Category Archives: Vegetables/Side Dishes

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan

If you’re looking for a last minute addition to your Easter brunch or lunch, I highly recommend this Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan. I love asparagus, if it’s cooked correctly, and this roasted garlic is absolutely perfect. It’s tossed with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan, then roasted and sprinkled lightly with lemon juice.

It’s savory, tangy and delicious. It’s the best asparagus can be and that’s high praise from an asparagus lover like me! This would go great with ham, chicken, beef or lamb, or it would stand on its own on vegetable-only night. Since it’s asparagus season, we’ll be having this often!

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan

****My new favorite asparagus dish.  Savory, a bit tangy, and totally delicious!

Servings: 4
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  In a shallow container, toss the asparagus, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of the Parmesan cheese, and garlic, until well coated.  Place nonstick aluminum foil on a baking sheet and arrange the asparagus in a single layer.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese.

  2. Roast in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, turning the asparagus once halfway through.  Place on serving platter and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:   Check on the asparagus after 10 minutes and make sure it doesn't burn.  Roasting times will vary according to how thick the asparagus is - mine was quite thick and took 12 minutes.  If you don't have nonstick aluminum foil, just use regular and turn one more time during cooking.

Broccoli Cheese Bake

For dinner, I have a tendency to make a protein (chicken, steak, etc.) and slap one or two side vegetables with it, not really using a recipe for the side dishes. There are so many wonderful recipes for vegetables and side dishes that I’ve really started looking for simple and/or tasty ones to add to dinner. Sometimes we have just vegetables and no meat (translation of all-vegetable night – forgot to thaw out meat), and that’s where a good vegetable recipe comes in handy.

I found this Broccoli Cheese Bake in a Southern Living cookbook (recipe by Nancy Rumbaugh of the beautiful State of South Carolina) and, even though there was no photo with it, the ingredients looked great. It almost sounds like a breakfast recipe with the cottage cheese, bacon, and eggs, but it turned out to be a wonderful main dish for our vegetable night dinner.

The eggs (5 of those little gems) made it into kind of, sort of a frittata, but the cottage cheese, bacon, and broccoli really added a depth of flavor and texture. I thought it was wonderful and Bret even had two helpings – this coming from a definite anti-frittata man. Here’s a closeup photo of all of those wonderful ingredients put together and baked.

OK, I may have added a bit more shredded cheese on top than called for, but it ended up working well with it. The hardest part of the recipe was chopping up the broccoli! After taking the stalk off, I just chopped it all up instead of breaking off each broccoli floret. Worked great and we will definitely be having this Broccoli Cheese Bake again on all-vegetable night.

Broccoli Cheese Bake
****Loved it! Cheesy, frittata-like dish filled with bacon, cheese and broccoli goodness.
  • 1 1/2 lb broccoli , stemmed and chopped
  • 5 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 C cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 4 bacon slices , cooked and crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Throw broccoli into a pot with boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain broccoli and pat dry. Arrange broccoli evenly in a lightly greased 11 x 7" baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, cottage cheese, flour, salt, pepper and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour egg mixture over the broccoli, gently moving the broccoli with a spoon so the mixture will sink down to the bottom a little.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese and bake another 5 minutes. Turn oven to broil and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese (watch carefully). Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:
To lightly grease the dish, I dipped the edge of a paper towel in the bacon drippings and wiped it around the dish.
A little sauteed onion would be good in this, too.

Brisket and Bacon Hash

We made a brisket a week or so ago and even with freezing half of it, we had to be very imaginative in creating dishes to use it up.  To cook it, we get the untrimmed brisket, turn the oven to about 250 degrees, plop it in a roasting pan and let it cook overnight – 8-10 hours, until a big fork slides in and out easily.  No salt, no seasoning – nothing – and it comes out perfect every time!

This time I was determined to do something a little different with the leftover brisket and remembered my Mom occasionally making a hash with diced potatoes and leftover roast beef.  She never showed me how to make it (I was just a kid interested in Barbie dolls and, later, boys), so I set out to figure it out.
Brisket and Hash2
I also had some leftover bacon, so what better to cook the potatoes in than a little bacon fat?  No worry, I drained most of it out.

I like the potatoes and brisket chopped pretty small.  They not only cook better, but have a better texture when finished.  Added a little beef broth to keep the mixture moist, threw in that chopped up bacon and we ended up with a filling, delicious hash!  Comfort food at it’s best.
Brisket and Bacon Hash
Bret put a little ketchup on his and it was actually not bad that way.  I didn’t want to cover up the bacon flavor, though, so just put a little salt and pepper and enjoyed.  If you are looking for a quick and flavorful dinner, try this.  I think you’ll like it!

Brisket and Bacon Hash
**** Fairly easy to throw together and creates a filling and delicious dinner.
Servings: 4
Author: Susan Blades
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 medium potatoes , chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped leftover brisket or roast
  • salt , pepper, garlic salt
  • 3/4 C beef broth
  1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon until fairly crisp.  Set aside to drain.  Pour out all but about 2 tbsp. of the bacon grease and turn skillet on medium-high.  Toss in the potatoes and cook until lightly browned and fairly soft - this will take a few minutes.  Add the onion and stir until transparent.  Add the chopped brisket, and salt, pepper, and garlic salt (or powder) to taste.  Pour in the beef broth and let simmer until the broth is pretty much cooked off.  Chop up the bacon and stir into the potato/brisket mixture.  Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:   I didn't use the onion because Mr. Bret doesn't care for it, but I recommend using it to complete the recipe. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.  If your bacon is salty, ease up on the salt and use garlic powder instead of garlic salt. I served it with a side of cantaloupe and the combination of sweet and salty was perfect.  You could leave the meat out and it would make a great side dish.

