Category: simple side dishes
Tuesday, March 19
This giveaway is now closed, but there is other good stuff in this post, so keep reading…the glaze on these veggies is yum!
Today’s post is chockfull of great stuff. A recipe, helpful resources AND a giveaway. Are you ready? Let’s go!
I cannot believe that Passover and Easter are NEXT WEEK. Where does the time go? I blame the Daylight Savings Fairy.
Libby’s® Fruits & Vegetables recently contacted me about creating a side dish recipe for Easter and/or Passover that uses carrots, peas and corn. I thought and thought and decided candied vegetables would taste pretty darn good, especially with a little ginger thrown into the mix. So Little Chef Anna and I hit the kitchen and started creating. She looked into the big container of brown sugar and exclaimed in disbelief, “Brown sugar and salt and pepper?!?!” I assured her it would be delicious. Once she took a bite, she agreed!
The glaze for these veggies would be delicious on a host of vegetables, not just carrots, peas and corn, although carrots lend themselves very nicely to this treatment. Feel free to experiment with your veggies! I like the salty sweet flavor and the ginger adds a nice layer of flavor. This side dish would be a nice complement to all kinds of Easter feasts!
Libby’s, the company sponsoring today’s giveaway, has two new fabulous resources for you that help make the meal planning process easier and more inspiring. We wanted to share them with you today!
- Libby’s Digital Recipe Box: The Digital Recipe Box application just launched on Facebook. It houses more than 100 recipes and allows users to share, like and print recipes to their heart’s content. The app also allows you to plan meals by dish, ingredient or type of gathering. You will also find the recipes featured on the…wait for it…
- Libby’s Pinterest Page: The Pinterest page is also brand-spakin’ new, featuring recipes, family activity ideas, nutrition tips and more!
Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Giveaway time! And we have MORE Le Creuset to share with you!
Here’s how to enter! Leave a comment on this post. That’s it! Additional entry: Follow Libby’s on Pinterest Additional entry: Like Libby’s on Facebook Be sure to leave separate comments for each additional entry. All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, March 25. (Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address.)
Good luck with the giveaway! Big thank to Libby’s! And, without further ado, today’s recipe!
Ginger Candied Vegetables
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 15-ounce cans Libby’s Gourmet Baby Carrots, drained
- 1 15-ounce can Libby’s whole corn, drained
- 1 15-ounce can Libby’s all-natural peas, drained
- (This glaze would be good on other types of veggies, too. Shoot for 3-4 pounds total of vegetables if you mix things up. Blanched or steamed vegetables would work very well.)
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes, until sugar crystals are mostly dissolved (about 3 or 4 minutes total). Add veggies, stir and cook until vegetables are heated through. Serve immediately. Makes about 10-15 servings.
This post was sponsored by Libby’s – payment was received for services rendered.
Thursday, February 7
Today, a simple side.
As a kid, I loved it when my mom would get the grocery store garlic bread. You know, the kind in the foil bag in the baskets by the cashiers. Okay, I’ll admit it, I still kind of love the stuff. But I find that I like my homemade version better. Less greasy, less overwhelmingly flavored, but still full of that buttery, garlicky goodness.
And it’s oh-so-easy to make. You’ll maybe add 5 minutes of prep time to your dinner routine. No biggie at all.
Homemade Grocery Store Garlic Bread
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- 1 loaf Italian bread (16 oz), sliced horizontally
- 1 stick butter (told you it was still super buttery!)
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or pushed through a garlic press
- 3 pinches of dried parsley
- 1 pinch dried basil
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 1 pinch coarse salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese (if you don’t have the cheese on hand, leave it out!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Soften butter (leave on the counter for an hour or two or microwave for 10 seconds at power level 2). Mix in all the other ingredients. Spread butter mixture over cut surface of garlic bread. Reassemble loaf of bread and wrap with foil. Bake 15-20 minutes, until inside of bread is hot. Slice and serve!
Tuesday, November 13
Last week I met some friends for dinner at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. We ordered a salad appetizer to share, which was topped with squash cooked in brown butter. The salad was good, but honestly, I could have eaten a pound of that brown butter squash for dinner and been happy.
