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Category Archives: Side Dish

Corn Bread Mini Muffins

I wanted to plan the menu with a bit of a southern flair, so corn bread muffins were an obvious decision!  I kept it pretty simple by using a package of just about ready to go corn bread from Trader Joe’s

1 package Trader Joe’s corn bread (prepared according to instructions on the box)

3 slices cooked bacon

1/2 – 3/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 TBS fresh chives

2 TBS canned corn

I prepared the corn bread according to the package directions then added about 2 TBS of canned corn (which I crushed a bit with the back of a ladle), a handful of shredded cheddar cheese, 3 slices of bacon, crumbled, and about 1/2 TBS of fresh sliced chives.

I used mini muffin pans, and scooped each opening about half full.  If you are going to use the mini muffin pans, reduce the cooking time down to about 15 minutes.

Very yummy!

Brown Rice with Lime and Cilantro

Cook brown rice according to the box (which I did not do this time, I opted to cover the rice and leave the burner on medium instead of lowering it to a simmer, whoops!).  Once it’s cooked, squeeze lime juice over the rice and stir in fresh cilantro.

Yumm!

Tomato Gratin

This dish was a near disaster!  Luckily, it was saved in time and was still very tasty!

1 – 2 pints grape tomatoes

About 1/4 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese

About 1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Heat about 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and add the grape tomatoes.  Stir the tomatoes while they cook over medium heat and let them wilt down a bit.  When they become soft and tender, season to taste.  Transfer the tomatoes into a ramekin or oven proof dish.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bread crumbs and place under the broil until the bread crumbs crisp (about 2-3 minutes).  This is where disaster nearly struck.  I left the dish in for a bit too long and had to do a bit of scrapping.  You could also bake the dish if you have a little more time, I’d say about 15 minutes at 350 would do the trick.  I think that parmesan cheese would also be a great choice instead of the mozzarella.  This dish would also be an excellent side for any meal!

(I forgot to take a final product picture of the scraped and rebaked finished product!  But it did look much more appetizing than this last picture!)

Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes

I got this recipe from  “Fine Cooking Annual, Volume 2″ and made a couple of loss adjustments.  It is beyond simple and absolutely mouth watering.  I have made this dish twice, the first time I did top with ribbons of fresh basil.  The second time I didn’t have fresh basil, but I drizzled a reduction of balsamic vinegar.  Both times I did sprinkle with lots of shaved parmesan cheese.  The really great thing about this recipe is that it’s good served hot or at room temperature, so it makes it a great dish to make while entertaining!

I slightly changed it up and used regular eggplant and just sliced in about 1/2″ sections, where as the recipe called to use several baby eggplants just cut in half and grilled.  If you are using baby eggplants, score the skin with a fork so that the oil and garlic soaks in and can flavor the dish.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and made into a paste

1/2 extra virgin olive oil

2 tsps kosher salt

freshly grated black pepper

6-8 baby eggplants (or 1 large eggplant)

1 1/4 pounds ripe but firm plum tomatoes

handful of basil leaves

1/2 cup shaved Parmigiana-Reggiano

Mash the garlic into a paste by sprinkling kosher salt over minced garlic and then running the side of your knife back and forth over the garlic.  It will break the garlic down into a paste.  Put that into a container or bowl and cover with the olive oil; let the flavors marry.  Slice the tomatoes in half length wise.  If they are really seedy, scoop the seeds out.  Slice the eggplant in about 1/2” slices (or in half if you are using baby eggplant).  Toss the vegetables in the oil to coat.  Grill the vegetables until desired doneness.  I cooked them until they were soft, but not falling apart or soggy, about 5 minutes.  I used a George Foreman to grill, so what you are using may definitely  effect timing.  When they are done, alternate tomatoes and eggplant on a platter.  Cut the basil in thin ribbons and sprinkle over the dish.  Sprinkle the cheese over the vegetables.

If you are interested in doing the balsamic reduction, just place about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir it occasionally.  It will thicken as it reduces.  Once it’s the desired consistency you want, drizzle of the veggies.

Garlic Parmesan Orzo

This recipe was based on something I found on http://www.allrecipes.com and thought it was fantastic!  The only real change that I made was adding a little more milk than the recipe called for, because it was done a bit before everyone was over for dinner, and I didn’t want it to dry out too much.

This recipe is definitely a keeper!  Beyond easy and very yummy.  It could easily be made into the star of the meal by adding chicken or shrimp and/ or scallops to it.

2 cups uncooked orzo pasta

3 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. In a large skillet, saute garlic in butter until tender. Add the orzo, Parmesan cheese milk, parsley salt and pepper. Cook and stir until heated through.

I forgot to take pics of sauteing the garlic, but I’m sure you can figure that part out!

Oven Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Adding potatoes right into the crock pot is a great option, but I decided I wanted to add more texture to the meal.  So, I opted to oven roast potatoes separately.  I used 2 pounds of potatoes and diced them in bite size pieces.  (To save time, I diced them the night before and  stored them in the fridge covered and in water)  After draining the water, I drizzled the tots with extra virgin olive oil and tossed them with crushed garlic cloves and fresh minced rosemary.  They went into a 400 degree over for about 45 minutes.  It’s important to toss them a few times throughout cooking to make sure that they brown evenly and don’t stick.  If they seem to be drying out or sticking to the pay, add a bit more olive oil.