Category Archives: Side Dishes

Fall Fruit Salad

Here’s another delicious fall recipe for you to try:  Fall Fruit Salad.  This fruit salad is perfect for a nice brunch with friends or a light snack with Greek yogurt and granola.  A lot of my favorite fruits are in this salad like fresh figs, Concord grapes, Macoun apples, and red raspberries.  I topped this salad with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and a heaping handful of granola.  I can finally say that this is a delicious and healthy treat to enjoy this fall or any time of year.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large pears, diced
  • 2 large apples, diced
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 8 fresh figs, stems removed and quartered
  • 1/2 lb. concord grapes
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Granola for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Combine all the fruit in a large mixing bowl.  Add fresh lemon juice and cinnamon and mix to combine.  Drizzle honey over the top and sprinkle with granola.


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Sweet Corn Succotash

Sweet corn has been on sale lately.  If you’re like me, you buy 10 ears of corn for $2.00, eat about 4 of them and then have 6 leftover that you need to use before they go bad.  This Sweet Corn Succotash is the perfect solution!  This succotash is simple to make and is the perfect side dish to accompany a vast array of grilled dishes or BBQ.  I served my succotash with grilled chicken – it was the perfect summer dish.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen lima beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered parsley leaves

Ingredients:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the frozen beans until tender.  Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. In a deep skillet, add the onion and cook until just softened.  Add the tomatoes and corn and cook until the tomatoes break down. Add the lima beans with the cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in the butter and parsley and serve.
 *Adapted from Food & Wine

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Summer Bean Salad

This Summer Bean Salad is healthy and can be eaten as a side with your favorite grilled protein, as a salsa with tortilla chips or as a delicious salad by itself.  I love the fresh cilantro as well!  I recently bought several herbs at the farmer’s market.  Fresh herb plants are convenient to have because it seems like whenever I need them, I don’t have the right ones or they’ve already gone rotten in the refrigerator.  What better way to store all of your herb plants than with a potting bench… did I mention that my hubby recently bought me one?
I love this thing!  It organizes all of my gardening gadgets, pots, plants, etc.  It looks really nice too.  I used to have my tomato plants sitting on top, but they were not getting enough direct light, so I moved them.  My tomato plants are not looking good this year either.  Funny thing is that last year I bought my tomato plants from Home Depot and they did awesome – this year, I bought my tomato plants at the farmer’s market and they are doing awful!  I really don’t have a green thumb (just pretend to), so any tips you have for my struggling tomato plants would be appreciated!  I’m hoping I can make this Summer Bean Salad again, but with my homegrown cherry tomatoes!

Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced (add after salad has refrigerated)
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Directions:
  1. In large bowl, mix salad ingredients, except avocado.  In another small bowl, mix dressing ingredients with wire whisk until blended.
  2. Pour dressing over salad; toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors.
  3. Carefully mix in diced avocado and serve.

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Mashed Potatoes w/Caramelized Onions & Rosemary

Everyone needs a little comfort food now and then, and these Mashed Potatoes w/Caramelized Onions & Rosemary are definitely the perfect dish.  I served them with a nice, grilled steak (thanks for grilling, Dad!).  I caramelized some onions, garlic, and fresh rosemary.  Rosemary goes really well with potatoes, so that was my herb of choice.  Herbs are one of those things that I play around with in dishes.  Some herbs are notorious for complementing certain foods; mint, for example, goes really well with fresh fruit and peas.  I love making pasta with peas and fresh mint.   Trust me, it takes delicious.  Here’s a picture on Pinterest that I thought I’d share with you.  Enjoy the mashed potatoes!
Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper, for seasoning
Directions:
  1. In a large stock pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil.  Cook until a fork easily pierces the potatoes, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Add garlic and rosemary to onions and saute an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes and mash, adding milk until smooth.  Add onions, garlic, and rosemary and stir to combine.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.

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Lentils in Herb-Arugula Yogurt

I hope you had a fabulous weekend!  They are always too short, right?  Here’s a side dish that I made this past week that is healthy and delicious: Lentils in Herb-Arugula Yogurt.  This dish is easy to prepare and makes a great lunch to bring to work.  I love lentils because they contain a lot of protein, so I’m always looking for new lentil recipes.  Since I had some arugula that was in desperate need of eating and some Greek yogurt, I decided this was the perfect dish to make.  I added some fresh parsley and lemon juice and then let it chill in the refrigerator.  While you can eat this dish warm, I found that letting all the flavors mesh together in the refrigerator really made this dish taste awesome.  Here’s another great protein-fix dish that you need to try!
What’s your favorite protein dish?
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 pound cucumber—peeled, seeded and coarsely shredded (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.   Add the arugula and blanch for 30 seconds.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Squeeze out excess water and transfer the arugula to a food processor.  Add the parsley and mint and process until finely chopped.  Transfer the puree to a colander and squeeze out any excess liquid.  Transfer the puree to a large bowl.
  3. Stir the yogurt, shredded cucumber, lemon juice,  and lentils into the arugula puree and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to small bowls and serve.  The dish can be refrigerated overnight.
*Adapted from Food & Wine

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Thanksgiving Round-Up

It’s almost Turkey Day!!  Are you ready to eat massive amounts of food???  I have to say that I really do look forward to turkey and gravy with some mashed potatoes and stuffing.  Those are my basics; if I have those I’m content!!  Not to say I don’t enjoy cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, apple pie, etc. too!  Here are a few Thanksgiving recipes if you’re looking for some last-minute ideas.
Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Baked Goods, Desserts, Main Course, Side Dishes

