Image 01

Archive for the ‘Side’ Category

On the Docket– Week of June 18, 2012

Monday, June 18th, 2012

From now on, On the Docket will be posted first thing Monday mornings.  I generally cook for the week on Sundays, so I spend a lot of time menu planning over the weekend.  While it takes a lot of time, it’s something I love to do.  Saturday morning, while my husband went mountain biking with a friend, I watched the Food Network and perused all the recipes I’ve clipped, a few magazines, and a couple of cookbooks to pick out a few meals for the week.

A few things I already tried

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters: These were delicious!  Rather than mashing the broccoli with a potato masher, which oddly enough is one of the only kitchen gadgets I don’t own, I put the broccoli in a food processor and pulsed it a couple of times, for a few seconds for each pulse.  My broccoli was a little smaller but still recognizable, as the recipe calls for.  I’ll definitely be adding this recipe to my side dish repertoire.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting: I’ve been on a baking kick lately.  Each time I tell my mom about my baking adventures, she mentions Baked by Melissa, a cupcake shop in New York that specializes in miniature stuffed cupcakes.  Since we’ve been talking about these mini cupcakes so much, I decided to try my hand at making them.  More to come on what I tried.

A few recipes I’ve clipped

Baked Oatmeal:  I’m always looking for breakfasts that my husband and I can take with us to work.  I’ve seen a couple of baked oat meal recipes, and I think it’s about time to give it a try.

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad:  Chicken salad is one of my favorite summer lunches.  This one looks nice and light.  ‘Nuff said.

Grilled Salmon with Chilled Somen: My pantry is a disaster.  I have multiples of a couple items, some half full sauces, andthe remnants of a few ingredients that were purchased for one recipe.  One thing I’m trying to find a use for is a bottle of Ponzu sauce.  This recipe seems to fit the bill, so I’ll give it a shot.



On the Docket– Week of June 11, 2012

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I love Zite and Flipboard.  Every night before I go to bed, or right after I get home from work, I read through the Food and Cooking section on Zite and read the most recent posts from the magazines I’ve added on Flipboard.  As a result, I clip a lot of recipes to try when I have some time.

Here’s what I clipped last week.  I most certainly won’t try them all this week.  Let me know if you have tried any of these or if you have any tips!

Mojito Cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker:  I think a drink-themed bakery sounds like a great idea.  I recently tried Mint Julep cupcakes for a friend’s Derby party, so I think another cocktail based cupcake would be delicious.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes:  One, I love potatoes.  Two, twice baked potatoes are one of my husband’s favorite things.  Adding a sweet potato to the mix just sounds delicious.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad:  I’m a big fan of salads for lunch.  This just looked good to add to my repertoire.

Salmon:  I’ve been a salmon kick lately.  I like tried and true recipes, and this seemed to fit the bill.



Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I’ve never been a huge fan of polenta, but when I came across this recipe, I wanted to give it another shot.  The original recipe called for medium grain polenta, but I happenend to have a box of instant polenta in my cabinet.  I used that instead, and I was quite pleased with the result.

Golden Corn and Saffron Polenta (adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

5 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 pinch saffron threads, chrushed

1 package instant polenta

1 package frozen corn kernels, thawed

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, cover, and cook until the onion is translucent.  Do not allow the onion to brown.  Add the broth, salt, and saffron.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and add the instant polenta.

Using instant polenta, this mixture will cook cookly.  Cook for 2 minutes covered.  While this is cooking, add the corn to a food processor and blend until it forms a coarse puree.  Mix into the polenta.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Picture 036


Chicken with Black Bean Chipotle Sauce

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The following dish is really easy and pretty darn good for you.  The original recipe called for whole chicken breasts, but instead, I cut the chicken into small cubes.  I served this with polenta, and it was delicious!

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 ounce can blackbeans, rinsed

2 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chili powder

4 chicken breasts, removed of excess fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Spray a saucepan with cooking spray and saute the onions until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Add the black beans, chipotle, chicken stock, tomatoes, cilantro and salt.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until thickened.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Picture 019

Place the black bean mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.

