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    We've been having these potatoes at least twice a week. Seriously, it's like 5 minutes of work, and they're great. I make them with either red potatoes, or sweet potatoes, and they're both wonderful. This is absolutely the best way that I have ever had sweet potatoes. They are sweet, but not sugary. Try them next Thanksgiving instead of the usual sweet potatoes, but watch out, because once you try them this way, you might not go back!

As written, this recipe serves 4 people.

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
OR
3-4 large red potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

1 small onion, chopped (I like sweet or yellow for this)
1 T olive oil
garlic salt or Lawry's seasoned salt
pepper
Italian herbs (optional)



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put potatoes and onion in a large bowl, add olive oil, season with garlic salt, pepper, and Italian herbs, and stir to coat everything evenly. Make sure it's all coated in oil so it doesn't burn.

Pour everything into a baking pan, and bake at 350 for an hour.

When the potatoes are soft, they're done.

They go really well with roasted chicken, steak, meatloaf, or really anything that needs potatoes!


 
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    Fried rice is so fantastic because it's a delicious way to use up a bunch of leftovers. It tastes too good to be this convenient. It's a pretty complete meal, all by itself, and you can make it all in one pan. It can also be a great side dish to go along with broccoli beef, chicken chow mein, and some spring rolls, if you want a feast!

Ingredients:
2 T oil (peanut, vegetable, olive... anything except motor oil)
3 c cooked rice (it's better if you use rice cooked the day before)
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces (raw or cooked)
4 green onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced
8 oz peas and carrots (fresh, frozen, or canned- whatever you've got)
2 eggs
1 t ginger powder
1 T sesame oil
3 T soy sauce

Directions:
    In a wok or large pan, heat oil over medium heat. If you're using raw chicken, add that first, and cook it thoroughly. Then, add the green onions and garlic, and let them cook for a minute or so, throw the rice in, and mix it all up. Add the ginger powder and let it cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. When it's nice and fried, push everything to one side of the pan, and scramble and cook both eggs on the other side.
     When the eggs are cooked, stir everything to combine, and add the peas and carrots, sesame oil, and soy sauce. If you're using previously cooked chicken, add that, too. Mix everything together, and let it cook for about 2 more minutes and serve.
    Now taste it


 
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    One of my greatest friends used to make these spring rolls when we shared an apartment, and I couldn't get enough of them. She gave me the recipe, and now my kids and husband can't get enough of them, either.  I like to make the spring rolls early in the day, so that I have a great appetizer or side dish that I don't have to worry about at dinner time. I like to serve them cold, but you can fry them in peanut oil if you like the crunchy skin. 


Ingredients:
rice wonton/ spring roll wrappers
1 T vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T grated ginger
1 block of tofu, cubed (I use extra firm, because I like the texture)
1 c shredded carrots
1 c bean sprouts
1/2 c shredded cabbage, or coleslaw mix without dressing
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 T sesame oil
4 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
Peanut oil for frying (optional)

Directions:

    Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large wok or pan. Add green onions, garlic, ginger and tofu, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, carrots, bean sprouts and cabbage, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots and sprouts are tender. Stir in the cilantro, and then remove from heat. 

    To wrap spring rolls, soak one wrapper in warm water for about 20 seconds to soften it a little. Then lay it flat on the counter, and spoon the filling into the wrapper. Fold the sides in, and roll it up. Continue until you run out of filling or wrappers. 

    You can either refrigerate them, and serve as-is, or you can fry them in peanut oil just before you serve them. Either way, they're delicious. I like to dip spring rolls in Soy Vey teriyaki sauce, and serve with broccoli beef or chicken chow mein.











    Image courtesy of John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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    Everybody needs a go-to salsa recipe, and this is mine. I got it from a very good friend a while ago, and tweaked it to make it my own. I always make it when we have company, and everyone always loves it. It's a good thing the recipe makes a lot, because everybody always wants some to take home.





Ingredients:
1 large can of Rotel, drained
1 small can of tomatoes, drained
1 onion, peeled and quartered (since the Rotel is kind of spicy, I use sweet onion to balance it out, but white onion is also great)
1 bunch of cilantro
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lime, juice only
1 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t sugar

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor. If you put the cilantro in first, it blends together better. Then, pulse everything in the food processor until it reaches your desired consistency. Pour into a bowl, and refrigerate for a few hours, until everything is nice and cold. It tastes best after the flavors have had time to mingle, but I don't blame you if you can't wait that long.

 
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    I just sort of happened upon this coleslaw recipe when I was making fried chicken one day, and everybody loved it. I usually make it with green cabbage, but red is fun, too. If you  slice everything on a mandolin slicer (watch your fingers!) it only takes a few minutes. And, if you get too much cabbage, you can always save some for fish tacos! 








