Archive of ‘Sides’ category

Chicken Milanese with Spicy Tomato Peach Salad

I find the best inspiration for cooking isn’t found in endless recipe searches on the Internet nor through a quick scroll through Pintrest. Going to the market and seeing what’s in season really gets my wheels turning. It’s like I’m a contestant on Chopped but without the stressful time limit. I have a few basic recipes in my head that I can alter to whatever I’m feeling for that day. I don’t need to get my Iphone greasy by trying to read a recipe as I go. This is cooking from the soul, my friends. (more…)

Chicken Milanese is an Italian classic that leaves you with a blank canvass with what to place next to it. To keep it on the lighter side, a salad seems to be the best option. I love combining sweet with savory so this Chicken Milanese with Spicy Tomato Peach Salad was a no brainer. Make sure your tomato and peach are perfectly ripe and you got yourself a show stopper. Spicy frisee pulls all of the elements together. Did I mention this is incredibly quick? Oh and butter.

Our chicken breasts are traditionally breaded and cooked in some olive oil and butter for good measure.

While our chicken cooks, our salad is combined. Capers are necessary here. Look at that cute peach peeking through. I’m soooooo glad it’s (almost) Summer!

I also pan-fried some prosciutto for one last crunch. So glad I did! A lot of people don’t enjoy prosciutto but when you fry it, its flavor changes. Check it out! I know there are a few more steps I didn’t picture but this recipe is very easy and ideal for a hectic week. Happy dinner or lunch making!

Crispy Kale Caesar

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Doesn’t food taste so much better when it’s pretty? This curly kale caesar kept making bedroom eyes at me with its adorable little curves and crannies that were just begging to be filled with a smoky, tangy caesar dressing and delicately topped with fresh parmesan curls. Placing this delicacy underneath the hot broiler was the least I could do and in return, it gave me a perfectly charred, slightly salty, cheesy appetizer with no fuss. Kale is perfect for this recipe because it holds up while being broiled. Romaine would have been nice too, but would need a different approach when preparing, such as cut into quarters instead of separating the individual leaves. I like to add a light sprinkling of smoked paprika to my dressing for an extra flavor element. We loved this “salad” as an introduction to our pizza dinner and cannot wait to give it another go! A fun little hint: instead of broiling your kale, you could also grill it after brushing it with the dressing. ‘Tis the season!

Look at those webs of cheese!

Herbed Feta Mini Peppers

The Winter time barely allows for anything fresh to pass through my pantry doors. Stuffing vine-ripened tomatoes is a dream when it’s the dead of winter and we still have a few months until those delicacies are back in season. Instead, I decided to stuff mini sweet peppers with an herbed feta mixture for a light appetizer. You only need a few to set off the hunger pains, as you wait for the main dish. Double the recipe for a party appetizer!

Fancy Sprouts

I need to get something off of my chest. I’m not a huge brussel sprout fan. Yes, I have tried cooking them smothered in bacon. Yes, I have tried braising them in a yummy mustard and white wine sauce. It doesn’t matter what yummy concoction brussel sprouts are a part of for me because I can always taste that bitter brussel sprout flavor. So I decided to amp up my sprout game, mainly because I need easy, pretty, yummy side dishes to serve in the winter time. Brussel sprouts are green so they trick me into thinking it’s Summer. Well played, brussels, well played… (more…)

At first, I wanted to call this dish Christmas Sprouts because they remind me of the perfect side dish to go with that Christmas beef tenderloin or honey-glazed ham. They also have green and red hues going on, making me feel extra Christmasy inside. Alas, I decided to keep it neutral. Not everyone is as obsessed with Christmas as me and I need to accept it’s only 11 short months away. So let me tell you about these sprouts. They are crispy, tangy, salty (in a very good way), briney, with a little bit of sweet. So much flavor going on but the sprouts aren’t being hidden, they are being elevated. Even if you aren’t a fan like me, try these! They won’t last long on your table! Onward!

We start with simple, yet stunning ingredients! Red bell pepper, minced garlic, capers, brussel sprouts, salami, and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. I think we are ready to start the easiest yet most beautiful side dish ever. Don’t you think?

Our sprouts are tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We roast them to bring out their natural sweetness. A little sweetness never hurt nobody! I like to cut off the bottom stems altogether when I quarter them. Some leaves will fall but I like it that way!

As our brussels are cooking, we can move on to the other ingredients for a bit. We sauté the red pepper until soft then add our fragrant garlic and briney capers. You could totally pile this on a steak and call it a night but I promised you a side dish so a side dish you shall receive. Let’s keep moving!

