Tag Archives: side dish

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

25 Nov

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes 2
Need a quick, last minute sweet potato recipe for Thursday? Well, I have the perfect recipe for you. These are so unbelievably good and really easy too. It’s always nice to have something simple to throw together when you have a million other things going on.

Another added bonus, I always have all these ingredients on hand so they would be a great side dish on a busy weeknight too. Make them. Enjoy them.
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes 1
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
recipe from Martha Stewart

8 medium sweet potatoes (5 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1/3 cup pecan pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel sweet potatoes and slice  into 1/2-inch thick coins then cut each in half. Toss with olive oil and salt and lay in single layer on two baking sheets.

2. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven then sprinkle each pan evenly with the butter, brown sugar and pecans. Return to the oven and bake for 8 minutes.


Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

9 Oct

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
You know what’s weird? Having to tell your child that he’s eating mashed broccoli because if he knew there was potatoes involved he would have nothing to do with them. Yep, a four year old that doesn’t eat potatoes…not even fries. Sometimes I wonder if he’s really my child.
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
These broccoli mashed potatoes are light yet flavorful. The sour cream adds a nice tang and the onions bring flavor to a dish that would otherwise be bland. I added a bit of parmesan to help sell these to the oldest member of the family, yes the almost 30 year old.
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

I served these alongside some crispy baked pork chops (I’ll share that recipe later this week) for the perfect, healthy fall meal.

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
recipe adapted from Everyday Light Meals

1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes, skin on and cubed
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
1/2 onion, shredded
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop broccoli florets and some stem into small pieces. After 10 minutes, add broccoli to potatoes and cook another 10 minutes.

2. In a saute pan, melt butter and cook onion until soft and slightly browned. Drain potatoes and broccoli then put back in the pan. Add onions, sour cream, parmesan, salt and pepper and mash together until smooth.

Thai Sweet Chili Broccoli

22 Apr

Easter with my loves
Did you all have a wonderful Easter? We spent the weekend with my parents enjoying the gorgeous weather, partaking in Easter egg hunts, church and a big dinner with some of our favorite people.
Excited about her basket

He was most excited about the $1 jump rope…figures.
A $1 jump rope? Yesss!

Me and my favorite boy.
Easter Egg Hunt with my boy

Sweet little chickie in her Easter basket.
Hannah in her basket.
Because Easter marks the end of Lent, that meant I got to feast on all kinds of naughty things that I haven’t had in months. Like peanut butter bars, cucumber dip, mac-n-cheese, corn casserole and a cherry coke or two. Needless to say, I felt very sick afterward.

During my 40 days of eating clean, I found that I had more energy and generally felt so much better. So, the plan going forward is to eat clean 5 days a week and the other two to still eat healthy but not so restrictive. Since starting a healthier lifestyle at the New Year, I’ve lost 30 pounds and would love to continue on that path.
Stir-Fried Broccoli
The only problem with healthy eating is that there aren’t a ton of vegetables that I love so the routine can get old kind of fast. I’m pretty sure I’ve professed before that broccoli is one of my favorite foods and I eat it several times a week. Joel doesn’t enjoy it as much as me so I have been on the hunt for different ways to prepare it rather than just serving it steamed as I usually do. When I came across this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Café I knew it would be a hit with everyone.

Tender crisp, charred broccoli tossed in a slightly thickened sweet Thai chili sauce is the perfect side dish to grilled chicken and a bit of brown rice. You have to try this! It’s quickly become a staple in our dinner routine.

Thai Sweet Chili Broccoli
recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 cups broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

For the sauce:
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
4 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 Tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cornstarch

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli and cook until the broccoli starts to brown in spots and turns bright green, making sure to stir often (about 7-9 minutes). Meanwhile, stir together the sauce ingredients.

2. Add garlic to skillet and cook an additional minute. Pour in the sauce and cook an additional minute or two until it thickens and the broccoli is coated.


Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower

26 Mar

Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower
Guess where I’m headed tomorrow? Vegas! It’s time for Joel’s annual work “retreat” where they work for a couple days then all the significant others come and have a fun filled 3 day weekend. I’m kind of excited and kind of freaking out. This is the first time I am leaving Hannah and I know she will be fine but a mama never stops worrying. She’s definitely a mama’s girl and sometimes she wants me and only me. Haha, good luck mom and dad. Noah was over a year old the first time we left him for a weekend getaway and I thought I was going to vomit the whole 2 hour drive. Breathe Meghan, everything is going to be ok.

Are there any places we need to eat while in Vegas? The only place we have planned is the brunch buffet at the Paris Hotel. And I am totally living it up that meal. I’m talking crepes, bear claws, eggs, waffles. It’s all happening. I fully expect to feel sick since I’ve been eating clean since Lent started but I’m hoping it will be worth it.

