Category Archives: Side Dishes

Clean My House or Make Alice’s Delicious Broccoli Salad?

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I used to really, really like to clean my house.  I loved starting with some dusty shelves, really shine them up, standing back and feeling totally satisfied with a job well done.  👏

Mopping floors? No problem! Love it!  The nice clean smell when it was all done and the beautiful hardwood and shiny tile and that revealed my hard work.  I cannot tell you exactly when the change occurred but I no longer enjoy cleaning my house!  😳

I just don’t want to spend the time cleaning.  There are other things I prefer to do.  Watch the Olympics.  Cook (thank heavens, I still love cooking and being in the kitchen). Bible Study. Bible devotions. Pray. Read.  Write. Take a walk. Think.  Did I mention the Olympics?

For many years I really thought it was odd how much I enjoyed digging in and cleaning my house.  Now I think it is really odd that my desire has changed and I would rather do anything besides clean.  As a matter of fact, today is my cleaning day.  Well, that is not exactly true.

Monday was my cleaning day.  Then I got busy doing laundry and didn’t clean.  Cleaning got bumped to Tuesday. Then to Wednesday.  Thursday I was in Community Bible Study, can’t clean that day!  Friday – well, I don’t want to clean on Friday because after all, its FRIDAY!

Today is my cleaning day but I decided to treat my sous-chef dish-washing mom and my super sweet Valentine husband to a Quiche breakfast.  Every time I made Quiche it is slightly different because I use whatever I have leftover from the week’s cooking.  Today I made  Quiche with ham, Pecorino cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and onions.  Oh my goodness, it was good!

Here are a few earlier recipes I have shared that are equally delicious.

Are they cute or what?

Butternut, Potato and Onion Quiché

Summer’s Bounty Quiché

Quiché with French Fried Onions

Okay, now I really am dragging my feet.  For more wonderful Quiche recipes just check out this link to all things Breakfast and Brunch!

Recently I wanted to make my sous-chef dish-washing mom’s delicious broccoli salad.  I click on praycookblog.com and typed in broccoli.  Whaaat?  I’ve never shared this recipe?  How can that be?

For year’s I would forget how to make this salad and I have asked my mother for the ingredient list at least 20 different times, usually calling from the grocery store!  Finally, I wrote it down and taped it to the inside of my cupboard.  It is a popular recipe and easily found with many variations on the Internet.  But for us, this is the one we love!

It is so easy to make and the combination of the red onion, bacon, raisins, and sunflowers really jazz up the fresh broccoli.  The sweet and sour dressing is what makes this a wonderful salad go well with almost any lunch or dinner menu.

I could probably wax poetically about broccoli (I LOVE broccoli) but alas I really do have to clean my house.  Today.

Happy cooking, cleaning, or whatever makes you happy!
Blessings, Catherine

Alice's Delicious Broccoli Salad
 
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My mom has been making this for years. Now, I have been making it for years. We love it from the first bite to the last.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of broccoli, washed, cleaned and diced up
  • ¼ to ½ diced red onion (amount depending on your taste)
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar (white, apple, balsamic, your choice)
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
Instructions
  1. Mix together the first five ingredients.
  2. Stir the vinegar, sugar, and mayo together making sure the sugar dissolves.
  3. Pour dressing over the broccoli mixture and stir well. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or as much as overnight.
  4. Stire and Enjoy!

 

Bacon and Brussels Sprout Gratin

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Brussels Sprout Gratin

Happy New Year!  Who doesn’t like to start the new year with some healthy new recipes?  I cooked up this skillet of Brussels Sprout Gratin earlier this fall.  The recipe came from Guy Fieri.  Well, not to me personally, but via the Food Network!  The bacon – well that is my addition.  Yum.

I’ve made this a couple of times to make sure it is blog-worthy.  From the first time we ate it we loved it!  I hope you do too.

Sliced Brussels Sprout

I always remove the outer leaf and slice off the bottom of the Brussels sprout. Once done these can be placed in a food processor with the slicer blade, sliced by hand or with a mandoline.  In seconds a whole bag of Sprouts is sliced and ready for the skillet.

You do not have to use a cast iron skillet, an 8″ x 8″ baking dish will do fine.  I just love using my cast iron skillet because it makes the cheese a little crispy wherever it touches the cast iron.  The skillet also creates a bit of crunchy crust to the bottom of this dish.

 When I mentioned I was blogging this recipe tonight to my brussels-sprout lovin’ husband he quickly said, “are you making that again soon?  I hope so!”  Well, I wouldn’t want to disappoint my honey.  I’ll be making this again this week!

