Archive for the ‘Side Dish’ Category

Roasted Cauliflower

Difficulty: Easy

I love cauliflower and it is best done roasted. Cauliflower has a bad rap because too often it is prepared wrong; boiling & steaming can lead to smelly overcooked and bland taste. Roasting brings out the delicate flavors and ensures even cooking, gorgeous caramelization and no smelly veggies!

1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat to 475 degrees. Trim outer leaves of cauliflower and cut stem flush with the bottom. Cut head into 8 equal wedges so that core and florets remain intact.

Line backing sheet with foil, place wedges on foil and drizzle with half of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, turn and repeat with remaining olive oil and season again.

Cover baking sheet tightly with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue roasting until bottom of cauliflower pieces are golden, 8 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, carefully flip wedges and sprinkle garlic powder evenly over cauliflower. Return to oven and continue to roast for 8 minutes longer. Remove to serving plate, sprinkle fresh Parmesan over top and serve!


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Creamy Corn

Difficulty: Easy

This is a favorite side dish full of wonderful flavors and veggies. Bright and colorful this dish is very versatile and easily complements any meal. Serves 6.

1 1-pound bag of frozen corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS fresh parsley, minced OR 2 TBS fresh thyme leaves
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half

Directions: Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil, celery, bell pepper and onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add corn and season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme if using. Cook for 5 minutes then add half-and-half. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, add parsley if using, stir and adjust seasonings.

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Mashed Potato Casserole

Difficulty: Moderate

A baked alternative to traditional mashed potatoes that still packs plenty of flavor with a perfectly creamy mouth feel. This dish is rated moderate only due to prep time, once you pop it in the oven it is smooth sailing, either clean up or focus on another part of your meal. Adapted from Cook’s Country.

Serves 8

4 pounds russet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 stick butter, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped

Directions: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring potatoes and water in large pot over high heat to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

Heat half-and-half, chicken broth, butter, garlic, salt, and mustard in saucepan over medium heat until smooth, about 5 minutes. Keep warm. Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl. With electric mixer on medium-low beat potatoes, slowly adding half-and-half mixture, until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl and add eggs 1 at a time until incorporated, about 2 more minutes. Fold in chives.

Pour into greased 13×9 inch baking dish, mixture will be loose but will bake up firm. Use a fork to swirl peaks on top to promote browning and because it’s pretty. Bake for 28-30 minutes until potatoes rise and begin to brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.

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Grape Salad

Difficulty: So Easy!

This recipe comes from my dear friend Liz. She had made it to accompany a lovely dinner and I wanted to eat the whole bowl! Simple, fresh, crisp and creamy all in one bite. This salad is best served the day it is made as the strawberries start to break down but it will keep up to 3 days, refrigerated of course.

1 1/2 pounds red seedless grapes, rinsed and stems removed (approximate weight, just a nice bag)
1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
8 oz. bar cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Mix together cream cheese, sour cream and brown sugar until smooth, add vanilla. Cut strawberries roughly the same size as the grapes. Add grapes and strawberries to cream cheese mixture and gently stir to combine. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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“Refried” Beans

Difficulty: Easy

These beans aren’t actually fried and they are super easy to whip up thanks to canned beans. Spiced up with some onions, garlic, lime and chipotle chile these beans are better than their premade canned counterparts and taste much fresher. Sorry Rosarita.

2 cans pinto beans
1/2 cup water
1 TBS oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 canned chipotle chile with 1 tsp sauce, seeds removed
S & P
Juice from 1 lime
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions: In large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until onion is translucent, 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, open beans, drain and rinse 1 can, leave the other alone. Add both cans of beans to pan, cook for 3 minutes. Add chipotle chile and sauce. Transfer beans to food processor and pulse until smooth and a few beans remain. Add water (up to 1/2 cup) as necessary to facilitate blending. Return to pan over medium heat. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Add more water if necessary or if you desire thinner beans, or it is too hot for you! Remove from heat, add lime juice, stir and serve with fresh cilantro.

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Spanish Rice

Difficulty: Moderate
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Good Spanish rice is hard to find, even some restaurants disappoint. I like my rice grains separate and chewy with fresh flavors. This recipe delivers and is wonderful, it is worth the extra effort.
Because the spiciness of jalapeños varies from chile to chile, try to control the heat by removing the ribs and seeds (the source of most of the heat) from those chiles that are cooked in the rice. Use an oven safe pot about 12 inches in diameter so that the rice cooks evenly and in the time indicated. The pot’s depth is less important than its diameter; we’ve successfully used both a straight-sided sauté pan and a Dutch oven. Whichever type of pot you use, it should have a tight-fitting, oven safe lid. Vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

2 ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces), cored and quartered
1 medium onion, preferably white, peeled, trimmed of root end, and quartered
3 medium jalapeño chile’s
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime , cut into wedges for serving

Directions: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Process tomatoes and onion in food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl if necessary. Transfer mixture to liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess so that volume equals 2 cups). Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños and discard; mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeño, including ribs and seeds; set aside.

Place rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake rice vigorously in strainer to remove all excess water.

Heat oil in heavy-bottomed oven safe 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Drop 3 or 4 grains rice in oil; if grains sizzle, oil is ready. Add rice and fry, stirring frequently, until rice is light golden and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and seeded minced jalapeños; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Cover pan and transfer to oven; bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and reserved minced jalapeño with seeds to taste. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.

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Salsa Verde

Difficulty: Easy

This salsa is sooo good. Sweet with a spicy background. Incredibly easy to make. You can make it as sweet and hot as you like just adjust according to your personal tastes. I love the brightness of the fresh cilantro and do yourself a favor and use fresh lime, never bottled. Keep your citrus on the counter at room temperature for maximum juice.

Again, this was part of the salsa demo I did for an Enrichment activity for my ward. I learned that whole tomatillos are best, they taste fresher than their crushed counterparts. When shopping for ingredients I needed lots of tomatillos and the store only had a #10 can of crushed, I grabbed a smaller can of whole tomatillos for me to test it out at home. Incredible difference! The crushed has added starch and has been cooked down so much it takes away the fresh loose texture of the whole ones. If you have to use crushed in a pinch it is fine, no one will ever know because they don’t have anything to compare to. You would use about 2 cups of crushed tomatillos or 1 28 oz. can and up the onion to 1/2 and make sure you taste before serving, I found that the crushed needed more fresh ingredients to combat the cooked flavor. Or just stick with whole canned tomatillos to spare you any grief, then no adjustments are necessary, just follow the recipe.

1 28 oz. can whole tomatillos, drained, ½ cup juice reserved
1/4 to 1/3 bunch fresh cilantro
¼ cup canned jalapeños or 1 fresh jalapeno, stemmed and seeded according to taste
4 TBS sugar
3 cloves garlic
1/4 white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
from 1/2 fresh lime

Directions: In bowl of a food processor, pulse onions and garlic until combined, about 5 pulses. Add tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, sugar and salt. Pulse until smooth; add reserved tomatillo juice and fresh lime. Pulse one more time and serve. Refrigerate leftovers, makes about 2 cups and will keep about 1 week.


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