Category: Sides

Wild Rice and Brussel Sprout Pilaf with Pomegranate and Toasted Pecans

Wild Rice and Brussel Sprout Pilaf with Pomegranate and Toasted Pecans
This just screams Fall to me and harvest and MN and all things that will look beautiful on a Thanksgiving table. Oh and did I mention it screams flavor and texture awesomeness?? Make wild rice and brussel sprout pilaf with pomegranate and toasted pecans a highlight of your holiday feast..

I love a good bread stuffing on Thanksgiving as much as the next gal, but this year I am looking for something a little more complex and perhaps a little more nutritious, insert wild rice and brussel sprout pilaf with pomegranate and toasted pecans.  Are you with me??  I want to treat my family and guests to a wonderful, colorful, delicious feast…one that is packing as many vegetables as possible.  The inspiration for this dish came from some beautiful brussels spouts we (Tim and I ♥) picked up at the Farmers market (http://www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com/).  I love walking through the isles of freshly grown, local food and letting the Spirit move me on ideas.  Truth be told this is what I love about any shopping trip that involves food.  Here are the gorgeous sprouts that inspired this dish… (more…)

Cranberry-Apple Sauce with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon

Cran-Apple Sauce with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon
Cranberry sauce is a must on my Thanksgiving table.  Cranberry-apple sauce with maple syrup and cinnamon is the recipe you will use going forward.  The apples along with the maple syrup naturally sweeten the sauce eliminating the need for added sugar…#winning..  

I LOVE cranberry sauce with turkey.  I could never really get into the kind that looked like a can in slices on a plate, but real cranberry sauce….LOVE IT!!  I remember it being my job to make it growing up at our Thanksgiving.   I grew up in central MN on a lake and every year (it seemed anyway) the lake was frozen enough for skating so we would spend the morning on the ice and then with bright, red cheeks and in my Thanksgiving outfit (long underwear) I would help Mom with the feast….my job, cranberries.  I would read the directions on the package and do things just as instructed and the sauce was great!  Such beautiful color and the perfect accompaniment to our turkey.  Very fond memories friends…my parents were transplants from Chicago, so our Thanksgiving was often just the 4 of us and it was magical.  This year,at my house there will be a few more than 4, 12 in fact, and I will be making the cranberry sauce yet again, with perhaps a hand from one of my kids.  We will be making cranberry-apple sauce with maple syrup and cinnamon and I am going to say it…YOU SHOULD TOO!!!!!  No sugar in this one, natural sweeteners from the maple syrup and the apples.  This sauce is great with turkey (yes, I tested it with http://www.hotdatedinner.com/turkey-legs-brined-buttermilk-smoked/), but I also tested it with vanilla ice cream and toasted pecans and guess what?!?  IT WAS AMAZING!!  AND, I plan to serve any leftovers with yogurt and granola (along with http://www.hotdatedinner.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins/) on Friday morning before the days festivities commence.  Dinner, dessert and breakfast all in one recipe…you are welcome.  ♥ (more…)

Beets, Roasted with Shallots and Rosemary, Pickled with Red Onions

Beets, Roasted with Shallots and Rosemary, Pickled with Red Onion
The perfect sweet and and “oniony” condiment. Beets, roasted with shallots and rosemary and pickled with red onions are so incredibly delish on salads and sandwiches..

I don’t think I was privy to pickled beets until after I met my good friend, Tim. ♥  His Grandma made them every year, with his help at times.  Sure, I had eaten this magnificent root plenty of times…we grew them in our garden while I was growing up and my mom did other amazing things with them, but pickled…WHOA, this was an awakening!!  Beets are so beautiful…the color alone just draws us in.  Pickling them with the addition of red onions is like a marriage made in heaven, a sweet, pickly, oniony marriage.  There is sugar in this recipe providing the perfect, sweet, acidic flavor you are craving.  Make no mistake, although there is some sugar, beets are a great source of fiber and are naturally low in calories and fat.  These gems are the perfect addition to any sandwich, but I particularly love them on a veggie sandwich. (more…)

Maple Butternut Mash

Maple Butternut Mash
Should you serve this for your Thanksgiving feast? YES!! This maple, butternut mash is everything you want squash to be…

Butternut squash…it does not get the attention that pumpkin does this time of year and I have no idea why.  It is far superior (not a fact, just my opinion) in flavor and very versatile.   Maple butternut mash is easy with minimal ingredients and will be devoured on your Thanksgiving table or any table for that matter. (more…)

Oven Roasted French Fries

Oven-Roasted French Fries with Curried Tomato Aoli
Perfect;y crispy, perfectly hot, perfectly-perfect… Served here with a curried tomato aoli….cheers friends..

How about those fries?  You can do this, fresh, REAL, oven-roasted french fries.  No deep-frying and besides a splash of evoo and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper the only ingredient in this recipe is POTATOES….as it should be my friends.   The frozen varieties will do in a pinch (I guess), but this is a treat and with a bit of plan-ahead time, you may never do it any other way (I hope anyway♥).  Here we go.. (more…)

Curried Tomato Chutney

Curried Tomato Chutney
Almost the end of October and we have to make the most of these late season tomatoes, how about a curried tomato chutney to go with your eggs, on a burger or transformed as a dip for your fries..

