Rice & Pigeon Peas

Rice & Pigeon Peas ~ A classic Barbados side dish ~ The Way to His Heart

When my husband and I honeymooned in Jamaica what we loved the most was trying the local dishes. Having food and drinks being served to us 24/7 was pretty great too! We found ourselves chatting with the locals and staff at the resort. Bringing home spices and recipes and ideas to recreate our own. What I can’t believe is I still have a long list of things I have yet to make almost eight years later. What’s worse is the ones I have recreated I haven’t really shared with you guys. So, that’s going to change!

While this dish isn’t from Jamaica it is from the Caribbean. All Caribbean islands have their own take on rice and beans, but we like Barbados version the most. This is a very easy recipe that uses very inexpensive ingredients but brings a lot of flavor. The freshness of the lime really brings everything together. While you can have this at anytime, we love serving this with a spicy smoked meat, jerk, or pernil.

Rice & Pigeon Peas

Ingredients

  • 3 oz salt pork
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 15oz. can pigeon peas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

In a large saucepan, bring a couple of inches of water to a boil. Add salt pork and blanch for 1 minute. This removes some of the saltiness. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Return the salt pork to empty pan and heat over medium heat until the fat begins to render, about 10 minutes. There should be about 2 tablespoons of melted fat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Stir in rice and cook about 2 minutes.

Stir in pigeon peas, water, and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, over medium to medium-high heat until almost all the liquid is absorbed, or until the liquid level is just below the rice, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir the rice well, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook (without stirring) for 20  minutes, until water is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

*If you’d like to make this a vegetarian dish, that’s easy, simply omit the salt pork and use 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon of smoked salt.

Serves 8

Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine, July-August 2012

 

Carrot- Ribbon & Berry Salad

Carrot-Ribbon & Berry Salad ~ Everyone will want to eat their fruit and veggies with this fresh, perfect for summer, side dish! ~ The Way to His Heart

Well, “Hello there August,” can’t say I’m happy to see you. While August is always a fun month filled with my birthday, our wedding anniversary, the warmer ocean and lakes, I’m not happy this year because “back to school” will be here soon and we are just hitting our summer stride. This summer was supposed to be laid back. I promised, or threatened, my kids with a boring summer with no activities planned and the backyard their daily destination. That quickly faded as we had family visits, a slew of birthday plans, and a summer bucket list to attack. We have decided that August is the month for slowing down, as much as we can. For the most part, if it wasn’t on the agenda already, we’re not making any new plans.

What I do have plans for is more cooking. I feel like we’ve been eating a lot of hastily thrown together meals or going out to eat. While I don’t mind either, I do want to take advantage of the summer harvest and create some new dishes and have the time to play around in the kitchen. I do love that during the summer a few raw veggies from the garden equal a satisfying side dish though! Hello carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes! What I love about this Carrot-Ribbon & Berry Salad is that it’s just as easy to make and is so beautiful. My family was eager to dive in and it makes a lovely dish when you’re hosting friends over for a BBQ or bringing something different to a pot luck. With these vibrant colors and flavors most everyone loves, who could resist?

Carrot-Ribbon & Berry Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large carrots, peeled
  • 8 oz. strawberries, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Using a vegetable peeler, slice carrots into thin ribbons. Place carrots, berries, almonds, and mint in a large serving bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Just before serving, toss dressing with carrot and berry mixture.

Serves 4

Source: PARENTS Magazine May 2016

Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing ~ A fresh approach to pasta salad that will breathe new light to your summer side dish ~ The Way to His Heart

Is it me or is this summer flying by? Here in Maine our summers are short, but sweet and we try to make the most of it before we, or should I say I, hibernate. The fact that my daughter, Caroline, is on her first school vacation and I get to spend time with her before school starts back up makes it seem like it’s flying by. Oh, and have you all noticed that “Back to school” signs are already out at the stores? Groan!

I feel like we’re only just getting started with the grilling season since June was so rainy here. The one thing I am always on the lookout for is a good side dish. I get so bored of some of the staples and a lot of the super good ones aren’t that great for a cookout on the go/potluck scenario. I’m inundated with basil right now so I decided to whip up a light dressing and create a pasta salad that has hints of your typical pasta salad, but a fresher taste. This Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing is going to get a lot of mileage from here on out!

Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing ~ A fresh approach to pasta salad that will breathe new light to your summer side dish ~ The Way to His Heart

Speaking of being on the go this summer, one of our favorite things to do is cookout at the marina. For us, there is nothing better than heading out for a boat ride and coming back and grilling right there. We load up the kids, the cooler, and the sunscreen and make a day of it. If we aren’t at the marina, we’re up at camp or dining out on our deck. I look for ease of use, functional, and quality in my food storage containers because we may decide at a moments notice that we’re eating somewhere else. That means all of our food is stored in containers that can be brought anywhere. This 8 Piece SNAP Glass Round Container Set is the best! The containers are made of thermal shock-resistant borosilicate glass, so they can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer, and they can go straight into the microwave or oven for reheating. The lids are BPA-free and have four locking tabs and a removable gasket which ensures a leakproof seal. SNAP Glass Containers are both nestable and stackable, which means whether they’re full or empty, it’s easy to fit them in your cabinets. I personally love them because I have no problem serving my food in them. They make great serving dishes. Just because we are eating al fresco doesn’t mean I want my food to be served in just anything. Plus, the glass keeps things extra cold!

OXO 8pc Glass Snap Container Set ~ The Way to His Heart

You’ll also notice I’m using the 2-in-1 Salad Servers
Little Salad Dressing Shaker which are very handy to have. I just store them in our bag and they are ready for any dish! I also have my beloved Little Salad Dressing Shaker which I’ve been using for a few years now. This guy is my sidekick during the warmer months.

I received these products from OXO, but as always the opinions expressed here are my own.

Pasta Salad with Basil Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Campanelli pasta (or any fun shape that holds sauce well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil, plus some for garnish
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup roasted bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 oz Genoa salami, cut into strips
  • 12 Ciliegine fresh mozzarella balls, cut in half

Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

In a blender, add basil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, garlic, black pepper and salt until finely chopped. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.

Add pasta, dressing, and remaining ingredients in a dish and toss. Can be served warm or cold.

The Way to His Heart

Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas

Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas ~ Quick, delicious and will please most palates ~ This is a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies ~ The Way to His Heart

Now that the kids are older, well at least one of them is, I’m starting to add more visible vegetables in the dinner. Partly because I want her to get used to seeing and tasting the vegetables in a more normal fashion and partly because I am tired of hiding things. That’s mostly the reason. I want to eat like a grown up and it’s also much easier for prep. I love quick pasta dishes like these that have simple ingredients that my family enjoys. If I try to give them more cauliflower or kale I’m going to be shot so when a dish that involves carrots and peas as the vegetables, I’m safe. Toss in some bacon, pasta, and some cream cheese and I’m a winner!

This dish whips up nice and quick. To make it even quicker you can buy your veggies prechopped or prep earlier in the day or the night before. It’s a perfect weeknight meal when you want more from your meal but you don’t want to put that much effort into it! With the thyme and the bright colors, it’s a very spring/summery meal. Colorful dishes always get eaten quicker by the kids.

Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas ~ Quick, delicious and will please most palates ~ This is a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies ~ The Way to His Heart

 

Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. uncooked mini farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 3 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 cup prechopped onion
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 5/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove bacon and set aside.

Add onion and carrot to pan with drippings and cook 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid, bacon, thyme, salt, pepper, and cream cheese. Add pasta to pan; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine May 2016