Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 

File this one under “The wonders never cease”.  I did not think my family would ever like brussels sprouts.  I didn’t even think I would ever like them.

But when we tried them as part of a sheet pan dinner, we loved them.  I decided to give them a try as a simple side dish.

Success!

These are so easy and good and a nice change from the broccoli we eat so much.

I think the reason that we like brussels sprouts now, but hated them other times we tried them, is that I’ve been buying them fresh vs frozen.

Fresh brussels sprouts have only recently been available in stores around here.  And by recent, it could have been in the past few years.  But I don’t think they were available in regular grocery stores fresh even 10 years ago.  At least not on a regular basis.  I think they’re one of those veggies like kale that’s developed a market share where previously no one bought or ate them.

Of course, I could be wrong.  Maybe I’ve just been ignoring them.

Either way, we’ve discovered them and I think we’re hooked.

Here’s how to roast them.   [Read more…]

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The Best Ever Roasted Butternut Squash or Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Butternut Squash or Sweet Potatoes

 

Every time I make this easy side dish I think I’m going to take photos to share here.

And almost every time, I forget.  Or I’m in a hurry.  Or it’s completely dark outside and I don’t want to set up my photography lights.

Finally, I managed to snap a photo.  It’s not great, but it does give me a reason to share this recipe with you.

Really it’s just method more than recipe though.  It’s an easier version of Butternut Squash Skillet, which I love.

But instead of starting it in the skillet, along with onion and garlic, I just toss the cubed squash with olive oil, several shakes of cinnamon, ginger,thyme, salt and pepper.

Then it gets poured onto a baking sheet and popped in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

The flavor is fantastic!  And it works equally well with sweet potatoes too.

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10 Slow Cooker Side Dish Recipes

Wild Rice (or brown rice) Salad – redeeming leftover rice

Wild Rice Salad - redeeming leftover rice

 

Wild rice salad is a quick and easy way to use leftover wild rice or brown rice.

I completely bombed a meal the other day.  Multiple things went wrong, resulting in weird tasting chicken and a lot of leftover wild rice.

With no chicken to go with the rice, I decided to turn it into something else.  We had a soccer game the next night, so this worked out great for our sideline picnic.

I adapted this recipe from an old cookbook I have, Country Gourmet Cookbook.  This is one of those salads that is great for cleaning out the fridge though.  All kinds of raw veggies can be added to the rice.

The dressing is a simple vinaigrette.  This can be altered as well.  The recipe called for lemon juice, but I decided red wine vinegar would be better.  Use any type of vinegar or lemon juice you like or have on hand.

Here’s what I used.  Change it up so it suits you.

[Read more…]

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Easy Side Dishes – Beyond Steamed Veggies – Rounding out 15 Minute Meals

I have a tendency to focus on the main dish and forget the sides.  Until we’re nearly ready to sit down.  And then it’s time to quick thrown some veggies in a pan to steam or pull together a salad.

32 Simple Side Dish Ideas

 

This is a post I wrote last year with side dish ideas that go beyond steamed veggies.

These are all easy ideas though.  Some have a simple recipe. Others don’t require a recipe at all.

All of them will help round out your weeknight meals, but still keep it fast.

Click here to see 32 Easy Side Dish Ideas.

Think simple for sides.  Here are a few other ideas that work well:

  • Raw veggies – carrots, celery, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers etc.
  • Fruit (especially good with breakfast for dinner meals)
  • Cheese slices (with soup)
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn – healthier than chips, but great with sandwiches

What are your go-to quick side dishes?

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Slow Cooker Corn Casserole

slow cooker corn casserole

 

Corn casserole is one of those dishes that shows up at potluck suppers in the South and Mid-West.  You can find the recipe in many church cookbooks.

It’s a combination of corn and very moist cornbread that tastes slightly sweet.  Not dessert sweet, but “ooh, let me eat more of this” sweet.  It goes great with any kind of meat on the grill.  I think sliced tomatoes pair up with it nicely too.  They’re almost entirely opposite of corn casserole in flavor and color.

We had friends over for the 4th of July and I decided to try making this in the slow cooker.  It worked great and kept the kitchen cool too.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Slow Cooker Peach Chutney You Can Store in the Freezer

Slow Cooker Peach Chutney

 

 

Chutney is not a food that we eat often in my family.  In fact, this may be the first time most of the kids had tried it.  I was inspired by a sandwich we ate in Epcot Norway to try making my own chutney.

Since we’re in the middle of a Summer Slow Cooker Series, it seemed appropriate to use a slow cooker to make this.  I also wanted to be able to freeze it for future use.  For most recipes, you don’t need very much chutney and it’s nice to have it stashed away for when you need it.

Instead of the normal mango, I used canned peaches.  The fruit pairs up with red bell pepper, onion, jalepeno, golden raisins and spices for a sweet condiment with a hint of heat.

And in case you’re wondering what on earth you would actually do with chutney, I’ve got three recipes coming up for you!  I’ll be sharing those on the blog soon.

I know I took a photo of the ingredients, but somehow those photos have gone missing.  Thankfully, even though chutney itself may be a bit unusual, the ingredients are not.  Chances are you have most of these in your kitchen right now.  And the few you don’t have can be picked up on your next trip to the grocery.  Don’t forget plastic freezer bags to store the extra!   [Read more…]

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Balsamic Strawberries – An easy way to serve strawberries

Balsamic Strawberries

 

I admit, when I first heard of putting balsamic vinegar on strawberries I thought it sounded crazy at best, and disgusting at worst.

But then I tried it.  Oh my!  Somehow, the balsamic vinegar brings out all the strawberry-ness of the berries.  It doesn’t taste vinegary at all.  The strawberries are elevated to be their best selves.  Fantastic!

And it’s such an easy thing to do.  Clean and slice the berries.  Add a bit of sugar and splash of balsamic vinegar.  Stir and serve.

You need to try this!

It’s more method than recipe, but here are some measurements to get you started.

  • 3 – 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Stir it all together and be amazed at how this weird sounding combo is one of the most delicious things you’ve ever eaten!

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One Pot Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese

One Pot Stove-Top Mac & Cheese

 

I’ve been experimenting with mac & cheese recipes and methods.  My favorite so far is Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese.

But I started wondering if this could be made on top of the stove.  One of the things I like about the pressure cooker method is that it’s all done in one pot.  It also uses real cheese and milk, but doesn’t require the making of a white sauce.  (Not that making white sauce is hard, but sometimes you want to go even easier that that.)

What I found out is that you can use the same recipe as the pressure cooker version to make this dish on the stove.  I didn’t think it was quite as creamy as the pressure cooker type, but it was still very good.  And my stove takes forever for a pot of water to boil, so I still think the pressure cooker is faster.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker though, this is definitely worth a try.  [Read more…]

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Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

I bought a pressure cooker several months ago. I’ve been slowly learning to really make use of it and recently I decided to make more of an effort to try some new things.

I’ve got a post planned soon with some general info and ideas on using a pressure cooker, but first I wanted to share this recipe for Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese.

Pressure Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

 

Of all the different mac and cheese recipes I’ve tried, this one is the winner.  It’s creamy, cheesy and homemade.  And it’s faster than the other methods.  I think it’s even faster than my other mac and cheese.  You know, the one with the processed cheese product, which I do love, but isn’t very healthy.

I love that this recipe is homemade, but doesn’t require you to make the sauce separately from the macaroni.  It’s fewer dishes to wash and easier prep.   [Read more…]

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