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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Risotto Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata

Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata // the perfect spring meal from Karista's Kitchen

It’s the first full week of spring and my mint plant is blooming the prettiest Chartreuse green leaves. These gorgeous green leaves are inspiring a constant stream of recipe ideas like this Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata.  

I adore adding fresh mint to my recipes and I often add it to my quinoa salads, cucumber and papaya salsa, and even a few stir fry recipes. And now mint has made it’s way into my lemon risotto with a crispy mushroom and mint gremolata.

Mixing fresh herbs with sautéed mushrooms compliments a dish and gives it a little extra something special.  I like to combine fresh mint, parsley and basil in my gremolata because each of those herbs play so well together. Not to mention, the herbs compliment the lemon risotto so beautifully you’d think they were made for each other.

Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom Gremolata // Karista's Kitchen

This lovely recipe is bright with flavor but still comforting in texture. Lemon risotto with crispy mushroom and mint gremolata highlights the dawn of a new season with  a playful twist of fresh ingredients.

This is a short, although delicious, post today but I’ll be back soon with more tempting recipes from a new kitchen!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata

Serving Size: serves 4 (recipe can be doubled)

Lemon Risotto with Crispy Mushroom and Mint Gremolata

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4-5 cups warm vegetable broth (I like a creamy risotto so I use extra broth)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium lemon zested
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced assorted seasonal mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

To make the risotto add 2 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the rice and stir for one minute longer. Add ½ cup dry white wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Next, stir in 1 cup of the warm broth and simmer until it’s absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue to add 1/2 cup of broth at a time, stirring often and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is almost tender, al dente.

When the risotto is done, take it off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the gremolata, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and saute until slightly browned and a little crispy. Then stir in the minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs and squeeze of lemon. Take the skillet off the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve the risotto, ladle risotto into individual bowls or one large serving bowl. Top the lemon risotto with the crispy mushroom and mint gremolata and serve with additional grated parmesan cheese.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Braised Red Cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage pairs perfectly with slow cooked pork roast, roast pork tenderloin or roast chicken // Find it at Karista's Kitchen

I often prepare braised thick-cut pork chops for dinner and I love to serve this braised red cabbage with the pork chops.

I get juicy, perfectly thick-cut chops from my favorite Willamette Valley farm, Red Bird Acres.  I should have posted that recipe first but the chops always get gobbled up before I can snap a photo. I promise, I’ll post it soon.

Although this braised red cabbage recipe is divine with pork chops, it’s also lovely with my Italian slow roasted pork, roasted pork tenderloin or roast chicken.  If I’ve got a bowl of apples to use up, I’ll toss in some apple slices during the last half of braising time which gives the braised red cabbage a bit of a sweet with savory flavor. Pears also “pair” nicely with this cabbage dish. 😉

I’ve always had an affinity for cabbage. I adore it thrown in my weeknight greens and mushroom sauté which adds a bit of “crisp” to the greens.  I also like shredded cabbage mixed in with my salad, added to a soup or stew, grilled and topped with a chimichurri sauce or roasted in big “steaks” like my friend Alyssa’s recipe from Everyday Maven.  I even toss it in this pasta dish that was inspired by my trip to Italy.

I believe cabbage is best when it’s in season from late fall through winter. It’s economical, satisfying and full of all the good stuff to make a body healthy.  

When I was researching cabbage a few years ago, I stumbled across this little bit of trivia.  Ancient healers said cabbage contained moon power because it grew in the moonlight.  How dreamy is that?! I am such a romantic about food, I know it sounds weird. But I’ve always admitted to being a wee bit quirky.

Cabbage is truly a power house of vitamins and an excellent source of folate. It contains a large amount of vitamin C, which is good for the immune system.  It also contains vitamin K, which helps with mental function and concentration. Not to mention it’s a great source of fiber and helps fill you up so you don’t grab that extra cookie after dinner.

