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

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)


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

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


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, 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

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

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

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


  • 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

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

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)



  • 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.


  • 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

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

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!)

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

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