Tag Archives: sides

Sausage and Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Isn’t stuffing usually the best part of Thanksgiving? Why do we only eat it at this time of year? Sure, I guess you could argue that sage is more of a fall herb so it’s weird to eat it in the spring or summer. But who cares? Is anyone with me in getting stuffing out of the Thanksgiving rut and into mainstream life? Plus, there are so many different and exciting stuffing recipes out there that if you only eat it once a year, it will take years to try them all. Well, I’m having a small Thanksgiving dinner this week and my friend offered to bring the stuffing so it was one less thing for me to do. But since I love making stuffing, I made a batch of this Sausage and Sourdough Bread Stuffing last weekend, just for me. Shh, don’t tell anyone!

Sourdough bread is toasted in the oven before being mixed with cooked onion, celery and spicy turkey sausage. Fresh fragrant herbs of thyme, sage, and parsley bring this mixture to life and send it over the top. A quick soaking of broth, egg and water and this stuffing bakes until perfectly tender on the inside and golden and crusty on top. A helping of this served with a side veggie and you’ve got a happy dinner for any night of the week, Thanksgiving or not.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread in single layers on 2 jelly-roll pans. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden, rotating pans after 10 minutes. Turn oven off; leave pans in oven for 30 minutes or until bread is crisp.

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Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook 11 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

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Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Add sausage to pan. Increase heat; sauté 8 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan using a slotted spoon; add sausage to vegetable mixture.

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Stir in bread, herbs, and pepper; toss. Combine broth, 1 cup water, and egg, stirring well. Drizzle broth mixture over bread mixture; toss.

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Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook 20 minutes or until browned.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Asparagus and Pistachios

Asparagus…what is that? For that matter – vegetables? What are they? My eating habits haven’t been very good lately. I can’t remember the last time I ate something green. I’m ashamed of myself. I was on a zoodle kick for a while (zucchini noodles for those of you not in the know) so that was a positive thing. But somewhere over the last few weeks, probably since I had food poisoning last month, my fruit and vegetable intake has plummeted. Now that I think about it, I think my disinterest in vegetables started right around the time candy corn showed up in the stores. I’ll happily bypass the veggies to make room for candy corn. So when I came across this recipe for Asparagus & Pistachios, I figured it was time to put those green guys in my cart and bring them home with me.

Asparagus is cooked until crisp and green before being topped with a flavorful pesto made with pistachios, basil, parmesan, garlic, and lemon.  This pesto is thick and vibrant and, although not your typical pesto, full of flavor. I added a little extra olive oil to thin it out and really loved this pesto. Pistachio anything in general though is pretty much a sure thing with me. Pistachio ice cream? Absolutely. Pistachio pudding? Gimme. Pistachio pizza? Any day of the week. With additional pistachios providing a little crunch, this asparagus is a great new twist for those everyday spears. So I guess the only thing to say is… pistachio asparagus? I’m sold.

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In food processor, pulse 1/4 cup pistachios, basil, parmesan, garlic, and lemon until crumbly.

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In skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add asparagus; cook 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water; boil 2 minutes. Season.

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Top with pesto and remaining nuts.

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Additions:

  • More olive oil

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Herbs

I have to rant a little bit.  I don’t care what people say about potatoes, I don’t think they are terrible for you.  I feel like anything that is provided by the Earth can’t be that bad and I think potatoes get a bad rap.  Sure, my favorite food ever is French fries, but that doesn’t mean that the only thing way to eat potatoes is cut them up and fry them.  As long as we don’t eat potatoes all the time, it’s okay to eat them in moderation, like everything else, right?  Well, these Roasted Baby Potatoes with Herbs are baked and packed with flavor so there is no reason to feel guilty.

Baby potatoes are tossed with garlic, olive oil, and herbes de Provence and roasted until soft and tender.  This is a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis who is the person who first introduced me to herbes de Provence many years ago.  Since that day, I always have the herbs on hand and toss it with my chicken, veggies and almost always with my eggs.  They are simple, fragrant and mildly floral which really works with these rustic potatoes, which are slightly chewy on the outside but perfectly creamy on the inside.  I literally used a fraction of the amount of olive oil than what was called for here, just enough to lightly coat the potatoes, and they were still plenty flavorful so use your judgment.  These garlicky potatoes were an amazing side dish and unbelievably simple.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the herbs, garlic, and oil together until blended, and then pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

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Transfer the potatoes to a heavy large baking dish, spacing them evenly apart.

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Roast the potatoes until they are tender and golden, turning them occasionally with tongs, about 1 hour. Serve hot or warm.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • White potatoes (I used all red potatoes)

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Food Network

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

I noticed a funny thing that happens after I’ve been eating healthy: when I eat something bad, I feel like crap. I have been pretty into eating vegetables lately (which has never happened in my life) and have been craving them.  So after eating multiple veggies for days, I then ate something full of sugar and who-knows what else which resulted in me feeling the worst I’d felt all week.  I felt tired and I got an irritating headache. Hmm…wake up call? The truth is, I’ve come to this realization before but the bad stuff just tastes so darn good!  I’m hoping one of these days it actually settles in and prevents me from eating the bad stuff in the first place. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying some springtime veggies, including this Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes.