Speaking of clean eating…I’ve been struggling with side dishes to our meals. It’s usually just a salad or some kind of steamed vegetable. But when we were at the grocery store the other day I spotted heirloom cauliflower in purple, orange and lime green. I showed Noah and asked him if we should try some and he got very excited and said we should get the orange one. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it (I usually roast it), but it was totally being purchased after seeing how excited he was over a vegetable.
Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower
After thinking a bit, I decided to try my hand at smashed cauliflower. A lot of the recipes I found added cream cheese which sounds amazing but just wasn’t going to happen. Since there wasn’t much I could add to gain that creamy texture, I decided to add lots of flavor instead. Cooking the cauliflower in chicken stock and adding a whole head of roasted garlic definitely fit the bill. It’s a light, flavorful side dish that’s just as fun to eat as it is to look at.

Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower (I used an heirloom orange cauliflower), cut into florets
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 head roasted garlic
Salt and pepper

Place cauliflower and chicken stock in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender (most of the stock will be gone). Mash cauliflower in pot, if you have a lot of stock left, drain some out. Add in parmesan cheese and roasted garlic and continue to mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly

12 Mar

Perfect Brown Rice
Thanks to Our Best Bites, I have found the perfect way to cook brown rice. Seriously, I will never cook it another way. It was everything I never knew brown rice could be. It even got the stamp of approval from Joel so that’s saying something.

The rice came out light and fluffy with an amazing texture. I always seem to undercook brown rice and it ends up crunchy and unappetizing. But not anymore. After making the rice, I added lime zest and cilantro to make cilantro lime rice so that’s what the green specks are in the photo. I forgot to snap pictures beforehand.
Perfect Brown Rice
So so so good. I plan on doing this once a week to have brown rice for lunch all week along with some grilled chicken and veggies. Turns out this whole clean eating thing ain’t so bad.

The Perfect Brown Rice
recipe from Our Best Bites

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/3 cups water (you could also use chicken stock for a bit more flavor)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place dry brown rice in an 8×8 pan. Bring water, butter or oil and salt to a boil. Remove as soon as it starts boiling and pour it over the rice. Cover tightly with several layers of foil. Bake for about 1 hour.

2. Remove from oven and carefully remove the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork then cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes. This helps collect the steam rather than it collecting on the foil then falling into the rice when you remove it, making it soggy.

Cheesy Broccoli Bites

24 Jan

Cheesy Broccoli Bites
On our quest for healthier eating, I have been looking for recipes that are lighter but still have enough heft to fill us up and keep the boys happy. I personally love steamed broccoli and would eat it everyday but Joel thinks it tastes like dirt. He is totally for it though when slathered with cheese.

Speaking of cheese and healthy, I don’t know about you but I have never been and never will be down with low fat/fat free cheese. It’s just not right. I would rather have no cheese at all. I’m fine with other light products like sour cream, milk, mayo, even cream cheese or ricotta but cheddar…no way, won’t do it.
Cheesy Broccoli Bites
I’ve had my eye on these cheesy broccoli bites for quite awhile but just never got around to making them until now. And now I’m kicking myself for taking so long to try them. They are a fun, healthy and delicious way to eat your veggies. The cheese melts into gooey goodness and the outside gets crispy.

And they got the approval of both boys. I’m thinking of trying them with cauliflower next time. I have a feeling these will be gracing our table very often.
Cheesy Broccoli Bites
Cheesy Broccoli Bites
recipe adapted from Stacey Snacks
yields 9

8 oz. fresh broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1/2 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 egg white

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients and form patties, 1/4 cup each. Place on parchment.

2. Bake for 12 minutes, flip then bake another 12 minutes.
Cheesy Broccoli Bites

Thanksgiving Roundup

25 Nov

Looking for some last minute additions or recipes for the big day? Here are some yummy breakfast, dessert and side dish recipes that would be perfect for Thanksgiving. I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. And who is going out Black Friday shopping? Some new outlets just opened last week about a half hour from our house so that’s what we are doing…wish us luck. Everyone I know that has gone so far has said it was nuts.

Perfect for starting off the day right, Pumpkin Granola. It’s light and healthy and won’t fill you up too much.
Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Pie Cashews would be the perfect thing to snack on throughout the day.
Pumpkin Pie Cashews

Share what you are thankful for with these Gratitude Rolls.

These slow cooker mashed potatoes free up that precious stovetop space and still create a creamy, decadent side to that juicy turkey.

