Tag Archives: side dish

Polenta rounds topped with creamy mushrooms

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Polenta is one of my new favorite items to pick up at the grocery store. I usually buy the precooked polenta “logs”, cut them into 1/3 inch rounds and then sear them in a pan with a little olive oil. Once the polenta rounds are seared you can top them with almost anything. One of the reasons I love cooking with polenta is because it’s a blank canvas and works well with so many different flavors. It’s an easy way to be creative in the kitchen. I’ve made many variations, but this recipe is probably my favorite polenta recipe.

Matt has been sick with the flu and hasn’t had much of an appetite the past few days so last night I was cooking for one, myself. I’ve mentioned before that Matt prefers meals that include some type of meat. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it and try to eat meat free a few times a week. Since he wasn’t really hungry last night and it had been an incredibly busy day, I wanted to make something quick yet satisfying for myself, preferrably meatless. Enter polenta and portabella mushrooms. I suppose most people might consider this to be a side dish but last night it hit the spot as a main course for me. The creamy mushroom topping was the perfect accompaniment to my seared polenta rounds. Continue reading

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Spicy Broccoli Stirfry

broccoli

Broccoli is one of those vegetables I hated as a kid but somehow it’s turned into one of my favorites now that I’m older. I cook with it about once a week. My favorite way to cook broccoli is very simple. I usually just roast it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s one of my staple vegetable side dishes because it always turns out really well and it’s so easy. But sometimes you have to switch it up and last night I was in the mood for something different.

I had some leftover brown rice and some soy and ginger marinated cod from Trader Joe’s so I decided to use some of those same flavors in my broccoli side dish. It turned out really yummy and was perfect served over the leftover rice, which soaked up all the stirfry sauce. Continue reading

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Make potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes

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I love mashed potatoes but I often make too much for just Matt and myself and then we wind up eating mashed potatoes for days. Not that there is anything wrong with leftover mashed potatoes but sometimes they can get a little boring. These potato cakes are the perfect way to spruce up those cold, leftover potatoes.

You guys, these are SO good. I form small patties with the leftover cold mashed potatoes, coat them in crispy breadcrumbs and salty parmesan cheese and then pan fry them until they turn a golden brown color and the coating gets crisp. These take comfort food to a whole new level. They are the perfect side dish for almost any meal. Last night I served these alongside a mediterranean stuffed chicken breast I picked up from Trader Joe’s on the way home from work and Ina Garten’s green beans gremolata. Continue reading

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Friendsgiving and an Old fashioned Green bean casserole

friendsgiving

In my family we like to try out new dishes and we often create unique twists on traditional recipes for Holiday meals. However, we are also suckers for the classics and one classic we ALWAYS, always have at the dinner table every Holiday, no matter what, is my grandmother’s green bean casserole (pictured on the right in between the mac and cheese and brussels sprout salad). However, there are no crunchy onions in this version. It’s also by no means healthy and it’s old fashioned because, yes, it does call for one of those Campbell’s cream of whatever soups (no judgement please), but if you can get past that I promise you this casserole is delicious and is always the first thing to go at any of our Holiday parties. I live by the motto, “everything in moderation” and so I treat myself to this delicious casserole on Holidays. Continue reading

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Roasted Delicata Squash

delicata squash

Del – a – what?? I had never heard of delicata squash either but when I stumbled upon this lovely little squash in the grocery store I was intrigued. I wish I had taken a picture of the squash before I chopped it up and cooked it so you could see what it looks like. I didn’t think ahead. Plus, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would share this recipe because I had no idea how it would turn out. A delicata squash is a white or cream colored oblong squash with green stripes. They are pretty AND turns out, they are delicious. Delicata delicious. If I had to describe the taste and texture I would say that delicata squash taste like a combination of butternut squash and sweet potato.

