Tag Archives: side dish

Artichoke and Spinach Strata

Looking for the perfect brunch dish? This Artichoke and Spinach Strata from Cooking Light is satisfying, savory, and (best of all) easy to make ahead! Despite the suspect “green stuff,” both of my kids gobbled this up.

Artichoke and Spinach Strata

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 10 oz package frozen spinach
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 9 oz artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 oz whole wheat sourdough bread, crusts removed and cubed (about 5 cups)
  • 4 oz reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  • 1¾ cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cook spinach in microwave ­according to package directions; cool slightly. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze dry.
  3. Combine spinach and next 4 ingredients (through Monterey Jack cheese) in a large bowl; toss. Arrange bread mixture in a broiler-safe 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.
  4. Combine milk, Dijon, pepper, nutmeg, and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Bake at 375° for 38 minutes or until set. Turn broiler to high (do not remove pan from oven). Broil 4 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.


Pecan and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprout Salad

We love our Brussels Sprouts in this house—even my four year old will ask for seconds and thirds. Usually, I roast them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are soft on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. So when I saw this Cooking Light recipe for Brussels Sprout salad, I was intrigued by how they’d taste raw, since I’ve only ever had them cooked. Since Brussels are in the cabbage family, it’s no surprise that the texture of the salad reminded me of a crisp, fresh coleslaw. The flavor of the dressing, the creaminess of the cheese, and the crunch from the Brussels Sprouts and pecans … it was a perfect combination.

Brussels Sprout Salad

Pecan and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprout Salad

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ pound Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Place Brussels sprouts and pecans in a large bowl; toss to combine. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Sprinkle with blue cheese.



Since it’s the holidays and we all tend to make diet exceptions this time of year, I thought it would be a good time to post this deliciously decadent recipe. So you’re probably wondering, what is Tartiflette? It is a French dish of potatoes, bacon, and creamy cheese. Now before you start picturing this as a glorified hash brown casserole, let me clarify. This recipe calls for white wine, Reblochon cheese (which is similar to Brie), and freshly diced bacon—this is not your mom’s hash brown casserole (unless, of course, your mom is fabulous).



  • 2.5 lbs potatoes, peeled
  • ½ slab bacon, diced small
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 lb Reblochon (or Brie) cheese, sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with the knife. Remove from the heat, drain, and let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into small dice and set aside.
  3. In the sauté pan, cook the bacon over high heat until browned. Drain, leaving 1 tbsp of fat in the skillet and add the onion. Cook over moderately high heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown then add the bacon and wine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Remove the potato mixture from the heat and place half of it in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread half the cheese slices atop the potato mixture. Cover this with the other half of the potato mixture. Top with the remainder of the cheese.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot.

Recipe from Anthony Bourdain


Edamame Orzo Salad

My mom first made this dish for my brother and sister-in-law’s family wedding shower last summer. I promised in that post that I would share the recipe soon. Unfortunately, I never took any pictures of the dish during the shower, so I had to make it again (twist my arm) to photograph it for this post. Fast forward eight months and I have FINALLY gotten around to it. The good news is that you now have the recipe just in time to make it for your summer cookouts—enjoy!

Note: The picture below does not include the olives. The ones I had on hand were not pitted and I just don’t have that much patience.

Edamame Orzo Salad

Mediterranean Edamame Orzo Salad

¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper

1/3 box orzo pasta
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
2/3 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
¼ cup diced red onion
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup feta cheese

1. For vinaigrette, combine vinegar, garlic and oregano, and mix with a whisk or in the blender. Slowly add olive oil and mix well. Add salt and pepper.

2. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box and drain.

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients, including the vinaigrette, to the pasta and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (the longer it refrigerates, the better).

Homemade Coleslaw

I’ve been eating coleslaw since I was a kid, but for most of my life it was nothing more than a condiment for my Carolina barbecue. It wasn’t until college that I started appreciating it as a side in its own right.

Funny enough, the place that first turned me onto eating coleslaw solo was Long John Silvers (and I am not a fan of fried fast food seafood). But my husband (then just my boyfriend) had a thing for their popcorn shrimp and usually discarded the coleslaw that came with it. Thus began my love affair with this tasty summer side.

Over the years, I’ve had terrible coleslaw that tasted like cabbage and mayo and really, really exceptional recipes with just the right amount of creamy tanginess (if that’s even a word). This one is now my go-to for making classic southern coleslaw at home. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Coleslaw

1 family-size bag coleslaw cabbage mix (I get the tricolor one with carrots)
2 tbsp diced onion
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
¼ cup milk
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
1 ½ tbsp white vinegar
2 ½ tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice


1. Pour coleslaw mix into large bowl and add onions.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

3. Pour over coleslaw mix and stir well.

4. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Don’t you just love a dish that is just as good cold the next day as it is the night you make it? This orzo salad from Cooking Light is delicious for dinner and also perfect for your next cookout or potluck. You can really do it with or without the chicken, but the added protein makes it a complete one-dish meal.

