Category: <span>Side Dishes and Salads</span>

Grilled Potato Packets

Grilled Potato Packets

Serves 4.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Two medium russet potatoes – sliced ¼ inch thick – peeling is optional

½  medium sweet onion – sliced

Toss potatoes and onions with olive oil until all are lightly coated.

Add your choice of seasoning and herbs. Here are some we like:

  • McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb
  • Fresh chopped garden herbs – rosemary, oregano, basil, parsley. Add a bit of salt and pepper with fresh herbs.
  • We buy wonderful hand-mixed spices from The Spice and Tea Exchange in Blowing Rock, NC. Our favorite for the potato packets is Tuscany Spice Blend.

Toss mixture with spices to completely coat.

Using two large pieces of non-stick foil, you’ll make two separate packets. Two packets cook more evenly and are easier to flip when on the grill. Place half the mixture in the middle of each piece foil. Fold the long sides to seal in the middle, then fold the ends and crimp well.

Place on the grill cooking 20-25 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.

Be careful not to get burned from the steam when opening the packets to place in a bowl.

Note: We use this cooking method for vegetables as well. Sliced zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and cherry tomatoes make a great combination with the same seasoning selections.

Wilted Lettuce with Hot Bacon Dressing

Wilted Lettuce with Hot Bacon Dressing

This fabulous salad is sweet, tangy, and salty all at the same time! We love it! Great with homegrown spring leaf lettuce.

Serves 4


  • 8 slices thick-sliced hickory-smoked bacon
  • ¼ cup finely diced Vidalia onion (or another sweet onion)
  • ¼ – ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

8 cups of clean and dry leaf lettuce in large salad bowl.


  • Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
  • Remove all but 3 tablespoons grease from pan.
  • Add onion and cook until softened.
  • Dice or snip the bacon into small pieces. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, water, and vinegar.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan with the onion. Add the diced bacon and black pepper. Cook and whisk mixture until it boils.
  • Immediately pour the hot dressing over a variety of garden-fresh leaf lettuce. Toss well to wilt the lettuce.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemony Pea and Mint Salad

Lemony Pea and Mint Salad

This salad pops with flavor and texture. I love the crisp fresh lemon dressing. I make the salad in the morning and let it marinate all day stirring periodically. Add the almonds and mint before serving.

1 pound frozen baby sweet peas
1 lemon
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 sprigs fresh mint (optional)
4 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

  1. Place the peas in a colander and rinse with cold water. Let sit until peas have thawed.
  2. Zest the lemon and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk shallot, salt, sugar, and pepper into the lemon juice until sugar has dissolved. Continue whisking while slowly pouring in the olive oil.
  4. Place mint leaves on top of each other and roll tightly. Slice mint into thin strips.
  5. Place the thawed peas into a serving bowl. Pour vinaigrette over peas and toss. Garnish with fresh mint, lemon zest, and slivered almonds. Note:If making this dish ahead, wait until serving time to slice the mint.

Our State magazine, April 2020



Pear Cobbler

Pear Cobbler

This fast and easy one-pan cobbler is wonderful served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

½ cup butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 cups canned pears in heavy syrup – drained (use either cut or halves)


  1. Melt butter in 8” Pyrex baking dish.
  2. In mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and milk until well blended.
  3. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do NOT stir.
  4. Spoon fruit over batter. Do NOT stir.
  5. Bake cobbler at 350 for 30-40 minutes until crust rises to the top and is lightly browned and the liquid is bubbly.
  6. Let cool slightly and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Briefly warm refrigerated cobbler in microwave, if desired.

Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts

Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts, Sage, and Romano

  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the squash either in the oven or the microwave.
  2. For the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, in a large baking dish. Bake the squash in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.
  3. Microwave method. Poke the entire squash several times with a paring knife to allow steam/heat to escape. Place the whole squash in the microwave. Cook on high for only 5 minutes turning halfway through. Be careful handling the hot squash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the half squash in a Pyrex dish cut side down. Add an inch of water to the pan. Cook on high about 10 minutes, checking a few times for doneness.
  4. Scrape flesh of squash from the rind using a fork and place in a bowl. Add the pine nuts, cheese, sage, butter, salt, and pepper; toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Variation of the recipe by Sarah Stephan on


Onion Marmalade

Onion Marmalade

Adapted from an recipe

If you need a savory and slightly hot relish to jazz up pork, chicken, sausages, or mashed potatoes, look no further. Make this a day or two ahead of serving to let the flavors blend. Another added benefit is that the kitchen smells divine while it is simmering on the stove top. Enjoy!

