Side Dish


This is a simplified version of a Southern staple of picnics and church potlucks. Using frozen fruit instead of canned reduces the sweetness, and the yogurt adds a nice zing.

Ingredients:

8 ounces (1 container) Noosa lemon yoghurt
1 container original Cool Whip
2 packages Dole Mandarin Sunshine Blend frozen fruit (thawed, drained)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

How I Made It:

Gently mix the yogurt and Cool Whip with a rubber spatula. Fold in the coconut and then the fruit.

IMG_4724 (2)

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

Yummy!

 

 

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Radio silence here at In the Kitchen with Kate is due in large part to just too many goings on and too little time to blog. Hopefully that has changed, or at least I’ll start picking easier meals to prepare so that they are easier to share. This hasselback potato recipe is about as easy as they come.

Ingredients:

1 organic baking potato, washed and peeled
2 tbs of unsalted butter
sea salt

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 435 degrees. Line a small baking dish or cookie sheet with foil.

If your potato won’t sit steady on the sheet, slice a little off the bottom so it will. Then slice the potato into thinnish but not too thin slices, about three-quarters of the way through. Use the handles of two wooden spoons, one on each side, to help prevent cutting all the way through.

Rub butter over the top of the potato and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake the potato for 15 minutes, then add a little more butter and salt and bake for another 15-25 minutes, checking every five minutes or so (the size of the potato will dictate the cooking time).

hasselback 1 (2)

How It Turned Out:

While I’ve heard about these Swedish marvels, I’ve never made hasselback potatoes before. So I don’t know if these turned out “right,” but they were quite tasty. They were cooked through, but still firm. The butter drizzled down while the potato cooked so the bottom was a crisp golden brown. It was salty and buttery and just plain yummy.  So if this isn’t a proper hassleback potato, who cares?!?!

hasselback 2

These baked beans are amazing — amazingly easy and amazingly tasty.  The secret is to use a crock pot and to add a dash of mustard.

Beans

Ingredients:

2 pounds dried navy beans
4 strips of center cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
12 ounces frozen chopped onion
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup organic low salt ketchup
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
4 tablespoons organic Dijon mustard

How I Made Them:

Rinse the beans in cold water and drain in a colander (with small holes).  In a large pot, cover the beans with cold water and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for two hours. Drain the beans and transfer them to the crock pot.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, cook the bacon until done but not crispy.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and stir it into the beans in the crock pot. Cook the onion in the bacon grease until it’s soft but not brown.  In a bowl, combine the vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and mustard.  Add that to the onions and stir to combine.

Pour the sauce over the beans in the crock pot.  Set the crock pot to the lowest setting — on mine it’s “serve.”  Let the beans cook for 8 hours, stirring once halfway through to be sure the beans are thoroughly sauced.

How They Turned Out:

YUMMY!!  Serve with your favorites of the grill, hot dogs, or on their own.

 

This is a super-quick supper that is fancy enough for a dinner party.

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen tortellini
1 lb of fresh asparagus
1 lb of fresh snow peas
3 tbs of Greek feta vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

How I Made It:

Wash and pat dry the peas and asparagus.  Snap the ends off and de-string the pea pods.  Reserve 3 stalks of asparagus, cutting the remainder into pieces (tops, then three sections — I don’t keep the tough thick bases).  Create asparagus ribbons with the reserved asparagus stalks, using a vegetable peeler.  Set the ribbons aside and squeeze a little lemon juice over them.

Cook the tortellini according the instructions.  Use a big pot and at least 2 cups more water than called for, so that you can blanch the vegetables for 3 minutes in the same pot as the pasta.  I also add a little olive oil in the pot to prevent the pasta from sticking. When it’s all done, strain the pasta and vegetables in a colander (do not rinse).

In a large glass serving bowl (so you can see all the lovely green veggies), toss the hot pasta and vegetables with the dressing, then sprinkle half the parmesan on top.  Toss again, then top with the rest of the cheese.  Garnish with the asparagus ribbons and serve.

How It Turned Out:

The bright taste of fresh peas and asparagus pairs nicely with the creamy tortellini. I made this as the main dish for a dinner party, but it would also be a lovely side dish for grilled or poached salmon or a lemon chicken entrée.

Easy Peasy Pasta

Makes 4 servings.

This pasta salad comes together easily and can be made in large quantities for potlucks and picnics.

Ingredients:

2 16oz boxes of pasta shells
2 12 ounce containers of grape tomatoes, rinsed and drained
1 English cucumber
1 can of sliced black olives
1 bottle of Greek feta vinaigrette
1 cup of baby spinach, washed and dry

How I Made It:

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. While it cooks, drain and rinse the sliced olives; set them aside.  Chop the cucumber and set it aside.

When the pasta is done, drain and rinse it in cold water.  In a large glass salad bowl, combine the pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and spinach.  Dress with the vinaigrette to your taste (I don’t like too much dressing, but you don’t want it to be dry or the pasta to clump).  Also, I hold back some of each of the ingredients (except the pasta) to decorate the top of the salad so it looks pretty.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Shake the bowl, flipping over a couple of times, to thoroughly toss the salad and distribute the dressing.

Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

Greek Pasta Salad

It’s better if you can make it the night before and let it sit to have the flavors meld. Give it a good toss before you present it, and it will be as pretty as it is tasty.

My homemade mac and cheese is hit and miss, mostly because I’m impatient with the roux and the blending of the cheese(s).  Sometimes it’s awesome, sometimes it’s blah.  This recipe, however, resolves all my patience problems and creates a gorgeous creamy dish.

Ingredients:

I box of macaroni noodles, cooked al dente (whole wheat and veggie noodles are good, too)
4 cups of 2% milk
1/2 cup of flour
1 heaping tablespoon of Durkee Sandwich Spread
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups of shredded cheddar

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a LARGE casserole or dutch oven and set it aside.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box, just to al dente.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the milk, flour, Durkee, and pepper together.  When the pasta is done, transfer it to your casserole dish/dutch oven.  Add the milk mixture and combine with a big spoon.  Add the cheese, combining after each cup so that it’s evenly distributed throughout the dish.

Cover the dish and bake for 30 minutes. If you want, you can uncover the dish and bake for another 10 minutes if it’s not as brown on top as you like.

How It Turned Out:

I will never use another recipe again.  This was AMAZING!

Mac & Cheese

Makes 8 big servings.

I made this easy pasta salad for the annual church picnic today and it was a big hit.  This version has salami in it, but you can leave that out for a wonderful vegetarian option. This recipe makes 20 servings, so you might want to halve or quarter it for a family-size dish.

Ingredients:

1 lb farfalle (bow tie pasta)
1 lb mini farfalle
2 cups fresh organic broccoli florets
1 cup chopped sweet red, orange, and yellow salad peppers
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half longways
1 cup genoa salami, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled low-fat feta
4 tbs organic balsamic vinaigrette

How I Made It:

Cook the pasta according to the box. With 90 seconds left to go, add the broccoli to blanch (for that bright green color).  Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water.

In a very large bowl (preferably one for which you have a lid) toss the pasta and broccoli with half the balsamic vinaigrette.  Add the peppers, olives, salami, and feta.  Toss again.  Add the last of the dressing, and give it a good final toss.

Keep cool until ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

Picnic perfect!!

Greek Pasta Salad

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