Category Archives: Side Dishes

Pan-Seared Balsamic Tender Baby Squash

I think the title of the recipe takes longer to say than it took my husband and I to eat this entire dish.  I cooked this with every intention of having it as a nice little side dish.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned – it ended up being done earlier than the other dishes, and I tasted it.  Then I said “oh James, taste this, it’s so good!”  And within minutes, all the squash was gone.  I can’t blame him though, I had a part in its’ demise.

We are members of a local CSA (crop share) and with each weeks’ produce, they give a recipe on how to use some of the stuff.  I try to use their recipes because they are usually quite tasty, and this was no exception.  The little baby squash were just perfect.  I should note that I did use this recipe for regular squash and it was just as good, you just might need to add a little more balsamic vinegar.  This is a great side dish, if it lasts that long!

Pan-Seared Balsamic Tender Baby Squash

Pan-Seared Balsamic Tender Baby Squash

Pan-Seared Balsamic Tender Baby Squash
Recipe from Inglewood Farms

Ingredients:
1 bag (about a pound?) squash
1 bunch green onions, chopped
olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (more if desired)

Method:

Gently wash and dry the squash, cut in half lengthwise.  If using fully grown squash, you can cut it into circles.  Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, then place the squash in it, pressing down gently with the spatula to sear the bottom.  When all squash are brown, sprinkle salt and toss to coat.  Add the balsamic vinegar and green onions and let it reduce, coating the squash.

Pan-Seared Balsamic Tender Baby Squash

Pan-Seared Balsamic Tender Baby Squash

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

In the MOM’s  Club I’m in, we do lots of potlucks.  It sometimes gets hard to think of something new to bring, often I just end up doing pigs in a blanket or something, things that the kids will eat too.  But frankly, the kids rarely eat anyway, they are too busy playing.  So when my friend Tiffani hosted the April potluck, I decided to bring one of her favorites, caesar salad!

This was really easy to make, though I did make some adaptations to the recipe I followed.  I added one egg yolk, a splash of milk and some parmesan cheese.  Just because it isn’t Caesar without it!  It came out really good.  I do have one piece of advice.  If you do use the anchovies, you will not use them all.  Just throw the rest away, do not try to make another batch of dressing days later.  Trust me.  ;)  But everyone seemed to really like it and asked if I would post the recipe, so here ya go, ladies!

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad Dressing
Recipe adapted from The Food Network

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 anchovy fillets
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk

Method:

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely puree’d.  Pour into a tupperware and keep cold.  When making a salad, place romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, croutons and some dressing in a ziploc bag and shake until  well mixed.  You can also add chicken to make it a meal.

Pan-Fried Green Beans

Spring is here, flowers are blooming and fresh produce is plentiful.  Kroger has been having some great produce sales lately, one of them being green beans.  When my husband decided he wanted to do some steaks on the grill, I knew I wanted to have fresh green beans with them.

I have a couple of green bean recipes I always cook, but I just wanted something different this time.  It’s fun to mix it up sometimes!  After a little search on allrecipes.com, I landed on “Dad’s Pan-Fried Green Beans.”  It sounded easy and delicious, and it really was.  The flavors were so deep and delicious, all that was left at the end was an empty plate!  I’m sure you could fix this with frozen green beans, but if you find some on sale, you can’t beat fresh!

Pan-Fried Green Beans

Pan-Fried Green Beans
Recipe from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
3 tbsp soy sauce (I used Tabasco brand)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white granulated sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp minced garlic

Method:
Place the green beans in a pot with one inch of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook for five minutes.

While that’s cooking, stir together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.  Drain the green beans, then heat the sesame oil.  Add the green beans and garlic, cook for about a minute, just until the garlic is toasted.  Add the soy sauce mixture, toss to coat and allow to cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish and drizzle the remaining sauce over them before serving.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is coming, it’ll be here before you know it!  The recipe swap I’ve been participating in did a Thanksgiving Sides swap and I was excited to receive a recipe for Emeril’s Twice Baked Potato Casserole.  I LOVE twice baked potatoes.