The next time you put the slow cooker on with a pork roast or you’re roasting a chicken for dinner, try pairing this braised red cabbage recipe with your entrée. It’s a simple, seasonal and fresh side dish that will compliment your fall or winter meals.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Braised Red Cabbage

Serving Size: 4-6

Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of ghee, clarified butter, divided
  • 4 ounces of bacon, diced
  • 1 red onion, halved and thin sliced
  • 1 head of red cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In an oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of ghee over medium high heat. Add the diced bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy and fat is rendered.

Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan.

Next add the sliced onions, shredded cabbage and minced garlic to the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add the bacon back into the pan.

Stir in the vinegar and vegetable broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then cover the skillet or Dutch oven with a lid and place it in the oven for about 45 minutes. Give the cabbage a little stir about every 15 minutes or so.

Remove the cabbage from the oven, stir in the last tablespoon of ghee and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Soup

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup // Dairy Free // Karista's Kitchen

This gorgeous Carrot Ginger Coconut soup is a revised version of my original carrot soup recipe.  As time passes, and the more I prepare a recipe, chances are it’s going to get a few makeovers now and again.

Although I do love my original recipe, I’ve created this version with coconut milk to appease my nagging dairy allergy and to create a different flavor twist to the soup.

I prepare carrot ginger soup almost year round.  My family completely adores this soup in the fall and winter months because of the soothing properties of ginger.  It’s also equally as loved in the spring and summer for the bold taste of earthy, sweet carrots and the tropical flavors of coconut milk.

Last week I topped the carrot ginger coconut soup with candied blood orange that my brother and sister-in-law sent me from Japan.  The simple touch of orange elevated the flavors yet again, creating the most delightful winter soup.

I often make the soup on the weekend and store it in the fridge for quick weekday lunches or a light weeknight meal.  It also makes a delicious starter to Sunday dinner or a late night snack.

And sometimes, I just find myself stopping by the fridge and snagging a spoonful of the silky, lush soup. It’s delicious room temp or warm and obviously, I eat it when it’s cold. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

Serving Size: 4-6

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 12-15 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice (enough liquid to cover the veggies in the soup pot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned organic coconut milk (not the light coconut milk)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and dried thyme. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until all the veggies have softened.

Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice and sliced ginger. (enough liquid to cover all the vegetables in the pot) Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the ginger slices, or as many as you can.

Either using a hand blender or pour the soup into a blender, Vitamix or food processor and puree. You may need to do this in stages as all the soup may not fit in the blender/food processor all at once.

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir in the allspice, pinch of cloves and coconut milk. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If the soup feels too thick, stir in ¼ cup of vegetable broth at a time until the consistency feels right.

Serve immediately. You can keep it warm on the stove if needed. Just keep the heat on low. This soup can be refrigerated for about 3 days and reheated stove top, or microwave.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil // Karista's Kitchen

A potato side dish can taste indulgent, comforting or even refreshing like this Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil.  

Although I’m a huge fan of classically prepared potatoes such as mashed potatoes, I do have an affinity for a simply roasted potato dish.  Roasting new potatoes or fingerlings gives a crisp outside and soft, creamy inside which pairs well with all sorts of lovely ingredients.

Often I use chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and lemon and finish with sea salt.  But this recipe uses the combination of lemon and basil, which I think are two ingredients that were made for each other.

Sometimes I’ll gently warm a bit of sliced garlic in extra virgin olive oil and then when the potatoes are done, I’ll toss the potatoes with the garlic infused oil and top with the lemon and basil.  And sometimes I skip the garlic and simply finish roasted new or fingerling potatoes with a sprinkling of lemon zest and basil chiffonade.

Or you can do what my youngest gal does… slather these potatoes with some sour cream, Irish cheddar cheese and dig in. 😉

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil // Karista's Kitchen

When I’ve had my fill of potatoes dauphinoise, gratin, scalloped or mashed potatoes, this lovely side dish is a most refreshing change and a delicious compliment to a meat or poultry entrée.

This potato dish is also fabulous in the spring paired with roast lamb or whatever you might serve for Easter or Mother’s Day Dinner.

