Side Dishes Recipes

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Gigante Bean and Kale Salad Recipe Recipe

Unlike many items on fast food menus, this kale salad should cause no alarm if super-sized. Kale leaves are massaged and marinated in a delectable white bean vinaigrette. The beans used were very creamy inside, so I mashed a small portion to thicken the texture of the dressing.

These Greek white beans are unusually large (compared to the standard beans) and are aptly called "gigante" beans. They have a toothsome bite, which helped balance the texture of the salad. I also added sun-dried tomatoes for a pop of color. Serve this complete, nutritious salad with garlic toast and you'll have a light, healthy, yet tasty meal. 


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Wild Mushroom Farro Recipe Recipe

Wild Mushroom Farro Recipe

03.18.14 by Jackie

Farro is a great substitute for pasta. It's gluten free and is cooked in the same manner as rice. The girls asked me to prepare a risotto-style orzo, so I figured if I flavored it with their favorite ingredients of the season, they would barely notice the difference. I used a combination of wild mushrooms, including porcini, crimini, shiitake and chanterelles along with the farro alternative. 

I'm pleased to report everyone loved farro; I was even more surprised that they preferred it to pasta and rice. I think it's because changing the menu once in a while is nice. With their addictive personalities, they might request that I cook farro every week from now on!


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Beet Polenta Appetizer Recipe Recipe

Beet Polenta Appetizer Recipe

03.12.14 by Jackie

I love the flavor combination of beets and sage; I've used the same marriage of flavors in soups, pasta dishes and vinaigrettes on multiple occasions. This time, I made a variation of a polenta appetizer and flavored it with this particular pairing. 

The beets gave a regal color to the bite-size portions and I repeated the sage flavor in the cream topping. The corn nugget garnish was my "cherry on top" and was a reminder of the cornmeal used for the polenta. 

You’ve probably noticed over the years that our family hosts a large number of dinner parties. My favorite part is creating new appetizers because it really levels the playing field for me. First I come up with a flavor combination that I know works incredibly well as my basis, then turn it into a miniature, aesthetically pleasing, unique piece of art. You know the saying: you eat with your eyes first! 


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Tofu Fried Rice Recipe Recipe

Tofu Fried Rice Recipe

02.18.14 by Jackie

I often find myself with a lot of leftover jasmine rice. At the end of the day, if the rice cooker is still full of rice, I unplug the machine, let the rice cool to room temperature and store the rice in the refrigerator. Last night was no exception, so this morning I gathered the cooled rice and made cơm chiên chay (Vietnamese for "vegetarian fried rice") and added tofu for extra protein.

For this version, I added vegetables I had readily available such as carrots, peas and sugar snap peas. You could combine the vegetables of your choice. Simply make sure you don't choose any "watery" vegetables such as bok choy, or the rice will turn mushy and soggy. 

Baby Aria absolutely loves fried rice. I never have to feed this dish to her. She scoops the rice into her spoon and asks for more! 


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Kale Salad with Pomegranate Dressing Recipe

Here’s another Meatless Monday recipe for the beginning of the week. I wanted to feature a flavorful yet healthy one, so I prepared a baby kale salad with pomegranate dressing. I also added shredded carrots and spiced pecans for extra crunch and nutrition. And to reinforce the tart and sour taste of this salad, I also added dried cranberries. 

I think you've probably noticed my recent love for all things pomegranate. I prepared the dressing with freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, a little mustard, agave nectar and flax seed oil to complete the delicious vinaigrette. Et voilà!


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