Category Archives: Side Dishes

Red Beet Hummus

Beets were never on my list of favorite foods as a kid, but I’ve grown to like them. And I especially like that they are so healthy and good for you. I make recipes with beets every so often–probably not as often as I should–and I had the perfect opportunity to make a beet recipe when I received a complimentary package of Gefen’s Vacuum-Packed Beets, which are organic and also pre-peeled, making them very handy and convenient to use.

These beets work great in everything from salads to smoothies. I decided to make Red Beet Hummus. I love trying different hummus recipes and hadn’t tried one with beets yet. I really like this hummus! It doesn’t have a super-strong beet flavor, since it just has about 1 medium-size beet in it. I think the mild beet flavor goes nicely with the other hummus ingredients, and adding beet to the mix makes this hummus so healthy! If you don’t happen to have any Gefen’s beets on hand, you can use precooked beets or roasted beets instead.

RED BEET HUMMUS by NancyC

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of Garbanzo Beans (also called chickpeas)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, cooked (or roasted), peeled red beet (about 1 medium size beet)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove minced garlic (you can use 2 cloves if you want a stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of paprika

Add garbanzo beans, chopped beet, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Puree until mixture is smooth. Add sea salt, pepper, and paprika and blend everything together. Add more seasoning to taste if desired. Serve with crackers or veggies or use as a spread on bread or bagels.

I’ve learned that beets are a great source of of vitamin C, iron, fiber, and essential minerals. I really need to get more beets in my diet! Do you make any dishes with beets?

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Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots

I’ve never been very crazy about raw carrots. But I do like them cooked or roasted. So when I found this recipe for Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots in my review copy of No Excuses Detox, I knew I wanted to make them! As the subtitle says, this book includes 100 recipes to help you eat healthy every day.

Written by Megan Gilmore, No Excuses Detox features recipes that are quick and easy, affordable, and yummy–not the kind of recipes you’d expect to find in a “detox” cookbook. In fact, I was surprised that there are recipes for lots of comfort food-type foods with a healthy twist–like Butternut Mac n’ Cheese, Skillet Breakfast Hash, Speedy Black Bean Burgers, and even Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Lots of great recipes to choose from! But the Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots recipe was calling my name and I had just bought some organic rainbow carrots at Whole Foods, so it was the perfect time for me to try this out.

I used large carrots when I made this, but you can slice your carrots or use baby carrots and if you do, your cooking time will only be about 10 minutes. Since I used large carrots I had to cook mine a little longer. So here’s the recipe–it’s a great way to eat your carrots!

CINNAMON-GLAZED CARROTS from No Excuses Detox

The addition of cinnamon and naturally sweet maple syrup makes these carrots taste like dessert, plus they can be ready in just 15 minutes!–Megan Gilmore

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound baby carrots, sliced carrot coins, or halved large carrots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

In a Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the water, which should start bubbling right away, and lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook the carrots for about 10 minutes, until fork-tender (note: since I used larger carrots, my cooking time was more like 15 to 18 minutes). Check the pot periodically to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate so the carrots don’t burn.

Once the carrots are tender, raise the heat to cook off any excess water, then stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt (adjust seasonings to taste). Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

There are other recipes I want to try in this book. It’s always nice when you can make great-tasting food that’s good for you, too. Do you have some favorite healthy recipes of your own?

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Cheesy Mixed Vegetable Casserole

Cheesy Mixed Vegetable Casserole @NancyC

This past holiday season, I went to a special Christmas lunch where one of the items they served was a vegetable casserole side dish. It was really, really good. One of my co-workers decided to try making one herself and she talked about how good it was. So I finally decided to try my own version of a mixed vegetable casserole and if you like comfort food and cheesy side dishes, then you’ll really like this recipe! I added lots of cheddar cheese and made a crunchy topping that includes crumbled Ritz crackers and those yummy french fried onions. This is a great potluck dish or something your whole family would probably eat up in no time!

