Showing posts with label Side dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Side dish. Show all posts

Sneaky Veggie Mac and Cheese

So many recipes are shared on Facebook, and most of the time I just scroll past. This recipe shared  by Buzzfeed managed to catch my eye around "back to school" time. A balanced meal I could make in the morning and the kids would quickly gobble up? That's exactly what we need on busy weeknights! I didn't love the recipe quite as written, but loved the concept. Combining it with the seasoning from my mom's macaroni & cheese recipe, it has turned into something nutritious and delicious that has been a hit at our house!

1 454g package of macaroni
1 C chopped carrots
2 C chopped squash (I use this frozen kind)
2-3 C chopped cauliflower (I use this frozen kind)
1/2 C water
2 C milk
2 C shredded old cheddar cheese
1 tsp dry onion flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tblsp prepared mustard
2 Tblsp +/- parmesan cheese

Prepare macaroni al dente and set aside.

Place vegetables and water in a pot over medium heat. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Do not drain. Add milk. Puree using an immersion blender. (Alternatively, add to a blender and process until smooth). Stir in cheese and seasoning until cheese is melted.

Add macaroni to sauce and stir to coat. Place into baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350' for 30 minutes.

I've tried varying the the vegetable quantity, but these are the measurements that have been most successful. I've learned from experience that too many carrots really changes the texture of the sauce! You can add your own seasoning to the sauce to make it more like your usual family recipe. A pinch of nutmeg, a couple dashes of hot sauce...whatever floats your boat! My kids like this as is. I add a little salt and pepper to my dish, or some corn salsa if its in the fridge!

Quick Ratatouille with Brie

I came across two similar recipes on Pinterest (here and here), and used them as inspiration for a new side dish. We absolutely loved much so that I made it twice in a week! Traditional ratatouille is stewed, slow cooked, and layered, while this dish is quick and painless to throw together. It certainly isn't a true ratatouille, but what would you call it?

The quantity listed below worked well in a pie plate, as pictured. The second time I made this, I was out of  brie and wanted to make a larger amount. I doubled everything and made it in a 9X13 dish, topping it with a little bit of shaved red onion before adding the Parmesan, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Both combinations were delicious! This is a simple and versatile way to prepare your vegetables, and a great Make It In The Morning option too.

1/2 zucchini, sliced approx. 1/4 inch thick
2 plum tomatoes, sliced approx. 1/4 inch thick
1/2 sweet potato, sliced slightly thinner than other vegetables
Brie, sliced approx. 1/4 inch thick
2 Tblsp (+/-) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 Tblsp olive oil (+/-)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Place sliced vegetables and brie in pie plate, alternating and overlapping as you go. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at  375` for about 25 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender.

Bean Sprout Salad

I was intrigued when I came across this recipe on Pinterest, because it was a side dish that could easily be served hot or cold. Serve cold as a side salad with dinner, and enjoy the leftovers reheated for lunch the next day (at least that's what I did!). The recipe below is adapted for the original recipe for Sukjul Namul, as seen on MM's Kitchen Bites

1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
A few grates fresh garlic
1/2 Lb bean sprouts
Handful red peppers, thinly sliced
Handful snow peas, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tblsp (+/-) sesame seeds (optional garnish)

Boil a large pot of water. Add bean sprouts and blanch for 20-30 seconds. Plunge into ice cold water to stop them from cooking any further. Drain. Add red peppers, snow peas, and green onions. Stir to combine. Whisk all dressing ingredients together, and toss with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds when serving, if desired.

Chickpea Salad

Sometimes, when I have a few ingredients on hand that I want to use, I just put the list in to Google and see what comes up. A few weeks ago, I tried this salad as a result of one of those searches...and have made it at least three times since. It's so fresh tasting and filling! Two of my three wee ones like it too.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 Tblsp red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients, and chill several hours before serving.

Squash Fries

I accidentally ate 1/2 a squash in one sitting the other day. I just couldn't stop! So simple, healthy, and yummy! Leave it to Hungry Girl to put all three in one.

Remove the seeds and peel your squash, then cut into fry-shaped wedges (the larger the fry, the slower your cooking time). Place on a cookie sheet coated with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with coarse salt, and bake at 425` for approximately 40 minutes, turning halfway.

