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Category Archives: Side Dish

Crispy Potato Bake

I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen a while back and couldn’t wait to make it.  It would be the perfect side for pretty much any meal.  The dish was really fast and easy to put together and looks very impressive and pretty.

To make the slices even and to make prep work quick and easy you will want to use either a mandolin or food processor.

About 4 pounds of potatoes

1 small scallion

Fresh thyme

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes

Preheat the oven to 375.

Peel and slice the potatoes into thin strips.  Coat a cast iron skillet with olive oil and generous salt the bottom of the pan.  From the outside in, arrange the slices around the pan.  It will look like a flower blooming.  Thinly slice the shallot and tuck the slices in between potato slices.  Drizzle the top with olive oil and generously salt. Sprinkle the top with red chili pepper flakes.

Put the skillet into the oven for 1 1/4 hours.  If they potatoes start getting too brown (which mine did), cover it with aluminum foil.  After the 1 1/4 hours, remove the foil (if used) and put the fresh thyme on top of the dish.  I drizzled a little more olive oil over the top because they were looking a little dry.  Continue to bake for about 30-35 more minutes.

I thought that the potatoes needed a little more flavor.  Next time I make it I will combine butter and olive oil in the bottom of the pan and use more salt.  I also plan on trying a herbed compound butter that I’ll sprinkle over the dish a few minutes before taking it out of the oven.  Maybe a chive and chili powder butter?  I’ll keep you posted on my next attempt and if that enhances the flavor.

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Baked french fries with basil mayo

I’m still trying to figure out how to make fantastic baked french fries.  After 2 attempts, I think the main problem that I’ve had is that I get scatter brained, and leave them in for too long.  1 trick that I read is that it’s really important to rinse the starch off of the potatoes.  Check and double check.  I soaked them twice (soak, rinse, repeat).  While the potatoes are soaking, pre heat the over to 425 and put a baking sheet in.  Pat the fries dry with paper towels and scatter over the hot baking sheet.  Be careful the pan will be very hot!  But, this will help cooking the fries right away and get them nice and crispy.  Drizzle vegetable oil over the fries and sprinkle with seasoning (I used garlic powder).  Mix around so each fry gets coating (but again, be careful because the pan and fries will be pretty hot).  Place in the over for about 20 minutes.  Take out and flip/ toss, and return to the oven.  Cook for another 15-20 minutes or so.  Enjoy!

I served the fries with basil mayonnaise (such a fatty move, I know!).  A great restaurant called Point Brugge serves their pomme frittes with a garlic mayo and it is fantastic!  So, I gave it a whirl and did the same.  So amazing!  Just take fresh mayonnaise and process in a blender or food processor with lots of fresh basil.

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Mexican Rice

This rice turned out really well.  It was really simple to prepare, which is always great for entertaining.  The pan was completely scraped clean, which as a host of a party is always gratifying!

It can easily be adapted to feed 2 or 20.  These amounts served 10 or 12 of us.

 

1 box of brown rice (I used the instant boil in a bag type, all 4)

3/4 cups sour cream

1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis

1 small can green chilis

1/2 packet taco seasoning

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

Prepare the rice according to the package directions.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 dish.  Spread the rice into the dish and mix in the taco seasoning, sour cream, tomatoes and chilis.  Sprinkle cheese over the top.  Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Crispy Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions

Did you ever see the episode of Will & Grace when Will made a dinner of just appetizers for his dad, because he always said he could make a whole meal out of apps?!  I feel like that on a regular basis!  I love being able to have small bites of a variety of deliciousness.  So, that is just what my friend and I decided to do the other night!  (one of the best parts about being a “grown up”!)  We did these crispy roasted potato slices with blue cheese and caramelized onions and stuffed jalapenos (that recipe will be posted soon, too!) and also had some Tastefully Simple taco cheese ball.  Yummmm!

This could easily served as an appetizer or as a rich delicious side dish.