This will be my last post until after the Christmas holiday, but until then, you can follow all my food finds and kitchen chaos on Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you for your continual support and for sharing Karista’s Kitchen with your friends and family.

Wishing you loads of love, true joy and the most delicious food!

Karista

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil

Serving Size: 4-6

Roasted New Red Potatoes with Lemon and Basil

Ingredients

  • 1lb red new potatoes or fingerlings, scrubbed clean
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 bunch basil, sliced chiffonade or chopped
  • Sea salt to finish

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 425F

Toss the potatoes in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and then season with some salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and place them in the oven.

Roast the potatoes for 25-30 minutes or until toasty brown on the outside and soft on the inside.

When the potatoes are done remove them from the oven and let them cool for five minutes.

While the potatoes are cooling, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over low heat and then add the sliced garlic. When the garlic becomes fragrant, about 3-5 minutes, remove the garlic from the oil.

Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and toss with the garlic oil, lemon zest and basil chiffonade. Season to taste with sea salt and then transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Serve warm.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Creamed Swiss Chard

Creamed Swiss Chard // Karista's Kitchen

Creamed Swiss Chard is always a welcomed side dish on my dinner table. It never fails to bring a smile to my hungry family’s faces.  But really, who could ever resist creamy, cheesy, leafy green goodness?! 

This gorgeous leafy green is a staple in my kitchen and I use it in all kinds of recipes.  Swiss chard finds its way into our weeknight sautés, salads, rice bowls, weekend egg dishes, pastas and even my savory bread pudding.  Although I do love kale, mustard greens, spinach and collard greens, lately Swiss chard has been my “go to” green.   Mostly because it grows so voraciously in my garden and I typically get a good 7-8 months worth of chard each year.  It’s the leafy green that just keeps on giving!

Swiss chard is a tall leafy green that belongs to the same family as beets and spinach.  It tastes similar to spinach, which makes Swiss chard an excellent substitute in cooked dishes.  It doesn’t cook down quite as much as spinach and it omits less water – making it a meatier option for sautés and gratins.  Honestly, sometimes I prefer it to spinach because it holds up a little better when cooked. Not quite as hearty as kale, but not quite as delicate as spinach.

Creamed Swiss Chard // Karista's Kitchen

This gorgeous Creamed Swiss Chard makes a delightful side dish to any meal.  It’s especially complimentary to grilled or roasted meat or poultry or prepared in individual dishes for a light lunch or brunch.  For a one dish meal, I add diced ham to this recipe and serve with a warm crusty baguette and a glass of wine. Ahh… my kind of meal.

I’ve paired this Creamed Swiss Chard with leeks, however shallots work just as well.  And on occasion when I’m out of both leeks and shallots, a yellow onion will do the job just fine.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Creamed Swiss Chard

Serving Size: 4-6

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 leeks, trimmed just as the light green turns to dark green, cut in half lengthwise, rinse and dice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard or about 2lbs, stems removed (I save the stems for stock or soup), leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Mix together the panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Set aside.

In a large oven safe sauté pan or skillet, add the butter and olive oil to the pan and place the pan over medium high heat.

Once the butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chopped leeks and chopped fresh Italian parsley and sauté until wilted and slightly golden. Then stir in the minced garlic and sauté for one minute longer.

With tongs, add the chopped Swiss chard in batches to the pan and toss with the leeks, continuing to toss the greens and leeks gently, until all the greens are in the pan and wilted. Sprinkle with the grated nutmeg and season with ½ - 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.

Pour the heavy cream into the pan and gently toss with the greens. Sprinkle the panko parmesan mixture over the top of the creamed Swiss chard and then place the pan in the oven.

Let the creamed Swiss chard bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the sides are bubbly and the cream has thickened. To toast the panko parmesan mixture, set the pan under the broiler for just a few minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the creamed Swiss chard sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

I originally created this recipe for Hobby Farms Magazine Spring 2016

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes // Karista's Kitchen

It seems I anguish over Thanksgiving side dishes every year.  

