Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

Beef Jerky

Author: admin

Beef Jerky

6 lbs. Top round steak
Soy sauce (low sodium if you want)
Light brown sugar
Chinese five spice
2 – 3 cloves garlic (optional)
1 – 2 Green onion (optional

My basic recipe uses just the top 4 ingredients. Sometimes I’ll mix things up a bit and add garlic and onions to the marinade, but lately, it’s been just the soy, brown sugar, and five spice. Use whatever marinade you like, but I do not recommend using store bought terriyaki bottles. They dry too salty.

In a large deep bowl, add about 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 cups water, 2 packed tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of five spice. Wisk to stir. Taste and adjust. Add more soy or more sugar according to what you want.

Slice the steak into 1/4-inch strips, against the grain. I use top round steak. I think it works better and comes out nice and “meaty.” I have tried other types of steak, but this one works best, I think.

Put the steak in the marinade. Make sure all of the pieces are coated and covered. Use some plastic wrap and cover the bowl. I usually put the wrap right on the surface of the meat and liquid to keep out any air. You could also put the meat and marinade in a plasic zip-lock bag. Put it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Note that the amount of steak I buy completely fills my dehydrator. I have it down to a science — 6 steaks fills my 9 trays. Buy what will fit your tray set up.

In the morning, drain the steak and lay the strips on the trays with room between each piece so you don’t stifle the air flow.

I dry it at about 135 degrees, and it takes anywhere from 8 – 12 hours or more, depending on how thick you cut the pieces. Rotate the trays every 2 hours or so in order for the pieces to dry evenly. Dry until the moisture is gone and they are firm and a little brittle. If you keep a lot of moisture in the pieces, put them in the fridge, and eat them right away. You have to dry them completely for long storage — no moisture! Moisture will breed bacteria and mold.

I don’t have any pics of the finished product. I was charging my camera battery and forgot to take pics after. You know what good jerky looks like, though… LOL!


Spinach and Pasta Pesto Salad

1 bag of baby Spinach
2-3 cups of Cherry Tomatoes
1 long seedless Cucumber or 2 regular sized Cucumbers
1 12-oz. box of Acini de Pepe (or other small pasta)
1 container of premade Pesto sauce

Rinse and chop the spinach, halve the tomatoes, and cut the cucumbers into bit-size pieces.

Follow directions on the pasta box to cook to “al dente.”  Rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further.

In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the container of Pesto sauce.  Stir thoroughly to incorporate throughout.  Add the vegetables and mix thoroughly.

Serve chilled.

This makes a boatload, and you can toss in whatever other veggies you want — sauteed onions or mushrooms, or fresh chopped zucchini or summer squash.   Fast, easy, and delicious!

Kale with Cannellini Beans

1 bunch firm, fresh Kale
1 large Vidallia Onion
1 cup chopped Baby Carrots
2 cloves Garlic
1 large can of Chicken Stock
2 small cans or 1 large can of Cannellini Beans, drained slightly
1/2 tsp. Thyme
Slice the Vidallia Onions thinly.  Cook in pot with vegetable oil until golden yellow and cooked through, but not carmelized.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the carrots and cook for another minute or two.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the Thyme.

Add the chicken stock.  Cover and bring up to a light simmer.

While that’s coming up to temperature, wash the Kale, remove the stems, and then chop into bite-size pieces.

Add to the pot.  After coming up to temperature, simmer for 10-15 minutes until the Kale is tender.

Add the Cannellini Beans.  Continue to simmer until they are warmed through.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this in the broth as a soup with a nice piece of garlic bread.   You can also use a slotted spoon and just take out the goodies and use them as a vegetable side dish without the broth.

Either way, it’s delicious!


Get creative and consider adding different vegetables to bulk it up.  Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Summer Squash would all work well.

Fresh Ocean Perch with Sauteed Fiddleheads

I have a new favorite green:  Fiddleheads!   I have always wanted to try them, but they are in season for such a short time, that unless you make a point to look for them, the season is over too fast to get any.  They have a slightly bitter taste, like Rappini or Broccoli Rabe, and a flavor that’s a cross between Asparagus and Broccoli.  High in Vitamins C and A, these are very good for you too, as well as being delicious!

Fresh Ocean Perch Fillets
1 Summer Squash
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 clove Garlic
Olive Oil



Put a light coating of vegetable or canola oil on a non-stick skillet.  Score the skin of the perch lightly, but all the way through to prevent it from curling while cooking.  Lightly salt, pepper, and thyme the white flesh of the fish, put flesh side down into the skillet.  Cook about 3 minutes until lightly browned and the fish is cooked most of the way through.  Turn over and cook about 2 minutes more skin side down.  These fillets don’t take very long to cook because they are so thin.


Wash and trim Fiddleheads.  Leave no more than 2″ of the stem.  The rest gets tough.  Cut the Summer Squash into thin strips.  Slice the onion thinly.  Chop the garlic.

Heat skillet, add olive oil.  Add the onions first.  Cook until they are translucent.  Add the garlic.  Add the Fiddleheads.  Add the Summer Squash.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the veggies are crisp-tender.

That’s it!  Very quick and easy, and a nice light meal for the coming warm weather. 

If you cook the veggies first and lightly cover to keep warm, you can reuse the pan for the fish.  It becomes a one-pan dinner that’s healthy, delicious, and ready in 10 minutes.  You don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen, and clean-up is a breeze!


Healthy Herb Potatoes

Author: admin

Healthy Herb Potatoes

Dried Herbs
Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces.  

Put them in a gallon-size ziplock bag or other plastic bag (or you can do this is a bowl, but the bag is easier).  Add a splash of the oil, about 2 Tbl.

Toss them in the bag to coat them with the oil.

Add whatever herbs you like to the bag.  If you have an Italian blend, that works nicely.  I usually use thyme, basil, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss everything well in the bag to coat evenly.

Spread out on a baking sheet and put in the oven.  Cook for about 35 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes unti the outsides are golden brown and the insides are soft.

You can get creative, too!  Sometimes I add a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

These are super easy and super delicious!