Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

…makes a ton of bread dough. I know I am starting to sound redundant, but really. An absolute ton. I finally finished the original batch of dough (remember, this is after an enormous loaf of brioche and a dozen fruit-filled pinwheels) by making a dozen little brioche muffins.

For healthy “muffins” you need:

Start by greasing a muffin pan. Shape your dough into a loose ball by stretching the surface of the dough to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn after each pull.

DSC_0728 Then, divide the dough into 12 equal portions that are about the size of a golf ball. Use the same stretch and pull method to smooth each portion into a ball and place them in your greased muffin tin.


Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap (I used a kitchen towel) and let the dough rest about 40 minutes. Then, heat the oven to 375. Right before you bake, brush the muffins with the egg wash and dust with sugar. Bake the dough in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, until browned and firm. Let the muffins cool a bit before devouring.

DSC_0734We enjoyed these several ways–all by themselves out of the oven, with a bit of butter at breakfast or for dessert, and dipped in our veggie chili at lunch.


One recipe. Fifteen products that we ate and did not feel one ounce of guilt about devouring. All that is to say, this dough is definitely worth your while!


Read Full Post »

…is one of the most wonderful foods on this planet, period.  Make it into mac and cheese, and you have a little (who am I kidding, HUGE) plate of sheer delicious joy.

For gnocchi mac you need:

  • 1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Basil, for garnish

This is a surprisingly simple recipe, too!  One of the most wonderful things about gnocchi is how quickly it cooks.  So, start here, by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt it, and throw in the gnocchi until they begin to float, which only takes about 2 minutes.  Drain the delicious dumplings and place them in a small (1 1/2 quart) baking dish that’s been greased and heat the oven to 375.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook just until it becomes fragrant, then whisk in the flour until it bubbles.  Whisk in the milk and dijon, and continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.  Then, add the cheese by handfuls, stirring until each addition is completely melted.  Season the delicious cheese sauce with your salt and pepper, then pour over the gnocchi.  Top with a bit of parmesan and pop the dish into the oven for about 20 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.

Garnish with basil and be prepared…

…to go to Food Heaven.  I could not be more serious.  Once you make this (and you must, it is not optional), you will never want to return to regular mac and cheese with plain old cheddar and elbow noodles (that is, unless you are eating my aunt’s crockpot mac and cheese, which will also get you in to Food Heaven).  FORGET making mac and cheese out of a box ever again–this stuff is too delicious AND easy.  Try me.


Read Full Post »

…is such a comforting type of food, particularly in the Winter.  Lately, I have been attempting to devise some original recipes, and came up with my own version of a turkey and corn chowder.  We made a batch last weekend, and it is actually pretty tasty!

For my turkey and corn chowder you need:

  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high and cook the onion and garlic until slightly browned and tender.  Knock the heat back to medium and stir in the wine to de-glaze the pan.

Bump the heat back up to medium-high and add the turkey, cooking until almost no pink is left.  Stir in the peppers, adobo sauce, and spices.

Mix in the stock, regular corn, and tomatoes.  Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, until the turkey is finished cooking through.

Finish up by stirring in the creamed corn and cream.  Bring the soup to a bubble, stirring constantly.

We made some delicious spicy broccoli to serve alongside the chowder.  You need:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 chipotle en adobo, chopped
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 1 bunch broccoli, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450.  Beat together the butter, garlic, chipotle pepper, and lime zest/juice.

Toss the broccoli in the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the veggies out on a large baking sheet and roast until they begin to brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Combine the roasted broccoli with the butter mixture until the butter melts.  Place the mixture back into the oven for another 10 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.

Serve a bowl of chowder with spicy broccoli alongside.

This is a great meal to come home to on a cold day!  It is incredibly warm and cozy and simply tastes downright delicious.  Now, I know that broccoli looks absolutely burned and gross.  But, you must trust me–it is absolutely fantastic!



Read Full Post »

…was a completely new experience for me–I had never eaten it until I made Rocco’s version to go with chicken and dumplings.  It is delicious!  Why am I just now jumping on the creamed spinach train?!