Katie went out in the garden to pick the last of this years tomatoes over the weekend and with the small bounty she brought in, I thought I’d make a curried tomato “chutney” to have that morning for brunch with eggs.  What is chutney?  It is a spicy condiment made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar, originating in India.  This particular recipe does not include any vinegar, the tomatoes are acidic enough, but otherwise it meets definition.  I LOVE the flavor of curry powder which is a spice blend of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chili peppers.  Added to the tomatoes, onions and garlic in this recipe, it is magic.  This would also be good on grilled chicken, fish or as a condiment for sandwiches. (more…)

Oven Roasted Acorn Squash Slices with Fresh Thyme and Honey

Roasted Acorn Squash Slices with Fresh Thyme and Honey
Roasted acorn squash with fresh thyme and honey is sweet autumn perfection…the perfect addition to any meal this Fall..

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Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Smoked Paprika

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika
Uniform size is important so that all of the fries cook equally

Crispy, baked sweet potato fries with smoked paprika may be your new go to when craving french fries.  Sweet potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse, packing Vitamin A and C along with smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals.  They also are a great source of fiber and have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes.   Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) tend to release glucose slowly and steadily into the blood sugar as opposed to foods with a high glycemic index which release glucose rapidly……this means you can eat these sweet potato fries without feeling hungry or tired an hour later.  Have at it!! (more…)

Roasted Poblano, Jalapeno and Cilantro aoli

Roasted Poblano, Jalapeno and Cilantro Aoli
Grow them!! These beauties are one of the easiest peppers to grow in my garden, anyway. They are fairly mild in flavor with a rich, deep green color…

This past weekend, I was out in my garden and these poblano peppers were just begging to be picked and tuned into something amazing.  Tim and I love poblano peppers and plant them every year.  They are easy to grow, and the color and flavor are just fantastic.  If you are not growing them, you can pick them up at any local market or store.  I do have my favorite way of preparing them (http://www.hotdatedinner.com/dry-rubbed-grilled-sirloin-zucchini-poblanos/), but now we have a contender for favorite preparation.   This roasted poblano, jalapeno and cilantro aoli would be amazing on most anything.  It is spicy from the addition of the jalapeno, but the fat from the mayo cuts the spice perfectly.  The bold freshness of the cilantro takes the color and flavor over the top.  Use it as a dip or condiment, this aoli will knock your socks off.    (more…)

Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa with Fresh Cilantro

Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa with Fresh Cilantro

Friends, here is THE salsa recipe you will make going forward.   Roasted tomato and jalapeno salsa is everything we are looking for in a salsa, peak tomato flavor, perfect consistency and some heat.  BINGO!!   If you aren’t growing them, grab some of those late summer tomatoes from the farmers market and preserve this wonderful season…you will thank yourself all year long.  In fact, grab a bunch and make a big batch of roasted tomato marinara with fresh basil and Parmesan while you’r at it, get that recipe here http://www.hotdatedinner.com/roasted-tomato-marinara/ . For a list of MN Farmers Markets, check out this website http://minnesotagrown.com/.  Use roma tomatoes for this recipe, they have thicker walls and less juice as opposed to sandwich tomatoes.  This is easy and makes a ton, let’s go… (more…)

Roasted Beet, Green Grape, Gorgonzola and Crispy Shallot Salad

Roasted Beet, Green Grape, Gorgonzola and Crispy Shallot Salad

I was lucky enough to find some chioggia beets at the farmers market recently and knew they would be a stunning presentation for a soon-to-come, hot date dinner.  I love incorporating vegetarian meals into the week for a number of reasons, but sometimes they are a little trickier for me to create.  Using beets as my main ingredient I thinking about their color, flavor and texture and how to perfectly compliment them with other fresh, flavorful ingredients.  This roasted beet, green grape and Gorgonzola salad with crispy shallots seemed like the perfect combination.  It is beautiful, it is light, it is nutrition-packed and with the perfect, creamy Gorgonzola it is a real treat.  It is the perfect hot date dinner for this summer weather we are having here in MN this week.   Make this salad your hot date dinner this week!!   (more…)

Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Radish and Mint Salad

Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Radish and Mint Salad with Lime-Honey Vinaigrette
Beautiful, Seasonal Ingredients..

This lovely, refreshing, cantaloupe, cucumber and radish salad came together in my head over a couple of days.  I had bought this beautiful melon and was thinking about it every time I walked past it on my counter.  Sure a tossed fruit salad always goes over well, but looking at other ingredients I had, I wanted to create something different.  I was craving something a bit more savory, with some crunch and cucumber and radishes seem to fit the bill perfectly.  Mint is plentiful in my gardens so I try to use it whenever possible and I knew this would work perfectly here as well.  To enhance the sweetness of the cantaloupe and really make the salad pop, I made a quick lime and honey vinaigrette to drizzle over the whole thing.  This is so delicious, so beautiful, and comes together just a few minutes.  It would be the perfect salad to eat any time of day.  Try this one, you won’t be disappointed!!  Follow along to see how it quickly comes together. (more…)