I don’t know about you but the side dishes for many holiday or everyday dinners are my favorites. There is nothing like homemade apples sauce, broccoli au gratin, mashed potato casserole (just one of my favorites), homemade cranberry sauce and so much more. When eating my holiday diner, I have very little of the “main” dish meat on my plate but a lot of the sides. Frequently, I put a little bit of every side on my plate and then go in for seconds of my favorites. We have some tried and true sides that we always must have for our holidays. It seems mashed potatoes (I think there would be a revolt if we did not serve some sort of potato), always make an appearance at holidays but also many times at our family dinner table. But, why not have some of these special sides for your everyday dinners? Isn’t every night/day you sit down to a meal with your family special? No matter how many times I serve roasted pork, homemade apples sauce is always a favorite accompaniment. And don’t even think about jarred aka non-homemade apple sauce!! It just does not compare.
This month at the Council on Aging, I concentrated on side dishes. With the upcoming holidays, I thought it would be a welcomed segment. So, I hope you enjoy these side dishes. I know my family will this Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Here is the link to the What’s Linda Cooking episode. I hope enjoy watching it as much as I did filming it and the seniors had enjoying this feast!!! YUM!!!
Mashed Potato Casserole
6 large all purpose potatoes
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup or so of chicken stock
1/4 cup or so of butter
salt to taste
4 ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese or cheddar cheese
Place peeled and cubed potatoes into a large pot with water to cover. Add salt. Boil until tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, sauté onion in butter or olive oil. When onion is almost done, add minced garlic. Sauté for another minute. Add to potatoes and mash. Add chicken stock, butter and shredded cheese.
Put into a large baking dish. If desired, add more cheese on top or buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 400 for about 20 -30 minutes.
Broccoli & Cheese Casserole
20 ounces broccoli florets (can be frozen)
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cups milk
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 sleeve Ritz type crackers
¼ cup butter, melted
Steam broccoli until just tender. Put into a large baking dish.
In a sauce pan, add butter until melted. Add flour and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly add about 1 cup of milk, whisking to incorporate. It will thicken. If too thick, add a little more milk. Take off the heat and add about half the shredded cheese. Stir until melted. Add cheese sauce to broccoli and mix until broccoli is coated.
Melt about 1/4 cup of butter. Mix with a sleeve of crushed Ritz type crackers. Top broccoli with the cracker mixer and remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
About 4 lbs Tart apples
1/4 cup sugar or to taste
1 lemon juiced
Cinnamon, to taste (optional)
1/2 cup or so of Water
Peel, core and dice apples and add to a large sauce pan. Add a little bit of water, lemon juice and sugar.. Cook for about 20 minutes until apples are soft. Mash to desired consistency. Add cinnamon to taste.
As many of you know, for the past 10 years (+/-) I have been volunteering at the Council on Aging presenting a cooking class once every month. I try not to repeat recipes…especially now since for the past 5 years, ORCTV has been filming them. I can’t have my fans (LOL) seeing the same recipes!!!
This month, I have been thinking about Buffalo Chicken Dip. We’ve had a few pool parties and it seems like I have been making this dip a lot. I mean a lot!!! I thought it would be great as a pasta dish but not so much with the buffalo sauce for the Council on Aging (Flashback to a sale on Hot Italian Sausage and eye’s watering because it was too hot)!
Take out the buffalo sauce and add bacon. Change the ranch dressing to ranch seasoning and we suddenly have Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta. I tested it out on my weary wonderful family! I got a definite thumbs up from my daughter. My husband was not as impressed but he doesn’t like any type of dip, so I didn’t really take his opinion into account. (he would say, I never listen to him, but that’s another story and another post and maybe some counseling???!!!). Anyway, I cooked it for the Council and it was a big hit. Disclaimer…this is NOT a diet recipe!!! Yes, it is rich and delicious. It’s not something I would make every week. But it’s sooooo good. Try it and let me know what you think! Here’s the link to the video: One Pot Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta with Spinach
One Pot Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta with Spinach
2 cups chicken stock or water (chicken stock is better)
1/2 packet of ranch seasoning mix or about 2 tbs
8 oz cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces, softened
1 lb boneless skinless chicken
2 cups uncooked penne pasta (6 oz)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
8 ounces fresh spinach
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, brown cut up bacon. Add cut up chicken sprinkled with ranch seasoning and sauté.