CHEESY MIXED VEGETABLE CASSEROLE by NancyC

Makes about 10 servings

  • 1 (19-ounce) bag of frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained (I used Birds Eye Steamfresh® Fresh Frozen Mixed Vegetables)
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed, and drained chopped broccoli (or substitute more corn, peas, or carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced celery ribs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup french fried onions (or you can use 2 cups of french fried onions or 2 cups of Ritz crackers)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9×13″ pan or baking dish; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the thawed mixed vegetables, broccoli, onion, celery, mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, mushroom soup and 2 cups of the shredded cheddar cheese, blending everything together. Spoon into your 9×13″ pan.

Sprinkle the last cup of shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the vegetable mixture. Then combine the crushed Ritz crackers with melted butter, mixing until crumbly, and sprinkle that evenly over the cheese. Last, sprinkle the french fried onions evenly over everything.

Bake at 350˚F, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, and serve.

This casserole is so tasty it really is hard to stop eating it! With all the cheese and toppings, it’s not low-calorie, but it’s nice to indulge in when you’re craving comfort food on a chilly day. And it makes a great side dish for the holidays or any time of the year for that matter. Have you made any comfort-food type dishes this winter?

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Fresh Cranberry Sauce

cranberry-sauce-nancyc

It doesn’t seem possible that Thanksgiving was yesterday! The big meal we all look forward to has come and gone. The turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and countless side dishes and desserts shared with family and friends…it’s all a pleasant memory now, unless you’re still enjoying the leftovers.

in_winters_kitchen_150dpi_rgb_1Most likely, you probably had cranberry sauce as one of the side items on your table or buffet. I was never much of a fan of cranberry sauce as a kid, but I like it now, especially if it’s homemade. As I was reading a review copy of the book In Winter’s Kitchen, by Beth Dooley, I found a recipe for cranberry sauce which I decided I had to try, since I’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce.

In Winter’s Kitchen is not actually a cookbook, although there is a small recipe section at the back of the book. It’s part memoir–the author shares stories of her family’s past Thanksgiving meals and winter meal traditions–and part informational guide to the local food movement Dooley discovered when she relocated years ago from New Jersey to Minnesota. She provides lots of information and insight on the benefits of eating locally–grown, fresh, organic, in-season foods. The book is well-written and very informational if you are wanting to learn more about farm-to-table foods.

I really liked the flavors in this cranberry sauce recipe–it’s sweet, but not too sweet and has a slight cranberry tartness. It’s much, much better than the sauce you buy in a can and it’s so easy to make–so hopefully you’ll get a chance to try it out sometime during the holiday season.

CRANBERRY SAUCE from In Winter’s Kitchen 

Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or orange juice (I used apple cider)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, honey, or maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 maple syrup)

In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries and cider or orange juice to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the berries have popped open, about three to five minutes. Stir in sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

NOTE: The original recipe doesn’t say to do this, but after stirring in the honey and maple syrup, I continued to simmer the mixture an additional 5 minutes, then let it cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools, and then you can transfer the sauce into a small serving bowl.

Not only does this cranberry sauce taste great, it adds a nice touch of tradition to winter meals. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and are having a nice holiday weekend!

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets

popcorn-cauliflower-nuggets-nancyc

This recipe had me at the word “popcorn,” being the popcorn-lover that I am. But it actually doesn’t have anything to do with popcorn; it’s a roasted cauliflower recipe, flavored 61lqkjHsHuL._SX402_BO1,204,203,200_with some spices that really give it some punch–chili powder, cumin, and paprika. I found this recipe in The Quick Six Fix, a cookbook by Stuart O’Keeffe that has 100 easy recipes with six ingredients, six minutes prep time, and six minutes cleanup. That’s my kind of cooking!

The Popcorn Cauliflower Nuggets recipe calls for an 18 x 26″ pan, and the largest size pan I had was 13 x 18,” so I halved the recipe below. I loved the spicy taste of these nuggets! It was hard to stop eating them, they were so tasty. The recipe says it makes 4 to 6 servings, but if you’re really hungry and you really like these, it may just make 2 servings! 🙂

POPCORN CAULIFLOWER NUGGETS from The Quick Six Fix

Serves 4-6

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, broken into popcorn-sized florets
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place a rimmed 26 x 18-inch baking sheet on the center rack in the oven and preheat oven to 425˚F.