For Rocco’s slimmed-down spinach you need:

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 shallots, chopped fine
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 12 oz. spinach
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the garlic and shallots along with salt, pepper, and nutmeg for about 4 minutes, until the onions are tender.

Increase the heat to high and add half the spinach.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Stir the spinach as it wilts, and when there is enough room, add the rest of the greens.  Continue cooking the spinach until it is tender, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the spinach and stir well.  Cook the spinach a bit more until the liquid has thickened a bit, about 1 minute.  Then, take the pan off the heat and stir in the yogurt.  Season with a bit more salt and pepper and the veggies are done.

Spinach has been one of my favorite vegetables for quite awhile, so I am still shocked it took me this long to try/make creamed spinach!  I could eat enough of this stuff to turn into Popeye, I kid you not.  If you already know you love creamed spinach, you must give this a try–the original version has almost 300 calories, and Rocco takes it to less than 100.  You really can’t go wrong!


Read Full Post »

…are a Thanksgiving staple, according to most people.  In fact, Bobby Flay lost his Thanksgiving Throwdown simply because he didn’t make mashed potatoes!  Well, when we had our own after-Thanksgiving/leftover celebration, we made sure not to skimp on the taters and gravy–they are just too good to go without!

For Food Network Magazine’s perfect mashed potatoes you need:

  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • Pepper

Put the potatoes, skins on, in a large pot with just enough cold water to cover.  Salt the water and bring the potatoes to a simmer.  Continue to cook them, uncovered, for 45 minutes (until they are fork-tender).  Drain the potatoes and use a dishcloth or paper towel to rub off the skins.  Add the butter and warmed milk to the potatoes and smash them with a potato masher or fork.  Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper.

For Thanksgiving this year, Schatzi’s sister Megan made a delicious vegetarian gravy that we definitely wanted with our leftovers!  I’m not sure if this is exactly what she found, but it is pretty darn close and is delicious.  You need:

  • 3/4 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the onions and mushrooms just for a minute over high heat.

Knock the heat back to medium and pour in the broth and soy sauce.  Slowly whisk in the flour until it is dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and turn the heat to low.  Then, add the poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, and continue simmering the mixture for 8-10 minutes until it has thickened, stirring often.

Serve a plate of potatoes topped with rich gravy.

I am so glad Megan introduced us to this gravy–it is absolutely delicious!  And, you really can’t go wrong with these mashed potatoes.  When combined, the gravy and potatoes are absolutely unbeatable!


Read Full Post »

…are delicious, but generally require quite the amount of work to make.  We wanted some bread to eat with our turkey leftovers, and luckily, Paula Deen has a fabulous recipe for easy yeast rolls.

For these super-simple rolls you need:

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (98 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1/2 to 1 cup prepared biscuit mix
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Heat the oven to 400.  Be prepared to watch the rolls, as mine did burn on the bottom.  If you have great pans, it shouldn’t be a problem.  I might also try adding a piece of parchment to the baking sheet to see if it helps.  Anyway, dissolve the packet of yeast in the warm water.  Pour 2 1/2 cups of the biscuit mix in a bowl and add the sugar.  Vigorously stir in the yeast.

Sprinkle the dough with 1/2 to 1 cup of the remaining biscuit mix and knead well, 15 to 20 times.  Shape the dough into balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Cover the sheet with a damp towel, put it in a warm place (the laundry room while laundry is running is a great place), and let the dough rise for at least an hour.

When the dough has risen, brush it with the melted butter and place in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

When the rolls come out of the oven, brush them again with melted butter.

Burnt bottoms aside, these rolls are delicious and are sure to be the perfect complement to whatever meal you desire!  We had them with our Thanksgiving dinner, alongside soup and chili, and smothered with honey as a late-night snack.  They are delicious with anything, at any time!  And, as far as bread goes, these are as easy as it gets.


Read Full Post »

…are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with.  They are just so delicious!  For Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, we made Ellie Krieger’s sweet potato-pecan casserole, and I could honestly eat this stuff every day!

