Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

Thai Quinoa Salad

February 16, 2016

A nice mix up from the normal quinoa salad where I do either Mexican or Mediterranian flavors. I doubled this the first time I made it to make enough salads for both husband and I for the week and it was too much. This would be great for a lunch or as a side at a summer BBQ or dinner. 

Makes about 8 side servings. 



  • 1-2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 cups shredded/chopped red cabbage


  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2-3 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes


  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped basil


Combine all salad ingredients, wisk dressing and combine. Reserve toppings for just before you eat (although the herbs can be mixed in prior).  



Roasting Veggies

February 16, 2016

At 400 degrees: 

Broccoli 16 minutes

Asparagus 25 minutes

Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

October 5, 2015

When someone throws tomatoes at you, make this and pair with grilled cheese.  It’s knock-your-socks-off good and perfect for a fall football day. 


3 lbs fresh tomatoes, any kind (no need to seed or peel)

1 red bell pepper 

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 yellow onion, diced

4 T fresh basil, chopped

2 T fresh oregano, chopped

1 T balsamic vinegar



A pinch of sugar if your tomatoes aren’t sweet enough

1/3 – 1/2 cup of heavy cream to your liking


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Seed and cut the red pepper in half and add to the baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO and some salt. Roast for 45 minutes. 

Cook the onion and garlic in the pot you’d eventually like the soup in.  

Add the onions, garlic, and all tomatoes to a blender or food processor and make it smooth.  

Pour back into the pot and add the herbs, balsamic vinegar, cream and S&P to taste.  You won’t even need to heat it back up.  



Pico de Gallo

October 5, 2015

When you have too many tomatoes and are really in the mood to chop. 


6-7 romas, seeded & diced

1 green pepper, seeded & diced

1 small red or white onion, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded & diced

1 lemon, juiced

1 ime, juiced

1/2 bunch cilantro, diced



Prep the tomatoes and place in a colander over a bowl and cover in salt. Let it sit and drain for 30 minutes. 

Combine the all of the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit overnight. 

Benihana Fried Rice

September 1, 2015

Tastes exactly the same.  Exactly. The. Same. Serve with Shrimp Sauce.

Makes 4 dinner servings


3 cups UNcooked rice, (brown, white, quinoa or a mix of these) cooled to room temperature

4 tablespoons butter (softened)

2 garlic cloves, pasted (use 1 if you want a lighter garlic flavor)

3 eggs, beaten

2-3 chicken breasts, cubed

1⁄2 cup frozen peas, thawed (may omit)

1⁄2 cup frozen carrots, thawed

1 cup onion, diced

1⁄4 cup green onion (optional)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)


The rice and chicken could be pre-cooked the night before.  If you haven’t done this, start cooking the rice and bake the chicken to make things easier on yourself!

Make your garlic and butter compound. Put softened butter in a bowl large enough to allow you to mix the garlic into the butter. Needs to be well blended. Keep the bowl next to the stovetop for when you’re ready.

Scramble the eggs in a frying pan with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Then cut the cooked eggs into small pieces and put aside in a large bowl (that you’ll serve the rice in).

Sautee the onions, carrots, peas for 5 minutes in sesame oil.  When almost cooked, add 1 tablespoon of the garlic butter compound. Leave in pan.

Add 2 tablespoons of garlic butter compound and add the cooked chicken and then rice a handful at a time. Carefully stir everything together and keep adding rice until all the rice is added and well mixed together. At this time add 1 more tablespoons of the garlic butter compound. Cook rice for 5-7 minutes stirring often. 

Add the cooked eggs, stir well carefully. Now add your soy sauce. Mix well to distribute evenly. Add remaining salt and pepper to taste.

If you wish to add the toasted sesame seeds do so now and stir and serve. Since we used sesame oil in the recipe the seeds are optional.

Adapted From:

Mediterranian Veggie Salad

June 27, 2015

Another salad win from our Lutsen trip. 

Use a variety of fresh veggies: briccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, seeded tomatoes, green onions, cooked chickpeas.


1/4 c EVOO

1/4 c red wine or cider vinegar

1 t dried oregano

1 t dried basil

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 t salt

1 t sugar

*Combine up to 1 hour before serving

Can make both ahead, just wait to combine!

Garbage Salad

June 27, 2015

  This is from our cabin weekend at Lutsen! Sooooooooo good.

2-3 c cooked brown rice/quinoa

1 can corn, drained

1 red pepper, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

3/4 c dried cranberries

1 carrot, grated

3 T fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 c sliced almonds

1/4 c sunflower seeds

Dressing: 1/3 c EVOO, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 T lemon juice, 1.5 T soy sauce

Chickpea Avocado Salad

May 27, 2015

Side dish for 4 people


1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 avocados, pitted, and chopped

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons green onion

1/3 cup feta cheese

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions: throw it all together.  

Mushroom quinoa side

May 10, 2015

GREAT with steak.
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 t fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, Rosemary) 

1 T butter 


S + P

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1/3 c shredded parm
Start cooking the quinoa in the rice cooker to package directions.  

Later… Preheat the oven to 500. 

Sauté the mushrooms with the rest of the ingredients accept for the parm and quinoa.  When quinoa and mushrooms are al dente, put them in a baking dish and top them with the parm. Keep it in just long enough for the parm to get a little crispy.  

Roasted cauliflower 

May 10, 2015

2 heads cauliflower 

1/3 c EVOO

10 cloves garlic chopped 

1/2 t red pepper flakes

4 thresh thyme, chopped

4 t salt
Preheat the oven to 400. Put the dressing in a bowl and coat the cauliflower. Put in a single line on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 min.