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine

P.S. Don’t let the heavy cream scare you away from this recipe. It’s only a cup and it takes this recipe right over the top!

Bacon and Brussel Sprouts Gratin
 
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Loaded with a delicious blend of flavors this awesome side dish will have 'em coming back for more!
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pounds brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
  • ¾ cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • ¼ to ½ lb. cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon picked fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Shave the brussels sprouts horizontally into ⅛-inch slices with a sharp knife, mandoline or slicer blade in a food processor. Add to a bowl. Add the Cheddar, cooked, crumbled bacon, flour, thyme, garlic and some salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the mixture to an 8- by 8-inch baking dish or cast iron skillet, packing it in. Pour over the heavy cream.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan and oil and pour over the brussels sprouts mixture.
  5. Bake uncovered until the brussels sprouts are tender, the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
The bacon is optional and you can use more or less depending on your taste. The recipe is still excellent without the bacon.

 

 

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

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The frost is almost upon us!  That means it’s time to harvest the herbs!


I work at The Celtic Cup Coffee House in the small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee.  I don’t have my own herb garden, but The Celtic Cup does.  I love getting to use the fresh herbs when I bake quiches, casseroles, and savory scones.

Today I harvested all the basil for the winter months.  If you’ve never processed herbs before, you probably think it’s really complicated.  At least, that’s what I used to think.  I know there are a couple different ways to do it.  Drying herbs actually does take a while, so I prefer freezing them.  I think it preserves the flavors better, too.  It’s really a lot easier and faster than I imagined.  All you have to do is snip the entire plant, wash, pluck the leaves, and freeze  on a towel-lined sheet pan.  After about half an hour, the leaves should be stiff enough to store in a plastic freezer bag for the winter.  It’s that simple!

While we’re on the subject of basil, last week I made some delicious parmesan baked tomatoes.  I love how all the local markets are just bursting with fresh fruits and veggies from the garden this time of year.  I bought some beautiful plump red tomatoes and thought I would get creative.  All they needed was some leftover basil pesto and a hearty sprinkle of cheese.  Voila! Parmesan baked tomatoes! So fast and simple, but delicious and comforting.  They taste like pizza!  You can make them as a side dish or just a healthy snack.

I’m not religiously gluten free or anything, but I think I feel better when I stay away from bread.  So, to accompany the tomatoes, I baked some chicken and made fresh broccoli salad.  This broccoli salad was at my friend’s wedding last weekend.  It was so good I had to make it for myself.

Together it was the perfect guilt free/gluten free dinner!  It only takes about 30 minutes to make, so I hope this meal will find it’s way into your week as a tasty and stress free option!

Abby Hughes

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes
 
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A quick and tasty side dish or snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. Thick slice the tomatoes and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan
  3. Spread about a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of basil pesto on each slice.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and broil on high until the cheese is lightly browned (about 4 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Broccoli Salad
 
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A light brunch or dinner side.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
  • ½ c. roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
Dressing
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. white distilled vinegar
  • ½ c. mayo
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Small dice red onion.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, mayo, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, onion, craisins, and sunflower seeds.
  5. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  6. Enjoy!

Autumn’s Best Cooked Apples

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Yummy Cooked Apples!

When Abby shared some of her favorite things of fall, I knew it was time for me to put a pot of apples on the stove.  Apples are plentiful this time of year in the United States.  Not only are they available at farmers markets but even the grocery stores are selling from new crops.

Cooked apples compliment a breakfast casserole, work perfectly as a brunch side dish,  or easily stand alone in a healthy and delicious “I need a snack” moment.

My sous chef dish-washing mom will happily clean-up a kitchen full of pots, pans, and bowls when there are apples simmering on the stove-top!

Truly, any type apples work in this recipe. With over 2,500 varieties in the U.S. alone, here is a short list of common choices.

Comparing Apples to Apples

This information came from All Recipes.com site.

Braeburn

Braeburns have a sweet-tart flavor, with a texture that remains firm when it’s baked. An all-purpose apple, it works well in pies and tarts where you don’t want the filling to be overly juicy.  For cooked apples, Braeburn works well but add a little extra water to begin.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Braeburn Apples

Photo by Meredith

Cortland

Cortlands are juicy and slightly tart, with bright red skin and snowy white flesh. They are a terrific baking apple: Use in pies, cobblers, and crisps. When sliced, Cortlands are excellent for salads and cheese plates, as the flesh doesn’t brown and discolor quickly.  Cortland works well for cooked apples because they stay pretty and white while cooking.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Cortland Apple

Photo by Meredith

Empire

Empires are a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious apples. Firm-textured and sweet-tart, the Empire is a fine all-purpose apple good for juice, sauce, pies, baking, salads, eating fresh, and drying.  I haven’t tried an Empire apple but will be looking for these next trip to the market.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Empire Apple

Photo by Meredith

Fuji

Firm, crisp, and juicy, Fuji apples are among the most popular apples for eating fresh, but they’re also great for baking, as they hold their shape when they cook. We love Fuji apples and use them in cooked apples and soon I will share a fabulous apple pie recipe made by my Sous Chef Dish-washing mom!