Sadly, I decided to go on a diet between the time that I received the recipe and the due date for submitting it (today).  So I kept putting off making it because it is NOT diet food.  Nothing like a little procrastination.  I finally made it last night and served with a rotisserie chicken and roasted brussels sprouts.  It was a clear winner, judging by the two MASSIVE servings my husband ate.  Guess the potatoes were a diet deal-breaker for him!  It really was good, it makes a TON though, so I broke the recipe down to half and it still made a lot.  Thanks for sharing, Nicole!  (The recipe below is my halved version, please click on the Emeril Live link for the full version.)

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Recipe adapted from Emeril Live

Ingredients:
4 large russet baking potatoes
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 block sharp white cheddar cheese (I used the Cabot brand), cut into cubes
shredded mild cheddar cheese for topping
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:

  • Wash potatoes well and prick with a fork.  Place on a microwave-safe plate and cover with plastic wrap, leaving an open end for ventilation.  Cook in the microwave about 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. (You could bake in the oven, but I was in a time crunch!)
  • Allow the potatoes to cool enough to handle, then gently peel the skin away from the flesh, discard the skin.  Use a potato masher and mash in a bowl until it is small chunks but mostly smooth.
  • Add to the potatoes the butter, sour cream, heavy cream, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Add in the bacon, cubed cheddar, green onions and egg and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into a greased casserole and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake at 375 until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through and browning at the edges.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers

I don’t know what it is, but I really love Swiss chard!  When flipping through Louisiana Life magazine, I spotted a recipe for andouille and Swiss chard turnovers and couldn’t wait to make them.

I decided to make them to go along with our vegetable tortellini soup.  My 3-year-old daughter “helped” me (and I use that term loosely) and they were surprisingly easy to make.  I had never made any sort of hand pie but the process wasn’t bad at all.  They were a great accompaniment to our soup and the rest my husband enjoyed for his breakfast!

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers
Recipe from Louisiana Life, May/June 2011

Ingredients:
filling
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 lb. andouille, chopped
1 bunch Swiss Chard
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste

dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening - I used the butter flavor one
7-8 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp milk (for the glaze)

Instructions:

Filling

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and garlic.  Saute’ until soft and beginning to brown - about five minutes.  Add the andouille.
  • Discard the large stems from the Swiss chard and chop the leaves into large chunks.  Wash in a colander and add the wet chard to the skillet, cover and cook until wilted, about five minutes.
  • Remove cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated.  Add the cheese and seasoning and remove from heat to let the filling cool.

Dough

  • Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  With your fingers or a pastry cutter, mix in the shortening until you have a coarse mixture.
  • Drizzle in water, mixing with a fork until it forms a dough.  Knead a few times and cut the dough in half.  Form each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 425.  Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until it is 1/8 inch thick.  Cut 4-inch rounds, rolling out the scraps when needed.  You need at least 18.
  • Place a spoonful of filling onto a round.  Lightly moisten the edges of the dough, then fold over and press the seams together.  You can also press with the tines of a fork to create a crimped edge.  Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the other rounds.
  • Before baking, lightly brush milk on top of the dough.  Bake 15-18 minutes, until golden.

Andouille and Swiss Chard Turnovers

 

Hash Brown Casserole

This recipe is high up there on good comfort food recipes.  It’s up there with mac and cheese.  Creamy cheesy potatoes.  Heaven. 

This is really easy to make and it tastes amazing.  Just make sure to have the potatoes all the way thawed out.  And invite some other people over because you WILL want to devour this all yourself if you don’t!

P.S.  My mom says this tastes just like the hash brown casserole at Cracker Barrel, but I’ve never had it so I don’t know.  I just know it’s great!

Hash Brown Casserole
Recipe from:  My mom

Ingredients:
2 lbs. frozen hash brown potatoes (the square chunk kind), completely thawed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese

Method:
Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a 9×13 casserole with nonstick spray.  In a large bowl, combine the onion, melted margarine, salt, black pepper, cream of mushroom soup and cheese.  Fold in the potatoes until well coated, then pour into casserole and spread until even. 

Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and turning golden.

(Sorry, casseroles are impossible to take appealing photographs of!)

Hash Brown Casserole

Christen’s Twice-Baked Potatoes

This is one of my husband’s favorite side dishes.  It’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but sometimes you just want comfort food so it’s good for an every now and then side to a great steak.  I mean really, what says “comfort” more than cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta??

Christen’s Twice-Baked Potatoes
Serves 8 (unless one of your guests is my husband, he eats several of them!)

