This salad served to clients at work made me want to make it ASAP. I love fresh pineapple and since the little one will always eat cucumbers, it means we always have some around. My mint plants are going gang-busters so poof! This salad was born. I planned to make pulled pork int he crockpot so this was perfect alongside it! I also would definitely chop it up more and use it as a relish. Yum!
1/2 cucumber, mostly pealed
1 cup fresh pineapple
8-10 mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Chop the cucumber & seed, if necessary. Chop pineapple, shallot, and mint. Add it all to a bowl.
Add in the lime juice & olive oil. Toss well.
Refrigerate until serving, or serve immediately.
I thought this was perfect with the pork. I was so glad to have something zippy and fresh. This salad was so fast to throw together. The pork cooked all day in the crockpot and it was the fastest dinner to get together. Uhh it was just. so. ideal on a hot hot hot night. The leftover pork will be frozen and probably will go inside tacos. I’d really love this cuke & pineapple all diced up as a relish on a taco or sandwich.
Seriously, make this for your next BBQ and everyone will appreciate this cool, sweet, light, refreshing salad.
I road tested this pasta salad out and turned it into a meal by making it a vehicle for taco salads. It features flavors of a margarita, lime, with a touch of salt. I heard a tip of tossing the pasta in vinegar while it cools so I wanted to try it out. I think it works a bit, I don’t know that is changes the pasta salad to out of this world, but it totally has more flavor than many run-of-the-mill pasta salads.
1/2 pound rotini pasta
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup margarita mix
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tomato chopped
1 cup roasted corn
Green onions, chopped
fresh lime squeezed & zested (optional)
Boil the pasta and drain then toss with the apple cider vinegar. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before dressing it.
Whisk together the mayo, sour cream, margarita mix, chili powder, and salt.
If the pasta hasn’t completely chilled, then cover the dressing and mix later. If the pasta has already been chilled, then toss in the dressing.
Add in the veggies and herbs.
I think this would be great at a BBQ. I think it could have had more lime-ness. Next time I’ll juice a lime and zest it up. We topped them with taco-salad toppings like taco meat, avocado, and salsa. It was great for a bit of change from the usual taco salad. I used up some taco meat from the freezer and it involved very minimal cooking…many birds, one stone!
I was totally inspired by this lunch-lady-dude on Next Food Network Star when he made maple bacon creamed corn to top with a crab cake. I wish it were time for local fresh corn, but we’re not quite there yet. Instead, this is the snazziest freezer-side-dish ever.
We grilled some chicken to serve over this sweet and smokey creamed corn. I couldn’t believe it…the little one gobbled almost a whole chicken thigh! He tends to choose the fruits/veggies/carbs over chicken but we just keep serving it. He had some regular corn and some of this maple bacon creamed corn.
The creamed corn took the same amount of time to cook as the chicken. Perfect!
2 slices of bacon
1/2 yellow onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups corn
3 tablesoons of water
1/3 cup milk or cream
2 tbs maple syrup
Pan fry the bacon.
While the bacon is cooking, chop the onion and add the onion pieces and butter to a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Let the onions cook until soft & translucent ~8 minutes.
Add in the corn (mine was frozen), the water, syrup, and the milk.
Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
If using frozen corn, remove about 1/3 – 1/2 and blend or food process it a little bit. Break it down a bit without totally obliterating it. Fresh corn will likely break down a bit on is own.
Add that back in, stir, and then add in the crispy bacon.
Stir while cooking another minute or two. Serve and enjoy!
I loved the sweet maple-y bacon flavors with spiced grilled chicken. It was a quick & unusual side dish for us with some pretty easy grilled chicken thighs. I like a new thing to go with something hands-off/no-stress/straightforward other foods. It would have been ideal to have a sharp & peppery arugula salad with this, but this was what we could make happen. This family dinner outside was glorious.
One drizzly Sunday I was hell-bent on making corn & zucchini something. As in, there were already groceries in the house and I willingly ventured to Wegmans…on a Sunday…with the little one…after going to Target. I do love taking the little one on errands partly because he seems to enjoy it, and I want him seeing people/places/learning how to behave in public/knowing we need to do things beyond playing together. But let’s be real: most grocery stores are BA-NAN-AS on Sunday afternoons. Also, we need a rule against 85-year-olds doing their errands on the weekends.
Anywho, I got it into my head that it should be like a pancake-ish. Mine ended up being a little more eggy/fritter-y but we still got the little one to eat it. (he’s not so into eggs right now)
I loved these as a non-traditional side dish for our house. They reheat well too.