I enjoyed mine with a beloved concoction: 4 parts sour cream to 1 part hot sauce. Mmmmm!

Grilled Salad

I made this to quickly use up some veggies in the fridge, but it was delicious! I am going to try it again soon adding some peppers into the mix too.

3 new potatoes
1 small egg plant
a handful of fresh cilantro
1-2 tsp olive oil
juice of one lime

As always with egg plant, once cut, place in a wire strainer and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes until moisture comes to the surface, then blot dry.

Grill potatoes and egg plant on the grill until done (approx. 15 minutes). Remove from grill and cut potatoes. Toss with remaining ingredients and serve warm.

Italian Bok Choy

While looking for bok choy recipes, Jamie Oliver's recipe for Italian Bok Choy caught my eye as it had quite different flavours from the majority I have found.

6 cups bok choy, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil

In a large pan add the olive oil, garlic, and onions. Cook for approximately 3 minutes at medium heat. Add half of the basil. Add the bok choy and stir to coat. Continue stirring and cooking until bok choy wilts. Remover from heat and add remaining basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

We enjoyed this (and so did one of two toddlers) with lemon pork chops.

Tahini Lemon Dressing

This recipe is from The Stone Soup's free e-cookbook that I posted about recently. I changed the quantities slightly from the original to finish off the container of tahini that I had in the fridge. It was fresh and flavourful over mixed greens, and we'll definitely be making it throughout the summer. (And the more I browse The Stone Soup, the more I like it!)

1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate.

Sesame-Ginger Bok Choy

This recipe was thrown together quickly tonight to use a variety of things we had on hand from our produce pack, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. Bok choy has such a fresh taste, and it was totally complimented by the nuttiness of the sesame.

1 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 C Spanish onion, chopped
4 small carrots, chopped
1 C shrimp (we used leftovers, so ours was breaded and cooked)
2 tsp sesame seeds
4 C bok choy, chopped

Combine the first 5 ingredients to make the sauce, and set aside.

Sautee onions and carrot in a wok or a deep non-stick pan over medium heat. Once both begin to soften and turn a bright colour, add shrimp. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes as shrimp warms. Stir in sesame seeds. Top with half of bok choy, but do not stir to incorporate right away - let the bok choy steam over the rest of the mixture for several minutes first. Stir to incorporate, and top with the remaining bok choy - again, allowing to steam for several minutes before incorporating. Stir in sauce, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Serve over rice.

Please forgive the photo: the lighting was poor...and I was too hungry
to fuss with it!

Kale Chips

After seeing Kale Chips mentioned on a zillion blogs (with topics from locavores to healthy food for kids), we finally tried them. The reviews from our household were mixed: My husband loved them, my 18-month-old liked them, and my nearly 3-year-old said: "Yuck Mama. That's leaves." I fell somewhere in the middle - I enjoyed the flavour, but not the texture. They cooked up nice and crispy, but the thin kale was too papery for my tastes.

4 leaves of kale
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Remove the kale leaves from the stems. (I found it easiest to hold onto the stem and run my hand up to remove the leaves.) Wash and dry well, and tear into bite-sized pieces. Toss kale pieces with olive oil and salt until evenly coated. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 350' for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Herb Bread with Dill

After our dill potato salad last night, I wanted to find another recipe to use up our remaining dill. I stumbled upon this recipe from Michael Smith of Chef at Home. (Don't you love him? He makes things that are so practical! And he has a home in PEI, so he's an Honorary Maritimer.)

I'm an honest cook, so I'm sharing this recipe even though my loaf sank (see photo below). I'm attributing this to both the damp weather, and that I made the bread a lot heavier by using so much whole-wheat flour. I will definitely stick closer to the original recipe and use more all-purpose next time. The bread was good, however, and an instant toddler-hit when toasted and topped with cream cheese.

1 1/2 cups less 2 Tblsp of warm water
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp salt
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup natural bran
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 tsp dry active yeast

Place all ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order listed. Cook on the 'whole wheat' setting for a 2 Lbs loaf.

Dill Potato Salad

Prompted by this recipe, I used the dill in this week's produce pack to make a potato salad to take to a BBQ tonight. It was cool, fresh, and just what I was looking for.