The other awesome thing about these squash is that they are so much easier to prepare than butternut squash. The skin is thinner and the squash is smaller so it doesn’t require a lot of dangerous hacking with a sharp knife. I don’t know about you but preparing butternut squash is always a challenge for me. The knife always gets stuck in the squash and I wind up having to use all my strength to pull it out, all the while praying that it doesn’t go flying out of my hand. It’s a stressful process. Preparing delicata squash as opposed to butternut is a cinch. You still need a sharp knife but you can definitely cut into these little guys without risking your life or your fingers. Continue reading

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Roasted vegetable couscous

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I truly love couscous and if you follow my blog you probably already know that (I have posted quite a few couscous recipes). I love cooking and eating it. It’s so versatile. You can flavor it with so many different things. I almost always put lemon juice in mine, and this roasted vegetable couscous was no exception. This was the perfect accompaniment to my chicken with wine and thyme sauce (recipe to come). The lemon juice brightens the flavor so it’s still light and fresh enough for summer, but the roasted vegetables give the dish a nice depth, so it also works for fall.

You can really use whichever veggie combination sounds good to you, whatever you have on hand, as long as they roast well (obviously don’t use veggies like cucumbers or celery). I happened to have asparagus spears, sliced baby portabella mushrooms (another item I cook with frequently), red bell pepper, leftover yellow squash, and some red onion. All the veggies should be cut into bite sized pieces. Continue reading

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Balsamic roasted mushrooms and eggplant

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Sometimes some of my best creations in the kitchen happen by accident. This was one of them. I had one lonely leftover eggplant that was in danger of going bad and a whole pack of sliced portabello mushrooms that I hadn’t used yet. I had already decided that I was going to be cooking up some mahi mahi burgers from the freezer that night because I really didn’t feel like cooking but then I remembered that I had these vegetables and the thought of food going bad and then throwing it out makes me really sad. So, I thought I’d just try roasting them. I roast veggies all the time and I think it’s the best way to cook them. They get carmelized and crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. Delicious. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how eggplant and mushrooms would turn out if I just roasted them in the oven like I do so many other favorite vegetables. Sometimes eggplant can be bitter if it’s not cooked the right way so this was a gamble. But, as I said, I didn’t feel like cooking and roasting vegetables is so easy that it almost doesn’t even count as cooking. The oven does all the work.

Let me just say that what I thought would be an average maybe even bad dish turned out to be one of the best vegetable side dishes I’ve ever made. And it is SO easy. I am going to stop at the grocery store after work today to pick up more eggplant and mushrooms because I’m going to make it again tonight. It was THAT good. Continue reading

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Spring time couscous

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It’s officially spring time here in New Jersey! Although the weather is not reflecting the season currently, I still felt inspired to create a spring time dish. I also desperately need to make a trip to the grocery store, and so last night was basically a night to use up some of the remaining ingredients in my fridge. The reason I call it a spring time dish is because it has so many bright flavors that people normally associate with the weather warming up. Scallions, corn, and lemon are the main components of this dish aside from the couscous, obviously. Continue reading

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Green Beans two different ways

beans & bacon

Green beans are not a favorite vegetable of mine, but lately, I’ve been experimenting with them a bit more. My desire to cook with them more started after a good friend of mine made one of the best green bean dishes I have EVER had in my life for Thanksgiving. The green beans were sauteed in a buttery, garlic wine sauce and topped with crunchy slivered almonds. I begged her for the recipe and, thankfully, she decided to share it with me. I will share that recipe here, however, I had a HUGE bunch of green beans to cook up so I decided to cook half of them using my friend’s recipe, and half of them another way.

I’ve mentioned, many times before, how much I believe in roasting food, especially vegetables. Roasting does something amazing to the vegetables and they carmelize beautifully, and green beans are no exception. After roasting them, what could make these green beans better? The answer is BACON! Duh! Bacon makes everything better, but I wanted to make the green beans even more rich and flavorful, which is why I made a blue cheese butter to top the beans with. Continue reading

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