Archive of ‘Snack & Side’ category

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Cranberries, and Pine Nuts | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Brussels sprouts are one of those veggies that aren’t always a crowd-pleaser. I can understand that because, if overcooked, they don’t smell great and can often taste like a wet sock. Nobody likes wet sock. Not that I have ever tasted a wet sock, but I can only imagine that I wouldn’t be a fan of it. However, if cooked correctly, brussels sprouts are nutty and flavorful and so so healthy for you!

To say that I am mildly obsessed with brussels sprouts would be an understatement. They are one of the only vegetables that make it into my grocery cart every week whether they are in or out of season. Most of the time, I prepare them by slicing them in half, tossing them in extra virgin olive oil, seasoning them with salt, pepper and fresh garlic, and roasting them in a 425˚ oven for about 30 minutes. However, over the last year, I have been hashing them and it’s my new favorite way to eat them.

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Cranberries, and Pine Nuts | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com To hash brussels sprouts, you trim the bottom stem, remove any bruised leaves, slice the sprout in half, and thinly slice each half about 1/8″ thick. You could also pop whole sprouts into your food processor affixed with the slicing blade. (more…)

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes offer a unique twist to a traditional baked potato. They were invented by a Swedish chef and are very easy to replicate. Their elegant presentation is perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish, family dinner, or date night in.

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes | Cucina Kristina So… the other day I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I came across this recipe from Jenn Greenberg and knew I had to try it immediately. The trouble was, I only had sweet potatoes in the house, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway. This might just be my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. 

After a little Google research, I found that Hasselback potatoes are the Swedish way of preparing baked potatoes and that their name is derived from the hotel that invented the dish, the Hasselbacken hotel in Stockholm.

hassleback-sweet-potatoes-3

Don’t be fooled by the intricate design these potatoes have. As long as you have a sharp knife, the prep is quick and easy. It took me about 15 minutes to prep and season three of these bad boys. In fact, I was able to prep them faster than it took my oven to heat to 425˚.

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Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

This recipe for Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad is ideal for picnics and BBQ’s because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It only uses 5 ingredients and can be served warm or chilled. Dill and parsley are my herb of choice, but you could use any fresh herb your garden is producing at the time.

Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad | cucinakristina.com

Pssst… listen up. I’m about to give you a secret recipe. A recipe that I never thought about posting because it is so simple to make, it doesn’t make me feel like I am cooking. Yet, every time I bring it to a cookout or serve it at a dinner, people rave about it and ask for the recipe. When I tell them how I made it, they look at me curiously like I am intentionally withholding an ingredient or two so they won’t be able to recreate it at home. I promise that isn’t the case. Here’s the secret…

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Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

What’s the best part of summer? Grilling, of course! Once the weather warms up, I try to make it a habit to grill as many meals as possible. To me, grilling is synonymous with summer. I am not one of those people who sends her husband outside during winter in a full snow suit to grill up some steaks. Although, the thought has crossed my mind, I am not going to lie.

One of my favorite things to grill is kabobs, also known as skewers. I think kabobs are so versatile because you can make them solely with meat, with fruits/veggies, or a mix of both. I posted this picture on Instagram and Twitter over Memorial Day weekend and it got a ton of buzz, which surprised me because I hadn’t planned on blogging this recipe. It was just something I threw together at the last minute, but it will probably be a staple at many BBQ’s to come.

Grilled Rainbow Vegetable Skewers or Kabobs

I’ve seen something similar to these floating around Pinterest using fruit, but there is no reason you can’t do the same with veggies. To make these, I tossed everything in a large bowl with olive oil and, after skewering them, I seasoned them with equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt. 

