Tag Archives: side dish

Parmesan Green Beans

Things have been more than a little hectic here. My husband switched jobs and I have been adjusting to life with him on the road. We are settling into a bit of a routine now, so hopefully I will be back to posting regularly.

I figured since I’ve been gone for a while I owed you guys a remarkable recipe. This side dish is simple and tasty. And, it’s good for you too. When we go out to eat, if they’re on the menu, we almost always order fried green beans as an appetizer. My enjoyment of the crunchy delicacy is always overshadowed by my brain reminding me how expensive they are and how I could do it better. So, I did.

First, set up an reading station. I used coconut flour to keep these grain-free, but you could use all purpose flour no problem. Then egg whisked with a little milk. Then, grated Parmesan cheese seasoned with a little garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.

I used frozen green beans (I recently bought 28 POUNDS through my Bountiful Baskets co-op, so I’ve got plenty in the freezer), but this would work just as well (if not better) with fresh. Toss your green beans in the coconut flour, then dip in the egg. Let the extra egg drop off and roll them in the grated Parmesan. Then, place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Repeat until you run out of green beans or a breading element. Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. You may want to flip them after the first 5 minutes. I didn’t and the bottoms got very browned, so that’s up to you.


2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, ends and strings removed

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 egg

2 Tablespoons milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, paprika

Preheat oven to 350*.

Place coconut flour in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, beat the egg and milk until well combined. In a third dish,  stir together Parmesan cheese and spices. Working with a few green beans at a time, coat with coconut flour. Shake off excess and dip into egg. Let excess drain and roll in cheese mixture. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Flip once during cooking if desired.


Skillet Sweet Potatoes

When I logged in today, I realized that my last recipe was chicken noodle soup.  It is insanely appropriate that I posted the classic feel-better recipe last Monday morning, because that afternoon, the cold hit my house hard.  And not just any cold.  I’ve dubbed this the death cold of 2015.  Even a week later my head is stuffy and pounding and there is a noticeable ringing in my ears.  I’ve been slipping chile into everything my family eats lately just to be sure that we kill this monster germ DEAD.  I’m glad to say that I’m feeling well enough to be sitting in front of the computer screen today and can therefore share this super-simple sweet potato recipe.

Start by peeling two medium sized sweet potatoes.  Then, slice them into 1/4″ thick rounds.  You’re going to want to use a sharp knife and be careful during this step.  Sweet potatoes are much harder than other potatoes and these do not taste as good with a side of finger. Just sayin’.


Now, heat a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  When the butter is melted and starts to bubble, layer your sweet potatoes across the bottom.  I like to separate them and lay them in a layer at a time.  Season with salt, pepper, chile powder and onion powder between each layer. The picture only shows one layer, but I keep layering until I am out of potatoes.


When you have all the potato slices layered in the pan, cover wit ha tight fitting lid and cook for 10-15 minutes.  I actually don’t have a lid for my non-stick skillet, but my pizza pan is a perfect fit and comes in handy for the next step.  I do not have photographs of the flipping step, and it can be a little intimidating.  Don’t fear, you can just use a spatula to flip these over a section at a time.  They won’t be quite as pretty, but they will taste just as good.  If you’re feeling adventurous, give this a try.  Take a flat tray (I use my pizza pan) that is large enough to completely cover the top of your skillet.  Use hot pads or oven mitts or other heat-protective gear to grab the skillet and the tray together.  Hold the tray and skillet tightly together and invert.  The potatoes will fall onto the tray.  Remove the skillet from the top and place it back on the heat.  Slide the potatoes off the tray and back into the skillet so that the cooked side is facing up.  Cook over low heat until the bottom is golden brown.  I’ve served this in slices before or just a scoop.  The top and bottom will be a beautiful golden brown and the inside will be soft and creamy.  You can see where the potatoes with direct skillet contact are caramelized and the inside ones are more pale.