2 large sweet white onions, chopped – Vidalia if you can get them
1 large red onion, chopped
3 T olive oil
2 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped (use rubber gloves to handle)
2 T honey
3-4 T red wine vinegar
¼ cup water

In a large heavy skillet cook onions in olive oil over moderate heat stirring often until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add jalapenos and cook one minute stirring often. Add honey and cook, stirring often. Add vinegar and simmer, continuing to stir until almost all liquid has evaporated. Add water and simmer, stirring until mixture is slightly thickened and onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Marmalade can be made two days ahead and chilled. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Pickled Summer Squash

Pickled Summer Squash

Yield: 8 servings.

6 yellow squash, sliced thin (I use my mandoline slicer on setting 2)
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup sweet onion, sliced thin using mandoline
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt* (see note below)
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric (or substitute 1/8 tsp each of garlic powder, cumin, ground ginger)
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon celery seed*  (substitute 1 ½ tsp of celery salt for salt and celery seed)

Place squash, celery, and sliced onion in large bowl. Set aside. In a blender or mixing bowl, mix vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add salt, pepper, and turmeric. Slowly add oil and blend well. Add celery seed to dressing. Pour dressing over squash and toss. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Drain well before serving. Keeps about 3 days when drained.


Our State magazine June 2016


Sweet Potato Salad

 Sweet Potato Salad

This fragrant, flavorful, and colorful side dish is a perfect choice to accompany grilled chicken, beef, or fish. My sister-in-law made this recipe for us and we loved it. The recipe was created by Chef Michael Twitty, a culinary historian and food writer who prepares, preserves, and promotes African foodways and traditions.

Potato Salad

Roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until tender:

2 cups bite-size pieces of butternut squash
1 ½ cups bite-size pieces of sweet potatoes

After roasting, put in a bowl and add ¼ cup of halved mixed olives.

Pour the dressing over the mixture and gently mix. Let it rest at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.


Mix together these spices:

½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground red pepper

Whisk together and then add the spices:

5 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp chopped preserved lemon (substitute grated lemon peel)
3 tsp honey

Serves 4-6.

California Salad

California Salad

There are many variations of California salad and dressing. This is the one that our friend Richard uses. He’s quite creative. He’s known for eliminating the mandarin oranges and instead adding dried cranberries, fresh blackberries, and fresh spinach. It is sensational.


2 large heads of romaine lettuce or leaf lettuce

1 package sliced almonds, toasted

1 medium red or purple onion, thinly sliced

2-11 oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained


½ cup white vinegar

½ tsp dry mustard

Dash of paprika

2 eggs, beaten frothy

¾ cup sugar

¾ tsp minced onion

½ tsp salt

½ cup vegetable oil

Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients except vegetable oil in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil about 1 minute. It will thicken. Remove from heat, add oil and stir. Pour into covered jar and refrigerate.

Salad: Combine torn lettuce, onions and oranges in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Toast almonds in 1 T butter in the oven at 350 or in a skillet. Mix into salad.

Shake dressing well before pouring on the salad. Add dressing a bit at a time and toss as you go to avoid over-dressing the salad.

Zucchini Pie

Zucchini Pie

Looking for an easy-to-make and substantial vegetable side dish to accompany grilled salmon and wild rice, I decided to make a zucchini pie. It was a good choice! The little bit of nutmeg and ground white pepper added a bit of a zip to it.

4 cups peeled and shredded zucchini

½ cup chopped onion

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground white pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

3 beaten eggs

¾ cup dry bread crumbs

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat a 9” pyrex pie plate with cooking spray.
  • Blend all ingredients and press into pie pan.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until set.