Tag Archives: Side Dish

Wednesday Wine Night

Earlier this year, a small group of my girlfriends decided we wanted a regular gathering every month or so. Thanks to Jordy, ‘Wednesday Wine Night’ began in the Fall! The idea is simple: every 4-6 weeks a different person in the group would have everyone over, serve wine, and prepare some offerings to snack on. Though I am allergic to wine, and we do not always meet on a Wednesday, this has been a great way to have a relaxing night with girlfriends. This past Monday the group came over to my apartment, which I took as an opportunity to try and wow everyone with my food. The menu consisted of:

  • Homemade sun-dried tomato hummus with veggies
  • Herb crusted sweet potato bites
  • Greek quinoa salad
  • Roasted red pepper pizza with a splash of balsamic
  • Lots and lots of wine & desserts

Thankfully, my wonderful friends loved the meal! I had been nervous about the pizza because it was the first time I used a real pizza pan, but the crust came out perfectly crisp. Everyone enjoyed the sweet potato bites because they were something tasty and different. One of the best compliments to the chef was when a few people asked for the recipes! Most importantly, everyone had a great time with each other chatting about life and nibbling the food.

For now, feast your eyes on some photos from the evening. Recipes to come individually!

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Greek Quinoa Salad

Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

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Tabbouleh with Chicken (Or Tofu)

What is Tabbouleh? I bet most of you have no idea what I am even talking about. Well, let me tell you. Tabbouleh is a Levantine (originally from Lebanon) wheat salad. I have traveled to the middle east and have always had many friends from the region, so this is a dish I started enjoying early on. It is super simple, and the light lemony flavor is GREAT for summer time!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 cup bulgur wheat

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

Olive oil

Kosher salt

1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and medium-diced

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the bulgur wheat according to package directions. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and 1.5 teaspoons of salt to the bulgur as it sits and cooks. Set aside for about an hour to let cook through.

*Next, rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the over for 35 minutes, or until just cooked. Again, set aside and let cool off.

Remove chicken meat and dice into medium pieces and add to the bulgur wheat. Then add scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. At this point, you MUST taste the dish to see if it needs more seasoning! The most important thing when cooking is to taste your food! Make sure it is seasoned to tasted. You can either serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. The longer the Tabbouleh mixture sits, the flavors will intensify and improve.

 

Cool, refreshing Tabbouleh can be used as a side dish or a main dish. When I know I am cooking for a vegetarian and meat eating audience, I love to use this dish! Follow the same directions, but serve the chicken or tofu on the side and allow guests to help themselves.

*This step is easily replaced with Tofu! Cut extra firm tofu into cubes and sprinkle with the same seasonings. Roast in the oven until crispy and use in place of the chicken.

My interpretation of Ina Garten’s Chicken with Tabbouleh

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Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Potatoes are a great go-to side dish for almost any meal. Everyone always loves a good starch. I find that a personal favorite, and crowd pleaser, is garlic smashed potatoes. The first question you are likely asking yourself is, “What’s the difference between mashed and smashed?” Well, the big difference affects both the texture and aesthetic of the dish. When making smashed potatoes, you leave the skin of the potatoes on and then mash, as opposed to peeling them. This adds an extra layer of texture that contradicts the creamy-smooth potatoes, and also a nice bright color (if you use red potatoes).

The recipe is super easy and doesn’t take much work at all, and the ingredients are as follows:

1 head of garlic

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 lbs of red potaotes

Salt and pepper

5 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup of milk

First things first, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the garlic and slice off the top of the head. Drizzle the garlic with EVOO, wrap in tin foil, and bake in the oven about 30 minutes or until tender and fragrant. Slicing the top off helps the garlic roast better, and makes it easier to remove the cloves from the skin.

Clean the potatoes and quarter them. Put potatoes in a pot filled with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain and put back in the pot (by returning to pot you now have an easy place to mash!). Add the garlic to potatoes and mash.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter until it is melted. Add melted butter and milk to the potatoes and mash up together. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Then actually taste it! The most important part of getting a recipe right is tasting it. Depending on what you like, you may want to add more butter or milk. Garnish with a tad of parsley (optional) and serve!