Since squash pretty much screams autumn, I decided brown butter squash would make for a great Thanksgiving side dish. It’s easy, it’s wholesome, it’s comforting. And that bit of sage sprinkled in? That seals the Thanksgiving deal. I don’t know about you, but all I have to do is smell a bit of sage and I’m immediately transported to Thanksgivings past.
Owen and I are eating the squash that is pictured for lunch today. He’s gobbling it up. Pun intended. In fact, I’m going to see how many times I can use the word gobble before Thanksgiving arrives…get ready!
Brown Butter Squash
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- 1 acorn squash (or any kind of winter squash you like), peeled, cored and cut into small cubes (about 1/2″ in size) – my acorn squash yielded about 4 cups of cubed squash
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- salt & pepper
Heat a medium-large-ish skillet over medium heat. Add butter and whisk until butter browns. Here’s what will happen…the butter will melt, then it will start to bubble, then it will really start to bubble and foam, then that bubbling and foaming will stop (although there will still be residual bubbles) and THEN the butter will brown. Take it off the heat at this point – you don’t want it to burn. This whole process takes about 5 minutes.
Whisk in the sage, then add the cubed squash to the pan and toss to coat in the butter. Return the pan to the heat, heat the pan back up to medium, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the squash is soft. This will probably take about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s the consistency you want it, take the lid off, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste, carefully stir and flip the squash to coat, let cook 1-2 more minutes, then transfer to serving dish. Be sure to pour all that yummy browned, seasoned butter over the squash because, darn, that is some good butter.
Probably about 4-6 servings if used as a side dish. Feel free to use more squash, just up the amount of butter and spice accordingly!
Friday, November 18
It’s a good thing my mother-in-law came to visit last week because it actually gave me some food to write about! It’s been great being able to post about the delicious food she made for us…and so much of it is perfect for Thanksgiving, so it’s great timing!
Today I have a nice, simple side dish for you that would be perfect right along with some turkey and stuffing, although we had it with filet mignon and that was pretty perfect, too. Pat ate some butternut squash at Whole Foods once that she loved, so she went home and recreated it. It is simple, easy and delicious. Just the kind of recipe you need for that busy Thanksgiving day.
Pat’s Butternut Squash
From my mother-in-law Pat Maynard
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~1″ squares
- One small onion, cut into thin slices
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 heaping Tablespoons dried cranberries
In a large pot, cook onions in butter and olive oil until soft over mediumish heat. Add sugar towards the end to sweeten/caramelize the onions. Add dried cranberries. Stir with onions about 1 minute or till softened a bit. Put the butternut squash into the pot with the onion mixture. Cover and steam/cook slowly over low-medium heat until squash is nice and tender (but not moist because Pat can’t stand that word and this is her recipe). Stir gently and add a pat of butter if needed before serving.
Tuesday, August 30
Last time I tried to make a nice, homemade dinner that involved some effort, I threw my sciatica into a tizzy. I could barely walk to the dinner table to eat! So, until baby boy arrives in a few short weeks, I’m trying to take it easy in the kitchen. Which is nice in one way, but at the same time I am really craving some good home cookin’ right now. I’ll have to put my mom to work when she comes to visit next month!
What this “taking it easy” business means is that, even though I have menus planned each week, there are plenty of nights where I’m plum worn out and things don’t go as planned. Last night was no exception. But we were all starving, so I grabbed the Costco orange chicken out of the freezer along with the Trader Joe’s dumplings and got “cooking.” Since rice, chicken and dumplings don’t have any vegetables, I grabbed a bag of green beans that we received from our CSA last week and decided to sauté those up.
Nate is a big fan of green beans, so I’m always hoping I cook them well since I know they are one of his favorites. Last night he kept saying how good they were, so I decided they were blog post-worthy! And they were really easy. Which, for me, was the best part!
Easy Asian-Style Green Beans
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- A bunch of fresh green beans
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Soy Sauce
- White Sugar
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet that has a lid. Add the green beans and sauté over medium heat until they brown on the sides a bit. Reduce heat to medium-low and put the lid on the pan. Let cook a few minutes until they are as tender as you want them to be, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, splash evenly with soy sauce, sprinkle with salt and pepper and about 1-3 teaspoons of sugar (just to cover the beans evenly). Stir and serve!
