Category Archives: Sides

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Yes, sweet and sour has been a theme lately. Can you blame me? Cucumbers are starting to pop up in gardens and farmer’s markets around town and this twist on my Grandma’s classic is the perfect refreshing side dish to a burger, brat or last week’s Sweet and Sour Pulled Pork.

Cutting the cucumbers as thinly as possible is the trick to making the texture of this salad work. If you’ve got fresh dill from the garden, it will kick these cucumbers up an extra notch.
Sweet and Sour Cucumbers

Sweet and Sour Cucumbers
2 large cucumbers, very thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
1/4 C white vinegar
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp chopped dill
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

After thinly slicing cucumbers, place in bowl and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Squeeze and drain excess water from cucumbers. In a separate small bowl, mix vinegar and sugar. Pour over cucumbers. Stir to coat. Add dill and pepper, toss to coat.

Chill or serve immediately. Drain most of the excess liquid before serving.

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Our foodie friends over at the Food Network are also celebrating cucumbers this week! Check out some of these mouth-watering Summer Fest recipes.

Feed Me Phoebe: Fennel Tzatziki with Mint
The Lemon Bowl: Japanese Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Burmese Cucumber Watermelon Composed Salad
Domesticate Me: California Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avocado Dressing
Taste With The Eyes: Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi with Shrimp and Minari
Devour: Cucumber and Mint Lemonade 
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Cucumber, Carrot and Onion Refrigerator Pickles
Red or Green: Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho
Virtually Homemade: Cucumber Tomato Bruschetta
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Neer Mor — Zested South Indian Buttermilk with Cucumber
Weelicious: Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Blue Apron Blog: Barley Salad with Heirloom Cucumbers & Golden Beets
The Sensitive Epicure: Pimm’s Cups and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
FN Dish: Pickles Past the Jar

Happy Summer Eating!




Filed under Cook, Healthy, Sides

Easy Herbed Green Beans

In my attempts to broaden my gardening horizons I tried my hand at starting pole beans from seed, lured in by the appeal of an Italian heirloom variety called Trionfo Violetto.  Last year my seedlings got hijacked by some greedy rabbit or squirrel but this year, I have four strong plants. The first round of my purple beans was finally ready this week and they are a thing of beauty. Something about eating richly colored purple beans is just that much sexier than everyday green beans, don’t you think?

purple green-beans

Since my first picking had enough for a little over one serving, I happily snatched up some extra green and yellow beans at the weekend farmer’s market, already imagining the gorgeous Mardi Gras-like mix that would appear on our plates.

This recipe is so simple that it feels like a sham to even call it a recipe but may be my favorite way to eat green beans. The combo of freshly picked beans and bright herbs tastes like “garden” in all the best ways and why mess with that?

multicolored green beans

Herbed Green Beans
serves 2-3 but volume is easily increased
1/2 lb green beans
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley & chives), chopped
freshly cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Wash and trim ends from green beans. Add beans to saute pan and drizzle with olive oil. Saute on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until beans are tender and just beginning to blister. While sautéing, season with salt and pepper. When beans have 1-2 minutes left, add chopped herbs. Serve warm.

green beans with herbs



Filed under Garden, Healthy, Quick & Easy, Sides

Avocado Cashew Chicken Salad

I have an obsession with two ingredients. Greek yogurt and avocado. I use plain greek yogurt in pretty much everything I make (my husband can attest) and have become a fan of pretty much any dish paired with avocado. I love a good chicken salad, especially as the weather begins to warm up (finally!). This chicken salad combines my two favorite add-ins to make a creamy, healthy dressing for the chicken. Eat this chicken salad on a croissant, atop a bed of fresh greens or all by itself! This is a great dish to bring to a picnic, although you cannot make it too far ahead of time or the avocado with turn a brownish hue. So add the dressing right before serving!

Avocado Cashew Chicken Salad

Avocado Cashew Chicken Salad
1 lb. cooked and shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast (or rotisserie chicken), cooled
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 cashews, chopped
1 avocado
1/3 C plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Combine chicken, celery, green pepper, cranberries and cashews in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mash avocado. A fork should suffice for a ripe avocado, but you may want to process it if it is a bit firm. Add yogurt, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add to chicken mixture and fold together until all ingredients are covered. (Make sure to cool the chicken as to not melt the yogurt).

I hope you are all enjoying the entrance of spring and hints of summer as much as we are!



Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish, Sides

Simple Roasted Vegetables

My 1 year old daughter is a true veggie lover.  She especially loves anything that is roasted.  After making her many batches of roasted veggies I realized that I almost forgot just how good a simply roasted vegetables can be.  Sometimes we get so consumed by making a recipe unique, adding all kinds of sauces or spices, that we forget that a vegetable in its truest form is actually very delicious, and good for you!  I have found that using coconut oil helps to bring out the sweetness.  I understand that this recipe is not necessary earth shattering, but hopefully it will inspire you to rediscover the simplicity of roasted vegetables.