 

Figure on about 2 potatoes per person, sliced in about 1/4″ slices (oh and I used pretty small potatoes, if you are using big guys, figure on 1/2 or 1 per person)

Blue Cheese (this will again vary depending on how many you are serving, but you’ll want enough to give a nice layer over the potatoes)

1 medium to large onion

 

Set the over to 400 degrees and place baking sheet in the oven.  I made these twice and used this trick the second time and it helped to get them even crispier!  Slice the potatoes.  Get the baking sheet out of the oven WITH AN OVEN MIT!!  Layer the potatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Using tongs or a spatula, make sure they all get coated.  Flip them to coat on both sides.  Salt and pepper lightly.  Place back in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Mean while slice your onions and put in the skillet over a low to medium heat.  Melt a pad of butter in the skillet and add the onions.  You don’t want to rush this.  Let them hang out and stir occasionally while letting them get nice and golden.  I’ve heard to add some sugar to give them a nice sweet, caramelized flavor.  But, I like them fine without.  You want them to really wilt down and turn golden to dark brown.

After 20 minutes, flip the potatoes.  Place them back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

When they are beautifully golden and roasted, take them out and arrange them very closely together leaving as little room in between slice as possible.  Sprinkle with the blue cheese and return to the oven to melt the cheese slightly.  It will only take a couple of minutes to do this.  When the cheese is oozy and melty, take out of the oven and add the onions.  Serve while they are still nice and warm and melty!  This combo is pretty rich, but I’m sure you will really enjoy them!

 

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Triple C Slaw (Carrot, Chile and Cilantro)

This dish was in my most recent Bon Appetit magazine and I was very excited to try it.  Doing a bar-b-q picnic dinner recently gave me the perfect opportunity.  It was such a great (healthy) alternative to a heavy cole slaw that you would find accompanying a typical bar-b-q meal.  I really liked how it turned out, and will definitely make it again in the future!

12 ounces carrots (they suggested using colors, but I could only find trusty old orange) peeled and julienned

2 TBSP vegetable oil

1 TBSP fresh lime juice (I forgot to grab a lime, so I just used lemon juice)

1/3 tsp kosher salt, please some additional to season

2 jalapenos, stemmed, seasoned and minced

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro

3/4 tsp ground coriander

Pinch of black pepper to taste

Julienne the carrots (my mandolin wasn’t working, so I just roughly julienned the carrots by hand and they weren’t as consistent or pretty as I would’ve liked).

Toss the carrots, oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and jalapenos in a large bowl.  Let marinade for about 15 minutes.

Add the cilantro and coriander and toss to incorporate evenly.  Season to taste.

Sooo yummy and pretty!!

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Momma G’s Potato Salad (AKA as the most incredible tot salad out there!)

This is seriously a great THE BEST potato salad that I have ever had.  It’s not heavy and ordinary like so many potato salads.  It is light without being fussy.  This will be gobbled up at your next picnic faster than you can get worried about leaving mayo out in the sun.  I got this recipe from Momma G (Therese Ganster) several years ago, and my family has never made another tot salad since.  You will really love this recipe and I’m sure be asked for it every time you make it!

2 lbs potatoes (5-6 medium), peeled and cut into bite size chunks (and sometimes I’m lazy and don’t even bother to peel them!

1 cup Hellmans

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 packet of Splenda (and if you are like any members of my family, you snag these from restaurants on a regular basis!)

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

4 hard boil eggs, chopped

Pinch of black pepper

Loads and Loads of fresh dill (yes, that’s an exact measurement straight from Momma G)

Cover the potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Once it boils, reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are just fork tender.  You DON’T want them to be too mushy, because we’re not making mashed potatoes!  Drain and cool.

To hard boil the eggs, place them in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a rolling boil.  As soon as they boil, turn off the heat and cover for 17 minutes.  Not 16 minutes.  Not 18 minutes.  17 minutes!  When the buzzer dings, drain the water from the pot and add cold water continuously while draining and adding water.  This stops the cooking process and gives you perfectly yellow yolks.

In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, Splenda, pepper and dill.   Add the onion and eggs to the potatoes.  Pour the liquid over the potats and give it a gentle stir to combine.  Top with loads and loads more dill for a pretty presentation!

Tip: It tastes really great if you make this the night before and give the flavors time to meld.  But, if you do let it sit over night the onion can become over powering (at least to me).  So, I would recommend adding the onion not too long before serving.

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Caprese Salad (AKA this single girls’ PERFECT summer time dinner!)

My adorable little home town has a great farmers market on Wednesday nights in the warm months.  I love visiting the market, and especially love my favorite vendors there from Goose Creek Gardens (visit there website here to find out what other markets you may be able to catch them at www.goosecreekgardens.com).  They have a great selection of fresh herbs and greens for an incredibly low price.  You can get a really generous sized bag of herbs for only $1.  I know, I know, it’s an incredible deal!  They charge 1/3 of the prize for 1/3 more than what you get at a grocery store.

