Category: simple side dishes
Tuesday, January 28
This post is years overdue. I throw “Kitchen Sink Quesadillas” up on my menu fairly regularly and I’ve always just linked to a page with the recipe typed straight out of a Real Simple magazine, with no notes or pictures. Since it’s such a reliable go-to meal around here, I figured it deserved a bit of attention!
I got the recipe from Real Simple long before I started this blog. In fact, it was one of my first attempts at vegetarian cooking. I’ll never forget the first time I made kitchen sink quesadillas. As Nate and I finished eating, he looked at me and said, “I didn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat.” We were both surprised how delicious and filling our dinner was!
Our family has come along way since then – nowadays about half of our dinners are vegetarian. I really think this recipe all those years ago helped me realize that eating less meat is no big deal!
Anyway, vegetarian or not, this is a great go-to meal and a nice step up from the basic quesadilla with very little extra work. They are simple and fast to prepare and there is also an option to cook the quesadillas all at one time, which can be especially helpful when cooking for a family.
Kitchen Sink Quesdadillas
Adapted from Real Simple
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can corn kernels, drained
- 3/4 cup salsa, drained (you don’t have to drain the salsa, but it makes for a much less messy quesadilla, so if you don’t mind the step it’s good to do)
- Small flour tortillas (twice as many as the number of quesadillas you want to make
- Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
Optional side salad ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon minced red onion
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice of 1 to 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
If cooking the quesadillas in the oven, heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, corn, and salsa.
Place 4 tortillas on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese. Lightly spread the bean-corn-salsa mixture over the cheese, then top with more cheese. Place flour tortillas on top. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes. You can also cook the quesadillas on the stovetop one at a time if you prefer.
If you would like to whip up the side salad, while the quesadillas are in the oven, combine the onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, oil and sugar. Mix well. Toss with the chopped lettuce. (I hardly ever make the salad!)
Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with the salad. Also good with salsa, sour cream and guacamole!
Thursday, January 23
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have several close friends who are Mexican and they have all introduced me to various wonderful foods. Those friends are all also really good at cooking beans. And, for whatever reason, no matter how many times they have told me how to cook beans and assured me that it’s easy, I had a mental block. Every time I would go to cook a bag of dried beans, I would freeze. Seriously, total mental block. I just could never remember exactly how to do it and felt dumb always asking “one more time” how to cook beans!
Well, I have finally broken down my bean barriers. One of my neighbors is Mexican and I finally just sucked up my pride and asked her (multiple times) how to cook dried beans. And then I actually did it. I cooked beans! And, surprise surprise, they were easy to make and mighty delicious!
For real, it’s easy. You’ll need to be home for a few hours to check on them occasionally while they cook, but that is seriously the hardest part of the recipe. I like to cook a big pot of beans at one time and then freeze the leftovers into 2-cup containers. The beans are easy to defrost and I love having them on hand. And they really do taste better than canned beans.
How to Cook Dried Beans
- Bag of dried beans (Black, pinto, peruan, whatever variety you like! Peruan is the variety you see in these photos.)
- Big pot
- 1/4 of an onion
Ari (my neighbor) will sometimes soak the beans overnight, but it’s not necessary. If you forget, no worries!
Place the beans in a big pot (I use my french oven). Add water to cover the beans (if you soaked the beans prior, drain that water and add new water to the pot). Place 1/4 of an onion (large pieces is fine) in the pot along with some salt (maybe about a teaspoon or so). Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat, then cook over medium-low to medium heat for 2-3 hours (longer if you didn’t soak the beans before hand). Stir the beans occasionally throughout the entire cooking process. You may need to add more water at some point if the water is running low but the beans are still not cooked through. The beans are done when they are soft and yummy!
Remove the onion and add more salt if needed. If you want them to be more like refried beans, just mash them up a bit!
Wednesday, January 8
I wish you all could have known Gram Maynard. She was one of those truly good people that you only come across a few times in your life and I am grateful every day that I had the chance to know her. Gram didn’t cook very much, but, despite that fact, some of my favorite recipes and kitchen tips came from her. Today I’m going to share one of those recipes because we had it on New Year’s Eve and, along with inspiring fond memories, it is simple and delicious and needs to be shared!
This is one of those recipes that almost isn’t a recipe because it is THAT EASY. These meatballs are perfect for parties and for watching football games. Or, in Gram’s case, Red Sox games!
Gram’s Super Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs
From Barbara “Gram” Maynard
- 1 package frozen cooked meatballs (between 20-30 ounces)
- 1 12-ounce jar Heinz chili sauce
- 12 ounces grape jelly (yeah, I know, it maybe sounds weird, but it tastes amazing!)
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
In a large sauce pan, mix together the chili sauce and grape jelly. Place over medium-high heat and add meatballs. Bring to an almost boil (will be spluttering, so you will need to stir regularly), then reduce heat to a simmer (medium or medium-low) and cook until meatballs are hot.
Gram never did this, but if you’d like a bit more heat to the meatballs, sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper in at the end to taste.
See Comment #3 below for crockpot directions!