Beautiful! These sprouts are ready to be spruced up another notch! You could collect the leaves and eat them as chips but I like the flavor and crunch they add to this dish! Rule number 1 of the kitchen: DO WHAT YOU WANT!

The salami strips are lightly fried in olive oil to make them crunchy! Also, pan frying them makes their flavor deepen past the saltiness we all know and love. These make a great snack, FYI! Set these aside to be used as the topping. Oh and don’t burn yourself!

And always serve your brussels on a pretty plate. Pretty plates make the world go round. You can quote me on that. Make these! Enjoy these! Happy sprouts making!

Maple Bacon Drop Biscuits

We just got back from the most Christmasy (only a word this time of year) experience in Williamsburg, Virginia. I will fill you in with cozy details later but after this weekend, I need to go on a no carb, no sugar, no fun detox. Of course, I will probably only make it to the no carb part but at least that’s something! I thought a warm, salty sweet biscuit would be the perfect start to this detox. Just kidding! I totally made this biscuit for Thanksgiving but wanted to save the recipe for you until a time like now. So, as you’re enjoying these amazing biscuits, I’ll be over here downing my salmon spinach salad in hopes of getting rid of this Christmas bloat before the actual Christmas bloat gets here. Wish me luck! And enjoy these delectable, easy biscuits! (more…)

Our ingredient line up:

Bacon, fresh thyme, flour, nutmeg, maple syrup, baking powder and soda, sugar, cold, cold butter, and salt for good measure.

All of our dry ingredients are thrown in first and whisked together. I always thought biscuit making was so much harder than this. We got this!

Our butter is broken up with our bare hands then the cream is added. The dough comes together fast! I like fast, especially if it means I’ll be eating a biscuit faster.

These lovelies are baked until golden perfection. We drizzle some maple syrup on them and we are done! These are perfect for brunch or alongside your Christmas ham but they are absolutely divine all by themselves! Don’t let intimidation stand before you and this yummy biscuits! They are all butter and bacon so really, what could go wrong? No one ever complained about their biscuits being too delicious! Happy biscuit making!

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

You know how you always have an opened can of chipotle peppers in adobo hanging out in your fridge and you don’t know what to do with them? Oh you aren’t addicted to them like I am? Got it. Well, how about we throw them peppers into our cranberry sauce this holiday? Crazy. I might be. Lost my mind. A little. But when you are munching on that after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with all the fixins’ and this chipotle cranberry sauce is the perfect condiment, you’ll be thanking my craziness. (more…)

There’s something magical about making your own cranberry sauce. It’s super festive and comforting. Your house smells like Christmas and you have control over what you want out of your cranberry sauce. Do you like it tart? Or sweeter than sweet? Maybe a little citrus boost? I opted for a little smokey with a little sweet. This cranberry sauce isn’t spicy by any means but has a little smokey kick to it. Perfect!

I think this is my favorite color scheme ever.

We got fresh cranberries (what beauties!), water, orange and lemon zest, sugar (I like mine sweet!), fresh orange juice, and the black sheep of the recipe: a chipotle pepper.

Everything is thrown into a pot and cooked down. The cranberries will pop creating the thick jelly-like sauce we all know and love (but not my husband). I like my cranberry sauce best cold and slathered on a croissant with butter. Or I wouldn’t judge you for adding a smidge of mayo for the best turkey sandwich condiment. This cranberry sauce would be perfect atop a brie wheel covered in puff pastry and baked to ooey gooey goodness. OR if you want to take a walk on the wild side, bake up your favorite batch of brownies and swirl this sauce in before they bake. Instead of a turkey sandwich, you could make enchiladas instead with the same ingredients and this cranberry sauce would be the perfect accompaniment. Whatever you choose to do with it, I hope you enjoy it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving loves!

