Monday, September 7, 2015

Easy Sides for a Holiday Dinner

No fuss, easy sides are a welcome addition to meal planning for a holiday dinner. 
Cucumber Dill Pasta Salad
Cook's notes:This salad was featured recently on Weekend Round-Up.
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  • 1 pound of elbow pasta, cooked to al dente, drained and cooled off with cold water
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 large English cucumber, chopped 
  • diced carrots
  • about 4 T.B. chopped fresh dill or 1-2 TB. dried dill
  • 1-2 TB. dried parsley 
  • 1 cup of your favorite Lite Ranch dressing (I used Ken's Steak House brand) 
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • optional: diced radishes
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill at least three hours (up to 24) before serving for flavors to meld. 
  • Garnish with a little more dill when serving.
Honey-Sage Sweet Potatoes, Pears, Cranberries and Walnuts
Cook's notes: 
Combine colorful vegetables with a fruit adding in simple seasonings and roast. It results in a delicious autumn side dish. Sprinkle the roasted mixture with a dash of pumpkin pie spice and balsamic vinegar making it irresistible. Pair the side with grilled pork chops or roast turkey or serve as a vegetarian dish. The recipe can be easily doubled. Check with your local grocer as butternut squash cubes come prepackaged this time of the year.
Recipe adapted from Midwest Living and serves 4.

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes (3 cups) or butternut squash cubes
  • 1 red onion, cut in 1/2 inch wedges or caramelize onions ahead of baking
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 TB. olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar, Cranberry Pear White or Honey Ginger White Balsamic
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice mix
  • and a drizzle of honey
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage or thyme or 1 tsp. dried sage or thyme
  • optional addition: diced rutabagas 
  • Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl toss together sweet potatoes, pears, onions and olive oil.
  • Spread mixture evenly on the baking pan. Drizzle with white balsamic vinegar and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until potatoes/ butternut squash cubes are crisp tender.
  • Halfway through baking time stir mixture and add in walnuts and cranberries. 
  • Drizzle with honey and serve roasted vegetables and pears as a side or an a platter with roasted/grilled meat.
  • Garnish with fresh sage or thyme. 

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