Corn & Zucchini Fritters
adapted from Menu Musings’ Corn Cakes with Cilantro Lime Cream
2 cups corn (I used cooked frozen)
2 small zucchinis, shredded & moisture squeezed out
2 tbs chopped chives (optional)
1 tbs fresh thyme (optional)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees (or warm a pan if frying them – I did both).
Mix together corn, shredded zucchini, chives, thyme.
Whisk the eggs and milk, then add panko, cornmeal, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Add the wet mixture into the veggie mixture and stir to combine.
Use a muffin tin, muffin-top pan (my fav), or a baking sheet and spray liberally with non-stick spray. Add the zucchini corn mixture and bake. Cooking time will vary depending on your baking vessel. I partially cooked by baking for 10 minutes to set before pan frying.
Or pan fry until crisp. I pan fried to finish them off for about 3 minutes per side to crisp the edges.
I liked these a lot! They might not be a meal you remember for life, but they’re a fun way to enjoy some veggies in a form I don’t have daily. They reheat well and could be made as mini balls with toothpicks as an appetizer! They’re pretty mild flavored and friendly for the kiddos or your favorite vegetarian.
We tend to be slaw/potato salad folks around here. I almost made this as potato salad, but that takes so. much. longer. This, as pasta salad, was super quick…like end of naptime quick. I boiled the pasta and started to fry the bacon while the pasta got a chance to cool. It got dressed to hang out in the fridge until dinner time. Voila! This is best when chilled for 1-3 hours and served then. To serve the next day it’ll need some mayo/plain yogurt/sour cream. The blue cheese dressing is more on the oily side versus the purely creamy side.
Bacon Blue Cheese Pasta Salad (serves 4)
1/4 box of large elbow pasta
2-3 slices of bacon
1 1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing
2 tbs fresh chives, chopped (or green onions)
salt & pepper
crumbled blue cheese (optional)
hot sauce (optional)
Directions: (prep at least 1 hour in advance)
Boil pasta according to the package, cooking until soft, less than al dente.
Chop and pan fry the bacon until crisp, then drain.
Let the pasta cool. Stir a few times so it doesn’t become one chunk of pasta. Once cool, mix in 1 cup of the blue cheese dressing and the chives. Add in salt & pepper. Then cover and refrigerate at least an hour, preferably 1-3 hours.
Before serving, mix in the rest of the dressing and most of the bacon, reserving a little for the top.
Serve with the rest of the bacon on top. Enjoy!
This was great! I liked the flavor and the subtlety of it. I didn’t add in additional blue cheese or hot sauce, but this could totally become buffalo blue cheese pasta salad. I used the good, produce-area, blue cheese dressing. I think this is so easy that it is worth repeating and adds a great alternative to the normal, often-lackluster pasta salad.
I know. I can admit. I’m caesar dressing obsessed and after making Caesar Brussels Sprouts, I thought it would be really good for roasted asparagus. It was! I jazzed up some creamy caesar dressing and added some hard boiled egg, but you could totally make your own caesar dressing. I loved it and could have had just that for dinner!
1 bunch asparagus
1 egg, hard boiled
1/4 cup creamy caesar
2 tbs grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
cracked fresh pepper
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Trim the asparagus then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes.
In a jar, add caesar dressing, 1 tbs of parmesan, anchovy paste, garlic, and pepper. Shake well.
Lay the asparagus on a serving plate. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and the remaining Parmesan.
Chop the hard boiled egg and sprinkle over the top.
I loved this. The tiniest bit of anchovy paste makes this dressing so. much. better. Trust me, nobody will know what it is, but that tiny touch is necessary. Plus, it lasts forever in a tiny tube in your fridge. I love the salty, peppery dressing with the just-roasted asparagus and egg. It was such a great side dish and a sign that spring is on the way!
My side dishes tend to be really supporting characters rather than the blog-worthy item. Until now! I saw a recipe for caesar green beans and thought it would be even better for brussels spouts since the leaves would hold the sauce so well.
2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1 tsp grated Parmesan
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter while chopping the brussels sprouts.
Sear the brussels spouts to gently brown, stirring well. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium.
Add in the caesar dressing reducing the heat to low.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan then serve & enjoy!
These were really addictive. We served them with some marinated grilled chicken.
I had never cooked lentils before but this was the perfect dinner for winter-y comfort, a balanced dinner, and for speed! The lentils were so fast in the pressure cooker, or would be an easy one to prep the night before and the chicken sausage was fully cooked so they just needed a quick sear. Voila!
8 oz lentils
2 cups water (I used half water, half chicken stock)
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper (I used Krazy Pepper)
2 small potatoes
2 cups fresh spinach
Chop the potatoes, carrots, and garlic. Add to a pressure cooker with the lentils, water, salt & pepper. (See below for stovetop directions)
Cook according to your machine. Mine cooked for 10 minutes.