The question being, should I prepare the same sides as last year and make everyone completely happy or should I venture out of our “safe” side dish zone and create a few new dishes that will hopefully catch on and become new favorites? Ah the side dish dilemma.

I always try to set a selection of colorful and appetizing sides on the Thanksgiving table as well as sides that complement our roasted or grilled turkey.  One of my daughters insists on some sort of potato dish, preferably a mashed potato, and my other daughter would never let me hear the end of it if we didn’t serve apple and sausage stuffing.  Ranger Craig is big on veggies, so there is always a hearty vegetable dish of some sort along with my favorite roasted cranberry and mandarin salad.  Dare I forget the gravy and on occasion I’ll throw in a sweet potato spoon bread for good measure.

As my youngest daughter once said, “I come to the Thanksgiving table excited for all the side dishes”. 🙂

So in honor of the well-loved and obligatory side dish, I thought I’d share a collection of side dishes that just might tickle your taste buds and inspire a few new Thanksgiving side dish traditions in your home.

Maple Roasted Carrots and Parsnips from Alaska From Scratch

Maple Roasted Parsnips and Carrots from Alaska From Scratch

I think what I love most about these Maple Roasted Carrots and Parsnips from Alaska From Scratch and Perfect Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Luci’s Morsels is that they make a colorful and delectable addition to the Thanksgiving table as well as they are relatively fuss-free – which is a good thing during the holidays.

Perfectly Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Luci’s Morsels

Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Luci's Morsels

These stuffed acorn squash make a lovely alternative to Thanksgiving side dishes and can serve as a vegetarian entrée option for your guests.

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash // Karista's Kitchen

Oh who can resist the lush elegance of Gorgonzola mashed potatoes?!  This is always the first of the side dishes to be passed around my table.

Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes 

Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes // Karista's Kitchen

Add a little light, fresh and sweet to the meal with this gorgeous mixed greens salad with mandarin oranges. A tasteful compliment to the heavier Thanksgiving side dishes.

 

Mixed Greens and Mandarin Orange Salad with Candied Nuts 

Mixed Greens with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Nuts and Parsley Vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

I’ve finished this round-up with one of my favorite sweet potato dishes, Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Gingersnap Crumbles – you’ll find the recipe below.  This captivating dish often serves as my dessert!

Wishing you all the most delicious of holiday seasons.  If you have any questions, comments or need a different recipe for your Thanksgiving table, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me.

Loads of Love!

Karista

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Serving Size: 4-6

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Sweet potatoes are delicious on their own, but add maple syrup, spices and ginger snaps and this bright orange side dish tastes like a celebration

Ingredients

  • 3 large sweet potatoes or yams (I prefer yams due to the rich color and smooth texture)
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground all-spice
  • ½ cup real maple syrup, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup crumbled ginger snaps

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Wrap each sweet potato or yam loosely in foil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until soft. Remove them from the oven and let them cool. When they are cool, take them out of the foil and remove the skins. The skins should easily peel away. Discard the skin and place the sweet potato in the bowl of an electric mixer.

With the whip attachment, begin to whip the potatoes on medium speed. Add the melted butter, cinnamon, all-spice and ¼ cup of the maple syrup and whip until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and top with the remaining ¼ cup of maple syrup and sprinkle with crumbled ginger snaps. Serve warm.

Notes

Created for Home By Design Magazine Retro Buffett Issue 2016

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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes Sweets Tips and Techniques VRAI Magazine

Our Premiere Digital Food Issue

A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen and VRAI Magazine premiere food issue Fall 2016

I’ve partnered with VRAI Magazine and we wrote our very first digital food issue, A View to Delicious! 

We’ve been working hard to craft a beautifully photographed food and lifestyle digital food issue featuring the freshest farm-to-table recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, articles on unique destinations that dot the landscape of this scenic region and more cooking inspiration, tips and advice from my years in the culinary profession.