Place all florets in a Ziplock bag along with the rest of the ingredients. Shake and toss well to combine. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and empty the bag onto the piping hot baking sheet.

Return the pan to the oven for 25 minutes, or until cauliflower is browned all over.

I liked these cauliflower nuggets more than I thought I would, and I’ll definitely be making them again! What’s your favorite way to fix cauliflower?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Black Bean Avocado Salad

Black Bean Avocado Salad @ NancyC

I’ve been on an avocado kick lately! So I was drawn to this recipe from the new cookbook Lose Weight By Eating (William Morrow, softcover). This side dish has so many ingredients I love–LoseWeightByEatingavocados, of course, along with black beans, red onion, bell pepper, and corn. I just knew I would like it!

There are lots of other great-sounding recipes I found in my review copy. Author Audrey Johns developed more than 130 clean eating recipes during her 11-month weight loss journey, losing more than 150 pounds and proving that you really can lose weight if you’re eating the right things! There’s a good variety of recipes for every meal and healthy desserts, too–things like Chili Cheese Omelet, Strawberry Scones with Lime Glaze, Meatball Sliders, Skinny Chicken Alfredo, California Club Pizza, and Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.

I decided to try the Black Bean Avocado Salad, which is described in the book as a crisp, salsa-like side dish–and just 131 calories per serving. You can serve it with chips as a snack, or top a chicken breast with it for extra flavor and protein.

BLACK BEAN AVOCADO SALAD from Lose Weight by Eating

Makes six 1/2 cup servings

  • 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the beans, jalapeño, bell pepper, avocado, red onion, cilantro, corn, lime juice, and garlic. Gently mix and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour and serve.

I really liked the way this tasted–it’s nice when a dish is both healthy and yummy, isn’t it? Do you have a favorite healthy snack that you like to make?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Recipe Round-Up.

Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potato Casserole @ NancyC

I made this sweet potatoes casserole this past Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I was kind of craving it again, even though you normally don’t think of having sweet potato casserole in January! But it’s one of those classic comfort food recipes and we had some cold winter days last week, so I thought, why not? Why not make a sweet potato casserole in January? Besides, it’s such an easy side dish to put together!

I used a little more sweet potatoes and made this casserole in a 9 x 9″ pan, slightly smaller than the 12 x 8″ pan the original recipe from Pillsbury said to use. I don’t have a 12 x 8″ pan, and a 13 x 9″ pan is too big for this. So that’s why I used 9 x 9.” It work out fine, although I’d probably use a 12 x 8″ pan for this casserole if I had one. Using two 29-ounce cans of sweet potatoes might seem like a lot, but it’s really not that much when you drain and empty them out of the can. They fill up a 9 x 9″ pan quite nicely, and in a 12 x 8″ pan, you have a little more room to spare to nicely tuck in all those marshmallows!

MARSHMALLOW-TOPPED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE by NancyC, adapted from Pillsbury

Makes a 9 x 9″  or 12 x 8″ pan

  • 2 (29-ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 15 to 16 large marshmallows (or use an equivalent amount of miniature marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ pan or baking dish (or use a 12 x 8″ size) with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon sweet potatoes into your greased baking dish. Pour melted butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt, then top with marshmallows.

Bake at 350˚F for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are completely heated and marshmallows are lightly browned.

I think my marshmallows got a little more browned than they should have. Next time I make these, I need to remember to lower my oven rack a notch below the middle and see if that helps keep them from browning so much–or maybe I could cover the casserole with foil the last ten minutes of baking. Any other ideas?

I really love the way the butter and brown sugar blend and give the sweet potatoes an almost caramely coating! And of course the melty marshmallows are the perfect topping! If you are a sweet potato casserole fan, then you may have already made something similar to this recipe. But if you haven’t, you’ll want to try it! Don’t feel like you need to wait till next Thanksgiving! 🙂

So are you a sweet potato fan?