Foods That Are Good For Grilling

Want to make your own rainbow kabobs? You can use the same fruits and veggies I did or mix and match based on what is in season or available. Wouldn’t it be fun to do coordinate team colors at an end of the year BBQ or school colors for a graduation party? Below are some foods you can use to make your own kabobs sorted by color.
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Homemade Mayonnaise

I was never a huge fan of mayonnaise until I started making my own. Now, I cannot get enough of the stuff! This recipe for homemade mayonnaise uses olive oil to make it Paleo-friendly.

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise | cucinakristina.com It’s been a bit quiet on my blog for the past month because I have been busy recipe testing and devouring everything I can about food photography. I am shocked at how quickly my photography is improving by employing some simple tips and tricks that I have picked up around the web. One of my FAVORITE tips that I picked up from Edible Sound Bites is to use a white bed sheet as a light diffuser. I am sure I look absolutely ridiculous to my neighbors as I stand on my porch hanging a bed sheet from our back door, but boy does it work like a charm! I wish I had known this trick from the get go because looking back on some of my early food photos makes me cringe. 

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Green Beans with Toasted Almonds &
Blood Orange Vinaigrette

This recipe for green beans gets a zesty punch from the blood orange vinaigrette. It’s a perfect side dish for a summer BBQ! The blood orange vinaigrette would also make a great dressing for a brunch salad.

green beans with blood orange vinaigrette

While most of the kiddos in Chicago are heading back to school today, I am sitting in my house enjoying a hot cup of coffee with the windows open. Getting Easter Monday off is one of the perks of working at a Catholic school. I mentioned that the windows were open, right?! OPEN. Begone, winter! See you next year! spring is finally on the horizon!

You know what is awesome about spring? The seasonal fruits and veggies that start to pop up at the grocery store and farmer’s markets. You start to see things like asparagus, ramps, peas, and fennel. The sheer RETURN of the farmer’s market is an exciting thing about spring. 

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How to Make Homemade Tahini

If you’ve ever wondered how to make tahini, keep reading. This recipe for homemade tahini is easy to whip up in your food processor and will cost you a fraction of the cost of buying it in the store. 

how to make homemade tahini

Have you ever roasted your own peppers on your stovetop? It’s incredible easy and they taste so much better than the canned stuff. I do this a lot more in the summer when I have the time to devote to fancy things.

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Za’atar Scented Carrot Fries

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have undoubtedly heard me rave about the Foodie Penpals program I participate in each month. Well, I found a Paleo version hosted by Tarah over at What I Gather and Brittanie over at Three Diets One Dinner. How perfect! Paleo Penpals is very similar to Foodie Penpals. Each month you are paired with another participant and you exchange Paleo-friendly items with them. Then, you create a recipe using the items you received from your pen pal. Tarah and Brittanie will put together a roundup post with all of the recipes that were submitted and post it on their blogs at the end of each month. I thought this would be a really great way to expand my Paleo pantry and get some inspiration for new recipes.

This month I was paired with Amanda from Kentucky. She sent me two different spice mixes; one was her own “super secret” pork rub and the other was a spice mix called za’atar. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that is a mixture of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac and it used on pretty much everything in the Middle East. It can be used to season root veggies or you can add it to olive oil to make a dip for bread. Some people eat it straight from the jar.

Sumac has a slight citrus taste so my original thought was to make za’atar spiked marinara sauce; however, after adding nearly three tablespoons of it to the pot and finding it didn’t have the punch I was looking for, I gave up that idea. I’ve seen pictures of carrot “fries” floating around various Paleo blogs and decided to give that a try. Success!

Carrot fries are awesome! They have a consistency that is similar to sweet potato fries. The sweetness of the carrots and coconut oil pairs nicely with the tartness of the sumac. You can purchase za’atar online or you can make your own from scratch. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can substitute the za’atar in the recipe below for your favorite all-purpose spice blend or season with plain old salt and pepper.

By the way, have I showed you my method for melting coconut oil?

How to Melt Coconut Oil | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

We don’t own a microwave so I had to get creative!