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 very small onion, diced
2 Tblsp fresh dill, trimmed finely
3 Tblsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until barely fork tender. Drain, and allow to cool completely. Combine all remaining ingredients to form a vinaigrette. Once potatoes are cool, toss with vinaigrette to coat. Chill before serving.

Turnip Puff

I spotted this recipe in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Cookbook when I made my veggie samosas. I saved it, thinking ahead to the CSA that we joined for the summer and knowing that I didn't have enough ideas to eat our way through a box of turnip, should it arrive.
This recipe was easy and can be frozen before cooking. It reminded me of a souffle when it was piping hot from the oven. It would make a great (unique) side dish instead of your traditional (watery) mashed turnip. We'll definitely be calling on this recipe should our CSA be turnip-rich!

3 cups hot mashed turnip
3 Tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
dried bread crumbs and butter for the top

Combine turnip, butter, and beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly until butter is completely melted. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper, and salt. Mix well. Spread into a buttered casserole dish. Top with dried bread crumbs and paprika, and dot with butter. Bake for 25 minutes a 375'.

As a total side note: My son's doctor recommended turnip when he had some...ahem...digestive issues as a baby. He said: "Forget prunes. Turnip is the way to go!"

Killer Fried Rice

One of our favourite treats for a night in is "it's not take-out" sweet and sour pork. I've gradually been trying to make the best fried rice to go with it, and I think I nailed it last night. It's simple, easy, delicious, and while it was great with the saucy pork, it was stood well on its own. This will be my new go-to recipe!

1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 1/2 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp hoisin sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (reduce if you are serving with a spicy stir fry)

Cook 1/2 cup of rice according to package directions (to yield 2 servings), and set aside. In a non-stick pan or with a touch of oil, saute green onions until slightly softened (1-2 minutes). Add cabbage and stirfry until it is softened and begins to get clear (4 minutes). Add parsley and rice, and stir to coat. Stir periodically to warm rice. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make the sauce. As rice begins to warm, stir in the sauce to coat the rice. Continue to stirfry for 2-3 minutes until hot.

Cool Cucumber Sesame Noodles

My sister made this salad a few weekends ago, and it was an instant hit! It has a really fresh, cool, refreshing flavour. I know this will be a staple for us this summer! We had it last night with our beloved Teriyaki Salmon, and the flavour combination was great. An added bonus? My kids really like it too.

6 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Lb rice vermicelli (I used a 450g box of angel hair last night)
1 English cucumber, julienned
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Whisk together first 5 ingredients to make dressing.

Cook noodles until tender. Rinse and drain very thoroughly.

Toss noodles with cucumber and green onion. Combine with dressing.

Vegetable Samosas

I updated my Facebook status yesterday, saying that I was excited about the samosas I made. I got loads of comments asking for the recipe, so here you go!

The original recipe is from this cookbook from the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. (Page 3, for all my family that has the book) I always find it so much fun to go through a compilation cookbook like this, because there is always such a wide-range of recipes included. This one (or my interpretation) is definitely my favourite so far!

2 C flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 C plain yogurt

1 C potatoes, cubed
1 C sweet potato, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne 
1/4 tsp salt

1 C frozen peas

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add yogurt, and stir well. Begin kneading, adding more flour as needed, and form a ball. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.

Boil potatoes until almost fork-tender. Drain. In a pot over medium heat, combine oil, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, curry, and salt. Cook until the onion starts to soften, then add the peas and cook until heated. Remove from heat and stir in potatoes.

On a floured surface, divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle, and place 2 Tbsp of filling on each one. Dampen inside edge of dough circle with a wet finger, and fold into a half-moon. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Place on a greased baking pan, and brush tops sparingly with oil (approximately 1 tsp of oil between all 12 samosas). Bake at 425` for 15 minutes. Flip samosas and reduce temperature to 350` for an additional 15 minutes.

I made my samosas several hours before I planned to serve them. To compensate for reheating, I only cooked them at 350` for 10 minutes before cooling on wire racks. To reheat, I placed the wire rack on a baking sheet, and placed in a 350` oven for an additional 10 minutes just before serving.

Here is the lovely filling. It smelled amazing! I had to chase my husband (fork in hand) away from the pot more than once.