Thursday, July 21
Last Friday night I did something I haven’t done in a while…I actually picked up a magazine (in this case Martha Stewart Living) and read it cover to cover. And I’ve decided I should do that more often because I was inspired to make a fabulous dinner on Sunday night. Of course, by the end of preparing all the food my sciatic nerve was literally screaming at me and I hobbled around the rest of the night (yes, I’m officially a hobbling pregnant woman…no more heels for me, boo-hoo!), but our dinner was worth the pain.
One of Sunday night’s creations was a Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber. There was a recipe for this salad featured in the magazine that involved making a fancy basil oil. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I simplified things a bit in my preparation. I loved the salad – super easy to prepare and the oh-so-summery flavors all blended so nicely together. I wasn’t entirely sure what the girls would think. They love watermelon, and this savory twist on a favorite fruit seemed a bit risky. But I’ll tell you what…every person in the family happily gobbled down the salad! It was a great success! Will definitely be adding this salad to the rotation, at least during the summer when all of these lovely ingredients are fresh and in season!
Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber
Adapted from a recipe in the August 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living
- Half a watermelon, cubed (I know, so exact…my watermelon was medium in size)
- 2-3 handfuls of small tomatoes, or 2-3 larger tomatoes sliced into wedges (I used a bunch of baby tomatoes we have growing on the back porch)
- One cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces
- Olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons)
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Basil, about 5-10 leaves chopped
- Original recipe calls for 4 oz crumbled goat cheese – I left this out because we were having another cheese-based side dish, but also I just wanted straight up produce in the salad
Combine the watermelon, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to cover the fruit and veggies. Sprinkle with the chopped basil, about 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat evenly and serve!
Wednesday, June 1
When I went to college in Boston a while ago, there was an Italian restaurant called Vinny Testa’s (I frequented the locations on Boylston Street and in Lexington). Vinny Testa’s was similar in style to Buca di Bepo, except not a national chain, so automatically more awesome. I think maybe the best thing they served was roasted garlic bulbs with bread. The first time I saw those bulbs I thought, “What the?!?” But I tried it. And it was seriously amazing. For some reason you think the garlic will be overpowering and strong, but it’s surprisingly not and is in fact divine.
Side note: I think Vinny Testa’s might be closed. Can you Bostonians fill me in? I have a sneaking suspicion their roasted garlic bulbs will now forever be a memory.
This weekend we went to Monterey for a day trip and, on the drive home, we stopped in Gilroy to buy cherries. And of course I had to buy some garlic, it is the garlic capitol after all. With four garlic cloves on my hands this week I decided it was the perfect time to try out roasting some bulbs on my own! And the result was fantastic…Cate was seriously sitting at the dinner table last night after all the bread was gone salivating and chanting in a low, obsessed voice, “Garlic, garlic, garlic.”
It is SUPER easy to make and such a great side to serve with dinner. Your house (and your breath) will probably smell pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty garlicky (any Larry David fans in the house?), but it will be worth it! Spread this garlic on your bread and you will be eating hands-down the best garlic bread ever.
I tried roasting the garlic two ways – wrapped in foil and not wrapped in foil.
As you can see, the bulb that was not wrapped in foil went kind of nutso…beyond caramelized, the bulbs popping out of the bulb. It also cooked much faster this way.
I personally liked the bulb cooked in foil better. The taste wasn’t different, but I felt like the cooking was more controlled, albeit a little slower. You still get a bit of caramelization on top, but all the bulbs behave themselves. Here’s a side-by-side, cooked with no foil on the left (after I cut the crazy tops off) and cooked in foil on the right.
Roasted Garlic Bulbs
- Garlic bulbs (as many as you think you’ll eat…probably two small or one large is enough for several people at a meal)
- Olive oil
Peel off the papery outside of the garlic bulb, leaving the cloves in tact and their individual skins attached.
Cut off the top of the bulb so the cloves are exposed, probably about 1/2″ or so. Sometimes you get a few bulbs around the outside that are too low to make the cut, so I just cut their tops off individually.
If you are going to cook the garlic in foil, place the bulb in a piece of foil, then slowly drizzle olive oil all over the bulb, letting it seep down into the cloves. Wrap the foil around the garlic and place on a baking pan or dish.
If you are not going to use foil, place bulb on a baking dish and drizzle slowly with oil as described above.