Ingredients
4 baking potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz. Velveeta
Seasoning to taste (I use salt and Tony’s)
2 tbsp butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Shredded cheese for topping

Method:
Preheat oven to 350.

Wash the potatoes really well and pat them dry.  Using a fork or knife, poke holes around the outer edges (where you would cut it in half at), don’t poke holes on what will become the “bowl” part.  Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook 10 minutes, test for doneness with a fork.  Continue cooking if not ready. 

Once they are easily pierced with a fork, set aside until cool enough to handle.  Cut each one in half  and carefully scoop out the filling.  Leave a little in as a liner.  In a bowl, mash with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and taste for seasonings.  When it is to your liking, scoop the filling into the potato shells.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Christen's Twice-Baked Potatoes

Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries

If ever you’re sitting around bored and want to look at some things that’ll make you hungry, go over to the Food Whore website.  There are so many yummy, sinful treats on there!  Best part is you can get the recipe for them!  I saw peanut butter crusted sweet potato fries the other day and immediately bookmarked it.  I love peanut butter, and the picture just looked pretty great.

These were absolutely delicious, the only thing I didn’t like is that they didn’t get crispy.  Maybe I cut the potatoes too big.  Even though they weren’t crisp, they were good.  I managed to restrain myself at one serving so I wouldn’t completely blow my calories (only 203 calories in a serving!) and the hubby ate the rest.  He doesn’t worry about calories though :)  I’ll definitely be trying these again, and cutting them smaller to get them crispy.  Any other suggestions for that?

Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries
Recipe from:  Fake Ginger
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin fry-like strips
3 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt – fine grain (I don’t have fine grain so I smushed up some regular one)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degress.

In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, oil and salt.  Toss sweet potato fries with the mixture until fully coated.  Line up on baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and cook for twenty minutes.  Flip and bake another 10-20 minutes until crisp.

(go look at the pictures on Fake Ginger, hers are better than mine!)

Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries

Carmelized Onion-Stuffed Baked Potato

I have this bad habit of saving links to recipes that sound good.  If you go on my favorites tab, it’s like a cookbook.  I have it divided into appetizers, beef, chicken, etc.  Every time I see a recipe that sounds good, I save it.  Sometimes I make it right away, sometimes I wait a really long time.

This recipe is one that I saved a LONG time ago, but it just sounded good.  The hubby wanted to cook steaks because he bought some yummy black trumpet mushrooms to top them, so I thought the potatoes would be an excellent side dish, along with some roasted asparagus.  These are easy to put together, since you microwave the potatoes instead of baking them.  It gives a great flavor like a regular stuffed potato, but a little nicer.  These will definitely be made again!

Caramelized Onion-Stuffed Baked Potato
Recipe from:  Cooking Light, March 2005

Ingredients:
2 baking potatoes, scrubbed clean and patted dry
1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 tsp butter
2 cups red onion, sliced
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove

Method:
Pierce potatoes along the sides (where you would cut them in half) with a fork.  Set on a microwaveable plate and cook on high for 10 minutes or until tender inside, rotating them halfway through cooking.  Allow to cool enough to handle.

While potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a nonstick pan and add the onions and sugar.  Cook for 8 minutes or until golden.  Add the sherry, Worcestershire, thyme and garlic and cook another minute or so.  Set aside.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and gently scoop out the insides, leaving just a little on the sides to hold its’ shape.  Put all the scooped out potato in a bowl and gently mash with your spoon.  Add the sour cream, half of the cheese, the salt and pepper and I added a little more butter.  Mix well and then fill the potato shells.  Top each equally with the caramelized onions and the remaining cheese.  Microwave a little while so they warm through and serve.

Caramelized Onion-Stuffed Potato

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Beans

One of my favorite things about BBQ is the BBQ beans, or “pork n beans” as they are sometimes known.  Love them.  My mom always made these sweet and spicy beans when I was growing up and they are still #1 in my book!  My husband wanted to grill some ribs this weekend, so what better side dish than beans?  It’s the easiest recipe but it’s so good…

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Beans

Ingredients:
1/4 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. pork n beans (I like the Showboat brand)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (use 1/4 if small children will be eating it)

Method:
Fry bacon until almost crisp, then add the onions.  Cook until the onions are soft then add the beans, sugar and cayenne.  Allow to simmer a little while before serving.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Beans