Cheddar Chive Drop Biscuits

I was always the kid at any holiday table who would load their plate up with all the rolls and bread topped with salty butter before I even touched my turkey and gravy. What can I say? I love my bread and butter. The rolls were never homemade, always the store bought kind and I never demanded anything more. Growing up, I would hear of what my friends would have at their Thanksgiving table and I would think it was peculiar. Homemade biscuits, croissants, parker house or clover leaf rolls. Even recently, I’ve been okay with leaving the rolls to Giant’s bakery since no one really cared otherwise. (more…)

Most of us don’t include the bread portion of our Thanksgiving meal when we are making the meal from scratch or mostly from scratch. It’s too much to think about. Buying envelopes of yeast seems like a chore (or that’s just me), and getting flour all over my kitchen isn’t as exciting as getting butter splatters everywhere. Well, my friends, these biscuits will change your entire opinion on the latter. Drop biscuits are easy, no muss, no fuss, and turn out delectable every single time. They are just a simple combination of the 3 main food groups: flour, butter, and heavy cream. I made 2 kinds of biscuits for you but I’ll save the other one for after Thanksgiving. These Cheddar Chive biscuits are fluffy, buttery, salty, and have a slightly smokey flavor due to the paprika. Since you need cold butter to make these biscuits, you don’t need to wait around for the butter to soften, allowing these to be made in a pinch! I hope you venture out and try these lovelies!

Our ingredient line up:

Butter, chives, heavy cream, white cheddar, garlic powder, paprika, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

We mix our dry ingredients then add the butter. Butter is broken down then we add our cheese and chives.

Our cream makes for a sticky dough and we use a measuring cup to make the “drop” biscuits. I used 1/2 cup measuring cup and it made large biscuits. If you want them smaller, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Bake and that’s it! Get ready for your kitchen to smell amazing!

This recipe makes HUGE biscuits, perfect for Thanksgiving dinner and sandwiches for leftovers! These biscuits are best served hot but can keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Confession: I might have made a bacon and egg sandwich on these suckers last night. No regrets! Happy biscuit making!

French Onion Mashed Potatoes

‘Tis the season of casseroles. We all have our dirty cookbook pages marked, begging to be opened and rediscovered because everyone just has to have YOUR green bean casserole or we have our unrealistic attempts of “something new this year” bookmarked on our laptops. Oh and don’t even get me started on the pies. As overwhelming as creating a memorable holiday can be, it’s good to have a game plan and here is your play by play for Thanksgiving….sike. I agree it’s helpful to have a game plan but unfortunately we live in a world of unpredictable chaos that can either make or break your day. That’s a lot of pressure for said game plan! My go to recipes are ones I can easily prepare the day or night before and all they need is a simple trip to the oven. Now, I understand some recipes would be hard to make the day before or even become not so appealing (I’ve made mac and cheese for 5 years in a row now for 10+ people so I get it) but maybe our chopping, slicing, and dicing can be done the night before just so you don’t accidentally hurt yourself on the big day. Not a sermon, just a thought. (more…)

You probably think that I’m some kind of mashed potato guru or that Thanksgiving day is my Olympics but let me let you in on a little secret: this was my second time making mashed potatoes…ever. In all seriousness, mashed potatoes have scared me and I always sucker my wonderful sister-in-law into making them. Pathetic I know. I decided to brave these taters and I’m oh so glad I did! I love french onion soup so I wanted to really stick to those simple but hearty elements of the soup. Meaty, dark onions, crusty croutons, and a gloriously cheesy topping. These potatoes were easy, cheesy, creamy and perfect for any Thanksgiving table!

Our ingredient line up:
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From Top Left to Right: Butter, onions, heavy cream, fresh breadcrumbs, garlic, Worchestshire sauce, Gruyere cheese, fresh thyme, beef stock, and golden potatoes.

I didn’t mention brown butter is involved because I wanted to surprise you so SURPRISE! You can’t go wrong here. Embrace the butter. We add our heavy cream, fresh thyme, and garlic to the brown butter and let it simmer. You could just add this to the mashed potatoes and be done. But why would you want to be done when cheesiness is just around the corner?

But not this corner! Here, we have the “french onion” part. The onions are cooked down and drenched in Worschestshire sauce and beef stock making them nice and meaty. Think French Onion soup here. That is the inspiration after all.

Next, we layer out potatoes. Spread half of the potatoes in a greased casserole dish.

Add onions (making sure that luscious broth is also included), and breadcrumbs (our “croutons” here).

Then top with the nutty Gruyere. Rinse and repeat. Also, indulge every need to snack on the Gruyere as you cook. I always shred just a little bit more than I need for snacking. You’re the cook!

Now, I wanted to show you the delicious layers from this angle. Can you see the broth from the onions seeping into our wonderful potatoes? That’s magic and perfect moisture for our potatoes so they won’t dry out. Just bake this off in the oven.

Serve this hot! Right out of the oven! And I wouldn’t be offended if you added a little gravy from Thanksgiving dinner to these potatoes. Happy tater making!

