Category Archives: Side Dish

Roasted Sweet Potatoes



These sweet potatoes can easily be listed in a cookbook for ways to get your toddler to eat vegetables.  My almost 3 year old eats them like the candy that she thinks they are.  While they do take an hour to cook, the prep time is almost nothing.  It does regulate these to a weekend meal for this working mommy but they are worth the wait.
The slow heating of the foil tented sweet potatoes in the cold oven allows for the starches to be gently converted in to the maximum amount of sugars and then the foil removed roasting after, caramelizes the outside to a slightly crispy deliciousness.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated

2 lbs sweet potatoes, ends trimmed, peels and cut into 3/4 inch rounds
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp table salt
ground black pepper
1.  Toss potatoes in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper to taste until evenly coated.
2.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.   Arrange potatoes on baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.
3.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and place potatoes in cold oven.  Turn oven to 425F and cook for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove the top layer of foil and continue baking for 15-25 minutes or until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown.

5.  Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully flip the potatoes over.  Continue roasting until potatoes are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Basmati Rice

I have to admit that more often then not I don’t take the time to steam my own rice on the stove top.  I love those rice packages that you stick in the microwave for 90 seconds and then wala! You have rice.  However, when I take the time to make a delicious curry, I take the extra 20 minutes to make this rice.  The subtle spices hint of exotic places and truly enhance any Indian dish it is served with.
It’s actually fairly quick and easy with only one extra step before starting the rice on a simmer.  The spices are all whole so do be aware of them when you serve the rice.  That cinnamon stick might be a little woody to gnaw on.
In a pinch I have used regular white rice in place of the basmati and 1 tsp of onion powder instead of the onion.  Both times it was still fabulous.

Basmati Rice

slightly adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick, halved
2 cardamom pods
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
2 whole cloves
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
1.  Heat oil in medium saucepan over high heat until almost smoking.  Add whole spices and cook, stirring until they pop.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
2.  Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

3.   Add water and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer until all the water has been absolved, abut 17 minutes.  Let stand, covered, 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

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Filed under Recipes, Side Dish

Homemade Yogurt

Martha Stuart I am not.  Still, I do like to try my hand at making homemade versions of various every day grocery items just because I can.  Quite a few of them, like angel food cake and lady fingers, were fun to make but not worth my time to do again.  I have fallen in love with greek yogurt ever since it because easy to buy in the store.  My only gripe is the high price compared to standard yogurt although after making it, I now understand why.
With a toddler in the house, we go through lots of yogurt.  Rose loves it with berries, with granola, or with peaches.  She even gobbles it up plain.  This means that if I can make it cheaper, it might be worth a little effort.  Luckily, it’s not that much effort at all to make homemade greek yogurt at and is about half the cost.  Most of the work is simply waiting for the tiny bacteria to do it’s magic.

Put four canning jars in to a large pot and fill the pot with water about 3/4 of the up the sides of the jars.  Pour whatever type of milk you desire (fat free, 1%, 2% or whole all work great) into the jars, leaving 1 inch space at the top.  Heat the water to boiling and boil softly until the milk is 180 degrees.  The picture shows the thermometer in the water but usually I keep in hooked on the jar in the milk the whole time.

Take the jars out of the water and put lids on loosely.  Cool until the milk is 110 degrees.  I find this goes more quickly if you place the jars in the sink with cold water and ice/ice packs.  It takes about 20 minutes with that method.  Once the milk is cool enough, add 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt into each jar and stir gently.  A personal size yogurt container is enough for all four jars.  If you use vanilla, the yogurt will have a nice light vanilla flavor as well.
I have changed how I do the final step since I first started making yogurt. I used to put the jars in a cooler with hot water and let it sit, refreshing the hot water every few hours.  Then I came across an ingenious method.  Heat your oven up for 5 minutes then turn it off (it doesn’t matter the temp).  Put the sealed jars in the oven and close the door.  Turn on the oven light and it will keep the oven at a nice warm temp for as long as you would like.  This way, I can start it at night and there will be fresh yogurt in the morning.  I like it the best after about 12 hours but it can stay there up to 2.
The next step I do isn’t required as you can definitely just open the jars right away and eat but I find that putting the yogurt in the fridge for a few hours helps to firm it up a bit more.
You can eat the yogurt straight from the jar but I have found it to be a little watery.  I prefer to drain the whey out a bit to get it to be more like the greek style.  This is easily done by putting a few layers of cheese cloth or a thin bread towel in a strainer and pour in a jar of yogurt.  Let it drain over a bowl for 2-4 hours (depending on the desired thickness).
Scrape the thickened yogurt into a bowl and whisk until smooth.  The longer you let it drain, the thicker it is.  I forgot once and it drained for over a day.  You could stick a fork in it and it would stand up.  haha!


Filed under Appetizer, Breakfast, Recipes, Side Dish

Mini Chile Corn Muffins with Chipotle Butter

I guess I should have chosen a slightly less busy plate to show off these little savory muffins of yummyness.  I feel like it’s a Where’s Waldo picture with the muffins hiding in plain sight like that sneaky Waldo character.
The muffins themselves are really great.  Easy to make (dump and mix and bake) with all sorts of morsels of deliciousness hiding inside.  But paired with the Chipotle butter…. be still my heart.  Sweet and just enough heat to tingle the tongue but not have to enough to light a fire.
Try them, you’ll love them.
Mini Chile Corn Muffins with Chipotle Butter
slightly adapted from Sandra Lee
1 (14.5 oz) box of honey cornbread mix
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 (11 oz) can Mexi-corn
2 tsp fajita seasoning
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs honey
1 tbs Chipotle Hot Sauce (I used Tabasco brand)
2 tbs Chipotle seasoning (I used McCormick)
To make the muffins:
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray 2 (24-count) mini muffin pans.
2.  In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until blended.
3.  Spoon batter into mini-muffin tins, filing to the rim.
4.  Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the butter:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until blended.

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Filed under Appetizer, Bread, Recipes, Side Dish