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Posts Tagged ‘Sides’

Most broccoli salad recipes are full of mayo, cheese, and bacon. There’s definitely a time and place for such a dish, but sometimes, you want something lighter. Yesterday, I threw together my healthier recipe, and after all the heavy Thanksgiving food, it was perfect. It’s good for a snack, meal, or side dish.

With this kind of recipe, you can play around with ingredients and the amounts. My recipe can be a guideline, but do whatever you wish. You like pecans or sunflower seeds instead of almonds? Do those instead. Don’t like grapes or don’t like fruit in your savory dishes? Don’t add them. Want more acid? Add it. Want a little cheese? Grate some in.

So, here’s my recipe:

Start by cutting broccoli in small pieces– about five or six cups. Then, chop half a red onion, and halve 20 green or red grapes.

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Put it all in a bowl and then add one cup of slivered almonds.

In a separate bowl, put in one cup of greek yogurt, two tablespoons red wine vinegar, two teaspoons garlic powder, two teaspoons onion powder, two teaspoons salt, two teaspoons pepper, and two teaspoons sugar. Whisk it all together.

Now, add the dressing to the broccoli salad and mix together until everything is incorporated.

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There ya have it! You can eat it immediately or let it chill in the fridge.

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What you’ll need:

5-6 cups (approx.) broccoli, cut into small pieces

1/2 red onion, chopped

20 (approx.) red or green grapes

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup greek yogurt

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

Directions:

Cut broccoli in small pieces. Then, chop red onion, and halve grapes. Put it all in a bowl and then add the slivered almonds. In a separate bowl, put in the greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and sugar. Whisk and then add to the broccoli salad. Mix it all together until everything is incorporated. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge.

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Mac & Cheese…

Mac & Cheese…

Mac & Cheese…

I love Mac & Cheese!

It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. I don’t make it often, but once the holidays come around, it’s a given. I grew up having it at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now, once the Hallmark Christmas movies begin (end of October), I start craving it.

Last weekend, Chris and I drove to Lake Willoughby and stayed in a cabin on the lake. I didn’t want to cook much while we were there, so I made ahead my mac and cheese along with my cornbread and biscuit dressing (recipe to come soon). It also gave me the opportunity to take pictures and get the recipe ready for this post… just in time for Thanksgiving.

I use four cheeses– sharp, extra sharp, monterey jack, and gouda. You can mix it up however you wish. Just make sure you have at least one or two creamy cheeses– like gouda and monterey jack. Fontina would also work. Growing up, we used Velveeta. Use whatever gets your taste buds going.

Here’s a big tip: Grate the cheese yourself. Don’t use already grated cheese; they have additives and preservatives that prevent them from melting as ooey-gooey as you want for mac and cheese.

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Oky, now we have the cheese grated and ready, let’s get to the rest.

First, cook the pasta by the al-dente directions on the box. However, it’s best to cook 1-2 minutes less because the pasta will continue to cook while in the oven. Drain the pasta and put aside.

I used Mario Batali’s pasta. I like how big it is, which allows the cheese sauce to get inside the pasta.

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Now, on medium heat, make a roux by melting 6 tablespoons of butter and then slowly whisking in the ½ cup of flour. Continue to whisk for about 3-5 minutes until the roux is light brown. It should be a creamy texture. If not, add a little more butter.

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Keep the heat on medium to medium high and slowly add in the milk and continue to whisk. The milk should never boil. Whisk until it becomes a smooth, thick consistency— it should be able to coat the back of a spoon. This normally takes 10-15 minutes. Be patient and continue to whisk. Once it’s thick, add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

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Turn off the heat and then add all the grated cheese (you don’t want to leave it on the heat, because it would break the fats down and make your cheese sauce gritty). Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted.

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Once all the cheese is melted, add in your cooked pasta, stir, and pour into a pan.

Since we were traveling, I used a 9 x 13 tin pan. You can use a casserole dish of your choice.

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From this point, you can do one two things– cook it right away or put it in the fridge overnight. I almost always make it a day ahead. Having it chill out for a night sets it nicely and seems to thicken it up a bit. If you do this, be sure to take it out, and let it come to room temperature before baking it. This cuts down on cook time, which means you won’t overcook it.

Cook for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

I like a crunchy top on mine, so once it becomes bubbly hot and cooked through, I take it out, and add my topping.

To make the topping, melt butter, and combine with panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix together with your hands until the butter is well incorporated. Spread the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and put back in the oven.

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Once it’s browned and crunchy on top, take it out, and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Then, it’s time to dive in!!

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What you’ll need for the mac and cheese:

Approx. 1/2 lb. each of your favorite 4 cheeses– I used sharp cheddar, extra sharp, monterey jack, and gouda.

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup flour

4 cups of whole milk

Dash of nutmeg

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon pepper

1 16-ounce box of pasta (You can use your choice of pasta, I used Tortiglioni)

What you’ll need for the crunchy topping:

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1-cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ stick  unsalted, melted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grate all your cheeses.

Cook the pasta by the al-dente directions on the box. However, it’s best to cook 1-2 minutes less because the pasta will continue to cook while in the oven. Drain the pasta and put aside.