Maple Glazed Carrots are a super simple yet delicious addition.
Maple Glazed Carrots

Creamy Cheesy Potatoes are so easy and amazingly delicious!
Creamy Cheesy Potatoes

Brined and Roasted Turkey results with the most juicy and succulent bird ever.

Mini Pecan Pies always grace our Thanksgiving table. They are the perfect little bite that leaves a little room for a second dessert!

Apple Streusel Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze is rustic but delicious.
Apple Streusel Cake

Looking for a rich, dense way to end Thanksgiving? Boom, French Silk Pie.
French Silk Pie

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad

2 Sep

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
Happy Labor Day everyone! It has been unbearably hot around here lately. Like heat indexes of 105 degrees and up hot. And the pools are closed so that means I have pretty much locked Noah and myself in the house. It literally feels like stepping into a sauna when you go outside. Luckily, we are supposed to get a bit of a break for the next couple of days. I hope that you all are keeping cool during your holiday celebrations.
Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
I whipped up this Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad for Noah’s birthday but it would be just perfect for the last hurrahs of summer. This salad is packed with hardboiled eggs and relish all swimming in a creamy dressing to make a deviled egg-esque pasta that is just delish.

I changed the recipe a bit by reducing the mayonnaise (and using reduced fat) and upping the relish. It was honestly still incredibly creamy (even leftover the next few days) with a cup less mayo and you all know I love pickles so extra relish shouldn’t surprise you.
Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
I love having different pasta and macaroni salad recipes on hand so that we don’t get bored and we can mix things up all summer. This is definitely a new favorite that has been added to my repertoire.

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
recipe adapted from Cassie Craves

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
2 cups Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2-1 cup dill pickle relish (depending on how pickle-y you like it)

1.Mix together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.

2. Gently fold pasta, eggs and relish into the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until serving (it’s best the next day). Sprinkle with paprika right before serving.

Cheesy Zucchini Pancakes

16 Aug

Cheesy Zucchini Cakes 1
The zucchini in my garden just won’t quit. It’s nice to have homegrown veggies but we are kind of getting tired of it around here. Remind me next year not to plant so many of the darn things. I never imagined 3 plants would yield so many zucchini, I definitely did not have this much success last year in Minnesota. The plants only grew to about 1/4 the size as they did this year and I only got a couple zucchini. Now I know that they really thrive in Nebraska.
Cheesy Zucchini Cakes 3
So, as you can imagine I still have a few more zucchini recipes to share with you all. These cheesy zucchini pancakes are a simple, straightforward and easy side dish.

I love how crispy they get on the outside and that they keep their texture within. They were perfect to enjoy alongside some bbq chicken off the grill.
Cheesy Zucchini Cakes 2
Cheesy Zucchini Pancakes
recipe from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy

1 pound zucchini, about 3 cups shredded
1 medium onion
1 cup panko crumbs (can also use homemade or dried, unseasoned bread  crumbs)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 splashes hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
olive oil for frying

1. In a food processor or with a box grater, grate zucchini and onion. Place in a kitchen towel and squeeze tightly to remove all excess moisture.

2. Dump zucchini/onion into a large mixing bowl and stir in panko, cheese, eggs, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Combine well. If the mixture appears dry, add a bit more egg and if it’s wet, add more panko.

3. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom of the skillet. Once hot, drop  zucchini mixture by 1/4 cup into the skillet. Cook until browned and crispy, 2-3 minutes then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Memorial Day Roundup

24 May

First I want to start off by saying thank you to each and every person, past and present, that has served this country and especially those that have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom. I’ve mentioned before that my dad served in the Air Force for 20 years and I will be forever grateful for that choice that my parents made. I had the privilege to live in some amazing places and meet and become friends with people from all over the world. Through those experiences, I learned to be accepting of all people, to be adaptable, to know that life is much bigger than just me so the world shouldn’t revolve around just me and to always respect men and women in uniform.

I know there is so much I am missing but at the end of the day all I’m trying to say is that my dad’s service and sacrifice sculpted me into a better person than I could ever have been without it. So I hope on Memorial Day (and every day), you can all remember everyone that serves or has served and be thankful for all they do for us. It’s a huge undertaking and deserves the utmost respect.

Here is a list of some great sides, main dishes and desserts that would be perfect for your Memorial Day celebration. Enjoy!
Spring Sangria 3
Spring Sangria
Cucumber Tomato Salad 1
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Smoked Corn on the Cob
Smoked Corn on the Cobb

Juicy Lucy’s (Cheese Stuffed Burgers)
Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Skewers
Coca-Cola BBQ Chicken Skewers

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries
4th of July Funfetti Whoopie Pies
Patriotic Funfetti Whoopie Pies

Red, White and Blue Tie-Dyed Cupcakes


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