For Ellie’s sweet potatoes you need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat the oven to 350 and start boiling some water for the potatoes.  Salt it and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.  Then, just mash in the honey, egg, sugar, and spices, using 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  You can use a potato masher like we did, or, if you would like a smoother texture, whip the potatoes with a hand mixer.

In a separate bowl, mix the pecans with the brown sugar and the other 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.

Pour the potatoes into a greased 9×13 and top with the pecans.  Bake the casserole for 40-45 minutes, until it is nice and brown around the edges, then serve a scoop with your favorite Thanksgiving fixings.

This is a great casserole, and with 160 calories a serving, it is one Thanksgiving side dish you don’t have to feel bad about eating!  But, these sweet potatoes are so good, we will be fixing them throughout the Fall and Winter months–no holiday occasion necessary!


Read Full Post »

…is abundant this time of year, and our house is no exception.  We made Paula Deen’s cranberry salad earlier this week with a few tweaks and it was incredibly tasty!

For Paula’s salad you need:

  • 4-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 3-ounce package black cherry gelatin
  • 6 ounces dried cranberries, rinsed (we used fresh cranberries)
  • 1 cup broken pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Start by draining the pineapple and pouring the juice in a small saucepan.  Add 1/2 cup of hot water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Add it to the boiling liquids and let the mixture cool and begin to set.

Chop the cranberries in a food processor, then add them to the cooled gelatin mixture.  Stir in the pecans and sugar.  Pour the mixture into a small baking dish or mold and refrigerate until the salad is completely set.

When the salad has chilled, cut into squares and serve it up!

This is a delicious cranberry salad!  Using real cranberries adds a nice tart punch, so it isn’t too sweet, as cranberry salad can often be.  Give it a try for Thanksgiving this week!


Read Full Post »

…is one of our favorite foods, and my family has, without a doubt, the best recipe for mac and cheese available on this planet.  We make it in the crock-pot with plenty of cheese and milk and it is about as close to culinary perfection as you can get.

For our family’s crock-pot macaroni and cheese you need:

  • 1 & 3/4 cup macaroni, cooked/drained
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To start, combine the milk, eggs, and butter and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the macaroni and 2 cups of cheese.

Pour the mixture in the crock-pot and top with the rest of the cheese.  Cover the crock-pot and cook on low for 3 hours.  Enjoy!!

Anyone who has eaten a meal with my extended family and had this mac and cheese will tell you it is the best Earth has to offer, hands down!  And, it couldn’t be easier to throw together.  Try it for Thanksgiving this year–it is sure to be a hit!!


Read Full Post »

…combine quite nicely to make a cozy, satisfying dinner.  This weekend, we made RR’s sausage and fish one-pot meal–it is super-easy and delicious!

For this quick fish dinner you need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian hot sausage, casings removed
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 white fish fillets (ours were small, so we used 8 whiting fillets)
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped (we used dried)
  • 1/2 lemon

Heat a tbsp. of oil over medium-high in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the sausage and crumble it as it browns.  Then, toss in the garlic, onions, and potatoes and season the mixture with some salt and pepper.  Mix in half of the wine, cover the skillet, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and place the fish on top of the mixture.  Pour the rest of the wine over the mixture, season with a hint more salt and pepper, and cover the pot again, cooking until the fish is opaque, about 7 minutes.

Top the dish with the parsley, lemon juice, and a drizzle of oil.

We made a tomato-cauliflower mixture from Food Network Magazine to serve with the fish.  You need:

  • 7 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric or dry mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Cilantro, chopped

Simply toss everything but the lemon juice and cilantro together and roast in a 425-degree oven for about 25 minutes.  Then, toss in the lemon juice and cilantro.  Warning: you will want to eat the entire baking sheet!  This stuff is ridiculously tasty.

Serve up a juicy bowl of fish and sausage with the cauliflower and some crusty bread alongside.

Roasted cauliflower, where have you been all of my life?!  And, I had never thought to combine fish and sausage, but I am so glad RR did–this is one delicious, comforting bowl of soup!  And, make sure you serve this fish dinner with bread to mop up the tasty juices–you will be one sad panda indeed if you go without.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »