Archive for ‘Sides’

July 28, 2011

Spinach Gnocchi


Gnocchi is a potato pasta, similar to a dumpling.  You can find gnocchi at the grocery, usually with the pasta.  It is a great way to add something new to the table!  I always look for the whole wheat gnocchi made with sweet potatoes.  It has little to no sugar and a good amount of protein.  There are lots of great ways to prepare gnocchi.  I love this recipe because I love creamy spinach too!  The following recipe feeds 4-6 and can easily be doubled.    


Spinach Gnocchi

1 pkg. potato gnocchi ( I used whole wheat with sweet potatoes)

1 1/2 cups half and half

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 T. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 (9-10 oz) bag fresh spinach

2 oz. goat cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese


Place gnocchi in lightly greased 8×10 or 9×13 inch baking dish.  (I like to cut some of the gnocchi in half to make some smaller pieces)  Pour bag of spinach over the gnochhi.   In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the half and half, chicken broth,  flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk until heated through and smooth.  Pour mixture over spinach.  Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle evenly over top.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.  Bake at 400 until cheese is golden and bubbly. 

Let cool for a few minutes then its ready to serve. 

Enjoy it!   

July 21, 2011

Creole Rice

This side dish is so, so easy and really good.  It is a very easy way to add spice and flavor to a meal.  All you have to do is throw all of the ingredients into the rice cooker and you are done.  I served it with baked trout.  It was a perfect combination of flavors.  The rice added the kick I was looking for with the trout. 


Creole Rice

1 box Zatarains low-sodium jambalaya mix

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

2 links turkey sausage, diced

1 onion, chopped

4-5 green onions, chopped


In rice cooker, combine the box of Zatarains low-sodium mix, can of diced tomatoes with liquid, 1 cup water, chopped onion, and diced sausage.  Cook until rice is done.  Stir the chopped green onions into the rice mixture, cover, and let sit.  Serve as a side dish with any meal where you want to add a bit of spice. 

I served the creole rice with baked trout.  I seasoned the trout on a pan with salt, pepper, cavenders, thyme, fresh lemon juice and olive oil.  Bake it at 350 for 20 minutes or until flakes when cut into. 

Serve the creole rice topped with the trout.  It’s good!

June 28, 2011

Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers


Roasted Red Bell Peppers are a treat!  They have a mildly sweet flavor and are a wonderful addition to sandwiches, salads, pastas, etc.  Once the peppers are roasted and the skin is removed, you can keep the peppers in a jar to use anytime.  In this case, I stuffed them with some goat cheese, pine nuts and raisins.  The flavor was delicious!  These stuffed red peppers can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer or side.     


How to roast of bell pepper

Place whole peppers on pan in oven and broil until all sides are blackened, turning after about 10 minutes.  Once all sides are blackened, remove from over and put into a brown paper bag or covered bowl.  The steam helps to loosen the skins and makes them easier to peel.  When peppers are cool enough to touch, cut off stem and squeeze gently to help remove seeds.   


Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

4 large red bell peppers, roasted, seeds removed and split down one side

1/4 lb. goat cheese

2 T. basil

2 T. pine nuts

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 T. bread crumbs

2 T. olive oil


Place the peppers peeled side down and flatten them slightly to keep open.  Spread the goat cheese evenly down the center of each pepper, forming it into a log shape.  Top the goat cheese with the basil, evenly distributed among the peppers, followed by the pine nuts and golden raisins.  Fold the peppers to close and press down slightly to hold shape.  Place the peppers on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and olive oil.  Bake at 450 for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread crumbs begin to brown.    Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. 

Serve as a main dish with some pasta or couscous.  Or, try them as an appetizer.  Either way, I hope you enjoy!!

May 26, 2011

Potato Cakes

Potato Cakes are fun and easy to make.   They are a great side dish for many meals.  When I was preparing this recipe, our friend, Jacob, was over and he told me that I should refer to these “potato cakes” as “potato latkes.”  In his family and in many other Jewish traditions, they serve a type of latke at many family meals.  You could also serve them with some eggs and a biscuit for breakfast or as bite size cakes for an appetizer.  The ingredients in this recipe are easy to have on hand and can vary depending on what you want to put in them.  I chose to pan fry the potatoes using only a nonstick cooking spray.  You could also bake the potato cakes on a greased baking sheet or pan fry them in a little oil.      




Potato Cakes

4 cups shredded potatoes (hashbrowns in a bag), thawed

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

3 T. green onions, chopped

1/2 stick margarine, melted

1 egg

1/3 c. breadcrumbs

2 T. mayo

salt/pepper, about 1/2 tsp. each


Mix all ingredients and shape into patties about 1/4 in. thick.  Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-high.  Add patties, about 3-4 at a time depending on size.  Cook patties for about 4-5 minutes.  Flip patties and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until crispy.  Remove from skillet onto plate .  Spray skillet for your next batch and repeat until all the patties are cooked.   

Serve them hot and enjoy! 

April 9, 2011

Quinoa with Cranberries and Almonds

Quinoa is a great choice for a sidedish or a simple salad.  I used the following recipe as a side and it was great.  It can be served hot or cold.  Quinoa is a grain-like seed that is very high in protein and full of fiber.  It has a nutty flavor and a great texture.  In this recipe, I used plain, organic quinoa which I found at Whole Foods.  Most groceries should carry quinoa if you just look carefully since it is probably not something you have searched for before.


Cranberry and Almond Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
2 cups water
1/3 cup cranberries
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
Bring water and quinoa to boil in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand for about 15 minutes or until seeds seem to open.  Fluff with fork and add cranberries and almonds.  You can seaon to taste with salt and pepper if you would like. 
It’s ready to serve. 
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