last night’s dinner – a collection of sides

sometimes a great meal can be found in a bunch of side dishes. too often its assumed that a meal must have a meat portion or fish portion, but some delicious meals can be made out of a collection of what would usually be considered sides!

last night’s dinner was just that. kale, rosemary roasted butternut squash and onions, and trader joe’s vegetable rice came together extremely well.

sauteed garlic and kale
kale is the king of nutrients! use an entire bunch of fresh kale. as its cooked it will wilt and one bunch can easily be eaten by 2-3 people (and it is great re-heated for leftovers). while heating 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, wash and chop the kale into smaller strips. add kale and stir every minute or so. add diced garlic and shallots after about 5 minutes and cook for another 12-15 or so. taste the kale to see if it is done – it should be cooked and easy to chew, but still slightly crisp.

rosemary roasted butternut squash and onions
first step, selecting a good butternut squash – the squash should feel heavy, and the skin should be firm and clear, no large indents or bruises. the skin should be a yellow/gold/orange color and when you tap the squash you should hear a hollow sound.


second step, preparing the squash.  peel away the skin of the squash with a traditional peeler until the orange flesh of the squash is visible – usually 2-3 layers under the skin. next, scoop out the seeds and flesh. chop the orange flesh of the butternut squash into cubes. in a large bowl add chopped onion,  a few diced garlic cloves, 2-3 diced shallots, lots of rosemary, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. mix together well to coat all ingredients with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.

although there are many dishes that could be included with the two above to make a complete meal i used trader joe’s vegetable rice to tie it all together. if you haven’t had this rice yet (and live near a tj’s) you have to pick some up on your next shopping trip -its in the frozen food section. in addition to being delicious and simple to prepare, i think it adds a healthy, warm and comforting food to bring the entire dish together.

nutritionally speaking – excellent source of vitamins a, b6, c, e, and k, manganese, copper, iron, calcium, dietary fiber, lutein, and potassium.
rosemary is an anti-inflammatory herb that increases circulation, stimulates the immune system and improves digestion. in addition, both garlic and onion have properties that help prevent colds and winter illnesses, and help strengthen the immune system.


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