Tag Archive: carrots

Favorite Family Sides for Easter

Holiday Meal Side Dishes

I don’t know about you but in my family there are certain sides that must accompany each holiday meal.  At Easter, Andy equals broccoli rice, Amy equals deviled eggs, Krista equals rolls and mashed potatoes.  No one would say anything but it would be akin to disowning them.  So, I have whipped up some of these to be ready for Sunday.  We are adding fruits and vegetables because that is what Cameron (my oldest grandaughter) likes.  Maddie must lick the bowl when I am baking…see all of my cupcake recipes.  Oh yeah…there is ham.  That is a given, but really my group gathers round for their favorite side dishes.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Deviled Eggs

Carrots

KiStrawNana Salsa

I am taking all these family favorites to Saturday dishes which starts tomorrow morning.  I hope you will join us there.  It promises to be a grand collection of side dishes if you are still making your shopping list.

Saturday Dishes

Happy Easter

 

 

A Heat Wave Recipe! Pasta Salad

It is hot here in this dusty west Texas border town.  (That sounds like the beginning of a song!)  All I can think of is iced tea and very cool salads to eat.  No oven right now in the Tumbleweed Contessa’s kitchen.  I use the outside grill some.  Most of the time I spend watering the flowers and veggies in the garden just to keep them from burning up.  This will pass soon and the famed “monsoon” season will be upon us.  We might get an inch of rain!

When I think about a summertime meal one of my favorites is pasta salad.  I can eat it all by itself or I like to serve it with a piece of roasted chicken (from the deli) or cold fried chicken (from the Colonel), but I like it served best as a side with a cold ham sandwich the second day.  It is great to take on a picnic or to a church pot luck supper too.

I had never eaten a pasta salad until I moved to El Paso.  Hank had moved here before our family did. He found a deli near one of his construction projects on the eastside of town.  Once we got here he raved about this pasta salad.  He even brought it home once or twice for us to try and for me to figure out how to make.  I gave it a try or two, but couldn’t make it taste like the deli’s version.  So, I gave up.  Later on, Jan, a teacher at the SEE School (where I worked)  had a pasta salad everyone liked.  I ask her for her recipe and she told me she got it from the same deli as Hank used to get his supply from.  Finally, that deli opened in a grocery store on the west side (my side of town) and I got to be a regular there to try to figure out how it was made.  It was the dressing or marinade that was the secret.  Finally I tried a different oil and everyone loved it!  I use the Good Season’s Spicy Italian salad dressing mix.  Two packets, one made with olive oil and white wine vinegar and one with vegetable oil and white distilled vinegar. The longer it can marinate in the frig before serving, the better it tastes.

Pasta Salad

  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked pasta
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup broccoli cuts
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 small carrots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts cut in quarters, not drained too well
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup slice white mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Italian salad dressing mix (2 packets)
  • Olive oil (according to package directions)
  • Vegetable oil (according to package directions)
  • White wine vinegar (according to package directions)
  • White distilled vinegar (according to package directions)

Cook the pasta as directed on package, adding the broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking time.  Drain; rinse under cold running water.  Drain very well; place in a large bowl to mix.( I use a bowl with a lid to seal well to marinate.)

Add the remaining veggies and toss well with dressing.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, stirring a few times.   Taste before serving to add more dressing or salt and pepper.

I serve the salad lightly drained in a separate bowl with the excess dressing reserved to store leftovers.

Beets, Kale and Vegetable Broth Freshen Up and Eat Right for the New Year!

Dark green vegetables are so good and good for you.  In the winter I can usually find a good fresh supply at my local vegetable market.  Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, baby spinach, and beets are my favorites.   Roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper,  these taste so good.  And you can take the leftovers and add them to a basic soup with Vegetablescarrots, celery and onions.  I usually use a vegetable broth as my base.  I taught myself to save and freeze all sorts of fresh vegetables, skins and all (except potatoes) that I might otherwise toss out to use when I am ready to make a broth for soup.

Give these a try and let me know your favorite vegetables and how you fix them.  Normally, the simpler the preparation, the better they taste. 

Beets
If vegetables were judged solely on looks, deep purple-red beets would be my favorite. They’re beautiful and they dress up a plate, and you know we eat with our eyes.   Buy firm beets with the greens intact (they’re edible too and keep the bulb fresh.)  They’ll last a week in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to cook them, wash the bulbs under water to remove dirt—but keep the skin on. After you bake and cool the beets, you can rub or peel the skin right off.
Beets are high in vitamin C. Plus, they’re a great source of the antioxidant lipoic acid.

Kale
This dark green vegetable looks something like lettuce with its ruffled leaves, but, just like brussel sprouts, it’s a member of the cabbage family. Fresh kale is coarse with dark leaves. Avoid bunches that are yellow or brown as they have a rubbery texture. Kale will last three to five days in the refrigerator if you store it loosely in a plastic bag. Before you cook the leaves, rinse them and trim off the thick stems. And keep in mind, two cups of raw kale will cook down to about a cup’s worth.

Like its cousin broccoli, kale is packed with vitamin C. (Two cups have twice as much vitamin C as a medium orange.) It’s also a good source of vitamin A (beta carotene), calcium, and potassium, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure.

Here are some easy recipes to get you started.