Category Archives: Side Dishes

Mushroom Madness

Along with our oven seared broccoli, mushrooms were on the menu.  CI, again, has the magic method for achieving flavorful, tender mushrooms.  This is our dumb-ed down version.

Slice mushrooms.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.

Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release moisture, approximately 5 minutes.

Turn heat to medium high and cook an additional 8 minutes, until moisture evaporates.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and cook until dark brown, an additional 8 minutes.

Salt/pepper to taste. Serve.

Since  our oven was hot from the broccoli, I threw some grape tomatoes in the oven on a non-stick pizza pan and cooked them until shriveled.

A colorful addition to our veggie trio.


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Filed under Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Side Dishes

Broccoli–Oven Seared Sensation

Do you have broccoli haters in  your life?  Want to “wow” them with a new treatment that actually makes them long for you to prepare broccoli?  All you need to accomplish this great feat is: a blazing hot oven, smidgeon of salt, sugar and an even smaller smidgeon of pepper.  Are you intrigued?  I hope so.  Broccoli is on the super food list; finding a great way to present it to your dubious eaters is a task worth pursuing.  Don’t you agree?

Roasted Broccoli

One large bunch of broccoli

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Oven prep:  put rack at lowest position; place a large rimmed baking sheet on the rack; turn oven to 500 degrees.  Yes, preheat to 500 degrees.

Cut broccoli stems off tops ( separate the tree tops from the trunks)

Peel the stems to remove tough outer sheaf.

Slice into 1/2 inch widths.

Place broccoli pieces into a large bowl. Mix oil with sugar and salt and a dash of pepper and drizzle over broccoli.

Toss with spatula to coat with oil.

Remove HOT pan from oven and quickly dump broccoli onto pan, spreading out the pieces.  It will SIZZLE!

Return to oven and bake for 9 minutes, until broccoli is nicely browned.

Serve to your broccoli haters….they will be amazed at the sweet, mellow flavor of this much maligned vegetable.


This recipe is just one of the reasons I renewed my subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.


This recipe is linked to Fight Back Friday @


Filed under Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Side Dishes, Vegan

Salted Caramel Butternut Squash

Who knew you could have butternut squash for dessert? Or breakfast? Or all by itself for a snack?  With this recipe all sorts of butternut squash eating opportunities present themselves.  I confess!  Yes, I ate almost the whole recipe myself over a couple of days at various times and meals.  Salted/Peppered Caramel is showing up in all sorts of foodie sites.  Here’s a great starter recipe for you!

Salted Caramel Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, your preference

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Peel and removed seeds from squash.  Cut into cubes. Place in large bowl.

Melt butter in small saucepan

Add sugar, salt and pepper

Whisk into butter

Pour butter mixture over squash

Using your hands, coat squash with glaze (butter/sugar mixture).

Spread on sheet pan.

Bake 45-50 minutes, until beautifully caramelized

So simple, so delicious at any temperature–warm, cold or piping hot!


This post is linked to “Tempt my Tummy” Tuesdays.


Filed under Breakfast, Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Side Dishes, Snacks

10 Grain Wonder Bread

Do you wonder how you might make healthy bread with only five minutes to spare?  The artisan bread revolution started by Dr. Hertzberg and Zoe Francois has entered the whole foods realm with another book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, to follow their Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Our post, Bread for Everyone introduced their concept.  Although I added whole grains to their recipes, I am excited they have published a book that features whole grains.  My sons love multi-grain bread; this is the first recipe I made from their new book.  In case you are asking…, this does not taste like the slow rise bread that was a part of our lives in simpler times, but it is “good enough” for the ease of it’s preparation.

Ten Grain Bread

This is all you need!

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal

3 cups white whole wheat flour

2 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 tablespoon KOSHER salt

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

3 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Whisk together the cereal, flours, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a large bowl.

Pour water over flour mixture.

Mix together with a spatula.

As you stir, if all goes well,  it will form a ball.

Plop dough into a large plastic container.

Let rise 2 hours at room temperature.

Use spatula to deflate.

You can shape, rise and bake now or refrigerate dough until you want it as much as 10 days later.  When you want your loaf…..

Remove dough from refrigerator.

Weigh (you can guess if you don’t have a scale) a pound of dough…grapefruit size.

Shape into a oblong loaf…I made three loaves.

Be careful to keep the “skin” on the surface…don’t plummet the dough but gently shape.

Place on parchment if you have a stone to bake on or a baking sheet.

Let rise until your finger leaves an indentation, about doubled…approximately 40 minutes unrefrigerated, 90 minutes from the frig.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees well ahead of baking time.

