Category Archives: Side Dish

Mediterranean Bean Salad


Leafy green salads are the last thing I’m craving this winter. I bought some spinach a few weeks ago with every intention of making salads.

I used a handful here and handful there in non-salad recipes and eventually the rest sadly went bad in the bottom of the crisper drawer. Whoops.

I decided I needed an alternative. Something fresh and satisfying that I would actually eat this winter. So that’s how this recipe was born and I gotta tell ya, I love this bean salad.


It’s fresh, filling, and chock full of ingredients that are good for you. And even better – it’s ridiculously easy, lasts a few days in the fridge and makes the perfect snack or lunch when it’s served with pita chips or piled into a pita pocket.

Mediterranean Bean Salad

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makes roughly 6 cups

  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced (peeled, optional)
  • 3/4 c. red onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • handful of parsley, chopped

For the dressing:

  • juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 c.)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 t. dried oregano
  • 1/4 t. ground cumin
  • pinch of salt & pepper

Pita chips or pita pockets for serving.

In a medium-large bowl, combine all of the beans & diced vegetables. Add the dressing ingredients and stir until everything has been thoroughly mixed. Let chill for an hour in the fridge and give it a stir before serving. Taste it and add a little more salt if needed.


Recipes for the Holidays

Hey there!

Well, here we are at the WEEK OF Christmas. Boy, did that get here fast! Happy eve’s eve of Christmas eve! Wow, that’s a lot of eves. I can see why that hasn’t become a standard holiday greeting. :)

Anyways, I hope all is going well with your holiday plans. If you need some last minute recipe ideas for appetizers, sides, desserts, or even breakfast, I put together a collection of recipes from around my website for a little inspiration. Here you go!

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

a savory combo of mushroom, spinach, bacon, and thyme topped with cheese


Fiesta Bites

refried beans & green chiles baked in a wonton wrapper topped with fresh salsa & green onion

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 Cornbread with Rosemary & Caramelized Onions

savory cornbread with the flavorful additions of fresh rosemary & caramelized onions


Pear Pastries with Honey Whipped Cream

puff pastry baked with slices of pear topped with peach jam and a honey whipped cream


Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookies with cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and ginger


Flat Apple Cranberry Pie

a single crust pie with apples and cranberries mixed with orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg


Gingerbread Waffles

festive waffles with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sweetened with molasses


Chai Spiced Muffins

muffins with all the spices of chai tea drizzled with a vanilla glaze


Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

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I know Christmas decor has been up in stores for awhile and some radio stations already have 24/7 Christmas music but I just felt the excitement of all of the upcoming holidays this week.

It’s like the excitement you feel when you’re looking forward to that girls’ trip you’ve had planned with your besties or a special anniversary trip with your sweetie. Planning and dreaming about it is just as much part of the experience as taking the trip. The anticipation is half the fun.

For me, that buzzing of holiday excitement doesn’t happen just because I see Christmas decor in the stores. It happens when I realize how close they are — next week! Thanksgiving is kicking off the holiday season and I, for one, am stoked for some family time and PIE. :)


These mushrooms were a spur of the moment idea and a Saturday night experiment with my hubby. After a little tweaking, I really loved how they turned out! Bits of bacon are stuffed inside (always a nice surprise for your tastebuds ;)) and then topped with a garlicky, spinach filling and covered with allll the cheese. Mmm, I think I need to go make some more…

Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: approx 12 mushrooms
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 10 oz. mushrooms with stems (I used baby Portobellas)
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • 1-2 slices cooked bacon or turkey bacon*
  • 1 c. shredded fontina cheese (you could also use mozzarella or Parmesan)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 t. dried thyme
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 400º. Clean the mushrooms well, removing any dirt that may be on them. Carefully remove the stems by twisting gently at the base. Set the stems aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the mushroom stems, spinach leaves, garlic cloves, dried thyme, salt, and 1 T. olive oil. Pulse until there are no longer any large pieces of mushroom or garlic and the consistency is fairly smooth. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil, drizzle on 1 T. olive oil and spread around with clean hands. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, tops down. Tear or chop the bacon into really small pieces and place in the cavity of the mushroom. Next, cover the bacon with the mushroom/spinach mixture. Gently press & stuff to get as much as you can in the mushrooms. Top with the fontina cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.

