Aromatic Brown Rice Pilaf

This pilaf is a great side dish to fish or chicken. The fresh basil and lemon zest makes it taste so fresh and delicious. You could also turn it into a main dish by adding cooked green beans, carrots, onions, and some chicken!

Cooked brown and/or wild rice (cook in chicken broth for more flavor)
pine nuts or pecans, toasted
dried cherries or craisins
chopped fresh basil (approx. 1-2 TBS per 1 c. of rice)
grated lemon rind to mix in and for garnish (approx 1/2 tsp per 1 c. rice)
salt/pepper to taste
**Also very tasty  mixed in is some White Balsmic Citrus Basil Dressing (found at Costco)

-Combine all ingredients. Adjust flavors to taste (more salt/basil/lemon zest--You can also add a little lemon juice if desired). Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
-Costco sells a great brown rice/wild rice combo that I highly recommend!
-This makes a great on the go lunch.


Winter Squash Bisque

 You could certainly make this when your garden squash is coming in abundance...but I don't really like soup in the hot summer!  Frozen garden squash will work great for this recipe.

4 cups chopped assorted summer green/and or yellow squash
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 15 oz. cans chicken broth
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
3 large cloves garlic
-Place all of the above in a crock pot.  Cover and cook on low 6 hours.  Blend until smooth and creamy then add:
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp curry (more if you want)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
-Stir until combined.  Taste and adjust spices to your desired preferences...more salt, curry, etc.  Serve warm.


Steamed Vegetables with Secret Sauce

This is a repost with a more appetizing picture. This is the most common thing we eat at our house.  It basically is a side dish (or main dish) for every meal we have.  I crave this!

My mother-in-law introduced me to the idea of eating a big bowl of steamed vegetables (broccoli is always the main base vegetable in any combination) for breakfast.  I LOVE IT! I know it sounds weird, but it just starts the day right.  Do I always have this for breakfast?  Nope!  I am not always on top of things and I find cereal is often just easier, but it is still my preferred breakfast meal.  My children also enjoy eating their "veggies" for breakfast after which they often also eat either a whole grain cereal or whole grain toast with whipped butter.

My two most common preparations are:
1. Steamed with Forrest Lime Dressing (the secret sauce!!!) poured on AFTER you steam veggies
2. Steamed veggies then seasoned with salt, lemon pepper, and a little whipped butter

Combination ideas--really anything goes!:
-Carrots, broccoli, and yellow onion (the onion is a secret ingredient that makes it extra tasty.  You just need a little bit)
-Carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and onions
-Green Beans, red bell peppers, carrots, onions, and asparagus
-Broccoli, asparagus, kale, swiss chard, onion, and carrots


Artisan Bruschetta Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

 I had a pizza similar to this at Nordstrom Bistro, so I tried to recreate it.  TASTY!  No specific directions here...just ingredient ideas!

Using a pizza stone (heated in oven at 500 for at least 30 minutes) place rolled out pizza dough on top and then top with:
Fresh basil
chopped tomatoes
fresh mozzarella balls
pecorino romano cheese
olive oil
additional spices if desired (like garlic, oregano, etc.)

-Bake in oven at 500F 8-10 minutes until crust golden around the edges.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze just before serving. 


Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple and Balsamic Glaze

Adding bacon, maple syrup and balsamic glaze to your roasted vegetables to switch things up = a very tasty side (or main!) dish!!!
On a 11x 17 cookie sheet combine:
-Vegetables:  Chopped carrots, red onion, and brussel sprouts (cut brussel sprouts into fourths or sixths depending on size)
-Season with salt and pepper
-1-2 TBS Maple Syrup
-drizzle with balsamic glaze (a sweetened and thicker balsamic vinegar.  You probably can find it at your grocery store.  Trader Joes has a good one also)

Roast vegetables for 20 minutes until vegetables tender and beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and toss with crumbled bacon.  Top with additional balsamic glaze if desired (and I usually do desire :)  )