Tag: side dish

Quinoa with lemon and herbs

quinoa with lemon and herbs

Sorry I’ve been MIA this past week. Things have been pretty hectic lately but the main reason for my lack of posts is that I’ve been on this crazy 11 day diet / cleanse. Now, I know there are a lot of opinions out there about dieting and cleansing, especially diets that only last 11 days, but the truth is I’ve wanted to lose weight for a while now and it just hasn’t been happening. I’ve lacked the motivation to do it on my own. Plus, the scale can be frustrating. It takes days, sometimes even a week for any evidence of a diet to show up on the scale, at least for me. That always discourages me and I quickly resort to my old eating habits. So, when a friend at work lost 22 pounds in 30 days, I was quick to listen in on how she did it. She told me she used a program called Isagenix. After listening to her explain the Isagenix system, I thought the 30 day program sounded a bit grueling for me but when she mentioned there was a 9 day program (it’s really 11 days), I decided to try it. (more…)

Carrots with cumin and coriander

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI’ve recently become hooked on Amy Thielen’s show on Food Network, Heartland Table. Although I’m not a gardener nor do I always have access to all of the ingredients she uses, most of her recipes are simple enough and always unique. She often combines ingredients I would never think to put together and she uses some really interesting cooking techniques. The other thing I like about the way she cooks is that she knows how to get the most flavor out of each ingredient she’s using and that’s definitely the case in her recipe for cast-iron carrots with curry. My recipe for carrots with cumin and coriander is an adaptation of this one. When I saw her make it on her show, I knew I had to try it or create something similar. (more…)

Polenta rounds topped with creamy mushrooms

polenta rounds with mushrooms

Polenta is one of my new favorite items to pick up at the grocery store. I usually buy the precooked polenta “logs”, cut them into 1/3 inch rounds and then sear them in a pan with a little olive oil. Once the polenta rounds are seared you can top them with almost anything. One of the reasons I love cooking with polenta is because it’s a blank canvas and works well with so many different flavors. It’s an easy way to be creative in the kitchen. I’ve made many variations, but this recipe is probably my favorite polenta recipe.

Matt has been sick with the flu and hasn’t had much of an appetite the past few days so last night I was cooking for one, myself. I’ve mentioned before that Matt prefers meals that include some type of meat. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it and try to eat meat free a few times a week. Since he wasn’t really hungry last night and it had been an incredibly busy day, I wanted to make something quick yet satisfying for myself, preferrably meatless. Enter polenta and portabella mushrooms. I suppose most people might consider this to be a side dish but last night it hit the spot as a main course for me. The creamy mushroom topping was the perfect accompaniment to my seared polenta rounds. (more…)

Spicy Broccoli Stir Fry

spicy broccoli stir fry

Broccoli is one of those vegetables I hated as a kid but somehow it’s turned into one of my favorites now that I’m older. I cook with it about once a week. My favorite way to cook broccoli is very simple. I usually just roast it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s one of my staple vegetable side dishes because it always turns out really well and it’s so easy. But sometimes you have to switch it up and last night I was in the mood for something different.

I had some leftover brown rice and some soy and ginger marinated cod from Trader Joe’s so I decided to use some of those same flavors in my broccoli side dish. It turned out really yummy and was perfect served over the leftover rice, which soaked up all the stirfry sauce. (more…)

Make potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes

potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes

I love mashed potatoes but I often make too much for just Matt and myself and then we wind up eating mashed potatoes for days. Not that there is anything wrong with leftover mashed potatoes but sometimes they can get a little boring. These potato cakes are the perfect way to spruce up those cold, leftover potatoes.