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Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

LATKES!!!

Yummy, who doesn’t love a Hannukah treat? This is my own recipe for latkes which is very much a guesstimation. You can easily play with this recipe to make it your own!

1 large onion

8 large russet potatoes

1 or 2 beaten eggs

salt and pepper

vegetable oil

Wash and peel all the potatoes. In a large bowl, grate the potatoes. Peel onion and grate into same large bowl. Add 1 or 2 beaten eggs to help hold together the latkes. Add salt and pepper to taste (don’t be afraid to use a generous amount of salt because you usually can’t taste it very much). Mix it up and taste the mixture, it should taste as it will once fried (so you can adjust the seasoning). In a large skillet, heat up some vegetable oil. Using your hands, take the mixture and make patties about the size of your palm. If you want them crispier, make them thinner. If you want them moister in the middle, make them plumper. Place patties in skillet and fry until golden brown. The longer you leave the the latke in the pan, the crisper it will be. Serve with apple sauce and enjoy!

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Aunt Sandra’s Stuffing

My Aunt Sandra’s Stuffing

5 lbs onions

6 or more cloves of garlic

1 lbs white button mushrooms

1 box sourdough bread stuffing mix

1 bunch fresh dill

2 eggs

Chicken stock

Basil

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Cut onions into small pieces and saute with a drop of olive oil. Cook for until transluscent and add chopped garlic and salt and pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes then set mixture aside.

Cut mushrooms into quarters. Either reusing the same pan or in a new pan add more olive oil and saute with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms get juicy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the box of stuffing mix, mushrooms, and onion mixture. Add 2 eggs, chopped dill, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together using hands. Add a splash of chicken stock to keep the mixture moist. Taste the mixture- it should taste how it will be once cooked. Adjust seasoning as needed.

In a large baking dish, sprinkle some olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Spread the Stuffing mixture in the pan. In a 350 degree oven, let the mixture bake for anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. The longer you let it bake, the crunchier the top will become.

 

 

This stuffing recipe is extremely delicious. My Aunt Sandra has been making it for as long as I can remember. It easily feeds 30 people. It is moist and full of flavor and very savory. Goes well with anything served at Thanksgiving dinner!

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Roasted Root Vegetables

Happy Thanksgiving!

Above is a photo of part of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner spread. Directly to the right of the turkey is the roasted root vegetables I made. It is super easy to make and is great for feeding many people. Another great thing is that you can easily pick and choose what you put into the dish.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Baby carrots

Parsnips

Small red potatoes

Whole garlic cloves

Rutabaga

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Parsley for garnish

Use as much of each vegetable as you desire

Cut all bigger vegetables into 1 inch chunks. Spread throughout a roasting pan and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss vegetables. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender. Garnish with parsley.

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Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes, and Rosemary


2 red onions, each cut into 10 wedges

1 1/4 lbs new potatoes, not peeled

2 bulbs garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled

salt and pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

about 5 sprigs rosemary

1 (4lb) roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 8 chicken thighs, rubbed with sea salt to crisp the skin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the vegetables and garlic in a single layer over the bottom of a huge roasting pan so that they will crisp and brown beautifully. Season with salt and pepper, pour over the oil and balsamic vinegar, and add the rosemary, leaving some sprigs whole and stripping the leaves off the rest. Toss the vegetables with your hand and tuck the chicken pieces in among them. Bake for 45 minutes, until cooked through

This recipe comes from the cookbook Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry. The recipe is extremely delicious and flavorful. It was very easy to prepare because everything cooks together in one pan. This recipe is also great because it goes with most vegetables. For this dinner I made sautéed spinach and roasted asparagus. I used chicken thighs which were very moist, and rubbing salt on the skin made it perfectly crispy. I highly recommend this recipe, as I am sure my friends who I prepared it for would agree!