*If you’re going to prepare a whole package of bacon, I recommend baking it. Then you can continue working on the mushrooms and filling while it bakes instead of having to keep an eye on it.

Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette


I have lots to share today so be sure to read all the way through!

Sometimes my favorite recipes are born out of necessity.

We indulged in some really good food the first two weeks here in Wisconsin. It was so fun trying new restaurants and there were so many great meals to choose from. I had all this inspiration to create the ultimate mac and cheese because, you know, that’s what you do when you move to America’s Dairyland.

However, I have yet to create the ultimate mac and cheese because after all that great food, I was definitely craving something much much lighter. (I promise to still create the ultimate mac and cheese though. :))

So that’s where this salad came in and I loved it from the first time making it (trust me, that doesn’t always happen). It’s super simple, fresh, and the dressing is my favorite part. It’s a slightly sweet, light vinaigrette that really ties in well with the apples and walnuts.


Ok, first announcement — printable recipes! I’m very excited about this and hope this is helpful for you to print out recipes.

And second announcement — Join me this Saturday, November 1st at 1pm CDT as I talk Thanksgiving dinner with I’ll be doing a live Google Hangout chat about helpful appliances and tips. I’m really honored to have this opportunity and would love for you to join! Click here to check it out. You can also check back here on Recipe or Not on Nov. 1st at 1pm CDT to watch the live chat. 

Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette; Recipe or Not

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

For the salad:

  • 2 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 cup of cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 apple, diced
  • handful of walnuts, chopped
  • pinch of shredded Parmesan

For the dressing:

  • 2 T. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 t. dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a container with a lid and shake for 10-15 seconds until everything is completely blended together. Toss the greens, chicken, apple, walnuts, and Parmesan with the dressing.

 ***Like this recipe? Share it with a friend and if you want free weekly recipes, click ‘Get recipes!’ on the top of the sidebar and enter your email address.

Cornbread with Rosemary & Caramelized Onions


Happy Friday Eve! (Sounds better than Happy Thursday Night, doesn’t it? :))

I’ll keep this short and sweet so you can finish making weekend plans… which should probably include this cornbread. ;)

It’s moist, yet still a little crumbly because, well, it wouldn’t be cornbread if it wasn’t, right? The rosemary complements the cornmeal perfectly and the onions add that slightly sweet flavor from the glorious caramelization. It’s not a sweet cornbread, but can easily be made that way with honey.

PS – Fun things are in store for next week! I’ll be celebrating Recipe or Not’s 2nd birthday with dessert and a giveaway (!!!) so be on the lookout. (Can you believe it’s been two years?!)


Add a pat of butter…


…and a drizzle of honey.

Cornbread with Rosemary & Caramelized Onions; Recipe or Not

makes about 8 servings

 For the caramelized onions:

  • 2 yellow onions, diced about 1/2-1″ in size
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • pinch of salt

For the cornbread:

  • 1 1/2 c. yellow fine ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 T. sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. corn
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped (about 1/2 t.)
  • caramelized onions from recipe above (yields about 3/4-1 cup)

For the caramelized onions: Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Toss in the onions and salt and turn the heat to low, cover with a lid leaving a small crack for steam to escape. Stir the onions every 10 minutes or so until they start to turn brown and caramelize. Mine took 1.5 hours to get really caramelized. HOWEVER, you can add a little sugar to speed the process up (I did not.) and I read that gas stoves will caramelize the onions faster than an electric stove, which is what I have. Pro-tip: Cook them the night before. They’ll keep covered in the fridge overnight.

For the cornbread: Preheat oven to 425°. In a mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients, corn, rosemary, and onions. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is just combined. Grease a 9″ oven-proof skillet or 9×9 baking dish. Pour in the batter and smooth it out evenly in the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and a toothpick comes out clean when poked in the center of the bread.

