Archive for the 'Side Dishes' Category

Roasted Carrots

Roasted carrots are one of my favorite basic side dishes.  They are incredibly easy to make, and they’re a nice alternative to steamed carrots.  These carrots are simply seasoned with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  If you have parsley handy, then you can add some of that too, but it’s not necessary.  These carrots are the perfect side dish for almost any dinner!

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients

  • 6 carrots
  • 1 ½ tablespoons good olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. If the carrots are thick, cut them in half lengthwise; if not, leave whole.  Slice the carrots diagonally in 1 ½-inch-thick slices. (The carrots will shrink while cooking so make the slices big.) Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Transfer to a baking sheet in 1 layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until browned and tender.
  3. If desired, toss the carrots with minced parsley.  Season to taste with salt & pepper, and serve.

Serves: 3

Source: Ina Garten, the Food Network

Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf with Cranberries

Real Simple is one of my favorite magazines.  I love all the tips on organizing, decorating, and entertaining, and the magazine is also a great resource for recipes.  The November issue had a whole section featuring Thanksgiving planning tips, ideas, and recipes, including this recipe for Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf with Cranberries.  It’s a combination of wild rice, cranberries, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and fresh herbs.  These flavors pair wonderfully together, and the red cranberries and green parsley make the rice look very festive!  This would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving, or a good thing to make after Thanksgiving to serve with leftover turkey.  I made it for dinner last week and served it alongside a chicken breast.  It was a healthy, filling, and delicious dinner!

Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf with Cranberries

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups long-grain and wild rice blend
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Cook the rice blend according to the package directions. Fold in the cranberries, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes more. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the parsley.
  3. Add the mushroom mixture to the rice and toss to combine.

Serves: 8

Source: Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, November 2010 issue

French Green Beans

In my opinion, no dinner is complete without some sort of vegetable component.  The great thing about vegetables is that there are so many different varieties and countless ways to prepare them.  This recipe combines two of my favorite cooking methods: roasting and sautéing.  The peppers and onions are roasted in the oven, and the green beans are blanched in boiling water and then sautéed in a little olive oil.  After all the veggies are cooked, they are combined to create a delicious and colorful side dish.  Enjoy!

French Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 pound French string beans, both ends removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, large diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, large diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, large diced
  • Good extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for just 4 minutes.  Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  When they are cool, drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss the onion and bell peppers together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, tossing with a spatula from time to time to be sure the vegetables roast evenly.
  4. Just before serving, reheat the string beans in a large sauté pan drizzled with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange on a platter.  Spoon the roasted vegetables over the string beans and serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves: 6

Source: Barefoot in Paris Cookbook, by Ina Garten

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables


I love vegetables, and in my opinion, dinner is not complete unless there is a serving of vegetables with it.  The great thing about vegetables is that there are so many different types of vegetables, and countless ways to prepare them, so they are never boring!  Usually I steam or sauté them, because it’s easy and quick, but every once and a while I like to switch things up, and roasted vegetables are a great alternative.  They have such a wonderful flavor!

A few years ago I came across a very informative article about how to roast vegetables.  It was in the October/November 2007 issue of one of my favorite cooking magazines, Fine Cooking.  I tore the article out of the magazine and filed it away in my recipe binder.  I refer to it frequently, and it has been a great resource.  The article has instructions for how to roast several types of vegetables, as well as ideas for different flavorings for the vegetables.

Most recently, I roasted a combination of butternut squash, red potatoes, and carrots.  I flavored the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.  The vegetable medley turned out to be a great accompaniment to my dinner of baked chicken and spinach salad.  I hope you find the information from this article as helpful as I do!

Recipe from: Fine Cooking Magazine (October/November 2007 issue)

Basic Roasted Vegetables

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. vegetables
  • 1-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt; more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.  Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the vegetables according to the instructions below (preparation and cooking time varies based on the type of vegetable).  In a medium bowl, toss the vegetables with enough of the olive oil to coat generously, the salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  If using a flavoring before roasting (see below: “Flavorings for Roasted Vegetables—Before Roasting”), toss it with the vegetables now.
  3. Turn the vegetables out onto the baking sheet and arrange the pieces so that they are evenly spaced and lying on a cut side (if that applies).  If the pieces cover the baking sheet sparsely, arrange them toward the edges of the baking sheet for the best browning.  Roast according to the instructions below (“How to Prep & Roast Various Types of Vegetables”).
  4. Return the vegetables to the bowl in which you tossed them with the oil, or put them in a clean serving bowl.  If they seem a bit dry, drizzle them with a little extra virgin olive oil.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice or another flavoring, if using (see below: “Flavorings for Roasted Vegetables – After Roasting”).

Roasted carrots, red potatoes, and butternut squash.

How to Prep & Roast Various Types of Vegetables

Sweet Potatoes

Prep: Peel & cut into 1-inch pieces

How to Roast: Roast until lightly browned on bottom, 10 min.  Flip & roast until tender, 5-10 more minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Potatoes (red, yellow, russet)

Prep: Peel or scrub well and dry.  Cut into 1 inch pieces.