Once browned, add cream cheese cubed and melt. Add 2 cups of water and pasta. Bring to a boil.
Add spinach. Cover; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until pasta is tender. Remove from heat.
Add 1/2 of the cheddar cheese and mix. Add the remaining cheddar on top. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
This is the no recipe, recipe! Although this recipe can be adapted for different meats and veggies, I ended up with chicken and zucchini in this dish because zucchini is plentiful this time of year and it’s plain yummy. There is no secret, I love chicken. It’s such a versatile ingredient and it’s inexpensive compared to other types of meat.
Believe it or not, the day I cooked this recipe, I had a hard time finding boneless/skinless chicken thighs at a good price. I ended up going to 3 different stores…1 did not have any chicken thighs, 1 had bone-in thighs at a ridiculously high price and the 3rd had them with bone-in at $.89/lb. I went with the 3rd option and deboned the thighs. All the skin and bones went into my Quick Cooker for a chicken stock. I could have made this recipe with the bone in but at the Council on Aging, I need to be able to make the main meal in about 30 minutes, so boneless was the way to go. At home, I would have just gone with the bone in.
As I mentioned in the video, I normally serve this with mashed potatoes which are my favorite (yum!!!) but I was feeling a little lazy and did not want to peel potatoes for 30 people (I know, I know…stop being so lazy!!!). So opted for rice. It did come out great with the rice but really would have been better with the potatoes.
Well, here’s the recipe I adapted. By the way, if you do want one of my cool…amazing Non Stick Stainless Skillets which helps make an amazing pan sauce with easy cleanup, just click the link.
Pan Roasted Chicken with Zucchini
1 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 small onion
1 pkg-8 ounces mushrooms
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 medium zucchini
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup white wine or chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 425°F . Heat the oil in a Stainless Steel Skillet or Stainless Non Stick Stainless Skillet over medium-high heat for 3–5 minutes.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt & pepper. Place the chicken in the pan and sear for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and sear for 1 additional minute. Remove the chicken from the pan.
Meanwhile, slice onion & mushrooms. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cut the zucchini into 1″.
Add the onions, mushrooms, minced or pressed garlic and salt to the pan. Saute for 2–3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the fond or little brown bits.
Add the wine or chicken stock and dijon mustard. Simmer, uncovered, for 3–5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes and zucchini to the pan and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the chicken in cooked. If you use bone in chicken, increase the baking time to about 30 minutes.
Another week of menu plans! I like making my menu plans based on what I have on hand and what’s on sale. It keeps my grocery budget in check. This week I ran into a great sale at Aldi on ground beef (93% 7% fat!!!!) and pork cutlets. Although they are not on my menu plan this week, they will be making an appearance in the next few weeks.
You may wonder why I make a 4 night menu…because I like the structure of knowing what I am going to be cooking but I also like the flexibility to add other menu items. Plus, I like to leave some room for leftovers. Most of our leftovers do get packed into my husband and daughter’s lunch boxes but sometimes I make so much food that I have some extra for a night’s meal.
I am trying to stay away from a lot of processed carbs…very tough for me since I have not met a carb that I didn’t love!! But, I need to lose some weight and eat a little healthier. So, my menu plan reflect my new eating style. Yes, you will see there are some potatoes on the menu but my family loves them and I will try to not eat them!!! Wish me luck!!
I make my menu plans based on what I have on hand and what’s on sale…mostly at Market Basket…and what I may find at Friendly Fruit. So here it is. There are links to the recipes from the websites where I found the recipes.
Every month for the past 10 years or so, I have been teaching a cooking class at the Council on Aging in Rochester. I look forward to this class every month. It’s so much fun! And I cook for about 20-30 hungry people.
This month, I made one of my favorites, Oven Fried Chicken Cutlets! YUM!!! And it did come out yummy! I normally choose my menus like I choose my family’s menu plans…based on what’s on sale or what I have in my freezer. In the case of the cooking class…based on what the Council on Aging may have received in donations or what may have been left over from another function. One month, they called and said they had pork loin roasts, so I made the roast with potatoes and veggies or a Hot Brown with Pork instead of Turkey. Easy! It’s the same way many people plan their menus. Except, I need to be able to do most of the cooking in about 30 minutes AND feed about 20-30 people. No problem! Of course, I do some of the prep ahead of time. Who wants to see me dredge and coat 30 chicken cutlets? NOBODY!!! So I leave about 3-4 for on camera and the cooking class. Easy! Then I hope that I have enough to say to fill up the 25-30 minute time slot. Most of the time it works our perfectly but sometimes, not so much. I’ll let you be the judge of this time.