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Fuji Apples

Photo by Meredith

Gala

A crisp, sweet apple with a mild flavor, Galas have yellow-orange skin with red striping. They’re best for salads, eating out-of-hand, applesauce, and pressing into cider.  Gala are a perfect apple to use in cooking apples. Really sweet!

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Gala Apple

Photo by Meredith

Golden Delicious

The Golden Delicious is sweet, with a rich, mellow flavor. It is one of the best all-around cooking apples, as it maintains its shape after baking. I don’t use Golden Delicious much because they always seem too soft and I don’t want them mushy.  Maybe if they are super fresh they will cook well.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Golden Delicious Apples

Photo by Meredith

Granny Smith

One of the most popular tart apples, Granny Smiths are crisp and quite sour. They’re a good all-purpose cooking apple, and their flavor is enhanced when paired with sweeter, spicier apples in pies and crisps.  When using Granny Smith for this cooked apple recipe you will need to add a little extra water to begin.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Granny Smith Apples

Photo by Meredith

Honeycrisp

Developed in Minnesota and introduced fairly recently, Honeycrisps are fantastic eating apples. As the name indicates, they are crisp and juicy, with a honey-sweet and tart flavor. Honeycrisps are also good for baking and applesauce.  I adore Honeycrisp apples and highly recommend for cooked apples!

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Honeycrisp Apple

Photo by Meredith

Jonagold

A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, Jonagolds have a tangy-sweet flavor. With a yellow-green base and a blush stripe, is excellent both for eating fresh and for cooking.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Jonagold Apples

Photo by Meredith

Jonathan

Jonathans are quite tart, with a rich, slightly spicy apple flavor. They hold their shape well when baked. They are also good in salads and for applesauce.   Jonathan’s are a good apple to mix with a sweeter apple for rich cooked apples or chunky applesauce.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Jonathan Apples

Photo by Meredith

I haven’t even scratched the surface of apple choices and you can find a few more here.  Mainly I want you to realize you can use whatever you have on hand.

Even though some apples are better suited for certain kinds of recipes than others, you don’t have to limit yourself to using just one kind of apple when you’re cooking or baking. Many cooks like to use a mixture of apples to get more complex flavors and textures.

If you’re buying apples during autumn’s apple season at farmers’ markets and specialty grocers, you have a better chance of finding regional and heirloom varieties. Be sure to ask the grower how they work in recipes!

I often cook these apples while making the rest of the breakfast.  A few minutes peeling and chunky apples and they can simmer until you are ready to put on the table.

One thing I know for sure — as soon as my Chief apple-loving husband and Sous Chef Dish-washing mom see this blog post they will be asking “when? soon? today?”  I can count on it.

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine


Autumn's Best Cooked Apples
 
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Uses for cooked apples can be as varied as types of apples available! Learning how to cook up a pot of apples will make this a go-to recipe when in a only-del replaceWithoutSep" id="193" data-gr-id="193">hurry, when planning a special breakfast or brunch, or just to cook up for the kids when they get home from school!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack!
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 apples - your choice of variety - you can also mix and match for awesome flavors
  • water
  • 2 Tablespoons to ¼ cup brown sugar*
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Peel apples and cut in 1" chunks. Place in 2-3 quart saucepan.
  2. Cover bottom of a saucepan with ½" to 1" of water. If the apples are not a juicy variety, you may add more water as they cook.
  3. Sprinkle with spice.
  4. Cook over medium bringing to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Add sugar. Cook at least 10 to 15 minutes until apples are starting to release juice. Stir often. Stirring a bit briskly will mush the apples some and provide more of an "applesauce".
  5. Add more water if there is not enough juice released to cook the apples.
  6. Check taste for sweetness - sugar to taste. Add vanilla extract.
  7. Remove from stove, cool slightly, Enjoy!
Notes
* Apples can be sprinkled with Jack Daniels Whiskey or favorite bourbon before serving for an added kick of conversation!
* Spice can be varied to taste.
* Honey may be used in place of brown sugar.
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