A View to Delicious is a little taste of what I create at home in my kitchen.  This digital food issue is a glimpse into where I live and why I adore my region of the world.  It’s also a little insight into how I feel about healthy and happy living and inspiration for creating life the table.  It also contains lovely verse and poetry by a few of my friends and lots of farm animals. Did I mention the farm animals?

A View to Delicious // Karista's Kitchen

Our premiere digital food issue, A View to Delicious, is available for pre-order now and until the 25th of September.  You can snag it HERE. The magazine will launch on Monday, September 26th!

As I’m writing this, I’m filled with over the moon excitement.  I can’t wait to share with you the delicious new recipes and a peek into my crazy delicious world. 🙂

I hope you’ll pre-order A View to Delicious and then tell me what you think when you read it. I always love hearing from my readers!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy fall season.

Loads of Love,

Karista

 

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Salad Sassy Side dishes

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with green onions, pickle relish, shredded carrots and cilantro // Karista's Kitchen

Simply saying the word “summer” evokes some of the sweetest of memories.  Grilling outdoors with a cold beverage or tasty cocktail in hand, fresh fruit in abundance sitting on the kitchen counter, berry picking until our hands are bright red or purple, sweet cobblers and homemade ice cream, walking barefoot (my favorite!) and feeling the earth beneath my feet and of course Macaroni Salad.

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without macaroni salad.

I’ve made Grandma Eilene’s Macaroni Salad for years and my Bennett Crew adores this side dish.  However, recently I developed and photographed another very popular macaroni salad for my lovely clients, Home By Design Magazine.  Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  Not surprising that it was a huge hit at my house.  I’d sampled versions of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad when visiting Maui a few years ago and I totally fell in love with this version of the quentisential American side dish.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is still macaroni salad but it’s loaded with all sorts of delicious ingredients.  

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad // Karista's Kitchen

It’s quite heavy on the mayonnaise as well, which doesn’t bother me one bit because I love mayonnaise.  I love it so much I’m terrified we’ll run out so I keep two extra jars in the pantry at all times.  I also make mayonnaise on occasion and my homemade version is so absolutely divine in this salad. Using your favorite mayonnaise is key because mayonnaise plays a big part in flavoring this salad.

I’ve recently discovered this mayonnaise from Thrive Market. My new favorite!  My youngest gal is allergic to canola oil, for reasons I won’t get into here unless you want me to stand on my non-GMO and Monsanto is bad soapbox. 😉  So I’m always looking for a tasty alternative mayonnaise to keep in stock.  On occasion I can find this at my local market but most of the time I purchase through Thrive Market.  This online market is such a convenient option for all your healthy pantry items, not to mention many of the items are priced less at Thrive Market than at my own market.

No kickbacks or payment for this mention, I just wanted to pass on my fun and fabulous find!   I still support local as much as possible. While were on the subject of supporting local… I love Barn2Door for my other local and regional ingredients.  Clean, sustainable food right from the people who grew it! 

Now that we’ve chatted mayonnaise and markets, I’ll get back to the rest of the salad ingredients.  I include shredded carrots, cilantro, sliced green onions, sweet pickle relish, sometimes shredded or cubed cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs and avocado slices for garnish.  Loaded with flavor and texture, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a deliciously festive side dish for all our summer barbecues.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy summer!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Serving Size: 6

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

You’ve never had a macaroni salad quite like Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Creamy, dreamy and filled with flavor, this salad is fresh comfort food at it’s best. Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is laced with a sizeable amount of mayonnaise. Personally, I adore mayonnaise and often make it at home. But if it’s not on your favorite ingredient list, feel free to adjust measurements.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb macaroni pasta cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 4-5 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped or sliced
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Avocado slices for garnish

Instructions

In a large bowl, add the shredded carrots, chopped cilantro, hard boiled eggs and green onion to the cooked macaroni.

Then gently fold in the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar and pickle relish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let the macaroni salad sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will help the macaroni absorb all the delicious flavors.