Ready to bake:

Slide dough onto stone or place baking sheet in oven AND add 1 cup hot water to a pan on bottom rack of oven to add steam.  In 30 minutes, you will be rewarded with this!


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Filed under Breads and such, Breakfast, Eating well, Side Dishes

Falling for Sweet Potatoes

“Sweet potatoes” Do you think of Thanksgiving dinner, whipped up with marshmallow topping?  Or have you joined the foodies who are always finding a new way to add these nutrition power houses to your diet?  In 2008, Cook’s Illustrated published a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes that changed how we most frequently eat sweet potatoes, forever.  With their science editors and multiple testings, they came up with a method that insures, every time, perfectly tender, over-the-top sweet potatoes.  They are even good cold from the frig for a healthy snack!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

6 medium sweet potatoes

Trim ends, peel and slice into 3/4 inch rounds

Toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

2 tablespoons oil…..I used coconut oil, which out of my cupboard, looks like this:

Into my microwave for 10 seconds to liquify.

Pour oil over potatoes and stir to coat each slice.

Line a baking sheet with foil , spray with PAM and spread slices on sheet.


Cover tightly with foil.


Place in cold oven on middle rack and turn oven to 425 degrees.  Bake 30 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully remove foil covering.

Place back in oven for 15 to 25 minutes until golden brown on top.

Remove pan from oven and flip slices over.  Return to oven to brown remaining side, 18 to 22 minutes.

When you love the way they look :); take the pan out and let them cool 5-10 minutes.


Who knew healthy could taste so good?






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Filed under Eating well, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegan

Walnut Pesto (Crema)

Another recipe lurking around my files has been Walnut Crema….a pesto made with walnuts and red onion instead of basil and Parmesan cheese.  The pictures were lovely and it sounded so intriguing….and I am always looking for new offerings for my vegan son.  I was pleased with the results.  Some of the ways to use crema:  as a substitute for mayo, on pasta, as a dip or spread akin to hummus or on your next pizza instead of tomato puree. Feeling adventuresome?

Walnut Crema

Simple ingredients:

1 1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion

Kosher salt

Fill a large pot with water; add 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil.

Add walnuts to steam basket, if you have one…….or you can just put the walnuts directly into the water.

Place basket into boiling water and blanch for 10 minutes, or until walnuts are tender.

Remove basket and drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.  Blanching removes the bitterness of the walnuts.

Dice the red onion.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan.  Add onion and a generous sprinkle of kosher salt.  Saute until golden brown, approximately 7 minutes.

Combine the sauteed onion, walnuts and reserved cooking liquid into food processor.

Process until creamy.

With the processor running, stream in remaining olive oil.

It should resemble hummus. If it seems a bit thick, add a little water.

Let sit at room temperature, covered, for two hours.

Although not a vegan serving option, we spread it on whole grain bread, sprinkled with cheese AND


A taste sensation.


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Filed under Breakfast, Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dishes, Vegan

Summer Squash and Tomato Gratin

With a gift of two large yellow squash and one zucchini and a few tomatoes left from my salsa, it seemed a perfect time to try my hand at this recipe from the June/July ’08 Cook’s Illustrated.  With just a few changes, I present my photos and recipe for those of you who are wondering ‘what else can I do with these veggies?’

Summer Squash and Tomato Gratin

Turn oven to 400 degrees and brush a 9 x 13 pan with one tablespoon oil.  I used a much bigger pan with my larger amount of squash.

Wash and scoop out seeds of about 2 pounds of squash–mine were more like 3-4 pounds total; this recipe is flexible 🙂

Using a mandolin makes easy work of the next step: slice thinly.

In a large bowl, toss the squash with one teaspoon salt.

Transfer squash to a colander and set over a bowl to catch liquid.  Set aside for at least 45 minutes.

Drain by placing on triple layers of paper towels.

Place 3 to 4 large tomatoes on layers of paper towels and firmly press to release liquid.

Slice 2 large sweet onions thinly on mandolin.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet and add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook until onions are dark brown, 20-30 minutes.

Mix together:

1 tablespoon thyme

3 tablespoons oil

2 cloves pressed garlic

Toss the squash with half the oil mixture and place in prepared pan.

Layer onions on top of squash.

Place tomatoes beautifully on your squash/onions.

Spoon rest of prepared oil on the veggies.

Bake for 40-45 minutes in preheated oven, until slightly brown on edges.

While baking, prepare topping:

Mix together: 1 cup bread or cracker crumbs, 1 cup Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon oil.

Remove from oven and sprinkle on topping.

Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until it looks lovely.

Let set 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Summer season pleasures in one dish!


This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

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Filed under Eating well, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dishes