This Asian Style Chicken Spinach Pasta Salad, tossed in a sesame oil and soy sauce-based dressing, is a refreshing, Asian-inspired side dish perfect for picnics. This is great for lunch, a light main meal, or even a supper-time side dish. Serve it for the family, or make it ahead for your next barbecue.
Pasta is a versatile meal in any form, just take this creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo for example. Creamy orzo pasta in a Parmesan cream sauce with fresh baby spinach leaves makes a simple, but tasty side dish or vegetarian main meal.
A creamy side salad, this Crunchy Pea & Bacon Salad features cubed cheddar, green peas, and crisp pieces of bacon in a savory sauce. It’s is a shoe-in for favorite side dish at your next gathering.
Up until a week ago, the sons had never taken a single bite out of a Brussel sprout. Still, they had an instinctive hatred of them, refusing to try a single bite of their side of ‘roasted’ Brussel sprouts they were served with dinner. Yet, how can I blame them? Up until this recipe last week, I too had always steered clear to them, to the point or stubborn out-right refusal of even considering to try them. Even when my mantra to the sons is try new things. Brussels sprouts probably have the worst reputation of any vegetable. As you’ve seen, they’re the classic example of the vegetable hated by both kids and adults, only eaten because they’re so good for you. However, we were able to use this awesome recipe to change our whole familiys’ minds. A lot of the issue with people who have tried Brussel sprouts and hated them, is that they are a naturally bitter vegetable. And I do mean, bitter! However, roasting them (whether in a pan as in this recipe, or even in the oven) allows the sugars to break down and caramelize, nicely balancing out and breaking down their originally bite.
Sauteed Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts
recipe adapted from Favorite Family Recipes
1 lb Brussel Sprouts
4 Tbsp butter
5- 6 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Clean the brussel sprouts by trimming off the ends and peeling the outer layer of the sprout off. Cut each one in half.
2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
3. Once heated, add the halved brussel sprouts to the pan and saute for about 8-10 minutes on each side until the outer part is a caramelized brown and the inside is soft and fully cooked.
4. Add the garlic half way through the cooking.
5. Reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
6. Stir to combine and taste. Adjust seasonings if needed. Add the cheese on top and serve.
Note: So if you need to convince someone stubborn to like Brussel sprouts or it’s their first time trying them; the best way to have brussels sprouts is to roast them, and this is the only recipe you will ever need.
Sriracha is an amazing sauce. We’re a little nuts for it over here. In fact, I have it on good authority one of the sons is even getting a bottle in his Easter basket this year. This hot sauce can literally make anything taste better. Add it to some broccoli and you’ve got yourself an epic combination. I realize it may not look quite as vibrant or delicious now, but that’s just what soy sauce does to broccoli. It turns it brown. This saucy side dish may not be all that much of a looker, but rest assured, she’s got it going on! While skinny on the calories, this Asian-style broccoli is full on flavor and packs just the right amount of spice.
recipe adapted from Food and Other Things
3 heads of broccoli
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seed oil
3 tbsp Sriracha (your choice on how spicy you want it. Use 1 1/2 tbs for less spicy)
2 tsp minced garlic
small handful of crushed peanuts (~15)
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. Cut the broccoli from the stalk into small florets and wash & dry well.
3. In a large bowl, mix all the seasonings and diced garlic together.
4. Coat the broccoli evenly.
5. Put the seasoned broccoli onto a baking pan with a baking sheet, or parchment paper, under the broccoli.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, but remember to toss it half way through.
7. Serve with extra crushed peanuts on top!
We eat potatoes at least 2 times a week, sometimes three, so I’m always on the look out for new things to do with them. Although they probably wouldn’t want to readily admit to it, the sons like a little spice in their lives, or in this case, variety. These are a different take on ‘traditional’ roasted potatoes. We shall call them oven fries. I have kids, which would yours choose? The fancy, shmancy roasted potatoes, or something with the word fries in it? The lemon juice gives them a little tang and they’re roasted to crispy perfection on the outside, leaving the inside nice and tender. These oven roasted, Greek-style fries are the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal. I highly recommend making sure to double the recipe though, because you won’t have enough!! Yes, they are THAT GOOD!!!
Greek-Style Oven Fries
recipe originally from Food.com
3 medium unpeeled baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
vegetable oil cooking spray
1. Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges.
2. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, pepper, salt, and garlic in a large bowl.
3. Add potatoes and toss well to coat.
4. Place potatoes, skin side down, on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and lightly browned.
If desired, you can sprinkle some Feta cheese crumbles over potatoes before serving.