To serve, place the macaroni salad in a large serving bowl and garnish with avocado slices.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes

Italian Chopped Salad

Italian Chopped Salad // the perfect spring and summer salad // Karista's Kitchen

It feels so good to write today.  It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve missed writing and posting recipes and all the deliciousness that comes with blogging.  I miss reading the comments and responding – and feeling like I have my very own secret food club of sorts. 😉

So, today I’m back on the blog sharing one of the many salads I make for my family.  The Italian Chopped Salad.

I first developed this Italian Chopped Salad for the lovely professionals at Home By Design Magazine.  It was published last year and although I’ve always meant to post it here, I think I forgot about it.  Until I made it just last week for the Bennett Crew.

This salad is everything a salad wants to be.  Crunchy, crispy, spicy and flavorful, loaded with fresh romaine and radicchio for a lovely blend of greens and tossed with Italian salami, pepperocini’s, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and mozzarella or  smoked provolone.  If I’ve got a few extra ingredients hanging around in the fridge just waiting to be used, I’ll toss those in too.

Italian Chopped Salad // Karista's Kitchen

A chopped salad is a salad in which all ingredients are fairly uniformly chopped.  Which makes the salad easy to dress and easy to eat.  There’s no need to use a knife to cut smaller bite sized pieces of lettuce greens or other veggies.  Just a lovely dish of evenly chopped vegetables dressed and ready to eat.  Chopped salads were über trendy a few years ago.  However, in my salad book, chopped salads have been in style for a very long time and I don’t see them trending down anytime soon.

This Italian Chopped Salad is the perfect spring or summer entrée and it makes a festive side dish to homemade pizza or an Italian pork roast.  It’s one of those salads that is so completely lovely on a warm evening when dinner is served al fresco and the wine flows freely.   Can you tell I’m in summer mode? Even though the temps are back down to the high 60’s here, my summer heart (and palate) moves on.

Cheers to the approaching warm weather, dinners on the patio, sunsets, chilled wine and Italian Chopped Salad!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Italian Chopped Salad

Serving Size: 4-6 as an entree

Italian Chopped Salad

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 1 head radicchio, chopped
  • 6-8 ounces Italian dry salami, chopped or sliced
  • 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella, diced or the small bite sized Mozzarella balls called Ciliegine (you can also use 8 ounces smoked provolone, diced)
  • ½ cup pepperoncini peppers, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ - ¾ cup seedless kalamata olives, halved
  • ½ - 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup diced or thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced chiffonade
  • ½ cup diced cucumber (optional)
  • ½ cup diced marinated artichokes (optional)

Instructions

Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl gently toss together all the remaining ingredients. Just before serving, dress the salad with half of the vinaigrette, using more if needed. Lastly, season with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad Sassy Side dishes

Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

Mango Avocado and Quinoa Salad // So perfect for spring roasts or summer grilling // Karista's Kitchen

I woke up at 3am the other morning thinking about Mango Avocado Salsa and how delicious it would be in a salad. Because honestly, I could eat Mango Avocado Salsa like a salad.

And wouldn’t that salad be so fantastic if I added some quinoa and maybe greens?  Then I thought to myself how much you would love this salad!  So the next morning, I had to make it.

It turned out just as tasty as I thought it would.  Quinoa, red onion, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, fresh parsley, lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, a little pepper, avocado, mango and micro greens.  It. Is. Divine. 🙂

Mango Avocado and Quinoa Salad // So perfect for lunch, brunch or summer grilling // Karista's Kitchen

I had a little leftover yesterday and added it to baby spring greens and dressed it with some of my leftover honey mustard dressing and that was equally as delicious.

I’ve listed the recipe below but truly, you can create this salad to your tastes.  Adding more greens or less onions, more avocado and less mango.  It’s a base recipe so have fun and create an enticing spring and summer salad that will be so fabulous for brunch, lunch or with spring roasts or summer grilling.

Wishing you all a most marvelous weekend!

