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Category Archives: Side Dish

Simple Black Beans and Rice

In an effort to jazz up taco night, I decided to make black beans and rice as a side dish to accompany our beef tacos and green salad. This recipe was easy, and it was a big hit with adults and kids.

The Ingredients:

  • bbandr1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/4 cup uncooked white rice (I used jasmine)
  • 1.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3.5 cups canned black beans, drained and lightly rinsed

The Instructions:

  • In a pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and then add the onions and garlic, sautéing for 4 minutes.
  • Add the rice and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover and lower the hear and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add the spices and the black beans.

There were no leftovers.


No More Mushy Cauliflower

parmesan-roasted-cauliflowerThe cauliflower of my childhood took one of two forms: The frozen variety, in which the steamed or boiled veg took on a sponge-like quality; and the raw variety, OK to dip in dressings at a party, but not really acceptable on the dinner plate. A very simple seasoning and roasting has made this winter vegetable a side dish staple, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees — nice and hot
  • Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets
  • Toss cauliflower on baking sheet with the onion, thyme, garlic and olive oil; season with salt and pepper
  • Roast, stirring and tossing occasionally for 35 or so minutes until the cauliflower is almost tender
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan and continue to roast another 10 minutes more (cauliflower should then be tender)


PS – Discard the thyme and garlic cloves.

Yes – YOU can make popovers!

popoversI had completely forgotten about this popover recipe until I was at Arizona Theatre Company’s “Curtain Up” fundraising event and popovers were served instead of boring dinner rolls. It was such a treat (everyone at the table was in agreement), and it made me recall this recipe. I love how something so simple can transform a meal!

The Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds so it is lukewarm)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
The Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Using a pastry brush, apply 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to the insides of 8 muffin cups and put the muffin tin in the oven for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until they are light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend.
4. Add the flour, salt and remaining butter to the blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin cups and return it to the oven.
6. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes and remove.
7. Serve warm.
Beware: do not open the oven while the popovers are cooking. The steam is what makes them “pop,” so you’ll end up with deflated popovers if you keep checking on them. Instead, use your oven light to peer through the window.
I promise that if you follow these directions you will have delicious popovers and your guests will be super-impressed.

Roasted Sweet Carrots

carrotsI made this side dish on Easter, and it was so colorful and delicious that I know I will make it again (and I won’t wait an entire year). It always amazes me that the simplest things can be so yummy.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large carrots, peeled and cut into angles
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  •  2 teaspoons chives, minced
The Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients and spread out on a cookie sheet.
  3. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
When I made this, I prepped and combined all the ingredients about 6 hours early and kept them in a plastic bag in the fridge until I was ready to cook.

Decadent Creamed Corn

creamed cornThis dish was recently requested by my mom – I had actually forgotten about it. It is sweet, creamy and definitely decadent. Enjoy!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 (10 ounce) packages of frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
The Instructions:
  1. In a deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper and butter.
  2. Whisk together the milk and flour, then add to the corn mixture.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is thickened and the corn is cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted.
I had doubled the recipe and had quite a bit leftover, and my mom suggested I add it to broth and make a corn chowder. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Dilled White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

white bean saladI made this salad recently to accompany some grilled steak, and it was a delicious and refreshing side dish. I’m looking forward to making it again for an upcoming potluck because a) I know it will be a hit and b) it was so easy!! This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

The Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) of cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 cups of halved grape tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or you can use cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed

The Instructions:

This is ridiculously easy …. Toss all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room tempertaure for 1 hour.

You can also make it a day ahead. Cover and chill.

It’s fresh. It’s healthy. It’s different.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

kugelI have finally found the kugel recipe to end all kugel recipes – at least for me. Why do I love kugel? As a child, kugel was a staple at any big family meal. The thing I loved about it was it felt like you were getting dessert on your dinner plate. I’ve had kugel with raisins and pineapple, with cheese and without cheese. I love this recipe so much that I can’t imagine straying from it for any reason. I hope you feel the same way!

The Ingredients

  • 1 pound egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • Then, for the topping: 9 cinnamon graham crackers + 3 T melted butter

The Instructions

1. Cook the noodles according to package directions; drain; toss with butter.
2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. In large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, sour cream and cottage cheese until well blended. Then, add in the buttery noodles and combine.
4. Transfer mixture to a greased baking dish (like Pyrex) 13 x 9 x 2 inches.
5. In blender/food processor, crumb graham crackers. Add the 3 T melted butter and stir.
6. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of the noodles (you should be able to cover every inch, like a crust)
7. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting if you are serving warm (cut/serve in squares)

This dish is enjoyable hot or cold, but I prefer it COLD.

Best Applesauce Ever

I seriously doubt I will ever buy applesauce from a jar ever again. OK, maybe if I’m really sick and just want applesauce or something! But, it won’t be the same …. this is pretty fail-proof, and it’s delicious.

The Ingredients

4 medium-sized apples
– 1/4 cup of sugar
– 3/4 cup of water
– a few shakes of ground cinnamon (sorry, I can’t be more specific)

The Instructions

1. Peel and core your apples. I have a Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer that my mother-in-law gave me, and it’s fabulous. If you don’t have something like it, I recommend getting one.

2. Cut your apples into quarters.

3.  Put the apples, sugar, cinnamon and water into a 2-quart pan.

4. Cover and cook at medium heat for about 20 minutes.

5. Let the apples cool a bit. Then, you can either mash them with a potato masher OR put them into a blender and blend the apples until they are smooth. I prefer to blend them. They come out so much more decadent. I don’t know how, but they do.