Tag Archives: side dishes

Simple, yet brilliant: cauliflower rice

It’s not rice, and it doesn’t taste like rice.

But it feels like rice. It seems like rice. It’s adequately rice-ish.

I love it!

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Frontera Fresh Guacamole Mix

Cookout season is upon us! Chances are, you’ll be called upon to bring a dish to countless occasions in the coming months, so I thought I’d tell you about a new favorite of mine!

Frontera Guacamole Mix, straight from the kitchen of Chef Extraordinaire Rick Bayliss! (He is toooo cute!)

Quick and easy is the name of my game lately, and this mix fits the bill. But in all honesty, the key selling point for me is the all-natural list of ingredients – fresh tomatillos, fresh tomatoes, green chiles, fresh onions, fresh cilantro, fresh garlic, citric acid, salt, and pure cane sugar. No funny stuff! (A BIG plus since my toddler would eat it by the handful if I let him.)

This mix adds lots of the flavor you want, with little to none of the calories, added fat and sodium you don’t want, allowing your lovely ‘cados to shine through!

 All you have to do is cut the avocados in half and scoop them out! I add 3 and give it a quick spin in the food processor.

If you like it a little chunkier, just mash by hand. You’ll have fresh, zesty guacamole in a matter of minutes. It’s perfection on a sandwich, in a taco or dropped into a bowl of white chicken chili. Grab a bag of chips and you’re good to go for a “bring a dish” party (you don’t have to tell ‘em how easy it is! ;) )

Since this guac warrants a quality chip – might I suggest Tostitos Artisan Recipes Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Tortilla Chips? I tried them recently, courtesy of Foodbuzz, and they earned a solid 2 thumbs up from my crowd. I don’t buy chips often, but I dig that Tostitos chips are all-natural. Who needs a fake chip? :?

Plain chip pictured in photo - not a Tostitos chip.

When I have them, I like to add a few chopped tomatoes, straight from the farmer’s market, for eye appeal.

…and don’t forget to put the pits in so your guac doesn’t turn brown! ;) (Thanks for the tip, Alysha!)

I’ve served this at a few gatherings now, and I’ve learned one thing: there are guac people, and there are non-guac people. Verdict? The true guac people love Frontera Guacamole Mix – Look for the affordable 4.5 oz. pouch in your local produce department!

*Note to Mr. Bayliss: Now, how about an organic version? Just a thought… ;)

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Are you a guac person or a non-guac person? What’s your favorite way to eat guacamole?

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Pear and Cardamom Chutney

See ya later, summer!

My house is filled with the aromas of fall, and I love it! 

Thanks to Clean Eating Magazine, I’ve found an absolutely mouthwatering way to use the pears that were sitting on my counter this morning. Baby food was their intended fate, but it never hurts to teach the baby to share early, right?

So, half the pears went into the oven to roast with a little cinnamon, to be put through the food mill later. One thing happily checked off the to-do list…

The rest of my pears were dedicated to a new recipe that caught my eye and piqued my interest. Pears and cardamom are, hands down, two of my favorite things on Earth.  The minute I saw this recipe in CE’s article on easy homemade condiments, I was all over it.

Pear and Cardamom Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 6 firm, slightly under-ripe pears (Anjou, Bartlett or Bosc) peeled, cored and diced, about 4 cups
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (1/2 inch cube) peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Pour all ingredients, except salt and pepper, into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until little liquid remains (allow to reduce to about 1/4 inch liquid in pan.) Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and let cool for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Transfer chutney to a resealable container, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Chutney can be used right away, but for best flavor, refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

(Bonus: only 39 calories and 7 grams of sugar per 2 T serving, according to Clean Eating Magazine’s nutritionals. Nice!)

If I lived in a cartoon, I would definitely have floated mid-air for a second on the wafting aroma! As the kitchen filled with the scent, I felt like I was wrapped up in a big cardamom afghan! :D 

I wasn’t sure how this would taste, what with the sweet pears, cinnamon and…onion? But let me assure you, the balance between the pears, honey, vinegar and onion was perfection, and just different enough to be interesting. 

This chutney would pair fabulously with fish, but I really want to try it will chicken or turkey, or maybe on a pork chop (but we don’t eat pork very often.) The possibilities are endless. The plan for this jar is to serve it with some roasted chicken tomorrow night, or, if life with baby gets too nuts (as it often does), it may find itself nestled into a simple wrap.

That’s the plan, at least (if the jar lasts that long… ;) )

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Have you ever made a chutney? What’s your favorite, and how do you serve it? 

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Buh-bye, French Fry

In our house, Friday night is take-out night. Last night, I made what I thought was a pretty good choice: a grilled tuna sandwich. 

Of course, as usual, that pretty good choice came with a giant pile of fries.

As I sat and ate those fries, I became aware of the fact that I did not order fries, nor did I particularly want fries, but they came with my meal so I ate them (out of work-related stress, I can tell you for sure, but that’s best saved for another post.) Don’t get me wrong – Fries are good, especially thick cut, with the skins on, drenched in vinegar and dusted with salt…

But I digress…

My point here is that while I like fries, the custom of just attaching the obligatory, expected ‘side o fries’ with nearly everything served in every restaurant is just too blindly accepted and I’m annoyed with myself for falling into the trap. I mean, just think of how many fries are served in the course of a day in this country. It’s out of control. And how many of those people even think about the fact that they are eating them? Most just salt, dip and eat, salt, dip and eat, because that’s just what you do. I mean, they came with the meal, right? 

And, half the time they aren’t even good fries, but we eat them anyway…

It’s the very opposite of mindful eating, and I am becoming more and more alert to the fact that I am modeling behavior for my son, who now wants whatever I have. Mindless eating is not what I want him to see.

Like I said, I like fries just fine, but I also like many other things that have a whole lot more nutrient value. Not to bash the potato (bashed potatoes? :lol: ), which does have value, but in the case of French fries I think the bad outweighs the good. But what do you do in the face of this fry nation? Anyone who has ever substituted steamed veg for fries knows that once the plate hits your table, the offering is often mediocre at best. I’m sure many of you veg and vegan folks out there can feel me on this one, because I know you get stuck with a plate of fries as your only option far too often.

So I am on the quest for new side dishes. I’m all fry-ed out. I hope my local restaurants are up for the challenge because NO, I do not want fries with that, thank you very much.

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How often do you find yourself faced with fries? Do you substitute? Do you find good options?

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