Do you like your vegetables? On the fence? Turn your veggies into something you love with these Maple Glazed Thyme Roasted Carrots. Tender roasted carrots are glazed with smooth maple syrup, sauteed with thyme leaves, and roasted to perfection. It’s sure to be your go to side dish for any meal.
Perfect baked potatoes have never been easier than when prepared in the bowl of your slow cooker. Let your crock pot do the work, top them with your favorite fixings, and sit down to a delicious easy dinner at the end of the day with these Crock Pot Baked Potatoes.
It may come as a surprise in 2013 when everyone has gadgets and gizmos, whose-its and what’s-its galore for everything, but we don’t use, own, and probably couldn’t even operate a microwave.
While I love a hearty baked potato, I’ve never had good luck making them in the oven.
They’re either overdone, or more often than not, underdone and then I’m left checking them every 10 minutes until they’re cooked through.
Meanwhile, with burns on my fingers and a growling stomach, everyone else has already finished eating every other scrap of their dinner. Hopefully, by this time the potatoes would finally be done.
When a friend mentioned making them in the crockpot, I believe I said, ‘No Way!’
Yes, way! Every single time, my baked potatoes come out perfect. Hence, the name.
There’s no longer any guess work involved and I can easily plan ahead, get them going, and set to be finished and edible when I’m ready to serve dinner.
Added bonus: 1. I save money since I no longer need to heat up the oven. The general rule of thumb is that 8 hours in the crockpot only uses half the heat of 1 hour in the oven.
2. This same technique works great for sweet potatoes too! Loaded sweet potatoes have now become a new fall favorite of mine.
If you’ve tried these CROCK POT BAKED POTATOES, or any other recipe on the site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!
Crock Pot Baked Potatoes
- russet yukon gold, or sweet potatoes (you don't want to fill your crock pot more than 3/4 of the way full to prevent under/over cooking between the potatoes on top and the ones on the bottom)
- olive oil optional
- salt & black pepper to taste (optional)
- aluminum foil
- Wash and scrub your potatoes thoroughly. Remove any eyes or bad spots if necessary. Let the skins dry before proceeding (only takes a few minutes).
- Prick each potato with a fork 6-8 times per potato. Do NOT skip this step! The holes allow steam to escape as they cook. Exploded baked potato isn't fun to eat or clean up.
- Drizzle a little olive oil onto each potato. Using your hands, rub into the skin all over the potato. Repeat for each potato. You can omit this step, but I like the extra crunchy skins the olive oil creates.
- Salt and pepper, to taste, the skins of the potatoes.
- Wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil, sealing them up tightly.
- Place the wrapped potatoes in the slow cooker, foil seam side up. There's no need to grease the crock pot or add any liquids. Cook them 'dry'.
- Cook them on low for 8 hours, or until tender when pressed with fingers. Slow cooker times may vary a little.
- Remove the potatoes. Remove the foil. Cut a slit in the top along the center of each potato to open them up, and serve with topping of your choice.
Every week I try to do a ‘Taco Tuesday’ since we all love Mexican food. It’s evolved into more of a ‘tex-mex’ themed meal as opposed to being just the traditional tacos. One thing my kids always, unanimously, ask for on is this Yellow Basmati Rice.
I originally discovered this in a Taste of Home list of easy grill meals. After briefly scanning the ingredients and directions, I knew I had to try it, and it was love at first bite. Creamy, cheesy, bacon-y…what better elements to build a mouth-watering side-dish for any meal? These potatoes are delicious, and equally easy to prepare and cook. We love having them any evening we grill out. They’re great for just our family’s dinner, or I can easily double the recipe, making a second batch, to feed a larger crowd. I’ve also found that these make a great, easy side-dish for camping meals. Even better, use this recipe as a guideline and get creative in your kitchen, or backyard. These potatoes have plenty of potential possibilities. Try adding broccoli. We also make, and love, a sweet potato version based off of this recipe. Whether you decide to stick to the original, or spice your potato packet up a little, you can’t go wrong with these cheese potatoes.
Grilled Three-Cheese Potatoes
- 3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp chives, minced
- 1/2 tsp seasoning salt, or plain salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cooked, crumbled bacon, or 1/2 cup cooked, diced ham
- 1/2 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
- Transfer contents to a double thickness of greased, heavy-duty aluminum foil (about 18 inches square).
- Dot with butter.
- Fold foil around potato mixture and seal tightly.
- Grill, covered, over medium heat for 15-18 minutes on each side or until potatoes are tender.
- Carefully (very carefully because the escaping steam can burn you) open the foil packet.
- Sprinkle the bacon, or ham, and cheeses over the potato mixture.
- Reseal and grill for 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
- Carefully open and let all steam escape.