Dutch Oven Potatoes (without a Dutch oven!)

We used to frequent a restaurant in Fort Worth called The Reata.  It was on the 35th floor of the Bank One building, but moved to a ground-level location in 2000 after a tornado visited and tried to order.  Almost everything in the building shifted and the owners decided not to push their luck, so they moved.

The high-rise restaurant was wonderful.  You could look out onto Fort Worth as well as most of North Texas while enjoying Grady Spears’s ingenious cowboy-inspired menu.  One of the dishes we enjoyed so much was his Dutch Oven Potatoes.  There are layers of almost transparent thinly-sliced potatoes, filled with cheese and tangy fruit and held together with cream.  Awesomely simple and reminiscent of au gratin potatoes…but better.
Dutch Oven Potatoes
Besides the time to slice the potatoes on my trusty mandolin, it was easy to layer and throw in the oven.  This would be a great Thanksgiving side.

Here’s a picture of it being put together by layers; potatoes, parmesan cheese, fruit, salt and pepper, and cream.  I used cranberries to celebrate the season, but you could use any chopped dried fruit.
Dutch Oven Potatoes Precooked
These potatoes are so luscious and creamy for being so easy to throw together.  If you serve them as a side, it would probably be good for 9-10 servings. I cut a bigger piece to take the photos and Bret helped me out by cleaning the plate.  Sparkling clean.  None left for the dog to pre-wash.

I highly recommend this dish for your holiday get togethers.  You would be a very popular person. Really.

Here’s a photo after it cooled and firmed up a bit. Nice layers.
Dutch oven potatoes Layered

Dutch Oven Potatoes
****From Grady Spears's A Cowboy in The Kitchen.  Adapted for the oven versus the Dutch oven.  Awesome, creamy, rich, outstanding.
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter , plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 lb baking potatoes (like russets), scrubbed but not peeled
  • 1/2 C grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 to 2 C. dried fruit mix (I used dried cranberries)
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.   Butter the bottom and sides of an 8x8 inch dish with 1 tbsp. of the butter.  Wash the potatoes and pat them dry. Thinly slice them with a mandolin, about at the 1/16th inch mark.  Layer 1/4 of the sliced potatoes into the baking dish, making 2 thin layers of potatoes overlapping.  Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the Parmesan cheese, 1/3rd of the fruit, salt, pepper and pour 1/2 cup of the cream on the layer.  Layer 3 more times (total of 4 potato layers), ending with potatoes on the top. Top the potatoes with the remaining cream and the 3 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces.  Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
  2. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 hours.  Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes until lightly browned on top.  For a darker brown, place the potatoes under the broiler for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them sit on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife.
Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff : I only used about 1/2 tbsp. of butter to butter the dish.  I used a bit more cheese on the layers - about 3 tsp. - because I wanted it cheesier.  It worked.  I sprinkled the fruit lightly on each layer - about 2 tablespoons.  You can use all 2 cups if you want it tangier.  You may find you only need about 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes for the layers.  Don't forget to brown them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.  It makes them wonderfully brown on top.  Keep an eye on them, though, so the top won't burn.

Shoe Peg Corn Salad

This is a standard recipe from that old church cookbook or junior league cookbook you’ve had stashed on the shelf for the last twenty years. Crack it open – there are some great old comfort food recipes in there.  Since Thanksgiving is coming up, my thoughts are going to dishes like this one to take to family and work gatherings.

Shoe Peg Corn Salad has been on the  Recipes Without Pictures page forever and I finally made it again so I could get a photo:
Shoe Peg Corn Salad
This salad is full of vegetables and crunchy stuff and coated with an oil-and-vinegar-based tangy vinaigrette.  The apple cider vinegar gives it a fuller taste than regular white vinegar, so be sure and stick with that.  I sat down and ate a little bowl for a meal and the vinegar was a little too much for the salad to be a standalone meal, but as a side it really complements the other stuff you’ve piled on your plate from the buffet!

It’s also a really good make-ahead dish since it needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight to soak in that wonderful dressing. The celery, onion and bell pepper stay nice and crunchy!

Shoe Peg Corn Salad
***1/2; good dish for a family or work gathering.  Very tangy dressing!*
Servings: 12
  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 scant Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup salad oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Vegetables:
  • 1 can (11 oz.) drained shoe peg corn
  • 1 can (15 oz.)drained Le Sueur Peas
  • 1 Cup chopped celery
  • 1 Cup diced bell pepper
  • 2 heaping tbsp. chopped purple onion
  1. Put the dressing ingredients into a sauce pan on medium heat and bring to a boil. Set the dressing aside and cool completely. Meanwhile, mix all of the vegetables into a large bowl. Pour the cooled dressing over the vegetables and stir well.  Refrigerate overnight for the dressing to soak into the vegetables.  Before serving, drain the dressing from the salad.
Recipe Notes

Tips and Stuff:
Don’t forget to drain most or all of the dressing before serving or it will be overwhelming.
The Le Sueur peas are recommended because they are firmer and will hold up to the dressing without getting mushy. Frozen peas would work, too.
*It really is tangy, so if you want less vinegar taste, cut the cider vinegar down by a couple of tablespoons.