On medium heat, make a roux by melting 6 tablespoons of butter and then slowly whisking in the ½ cup of flour. Continue to whisk for about 3-5 minutes until the roux is light brown. It should be a creamy texture. If not, add a little more butter.

Keep the heat on medium to medium high and slowly add in the milk and continue to whisk. The milk should never boil. Whisk until it becomes a smooth, thick consistency— it should be able to coat the back of a spoon. This normally takes 10-15 minutes. Be patient and continue to whisk. Once it’s thick, add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

Turn off the heat and then add all the grated cheese (you don’t want to leave it on the heat, because it would break down the fats and make your cheese sauce gritty). Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted.

Once all the cheese is melted, add in your cooked pasta, stir, and pour into a pan.

From this point, you can do one two things– cook it right away or put it in the fridge overnight. I almost always make it a day ahead. Having it chill out for a night sets it nicely and seems to thicken it up a bit. If you do this, be sure to take it out, and let it come to room temperature before baking it. This cuts down on cook time, which means you won’t overcook it.

Cook for approx. 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

I like a crunchy top on mine, so once it becomes bubbly hot and cooked through, I take it out, and add my topping.

To make the topping, melt butter, and combine with panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix together with your hands until the butter is well incorporated. Spread the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese and put back in the oven and bake until browned and crunchy on top.

Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before diving in!

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Deviled Eggs

Growing up, deviled eggs were served with Sunday dinner and most holidays. They were a simple side-item and always delicious. My mom knew how to make THE best deviled eggs. No surprise there, right? The first time my husband had her eggs, we learned to always make extra! He will devour them.

These days, you see all kinds of fancified deviled eggs on restaurant menus, especially down south. Yes, they’re good served most ways, but for me, I like them simple, maybe with a little added topping.

The first thing to keep in mind when boiling eggs is to use eggs that aren’t super fresh. I know that sounds weird. Wouldn’t you normally want the freshest of ingredients? Well, with eggs, if they’re a little older, they peel easier.

The second thing to keep in mind is to not overcook them or cook them too fast. When you do, you’ll get a gray ring around the yolk.

The best appliance I’ve found for cooking eggs is this handy dandy egg cooker from Chef’s Choice. If you boil or poach a lot of eggs, it’s worth every penny. Plus, it will cook the eggs to your choice of doneness.

 

For deviled eggs, I put the setting just beyond medium, and after the beeper goes off, I leave them under the lid for an extra 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of eggs, and for deviled eggs, I suggest jumbo size. Then, I put the them in ice water to stop the cooking. This will also cool them down faster, so you can begin peeling them sooner.

If you don’t have an egg cooker, boil the eggs for 5-8 minutes, turn off the heat, cover, and let them sit for 10 minutes.

A tip for peeling eggs: Tap each end of the egg on the side of your sink, and peel from there. Tapping the body of the egg may tear the white part. You don’t want that, especially with deviled eggs. You want them to stay in tact and pretty.

Now, let’s get to the good part– deviling the eggs.

Peel all your eggs, cut them in half, and put the yolks in a bowl, and the halves in a deviled egg holder or a platter.

Mash the yolks with a potato masher and get them to a crumb-like consistency. Like this:

Now, add the mayonnaise and whisk.

Add sour cream and whisk. It should now look like this:

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Add just a touch of yellow mustard. Seriously, just a touch…

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Add salt and pepper and whisk.

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Now, put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps the mixture firm up just a bit, which will make filling the eggs easier.

After 10 minutes, you can fill your eggs by spooning the mixture into your eggs or you can use a pastry bag or a zippy bag with one corner cut. I use my pastry bag.

For added decoration, and flavor, I always sprinkle a little smoked paprika on top. I find it’s easier to put the paprika in my hand, then use my fingers to sprinkle. This allows more control over how much gets on each egg.

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I normally like to dice a green onion and put one piece on each egg, but silly me forgot the onions at the store today, so my eggs will have to go without this time.

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These are a good addition to almost any meal. Sometimes, I just have them in the fridge for a mid-day snack. They’re also good to have at a party for hors d’oeuvres or appetizers.

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What you’ll need:

9 jumbo or large eggs– boiled, peeled, halved, and yolk removed.

1/3 cup mayo

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon of mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Paprika (as much or as little as you like)

Directions:

Peel all your eggs, cut them in half, and put the yolks in a bowl, and the halves in a deviled egg holder or a platter.

Mash the yolks with a potato masher and get them to a crumb-like consistency. Add the mayonnaise and whisk. Add sour cream and whisk. Add yellow mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk. Put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes and then fill your eggs. Sprinkle paprika on top.

Additions: 

If you’d like, you can add all kinds of toppings to your deviled eggs. Here are some suggestions:

Crumbled bacon

Sun-dried tomato

Roasted red pepper

Green onion

Chives

Pickled red onion

Smoked salmon or Nova Lox

Jalapeños (pickled or raw)

Slice of green or black olive

If you’d like a little crunch or texture inside your deviled eggs, finely dice some onion and put it into the mixture.

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