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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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Calabacitas Cornbread (Roasted Chile, Corn, and Zucchini)

Calabacitas Cornbread - Roasted chile, zucchini and corn all wrapped up in cornbread batter for a hearty and spicy cornbread. | mjskitchen.com

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We can’t let summer end without a calabacitas dish – a dish with corn, summer squash and New Mexico’s roasted chile.  In years past, I’ve dished up a few other versions of calabacitas which you can find listed at this end of this post.  This year’s recipe is Calabacitas Cornbread, cornbread with zucchini, corn, roasted chile and cheese.  With all of these ingredients, calabacitas cornbread is a meal in itself.  Just serve with a few homegrown tomatoes and you’re all set for an enjoyable and filling meal.  You can also serve smaller portions as a side for any meal that screams for a piece of cornbread.

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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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Home Fries and Their Many Possibilities

An easy method for making tasty potato home fries on the stovetop mjskitchen.com

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Home fries are a wonderful addition to so many meals and in some cases, can be the primary ingredient that you build a dish around.  For example, this Southwestern Pileup uses a skillet of home fries to support a mix of vegetables and proteins, and your choice of red or green chile.

Home fries make a complement side to huevos rancheros, migas or a meat entree’ like green chile cheeseburgers,  pulled pork or smoked brisket.  And if you aren’t a fan of white or yellow potatoes, then never hesitate to make sweet potato home fries. They make a great substitute for the hash browns in this sweet potato and green chile dish.

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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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5 Perfect Grilling Recipes to Try Out This Holiday Season

While I’m taking a break for a few weeks, Tiffany from the website Dilesia – Where sweet treats and good eats meet – is filling in with a timely post on five perfect grilling recipes for the holiday season.  Thank you Tiffany!  All of these dishes look fabulous!

Five grilling recipes to try for the holiday season from Dilesia @mjskitchen

Tiffany ….

The holidays are approaching, accompanied by the plethora of activities that are involved in feeding and entertaining large numbers of people. Beginning from Thanksgiving, spreading across Christmas and stretching well into the New Year, you will find yourself having to come up with delicious and nutritious meals for friends and family.

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