Category Archives: Side Dish

Grapefruit and Walnut Broccoli Slaw

Oh Mama’s not done with grapefruit yet. Not even close.

I’m actually a little obsessed with all of the citrus fruits in general lately. They are a miracle right now.

And I had a little epiphany on the subject yesterday afternoon that I’d like to share.

So I was standing over my sink, shamelessly sucking the juice out of the grapefruit that I had just segmented, and glancing around at all of the used tissues and various medicine bottles strung out all over the counter from The Dude’s most recent nasty cold. When it hit me how incredible it is that during the time of year when people’s immune systems are taxed and tested for months, the one fresh fruit you can find in abundance are the beautiful, juicy little specimens that are absolutely bursting with vitamin C to help you out.

Zen.

I totally found zen while standing over my kitchen sink and looking at dirty Kleenexes, friends.

Okay. So enough of that hippie talk. Let’s get to this slaw.

I’m telling you, if you are feeling the winter blues and have had enough of the heavy, hearty, stews and slow cooker meals you have been making since Christmas, you need to make this. This slaw doesn’t feel like winter. After a few bites, you will be ready to dig out your flip flops and tank tops and head out to the front porch swing.

It is crunchy in all the right ways from the shredded, fresh veggies. Which makes biting into the plump, soft, grapefruit all the more exquisite. The grapefruit also makes such a nice sweet contrast to the bitter slaw. I know I don’t even have to tell you how amazing the freshly toasted walnuts are. And the dressing is an Asian inspired, tart, sweet, wonder of flavor.

Now I know I always say that things are easy to put together, but this was so quick I was even kind of surprised, myself, when I was finished.

While your walnuts are toasting, you toss all of the dressing ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up.

Then you pour it over the slaw, segment a grapefruit (or two if you are feeling feisty) over the top, toss in the walnuts, and stir it around a bit.

Now it is of course like most slaws in that it really tastes better the longer you let it sit. So I would advise making this at least the night before you want to serve it up. You get bonus points if you go check on it and give it a gentle toss from time to time.

Now get in the kitchen and make something that will boost your mood by making you think of summer while giving that immune system a helping hand.

Grapefruit and Walnut Broccoli Slaw

1 cup walnuts

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (approximately 1/2 medium grapefruit)

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

12 oz bag of broccoli slaw

1 whole grapefruit cut into segments

salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant.

In a mason jar or any container with a tight fitting lid add grapefruit juice, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic, olive oil, and honey. Shake vigorously until well combined.

In a a large bowl gently toss together slaw, grapefruit segments, dressing, and walnuts. Season with salt.

Cover and refrigerate overnight until ready to serve.

Mulled Apple Cider Risotto

I didn’t get hooked on mulled apple cider until after The Hubs and I got together.

Every Christmas, my mother-in-law busts out this little old carafe that sits on top of the stove and fills it up with apple cider and mulling spices. She will leave it warming there all day so we can come in and out sipping on it as we please.

It is just a little thing, but it has become something that I look forward to every holiday season the most. So much so in fact that when we couldn’t go do any traveling for Christmas last year because we had a 5 week old, I made sure that our house was stocked with apple cider and spices.

But I naturally over bought, and after a couple of weeks, grew quite tired of drinking apple cider. So I started trying to think of ways to incorporate it elsewhere. I started making my morning oatmeal with the cider, mulling spices, and cayenne. (P.S. It is totally amazing. Do it!) Then one morning, my mind went to risotto. But the problem was, when do you serve a sweet risotto?

Hmmm…maybe breakfast or dessert.

Okay. But who wants to stand over their stove and stir for an hour just for dessert? Or worse, first thing in the morning.

So I started researching some baked risotto recipes and tried it out. Now to be totally honest, you really do lose a little of the creaminess when you bake it as opposed to stirring on the stove top. But again, you only lose a little of the creaminess. It is still risotto. And you barely had to do any work.

You toast up the risotto in some butter and pour in your apple cider and spices. Bring it to a boil and pop it in the oven.

