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It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is rapidly approaching which means busy times and plenty of food to go around!

I have found that Bon Appetit has the best Thanksgiving guide around. Check it out here – They have everything from the best turkey recipes to sides and appetizers. Highly recommend this site.

What are all of you making for Thanksgiving? What are your favorites? Feel free to post some winners here!

My favorite is my grandmothers Sausage Stuffing…but sorry, it’s a family secret!

eggplantI have so many yummy veggies left from the farm, so I decided to make a great caponata to use them up. I used a Tyler Florence recipe and adapted it to use up what I had in the fridge.

This is delicious warm, cold or room temperature. Sever on toasted bread as an appetizer, mix with pasta or serve with chicken or fish for an easy dinner. This is a very versatile dish…and yummy too!

Ingredients…

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

dash of red pepper flakes

1 large eggplant, cubed

1 zucchini cubed

2 ribs of celery cubed

2 tomatoes, halved and seeds squeezed out, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 cup pitted kalamata and green olives

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

pinch sugar

handful of torn fresh basil

salt and pepper

Directions…

Pour the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant in the oil. Add red pepper flakes. Cook until brown, be sure to stir often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, celery and onion cook for about 15 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the capers, olives, balsamic vinegar, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until thickened.

I was in the mood for some good bread for dinner. I decided to make a salad with a twist. I stopped by Balthazar Bakery and picked up a baguette – cheap and delicious!

Toss cubed bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 until golden brown.

Cube up 2 baby eggplants toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Bake at 425 until tender.

In the meantime, cube 2 vine ripe tomatoes and put in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in olive oil as you whisk until a nice dressing is formed.

Toss the tomatoes, eggplant and bread with the dressing. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Before you serve toss with chopped basil and small cubes of fontina cheese. Eat alone as a great vegetarian dinner, or serve with lemon and mustard baked chicken (that’s what I did). Make a simple marinade of lemon juice, dijon mustard, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Bake off the chicken until it’s cooked through. Just delicious!

 

Here’s a great tip for saving some money when cooking at home…buy what’s in season! This is a simple way to guarantee the freshness of your ingredients and keep a few extra dollars in your pocket.

georgia-peaches

Peaches this week at Fairway (my favorite market) are 99 cents / pound! Not only do they make a delicious snack, but you can do so many things with them. Eat them up before they are no longer in season. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Slice in half, brush with olive oil and cook on grill pan (cut side down until tender). Serve them sliced on top of a salad – Check out last night’s recipe, and substitute these for the apples. Or you can drizzle with honey and top with greek yogurt for a tasty and healthy dessert.
  • Cube and mix with orange juice, olive oil, jalapeno and cilantro. Use as a topping for simply grilled fish or chicken.
  • Make a Peach BBQ sauce to brush over chicken. Saute 1 chopped peach and 1/4 white onion diced in 2 tbsp of melted butter. Once tender add 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, dash of salt and pepper, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp dijon mustard. Simmer for 20 minutes. 

Want something light to eat during those hot summer days? How about a delicious Summer Salad. The beauty of this recipe, like many of mine, is that it’s just a concept – you can mix it up with whatever ingredients you like. Substitute goat cheese for feta cheese, or pears for apples. You could easily add grilled chicken or shrimp to this salad…or even the left-overs from yesterday’s recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken!

Here’s a tip…make your own dressing! I never keep bottled dressing in the fridge. Homemade dressing is not only easy, but much healthier then the bottled kind. I’d rather save my calories for a snack!

 

Summer Salad

Mixed greens

1 diced Fuji apple

1 handful of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of walnuts (toast lightly in a dry pan to bring out the flavor)

1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese

 

Mix together above ingredients and drizzle dressing over the top. Toss and serve immediately.

 

For the dressing: Whisk together 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add in, while whisking, about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Yummy!

Looking for a low budget way to have a great time on a Friday night? Not in the mood to go out to the bar? Just want to hang out and watch the Yankees game…that’s what I’ll be doing tonight! Why not kick up the heat with a Mexican Fiesta night? Invite some friends over and cook up these few simple and delicious dishes!

Here’s a tip…and probably my favorite…Make things from scratch! By doing this you save calories and aren’t eating any yucky preservatives. Plus, believe it or not, it’s actually fun!

Another thing about me, I don’t like to measure. Here’s another tip…taste your food! Use a recipe as a base, but adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste.

Guacamole

Mash up avocados and mix with chopped tomato, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Mix in salt and lime juice. Enjoy with chips!

Salsa

Throw seeded tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and salt into a mini Cuisinart chopper. Pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Enjoy this with chips too!

Chicken or Beef Fajitas

Marinate chicken or beef for about 15 minutes in beer (like Corona), olive oil, cumin, chile powder, salt, cilantro and my favorite ingredient these days, Cholula hot sauce in Chipolte Flavor.

Grill up the chicken and slice it into strips.

In a separate pan saute sliced peppers and onions in olive oil until tender but still crisp. While they are cooking add in cumin, chile powder, salt and Cholula.

Mix the chicken in with the peppers and onions. Serve with warmed tortillas, sour cream and your homemade guacamole and salsa!

Do you have the Wednesday blues…rather make reservations then cook dinner? Well here’s a super easy way to turn a simple piece of grilled chicken or store bought rotisserie chicken into a healthy, delicious meal.

Roasted Potatoes

Slice new (red)  potatoes about a 1/4 of an inch thick. Toss with olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven until they are crispy. (This was my favorite potato dish growing up…Thanks Mom!)

Lemony Green Beans

Steam green beans. Then toss with olive oil and lemon zest (don’t forget to wash the lemon first!). Heat in a pan until they are warmed through.

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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