Loads of love,

Karista

PS: Thank you all so much for your heart warming and thoughtful comments about my last post, My Lost Love for Social Media.  I adore you all and I feel so lucky to have such an incredibly lovely group of engaging readers!

Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

Serving Size: 4

Mango Avocado Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions (Einkorn or other ancient grain works well too)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 mangos, diced
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • Handful of micro greens
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh baby greens, baby spinach or arugula if desired
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese, optional

Instructions

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and then let it cool.

Toss together the quinoa, onions, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, fresh parsley, lime juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Layer the salad on a platter or plate with the quinoa, mango, avocado and top with micro greens. Garnish with Cotija cheese if desired or serve the entire salad over a platter or plate of baby greens.

For a little extra dressing, whisk together 1 part lime juice with 2 parts olive oil and a dash of honey, salt and pepper. This makes a quick lime vinaigrette. Adding a little Dijon mustard to it is also nice.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash // Karista's Kitchen

My youngest sassy gal said to me yesterday “Mom, I’m in need of some Christmas. Can we Christmas things up a bit?”

Ok, so I was thinking I’d done a really good job of creating our little Christmas season indoors – but maybe not so much. 🙁

My sassy gal has had her head in the books, preparing for college entrance exams and finishing a tough semester at school.  I think she may have just noticed it’s Christmas!

So today I’m on a mission to fill my daughter’s Christmas well.  We’re off to do our Christmas Eve and Christmas day food shopping, stopping at a few farms along the way that are sweetly decorated for the season.  We’ll stop for tea, cocoa or coffee at one of our local coffee houses and then once we’re home, I’ve got movies and music planned, along with delicious food of course, for our evening’s festivities.  I think this will do it.

Although I’ve got our Italian holiday tradition, Feast of the Seven Fishes, planned for Christmas Eve, and this lovely Prime Rib planned for Christmas Day, tonight’s dinner is a lovely ham served with this gorgeous Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash.

These little stuffed squash are the perfect compliment to a ham and look so lovely on a holiday table.  Sometimes just for fun I’ll stuff them with coconut rice, golden raisins and top with chopped pistachios.  Sounds delicious doesn’t it?

Christmas has always been more than just a gift giving season for me.   It’s a season of love and appreciation, connection and sharing, and most of all, giving of our time and attention.  Even though I may not live near you or able to meet you for coffee or lunch, you are truly appreciated and a special part of Karista’s Kitchen.

I send you heartfelt thanks for following my blog and for sharing it with others that you care about.   Next year will bring more delicious recipes, snippits of a new project I’m working on, along with a few “how to” videos that hopefully will inspire you in the kitchen.

I wish you all true joy, happiness, love and a prosperous new year!

Karista

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serving Size: 6

Cranberry, Wild Rice and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 3 smallish Acorn squash, or evenly sized, cut in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1-2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder (I like Frontier brand Chinese Five Spice Powder because it's more sweet than savory)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cube vegetable boullion (I love the Rapunzel vegetable broth cubes)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Brush the acorn squash halves with olive oil and then season each cut side half with Chinese Five Spice powder and salt.

Place them in a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until they are soft.

To prepare the rice

Before preparing the rice, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once the onion is wilted, add the garlic and sauté a minute longer. Then add the cup of rice, the water and the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover. Let it cook for about 40-45 minutes or until done. Fluff with a fork.

Stir in the cranberries and toasted walnuts while the rice is hot and then cover with a lid for another five minutes. Taste for seasoning.

When you're ready to serve, fill the acorn squash with the rice mixture and garnish with the chopped fresh Italian parsley.

Notes

Note: I typically prepare wild rice with 1 cup of rice to 1 3/4 cups water, depending on the brand and type of wild rice you're using. So prepare the rice according to package directions.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork Salad Sassy Side dishes

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Plum Sauce

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

So how does one achieve a gorgeous holiday entrée without hours in the kitchen?  They serve this beautiful Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with a Spiced Dried Plum Sauce.  

