Category Archives: sides

Candied Yam Souffle (Easy Peasy)

sweet potatoes pre marshmallows

I have always felt obliged to have this recipe on my Thanksgiving table because everyone wants it. Even if this year is a “micro” Thanksgiving I will have it on the table. A its the easiest thing to make and B everyone loves it. Believe it or not children and adults alike will always look for this tasty concoction of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. It just wouldn’t be the same without some version of this.  It is easy and I just felt I owed it to all of you to pass it along. It is especially good for those of you who need to bring something to someone’s house, and don’t have time for fuss and muss.  So here you go. And those darn mini marshmallows which you just gotta have. I have to admit that I love this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

3lbs. Sweet Potatoes or Yams or you can even make this easier and use 2 cans of Bruces Sweet Potatoes drained

1 small can (I like 8 oz.) crushed pineapple (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/2 cup chopped pecans obviously optional

mini-marshmallows (1 bag will more than cover it) or one jar of marshmallow topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and melted butter and pecans if you’re using them. Simmer for a  few minutes. In the meantime, place drained yams in a large bowl and mash them (you can leave a few chunked pieces.) If you’re cooking your sweet potatoes , peel and cut into quarters (cubes) fill a large pot of water to cover potatoes , add a little salt to water and bring water to boil. Boil for about 12 minutes till you can pierce potato with a fork easily. Remove and drain potatoes. I always place my potatoes back in pot to steam off excess water.

Pour sugar/pecan and pineapple mixture over the yams. Stir until combined thoroughly. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a pie pan, actually any baking dish will do. Oven to Table is perfect here. Bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove, put mini marshmallows on top to cover, and raise the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to brown the marshmallows. Don’t let it burn.

The Stuffing that Will Be on Our Table

I made this recipe for the first time Thanksgiving 2011 and it is now the only Stuffing I make.  I found it in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, loved all of the ingredients and thought it was delicious. I know there a lot of stuffings out there and unfortunately  this one is not vegetarian. I suppose you can use those veggie links in place of the real sausage but not sure how that will taste and use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock which you can use anyway.  Please let me know if you do that I would love to try.

I am not gonna lie this stuffing takes some work and a lot of ingredients but it’s well worth it .

I don’t cook my stuffing in the turkey. I make it ahead of time and cook it in a buttered/sprayed baking dish the day of.

Even though this year is a “micro ” Thanksgiving let’s try and make a few of our staples and enjoy the day even though we’re not with our nearest and dearest.  Let’s hope that next year we’ll be back cooking dinner for 16.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced dried figs, stems removed

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (I used Calvados, bought the bottle last year)

2  yellow onions, diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 cup (3 stalks) celery, diced about 1/2 inch

1 lb. pork sausage (I do 1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot. Feel free to substitute any kind of sausage you would like. Try to get the butcher to take it out of casing for you. It’s one less thing to do.)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (please don’t leave this out)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (put in oven at 400 for about 5 minutes and watch them!)

3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix –I use Pepperidge Farm Brand

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 extra large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent (don’t burn them.) Add the sausage, crumbling it as you go. Continue to saute, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage. Keep cooking for about 10 minutes, until cooked and browned up. Add the figs and cranberries with their liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook until all ingredients come together, for a couple of minutes. Scrape up and remove all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, beaten egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well. (This can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight, which is what I do. It’s just too much to do the day of.)

I put the stuffing in a well-sprayed, slightly buttered (optional), baking (gratin) dish. If you put this in the preheated over, you will likely cook it for at least 45 minutes and probably more like an hour to two hours if it’s doubled.  I also stir frequently while it is cooking, and then let it go for the last 15 minutes and it browns up. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

obviously if you are doubling this recipe you will need to use a large (very) frying pan. Or you can just do it in batches. You will need a very large pan to cook it up in though. You need to spread it out while it cooks so it cooks through. Once it is cooked you can always put it in a pretty baking dish and as it heats up just mix it through every once in a while so top doesn’t burn and bottom won’t be soggy.

I know everyone thinks that their stuffing is the best, but if made properly this one is absolutely amazing!

*This will probably serve at least 8 as one of many sides, but feel free to double.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp- Thanksgiving

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

This recipe has been around pretty much my whole married life. If there is a turkey on the table, there is cranberry crisp next to it.  It originated from my friend Karyn, and we even make it for Passover with matzoh farfel.  It’s so sweet and delicious that it could really be a dessert. We love it with our meal; love the sweet and savory thing. You can’t eat too much of it, it is so rich. It is also very dangerous to have in the fridge the next day, so try to give it to everyone who wants to take home leftovers. This tastes good either hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Some people may even want to make it as dessert and serve with vanilla ice cream, but the Kolens don’t. We always serve it as a side dish and it is awesome however you serve it. Thanks again, Karyn.