Ingredients:

For the coleslaw:
1 small head of cabbage, red or green, shredded
1/4 c finely sliced red onion
1 apple, finely sliced
1/2 c finely sliced carrots

For the dressing:
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 T honey
2 T red wine vinegar
1 t dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

    Mix the cabbage, onion, apple, and carrots in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the dressing, and combine just before serving. Store any leftovers seperately, and they will keep better.  

    When I was out of red wine vinegar, I used white vinegar, and nobody complained. 

 
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    I know you're not going to believe me until you try these, but my kids like them. Both kids. I didn't have to force feed anyone. We all ate Brussels sprouts together, like some sort of Norman Rockwell family. Of course, my immediate response was to share the recipe so that other families might have the same lovely, and healthy, experience. 



Ingredients:
1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed, and cut in half
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 t soy sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place Brussels sprouts on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, and shake them around a little to make sure they are coated evenly. Season with salt and pepper, and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir or shake them up after about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown the butter over medium heat. To brown the butter, heat it past the point when it bubbles, to the point that it juuuuuuust starts to turn brown. Then add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, stir it together, and remove from heat.

When the Brussels sprouts are nice and roasty (this is not a scientific term), take them out of the oven, put them in a bowl, and drizzle them with the balsamic brown butter sauce.

Image courtesy of [porbital] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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    Ok, I'm not going to lie. When I make this, I can't stop eating it. My husband likes it too, so I feel bad that I don't really share, but that doesn't seem to stop me from eating it all. I can't get enough of this. And I don't really like asparagus. It's the brown butter. I think it was created specifically for asparagus, because I don't really like either of them without the other. When you put them together, though, it tastes like magic. Seriously, magic.



Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed
1 T olive oil
1/2 t garlic salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T butter
1 T soy sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place asparagus on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. I like to shake it around a little bit to coat the asparagus evenly. Then bake it for about 12 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender, but not burned. 

Meanwhile, brown the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. To brown the butter, you cook it past the point when it melts and then bubbles, until it clarifies, and turns juuuuuuust a little bit brown. Then, remove it from the heat, add in the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, and stir it all together. 

Pour the sauce over the asparagus, and serve. It goes well with grilled steak.

Ok, now I'm hungry...




    Image courtesy of zole / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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    Oh, cauliflower. It's one of the best things for you to eat, but it tastes like, well, cauliflower. And since you don't get all the nutritional benefits of cauliflower unless you actually eat the cauliflower, I had to find a way to make it delicious. This mashed cauliflower tastes more like mashed potatoes, and my unsuspecting family can't tell the difference.






Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and chopped into florets
1 head garlic, roasted
1 T milk or cream
2 T sour cream
3 T cream cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
    First, tell your family you're making mashed potatoes. 

    Then, cook the cauliflower. You can either steam it for about 10-15 minutes, or boil it for 10 minutes.

    When the cauliflower is soft, place it in a food processor with everything else, and pulse until it's the consistency of mashed potatoes. You can try to do it with a potato masher, but I can never get all the lumps out that way. Season with salt and pepper.

    Since every head of cauliflower is a different size, if you get a huge one, you can scale everything else up a bit. 



    Image courtesy of SOMMAI / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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    I think that Avo-de-gallo is the main reason people come to my house. I serve it every time we have a party, and everybody always hovers around it until it's gone. So, if you're going to make it, make a bunch. It makes any burrito better, and goes great on Black Bean Burgers. You can put it on tacos or nachos, or just eat it with chips. Trust me, you'll eat it.







Ingredients:
2 large tomatoes, or 1 small package of cherry tomatoes, diced
1 sweet onion, diced (it's ALL about the sweet onion)
2 avocados, diced
1/4 lime, juice only
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
garlic salt, to taste

Directions:
    Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a spoon. Pretty simple, right?

 
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    Sweet potatoes are super healthy. They are loaded with vitamins and fiber, and
can be a great alternative to regular french fries, if you do it right. Every
time I serve Sweet Potato Fries, I mix up some Sriracha Mayonnaise to dip them
in, and every time, it's my favorite part.

Ingredients and Directions:

For the Sriracha Mayonnaise:
2 T mayonnaise
1 t Sriracha

In a small bowl, wisk together Sriracha and mayonnaise until smooth. In this ratio, the sauce won't be spicy, it will just have the Sriracha flavor, and make the sweet potatoes taste like magic. If you're feeling spicy, add more Sriracha.



For the Sweet Potato Fries:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into fries that are roughly the same size
2 T olive oil
1 t sugar
1 t garlic salt
1/2 t smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, coat sweet potatoes in oil, and stir them to coat completely. Mix in the sugar, garlic salt, and smoked paprika, and stir until the sweet potatoes are covered evenly.

Spread the potatoes out evenly on a baking tray and bake them for 25-30 minutes, turning them over after 15 minutes. Take them out when they're golden brown, and serve them with the Sriracha Mayonnaise.