You guys, these are SO good. I form small patties with the leftover cold mashed potatoes, coat them in crispy breadcrumbs and salty parmesan cheese and then pan fry them until they turn a golden brown color and the coating gets crisp. These take comfort food to a whole new level. They are the perfect side dish for almost any meal. Last night I served these alongside a mediterranean stuffed chicken breast I picked up from Trader Joe’s on the way home from work and Ina Garten’s green beans gremolata. (more…)

Friendsgiving and an Old fashioned Green bean casserole

friendsgiving

In my family we like to try out new dishes and we often create unique twists on traditional recipes for Holiday meals. However, we are also suckers for the classics and one classic we ALWAYS, always have at the dinner table every Holiday, no matter what, is my grandmother’s green bean casserole (pictured on the right in between the mac and cheese and brussels sprout salad). However, there are no crunchy onions in this version. It’s also by no means healthy and it’s old fashioned because, yes, it does call for one of those Campbell’s cream of whatever soups (no judgement please), but if you can get past that I promise you this casserole is delicious and is always the first thing to go at any of our Holiday parties. I live by the motto, “everything in moderation” and so I treat myself to this delicious casserole on Holidays. (more…)

Roasted Delicata Squash

delicata squash

Del – a – what?? I had never heard of delicata squash either but when I stumbled upon this lovely little squash in the grocery store I was intrigued. I wish I had taken a picture of the squash before I chopped it up and cooked it so you could see what it looks like. I didn’t think ahead. Plus, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would share this recipe because I had no idea how it would turn out. A delicata squash is a white or cream colored oblong squash with green stripes. They are pretty AND turns out, they are delicious. Delicata delicious. If I had to describe the taste and texture I would say that delicata squash taste like a combination of butternut squash and sweet potato.

The other awesome thing about these squash is that they are so much easier to prepare than butternut squash. The skin is thinner and the squash is smaller so it doesn’t require a lot of dangerous hacking with a sharp knife. I don’t know about you but preparing butternut squash is always a challenge for me. The knife always gets stuck in the squash and I wind up having to use all my strength to pull it out, all the while praying that it doesn’t go flying out of my hand. It’s a stressful process. Preparing delicata squash as opposed to butternut is a cinch. You still need a sharp knife but you can definitely cut into these little guys without risking your life or your fingers. (more…)

Roasted vegetable couscous

couscous 3

I truly love couscous and if you follow my blog you probably already know that (I have posted quite a few couscous recipes). I love cooking and eating it. It’s so versatile. You can flavor it with so many different things. I almost always put lemon juice in mine, and this roasted vegetable couscous was no exception. This was the perfect accompaniment to my chicken with wine and thyme sauce (recipe to come). The lemon juice brightens the flavor so it’s still light and fresh enough for summer, but the roasted vegetables give the dish a nice depth, so it also works for fall.

You can really use whichever veggie combination sounds good to you, whatever you have on hand, as long as they roast well (obviously don’t use veggies like cucumbers or celery). I happened to have asparagus spears, sliced baby portabella mushrooms (another item I cook with frequently), red bell pepper, leftover yellow squash, and some red onion. All the veggies should be cut into bite sized pieces. (more…)

Balsamic roasted mushrooms and eggplant

eggplant and mushrooms 2

Sometimes some of my best creations in the kitchen happen by accident. This was one of them. I had one lonely leftover eggplant that was in danger of going bad and a whole pack of sliced portabello mushrooms that I hadn’t used yet. I had already decided that I was going to be cooking up some mahi mahi burgers from the freezer that night because I really didn’t feel like cooking but then I remembered that I had these vegetables and the thought of food going bad and then throwing it out makes me really sad. So, I thought I’d just try roasting them. I roast veggies all the time and I think it’s the best way to cook them. They get carmelized and crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. Delicious. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how eggplant and mushrooms would turn out if I just roasted them in the oven like I do so many other favorite vegetables. Sometimes eggplant can be bitter if it’s not cooked the right way so this was a gamble. But, as I said, I didn’t feel like cooking and roasting vegetables is so easy that it almost doesn’t even count as cooking. The oven does all the work.

Let me just say that what I thought would be an average maybe even bad dish turned out to be one of the best vegetable side dishes I’ve ever made. And it is SO easy. I am going to stop at the grocery store after work today to pick up more eggplant and mushrooms because I’m going to make it again tonight. It was THAT good. (more…)

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