How to Roast: Roast until browned on bottom, 10-15 minutes.  Flip and continue to roast until tender, 5 more minutes.

Yield: 2-3 servings per pound

Cauliflower

Prep: Trip & cut into 1-1.5 inch florets

How to Roast: Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes total.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Broccoli

Prep: Trim and peel the stem; slice it into ¼ inch thick disks.  Trim and cut the rest of the broccoli into 1.5-2 inch florets.

How to Roast: Roast until the florets begin to brown, 8-10 minutes.  Stir, then continue to roast until tender, 3-6 more minutes.

Yield: 2-3 servings per pound

Carrots

Prep: Peel and cut into 1-inch pieces.

How to Roast: Roast until lightly browned on bottom, 12-15 minutes.  Flip and roast until tender and slightly shriveled, 3-5 more minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Asparagus

Prep: Rinse, try, and snap off (or trim off) tough bottom ends.

How to Roast: Roast for 5 minutes, flip, and roast until tender 5-8 more minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Fennel

Prep: Quarter lengthwise.  Trim the base and core, leaving just enough of the core intact to hold the layers together.  Cut into ¾-1 inch wedges.

How to Roast: Roast until the pieces begin to brown on the edges, 15 minutes.  Flip and roast until tender and nicely browned, 10 minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Brussels Sprouts

Prep: Trim, halve lengthwise.

How to Roast: Arrange cut side down on baking sheet.  Roast until tender and browned, about 15 minutes.  No need to flip.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Parsnips

Prep: Peel & cut into 1-2 inch cubes.

How to Roast: Roast until browned on bottom, about 10 minutes.  Flip and roast until tender, about 5 more minutes.

Yield: 2-3 servings per pound

Green Beans

Prep: Trim ends.

How to Roast: Roast until tender and slightly browned, about 15 minutes.  (No need to flip).

Yield: 4 servings per pound

Butternut Squash

Prep: Peel and cut into ¾-1 inch pieces.

How to Roast: Roast until browned on bottom, 15 minutes.  Flip and roast until tender, 5-10 more minutes.

Yield: 4 servings per pound

Mushrooms (cremini or small white button mushrooms)

Prep: Wipe clean and trim stems

How to Roast: Roast stem side down until brown on bottom, 20-25 minutes.  Flip and roast until browned on top, 5-10 more minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings per pound

Flavorings for Roasted Vegetables – Before Roasting

–        Rosemary Thyme Lemon Oil

  • Pairs well with butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
  • Yield: enough for 1 batch of roasted vegetables
  • Ingredients:
    • Zest of 1 large lemon, removed in long strips with a vegetable peeler
    • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; more as needed
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Directions: In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest and oil.  Set over medium-low heat and cook until the lemon zest bubbles steadily for about 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and let cool briefly, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the herbs and let sit at least 20 minute before using.  Substitute this flavored oil for the plain olive oil in the master recipe and toss with the vegetables and salt and pepper before roasting.  Once the vegetables are on the baking sheet, pick out and discard the lemon zest.  If the vegetables seem a little dry after roasting, toss them with additional oil before serving.

–        Moroccan-Style Spice Rub

  • Pairs well with butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Yield: About 5 teaspoons, enough for 5 batches of roasted vegetables
  • Ingredients:
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • ½ teaspoon chili powder
    • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    • Pinch ground cloves
  • Directions: In a small bowl, mix all of the spices.  In addition to the oil, salt, and pepper in the master recipe, toss 1 teaspoon of the spice blend with a batch of vegetables before roasting.

Flavorings for Roasted Vegetables – After Roasting

–        Sesame Salt

  • Pairs well with asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, parsnips, and sweet potatoes
  • Yield: About 2 tablespoons, enough for 3 batches of roasted vegetables
  • Ingredients:
    • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Directions: In a small dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until light golden brown, 3-5 minutes.  Add the salt and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a small bowl and cool completely.  Put the salted seeds in a clean spice grinder and pulse a few times to grind coarsely – you should still see a few whole seeds in the mixture.  Toss about 2 teaspoons sesame salt with a batch of vegetables after roasting.

–        Caramelized Shallot Butter

  • Pairs well with asparagus, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, fennel, green beans, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Yield: About ¼ cup, enough for 3 batches of roasted vegetables
  • Ingredients:
    • 3 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 large shallot, finely diced (1/3 cup)
    • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat until melted.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme.  Cool completely.  In a small bowl, combine the shallot mixture with the remaining 2 ½ tablespoons butter and the lemon zest.  Stir to blend well.  Lightly season to taste with salt and pepper.  Scrape the butter onto a small piece of plastic wrap, mold into a log shape, and wrap in the plastic.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Toss about 1/3 of the butter (a generous tablespoon) with a batch of vegetables after roasting.