I suggest reading through the entire recipe before making it.

Ingredients:

4 medium apples ( I use all different kinds)

1 can (1 lb.) whole cranberry sauce

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter–melted

*for a larger crowd you can easily double this recipe — as is should serve 8 -10

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam.

Peel apples, slice them, then arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Spoon cranberry sauce over the apples.

Separately, stir rolled oats, flour, and brown sugar together. Melt Butter and let it just cool for a few minutes then mix in with oats and brown sugar till nice and crumbly.  Sprinkle this over cranberry layer. Bake at 350 degrees until apples are cooked and top is lightly browned. The entire mixture will be bubbling and your house will smell divine. You will bake about 40 minutes to an hour. You can make ahead of time, and then on the day you need it, just heat it up until it bubbles.  I usually make this a few days ahead, because it’s that much less that I’ll have to do the day of. This can definitely be made ahead of time  so you can  make it way ahead and freeze it.  If you freeze it, take it out of freezer a day before you need it, and then heat it up the day of. (Make sure it’s completely defrosted before heating up)

When you re-heat , pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and cover with foil for first 1/2 hour and then remove foil for last 1/2 hour till it starts to bubble.

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

This has to be one of my all time favorite side dishes for Thanksgiving. It really would be great any time of year but for some reason it only gets made for Thanksgiving. It’s super easy and super delicious. My friend Audrey gave this recipe to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in our family. Can be doubled easily, just make sure your baking dish is large enough.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

1 8 oz. sour cream (lite is OK  but not fat-free)

1 8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

1 8 oz. can creamed corn

1 8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first with a good cooking spray like Pam or Bakers Aid ) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Kasha Varnishkes–Jewish Comfort Food

This is truly traditional Jewish comfort food made with buckwheat grains and bowtie noodles. I love it and grew up eating it and  try to make it a few times a year. It is super easy and super tasty. If you’ve never made it why not start now. It’s a wonderful side dish to any meal and it can be vegetarian for all of those who need some extra vegetarian dishes on their tables.

Kasha comes in a box. There are different types of Kasha and almost all will work. I use medium or coarse granulation.  Wolff’s brand is really wonderful so look for it and for this recipe I follow the directions on the Wolff’s box of Kasha. I actually had to order it on Amazon this year since I couldn’t find it in Colorado.

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to put together now is the time to look at this great recipe. This is also our go to the night before Yom Kippur. It’s tradition and delicious and comforting all at the same time.

Ingredients:

1 package bowtie ( farfalle ) noodles (app. 3/4 lb.)

1 white/yellow onion thinly sliced or you can use chopped onions , entirely up to you.

app. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  you may need a  little more and may want a bit more to drizzle at the end plus more — probably 1/4 cup in total

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper–to taste

*1 small box button mushrooms sliced 8 ounce box — mushrooms are totally optional but sometimes I feel like they add a little something

1 cup kasha, medium or coarse granulation– I use Wolffs Kasha and follow instructions on the box which I have written below

1 egg for kasha as per instructions on the box

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth as per box instructions

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions on box for al dente.

Saute’ the onions in vegetable oil , salt and pepper until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. I use a medium size frying pan large enough to add in the pasta, and make sure you have a tight fitting lid.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to soften as well, a few more minutes , set aside. Place mushrooms and onions in a bowl and you’ll use same frying pan to cook kasha.

Coat the kasha in a slightly beaten egg. You’ll just place kasha in a bowl and put beaten egg on grains. This will help the grains not to stick to themselves while you are cooking them. Make sure the grains are completely coated with egg.  Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a fairly high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for a few minutes till toasted and the egg has dried on the kasha and kernels are brown and mostly separate. Kasha instructions for cooking are usually on the box as well. Then I pour in the broth that I am using, a little margarine/butter is OK as well ( app. 2 Tbsp) bring to a boil, cover tightly, lower flame to simmer and cook for 10 minutes till kasha is fluffy–these are the directions on the box that I follow .

Add back in the mushrooms and onions and combine with chicken broth. Cook box of Bow Tie Pasta according to directions on box al dente.

Bring to a boil and cook over low heat covered tightly. Check on it after 10 minutes or so to make sure the kernels are tender and the liquid has absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for another few minutes till all liquid is absorbed.

Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if you’d like, mix in cooked pasta, and if you’d like drizzle a little more oil on it. I like to do it all in a large enough frying pan to hold pasta . You can always mix in pasta in a large bowl separately. I like it in frying pan on stove top till I serve it. You can always make ahead and heat up in oven at 350 degrees in a pyrex dish,  you’ll most likely need to add a little oil if you do so.

*Wolff’s Kasha has directions for cooking kasha on the box. It’s pretty much the same , I just add in the mushrooms and onions for more flavor.

*should serve 8 people

Mushroom Barley (egg noodles)- Side Dish

cookingwithcandioct7 003this is an old recipe of mine that I’ve played around with and it makes a perfect side dish anytime of the year. not too difficult to make , takes a little playing around but pretty easy . I used Manischewitz egg noodles in a toasted barley shape this time. you can use pearl barley which is available in almost every supermarket out there. i have to say this product worked very well. Not exactly Mushroom and Barley?? but barley shape egg noodles

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1  3/4 cup Pearl Barley or any kind you can find ( I used Manischewitz egg noodles in a toasted barley shape) it doesn’t have to be toasted it can just be regular barley shape noodles. I love to use this product , it’s usually found in kosher section.

1 lb. fresh mushrooms sliced

1/2 spanish onion chopped

2 – 3 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

I use a very little bit of vegetable oil ( maybe 1 tablespoon) and saute onions, then mushrooms till cooked down. I salt and pepper generously here. I remove the mushroom/onion mixture from saute pan, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel . melt butter or margarine in pan, brown the barley/noodles for about 4 – 5 minutes, move it around as you brown it. in the meantime transfer mushroom/ onion mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish (spray with pam) when barley/noodles is browned place in dish with mushrooms and onions and mix well. add 2 cups of chicken broth. cover with aluminum foil, and bake in oven covered at 350 degrees for app. 45 minutes. remove from oven, and add a little broth, depending on how dry it is, i would say i added about 1/2 cup , you may need to add more, add the 1/2 cup and mix well and see if you need more, not too watery, keep it dryer. cover, and i put it back in oven for 10 to 15 minutes. taste for salt and pepper. and there it is. very delicious.

Crunchy Noodle Salad–with Ramen Noodles

This is an oldie but goodie and always welcome on the table. It is perfect with a bbq and always seems to be a hit.  It’s the time of year when cold salads are abundant but this beauty is really wonderful all year round.

Napa Noodle Salad

4 cups sliced Napa Cabbage ( I cheat and buy the cabbage in a bag. It’s not always Napa but sometimes I don’t feel like chopping.  if you buy the bag, it’s fine, just use 1 whole bag. It’s more than 4 cups but it’s fine, and if all you can find is the cole slaw kind it’s Ok too, it will just have some carrots and some purple cabbage.

5 green onions (scallions) sliced very thin (green parts only)

Mix cabbage and green onions and refrigerate for a few hours (at least 2). This gives it a chance to meld and wilt a bit.

2 packages of Ramen noodles– buy the ones with the flavor packets   (It doesn’t matter which flavor you buy b/c you will be throwing away those flavor packs  –you won’t be needing them for this salad–just the noodles 

handful of sliced almonds

1/2 cup sesame seeds (available in the spice aisle)

1/4 cup butter

Take the noodles (hard crunchy ones) and put in a large plastic bag. Bang noodles with a mallet or your fist (fist is fine) and just crack them up. They’ll be easier to work with. Add the almonds and sesame seeds and brown all together in the butter.

Dressing

1/2 cup sugar ( I know, but I never said I cook DIET)

1/2 cup salad oil (plain old vegetable oil will do just fine)

1/4 cup vinegar (I use white rice vinegar, which is available in Asian section of supermarket or just wherever the vinegars are.)

1 Tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium always)

Toss all together and Serve

*cabbage and onions need to meld and wilt a bit, so make sure to give them at least 2 hours in the fridge. The hard noodles should stay a little crunchy. Don’t burn–just brown–the ingredients until the butter gets a bit bubbly; not burnt. Be careful. While you’re browning the noodles with the almonds and sesame seeds, move them around with a wooden spoon so it all gets buttery.

I know this is fattening, but isn’t everything fattening so yummy??? And you’re not eating the whole thing, so enjoy!!!

Of course you can double up this recipe, it’s just a whole lotta cabbage to toss! As a side dish, this is a nice amount as is.

Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish

Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset–Apple/Walnut

DSCN2703This is my easiest Charoset and maybe this year we just have a little bit of this on the table for tradition sake.  It’s traditional in the sense that it’s an Ashkenazi (Eastern European) recipe. I add a little brown sugar instead of white sugar and it gives it just a bit more character. Remember, while a reminder of the mortar used in making bricks for Pharaoh, charoset is really just a sweet condiment of apples and wine!

Again try and have a Sweet Passover I know how difficult this year is. If you do nothing more than have a piece of Matzoh with charoset or Matzoh with butter for breakfast.

Stay Safe and Keep on Cooking at Home.

Ingredients:

3 medium Fuji apples (or any other kind you like), peeled, cored and finely diced (use processor to make your life simpler) I usually use whatever is in the house, but on Passover I go through so many apples, so buy what you like (I always like Granny Smith because they are nice and tart)

1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped (buy them pre-chopped)

1/2 cup sweet red wine such as Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga or just Concord Grape is fine

*20 pitted dates, chopped; or 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

*for a bit of extra added flavor you can add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger (optional)

Directions:

After chopping apples, stir all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep in refrigerator ’til ready to serve. Serve at room temperature. You can also pulse everything together in processor, just be very careful not to over-process. I often do this to save time. You don’t want it too fine, so just go gently with the processor if you go that route. I do it in the processor, and I know exactly how I like it to come out, so go easy with the chopping.  If it’s a little dry or too thick, you can always add more wine. I find this always tastes better after it sits and allows the wine  to really soak and ripen for 24 hours. Before serving, check for consistency and add a little more wine, if necessary.

Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

Last night I made these absolutely delicious potatoes. We were eating the chicken from the other night and I had to spice up the leftovers. I made these potatoes and our favorite roasted brussels . Seriously these potatoes were kind of perfect. They hit the spot and after all what more can we get so excited about these days? Try them — the’re delicious. Instead of fairly boring baked potatoes I did this. I had all ingredients in the house including a bag of potatoes that I bought. The Parmesan is what makes it for sure but the paprika doesn’t hurt any either.

*Just a note I halved this recipe for the two of us.

Ingredients:

4 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes or any Potato really–diced into 1/2″ cubes

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Teaspoons Paprika

3 Teaspoons garlic powder

1 – 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt — I probably used 1 on the 2 Potatoes

3/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground black pepper

4 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese for the win

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Baking sheet should be large enough to hold potatoes without crowding. (see photo)

I placed the cubed potatoes in a large bowl and tossed with the olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, parmesan, kosher salt and pepper. I toss till the seasonings are evenly combined and that’s why I do it first in a bowl. I always do this even with my vegetables before roasting.

Pour out onto baking sheet.

Transfer the potatoes into pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven and toss the potatoes as best you can with tongs or spatula. Don’t worry about this if you don’t get every one. Put back in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes. I then tossed them one more time and placed back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so until they were golden crispy. All ovens vary. Total cook time anywhere between 50 and 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and my potatoes needed no extra salt or seasonings –they were perfection on a plate!

 

 

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Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Easy and delicious way to serve up shredded brussels sprouts. Super easy if you buy them already shredded and even if you shred yourself in the food processor this couldn’t be faster or easier.

A perfect side dish to meats, fish and almost any protein. Although I am a big fan of roasting them this was a very tasty alternative and pan to table in less than 15 minutes!

I kept this vegetarian but you can also throw in diced pancetta and give it a little zing if you don’t want it simply vegetarian.

This is another wonderful recipe from Ina Garten’s book Cooking for Jeffrey.

Ingredients:

2 12 ounce packages of fresh Brussels sprouts , I bought them already shredded in Whole Foods or you can do yourself in the food processor with the large slicing disk.

2 Tablespoons unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons good Olive Oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste — start with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and add as you like

1 Tablespoon Syrupy Balsamic Vinegar–now this is the secret ingredient and don’t leave it out . This is available in most supermarkets today.

Obviously you can cut this recipe in 1/2 and just divide up all ingredients.

Directions:

Heat the butter and the Olive Oil in a 12 to 14″ inch saute pan over medium high heat. Add the Brussels , 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt and 3/4 Teaspoon Pepper and saute stirring occasionally, app. 5-7 minutes. Saute till crisp-tender and still bright green. Taste for Salt and Pepper.  Remove from the heat source and stir in the Balsamic Vinegar, season to taste, and serve hot.

*Make sure you buy syrupy balsamic vinegar and not just plain balsamic vinegar. Also don’t over-cook or you’ll have a mushy mess on your hands.