Yup. That’s my bathroom. That’s my hairdryer. Laugh all you want, but it works like a charm! :)

Za'atar Scented Carrot "Fries" | Via Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Served alongside homemade mayo

*NOTE: This recipe makes a single serving of carrot “fries.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon za’atar

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425˚.
  2. Peel and chop carrots into quarters. You want them to be roughly the same size and thickness.
  3. In a bowl, toss carrots in melted coconut oil for a few minutes to make sure they are well coated.
  4. Add za’atar to the bowl and toss the carrots for another few minutes making sure to distribute the spice evenly.
  5. Spread the carrots onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. Watch these as they have a tendency to burn quickly! It may take a few more minutes or a few less depending on how thick you cut your “fries.”
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Sriracha Mayonnaise

I have never like mayonnaise. I can’t even tolerate it when the flavor is masked and mixed into things. Potato salad? No, thanks. Ranch dressing? Bleh! Sandwich spread? I prefer mustard. Can you imagine my surprise when one night I was craving mayonnaise? I imagine that my body wasn’t craving mayonnaise as much as it was craving fat, but either way I was too lazy to drive to the store, and I decided to make some. Yup. On a whim I decided to whip up some homemade mayonnaise.

I read this recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl and this recipe from Alton Brown and decided to combine the two. I must have gotten lucky because it came together beautifully, tasted amazing, and was super easy. Apparently, mayonnaise is rather finicky and can separate easily if not prepared correctly. 

I will be up front and honest, I have only tried this recipe once, and like I said, I may have gotten lucky. But, if you are a fellow mayonnaise hater, I strongly urge you to make some from scratch. You just may be a convert. I am!

Homemade Mayonnaise
Yields ~1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 cup light olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine egg yolk, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, mustard and salt. I used the blade attachment and let it whirl for about 20-30 seconds.
  2. SLOWLY drizzle the oil into the food processor. Pour as slowly as you can and then slow it down even more. This part should take about 3-5 minutes.
  3. When you have poured all of the oil into the food processor, let it whirl for another 15-20 seconds.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Mayonnaise

Sweet and Spicy

Sweet and Spicy

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, maybe a little more depending on the size of your sweet potato
  • Seasoned salt
  • 3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise (see above!)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425˚.
  2. Peel sweet potato and cut into strips about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Toss in melted coconut oil, season with seasoned salt, and spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast in oven for 20-25 minutes or until they brown evenly. If you are feeling extra enthusiastic, flip them at the halfway mark.
  5. In a small dish, mix 3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon Sirarcha sauce until well combined.
  6. Dip sweet potato fries into the Sirarcha mayonnaise and enjoy the flavor explosion!

Salted Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Chili-Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love old vintage radio shows. I used to listen to them every day when I was commuting to and from my office job. My favorites were Vintage Horror Radio, the Twilight Zone, and the Great Detectives. They are especially fun to listen to at this time of year.

I hope everyone has a happy and a safe Halloween!

Cucina Kristina: Salted Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Chili-Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Salted Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Chili-Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The recipes below are for the seeds of 1 medium-sized pumpkin. If you are going to use one of the recipes below for a full pumpkin worth of seeds, you’ll need to adjust a bit!

Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil, melted
  • 1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar depending on how sugary or cinnamony you like things.
    Hint: Pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice work really well here, too!

Directions:

  1. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Toss pumpkin seeds in coconut oil until evenly coated.
  3. Spread in an even layer onto a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  4. Roast in a 350˚ oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Salted Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 scant tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. Mix coconut oil and maple syrup in a small bowl.
  2. Toss pumpkin seeds in maple syrup/oil until evenly coated.
  3. Spread in an even layer onto a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
  5. Roast in a 350˚ oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Chili-Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil until evenly coated.
  2. Spread in an even layer onto a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  3. Sprinkle with chili powder and stir to evenly coat.
  4. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Roast in a 350˚ oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Cool and squeeze fresh lime juice over seeds before serving.

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