Mix crumbs with seasoning. Put in a shallow bowl. Put flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Dredge chicken in flour, then egg and finally in breadcrumbs. Place on a greased sheet pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
1 cup cooked ditalini pasta or other type of small pasta
1 package of torn romaine lettuce (8 cups)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 firm ripe avocado
3 sliced green onions
6 sliced of cooked bacon crumbled
1 cup blue or feta cheese
1/2 cup wine wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste along with Italian Seasoning
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse under cook water. Drain well. Set in large salad bowl.
Chop lettuce, avocado, tomato and slice green onions and set in salad bowl.
Cook bacon to crisp and crumble. Add to the bowl with the cheese.
Make dressing by combining vinegar, olive oil, chopped shallot, minced garlic and heavy cream. Add salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning. Whisk until thickened. Add to salad and toss.
To serve, add salad to plates and top with sliced oven fried chicken. Enjoy!
Here’s my weekly installment of my menu plan. Yes, I am a little late but better late than never. So, Ham Croquettes are on the menu this week. You’re probably saying..”Ham Croquettes? What are those?” Well, they were popular probably in the 50’s to use up leftovers. They use mashed potatoes, leftover meat and cheese to make a nice fried pancake or cylinder type dumpling. Really good, when you make them right. I have been trying to perfect these for a while. I went to a great restaurant near me where they were on the menu. Of course, I ordered them and they were fantastic.
Since we had ham on the menu for Easter AND mashed potatoes, I figured I would try out this recipe for Ham and Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes. We will see!!!
I hope you enjoy the menu plan. If you have any questions, just let me know. All recipes and the grocery list can be found on my website in the new section. Menu Plan
Day 1: Ham & Oaxaca Cheese Croquettes & Salad
Day 2: Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast with Roasted Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts
Day 3: Cod with Italian Crumb Topping with Steamed Broccoli and Rice Pilaf
Day 4: Pan-Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
Enjoy and let me know what you think! Again, for all the recipes, just go to Menu Plan under New Section for the recipes, links and grocery list.
Finished Menu Plan for this week!!!! I love it when it is done. I just feel so empowered because I have a plan!! As you can tell I only do 4 days of meals. Why? I like to leave flexibility in my menu for leftover night and nights when we may want to go out to eat. Flexibility and a Plan…it’s the best of both worlds! At the end is the grocery list. I hope you try the menus. I know they are helping me with that rush of what’s for dinner tonight!
Preheat the Double Burner Grill Pan for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
For the marinade, juice the lime to measure 2 tbsp (30 mL). Add the juice, rub, and oil to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Repeat in a separate bowl.
Add the steak to one bowl and shrimp to another bowl, stir to coat with the marinade, and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
Slice onions and pepper and put on one side of the grill to cook.
Grill the steak first for 7 minutes per side depending upon desired doneness rotating and moving around the grill occasionally to ensure even cooking. Put on cutting board to rest. Then grill shrimp 4 minutes per side or until opaque. Slice the beef against the grain before serving..
In the Rockcrok over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear until golden, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken thighs to slow cooker.
Whisk together soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, Sriracha, and lime juice. Pour sauce over chicken and toss to combine.
Cover and cook until no longer pink, on low for 6 hours or high for 2 hours. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.
Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon
SAUTÉED GREEN BEANS WITH BACON
8 oz (250 g) fresh green beans
3 slices uncooked bacon
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
Trim ends and cut longer beans in half. Thinly slice bacon crosswise into thin strips. Cook bacon in (10-in./24-cm) Skillet over medium-high heat 7-9 minutes or until crisp.