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Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

Homemade Applesauce (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup)

Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

I’ve had homemade applesauce before, but this is the first time I’ve made my own. And let me tell you, it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s not as convenient as buying it, but I think it’s worth the extra effort to make homemade applesauce if you have the time. It’s really easy to make your own–the most time-consuming part is peeling the apples. After that, it’s just a matter of mixing the ingredients in a saucepan and letting it cook for 25 minutes until the apples are soft. If you like chunky applesauce like me, you can just use a potato masher to mash those apples into applesauce. If you like your applesauce smooth, you can puree the cooled apple chunks in a blender (you may have to do that in several batches).

I like sweetening my applesauce with honey or maple syrup. If you prefer using brown sugar, you can use that instead. The cinnamon and nutmeg also give this applesauce a great flavor.

HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup) by NancyC

Makes about 4 servings

  • 8 cups (3 pounds) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped or sliced (this would be about 8-9 medium-size apples; use your favorite variety)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or substitute 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium-size saucepan, combine apples, juice or cider, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir ingredients together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, until apples are soft. Let apples cool, then mash them with a potato masher. Or you can puree them in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

You can serve this applesauce chilled as a side dish or snack. Or for dessert, heat it and use as a topping over ice cream. You can also serve it warm or cool at breakfast as a topping for pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, or a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt.

Have you made homemade applesauce before?

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Onion-Roasted Potatoes

Onion Roasted Potatoes @ NancyC

This is a super-easy recipe I found a while back on the box of a Lipton® Onion Soup package. It’s so good! And I also like it because you don’t have to peel the potatoes–just leave those skins on and cut them into chunks! This is a very versatile side dish–you can serve these potatoes at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Many friends have asked me for this recipe over the years, and I posted it several years ago but didn’t have a very good photo of it– so this is a re-post of the recipe with a new photo. I also added suggestions on other ingredients you can add to these potatoes if you want.

ONION-ROASTED POTATOES adapted from Lipton®

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 lbs. of potatoes (about 4 medium or 3 large), cut into large chunks
  • Optional: 1/3  to 1/2 cup finely chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup non-GMO canola or light olive oil

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Add all ingredients in a gallon-size plastic ziploc-type bag. Seal bag and shake until all the potato chunks are evenly coated with the oil/onion soup mixture. Then put potatoes in a 13 x 9″ baking or roasting pan and discard the bag. Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

FOR BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH: These potatoes are great served with a breakfast casserole and fruit salad for a filling breakfast or brunch. After roasting them, you could add 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh chives and/or mix in some crumbled bacon if you want to make the potatoes a little fancier.

FOR LUNCH AND DINNER:  For lunch, these potatoes are great with just about any hot sandwich that you would serve french fries with–and they’re probably healthier than fries. It’s a great potato side dish for dinner, too. If you have cheese-lovers in your family, you could sprinkle some cheddar cheese on the potatoes after they’re done roasting, and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes, just to melt the cheese a little. Yum!

These potatoes get eaten up pretty quickly, so you may want to think about making a double batch in a larger baking pan if you’re cooking for more than 4 people.

Hope you enjoy them! Have you made roasted potatoes before?

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Sweet Pickle Deviled Eggs

Sweet Pickle Deviled Eggs@NancyCreative.com

I’ve made deviled eggs several different ways, but never with sweet pickle relish. I know lots of people make it that way, so I decided to give it a try. The pickle relish gives these eggs a good flavor and the pickle taste is mild, so you don’t need to worry about it being too overpowering. I originally made these deviled eggs for a baby shower and everyone really liked them!

You can spoon the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves or pipe it in–I piped it in and that worked out pretty well for my first time doing it!

SWEET PICKLE DEVILED EGGS by NancyC

Makes 24 deviled egg halves

  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise (you can use a little more if you want a creamier mixture)
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of paprika for egg mixture, and more for sprinkling on top
  • Optional: dash of onion powder and/or garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickle (drain or squeeze out any excess liquid)

Slice the hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks; set egg white halves aside.

In small bowl, mash egg yolks and then add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika, stirring mixture well (if using onion and garlic powder, add these in, too). Add in the sweet pickle relish, blending everything well.

Spoon egg yolk mixture into the centers of the egg white halves (or you can pipe the mixture in). Garnish with a light sprinkling of paprika, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Deviled eggs are great for a summer picnic or potluck, so hope you get a chance to try these out this summer! What special add-ins do you like in your deviled eggs?

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