Bright grape tomatoes and garlic are cooked in olive oil until soft and tender before being tossed with a little balsamic vinegar.  The mixture then tops fresh asparagus that has been boiled until bright green and crisp. Goat cheese (if you prefer) can be added for another layer of flavor but I left it out. With asparagus now in season, this a great recipe to have on hand when you get tired of eating it steamed and plain but still want something healthy. Double this batch and it would make for a great seasonal side dish at Easter this Sunday.

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Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

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Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt.

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Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper (if desired).

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Goat cheese

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Broccoli with Walnut Romesco Sauce

This week has been brutal for me.  Normally, I would be in Vegas right now for March Madness with my girl friends playing blackjack and betting on NCAA basketball but instead I’m home nursing a stupid cold and having a rough week at work.  After going to Vegas for 10+ years every March, this year we passed on the trip in order to go to our friend’s stepson’s wedding in Mississippi next weekend.  And although we will have a great time down south, it’s killing me not to be in Vegas.  Instead of drinking too much, not eating enough and winning and losing, I’ve been staying away from alcohol and eating healthy.  One tasty dish I’ve made is Broccoli with Walnut Romesco Sauce.

Steamed broccoli is served with a quick puree of garlic, olive oil, roasted red peppers, walnuts, water, and tomato paste.  Smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, and sherry vinegar add additional layers of flavor that pack a punch and keep this sauce interesting.  I only used a fraction of the olive oil called for to keep calories down and was happy that this sauce wasn’t too oily.  In fact, this sauce reminds me of my favorite dip I have ever made (and now my go-to dip), Roasted Red Pepper Dip.  This sauce is versatile too.  Add a dollup to some chicken, on your burger, or mixed in with your favorite tomato sauce for a flavorful pasta dish.  I’m happy to tell you about this sauce because it’s so good but I wish I wasn’t able to because I was too busy gambling right now.  I’m looking forward to Mississippi but it looks like I’ll also need a trip to Atlantic City soon.

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Saute garlic cloves in olive oil over medium heat, 3 minutes.

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Puree with jarred roasted red peppers (drained),  walnuts, water, tomato paste, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and ancho chile powder.

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Serve with steamed broccoli.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Food Network magazine

Mardi Gras Slaw

It’s Mardi Gras! Unfortunately, I’m not in New Orleans and instead grumpy about the latest snowfall, which I hope and pray is the last time I mention snow until next winter. I mean, it’s MARCH after all.  Anyway, I’ve never been to Mardi Gras but I have been to New Orleans so I can only imagine what kind of shenanigans are going on on this Fat Tuesday.  I figured this recipe for Mardi Gras Slaw was the most appropriate thing I could make.

Both green and red cabbage are mixed with a mayonnaise-based sauce kicked up with cayenne pepper and mustard seeds.  Shredded carrot and scallions added more layers of flavor making this a light and fresh side dish.  My first bite of this really reminded me of the kinds of summertime slaws I had at cookouts when I was growing up in Illinois and I tell you, it made me smile.  I’ve grown to appreciate cabbage much more in my adulthood so this colorful slaw was a really great find.  Something about it just screams summer to me which I really need at this point considering it was only 5 degrees outside when I woke up this morning.

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Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard seeds, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

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Add remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.

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For best results, let slaw chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Light mayonnaise

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Asparagus with Lemon and Pecorino

Here I go again – trying to eat better.  I go in waves with food.  I’ll eat really well for a week or two but then as soon as I get something not-so-good for me, all I crave is bad food.  I guess that’s why they say “You are what you eat”?  After all, when I’m eating lots of fruits and veggies, I tend to eat better.  But then as soon as I get a french fry or donut, forget it.  I’m a lost cause.  Well, I’m doing better this week, mostly because I spent a wonderful few days last week with my sister, niece and baby nephew in Texas, and ate pretty bad.  We’re talking peanut-butter Snickers minis, leftover Easter candy and bags and bags of Chex Mix.  So I made a conscious effort to start eating better on Monday.  So far so good but it’s only been a few days.  Anyway, this Asparagus with Lemon and Pecorino is a great way to jazz up boring asparagus while also getting a daily dose of veggies.

After boiling the asparagus until bright green and crisp-tender, it’s moved to a pan, sauteed in garlic and topped with lemon rind and pecorino Romano cheese.  The lemon rind provides a fresh brightness while the pecorino adds a slightly sharp tang and melts perfectly.  Since asparagus is one of Spring’s favorite gifts, go out and get some on sale and make this to eat with your favorite meal.

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The ingredients:

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cook for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add asparagus; cook 1 minute.

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Sprinkle evenly with lemon rind, pepper, and salt; toss to coat.

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Sprinkle asparagus with pecorino Romano cheese.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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