Finely chop shallot. Add shallot to Skillet and cook 20-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add green beans, water, salt and pepper. Cover; cook 6-8 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
5 cups (1.25 L) mixed salad greens
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2-in. (5 cm) strips
1 cup (250 mL) snow peas
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/3 cup (75 mL) snipped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp (30 mL) Asian Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb (500 g)
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
For dressing, combine vinegar, soy sauce, seasoning mix and sugar in Small Batter Bowl. Slowly add oil, whisking until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
For salad, arrange greens on large serving platter. Top with bell pepper, snow peas, onion and cilantro. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. For pork, combine seasoning mix and oil in (1-cup) Prep Bowl; rub over entire surface of pork. Grill pork 15-18 minutes or until Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 155°F (68°C) for medium doneness or 165°F (75°C) for well done, turning every 5 minutes. Remove pork to Cutting Board and tent with aluminum foil; let stand 5-10 minutes.
To serve, carve pork into thin slices and arrange around edge of salad on serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts, if desired. Drizzle with dressing.
2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup (125 mL) ranch dressing
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Cornmeal for dusting
16 oz (450 g) frozen prepared pizza dough, thawed (see Cook’s Tip)
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 thinly sliced green onions
Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. Combine chicken, dressing, pressed garlic, salt and black pepper in medium bowl; toss to coat.
Generously sprinkle Pastry Matwith cornmeal; place dough onto center of mat. Roll dough to an 12-in. (30-cm) circle. Place dough onto BBQ Pizza Pan; gently stretching to cover bottom. Top crust with chicken mixture and tomatoes; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon.
Place pizza pan on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 18-22 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown, rotating pan occasionally for even grilling. Remove pan from grill. Sprinkle evenly with green onion. Cut pizza into 12 slices.
6 servings of 2 slices
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 470, Total Fat 26 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Sodium 880 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 26 g
For best results, let pizza dough stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling it out.
I forgot to post this. I don’t want to waste it even though it is now Winter. So here’s the post I did for fall:
I love fall! The crisp, clean air is always something I look forward to every year. Pumpkins, apples, peaches, squashes, soups, stews, roasts, etc. are all things I love about this time of year. As some of you know from previous posts, I volunteer at our local Council on Aging doing a cooking class and cooking lunch for about 30 people once a month. Each month, I ask what they would like to see me cook the next month. This past month the suggestion was soup because the weather is turning cooler and a nice steamy bowl of soup (with a steamy slice of bread) hits the spot most nights. Plus, soup is so economical. Bonus!!!!!
I have been an Independent Pampered Chef Director for the past 20 years and this year we are focusing our shows on One Pot Meals. JUST WHAT I LOVE!!!!! One of my favorites is a Chicken Pot Pie Chowder (or Chowdaa). Can we have a double YUM! I made this for my family and it was an instant hit. I think you’ll love it too!!!
As some of you know, I love a bargain. Especially when that bargain is food. Why? Because I love to cook AND food is one of the best ways to save money. Everyone has to buy food! Everyone! If we have a $200/week (sorry, I’m choking) food bill, cutting back is one of the best ways to save money. I’m sure I could have a $200 food bill but I am too cheap thrifty to spend that much. Instead my food bill is about $40-$60 per week depending upon how many I am feeding…and who is living in the house or living at school. One of my daughters likes organic food, so our food bill may go up when she is home.
So, last week, I was shopping at my favorite produce market…Friendly Fruit, aka leftovers from Sid Weiner’s Gourmet Outlet. They had a huge, I mean huge bag of chopped kale for $2 or $3. All chopped and washed, ready to go. I could not, would not pass that up! I thought I would just make some Kale Soup and some smoothies. Well, it was A LOT of kale. And, I did not feel like Kale Soup. While I did make many smoothies, I happened along to a recipe for Potato Kielbasa Skillet at the Taste of Home website. I had to change up a few things, like add kale instead of spinach, remove the bacon and thyme from the recipe and change the cooking instructions. Basically, I made another recipe with what I had on hand and what I like. The result was an amazing dish that I know I will be making again. Plus, it was all done in one pan and in less than 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Kielbasa, Potatoes and Kale Skillet
1 pound potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons water
12 ounces smoked kielbasa
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 dashes of pepper
4 cups chopped kale
Place potatoes and water in the Rockcrok or other microwavable and stovetop safe pan. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.
Add oil, kielbasa and onion to the potatoes. Saute for 15 minutes or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned. Stir occasionally so the potatoes do not burn.
Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and pepper; stir into potato/kielbasa mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add kale simmer, uncovered, until kale is wilted.