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Brown Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

A healthy salad with brown rice, a mix of peppers (sweet & spicy), nuts and herbs, tossed with a Lime Dressing. #grains #brownrice #salad #recipe @mjskitchen

This weekend we had a wonderful meatless meals that was totally unexpected. I had made this Brown Rice Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette and was planning on serving it with chicken.  Then Bobby walked in with a bunch of green tomatoes from our garden so I couldn’t I resist making a batch of fried green tomatoes. To heck with the chicken. What a great meal that this salad with the fried green tomatoes made!

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Yellow Squash with Red Pepper

A simple side dish of sauteed summer squash with roasted red peppers |

Even though fall is my favorite season, I still resist the end of summer, primarily because of the abundance of produce.  Yellow squash is one of those vegetables that I hate to see disappear; therefore, I continue to buy it as long as it’s on the shelves.  There are so many ways to prepare it and most are relatively easy.  This Yellow Squash with Red Peppers is one of the easiest.  This dish is just yellow squash sauteed in garlic oil with some onion and red peppers.  You can use roasted reds (my favorite) or fresh reds.  You can use sweet peppers or medium/hot chile, depending on what you want or have.  Our favorite is a hot roasted red New Mexico chile.  It gives this dish a pleasant mix of sweet and spicy.

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Chicken Tacos with Green Chile Corn Relish

Tasty tacos with chicken, cheese and green chile corn relish |


With all of the grilled corn we’ve been eating lately, it’s not surprising to find an ear or two leftover in the refrigerator.  It was a couple of those ears and some of last year’s roasted chile that inspired this Green Chile Corn Relish. I was originally just going to use it as a side dish, but then I got a craving for tacos.  That craving resulted in these quick & easy Chicken Tacos.  Adding the relish to the chicken yielded a delightfully delicious taco with a smoky and spicy flavor.

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Grilled Corn with Red Chile Spice

A spicy and juicy grilled corn with a drizzle of olive oil and some red chile spice mix #corn #red #chile

The sweet corn of summer – YUM!  Sweet corn has hit the local markets early this year and it’s been exceptional.  It’s also been relatively cheap; therefore, we’ve been buying a lot of it. There are so many ways to cook corn, but our favorite is to grill it.  Sometimes we’ll leave it wrap in the corn husks and let it steam in the husks; however, we also like it shucked and cooked directly over the flame with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous dusting of a red chile spice blend.  The spices roast along with the corn yielding a spicy and smoky flavor.  This Grilled Corn with Red Chile Spice is about as easy a side as you can make, and, in my book, could be a meal by itself.  Hope you give it a try.

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Pickled Vegetable Salad

A salad of pickled cucumbers, daikon radish, and carrots |


I don’t know about where you live, but here in New Mexico we went from cool spring temperatures to the heat of the summer overnight.  This week the temperatures have been in the triple digits, a real challenge for our swamp cooler.  As a result, meal criteria is now “easy to make, at least one cold dish, and any cooking is on the grill”.  Last night’s meal met this criteria to a T:  grilled soy-ginger chicken and this Pickled Vegetable Salad – two very complementary dishes.

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Asparagus with Orange and Kalamata

A simple asparagus with an orange and olive relish |


Asparagus with orange and kalamata is a light and delightful dish that I love making this time of year when there’s the overlap between good quality citrus and young shoots of fresh asparagus. This dish that can be served as a warm side or cold salad.  For a warm side steamed asparagus is immediately serve with the cold orange kalamata topping.  The contrast of the hot asparagus with the chilled orange is quite enjoyable.  For a cold salad the steamed asparagus and the orange kalamata topping are both chilled at least one hour or over night.  As a cold salad, this makes a mouth calming complement to a spicy entree.

This dish makes an excellent lunch or dinner salad as well as a dinner side for numerous entrees.

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Sweet Pepper Stew (aka Peperonata)

A peperonata stew with sweet peppers, tomatoes, capers |


Sweet Pepper Stew is a version of the Italian dish – Peperonata – that is normally made in the fall when there is an abundance of different colored sweet peppers. However, several years ago Bobby made this lovely dish for me for Valentine’s Day and it’s been our traditional Valentine’s Day dinner every since.

Buying organic fresh sweet peppers this time a year is not cheap, but this dish is well worth the price. To the peppers we add frozen tomatoes and basil from our summer garden, along with a few capers.  After resting in the refrigerator overnight, this sweet pepper stew becomes quite “juicy” from the tomatoes and flavorful from the melding of all of the wonderful ingredients.  You can eat it by itself, or serve it with a nice baguette or homemade bread.  It’s also quite good over creamy polenta.  Finish your meal off with a Coffee Scented Chocolate Pot for a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day home dining experience.

What is your traditional Valentine’s Day meal?

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes with 3 ingredients in less than 20 minutes |

When you want a really quick and healthy side dish, reach for a couple of sweet potatoes.  Not only are sweet potatoes downright delicious, they are also full of vitamins A,  C and E, B6, iron, potassium, manganese, and fiber, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.  They cook up fast and don’t need a lot of other ingredients to make them taste good because they are so sweet and scrumptious on their own.  The sweet potatoes that I buy at my local market are as about as sweet as a potato can get and you can see how orange they are.  Once mashed, they almost become florescent.

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Black Bean Mole’

Black beans cooked with a deconstructed black mole |


The first time I tasted Oaxacan Black Molé (Molé Negro) was about 30 years ago when I had the privilege of eating Molé Negro Chicken made by a Oaxacan immigrant. Each bite produced a flavor sensation that I still relish to this day.  Years later I found a recipe for Oaxacan Black Molé in Diana Kennedy’s Book, The Art of Mexican Cooking and decided to give it a try. The result was heavenly but it took many hours of work and 2 days.  So when I decided that I wanted to make this Black Bean Molé dish I chose to make a deconstructed molé instead of making the sauce separately.  It saved quite a bit of time and simplified the process tremendously.

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