While that is cooking, get some water warming in a pot (or maybe your sweet little carafe) on the stove and when your risotto come out of the oven, gently stir that in about a cup at a time. Don’t worry though, this takes maybe 5 minutes. Stir in some orange zest and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Such a hearty, comforting, warm breakfast. Might be nice for Christmas morning dontcha think? We enjoyed ours on a random Saturday. It was perfect.

Oh and I would like to add that the person who enjoyed this the most at my house was Monkey Mode…just thought you might like to know.

Mulled Apple Cider Risotto

2 tablespoons butter, divided

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups apple cider

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

3 cups warm water

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425.

Warm apple cider in a pot until simmering, and add salt, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, and honey.

In a medium dutch oven or oven proof pan with lid, heat one tablespoon of butter. Toast rice for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour warmed apple cider mixture into the rice, and stir until it comes to a boil.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes.

While the rice is baking, warm 3 cups of water and zest half of an orange.

When rice is done baking, pour in the water 1 cup at a time until it is incorporated.

Stir in orange zest and remaining tablespoon of butter.

Serve immediately with chopped pecans.

Cornbread Dressing Pops

Seeing as I came in to the food blogging thing only a few months ago, I am admittedly quite late to the whole cake pop party.

Which in a lot of ways, I am so grateful for. Can you imagine the mess The Dude and I would have gotten into if we had attempted to make cake pops?

…on second thought that actually sounds like a great time. I’m gonna file that away for a cold, rainy day activity for us.

So hopefully this isn’t totally awkward that I am bringing these little guys to the table even though cake pops are like so over. But once I had the idea in my head, I just couldn’t let go of it.

Here’s the thing though, I am totally NOT giving you my dressing recipe. Oh no. I’m not even going to go there. Cornbread dressing is kind of a sacred thing down here in the South. And it’s not that I am trying to keep it some big secret, I just don’t want anyone to cry foul because it doesn’t taste like their Grandma’s. I’m pretty sure every cook has there own unique way of doing it that they and their family thinks is superior to anyone else’s anywhere in the world.

So yeah, this is just a serving suggestion for the cornbread dressing recipe that you already have. Notice I keep mentioning cornbread dressing. I am not so sure this would really do with what I consider “stuffing” or the side that looks more like a savory bread pudding with hunks of bread in it. There is nothing wrong with that dish, I just don’t think you could really mold them into balls.

Oh and did I mention that you can make these with leftover dressing as well as the “raw” mix?? I tried it both ways and it worked well each time.

If you decide you want to make them into little pops before you ever bake it, all you have to do is add a little less broth to the mix. You just want it to be slightly drier so that you can easily fold them into little balls in your hand.

If Grandma makes a bit too much dressing this year, and you decide you want to get cutesy with your leftovers, all you have to do is pick up a handful of cold dressing and press and roll it into little balls. Nothing to it.

Place the walnut sized pieces on a greased cookie sheet, and bake them at 375 for about 20 minutes or so until they are golden and crispy on the outside.

Then when they are still warm, insert your little sticks. And voila! Cornbread Dressing Pops! They are so cute, and if you are a crunchy, corner piece taker, you are going to love these balls. They are crunchy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Seriously, it’s like every bite is a corner piece! How great would these be dipped in gravy or cranberry sauce?

I think they would make a darling presentation dolled up around the turkey. It might also be fun to go ahead and make a pan of dressing like normal, but maybe set aside a little of the mix before hand into balls, and then stick the pops directly into the dressing pan, just for fun. Send me some pictures if you try it out.

And on a completely unrelated note, my little Monkey started walking, and she turns one tomorrow. So this is kind of a big week. Just thought I would share and brag. Thanks.

Crunchy Sweet Potato Pie Fries

As you know, I have a three year old. And if you know anything about three year olds you know that they enjoy the constant occasional game of dress up.

Here she is as a sweet little bumble bee.

And here she is last Halloween as a pup.

Hahahahahaha! This picture never ceases to make me laugh. I promise that she actually was into it by the time Trick or Treating rolled around. Actually, for that matter, she still asks to bust out this costume.

