Rosemary and Olive Oil Mashed Sweet Potatoes

True story – I used to not like sweet potatoes. Well, I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes. What I discovered in my twenties is that I didn’t like sweet sweet potatoes. You know, the ones that look more like dessert on the Thanksgiving table. Then we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner and they were serving sweet potatoes. Not wanting to be rude I took a few and much to my surprise - I loved them. Roasted chunks of sweet potato drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and rosemary. It was like a perfect marriage of flavors.

Nowadays I like all forms of sweet potatoes, even the sweet ones I didn’t like when I was younger, but I still have a special spot in my heart for the flavor combination that changed everything. So when I was brainstorming new ways to feature sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, I knew this would be a winner. I am super happy with the way these mashed sweet potatoes turned out. Soft and fluffy with the yummy flavors that I love. So, if you’re looking for a way to savory up your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, look no further!

 

Citrus and Soy Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Pickled Cucumbers


For my birthday we went out for a nice dinner and I ordered a dish that had the most amazing glaze. It was acidic and salty and just slightly sweet. Then the whole thing was topped off with these unexpectedly delicious, tangy pickled cucumbers. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I recreated it in my own kitchen. And it wasn’t, I think I waited all of 2 days before giving it a try. I was absolutely thrilled with the results!!

At the restaurant the glaze was used on salmon, which I absolutely love! But, the salmon at the store looked sketchy (at best) and I didn’t want to have to wait. I did some brainstorming about what other meat would complement a glaze like this. I finally decided on pork tenderloin. However, I think this glaze could really be universal. Obviously it would be delicious on salmon and pork, but it would also be great with shrimp or even chicken. If you give it a try on other types of meat, let me know how they turn out!

Soy sauce and citrus juice make the base for this glaze. I went for the trifecta and used lemon, lime, and orange juice. To balance out the salt and acid I added brown sugar. Finally I rounded out the flavors with some ginger and garlic. Now, you might be tempted to just skip the pickled cucumbers. I’m telling you, you would be doing your tastebuds a disservice by doing that. The crisp, cool cucumbers are the perfect topping for this glaze. I’m not sure it would even be the same without it! Plus, they are super simple and could even be made the night before or the morning of. So make sure you give them a try!

 A few more pork tenderloin ideas!

Island Pork Tenderloin
BBQ Pork Tenderloin Wraps
Zesty Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Strawberry Sauce

Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

You might recall that years ago I blogged in a different little corner of the internet. As I mentioned in the other post, What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen was truly the bug that bit me when it comes to not only blogging, but also exploring the world of the cooking and baking. Looking back it can be easy to criticize myself for the photos, writing, and recipes that I shared, but I try not to be too hard on myself because it is a nice reminder of both where I came from and how far I’ve come. And truth be told, it wasn’t all so bad. I pulled over 31 of my favorite recipes/posts a while ago, but there are still some gems over there that I hope to bring over to the Sunny Side with updated recipes and photos.

This Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf is one of those gems. From the first time I made this recipe we were in love. The rice is infused with garlic flavor and comes out light and fluffy. The squeeze of lemon I added the first time I made this also adds a nice freshness. You can serve it with fish, chicken, pork… Truly a fantastic versatile side dish.

It might seem time consuming, and it does take while to bake, but most of the time is hands off, so you’re free to work on a main dish or even just relax! I promise it will be worth the wait!

 

 

More side dish ideas
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Grilled Brussels Sprouts
Garlicky Green beans
Summer Vegetable Casserole

 

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been craving tangy dressing a lot lately. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been gravitating towards lighter, springy-er dishes. That could be pregnancy related or could be that I’m just really ready to move on from heavy winter dishes (even if I do live in San Diego). Either way, when a friend on a cooking message board I frequent mentioned a pasta salad including asparagus, I was immediately intrigued. Suddenly vegetable pasta salad combinations were just swirling around in my head and I knew exactly what we were having for dinner.

The plan was for me to make grilled chicken and serve it with a large side of this Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad. The look on Jesse’s face when I told him the plan was kind of comical. He was sure that there should be some other side, or something! Much to his surprise (and my delight!) he loved dinner and he even felt full. It just goes to show that dinner doesn’t have to be heavy to be good. The leftovers also made an awesome lunch!

 

Here are a few more lighter side dish ideas!

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw
Southwest Pasta Salad
Spicy Cold Noodles