2 medium sweet potatoes

1 Tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon chile powder

Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 1/4″ rounds.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over low heat.  Layer sweet-potatoes into hot oil. Season between each layer.  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Place a tray or board over the top of the skillet.  Hold skillet and tray together tightly and flip.  Remove skillet and place back over low heat.  Slide potatoes, now cooked side up, back into the skillet.  Continue cooking until bottom in golden brown and all potatoes are tender.

Apple Chutney

Pork and apples is such a classic pairing.  It would be so easy to just throw some applesauce on the table on pork chop nights.  The problem with that? I HATE applesauce.  I’m not sure why, really.  I just do.  But who knows, I I liked applesauce, I may have never started making this fantastic apple chutney to serve with my pork chops.  And then I would really be missing out.

Dice up one apple and put it in a small saute pan with butter.  Cook until the apple starts to soften.  The color will change slightly.


Then, carefully add in the secret ingredient – honey whiskey.  And the vinegar and spices.  Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and apples are soft.


Stir in a second diced apple.  You’re not going to cook this one.  The texture contrast is part of what makes this so special.


I like to serve this with pork (or chicken) and a green veggie.  My kids are partial to broccoli, but really any green would work.  The slight bitterness is a nice contrast to the sweet apples. Also, the recipe calls for cinnamon and ginger, but you could spice these any way you like.  I find a little cayenne is fantastic.



2 apples, cored and diced

1 Tablespoon butter

1 ounce honey whiskey

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Add butter and half of diced apple to a small saute pan and cook over medium heat until apples just start to get tender.  Carefully add whiskey, vinegar and spices.  Continue cooking until apples are soft and almost all liquid has evaporated.

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining apple.


Lentils with Butternut Squash and Kale

I love this side dish.  Honestly, it is hearty enough to be used as a main dish on a meatless night.  It is packed full of flavor and nutrition.  Healthy proteins, vitamins, fiber.  And, it tastes absolutely fabulous.  My 3 year old (the picky one) had 2 full servings and has asked for it every night since I made it.  There is nothing that brings a smile to a mama’s face like seeing her boy pick out the kale so he can eat it alone and then asking for more.  If you think healthy food has to taste bad, try this recipe.  Seriously, it will change your life.

If you don’t have lentils already prepared, start them first.  Just simmer them in water until they are tender. Cube up your butternut squash.  You need about 2 cups of cubes.  I used one small butternut squash.  If all you can get are big ones, they freeze well.  Heat up some olive oil in a large pan and add the squash cubes.  Cook until mostly tender and browned.


While the squash is cooking down, get the kale ready.  Be sure to remove the stems as they are woody and tough.  Then just roughly chop the leaves.  Remember that greens cook down a lot, so don’t worry about getting the pieces too small.


Stir the lentils and garlic into the squash cubes.  Deglaze the pan with a little water, stock or wine.  Top with chopped kale and put a lid on it.  It is going to look like you have way too much kale, I promise, you don’t.


Let this cook covered over low heat for 5 minutes.  Then, remove the lid and stir.  Cook until the kale is as tender as you like it.


Serve alone or with a protein.  We had salmon and it was delicious.



1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 cups cubed butternut squash

2 cups prepared lentils (1 cup dry simmered in 2 cups water)

1 bunch kale

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 cup water, stock or wine

Heat oil in large skillet.  Add cubed squash.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and mostly tender.

While squash is cooking, remove stems from kale.  Rough chop the leaves.

Add prepared lentils and smashed garlic to the browned squash.  Deglaze pan with water.  Add kale and cover immediately.

Cook covered over low heat for 5 minutes.  Remove lid and stir.  Continue cooking until kale is as tender as you like (2-3 minutes for me).

More Than Microwaving – Refried Beans

I have several great recipes saved up to share with you from my weekend “off”.  I was looking through pictures and couldn’t decide what to share.  Everything looked so delicious.  Then, I remembered a friend of mine suggesting that I do More Than Microwaving on Mondays.

