Category Archives: Side Dishes

Side Dish Staple


I found this next recipe at Half Baked Harvest and I have already made it twice! The first time I made it as a side dish and the second time I ate it for my main dish over several nights.  It is packed with protein, flavor, and cheesy goodness.  It makes a small 8×8 side dish or you can double the recipe and make a 9×13 or larger casserole.  Enjoy!


Creamy Caprese Quinoa Creamy-Caprese-Quinoa-Bake-1

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan.  Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa.  Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too.


Once combined, spray an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish.  Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes.


Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons.  Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.


Back on Track


Well, we’ve been living it up these past few months and my waistline is proof!  Will and I recently celebrated our 5 year anniversary in Mexico and our livers and scales have seen better days.  Last night was my true first attempt at getting back on track.  I made up the salmon recipe (thanks to Pioneer Woman for cooking suggestions) and I found the corn dish on Pinterest and made a few tweaks.  Here’s to healthy eating!



Baked Salmon

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • olive oil spread
  • pepper
  • lime



Spray fillets with olive oil spray.  Lightly sprinkle cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper on each fillet.  Place on baking tray in cold oven and then heat oven to 400°.  Bake for 25 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.  Finish it off by squeezing half of a lime on each fillet.




Grilled Corn, Poblano, & Onion Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

*recipe found at For the Love of Cooking, I adapted to our tastes and for 2 people

  • 3 tbsp canola oil, (divided) (I used Olive Oil spray) DSC_9990
  • 3 ears of yellow corn, husked (2 ears)
  • 2 ears of white corn, husked (1 ear)
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into thick rings (I used small red onion)
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves (parsley)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (1 lime)
  • Dash of cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (2-3)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • tsp of honey



Heat the grill to high.  Rub (spray) corn, poblano, and onion rings with 1 tablespoon of canola oil.  Place onto the hot grill.  Grill, carefully turning occasionally, until poblano is almost blackened and the onions are grilled and tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Remove them from the grill.  Keep cooking the corn until cooked through and the kernels have browned, for a total of 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the grill and let the corn cool.


Place the poblano in a zip lock bag then seal; dice the grilled onion and set aside.  Let the chile sit in the sealed zip lock for 5 minutes.  Remove the chile from the bag and carefully peel the charred skin from the chile.  Remove the stem and seeds as well; dice and set aside with the onions.


Once the corn has cooled, cut the kernels from the cobs into a large bowl.  Add the grilled onions, poblanos, avocado, and cilantro together in a bowl.


In a small bowl combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil (accidentally forgot the oil…… oops, but it still tasted GREAT!) with the lime juice, dash of cumin, honey, and minced garlic; mix thoroughly.  Add the lime vinaigrette to the the corn mixture and toss until evenly coated.  Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy.

C is for Copycat


I found a homemade salsa recipe on Pinterest that promises to be a copycat of Chili’s amazing salsa.  I made this the other night when we had people over and it seemed to be a hit!  I plan on making it again this weekend and I hope I get the same reaction, enjoy!


Chili’s Copycat Salsa Six Sisters' Copycat Chili's Salsa

* Six Sisters’ Stuff

  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) whole tomatoes, drained
  • 3-4 canned, whole jalapenos (not pickled)
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsps lime juice



Place all of the ingredients together into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips.

What I had for dinner last night……..


I am trying to get back on track with working out and sometimes that means I have to pre-plan our dinners.  Last night I knew I wanted to go to yoga, but that usually means I don’t get home to get dinner started until after 7:00 pm.  By that time I just want to clean up, eat, and go to bed……… not cook a healthy meal for Will and I.  SOOO with all that said I actually thought ahead and had dinner waiting on me (mostly) when I got home.  Thanks to the slow cooker we had a fantastic meal and due to the fact that I actually experimented with the rice and threw in some extra spice it was amazing.  I hope you all try this one out and enjoy it as much as we did!


Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken

* recipe can be found at


  • 1 (4 -5 lb) whole roasting chickens
  • 3 tsp kosher salt (less if you like, this amount approximates the saltiness of the store bought kind)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (you can use regular, I like the smoked flavor)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omitted)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Garlic
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 1 cup Texamati Brown Rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • curry powder



Spray slow cooker (or place slow cooker liner in pot and spray) with non stick cooking spray.  Rinse chicken (remove giblets) and pat dry.  Mix ingredients salt through black pepper and rub all over chicken.  Halve one lemon and place inside of cavity.  Chop off top of garlic and place inside of cavity.  take half of onion and place 1/4 inside of cavity and slice the other 1/4 and put in bottom of slow cooker.  Place chicken on top of onions cover and cook low for 8 hours or high for 4.