Tuesday, November 19
I’ve decided this year I’m going to make a lot of our food for Thanksgiving ahead of time. So, this week I’m going to get cooking and freeze it all so that we can really enjoy our time with family next week. To kick off the flurry of pre-Thanksgiving cooking I made homemade cranberry sauce!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the best parts of blogging has been building relationships with wonderful, amazing people from all over the country. One of those people is Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Ree is pure kindness and I am thankful to know her! As you may know, Ree just came out with another fun and colorful cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
I decided since Thanksgiving is right around the corner I should check out the Thanksgiving section of her book, which is chockfull of homemade goodness, including several different kinds of stuffing. I decided to make the cranberry sauce because, well, we need some for next week! The recipe is delicious and very simple to throw together. So simple, in fact, I forgot I was cooking the sauce. Like, as I was typing this paragraph and I started typing the word “cranberry sauce” it reminded me that I was simmering the sauce on the stove for quite some time and had to stop typing immediately and run to the kitchen to save the sauce from certain destruction. Crisis averted, cranberry sauce is a-okay! So, in addition to being delicious and easy, this sauce is also indestructible!
The cranberry sauce and the book are both great, which is just what I would expect from Ree! And today I get to give away her wonderful book! THREE of you lucky people will win a SIGNED copy of Ree’s new book The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
Here is how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, 11/25.)
- Simply leave a comment, any comment, on this post! That’s it!
- Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!)
- Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)
- Bonus entry: Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)
To wrap things up, here is the recipe for Ree’s Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce. Enjoy!
Rinse the cranberries under cold water. Zest the oranges. Add the cranberries and zest to a medium saucepan. Squeeze the juice from both oranges into the saucepan. Add the maple syrup and stir it all together. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s nice and thick. If the sauce still seems a little thin, just simmer longer until it’s the right consistency.
Transfer the sauce to a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in the fridge. (I am going to freeze mine and defrost it the day before Thanksgiving.)
Posted by Jane Maynard at 2:48 pm 298 Comments
Categories: fab faves, featured recipes, Giveaways, holidays, Recipes, simple side dishes, sweet things, thanksgiving prep, the goods Tags: cranberries, cranberry sauce, gifts & giveaways, holiday gift ideas, thanksgiving prep, thanksgiving recipes |
Thursday, November 7
I love Chipotle. It’s delicious, they are working to have more sustainable food production practices, and I can feed my family of five relatively healthy food for less than what we spend at McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s great and I happily partake!
One of the best parts of Chipotle is the white cilantro-lime rice (yeah, yeah, I skip the brown rice). I love it. It’s simple, it’s so good, and it’s a great base for a burrito.
Well, I finally figured out how to make it at home and I am SO excited! It’s really simple and oh-so-tasty. I’ve made it twice already this week!
Cilantro-Lime Rice (Chipotle Knock-Off)
From Jane Maynard
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white jasmine rice
- About 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 – 2 tablepoons of chopped onion
- A swig of olive oil
- About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice from half of a fresh lime
Heat a swig of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft. Add jasmine rice and fry it up for a few minutes in the pan. Add 2 cups of water and the salt, raise heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer (low) and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring the rice halfway through cooking time.
Remove from heat, add the chopped cilantro and lime juice and mix well.
Props to Ari, my Mexican neighbor who taught me how to cook good, basic Mexican rice, from which I derived this recipe.
Tuesday, October 15
When I was in college, I had a co-worker who ate Burger King jalapeño poppers for lunch almost every day. I thought she was bananas. I mean, they were good, in a fast-foody kind of way. But every day? For her entire lunch? She was obsessed! Ever since, whenever I see or eat jalapeño poppers, I think of popper-crazy Lily and it makes me happy.
What I have to share with you today is waaaaaaaaayyyyyy better than the Burger King jalapeño poppers. And, in addition to being incredibly delicious, these poppers are beyond easy to make. The “recipe” comes from my mother-in-law Pat, the source of so many of my favorite easy and delicious recipes.
I made these poppers with Pat over the summer when the family was all together on Cape Cod. I didn’t get a chance to photograph them very much because there were about 8 people standing around the pan while I shot a few photos. They were like vultures! Okay, so I was one of the vultures who couldn’t wait to get the camera out of the way and dig in!
If you have latex gloves lying around, wear them when you make these. Pat and I never do, much to our detriment. I rubbed my eyes TWICE within 24 hours of making the poppers and just about blew my eyeball out of the socket. If you don’t wear gloves, just be smarter than me and keep your hands aways from your eyes for about 1 day.
Easy Homemade Jalapeño Poppers
- About 20 jalapeño peppers
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- Fresh, shredded parmesan cheese (if you don’t have any, don’t worry about it!)
- A handful or so of chopped chives or green onions (again, if you don’t have this, don’t worry about it)
- About 20 strips uncooked bacon, cut in half
- Vegetarian version: bread crumbs, plain or mixed with a bit of parmesan cheese plus a dash of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 – 400 degrees F.
Cut jalapeño peppers in half the long way. Clean out the seeds and membrane (if you have latex gloves, this is the time to wear them!).
If you are adding parmesan cheese and chives/green onions, mix them with the softened cream cheese. Fill each cut jalapeño pepper with cream cheese, filling them to the top but not overfilling too much so that the cheese doesn’t melt all over the pan. Wrap each stuffed pepper with a piece of uncooked bacon. Place on a large cookie sheet. You don’t need to space them apart too much, so go ahead and pack them in.
If you want to make the vegetarian version, stuff the pepper with the cheese then roll the stuffed pepper in the breadcrumbs, sprinkling a bit of extra breadcrumbs on top and pressing into the cheese gently.
Bake until bacon is cooked. The longer you cook the poppers, the less hot the peppers will be, so if you want them less spicy, cook on the lower end of the temperature range for a longer time. Total cook time will probably be about 20 – 30 minutes.
This recipe is easy going and can be modified to your tastes – feel free to experiment!
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.