Category: Side Dishes and Salads

Fresh Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Fresh Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Nothing screams spring louder that salads with strawberries! This is one of my favorite from North Carolina’s Our State magazine. I have even just served the goat cheese as an appetizer on several occasions. Enjoy!

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
8 ounces plain goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
8 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and spun dry
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
Vinaigrette (optional)

In a measuring cup, mix lime juice, black pepper, and honey. Pour over goat cheese and refrigerate. Let marinate overnight, if possible.

Remove stems from spinach (optional). For individual salads, portion fresh spinach on salad plates, followed by strawberries, goat cheese, and toasted almonds. Serve with your favorite vinaigrette, or skip the dressing and enjoy the creaminess of the goat cheese.

Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

Our mild winters in North Carolina are very kind to our outdoor rosemary plant. With rosemary on hand year round, we serve a lot of rosemary roasted potatoes at Josmo’s Café to accompany steaks and pork chops.

I was glad to find an interesting variation in the April 25, 2016 issue of People Magazine. This is my slightly adapted version of a recipe created by Pati Jinich author of Mexican Today.


1 ½ pounds baby red potatoes or if larger, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

¾ cup olive oil plus extra for baking sheet

2 crushed garlic cloves

2 T fresh rosemary – chopped

½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp kosher salt

½ cup Parmesan cheese – finely grated fresh


  1. Cook potatoes in salted water about 20 minutes until tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Drizzle with olive oil until lightly coated.
  4. Drain potatoes when done.
  5. While potatoes are hot, place them one at a time on the baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon, press down on the potatoes being careful not to break the potato apart.
  6. Stir together olive oil, garlic, rosemary chili powder, and salt. Drizzle over potatoes.
  7. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake potatoes until golden and slightly crisp on the bottom about 25-30 minutes.


Four Bean Baked Beans

Summer picnics need awesome baked beans! This yummy, old-fashioned baked bean casserole is from a 1975 Minnesota church cookbook. It proves our mothers and grandmothers knew what was good!


1 can kidney beans, drain only half the liquid

1 can lima beans, drained only half the liquid

1 can butter beans, drain only half the liquid

1 can pork & beans with molasses, do not drain


Mix beans together in an oven-proof casserole.

Make sauce:

Brown ½ pound chopped bacon with 2 large onions. Add garlic salt, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ cup catsup, and ¾ cup brown sugar. Simmer for 10-20 minutes. Add to beans and mix well.

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Roasted Asparagus with Kalamata Olives

Roasted Asparagus with Kalamata Olives

I make this delicious side dish when I have the oven heated to a hot temperature to bake fish or roast potatoes. Easy to make and easy clean up using non-stick foil.

1 # asparagus – cleaned and dried

Whole and pitted Kalamata olives – about 20

Lemon pepper seasoning

Olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place asparagus on baking lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Sprinkle olives on top. Dust with lemon pepper seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil.

Roast for only 10-12 minutes until lightly brown and sizzling.


Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Serves 4

Bag of 3 Hearts of Romaine

Olive oil based salad dressing – not low-fat – we use Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing & Marinade


Rinse off lettuce keeping it on the core. Remove any bad outside leaves. Cut off about one inch of the leaf end just to square it so that dressing can be drizzled in between the leaves. Gently separate the lettuce leaves and drizzle the dressing inside.

Place on moderate grill for about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Remove when the lettuce is a bit charred and wilted.

On a cutting board, cut off the cores. Chop lettuce into bite side pieces and place in bowl. Toss lettuce very well and serve warm.

Crock Pot Applesauce

Slow cooker tip for easy clean up with no soaking or scrubbing. Use Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. You’ll find them in the food bags and storage section in the grocery store. I love them!

5-6 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced – mix and match Granny Smith, Cortland, Jonathon, Empire or others

1 cup sugar – more or less to taste

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup water

½ cup raisons

Except for the raisons, mix the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Put in raisons and cook another hour.

Enjoy both the all-day aroma and the fresh taste!

Baked Vidalia Onions

Sweet Georgia Vidalia onions are plentiful in North Carolina this month. These easy, fragrant, and delicious onions make a great side dish to a simple chicken or pork entrée. All of our Josmo’s Café guests ask for the recipe which was created by John’s mother.


Vidalia onions (or any sweet white onion) – one medium onion per person

2 teaspoons butter per onion

1 teaspoon ground allspice per onion

One square of heavy aluminum foil large enough to totally wrap the onion

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Peel each onion. Cut off a small part of the bottom for the onion to stand. Cut off the top of each onion. Using a paring knife, cut a core 1 inch down in the top of the onion.
  • Place each onion on its own square of foil.
  • Place 2 teaspoons butter in each of the cored onions.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon allspice over each onion.
  • Wrap the onions by pulling the sides up and twisting the top of the foil to seal.
  • Place the wrapped onions on a baking sheet spacing a few inches apart.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Unwrap the onions carefully since there will be hot steam.
  • Two ways to serve the onions. Whole on a platter or cut each onion in quarters and combine in a serving bowl. Pour the melted butter and allspice from the bottom of the foil over the onions before serving.

Tomato-Zucchini Tart

adapted from a Family Circle recipe


1 rolled refrigerated pie crust

1 4.4 ounce package light herb cheese spread, such as Boursin

4 medium ripe tomatoes, about 1 pound total, thinly sliced, patted dry

2 medium zucchini, about 1 pound total, sliced into 1/4-inch coins

1 cup of sautéed sweet onions (start with about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tsps Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.


  1. Prepare pie crust according to package directions for a one-crust pie, pricking the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes. Cool.


  1. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.


  1. Spread Boursin cheese evenly over bottom of crust.


  1. Alternately fan tomato and zucchini slices in a decorative fashion. Spread all the sautéed onions over this layer. Sprinkle with ½ the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese. Repeat for a second layer.


  1. Bake tart at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until nicely browned and zucchini slices are fork tender. Cool slightly and serve.

Marinated Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes

Adapted from a recipe

John is the chef on this one!


3 medium cucumbers, sliced ¼ inch thick

1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings

3 medium tomatoes, cut in wedges and extra juice removed


½ cup white vinegar

¼ cup sugar

1 cup water

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1/8 cup olive oil

1/8 cup vegetable or canola oil

Pinch of cornstarch


½ cup feta cheese, crumbled


Combine cucumbers, onion, and tomatoes in a large Ziploc bag.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients except the feta cheese. Add mixture to the Ziploc bag.


Refrigerate two or more hours flipping the bag occasionally to coat everything in the bag.


Before serving, drain and add the feta cheese. Toss well.


Makes 6 servings.