Tag Archives: sides

Garlicky Asparagus

It’s January so that typically means that we have all made some resolutions which as this point we are still sticking to or already caved on already days ago.  I made a deal with myself (again) to eat more fruits and vegetables which really shouldn’t be as hard as it has been.  I bought a box of clementines and ate about 4 before I saw one get slightly molding so I threw the rest away.  Last night I ate leftover blackened chicken and boxed macaroni and cheese with nary a veggie in sight while a bag of unopened broccoli I bought last weekend still sights comfortably tucked away in my refridgerator’s produce drawer.  This is the problem with resolutions:  the intent is good but the reality is a struggle.  At least once this week though I did make one simple vegetable side dish: Garlicky Asparagus.

Crisp asparagus is steamed until perfectly bright green before being simply sauteed with sliced garlic and olive oil.  Seasoned with nothing else but salt and pepper, this flavorful side dish is perfect as a side to chicken, steak or added into a little pasta or on top of a healthy salad.  Asparagus doesn’t just have to be eaten in the spring so if you see it on sale this winter, grab some.  If you are like me, sometimes you need something green other than broccoli.


The ingredients:


Steam asparagus 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.


While asparagus steams, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently.


Add asparagus, salt, and pepper; toss to combine.



Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Cheddar and Chive Smashed Potatoes

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend and didn’t eat too much or spend too much money shopping all of the sales that have been advertised for days and days.  Once again, as Thanksgiving came to a close and I was left eating mounds of leftovers until yesterday, I kept wondering why in the world I only eat these delicious foods once every November?  Is it because only eating them once makes them more special?  Or is it laziness?  These foods really aren’t hard to make so I’m really not sure the answer.  This week I have a few foods I made over Thanksgiving that I think deserve a fair shot at being put on the dinner table throughout the year, starting with Cheddar and Chive Smashed Potatoes.

Red potatoes are cooked until perfectly soft and coated in a warm milk, butter and garlic bath before being hand mashed until creamy and still slightly lumpy.  Cheddar cheese, chives and sour cream are added to make these potatoes even more decadent, fluffy and flavorful.  The worse part about making mashed potatoes to me is the pealing but this recipe keeps the skin on so that painful process is eliminated (although you do still have to scrub them).  This recipe made a TON of potatoes which I barely made a dent into and still sadly have in my fridge.  These would make for great base for potato pancakes or just as a side to a good ol’ chicken dinner.  Winner winner.

The ingredients:

Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch.  Cover pot and heat to boiling on high.  Add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook  potatoes, partially covered, 30 minutes or until tender.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and add garlic; cook 1 minute or until golden, stirring.  Stir in milk and heat for 1 minute.  Remove  from heat; set aside.

Drain potatoes well and return to pot.  Add milk mixture, 1/2 teaspoon  salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  With potato masher, mash until smooth.

Stir in cheese, sour cream, and chives.  

Serve hot.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None


  • Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Light sour cream
  • Fat-free milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source: Good Housekeeping Magazine

Garlicky Kale

I was in Illinois this past weekend for a family event and got to spend every single minute with my sister and niece who I just don’t see enough of.  I love a weekend get away as much as the next person but it can take a lot out of you.  After flying home yesterday afternoon, I was ready to put on my jammies and climb under the covers before the sun had even set.  I was exhausted and hungry and since I’ve been on a routine of doing all of my cooking on the weekends, I had nothing to eat.  I turned to my good ol’ stand by, a fried egg sandwich.  Looking for a quick side, I whipped up some Garlicky Kale (adapted from Garlicky Swiss Chard).

Fresh kale is cooked and steamed with nothing more than olive oil, garlic, red pepper flake and salt.  What a better way to eat your green leafy vegetables, especially when you can probably benefit from some of it’s vitamins?  Light, garlicky and slightly spicy, this is a simple and healthy side dish that comes together fast.  Whether you eat this with eggs or something more substantial like meat or pasta, this is a good, quick go-to that can easily be switched up with any leafy green like spinach, swiss chard or collard greens.

The ingredients:

Wash kale pieces and place in a bowl (or use prewashed bagged kale to save some time).  In a large lidded pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes to pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic.

Stir in greens and increase heat to medium-high; place lid on pot and cook 2 minutes.  Remove lid and stir with tongs.  Replace lid for 2 more minutes.  Remove lid, stir and cook for 2 more minutes, uncovered.  Greens should be bright green.

Stir in salt.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None


  • Kale
  • Jarred minced garlic

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Family Circle Magazine

Roasted Chipotle-Lime Sweet Potatoes

It’s surprising to me how sometimes I get cravings for food that I didn’t eat as a kid and still don’t eat often.  The other day I was sitting at work when the overwhelming craving for sweet potatoes came over me.  And not just sweet potatoes – roasted sweet potatoes.  It was such a specific and odd craving, far more deep than my normal cravings for chocolate or Chinese food.  Maybe it was my body’s way of telling me I need Vitamin C?  I came home that night and searched through my recipes but could only find recipes for mashed sweet potatoes, nothing roasted.  So, I decided to wing it.  The result were these perfectly sweet and spicy Roasted Chipotle-Lime Sweet Potatoes.

Fresh sweet potatoes are tossed with a little olive oil and chipotle chile pepper before being roasted in the oven until browned and soft.  A light sprinkle of salt and squeeze of fresh lime juice finish off these potatoes which could be eaten as a side to any dish or simply as a light meal in itself.  The combination of natural sweetness in the potatoes with the spicy chipotle makes for a perfect marriage of flavors and the addition of citrus at the end really brightens up the whole dish.  If you take a quick scan online for roasted sweet potatoes recipes, most include brown sugar or honey but I didn’t want any added sugar and preferred to keep this savory.  If you don’t like the spicy kick of chipotle chile pepper and prefer a more subtle flavor, cinnamon or smoked paprika would be good substitutions.

