Posts Tagged ‘side dish’

Recently I started ordering local organic foods through Greenling.com  and my first box included a container of cubed butternut squash.  This is a rather hard squash and I appreciated the preparation so that I could dive right in and start playing.

I roasted the squash with an equal amount of organic Gala apples seasoned lightly with salt and pepper.  I steamed a cup of couscous (which is a pasta not a grain just so you know) and shook up an olive oil dressing in a recycled caper jar.  Here is the recipe I wrote down:

  • approx. 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 4 small Gala apples, cored and cubed
  • 1 cup couscous, steamed for 20-25 minutes
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Roast squash and apple with a light coating of olive oil, salt and pepper at 375ºF for 25-30 minutes.  Toss in a large bowl with steamed couscous and dried currants.  In a small jar combine the vinegar, oil, salt and spices.  Cover with the lid and shake to emulsify.  Adjust seasoning if needed (you want the dressing a little strong because the salad will muddle it slightly) and toss into the salad.  Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6 people as a side.



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Stuffing a turkey or chicken with stuffing has never been my favorite holiday tradition.  I absolutely love stuffing, don’t get me wrong here.  I would rather leave the stuffing unstuffed.  Bake it as a casserole and be creative with additions.  Last year I threw together an unstuffed stuffing to serve with turkey.  Like all my best dishes, it was literally thrown together with things I had in the fridge at the time.  Little Sister was barely a month old, I hadn’t slept (obviously), and the house was beyond a mess.  I should have one of those ‘Lord Bless this Mess‘ signs in the foyer for such occasions.

This is what I can recall from the awesome unstuffed stuffing.

  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if large in size
  • 1 each, red and yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 6 cups of cubed bread (baguette, rye, pumpernickel, sourdough or whatever)
  • fresh sage, rosemary, coriander, salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 caramelized onion
  • About 1-2 cups homemade vegetable/chicken stock, enough to moisten the bread

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.

Grease the pan well because last time I made this stuffing it stuck to the pan, even though it was glass!

My suggestion is to sauté the mushrooms in olive oil with the garlic.  Toss everything but the stock into the greased casserole dish.  Pour over the stock, preferably warmed first, cover and bake for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, check on it.  If you like it a bit wet add more stock.  If it’s too wet, leave the cover off and return to the oven to dry out and crisp up.  Whatever you do – don’t stir.

Enjoy this unstuffing with gravy, cranberry sauce, or naked.

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This week Food52 is looking for vegetarian side dishes for the Thanksgiving table.  I’m usually quite the carnivore, except for holiday spreads.  This time of year calls for extra veggies, just because I love winter veggies!

I’m planning to submit a few side dishes to the contest, the first is my cabbage rolls (sans bacon).  Next will be my potato and cheddar perogies.  I also have a stuffing (which is not actually stuffed into anything but my mouth) and a twist on green bean casserole.

Check out Food52 for inspirational vegetarian dishes to round out your holiday table!

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I waited until we were out of pretty much everything before stopping off at Sprouts on the way home this week. They had big red bell peppers on sale for 49 cents each, what a steal! And they were so fresh looking, not old and wrinkled as you might expect for such a bargain price. I’ve been on and off the fence about Sprouts. It’s fairly new in Texas and competes with Whole Foods, Central Market (HEB) and Wheatsville Co-op. If you pay attention to what’s in season and subscribe to the Sprouts flyers (via email – don’t go using up more trees than necessary) you can find good prices for your fresh ingredients. My ultimate goal is to grow more than I buy, whether it’s the grocery store, farm stands, or Sprouts. I’ve learned so far that it’s a process, you can’t just wake up one day and say “I will have a garden and feed my family with what we grow!”. I would need far more land than my tiny backyard and many more hours in the day to accomplish it in any short order. Work with what you’ve got, and find places to subsidize where you are lacking.

These are very approximate measurements as I used what I had left over for some ingredients.

– 1 cup cooked rice
– 1/2 onion, small dice
-1 celery stalk, fine dice
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 smoked turkey sausage link, diced small
– 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
– herbes de provence
– salt and pepper
– red bell peppers
– 1 cup tomato sauce

This is very easy to prepare and even easier to eat.
I had enough for 4 peppers to be filled, this may vary depending on the size of your peppers. If I had enough peppers from the garden I could probably fill a dozen!
Split the peppers in half from stem to end, try to keep the stem end evenly split between the two halves as this helps with the structural integrity once they are baked. Clean out the seeds and set the peppers in a casserole dish large enough to hold them all snugly.
Next, prepare the filling. Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in a little olive oil or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add some herbes de provence, about 1/2 teaspoon or so, add more if you like more. Add the sausage and let everything get a little golden. Add the rice and tomato sauce, stir gently to combine. Let the stuffing cool slightly before adding the cheese, it will melt throughout anyways you just don’t want huge gobs of cheese.
Stuff the sausage-rice-cheese mixture into the hollow peppers waiting in the casserole dish. Oh yes, you will need a 350 degree oven, sorry I should have said something earlier! If you like, add a sprinkle of cheese on top of each pepper before popping them in the oven.
Bake for about 15 minutes, the cheese should be bubbling and the pepper flesh should give off steam. Broil for 2 – 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

These peppers were so good, I’m glad I made so many because they are going to make awesome lunches for me and my hubby tomorrow.


P.S. This is my recipe, please share my link not my text. Also, I’m not paid by anyone mentioned, just expressing my ideas. Thank you 🙂

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This is another example of left-overs making a second showing on the plate.

  • two baked golden potatoes, cubed
  • one roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • two or three slices of bacon, cut into lardons
  • two thick slices of onion, quatered
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • fresh rosemary
  • herbes de provence
  • salt and pepper

Render down the bacon over low heat.  Take out the bacon as it gets crispy, and use a paper towel to remove half of the fat from the pan.  Turn up the heat.  Add the onion first, then the garlic.  Add the herbs, then the potatoes.  Get a bit of crispy on the potatoes before you add the tomato.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

I made the hash as a side for burgers for dinner.  There was some left for brunch the next day, which paired equally as well with french toast.  Bon appetit!

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Food makes my soul happy.  I’m sure this is true for many, many people.  I’m not talking merely of the eating of food either.  I love to cook for my family, friends, or neighbours.  Sharing food, sharing the kitchen with Benjamin, sharing the joy food brings to people.  All that.  As I grow older (to the tender age of thirty) food, cooking, baking, playing in the kitchen keeps becoming more fun.  Watching my kiddos devour a creation is fantastic, but as they get bigger and bigger, I realize that I’m not a spring chicken anymore.  

I wanted something that looked healthy and tasted good, and was not hot because the days of summer are here to stay for a good while here in Texas.  What do we have in the kitchen today… chicken breasts?  How ’bout a salad.

You will need:

Spring Chicken Pasta Salad with a side of Naan

2 chicken breasts (prepare in a grill press or sauté pan)

1/2 lb rotini pasta, cooked al denté, drained

3 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh if you’ve got it

1 tsp dried tarragon

2 tsp finely chopped cilantro (sub. parsley)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

3 Tbsp mayo

3 Tbsp ranch dressing (lite) or sour cream or plain yogurt should do the trick, note that you will want some pepper if ranch is not used.

1 tsp white champagne vinegar

1/2 of a large cucumber, seeded and diced small

3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

Cool the pasta and chicken as the dressing is assembled.  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing (lemon juice, tarragon, cilantro, salt, mayo, ranch, and vinegar).  Keep this cool in the fridge.

Prepare the veggies in a similar size dice.  Slice or shred the chicken.  Toss the pasta, veg, and dressing together.  Top with the chicken.


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