Bake garlic in a 400-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes in foil or 20 minutes if not in foil. You basically cook the garlic until the cloves are nice and soft.
Let cool a bit then serve with a knife. Dig the cloves out of the bulb with the knife then spread on your bread.
You could also use the roasted garlic for cooking (think sauces, vegetables, the possibilities are endless!).
Friday, May 27
I know I mentioned Japanese sweet potatoes in a weekly menu post recently, but I’m mentioning them again anyway. Last week I ordered a whole bunch of these beauties from our CSA, roasted them all up at once and stuck them in the freezer. I don’t know about you, but one of my major barriers to eating sweet potatoes is remembering to start cooking them early enough to actually have them done by dinnertime. Which is why I’m super excited to have a whole bunch already cooked and ready to go in the freezer. As long as I remember to defrost them when we need them, I think we should be good to go!
I figured I’d let you know how we roasted them, since I didn’t really say in the last post. Not that it’s very complicated or different than cooking any other sweet potatoes, but I’ll share anyway. And, seriously, if you ever see these at your market, grab a few and give them a try. Nate and I really love them. Still sweet like a sweet potato, but with more of a squash flavor and less of a sweet potato texture. I don’t know, they’re just yummy!
Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes
- Japanese sweet potatoes, as many as you want to eat…
- Butter, salt and pepper
Wash sweet potatoes, poke them with a fork in several places, place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and cook in a 400 degree oven for about an hour, until knife pierces sweet potatoes easily.
Cut open, drizzle with butter, salt and pepper and enjoy!
Tuesday, April 26
A while back I shared a video showing how to make 60-second Brussels sprouts (thanks once again to my culinarily-geniused friend Lindsay for sharing that with me so long ago). The idea behind the recipe is that you slice the brussel sprouts thinly, allowing them to cook quickly (hence the 60 seconds), which keeps the sulfur from emerging and stinking things up.
Nate’s parents were here for Easter and Nate’s dad loves Brussels sprouts. Pat was telling me how her niece Morrigan recently roasted Brussels sprouts with maple syrup, and that they were deeeeee-licious. I then told Pat about this quick cooking technique, which she had never tried. We decided to combine the two ideas and created a very delicious side dish for our Easter feast last week.
It’s quick, it’s easy, and the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup complements the flavor of the Brussels sprouts really nicely. I may never use lemon again!
60-Second Maple Brussels Sprouts
- 15-20 Brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff!)
- Salt & pepper to taste
To see how to prepare the Brussels sprouts, click here and watch this handy dandy video. Here’s what you do in words: cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, cut out the core, then thinly slice the sprouts, so it looks like sliced cabbage for coleslaw (see photo above).
Heat the olive oil and butter over high heat in a large skillet, preferably with high sides. Once the pan is hot, add the maple syrup, stir quickly, then add the Brussels sprouts. Cook them for 60 seconds, stirring throughout the cooking time. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.
Thursday, November 4
We hardly ever watch any food shows on TV. Once in a while, though, Nate and I will watch Jacques Pépin’s show More Fast Food My Way on PBS. It’s low-key, simple food and I especially like it when his daughter is on. Their interactions are so, I don’t know, un-produced. It’s kind of fun. On a recent episode, Jacques made a simple skillet bread that I quickly jotted down and decided I had to try.
Try I did. This week, in fact. It was good. And I’m naming it Skillet Biscuit Bread because the bread tasted a lot like biscuits. And it really was so easy to throw together. Anna, my 2-year-old, couldn’t stop eating it!
Here’s a side shot so you can get an idea of the texture. The outside is quite crusty and cripsy, while the inside is very moist and biscuity (how’s that for an adjective?). So, if you’re tight on time and ingredients and want a simple biscuit-like bread to go with dinner, give this a try.
Skillet Biscuit Bread
As described by Jacques Pépin on More Fast Food My Way
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Mix the dry ingredients, then add water and mix. Heat a 9-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Butter all surfaces of pan then pour in the batter, spreading evenly in the pan. Cook until the bread is browned, then flip and cook until that side is browned (probably 5-8 minutes per side or so…I forgot to keep track!) Cut up, butter the bread a bit more and enjoy! Would also be delicious with a bit of honey!