The only negative feedback I got on this dish was from my two-year-old who didn’t appreciate that I was giving her “leaves” for dinner (there’s arugula in the salad)! To appease your picky eaters, you can always swap out the tomatoes, red peppers, and arugula for other veggies they like—zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, asparagus, or mushrooms would also be great in this dish!

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

1 ¼ cups uncooked orzo
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips (use the frozen, pre-cooked kind to save time)
1 ½ cups arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped red bell pepper (I roasted mine ahead of time, but raw works too)
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp (1 ½ ounces) crumbled goat cheese (or more if you’re like me!)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.

3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Roasted Broccoli on the Side

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that you really want your kids to eat. It’s rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, calcium, folate, and more. These nutrients promote a healthy immune system, optimal brain function, bone health, regular blood pressure, heart health, and muscle growth.

Lucky for me, Olivia can’t get enough broccoli. She’s the only two-year-old I know who will pick through mac and cheese to eat the broccoli and leave the pasta for last. But I’m certainly not complaining! Her favorite way to eat broccoli, hands down, is roasted. The little booger will STEAL the broccoli from my plate when she’s done with her own. She can easily polish off an entire broccoli crown on her own when I cook it like this.

Something about the roasting process brings out the natural sugars and adds a nice caramelized crispness to the veggies. If your little ones normally turn their noses up to broccoli, I would give roasting it a shot!

Roasted Broccoli

2 fresh broccoli crowns
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375°. Chop the florets off of each of the crowns and spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Whenever we had steak growing up, which was a special treat, we nearly always had twice baked potatoes to go with it. I absolutely love them, but I’m always looking for ways to make classic comfort foods a bit healthier. I decided to try making twice baked potatoes with sweet potatoes. Because the flavors are so different, however, the normal bacon, cheese, sour cream, butter mix-ins just didn’t seem to work. So here’s my take on healthier (and slightly more gourmet) twice baked potatoes.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

5 medium sweet potatoes
¾ cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup sliced onions
3 slices precooked bacon, crumbled (this is a healthier option than regular bacon—turkey bacon works too)
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
2-3 oz crumbled reduced fat blue cheese
1 tsp sugar
1½ tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

2. While the potatoes bake, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook until translucent. Sprinkle in the sugar, stir, and continue to cook the onions until they are brown and tender. Once done, put the onions in a bowl and set aside.

3. In the same sauté pan, heat the rest of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook until soft and wilted. Add the vegetables to the same bowl as the onions.

4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Once cool enough to touch, slice each sweet potato in half and scoop out the insides, keeping the skins intact. Put the scooped out potato into a large mixing bowl.

5. Add the onions, mushrooms, spinach, yogurt, salt, and pepper to the scooped out potatoes and mix well. Fill each of the potato skins evenly with some of the mixture. Top each one with blue cheese.

6. Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Grandma’s Corn Puddin’

I don’t know how old I was before I realized the word pudding ends with a “g” instead of an “n”—too old I’m sure. In my family, this is Grandma Parker’s Corn Puddin’, and if you put a “g” on the end, you will probably be called a Yankee (which will likely be followed by “bless your heart”).

My grandmother died when I was two, so I don’t have any memories of her. My mom made sure, however, that I would always know the comfort of her food. This recipe has been a staple at all of my family’s get togethers for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of my all-time favorite side dishes. I really hope you enjoy it!

Notes: I usually double the recipe if I’m taking this to a potluck or party; I just increase the cooking time by 15-20 minutes. The recipe as listed below is perfect for a regular family meal. Also, I usually use low fat or fat free evaporated milk without any issue.

Corn Puddin’

1 can cream corn
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Combine corn and eggs; stir in milk and butter. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add these dry ingredients to the corn mixture, along with the vanilla. Stir well to incorporate all the dry ingredients, and then pour into a 1.5 qt casserole dish. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, until the top of the pudding has set (it will giggle like Jell-O if you shake it but there’s no liquid in the center).

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

I’ve only ever made quinoa once before (the Near East brand out of the box, which was good), and I decided we needed to incorporate this super grain into more of our meals. The July issue of Cooking Light had a bunch of suggestions for different mix-ins you could use with quinoa. I decided to take one of those ideas and expound upon it, and I ended up with this healthy quinoa salad. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
10 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 avocado, diced
1 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic

In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Sauté the shrimp over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil until they curl and turn orange.  {You could also grill the shrimp on a skewer for some great charred flavor, which would be delicious.}

I used frozen corn for this dish, but fresh grilled corn cut off the cob would be amazing! Whichever type you decide to use, cook it (or warm it up) before adding it to the salad.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.