Italian Sausage Stuffing

This past Veteran’s Day weekend, my parents were in town to celebrate “Thanksgiving” with me, my sister, our hubbies, and my beautiful 3-month old niece.  One of the dishes that I was in charge of preparing was the stuffing.  You can’t have turkey dinner without stuffing; it’s like having mashed potatoes without gravy (no one should be subjected to that!).  I looked at several stuffing recipes, but settled on this Italian Sausage Stuffing.  You remove sweet Italian sausages from their casings and brown them up into delicious little crumbles that are distributed throughout the stuffing.  If you want your stuffing to have a little kick, you could use hot Italian sausages instead.  One of the things that my hubby noticed was the slight crunch of the stuffing; I like my stuffing to bake for a little bit longer so it has some body and crunch instead of being on the mushier side.  You can really adapt this recipe to your liking.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Ingredients:

  • 2 loaves Italian bread, crusts removed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (20 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large celery ribs, finely diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sage leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

 Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the bread cubes in a large roasting pan and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and lightly browned.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the sage and butter.
  3. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl, add the bread cubes, and toss. Stir in the stock and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the stuffing into a shallow baking dish and bake until the stuffing is heated through and crisp on top, about 60 minutes.  Serve with turkey and gravy.

*Adapted from Food & Wine

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Sweet Potato, Apple & Ginger Soup w/ Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

While I was traveling for work several weeks ago, my husband sent me an email that had a link and the following message: “You should buy this.”  When I opened up the link, it went to a book review of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso.  The book recently came out in stores and must have caught my hubby’s attention (he knows me so well!).  I instantly bought it and I can’t  recommend it enough.  It’s  awesome!!!!  Not only does it have amazing desserts, but it has some awesome appetizers, entrees, and side dishes as well.  At the beginning, it also has an extensive list (with photos) of every single apple out there.  If you want to know how tart an apple is, whether it’s good for apple sauce, how long its shelf life is, etc. this book will tell you.

Kudos to Amy Traverso for coming up with a wonderful cookbook that has beautiful photos and recipes and that showcases some of the various areas in the U.S. that are notorious for good apples (cough, cough… NYS!).  I used her recipe to make this Sweet Potato, Apple & Ginger Soup served alongside an Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  My pics don’t do this dinner justice because it was dark and the hubby and I were starving.  But take my word that both this soup and grilled cheese were amazing!!!!!!!


Sweet Potato Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 lb baby-cut carrots
  • 2 large apples, unpeeled, cored & cut into cubes
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 inch-long piece of fresh ginger, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh apple cider
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots, and apples with 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper.  Line a baking sheet with foil and roast vegetables and apples until tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to a large stock pot and set over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, ginger, garlic, bay leaf, remaining salt and pepper, and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the onions turn golden.
  3. Add the roasted vegetables, broth, and cider to the stock pot and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Season to taste and serve.
Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese thinly sliced
Directions:
  1. Set a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Butter one side of the bread slice and lay butter side down.  Spread mustard on two of the bread slices and divide up the apple slices between the two portions, laying on top of the mustard.  Divide up the cheese slices and lay over the apples.  Top the sandwiches with the two remaining slices, buttered-side-up.
  3. Lay the sandwiches on the skillet and cook until the bottom is browned, 3-4 minutes, then flip.  Cook until the sandwiches are crisp, about 4-6 minutes more.
*The Apple Lover’s Cookbook

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Homemade Applesauce


I hope everyone had a wonderful Columbus Day weekend!  Remember the 16 pounds of apples that I picked a few weekends ago?  Well, it was time to start putting them to good use, so I decided to make some Homemade Applesauce.  I like to keep my applesauce simple and showcase the flavors of the apples, so I use apples that are specifically good for sauce, like McIntosh or Macoun.  I love to eat my applesauce plain or add it to various foods, like French toast.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received Bauducco® Panettone with raisins and with chocolate chips.  I decided to use the panettone with chocolate chips to make some French toast for breakfast this past weekend.  I topped this delicious French toast with some applesauce and maple syrup.  It was scrumptious!  Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 12 apples, McIntosh or Macoun, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Mason jars, 1 quart and 1 pint, sterilized

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. In a large stock pot, place water on the bottom and add the apples.  Cook on low until the apples become soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add applesauce to mason jars and store in refrigerator.

*Makes 1 quart and 1 pint of applesauce

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Old Bay Spiced Baked Chickpeas

We have officially moved into our new house!!!  We couldn’t have done it without our families.  They came down from NY to help us move and were amazing.  Both my Mom and my Mother-in-Law came prepared with delicious Chicken Riggies and Lasagna respectively.  It was awesome to christen our dinning room with our moms’ amazing Italian food.  Since I was busy moving all weekend, I decided to blog about a snack that I made last week before the big move: Old Bay Spiced Baked Chickpeas.  Chickpeas are such an amazing snack because they are healthy and chalked full of protein.  I love the Utz Crab potato chips that are seasoned with Old Bay, so I decided to use Old Bay to season my chickpeas.  You can use whatever spice you like.  Enjoy and thanks for all the well wishes about the move!

Ingredients:

  • One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Old Bay Seasoning to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Drain the can of garbanzo beans in a strainer and rinse with water to clean beans.  Between two paper towels, gently press the beans to absorb any excess water.  Discard any skins that may come off the beans.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil over the beans and use your hands or a spatula to toss around and coat.  Sprinkle with sea salt and Old Bay.  Roast for 30-40 minutes until the beans are a deep golden brown and crunchy.
  4. If needed, season with sea salt and Old Bay to taste.

*Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

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