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Non-Traditional Sides for Your Holiday Table

Non-traditional sides, starters and desserts for your holiday table from MJ's Kitchen. @mjskitchen

 

We’re going a little non-traditional this year for the holidays, forgoing the turkey and sweet potatoes, and even the cranberry sauce.  So just in case you too are looking for something different this year, here are a few non-traditional sides for your holiday table – from my kitchen to yours.

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Olive Brine Pickled Vegetables

An assortment of vegetables pickled in olive brine #pickled #vegetables @mjskitchen

Making Olive Brine Pickled Vegetables is an extremely easy pickling process that allows you to repurpose olive brine after all of the olives have been eaten, as well as to deal with little pieces of fresh vegetables that haven’t been used.  All you need to do is to cut the  vegetables into small, bite size pieces, place in a jar and cover with olive brine.  Refrigerate for a couple of days and you have an awesome, healthy little snack.  If you want the vegetables to have a spicy kick, add a couple of sliced hot chile peppers.

As you can see, there is nothing to this process.  In the recipe, I’ve listed the vegetables shown in the pictures, and in the Kitchen Notes you’ll find other vegetables you could use.  And if you buy Costco size jars of olives like we do, you’ll always have olive brine.

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Collection of Cucumber Recipes

A collection of cucumber recipes from MJ's Kitchen - vinegars, soups, salads and more. #cucumber #recipes @mjskitchen

Whether you’re growing them or buying them, cucumbers are cheap and plentiful right now, and there are so many ways to incorporate them into your meals. Here are some of my favorite cucumber recipes from MJ’s Kitchen that feature the mighty cucumber.

 

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Pita Pockets with Cabbage Apple Slaw and Green Chile Dressing

Pita pockets with a cabbage apple slaw and green chile dressing #greenchile #slaw #pita | mjskitchen.com

This cabbage apple slaw pita pocket is a recipe I’ve been making for decades with little changes here and there for variety.  The most recent change was the addition of green chile dressing.  This dressing is made with homemade mayonnaise (recipe below), Dijon type mustard, and a generous  amount of green chile spice mix.  The green chile mix adds a bit of a bite to the slaw as well as the delectable flavor of green chile.  So good!

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Arugula, Fresh Peas and Orange Salad

A simple salad with arugula, fresh peas, and orange #salad #arugula #sweetpea @mjskitchen.com

This simple spring salad with arugula, fresh peas and orange was inspired by Anne’s Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette over at A Salad for All Season.  Anne recommended using the vinaigrette over a plate of greens or a side vegetable, so why not both in a salad.  The flavors in the vinaigrette are a nice complement to this light salad with arugula, fresh peas, and orange topped with toasted sunflower seeds.  (Yes, I forgot the sunflower seeds for the photos. Whoops!)

Its flavors and textures make this salad a nice side for just about any meal.  We’ve had it with lamb chops, spicy smoked short ribs, and a Fennel-spiced Ham and Mushroom Pasta. It was a great complement for each of these entrees.

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Easy Salad with Dino Kale, Cara Cara Orange, and Pepitas

Easy, breezy salad with kale, Cara Cara orange, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) with a light dressing | mjskitchen.com

 

We’ve been making massaged kale salads for several years now, using whatever fruit is in season – peaches, mango, apples, oranges. All are very tasty, but our favorite is this salad made with dino kale, Cara Cara orange, and pepitas with a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and honey.  This salad is crunchy, tart, sweet, and citrusy, and it’s SO EASY to make…20 minutes or less.

It can be served with just about anything or alone as a meal.  We really like it with spicy foods, like red chile enchiladas, because the sweet citrus helps to dampen the burn.  It’s also a wonderful complement with grilled flank steak, smoked chicken or turkey, pork kabobs, and smoked beef tri-tip.  It’s also a nice salad to take to picnics and potlucks because the kale leaves hold up to the dressing for quite a while.

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Winter Fruit Salad (Pineapple, Persimmon and More)

A winter fruit salad made with pineapple, persimmon, citrus and pomegranate) | mjskitchen.com

 

Even though the winter offers less of a variety of fruit than other seasons, it still provides some wonderful jewels to enjoy as long as they last.  One way to enjoy them is with this Winter Fruit Salad.  It’s a light, sweet and citrusy salad with pineapple, persimmon, orange, and pomegranate all topped with a minted honey ginger vinaigrette.  Lots of flavors and textures to brighten up a cold, gray winter’s day.

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Collection of Sweet and Savory Apple Recipes

A scrumptious collection of sweet and savory apple recipes #apples #savory #recipes #sweet @mjskitchen

 

This year’s apple crop is in and it’s so nice to finally bite into a fresh crisp apple again.  Because it is the best time of the year to buy apples and there are so many ways to enjoy them, I put together a Collection of Sweet & Savory Apple Recipes for you.

All of the recipes from MJ’s Kitchen are tried and true dishes that we make at least once during the fall.  Several of them, like the steel cuts, crepes, snack and slaw, we make year round.  The recipes from other websites have all been tried and thoroughly enjoyed, with one exception – the chimichangas.  I keep drooling over them but haven’t made them yet.

I hope you enjoy these sweet and savory apple recipes as much as we do.

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Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic

A delightful fennel salad of roasted fennel,feta, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, and a drizzle of cranberry balsamic #fennel #salad @mjskitchen mjskitchen.com

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Inspiration for a new recipe can come in different forms and from different sources, which is the case with this fennel salad.  Back in August I saw Soni’s Food Indian Spice Roasted Fennel and pinned it as a reminder to make it one day.  Then a few weeks ago when I dropped into the Santa Fe Olive Oil & Balsamic Company for a purchase and a tasting, I was asked if I would create a recipe and write a post on one of its products – specifically its Cranberry Balsamic vinegar.  After tasting this awesome balsamic and going through several different ideas for a recipe, I lit upon the marriage of Soni’s roasted fennel with the cranberry balsamic and thus this Roasted Fennel Salad with Cranberry Balsamic was born.

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