness and unwanted calories of traditional pasta.  Bonus that it is nutritionally superior.  The trick to making it at home is having the right tool.

I love you, Lemon Zester.

Unless you have kickin’ knife skills, you’re going to need a tool to create all of the thin, even zucchini strips.  Unfortunately, I do not.  Pair that with my HUGE fear of using a mandoline (which seems like it might be a good tool for the job as well), I knew I needed another option.  I dug around in my utensil drawer and came up with the lemon zester.  Turns out, it was AWESOME for creating these strips.  Originally purchased for zest, I found that when I needed a dash of citrusy goodness, I preferred the microplane zester.  But, not wanting to discard the first one, I just kept it around.  And now I know why: zucchini spaghetti.

With the right tool in hand, prepping the zucchini spaghetti is easy.  Remove both ends of the zucchini and peel it, leaving behind some thin strips of the dark green peel if you’d like.  It does nothing for flavor, but does add a little bit of color contrast to the finished dish.  Holding the zucchini squash in one hand, scrape down one side with the multi-holed end of the zester to create long, thin strips.  Roll the zucchini in your hand, continuing around the zucchini until you eventually reach the seed center.  Discard the seed center, or save for another use.  Prepping the zucchini takes just a few minutes, and should be done right before cooking.

I think that the zucchini would work really well as a substitute for pasta in almost any recipe.  To cook the zucchini for use with any sauce, follow these basic steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  2. When it’s hot, add the zucchini spaghetti and cook for two minutes.
  3. Sauce it up.

When considering the sauce for this recipe, I decided to take an idea from the dinner salad at Russo’s and combined Kalamata olives and orange zest.  It is a refreshing and tasty combination, and works really well with the zucchini spaghetti and some fresh basil.  I really loved this dish, and will definitely make it again as a side or a light lunch.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Kalamata Olives
Serving size: About 2/3 c.
Serves: 4

1/2 c. kalamata olives, halved
1/2 t. orange zest
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 zucchini, ends cut off and peeled
2 T. white wine
1 T. fresh basil, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix together kalamata olives and orange zest, set aside.

Using a lemon zester or mandoline, cut zucchini into thin, long spaghetti-like strips.  Turn zucchini and continue to create strips until you reach the seed center.  Reserve the seed centers for another use.

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add zucchini and cook for 1 minute.  Add wine and basil, cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in olive mixture, season with salt and pepper.  Divide between plates, and drizzle with any remaining sauce.

Estimated calories:  137 cal/serving

Print it: Zucchini Spaghetti with Kalamata Olives

Corn, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

29 Jun

The best thing about watching the kids play baseball four nights a week is that we’re outside watching baseball.  The worst thing is that we have a very small window to get home, ready for baseball, and eat dinner.  The eating dinner part of this is particularly tricky because it needs to be ready, quick to eat, and something everyone will eat because there’s no time for dilly-dallying at the dinner table while we have an EAT YOUR DINNER SHOWDOWN.  Last night I made a cold salad that I considered to be the ultimate meal – a base that everyone would enjoy, hidden protein, and lots of extra toppings to meet the needs of the picky palates at my table.  A cold salad featuring corn (everybody’s favorite), black beans, and tomatoes topped with a light honey-lime dressing.  The dressing is really nice, a little sweet and kind of tangy; it has the kid friendliness of French dressing with the added benefit of not being French dressing.  As I pulled out the bowls and encouraged everyone to DISH UP and ENJOY, I started to hear the words I dreaded most.

I hate black beans.
Are the tomatoes already mixed in?
Is there anything else?
Why isn’t this a pot pie?

Using the words that I knew their baseball coaches would later in the night, I told them to HUSTLE and GET GOING and NOT EVERYTHING IS A POT PIE (okay, no baseball coach is likely to say this, but they could because it is totally true).  I loved the dish, adding radishes and Sriracha to mine.  Martin said that it was edible, and liked the dressing even though the tomatoes contaminated the rest of his food.  And Sophie begged me to never to make it again.

Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1/2 c.

15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz bag corn, steamed, rinsed, and drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL ITEMS
Diced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced radishes
Sliced green onions
Jalapenos
Shredded lettuce
Tortillas
Corn chips
Salsa
Sriracha

In a large bowl, mix together black beans through salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  For best flavor, refrigerate for an hour before serving.

As is, this makes a nice side dish.  Add avocado, cilantro, radishes, green onions, or jalapenos if desired.  If serving as a main dish, serve in a bowl, over lettuce, in tortillas, or with corn chips.  Top with salsa or sriracha for extra kick.

Estimated Calories:  138 cal/serving

Print it: Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Herbed Rice Pilaf with Peas

7 Oct

Most of the time I plan when I plan meals, I get as far as choosing the main course and I lose interest.  Sides usually consist of whatever vegetable I have on hand served steamed, cooked, or raw.  Mostly I just want to make sure that we’re getting some vegetables in our diet with little added fat or calories.  While this is very functional, I’ve noticed that I’m the only one who seems to enjoy this utilitarian approach.  In the interest of mixing it up a bit, I decided to try some rice WITH vegetables.  The kids always love fried rice, but it is pretty heavy in calories.  Using less fat, this recipe tastes lighter and comes in at about 1/3 of the calories of fried rice.  In a single serving, there isn’t a ton of vegetables, consider this more like baby steps to consuming GREEN.  And by that, I mean the vegetable color, not a focused strategy for environmentally friendly side dishes.

Herbed Rice Pilaf with Peas
Serves: 8

3 T. non‐dairy butter
1 small white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups Jasmati rice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium‐high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the rice, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the rice is glassy, about 2 minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about 7 minutes.  Add the peas and stir.

Cover and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, add parsley and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Estimated Calories: 137 cal/serving

Print it: Herbed Rice Pilaf with Peas

Notes:
– Feel free to substitute butter or margarine for the non-dairy version used here
– Any long grain rice can be substituted for the Jasmati.  Right now my favorite rice is Texmati.  Clearly I favor the MATI family.
– This is also pretty good reheated, but you may want to add a bit of chicken stock or water when reheating.
– Isn’t this bowl pretty?  It was made by Minneapolis artist Mike Norman.  It is one of my favorites.

Antipasto Salad

1 Jul

There are a few things I look for in a good side dish recipe:
1. Can be made ahead of time
2. Will be enjoyed by people who have varying tastes
3. I like it
4. It’s not baked beans

This Antipasto Salad recipe fits the bill and more.  It is tasty, flavorful, feeds a large crowd, holds up for more than one day.  Making it is as easy as opening up a few jars, doing some chopping, and mixing together. 

Antipasto Salad
Serves: 12
Serving Size:  Scoop
 
16 oz. jar mild pepperoncini, drained
12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
8 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into thin strips
6 oz. can pitted black olives, drained
12 oz. non-dairy mozzarella, cubed
1/4 lb. sliced pepperoni, cut into strips
1/3 c. non-dairy Greek dressing

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well mixed and coated in dressing.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to two days before serving.

Notes:

  • You can substitute dairy cheese for the non-dairy kind used in this recipe.
  • When using non-dairy cheese, make it a day ahead so that the cheese has time to take on some of the other flavors.  Trust me, it is better that way.
  • Be careful when buying pepperoncini – there are both mild and spicy varieties.
  • If you find that you’re serving up a larger than expected crowd, add chopped romaine right before serving to increase the yield.

Estimated Calories:  255 cal/serving

Print it: Antipasto Salad