–        Ginger Lemon Soy Splash

  • Pairs well with broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
  • Yield: Enough for 1 batch of roasted vegetables
  • Ingredients:
    • 1-inch piece fresh ginger
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • Directions: Set a small strainer in a small bowl.  Extract the ginger juice by pressing the ginger into the sieve with a small spoon.  Transfer ½ teaspoon ginger juice to another small bowl (discard the rest).  Stir in the lemon juice and soy sauce.  Toss with a batch of vegetables after roasting.

–        Toasted Garlic & Coriander Oil

  • Pairs well with asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, green beans, and mushrooms.
  • Yield: Enough for 1-1 ½ batches of roasted vegetables.
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 ½ Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped garlic (2 large cloves)
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Directions: In a small saucepan, combine the oil and garlic.  Set over medium-low heat and cook until the smaller pieces of garlic turn light golden-brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the coriander and cook for about 20 seconds.  Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a small heatproof bowl to prevent overcooking.  Keep warm.  Sprinkle the roasted vegetables with the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and arrange on a serving platter.  Spoon the toasted garlic oil over the vegetables.

Tips

–        Make sure the vegetables are cut in evenly sized pieces.  This will ensure that they cook evenly and at the same rate.

–        Make sure to line the baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan.

–        To Roast a Medley of Vegetables: A mixture of vegetables with different cooking times should be kept separate from each other, to accommodate for different cooking times.  Either use different baking sheets, or different sections of the same baking sheet.  That way you can remove each type of vegetable when it is done cooking.  You can then combine them after roasting.

–        Leftover idea: Add the leftover roasted vegetables to a pot of simmering jarred marinara sauce and simmer on low until the vegetables and sauce are hot.  Serve the sauce/vegi mixture with cooked rigatoni pasta (or any type of pasta) and parmesan cheese for an easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

Rice with Black Beans & Corn

Rice with Black Beans & Corn

Rice with black beans and corn is super easy to make and it is really tasty.  I served it burrito-style with sliced grilled chicken breasts.  It would also be a great side dish.  The chicken broth adds a lot of flavor to the rice, and the red bell pepper, black beans, yellow corn, and green cilantro make it very colorful!

Adapted from: www.annies-eats.com, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

Rice with Black Beans & Corn

(print recipe)

Ingredients:

4 tsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 red or yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 ¼ cups water
1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup corn kernels (fresh from cob, or frozen & thawed)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and tender, about 12-14 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the chicken broth and water to the pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the rice and salt, and cover.  Bake until the rice is tender, 65-70 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven and uncover.  Fluff the rice with a fork, stir in the beans and corn, and replace the lid.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Then mix in the cilantro and black pepper.

The onion and bell peppers should be cooked until they are well browned and tender.

Croutons

Last year I made homemade croutons for the first time, and ever since then I have been hooked.  They are super easy to make and so much better than store bought ones.  I love to put them in soup, but they would be great for salads as well.

When I make these croutons for soup, I like to use herbs that complement the type of soup I am making. 

Some examples:

–          Butternut squash soup: sage

–          Minestrone soup: Italian seasoning, or any Italian herb

–          Broccoli soup: thyme

Adapted from: Real Simple

Croutons

Ingredients

  • 1 white or wheat baguette, sliced into ½-1 inch cubes
  • 1-2 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh (or dried) herbs
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cracked pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Toss all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl to coat. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Broccoli Leek Soup topped with thyme-flavored croutons

Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

A few years ago I had dinner at this restaurant in Lake Tahoe.  One of the side dishes on my plate was mashed potatoes that were orange colored.  They were delicious!  They were so good, I even asked the waiter what it was that made them orange.  He told me that it was a mixture of white potatoes & sweet potatoes.  I thought this was a brilliant idea, and ever since then I have wanted to make my own “orange” mashed potatoes.

Since I did not have sweet potatoes on hand, I decided to make butternut squash mashed potatoes.  I had a leftover butternut squash sitting on my counter that was not used for Thanksgiving, so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to use it.  I quickly turned to Google to search for recipe inspiration, and I found this recipe from Epicurious.  After glancing it over and seeing the stellar reviews, I decided it was worth trying.

The mashed potatoes turned out excellent, and they were so easy to make.  They are a great alternative to regular mashed potatoes, and I will definitely be making them again.  They also look pretty on the plate because of the orange color.   I served them with a side of steamed broccoli and a chicken breast and it was a very easy, healthy, and yummy dinner!

Next time I will try making this recipe with sweet potatoes instead, just to compare.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit (December 1993)

Mashed Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

– 2 large russet potatoes, peeled & cubed

– 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed

– 3 garlic cloves

– 2-3 tablespoons butter

– Salt

– Pepper

Directions:

Bring 1 inch of water to boil in large pot. Set steamer rack in pot. Place potatoes, squash and garlic on rack. Cover pot and steam vegetables until tender, adding more water to pot if necessary, about 15 minutes.  Remove garlic cloves & discard.  Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add the butter and mash vegetables until fairly smooth.  (If desired, add a little warm milk to reach desired consistency).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Reheat uncovered in 350°F oven for 30 minutes.)

Yield: 4-6 servings

I served these mashed potatoes with a chicken breast and side of steamed broccoli.


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