Brussels Sprout Slaw with Feta and Candied Cashew Dust

 

I started shaving raw Brussels sprouts into salads a few months ago because I liked the slightly bitter flavor they add to fresh greens, and I wanted to work in some additional protein, iron, and potassium to my diet.

For this recipe, I decided to go all in and make the sprouts the focus of the slaw by having the creamy feta cheese and the tangy balsamic dressing bring the flavors together. The added crunchy sweet cashew dust was a perfect finish.

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Grilled Tilapia Street Tacos with Tomatillo and Jalapeno Salsa Verde

 

Cinco de Mayo is coming up on Friday so what better way to celebrate than this healthy, spicy dish? I don’t know if it’s the simplicity of ingredients with big, bold flavors, or the fact that they’re so easy to prepare, however, I have absolutely fallen in love with the whole concept of street tacos. You can fill them with just about anything and top them with an unlimited number of garnishes and they taste amazing.

The grilled tilapia in this recipe is light, flaky, and picks up the flavors of the cilantro lime marinade beautifully. And there are two schools of thought when it comes to salsa verde. You can either roast the veggies first then puree them for a smokier flavor, or you can prepare them raw and fresh like I did here. The clean, boldness of the tomatillos, peppers, and cilantro marry so well together, they’re absolutely addictive. In fact, several spoonfuls of this salsa verde were eaten all by themselves without the tacos!

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Molasses and Clove Cookies

 

These delicious cookies fill your home with the smell of warm, rich spices while they bake, have all the classic flavors of gingerbread yet have a chewy, cake-like texture perfect for dunking in a glass of milk or eaten all by themselves.  Not only are these cookies great during the Christmas holidays, the spiced clove flavor is perfect for Easter too!

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Couscous, Fresh Herb and Feta Stuffed Tomatoes

 

Okay, one last side dish before we go back to making some more delicious main dishes and decadent desserts.

I served these stuffed tomatoes for dinner one night with some roasted chicken, and they were the perfect marriage of flavor. The tender couscous, creamy feta cheese, fresh herbs and briny capers were such a surprising bright pop of flavor, my husband and daughter asked me to make the couscous again the following weekend.

This recipe would also be a perfect appetizer using the smaller cherry tomatoes. In fact, ladies, get ready for the next get-together at my house. These little cherry bombs are what I’ll be making!

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Curried Fried Rice

 

This side dish is super fast to prepare once you have the ingredient prep work done and pairs perfectly with any protein whether it’s grilled fish, braised pork chops, seared steak or roasted chicken. The chile peppers, fresh ginger, and curry powder give the rice a nice low heat, the touch of sesame oil adds a subtle nutty flavor, and the cilantro and lime juice add a bright pop of freshness.

The second great thing about this recipe is any leftovers you have quickly become a vamped up version of the dish, adding the chopped protein into the rice!

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Cauliflower Gratin

 

This version of cauliflower gratin uses a sauce made from light sour cream, reduced-fat half and half, and aged Parmesan cheese, which gives the cauliflower a light, delicate flavor as compared to traditional heavy cheddar or bechamel sauces.

The preparation and cook times are quick and easy making it a great option for a weekday dinner side dish.

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Bruschetta Stuffed Artichokes

 

Artichokes are one of those vegetables I’ve typically bought marinated in a jar ready to eat. When I decided to try making them fresh, I learned three things. The preparation time is long; you need to be careful of the tiny leaves with exceptionally sharp barbs in the center guarding the heart of the artichoke, and the taste is amazing! The flavor is so much richer and intense from those in a jar. Then paired with the rich flavors of the minced garlic, acidic tomatoes, briny capers and creamy Parmesan in the bruschetta filling, it was so worth the time it took making them!

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Whipped Parsnips and Carrots

 

Next up in the veggie arena are these whipped parsnips and carrots, which would go perfectly with an Easter ham.

And I’ll be the first to admit, it took a small act of bravery to eat a cooked carrot – something I swore I would never do again since tasting one and spitting it out when I was a child. (Here comes the ‘big but’) BUT, when whipped with savory parsnips, sweet creamy butter and a touch of nutmeg, I couldn’t tell I was eating cooked carrots. In fact, I had two helpings, that’s how good they were. What about my other picky veggie eaters at the table you ask? They both tasted them and said, “Huh, those are pretty good!” Still a win in my book!

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Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Custard

 

As I was putting away the groceries the other day, I realized I had fallen into a vegetable rut, and my side dishes were afterthoughts. My daughter is very picky when it comes to vegetables, so we’d become limited to broccoli, corn, and salads. It was time to try something new.

So for the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on some unique and delicious sides to accompany main courses. First up is this delicious recipe.

When do squash and sweet potatoes taste like a pumpkin pie? When they are pureed and baked into this amazing custard! Sweet, spicy, creamy, fluffy, – my goodness, this dish is addictive!

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