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Orange-Sesame Pork Chops with Teriyaki Whole-Wheat Noodles

This is a very delicious dish. One of the great things about it is that you can make it diabetes friendly by using sugar free marmalade. While making the pasta I used the entire bag of edamame because we did not have use for half a frozen bag of them. However, I do not suggest you do this because there were too many. Also, make sure the pork is fully cooked through. It will most likely take longer than the recipe says to cook.

Ingredients

·   Salt

·   1 pound whole-wheat or whole-grain spaghetti

·   5 tablespoons vegetable or light oil

·   5 boneless pork loin chop 1 1/2-inches thick

·   Freshly ground black pepper

·   3 tablespoons orange marmalade

·   6 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

·   1 teaspoon sesame oil

·   1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

·   1 cup shelled, frozen edamame

·   1 tablespoon black sesame seeds or toasted sesame seeds, optional

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta, and cook pasta to al dente.

While pasta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper and cook 6 minutes on the first side, 4 to 5 on the second. Remove chops to a plate and reserve, cover with foil. Add 3 tablespoons orange marmalade, a couple tablespoons teriyaki sauce and a 1/4 cup of water to the pan, bring the sauce to a bubble and combine 1 minute, stir in sesame oil remove from heat.

While the chop cooks, heat a second skillet with 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Stir-fry the scallions and edamame a couple of minutes. Drain pasta and toss with scallions and edamame and remaining teriyaki sauce, about 1/4 cup. Sprinkle noodles with sesame seeds, if desired.

Slice pork or leave chop whole and top with orange-sesame glaze. Serve teriyaki noodles alongside.

Found at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/orange-sesame-pork-chops-with-teriyaki-whole-wheat-noodles-recipe/index.html

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Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is a great quick and easy meal to make. The best part is you can add or take out any vegetables you do or do not like. I mostly followed the recipe below but added waterchestnuts and took out the bok choy (due to poor selection in the super market). To make this meal even easier you can buy prepackaged vegatables that have already been cut up in the fresh produce department at the super market. A great side to serve with this dish is brown rice.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 1 head broccoli, stems removed
  • 1 dozen mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1/4 pound green beans, diced
  • 1 head bok choy, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir. Place the chicken in the pan and brown 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, slice into strips, set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat. Add the vegetables and teriyaki sauce. Stir-fry quickly until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the chicken strips, combine well and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Found at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chicken-stir-fry-recipe/index.html

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Caprese, Garlic Basil Shrimp, & Orzo

On the menu:

Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil)

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Orzo

Roasted green and yellow zucchini

The recipes:

Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • Large block of fresh mozzarella
  • A few leaves of fresh basil

Directions:

Slice mozzarella and large tomatoes into even pieces. Layer tomato and mozzarella on plate alternating. Rip some fresh basil leaves and place on top. When eating drizzle some EVOO and fresh black pepper.

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Ingredients:

·   2 tablespoons olive oil

·   1 1/4 pounds large shrimp

(20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined

·   3 garlic cloves, minced

·   1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, or more to taste

·   3/4 cup dry white wine

·   1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

·   1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

·   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in skillet and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in basil and tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Return the shrimp to pan and cook just until heated through

From the Food Network website athttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/garlic-basil-shrimp-recipe/index.html

Orzo

Buy pre-packaged orzo and follow instructions on box

Roasted green and yellow zucchini

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash zucchini. Cut off both ends and half each zucchini width-wise. Quarter each zucchini length-wise and place on a large baking sheet. Lightly drizzle EVOO over zucchini and season with kosher sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place in oven and let cook until slightly burned looking (check after 20 minutes until done).

Comments:

This makes a really great dinner. The caprese salad is delicious, easy to make, and really impresses guests. If it is too bland in flavor you can add a dash of balsamic vinegar. The shrimp turned out really great and I love the recipe. I will definitely make this again. However, I didn’t love the orzo. It worked with the shrimp, but pasta would probably be better. Lastly, the zucchini is great because they are very simple to make and super flavorful.

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