Bring a skillet to medium heat and sear the sausage in a drizzle of olive oil.
When the lentils are cooked and tender to the bite, stir well. Add in a splash more water if most of the moisture has evaporated.
Add in the spinach and stir again just until it wilts from the heat.
Serve a scoop of the lentil & veggies onto the plate.
Slice the sausage and serve over the top.
For stovetop lentils:
Bring lentils & water to a boil in a heavy pot. Then reduce the heat to medium low for 20-30 minutes. Here’s a good lentil tutorial.
This hit the spot. It was so fast and was such a great side dish that got to be the star of the plate! The little one enjoyed the lentils and I have another stash for a rainy day. It made plenty for 2 of us to have for dinner, Mr. J to take for lunch, and for the little guy to have some the next night for dinner…so 4 servings.
Lentils are speedy in the pressure cooker but since they reheat well, if you’re making them on the stove: put the pot on the night before and store them in the fridge once they’ve cooked. Then you just warm them and add the spinach before serving. They don’t need a ton of stirring or babysitting so you can catch up on The Bachelor, or whatever you do before bed.
HAP-py New Year! I didn’t exactly make it to midnight. I kept dozing, Mr. J dutifully would gently wake me and I was drowsy/cranky/confused. Dec 30th (a “school-night”) and Jan 1 I had no trouble at all getting to being awake at midnight. Ohh well. Christmas is packed away and the little one now points and says “oooo” at the snowmen I pop into place where Santas once stood. 2016 is going to be fun & tasty, I can feel it.
Ohhmygosh. I’m so excited. I got a pressure cooker for Christmas and I broke it out the other night for risotto. I know, I too thought they were only helpful for big pieces of meat until talk at lunch enlightened me. Risotto in 6 minutes? Sign me up! Spoiler: it was awesome…slightly longer than 6 minutes, but I pretty much dumped it in and let it do the work. Isn’t she pretty? This risotto would work perfectly in a pot on the stove as well. It has Parmesan cheese, corn, and chopped arugula.
Sweet Corn Risotto with Arugula (serves ~4)
2 tbs butter 1 tbs garlic, smashed or chopped 2 cups arborio rice 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth) 3 cups water (or sub white wine) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 1-2 cups Arugula, chopped 1-2 cups corn
In a pressure cooker (see below for stovetop directions*), saute the garlic in the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add in the rice and stir well, cooking for about 2 minutes until the rice gets a bit more opaque than white. Add in the broth and water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. While rice is cooking, cook the corn and chop the arugula. Release the pressure. Stir in parmesan, corn, and arugula. Enjoy! *For stovetop risotto: In a medium pot warm the broth and water over low heat. Melt the butter and cook the garlic over medium heat. Add in the rice and cook for a few minutes- until the rice gets opaque versus white. Add in the liquid 1 cup at a time. Wait for it to absorb and then add another cup. Repeat for all the liquid – likely 30 minutes.
I loved this. It was cooked PERFECTLY. It was creamy but not mush. The corn was living in my freezer but had been cut off the cobb awhile back. The chunks still connected make me smile…like finding a double Cheez-it! I chopped the arugula really well partly because the baby was going to eat it too, and partly because I love using it like an herb! I’d use wayyy more next time.
The baby loved the risotto! He ate quite a lot. Mr. J and I did a his/hers entree and shared risotto. He had grilled steak and I had grilled salmon with some dijon/lemon/garlic/salt/pepper. Poof. Insta-dinner.
Ok folks. You haaaave to make this. I’ve had Mexican street corn, Elotes, and wanted to try making some myself. It is normally on the cob but now that we’re out of that season, I wanted to make some as a side dish. It is such great flavor of sweet corn, salty cheese, lime juice, and a creaminess that is ohh so good. We ate this as a side dish for a fiesta dinner but it’d be fun as a dip too. Or in tacos! (or by the spoonful).
I skipped the jalapeno not wanting this to be too spicy for my crowd. I don’t know that it needs it, so do as you wish!
12 oz white & golden corn
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cotija cheese or feta (I don’t have cotija at my grocery store so I used feta)
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional)
Cook the corn according to the package. (I used frozen corn).
Mix together the lime juice, mayo, garlic, chili powder, and some lime zest.
Add a splash of milk if it seems to thick, or mix it with the corn and then add if necessary.
Mix the dressing with the corn and cheese.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
I really loved this. So did the whole fam! It had a great flavor and texture. It was really great alongside our tacos. I admit I scooped with chips but with salsa and guacamole, I’d still keep this as a side dish. It was a winner and so quick. I’ll totally make this again…asap.