Curry Onion Rice

Melt 2 Tbsp of butter into medium saucepan.  Add remaining half of onion (chopped) and 1 cup of dry rice.  Cook for around 2-3 minutes, lightly toasting rice and cooking onion.  Add lemon zest and juice of one lemon while toasting rice.  Sprinkle curry powder (I did not measur but probably around 2-3 tsp). Once fragrant add water and broth and bring to a boil.  Stir once, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork, add salt & pepper, and then grab a giant spoon and dig in!!

Food Fakeout


I understand most people do not like or think they do not like brussels sprouts, but this is a fool proof way to get people to try them.  This recipe comes from Southern Living and has apples, bacon, and wine so how can you go wrong?  Liz and I made this for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them.  It is easy and tasty so make this for Christmas and you can thank me later.



Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Apples brussels-sprouts-sl-1673178-l

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1 Braeburn apple, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese




Cut Brussels sprouts in half, and cut into shreds.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 3 Tbsp. drippings in skillet.  Crumble bacon.

Sauté apple, shallots, and garlic in hot drippings over medium-high heat 3 minutes.  Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.  Add Brussels sprouts; saute 8 to 10 minutes or until sprouts are crisp-tender.  Top with shaved Parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serve immediately.

Happy Halloween!!


Halloween is tomorrow and I have done absolutely nothing…… We haven’t even bought a pumpkin!!! Since I have been terrible I figure at least I can cook with pumpkin tomorrow, right?  Anyways I found a delicious looking mac and cheese recipe on Pinterest that I will happily make tomorrow while the kiddies are knocking on my door. Enjoy!



Baked Pumpkin Shells and Cheese

*recipe can be found at 

  • 16 oz small shell pasta
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 16 oz grated cheese blend
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (1/2 15-oz can)
  • 1.5 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • few cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs



Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepot over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for thirty seconds. Add 2 cups milk and minced rosemary (grated garlic) and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of the milk (reserving one cup) and continue to whisk. Cook for four minutes while whisking (My pot was shallow and wide so I whisked the entire time it took the pasta to cook, around 12 minutes). The mixture will get very thick!

Add 12 ounces of the grated mixed cheese (reserving about a handful of grated cheese) and stir well so that the cheese melts. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne followed by the additional cup of milk and the pumpkin puree.

Once everything is smooth, add the cooked macaroni and toss well. Pour into a 9″13″ casserole pan and top with the remaining grated cheese and the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling (at end turn broiler on for a few minutes to brown more).

Out of Towners


We have some friends coming into town this weekend and it just so happens that Greenville is having a HUGE food event called Fall for Greenville.  I don’t want to buy too many groceries since we will be spending most of our time at local food trucks, but I also want to have a little in the house for those late night or early morning hunger pains.  I love to make, to smell, and to eat biscotti.  I found this pumpkin biscotti recipe on “Gimme some Oven” blog and I think it will be a perfect light morning treat while we prepare our tummies for the food to come.  I also plan on making some beer bread to snack on and I found that recipe on the blog “Lululu at Home”. Enjoy!



Pumpkin Pie Biscotti 

Gimme Some Oven’s Pumpkin Pie Biscotti

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see tip below for substitution)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla paste (or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract)
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted white chocolate, for drizzling or dipping (optional) (I will use dark chocolate)




Preheat oven to 350°F.



Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl; stir well. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, stirring well with a wire whisk. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Mixture will be very crumbly; it will gradually become moist after stirring.)



Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are browned. Remove from heat and cool completely.



Knead or gently stir cooled nuts into dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 portions. Lightly flour hands and shape each portion into a 2 x 10″ long log. (Or she just made one large 8″ x 16″ log.) Place logs 3″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 24 minutes; cool logs 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.



After some cooling, move a loaf to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2″ thick pieces. Do the same to the other loaf. The interior of each biscotto should still be just a little moist (while the exterior is nice and hard). The crust of the loaf will probably be quite hard, so use a large serrated knife such as a bread knife for this job.



Place the biscotti with a cut side facing up on a half sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the pan and flip all the biscotti over so the other cut side is now facing up. Bake for another 7 minutes. Set all the pieces on a wire rack to cool making sure that none of the biscotti are touching each other. If the biscotti are placed too close together, they could get a little soft or soggy as they cool.



Once the biscotti have fully cooled, they can be consumed as is, or white chocolate dipped or drizzled. To melt the chocolate, pop it in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds, then stir. Then continue heating in 15-second increments (carefully) and stirring in between until chocolate is melted. (I usually add in a little shortening to help it melt and avoid burning.) Then just dip a fork in the chocolate and swish it over biscotti to drizzle, or you can pour it in a Ziplock or pastry bag (with a tiny corner snipped out) and squeeze it out.  (The biscotti tastes best during the first few days, but will keep for up to a month in a sealed air-tight container.)




Honey Beer Bread

Lululu at Home Honey Beer Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 can beer
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted




Preheat over to 350°F.


Grease a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.



In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. (Microwave the honey for 5 to 10 seconds beforehand to make it easier to stir in)



Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. Use a pastry brush to spread it around.



Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.