Here they are, before they hit the oven. The little bundles totally reminded me of making eggrolls .

And here are the samosa, before the last 10 minutes, so they browned a little more before serving.

I will definitely be trying this recipe again soon, and try some different combination for the filling. Lots of possibilities! Enjoy - and let me know how you make out.

*Edited to add that I just did some math, and these delicious little guys are only 2 weight watcher's points each!*

Roasted Chickpeas

I spotted roasted chickpeas here, and knew I'd like them. They were chunchy, nutty, and flavourful - and quickly turning into my new favourite snack.

(PS: At my local Shoppers Drug Mart, Yves Organic Chickpeas are on a price freeze for $0.79 until July. I'm not sure if it's chain-wide, but worth checking out.)

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin

Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast @ 425` for 15 minutes. Shuffle the chickpeas on the pan, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove chickpeas from oven, and lower temperature to 400`.

Combine oil, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Again, spread chickpeas in a single layer on the baking sheet, and roast for an additional 15 minutes until crunchy.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

I never thought that I could like broccoli this much.

This recipe is from Ina Garten, though I saw it here first. It wasn`t even in our menu plan, but we had a head of broccoli left over from the previous week`s groceries, and it was `use it or chuck it` day. I didn`t even have all the ingredients - my broccoli is without pine nuts and basil - but it was still amazing. A strong word to use to describe broccoli!

I wouldn`t worry too much about the measurements in this recipe. Just start with whatever amount of broccoli you have, and eyeball everything else as you add it. (Frankly, when have I ever been worried about exact measurements before?!)

4 to 5 pounds broccoli (approx 8 cups of florets)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

Cut the broccoli into long florets. Place broccoli on a baking pan in a single layer. Toss garlic over broccoli and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 425` for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some florets are browned.

Remove from oven and toss immediately with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve immediately.

This is a `the battery died as I was taking it` picture, so I apologize that doesn`t show it off better. Don`t judge it by the photo - Just make it. You will see that I`m not exaggerating! (And if you, like me, don`t have pine nuts or fresh basil in the house - don`t worry about it! Make it anyway. It was delicious anyway!)

Tortellini Spinach Tomato Soup

Quick, healthy, easy, and inexpensive. What else do I have to say? Oh, right: YUM! This soup taste simple and fresh, and is quite filling with the pasta.

I chose this recipe (one from my "to try in 2010" list) for a Monday night because it makes a large enough quantity to have it a couple of times throughout the week. I had it for supper last night, and Josh and I both had it for lunch today, and there is still oodles in the fridge. I'll be making it again before winter (ie: soup season) is through! The only thing I am going to try differently next time is to use crushed tomatoes in place of diced. Both are suggested in the original recipe, though I only had diced on-hand. I assume it will change the texture and colour of the soup, but I'll repost and let you know!

1 Onion, chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, Minced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (900ml) cartons of vegetable stock
1 (454g) bag of tortellini, frozen or fresh
8 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, if desired

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions in a little olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add tomatoes and broth. increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package instructions (about 9 minutes). When tortellini has about a minute left to cook, add the spinach. Stir, allowing spinach to wilt. Season with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste.

Potato Slabs

I love potato skins, but the prep time is often a little much: Bake the potatoes, cool the potatoes, slice the potatoes, scoop the potatoes, fill the potatoes, bake the all gets a little monotonous and a little time consuming. I was so excited to find Amber's potato slabs prior to the Superbowl. They have the same great taste as my traditional potato skins, but take a fraction of the time. I have made them a couple of times since initially trying them for Superbowl, and they met rave reviews each time. Most recently, I cooked the potatoes in the afternoon, then topped them like nachos and baked again once Josh and I were settled down to watch The Office. What an awesome snack! (To any local folks, they were like Ale House Kettle Chips, without the guilt of eating something fried.)

Russet potatoes, cut into 1/4" slices
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/3 cup marble cheddar cheese
5 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
Green onions, finely chopped
Sour cream, if desired for serving

Place potatoes on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook for 30 minutes @ 375'. Flip potatoes over, season again, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and top with bacon, onion, and cheese. Return to oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Pictured are our "nacho potato slabs", where I used different veggies: red onion, green pepper, and tomato