Refried beans are a staple in New Mexican cuisine.  I used to open a can and plop the mushy contents into a pan and reheat.  Then, I got pregnant with my first child.  Suddenly, everything that came out of a can, tasted exactly like the can it came out of.  I could doctor them some and help temper that metallic flavor, but I finally gave up and just started making my own.  You can start with dry beans, but if you’ve got some already cooked up, it makes this process even more simple.  Just realize that your refried beans will have the flavor of your original beans, so bbq beans or baked beans aren’t recommended.  Chile beans are perfect (even if they’ve got a little meat in them). Start by putting the beans in a pan to warm them up.  If your beans aren’t nice and soft, use this time to cook them a little longer.  You want them to be really soft and not very soupy.  You can tell I cooked quite a bit of liquid off of these.


When the beans are soft, add 1/2 teaspoon cumin and mash with a potato masher.  If you want them super smooth, I suppose you could use a food processor, but I like a little texture in my refried beans.  As you mash, the beans will start to absorb all the cooking liquid.  To keep them nice and moist, you need to add some fat.  Lard is traditional.  Bacon grease is fabulous, but butter will work just fine too.


Serve these alongside your favorite Mexican meal. Top them with cheese if you want.  Or, put them on top of a tostada with a little cheese and salsa and they become a meal all their own.



2 cups leftover pinto beans in liquid

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon fat*

Reheat beans and cook until beans are very soft and the liquid level and bean levels are about equal. You can add more water and cook the beans longer if you need to.  When beans are soft, add cumin and mash with a potato masher.  Mash until desired consistency and stir in fat. Serve warm.

*Lard, bacon drippings, butter or margarine all would work fine.

Risotto-style Brown Rice

I want to preface this post by saying that I have never eaten risotto that was not made in my own kitchen.  I’ve read, and watched and researched about it, but I have never eaten it anywhere.  Yes, this is an indication of the quality of dining available to me.  But darn it, I have the Food Network and the internet, and I’ve followed the process as best as I understand it.  So, if you are a risotto connoisseur, this recipe is probably not for you.  If you’re not, and you’re looking for a way to change up your boring rice side dish, give it a try. You need two pots for this – one for the rice and one for your stock.  Heat your stock up in one pan and keep it hot, but not boiling.  In the other pan, toast up your rice with a little butter and some chile powder.


When your rice is toasty and your stock is hot, add a ladle-full of stock to your rice and stir.  Be careful, this one will bubble and steam quite a bit.  You could use a half cup of white wine instead of broth in this step, but my kids don’t like that as much.


Stir the rice frequently.  When almost all the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated, add another ladle of broth.  After a half hour, and 3 ladles (or 1 1/2 cups of broth), my rice looked like this.


If it doesn’t look much different to you and you are getting discouraged, I’m with you.  This dish is not quick and it is not one you can just set on the stove and walk away from.  I really think the end product is worth the trouble, but I don’t do it often.  After another half hour (yup, that’s an hour total) and another 3 ladles of broth (totaling 3 cups), it is thick, creamy and delicious.


Those little black specks are evidence of home made stock.  I used the bones from some leftover grilled chicken to build my stock.  And, since I was serving this with grilled chicken, it really tied all the flavors together.  If you’ve used a well seasoned broth, you shouldn’t need to do much to this in terms of seasoning.  Taste it.  If it’s flat, add some salt and pepper.  If you know your stock is only marginal, toss in some finely diced onion with the rice and butter at the beginning of this process. You can add virtually anything to this before serving – some grated parmesan, more butter, sautéed mushrooms, fresh or frozen peas, even protein. Or, you could just leave it alone and enjoy it alongside your favorite main dish.



1 Tablespoon butter

1 cup brown rice

1 teaspoon chile powder

3 cups chicken stock (the more flavorful the better)

Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Add rice and chile powder and toast.  While rice is toasting, heat chicken stock until it almost boils.  Reduce heat to low and keep stock hot.

When the rice is toasted, reduce heat to low.  Add one ladle of stock (about 1/2 cup) and cook over low heat, stirring almost constantly until almost all the liquid is absorbed/evaporated.  Add another ladle of stock.  Repeat this process until rice is the desired consistency (I added 3 cups of stock a half cup at a time – 6 repetitions).  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking if necessary.