Roasted squash, Kale slaw, Really fancy rice

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Tired of the same old side dishes? These are really interesting ones.
 Roasted squash
4 pieces bacon
2 tsp. maple syrup
1-1/2 C butternut squash, diced into 1/2-in. chunks
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 C packed spinach
1 C cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C Feta cheese
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 C Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Lay bacon on top of rack and baste both sides with maple syrup. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through until bacon is nice and crispy. Blot excess grease with paper towel and set aside.
Line a small baking tray with foil. Place squash on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt. Bake for 30-35 minutes until squash is tender and softened. Using a fork, lightly mash squash. While squash is roasting, prepare your spinach. Heat spinach in a pan over medium heat until wilted and cooked down (2-3 minutes). Set aside. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, Feta, garlic and cayenne, and mix together until smooth. Fold in spinach, squash, maple bacon and Monterey Jack. Pour mixture into an oven-safe serving dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese has melted and top begins to brown. Serve warm with crackers or sliced bread.
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Kale slaw
For slaw:
3/4 C hazelnuts, roughly chopped
3 TBS cane sugar
pinch of cayenne
2 small bunches or 1 large bunch kale
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts
3/4 C cooked and cooled quinoa
2/3 C pomegranate seeds
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2/3 C shaved Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
For dressing:
2 TBS chopped shallots
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside. For dressing, in a food processor, combine shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a non-stick pan over medium heat, combine hazelnuts, sugar and cayenne. Stir with a silicone spatula until sugar has melted and sticks to nuts, about 5 minutes; turn down heat to prevent burning if needed. Spread sticky nuts out on foil-lined sheet to cool. When nuts are cool enough to handle, break them up by hand.
Stem kale and chop well. Using a mandolin, shred Brussels sprouts, discarding tough ends. Combine both in a large salad bowl. Add hazelnuts, quinoa, pomegranate seeds, green onions and cheese. Dress to your liking and serve immediately.
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Really fancy rice
1/4 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 C sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (12 oz.) Arborio rice, uncooked (about 1-3/4 cups)
3 C chicken broth, divided
1 C frozen peas, thawed
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C blue cheese
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
Cook and stir prosciutto in 1 tsp. of oil in large skillet on medium heat until crispy. Remove prosciutto from skillet with slotted spoon; set aside. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, rice and remaining 3 tsp. oil to skillet; stir until rice is evenly coated with oil. Cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of broth, cooking and stirring constantly until broth is absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, adding broth 1 cup at a time and cooking until rice is tender but firm. Stir in peas, Parmesan cheese and blue cheese; cook until cheeses are completely melted, stirring frequently. Spoon onto serving platter. Top with prosciutto; sprinkle with parsley.
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Thought – The biggest lie I tell myself is, I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.
If you would like to share a recipe with me, just send it to the J-T or email it to me.
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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