***Like this recipe? Share it with a friend and if you want free weekly recipes, click ‘Get recipes!’ on the top of the sidebar and enter your email address.

Greek Power Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette


The first time I tried kale it tasted like straight chlorophyll.

I like to push myself to give new foods a chance so I made an effort.

Kale chips. Kale salad. Kale in soups.

Welp, I tried. Moving on.


Then I had an idea for a Greek salad packed with nutrition and irresistible flavor.

I had a hunch to give kale one more chance. (Always follow your hunches…unless your hunch is telling you to make a tuna cheesecake. Don’t follow that one.)

I threw in a bunch of colorful veggies, made sure it had plenty of flavor with feta and a lemon dressing, and added chickpeas and quinoa for protein.


The salad turned out perfect. Nutritious and irresistibly good.

So the lesson today is – don’t give up on foods if you don’t like them at first. :)

Is there a food you’ve had to try several times before you liked it? Leave a comment and share.

Here’s to health and new foods!

Greek Power Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette; Recipe or Not


  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite size pieces and massaged gently with clean hands for 30-60 seconds
  • 1/2 c. uncooked quinoa, cook according to directions
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup diced olives
  • crumbled feta for topping


  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
  • 2/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 t. dried oregano
  • pinch of salt
  • sprinkle of black pepper

Cook the quinoa according to the directions. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other salad ingredients. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl or platter. Combine the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or container with a tight lid. Shake until the lemon juice and oil are completely combined, 30 seconds or so. Toss the salad with dressing and crumbled feta.

***Like this recipe? Share it with a friend and if you want free weekly recipes, click ‘Get recipes!’ on the top of the sidebar and enter your email address.


Grilled Caesar Salad


I love finding cooking inspiration at restaurants.

Whenever I eat out, I make mental notes of dishes that really stand out to me.

It doesn’t happen often but every once in awhile, I’ll come across something that really peaks my interest.

Today, I’m bringing you one of those restaurant-inspired dishes.

I had this Caesar salad as a side dish once and was so intrigued by the grilled romaine and the flavor it added. It was topped by big Parmesan shavings, thin, crispy flatbread, and a house made dressing that had a hint of lemon. YUM.

The flavor of that salad stuck with me and I just had to give it a try myself!


So here we are with a big ol’ plate of grilled Caesar salad.

Since I live in an apartment and don’t have a grill, I borrowed my dad’s. It was really nice having a co-griller. (Thanks, Dad!)

My family was around and got to sample the goods. It was fun for me to share it with them (and nice having people to help eat all the salad so I didn’t have a ton of leftovers). The grilled romaine was a hit!


We’re not grilling the romaine to a charred crisp. I would just call it… flavor enhancement. We’re cutting the romaine in half and grilling each side for a few minutes. It’ll get slightly brown and a little wilted but not in a salad-left-in-the-fridge-too-long kind of way and the rib of the romaine leaves still have their crunch.

This was super fast to put together and could be a weeknight dinner if you added some chicken, shrimp, or other protein.

Grilled Caesar Salad; Recipe or Not

serving size: one head of romaine would be enough for a dinner salad for two if you add chicken, shrimp, or some kind of protein. As a side salad, it would probably be enough for 3-4 people. 

  • 1 head of romaine, cut in half
  • 2 slices of bread cut in half
  • Your favorite Caesar dressing
  • Grated Parmesan (about 1/4 cup)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice, optional
  • Several tablespoons of olive oil

The Prep: Rinse and pat dry the romaine halves. Lightly brush both sides of the romaine halves and bread with olive oil. Heat grill to medium heat and grill both sides of the romaine and bread for 4-5 minutes. The romaine should have some browning but not be burnt and the bread should be toasted and crispy. Gently cut up the romaine to bite size pieces and toss with the dressing, Parmesan, black pepper, and lemon juice. Enjoy with the grilled bread!