Roasted Chipotle-Lime Sweet Potatoes (makes 4 servings)

  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 a lime
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Chop sweet potatoes into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add olive oil; toss to coat.  Sprinkle chipotle chile pepper over the potatoes; toss to coat.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet, spreading into a single layer.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until potatoes are soft and browned.  Squeeze lime juice over warm potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

The ingredients:

Chop sweet potatoes into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add olive oil; toss to coat.

Sprinkle chipotle chili pepper over the potatoes; toss to coat.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet, spreading into a single layer.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until potatoes are soft and browned.

Squeeze lime juice over warm potatoes.

Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

Lemon and Chive Potatoes

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big potato eater but if I’m making brunch, it only seems natural to have some kind of potato on the side.  I admit I’m a big fan of a certain hashbrown from a certain golden arched restaurant chain but I just don’t allow myself to eat those buttery, greasy, delicious patties.  And since I don’t have the first clue as to how to make said hashbrowns or love potatoes enough to really make attempt to make them, I’m settling for simple cubed, fresh potatoes – Lemon and Chive Potatoes.

Quartered potatoes are tossed with olive oil and roasted in the oven until perfectly browned before being tossed with fresh lemon zest and chopped chives.  So simple.  These potatoes don’t feel heavy and are a cinch to make.  If you look at the recipe for these potatoes, you’ll see that I didn’t omit an ingredient but an entire process.  I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time on potatoes (sorry, spuds, but you’re just not my favorite vegetable) so instead of grilling them, I roasted them in the oven.  If you don’t want to spend a lot of time over the grill or the stove, waiting for the potatoes to get brown and crisp, toss them in the oven instead and take a seat.  Enjoy your coffee because you can.

The ingredients:

Toss potatoes with 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil in a medium bowl.

Layer them in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 450°F oven for 40-45 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Return potatoes to same bowl and sprinkle with lemon zest, chives, salt, and remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. oil, then toss to coat evenly.

Overall Rating:  Like It

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Source:  Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Green Beans with Honey-Mustard Glaze

I love the produce section at the store in the summer because seeing bin after bin of $0.25 summer fruit and vegetables gets me slightly giddy.  And even better, the produce is usually locally grown.  I live in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia, and in the summers, markets and farm stands go crazy with tons of locally grown produce that you just can’t beat.  Signs everywhere scream “Jersey Tomatoes!” or “Jersey Corn!”  I bypassed both of these this weekend and instead headed for some locally grown green beans which I scooped up by the handful.  I didn’t really have anything particular in mind when I bought these so I can home, scanned my recipes and made Green Beans with Honey-Mustard Glaze.

Fresh green beans are boiled until bright green, cooled, and tossed in a simple glaze of honey, rice vinegar and mustard seeds.  The result was perfectly cooked sweet and tangy green beans.  I have to admit though, as I was making this glaze, I thought Why in the world did I want to make this recipe?  Smothering a vegetable in sticky honey isn’t really the most healthy way to eat, right?  I ended up only using about a third (if not less) of the glaze on these beans (because either I didn’t make enough green beans or too much glaze was made) and actually, they were tasty.  But I was still disappointed, mostly in myself.  This is a typical case of me being too busy worrying about if I liked the ingredients in a recipe, rather than if I would like the end product.   I like honey in my tea and on my biscuits.  Not my vegetables.  And especially not my locally grown vegetables.  Consider my wrist slapped.

The ingredients:

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the green beans.  Cook uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender but still crisp. Drain.

Dry the saucepan and return it to the stove.  Toast the mustard seeds over low heat just until they pop, about 1 minute, stirring to prevent scorching.

Add the honey and vinegar and cook until the sauce boils and becomes syrupy.

Add the green beans and toss.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  So-So

Source:  Real Simple Magazine

Smoky Three-Bean Bake

I don’t know about you but baked beans and burgers just seem to go hand-in-hand.  I not only like to eat them with each other but I like to smother each bite of my burger with a forkful of messy baked beans before shoving it into my mouth.  Yes, insert quirky eating habits here.  The problem with baked beans is that although they are a perfect accompaniment to burgers cooked on the grill, which is perfect to do in the summer, they are cooked in the OVEN which is not what you want to turn on when it’s hot outside!  But oh well, it’s so worth it in the end.  The sweet, spicy, creamy and oh-so smoky flavors in Smoky Three-Bean Bake will have you hooked after the first bite.

Black beans, chickpeas and Great Northern beans are mixed with peppers, onions and garlic before being mixed with a magical concoction of tomato sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, honey and cider vinegar.  Vibrant flavors of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika (my two favorites) spice up the dish, giving it all the personality in the world.  The whole dish is topped with chopped bacon (of course, I used turkey bacon) just to give it yet another burst of flavor but leave it out to easily make this vegetarian.  I accidentally forgot to put in the honey but I think it was sweet enough as it was so leave it out if you like.  Although it may take a little bit of time to make this, it’s so much better than what comes in a can.  Take this to a cook-out, potluck, picnic or any summertime party and revel in how much people are impressed by what you made.  Canned baked beans don’t stand a chance against this.

Tomorrow…turkey burgers!

The ingredients:

If using regular bacon, prepare the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and set aside, saving the drippings.  Add onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic to drippings in pan, and sauté for 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  (Since I used precooked turkey bacon, I used olive oil in place of drippings.)  

Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Add onion/pepper mixture and all of the beans to the sauce mixture.

Spoon bean mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, and top with reserved bacon.

Cover and bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 30 minutes.

Additions:  None


  • Honey


  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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