Curry Fig Sweet Potato Skillet Gratin

Cozy weather calls for cozy food. That is an absolute fact. I use sweet potatoes a lot in the fall and am always trying to revamp them. Not that simply roasting them with rosemary isn’t always enough, because it is, but the sweet potato is hardly a trending item on everyone’s menu. I thought up this recipe when I was really craving a gratin, a dish that’s usually covered in cream and topped with cheese, and/or breadcrumbs and is baked in the oven. The traditional gratin is thinly sliced potatoes, cooked in cream, and baked until golden brown. The sweet potato works really well with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices; I dabble with a spiced sweet potato hash now and then. I’ve also had curry sweet potato fries before so I knew the flavor pairings would be a match made in Heaven. I was actually afraid the whole thing would be too sweet but with the warm spice of the garam masala, coriander, and cayenne, this needs to be a side dish at your next dinner party. Plus, serving it in a skillet makes for a great presentation. See, dinner parties are easy! I just did most of the work for you. Onward! (more…)

Our cozy ingredient line up (get used to the word cozy, I’m obsessed):

From Top Left to Right: Fig jam, spice mixture of nutmeg, garam masala, ground ginger, coriander, and cayenne, curry powder, sweet potatoes, cream (I give you permission to use coconut milk if you wish), and parsley. Totally easy ingredients.

First, we make our curry cream. That either gets you excited or it totally disgusts you. Give it a healthy stir!

This dish is all about layering. A little sweet potato, a little cream, a little spice, a little jam. The sweet potatoes are smiling at you.

We layer until the sweet potatoes are submerged. This isn’t submerged so I had to add a little more cream. I adjusted the recipe accordingly. I will admit the jam looks a leetle weird but once it’s baked, it transforms. Have a little faith in the process! PS. When heated over the stove with a little bit of water, the fig jam is a great sauce for pork or chicken.

Our gratin is baked until tender and bubbling. Bubbling should be the result of every recipe when cooking in the Fall. I wanted to give you an up close and personal shot of this gratin. The curry powder makes it a pretty yellow color.

Add a little parsley and we are in business! There is so much flavor going on here! I’m tempted to make this for Thanksgiving.

I wanted you to see the gratin in action. It’s so creamy and comforting, it’s perfect for a cozy (there I go again!) dinner at home…with friends…and wine. Happy gratin making!

Late Summer Salad

I like to think that at the end of a season, a better one awaits. There shouldn’t be mourning from one season to another, for we don’t know what the new season might bring. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way but transitions can be tough. Along with a new season, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear are close behind. Luckily, for me, the only major transitions right now are the seasons changing and the company I work for is moving to a new location. Both transitions are very much welcomed but I know that’s a gift. Here’s to making the best of transitions. (more…)

Ok, enough with my philosophical rant. I guess that’s what happens when I blog right before bedtime. But seriously, I love the Autumn and all that it brings. Lately, it feels like Summer doesn’t want to let go and Autumn isn’t telling her she should. With that stubborn attitude comes confusion in the kitchen. Do I roast a chicken or make a fresh salad? Do I grill or throw together that pumpkin pasta I couldn’t resist just leaving alone on the shelf? I’m very confused but one thing I know is that it’s definitely not the time for chili just yet. This salad is for those of you, like me, who love the vibrant flavors of the Summer but long for the coziness of Fall. The fennel and apple make this salad super fresh and help balance the acidity of the vinaigrette. Plus, did I mention honeyed goat cheese? No? Honeyed goat cheese.

Here is our late harvest ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Extra virgin olive oil, red onion, apple, (I used Honeycrisp for a sweeter flavor but if tart is more your thing, Granny Smith will do just fine), fennel, lemon juice, arugula, dried cherries, shaved brussels sprouts, rosemary, Dijon, honeyed goat cheese, and apple cider vinegar.

I call this piece Controlled Chaos. We throw all of our ingredients that are not being used for the vinaigrette into a bowl. Save the goat cheese for last because it will dissolve if added in too soon. We admire this beauty and then move onto our vinaigrette.

Our vinaigrette is all sass. It’s tangy and with the rosemary, it has that subtle lemony herb flavor. We pour it over our greens and toss. Don’t add the goat cheese yet!

Sprinkle the goat cheese over individual servings or better yet, crumble the goat cheese and let your guests add it to their salad. It adds a wonderful sweetness that brings it all together. Side note: If you can’t find honeyed goat cheese, just add honey to your non-honeyed goat cheese. This isn’t a “good bye Summer” salad; it’s more of a “it’s been real Summer, now I’m going to hang with your friend Fall” kind of salad. Happy salad making!

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