Sounds fancy doesn’t it? Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin is fairly simple to prepare and doesn’t need a lot of prep time before popping it in the oven.  Once it’s in the oven, whip up the sauce and hold it until it’s time to serve.  This mouth-watering recipe will leave you time to prepare other dishes for your celebration, as well as time with your guests. Which is what I love the most… time with my guests!  And the cocktails of course. 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce // Karista's Kitchen

I love the rustic simplicity of wrapping strips of bacon around lean pork loin.  This adds flavor and moisture which adds beautiful depth to this dish.

Serving the Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with a spiced dried plum sauce laced with spices that compliment both pork and bacon, completes this gorgeous flavor profile – but still keeps the entrée simple.

Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes // Karista's Kitchen

To complete this meal, I paired this Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with a sassy bowl of Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes, because bacon wrapped anything simply needs mashed potatoes.  To lighten up the flavors and refresh the palate, I also paired the meal with an Arugula and Citrus Salad to finish.  Keeping the meal low fuss in preparation but high in flavor for the ultimate holiday dinner celebration.

Arugula and Citrus Salad with Crumbled Goat Cheese // Karista's Kitchen

Because I originally created this Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin for the good folks at Western Horse & Gun Magazine (holiday 2015 issue), I thought I’d end with a closing sentence of western wisdom.

In the words of the cowgirls and cowboys before us…  get up and dust your trail to a mighty tasty holiday celebration and take a stab at this Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Spiced Dried Plum Sauce – for the ultimate Yehaw from all your guests.

Happiest of Holidays to ya!

Karista

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Plum Sauce

Serving Size: 6-8

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Plum Sauce

Ingredients

    For the Bacon Wrapped Pork
  • 2 ½ - 3lbs Pork Loin, remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to roasting
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian Herbs (oregano, Italian parsley, rosemary, sage, marjoram)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 12 ounces sliced bacon, enough slices to cover the entire pork loin (not thick sliced)
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounce package of dried plums
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • ½ pint heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of red currant jelly (I’ve also used my homemade blackberry jelly and it was delicious)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish
  • For the Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes
  • 3-4lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup of heavy cream, slightly warmed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces crumbled good quality Gorgonzola
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped chives for garnish
  • For the Arugula and Citrus Salad
  • 1-2 cup assorted citrus wedges (grapefruit, mandarin oranges, blood oranges, etc)
  • 4-6 cups baby arugula leaves, packed
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • Drizzle good quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

Place the paper towel dried pork loin on a baking or roasting sheet. Rub the pork loin with the olive oil. Mix the dried herbs, salt and pepper together and then sprinkle over the pork loin.

Starting at one end, wrap the bacon around the pork loin and continue with strips of bacon until the entire pork loin is wrapped. You may not be able to wrap the bacon completely around your pork loin if it’s larger in size. However, it will still be delicious.

Once the pork loin is wrapped, place the baking or roasting sheet in the oven. The pork loin should cook for about 20-25 minutes per pound and it should reach an internal temperature of 145F. During the last 5 or 10 minutes I like to turn on the broiler and crisp up the bacon if it has crisped enough.

Once the pork is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing.

To make the sauce - In a sauce pan heat the wine on medium heat and add the dried plums. Let the wine and plums simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Gently fold in the cream, cloves, cinnamon, and red currant jelly. Bring the heat back to a boil and then reduce to a lively simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the sauce with the sliced pork loin.

For the Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cool water. Add a pinch or two of salt to the water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes or until you can poke the potatoes easily with a fork.

Once the potatoes are done, drain all but about ½ cup of potato water. Mash the potatoes and ½ cup of potato water with a potato masher or in an electric mixer. Once the potatoes are as chunky or as smooth as you like, mix in the butter, warmed heavy cream and Gorgonzola. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in a beautiful bowl and garnish with chopped fresh chives or a little additional Gorgonzola crumbles.

For the Arugula Citrus Salad

In a large bowl, toss the arugula with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Place the dressed arugula on a platter and layer with citrus and then the crumbled goat cheese.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.

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