Picture 024

Combine the olive oil and chili powder in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and combine until the chicken is covered in the chili powder mixture.

Picture 021

Heat a skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium high heat.  Add the chicken, and saute until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the black bean sauce.

Picture 037


Best Homemade Mac n Cheese Ever!

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

When my mom’s family gathered in Minnesota for 4th of July, my aunt and I cooked dinner.  It was quite the challenge cooking for 25 people, but we managed to pull off quite the feast.  My aunt made macaroni and cheese, which was a big hit.  When I got home, I was inspired to try making my own mac n cheese.

I’ve tried a couple of different recipes for macaroni, but the following recipe is my favorite.  The original recipe calls for 16 ounces of colby cheese and 8 ounces of extra sharp cheddar, but I used 16 ounces of cheddar and 8 ounces of Monterrey Jack.  I wasn’t in the mood to grate cheese, so I just picked up what was already grated.  I was very pleased with the results.

Backed Macaroni and Cheese (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best Cover and Bake Recipes)

1 pound elbow macaroni

6 TBSP unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press

1 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

6 TBSP all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

3 1/2 cups milk

16 ounces Cheddar Cheese, grated

8 ounces Jack cheese, shredded

Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bring salted water to a boil, and cook the macaroni until al dente, about 6 minutes.  Drain the pasta and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the garlic, the dry mustard, and the cayenne.  Cook for about 30 seconts, until fragrant.  Add the flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth and milk.  Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often until the mixture is thickened and bubbling.  This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese.  Mix until the cheese is completely  melted, and season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well combined.  Be sure to break up any clumps.  Pour the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.



Grilled Potato Salad

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Potatoes are my favorite side dish.  Sadly, if I’m torn between two items on a menu, one with a potato side dish and the other with something else, the potato is usually the tiebreaker.  Unfortunately, my husband is not a huge fan of my favorite side dish, so I’m always looking for a potato recipe he’ll eat.

The following recipe was a winner.  I came across this recipe a few summers ago when my husband picked up The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue, and it has since become a staple in our barbecue repertoire.

Grilled Potato and Arugla Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette (Adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue)

1 1/2 lbs. potatoes (my favorite potatoes for this recipe are red potatoes)


2 tbsp olive oil


1 tbsp rice vinegar

3 c arugula, sliced into ribbons

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin chunks

3 tbsp chives, minced

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 shallot, minced

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil.  While you’re waiting for the water to boil, cut the potatoes into slices and skewer the potatoes.

Blog 093

Place the skewers in the boiling water and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the skewers to a baking sheet and coat the potatoes on all sides with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Blog 095Place the skewers on a hot grill.  Cook until the edges are browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Slide the potatoes onto a cutting board and cut the potatoes into smaller pieces.  Transfer to a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients.

Blog 097 Enjoy!



Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I didn’t mention this in my scone post, but I am not a baker.  Most of my attempts at baking have been miserable failures, but I keep trying.  I am determined to figure out this whole baking thing!

Last night, I attempted cornbread, and I was very happy with the results.  The cornbread turned out very light and moist, just as the recipe promised.  I don’t have a cast iron skillet, so I took Cooks Illustrated’s advice and used their “corn muffin” recipe and baked the mixture in an 8X8 square baking pan.

Corn Muffins (Adapted from Cooks Illustrated The Best Recipe Soups and Stews)

1 3/4 c yellow cornmeal

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c sugar

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 c. rapidly boiling water

1 1/4 c buttermilk

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

2 tbsp butter, melted (the recipe called for unsalted butter, but I used salted)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Coat the baking pan with cooking spray.

Measure 1/2 cup of the cornmeal into a medium bowl.  In another bowl, combine the remaining cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside this mixture.