Tonight I enjoyed a caprese salad with the first cutting of their home grown basil.  It was delish!  It is a perfect and healthy meal when I’m just cooking (or in this case cutting tomatoes and cheese, which I don’t think can actually constitute as cooking!) during the warm months.  All I do is cut the tomatoes in slices, cut some mozzarella cheese in slices and top with basil.  I then drizzle Italian dressing over top.  You could also do nice extra virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar over the salad.

Voila!  A delicious salad course for entertaining or a whole course if you’re like me and use 2 tomatoes and don’t feel like making anything!  Ok, ok, ok.  I’ll admit it.  I followed the healthy salad with a glass of wine and a piece of tiramisu from a cute little restaurant downstairs while I typed this post 😉

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Twice Cooked Potatoes

I love potatoes.  I love potatoes pretty much any way they can possibly be prepared.  For the last dinner party, I made twice cooked potatoes.  It gave them a little different texture than just oven roasting.  Potatoes served in any manner is also a really easy and economical dish to serve for a group.  Also, using baby potatoes cuts down the prep work for you, which is always a plus!

Baby red potatoes (figure on 2-4 per person depending on the size of the potato, and the guest I suppose!)

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Garlic Garlic seasoning from Tastefully Simple

Parmesan Cheese

Chives

Wash the skins of the potatoes and place in a large pot.  Cover the potatoes with water, about 1 or 2 inches above the potatoes.  Salt the water.  Bring the water to a boil and let cook until the potatoes are just before they are fork tender.  You don’t want them to be completely tender, because they will continue to cook.  Once they get to that stage, drain them.  Line 1 or 2 jelly roll pans with foil.  Place the potatoes in a single layer on the pan and lightly crush and flatten.  It doesn’t have to be pancake flat, just enough so it’s not rolling around.  Drizzle with olive oil to help them crisp and brown.  Season the potatoes.  Place in the oven (at 400 degrees) to get nice and crispy, about 15 more minutes.  I topped the potatoes with Parmesan cheese and chives before serving.

Your options are really unlimited with how you want to season or “dress” the potatoes.  You could sprinkle them with cheddar, bacon and chives or parmesan cheese or sour cream or caramelized onions once they are cooked (see really offers variety!).

I’d love your feedback!  What toppings have you/ will you be trying on these potatoes?

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Roasted Asparagus

This was one of the side dishes from last weeks dinner, and was also very and economical to feed a crowd.  I got a 2.25 pound bag at Costco for about $6.  You have to do very little prep work to the asparagus, so it’s perfect for a dinner party.

Asparagus (figure on 4-5 spears per person)

Olive Oil

Garlic Cloves

Salt

Pepper

Parmesan Cheese

Wash the asparagus and prep by taking the stalk firmly in your hands and snap at the lower end.  The asparagus naturally snaps at the point that should be discarded.  You can normally just use where it snaps as a guideline and cut the remaining spears around the same place.  I like snapping, so I just do them all that way!

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and arrange the spears in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.  Crush garlic cloves with the side of your knife and arrange around the asparagus.  Roast at 400 degrees in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until they appear a bit wilted and are tender.  Place on your serving dish and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

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Grape Salad (Take recipe cards for this with you to the picnic)

My aunt made this grape salad a while back for a picnic, and I thought it was so delicious and asked for the recipe.  I made it for a picnic at my friends house.  I had to e-mail the recipe to several people the next day.  After hearing that the reception after church after the baptism was a pot luck, I decided to make this.  The bowl was scraped clean and was the talk of the luncheon, with several requests for the recipes.  If you want to be proactive and really wow your friends and family, pre type up some recipe cards for the inevitable, “who made that”, “can you send me the recipe” because you will hear it!  Or of course, you can direct them to my blog to get the recipe!

4-5 pounds grapes (I mix half green and half purple)

1 cup sour cream (I used lite)

1 TBS vanilla

1 block cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Rinse the grapes and mix them in a large bowl.  Mix the sour cream with the vanilla in one bowl.  In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese and sugar.  (You do have to do this in 2 steps)  Then combine the sour cream mixture with the cream cheese.  Pour over the grapes and mix.  Combine the brown sugar and pecans and spread over the grapes.  It tastes best when you do this the night before because it gives the brown sugar and pecans a chance to caramelize a bit.