Roasted Carrots and Zucchini

4 large carrots, pealed and sliced into even sized pieces.
1 medium sized zucchini sliced into evenly sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Sea Salt

Preheat your oven to 400 deegrees.  Place your cut up veggies in a bowl and drizzle with the melted coconut oil.  Toss until all of the veggies are coated.  The coconut oil will probably harden slightly onto the carrots and zucchini and that is ok.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

carrots and zuchini pre baking

Lay out on parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes turning every 10 minutes.

Remove when brown around the edges and tender.


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Filed under Cook, Kid Friendly, Sides

Broccoli Cheesy Rice

I’m constantly searching for new side dishes that are fast, easy and kid-friendly. There is something to be said about a good side dish that uses items that are already in your cupboard or your refrigerator. This broccoli cheesy rice is a great side to any grilled or pan seared protein like pork chops or chicken breast. I always find myself sneaking the spoon to add a little extra to my plate.

Broccoli Cheesy Rice

Broccoli Cheesy Rice
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 C long grain white rice
2 C chicken stock
1 C fresh or frozen broccoli, chopped
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
3 TBSP milk
1/2 tsp salt

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil. Add white rice and sauté until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and heat until boiling. Reduce to simmer and cover, 15 minutes.

Lightly steam broccoli on stovetop or heat in microwave for three minutes and chop.

Remove rice from heat, add broccoli, cheese, milk and salt and stir until cheese is melted.

Broccoli and Cheese Rice


The folks at Food Network are dishing up sides all spring! Check out these other “From the Pantry” side dish links from fellow bloggers around the web:

Feed Me PhoebeTropical Trail Mix With Ginger and Coconut
The Cultural DishGreen Bean Salad
Jeanette’s Healthy LivingEasy Roasted Tomatoes and Spring Asparagus
Napa Farmhouse 1885Pizza With Kale-Walnut Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pickled Garlic
Red or Green?Spring Greens With Homemade Vinaigrette
The Sensitive EpicurePasta alla Ghetto Fabuloso (Gluten-Free and Milk-Free)
Dishin & DishesScalloped Sweet Potatoes
Made By MichelleBroccoli Quiche With Homemade Bisquick
FN DishPantry-Friendly, Budget-Friendly Side Dish Recipes



Filed under Cook, Sides

Winter Superfood Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette

Like everyone else attempting to be healthy out there, I’ve been trying to sneak kale into all sorts of things which often leaves me with partial bunches of the leafy green on hand. Even though it lasts a shockingly long time in the fridge, I recently was trying to use some up before going out of town.

Since “superfoods” seem to be all the rage right now, with kale as a poster child, I opted to pull some of my other favorites into a hearty winter salad full of color and sharp flavors.  I wasn’t sure how the flavors would meld at first but they ended up nicely balanced – proof that if you thoughtfully combine things you love, you’ll have a winning dish.
Winter Superfood Salad
1 1/2 C farro, cooked
1 1/2 C kale, chopped
4 small yellow beets, grated
1/2 C dried cherries
1/3 C shaved parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped pecans
1 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt & pepper

Add farro and 3 C water to a large pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil.  Cook until farro is tender but still chewy and water is nearly all absorbed, approximately 25-30 minutes. Drain any excess water and transfer farro to a large bowl for storage or serving.

Meanwhile, add olive oil, grated beets and kale to a large saute pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes until kale begins to wilt and reduce in volume. Season lightly with kosher salt and pepper.  Add to bowl of farro and toss to combine. Add cherries, pecans and parmesan and toss again.

Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss a final time to coat.

Clementine Vinaigrette
juice from 2 clementines
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
cracked black pepper

Peel clementines and place in a small bowl. Use a juicer or muddler to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible. Remove the clementine segments and discard. Whisk in olive oil, mustard, vinegar and cracked pepper until well combined.




Filed under Healthy, Sides

Goat Cheese Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I am always looking for a fresh, new twist on side dishes this time of year. With the plethora of family dinners, fancy meals and potlucks around the holidays, it is nice to mix it up from the old sweet potato casserole standby, low on my list of holiday favorites. Instead, I’ve created a much fluffier and healthier version (holidays and healthy? gasp!). I brought this dish to serve my family on Thanksgiving. It was gobbled up.

goat cheese mashed sweet potatoes

Goat Cheese Mashed Sweet Potatoes
4-5 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP milk
2 oz goat cheese
1/2 C roasted pepitas

In a large stock pot, fill with water until potatoes are covered. Boil until sweet potatoes are softened, about 15-20 minutes. Strain.

Add milk and butter and mash until smooth.

Crumble goat cheese and gently mix in with a rubber spatula or spoon. Add pepitas and fold in. Top with goat cheese and pepitas before serving.

goat cheese mashed sweet potatoes with pepitas via Haute Apple Pie

The salty pepitas add a nice crunch to this smooth dish. These are a great side dish with turkey, pork or a good barbecue meal!


Filed under Cook, Healthy, Sides