Pour 1/3 cup of the boiling water into the bowl with 1/2 cup of cornmeal.  Stir quickly to combine.  Continue adding water, one tablespoon at a time, until the cornmeal and water become a thick mush.  I used 8 tablespoons.

Gradually whisk in the buttermilk, breaking up any lumps.  Whisk in the eggs.

Stir the dry ingredients into the mush mixture until just moistened.  Stir in the melted butter.

Fill the baking pan with the cornbread batter.

Bake until the top of the bread is golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool for about 5 minutes.


Coconut Black Rice

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I was flipping through a cookbook a few months ago, and I was intrigued by a recipe for black rice.  According to the introduction to the recipe, black rice has a sweet, nutty flavor and is rick in iron and fiber.  I filed the idea away as a “recipe I’d like to try.”

A few weeks later, I was in an Asian supermarket in Denver and picked up a bag of the so-called Forbidden Black Rice.  After a few more months of stalling, I finally got up the nerve to try this recipe.

The rice turned a deep purple color during the cooking process, and the final product was delicious.  True to the recipe’s introduction, the rice was a little on the sweet side and had a deep nutty flavor.

Coconut Black rice (Adapted from Nourish)

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 of a yellow onion, diced

1/2 of a yellow bell pepper, diced

1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced

1 c Chinese black rice

1 c chicken broth

1 can light coconut milk

1/2 tsp salt


Blog 061

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and both bell peppers, and saute until the onions are translucent.

Add the rice, broth, and coconut milk to the pan, and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Blog 076


Brussels Sprouts Braised in Cream

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

When I was a kid, I just assumed that I didn’t like Brussels sprouts.  My family never ate this mysterious vegetable, so I just thought that like all those kids on TV that were threatened by these awful green things, that I would never eat them.

Clearly I had an unfounded hatred of a vegetable I had never eaten, and I’ve grown pretty fond of Brussels sprouts over the past few years.  The following recipe is pretty tasty, but it’s not the healthiest recipe I’ve ever tried.  It went really well with the steak au poivre and twice baked potatoes though!

Brussels Sprouts Braised in Cream (Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

1 lb smal Brussels sprouts

1 c heavy cream



freshly grated nutmeg

Remove any discolored leaves from the Brussels sprouts.  Trim the stem ends with a knife.

Blog 040

Bring the Brussels sprouts, cream, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.  I stirred the mixture after 5 minutes to make sure the sprouts were evenly distributed.  After 10 minutes check to see if the sprouts are tender:  a knife tip inserted into the center of a sprout should not meet any resistance.  I cooked mine for a total of 15 minutes.

Blog 046

Season with pepper and nutmeg.  Serve and enjoy!

If you would like the cream sauce to be a little thicker, the original recipe suggests transferring the sprouts to the oven to warm while continuing to simmer the sauce until it thickens, about 5 minutes.  When I made these, the cream sauce thickened significantly on the stove, so I skipped this step.


Twice Baked Potatoes

Monday, April 19th, 2010

To me, the only side dish for a good steak is an equally delicious potato.  Mashed, au gratin, baked- it doesn’t really matter to me; I love potatoes, so I’m not very picky.  When I recently suggested we have steak for dinner, my husband suggested twice baked potatoes as a side dish.

In the past, the twice baked potatoes I’ve made have been pretty dry.  When I tried this recipe, I was very happy with the results.  The potatoes were very moist, and the taste was fantastic

Blue Cheese and Chive Twice Baked Potatoes (adapted from Simply Recipes)

4 large russet potatoes

Olive Oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon cream

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup chopped chives


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Poke each potato with a fork and coat the potatoes with olive oil.  Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.

Blog 034

Once the potatoes are cooled, slice the top third of the potato off lengthwise.  Using a spoon, coop out the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the skin.

Blog 041

In a bowl, mix the inside of the potatoes with the sour cream, milk, cream, and butter in a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher.  Mix in the blue cheese and chives.  Spoon the fillings into the potato shells.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the potatoes on a roasting pan for 20 minutes.

Blog 053