Corn & Jalapeño Saute

This simple side dish was included in one of my eMeals Simple Gourmet dinners months ago. It became an instant favorite and is now one of my go-to side dishes for Mexican food.

Ingredients:

16 oz bag of frozen corn

1 -2 jalapeños, stem and seeds removed, diced

2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Defrost corn in the microwave.
  2. Add butter and chopped jalapeno to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pepper pieces are tender.
  3. Add corn and cook for several minutes until excess moisture is evaporated and corn kernels begin to brown.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

This is a simple side dish that goes well with roasted meats. I like to serve this with my Roasted Chickens because it’s just as easy and can be put in the oven about 45 minutes before the chickens are done.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes #sidedish #potatoes

Ingredients:

2 pounds of fingerling potatoes, any color

2-3 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Wash potatoes thoroughly to remove dirt/sand. Pat dry.
  2. Place potatoes on a heaving baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Shake pan to coat.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt and cook until tender, up to 45 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.

Notes:

  • My local store carries several varieties of fingerlings in ready to grab bags like the one shown below.
  • To jazz it up a bit, add freshly chopped herbs like parsley, rosemary or thyme to the potatoes before cooking.
  • You could also use a flavor-infused olive oil, such as garlic olive oil.

 

bagged fingerling potatoes #sidedish #potatoes

These grab and go bags make it easy to pick the right size potatoes and come in fun color combinations!

Rice Pilaf

Did you know that you can make rice pilaf at home without a box of Rice a Roni? Yep, it’s actually very easy. I had never made it before but had an idea of what the process would be. I was very pleased with how it turned out and it was a hit with my husband who is a pilaf fan!

Homemade Rice Pilaf

That’s one more prepackaged food gone from my pantry! I’ve already done away with pancake and biscuit mixes. I try not to use boxed cake mix unless I’m in a real time crunch. I’m finding that keeping a well stocked pantry makes it easy to make most everything from scratch.

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain white rice (I used Basmati)

3 TBSP  orzo pasta

1 TBSP butter

1 TBSP vegetable oil

1/4 cup minced onion

1 bay leaf

2 cups water

1 TBSP chicken bouillon paste

1 TBSP dried parsley flakes

Directions:

  1. Heat butter and oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add rice and orzo and cook until lightly browned.
  2. Add onion and bay leaf, stir until onion is translucent.
  3. Add water, bouillon and parsley; stir until well combined.
  4. Allow to come to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover.
  5. Cook for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Notes:

  • I think I will add a little minced fresh garlic next time, when adding the onion.
  • If you don’t have Better Than Bouillon paste, a cube of bouillon would work fine.
  • You could use chicken broth instead of water for a stronger chicken flavor.

Broccoli Casserole

Broccoli casserole is a great addition to your holiday meals or a unique potluck dish. This recipe is based on a dish my mother-in-law makes. It’s a nice change from the ordinary green bean casserole for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Don’t be frightened when you see the ingredients–canned cheese is for more than just snack crackers! I was skeptical as first too, but it tastes delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cube of butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 box seasoned croutons

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 ½ – 2 pounds broccoli florets

1 can Easy Cheese, American or Cheddar flavor

 

Directions:

  1.  In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter and add chopped onions. Cook until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the croutons and cook until most of the butter is absorbed. The croutons will brown a little.
  3. Add broccoli and cover. Cook for a few minutes, just to soften broccoli slightly. Remove from heat.
  4. In a 9×13″ casserole dish begin by spreading a thin layer of soup in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add broccoli mixture. Dollop on more soup. Spray on Easy Cheese in an even layer. Repeat.
  6. When finished, press down into pan gently.
  7. Cook at 350° for one hour or until casserole is bubbly and heated through in center. Or, if making ahead cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Cook the following day at 350° for up to two hours, or until heated through.

Step By Step Photos

 

Melt butter, saute onion and croutons.

 

Add broccoli, cook slightly.

 

Layer broccoli, soup, cheese. Repeat.

 

Cook until bubbly and center is heated through.

 

Mexican Cabbage Salad

mexican cabbage salad

I’m calling this dish Mexican cabbage Salad because I don’t know what the real name is (if there is one). When Paul and I lived in the San Joaquin Valley of California (in the center of the state, away from the coast) the Mexican restaurants there would serve this type of dish. It’s normally served in a little bowl in addition to the salsa for dipping with chips. We never see it here on the Central Coast. We did a little experimenting and came up with a mixture that comes pretty close.

This cabbage mix is great as a dip for chips, a topping on carne asada tacos, or filling in burritos. It’s best to allow the mixture to chill at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the full flavor to develop.

Ingredients

1 small cabbage, finely chopped or grated

1-2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Chop or grate cabbage (I like to use the food processor with the grater blade) into fine pieces.
  2. Add chopped tomato, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well to combine and allow to chill 30 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep a short time (1-2 days) in the refrigerator.

Zucchini & Tomatoes

This is a super simple side dish using only a few ingredients. The canned tomatoes provide most of the seasonings and give it zesty Italian flavor in minutes. I like to use this as a quick side dish for barbecued steak or chicken. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4-5 small zucchini

1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian recipe stewed tomatoes

2 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp coarse ground garlic powder

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice zucchini into thin rounds, 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
  2. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat on medium-high.
  3. Cook zucchini several minutes until zucchini become tender. Season with garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Add canned tomatoes including liquid.
  5. Simmer until heated through and zucchini are fully cooked.

Quinoa with Tomato & Basil

Do you know quinoa? It’s a grain from South America that is becoming popular in the US. It can be used in place of rice or couscous for added protein. In fact, it contains all nine essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein. It cooks quickly, usually in 10-15 minutes and has a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Quinoa can be seasoned simply with olive oil or butter and salt, or mixed with a variety of vegetables and herbs for fun flavors.

The photo at left is a quinoa dish my mom prepared for us when I was visiting. She made it as a side for some beautiful grilled salmon. She cooked it in water until tender, then added chopped fresh tomato and basil, and seasoned lightly with salt. It was simple and tasty!

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, go for it! Quinoa is available at many grocery stores, Target and Costco. For more recipe ideas check out the Top 20 most popular recipes for quinoa on allrecipes.com.