Sometimes my food likes to play dress up too.

Guess what I had for lunch today?

Yep.

These little guys.

Holy Lord.

That’s right, friends. A sweet potato fry all dressed up like a pie, complete with a graham cracker crust.

In my ongoing efforts to go against the ubiquitous fall pumpkin recipe grain, I present to you yet another sweet potato recipe.

Let’s see, how can I describe these? They are all creamy and sweet and spicy on the inside. And crunchy and slightly sweet on the outside.

Oh yeah, and they are totally addictive too. Seriously. I could not stop eating these. If my pregnant friend had not come over and finished them, I would have definitely eaten the whole pan.

In a medium bowl stir together oil, apple cider vinegar, and spices.

Cut up a sweet potato into long, thin strips. Try to keep them roughly the same size so that they will bake up evenly.

Place the potatoes in the bowl with the spices and toss to coat.

Crush 4 graham cracker sheets into fine crumbs. You could use the food processor, but to save myself from a few dishes I actually just rolled them with a rolling pin right on my cutting board and then transferred the crumbs to a pie plate.

Dredge the potato sticks in the crumbs and lay on a greased cookie sheet.

Anyone care to guess how I cleaned off my fingers?

Bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the fries over and bake for an additional 5.

Sweet potato. Pie. Fries.

Yep.

Crunchy Sweet Potato Pie Fries

1 small/medium sweet potato

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

dash cayenne (optional)

4 graham cracker sheets

Preheat oven to 425.

Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs. Pour into pie plate and set aside.

Slice sweet potato into even strips.

In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients except graham crackers.

Toss potato strips into spice mixture to coat.

Dredge potatoes in graham cracker crumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes. Turn fries. Bake for 5 minutes more.

Grandma Amy’s Secret Fruit Salad Dressing

I always imagined I would keep this recipe a secret.

I am seriously in love with the phenomenon of the Old Southern Biddie who has her secret recipe that she absolutely refuses to give away.

I always wanted to have one of those recipes, and I thought this could be it.

I imagined people would come over to my house, plop the fruit salad on their plates, unsuspectingly sample one bite, and then scream in ecstasy, “This is the best fruit salad I have ever had!” They would all then proceed to follow me around for the rest of the day begging for the recipe, but I would never cave.

(I have illusions of grandeur. Humor me.)

I imagined I would keep it a secret until my death bed. Whereupon I would raise a shaky finger beckoning my favorite grandchild, and whisper the location of the recipe that I had scribbled on the back of a crossword puzzle years before.

Then I started a food blog and said, “Meh….what’s the point in that?”

There really isn’t too much to say about this one.

It makes a ho-hum bowl of chopped up fruit feel fancy.

It makes someone like The Hubs (who’s traditional idea of late night dessert snack is a candy bar) eat two bowls full in one sitting.

It’s the kind of thing you can eat out of fancy little goblets with a sprig of mint, or straight out of the fridge with a fork at midnight while standing in your socks and underwear.

This dressing is silly easy and is literally good on any kind of fruit you wanna cut up. Just go with what ya’ got. And I wouldn’t get all flustered about having a lot of different types of fruit to go in it either. If all you have is apples, just do that. Really. It would be delicious!

It calls for a whopping four ingredients: lime, honey, fresh ginger, and vanilla.

Please, go ahead and buy fresh ginger root. You can use the dried, ground variety if you insist; but the flavor of fresh ginger just pops so magically on the fruit. You can keep it forever by putting it in a plastic baggie and into the freezer. Just grate off what you need at the time and put it back. You can use it in a lot of Asian dishes, fancy up your lemonade, but if you are anything like the members of this household, you will have to make more fruit salad after about an hour anyway so the whole root will come in handy.

Simply given them a whirl with a fork.

Here is the Little Dude with a little demo…

Now pour it all over your fruit.

And voila! Your basic fruit salad just got all gussied up!

Grandma Amy’s Secret Fruit Salad Dressing

Enough for 4-5 cups of chopped fruit

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon vanilla