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Old 08-09-2009, 06:51 PM   #1
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Help with side dishes

I'm relatively new at cooking for me and DH (a couple of years) and I am just now feeling like I am making good dinners. However, I really have a lack of side dishes going on. We are going to try to go a whole month without eating out in order to become healthier and also to save money (you know, junk food is pretty addicting!!) so I would like for our meals to become more complete.

Again, we are trying to eat pretty healthy so I would like for most of the side dishes to be vegetables but a treat every now and then would be good too.

So, what are your favorite side dish recipes?
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:04 PM   #2
Teresa Pitman
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I think simple side dishes are the best. I often just steam a couple of vegetables (broccoli and asparagus, for example - I do the broccoli for 12 minutes from the time I turn on the heat, and add the asparagus to the pot for the last 5 minutes) and then drizzle some salad dressing over the top.

Salads are good with every meal.

Roasted veggies are good too - cut up carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, red and green peppers and mushrooms. Mix in a large bowl with a little olive oil and seasoning - you can try different herbs and spices on them. (I like garlic.) Then roast for 45 minutes or so, sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve.

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Old 08-09-2009, 07:14 PM   #3
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Roast veggies...

One of the easiest, healthiest ways to fix veggies (potatoes, carrots, cubed eggplant, sliced zuchinni or yellow squash, asparagus, onions are some of my favorites) is to slice them and drizzle with a touch of olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper and bake @ 425 for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. If you have any fresh herbs, you may throw some on top of the veggies (I adore rosemary) You can mix up a few different veggies for a colorful side dish. Another thing that is a nice touch is to grate a little fresh parmesan on top before serving.

Another side that we have often (especially in the summer) is a green salad with chopped fresh tomatoes, thin slices of cucumbers and sliced green onions--I like a light Italian dressing. There are so many different resonably priced salad blends available at the grocery.

An easy healthy starchy side is a microwaved sweet potato. Just wash the potato, poke the skin 2 or 3 times to let the steam escape and microwave on high until the potatoe yields when you squeeze it. Depending on the size, if serving 2, you can cut the potatoe in half and put a dab of butter and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup on the cut side. Maybe a dash of cinnamon if I think about it. I use light butter and reduced suger syrup.

Good luck!! Cooking for yourself is so rewarding when you know you are controling what is going in your mouth.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:58 PM   #4
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I do pretty simple side dishes too, usually. Baked potatoes, roasted potatoes like a pp mentioned. Tossed salad. I do have a recipe for Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad that is really good. Or what about Parmesan Zucchini and Summer Squash. We often have fresh fruit or corn on the cob or pasta with cheese. Or just steam frozen veggies.
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:08 PM   #5
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We do a ton of the steam in the bag veggies. You can get the simple plain or with a sauce. We stock up when they are on sale. They also have brown rice that is good. Also there is boil in the bag brown rice that is easy and healthy. Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce is a good starchy side as well. Fresh corn on the cob done in the mico, fresh cut tomatos and cucumbers, a pasta salad with fat free dressing???
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:11 PM   #6
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a website I like a lot is www.allrecipes.com you can type in an ingredient (corn, eggplant, chicken, whatever!) and search for recipes based on what you've got in the house. It's organized in other ways too.

good luck with the no eating out! let us know how it goes
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:29 PM   #7
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- Roasted baby red potatoes, mix with a little olive oil and Mrs. Dash garlic/herb flavor

- Corn on the Cob w/herb butter...

- cuccumbers with white sauce, slice thin, mix with equal parts sour cream/mayo, salt & pepper

- slices fresh tomatoes w/basil and mozzarella

- rice pilaf w/fresh veggies of your choice

- homemade applesauce (we serve it warm w/cinnamon)

- ambrosia and or fruit salad. A quick sauce for fruit is a few tablespoons of sour cream warmed in the microwave w/brown sugar

- fresh roasted garlic on small toast rounds

- a fresh salad w/strawberries and roasted walnuts

Okay thats enough from me, cause now I am hungry and we already ate dinner
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:06 PM   #8
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Green beans sauteed with some olive oil, garlic & some slivered almonds.

Potatos, squash, zucchini & onions cut up (onions sliced & not a ton), sauteed (?) in some olive oil with some parsley, garlic salt, oregano & basil mixed in to taste.

Broccoli already cooked put it in a baking dish, slice up velveta & place over broccoli & crumble up Ritz crackers on the top of the cheese & bake until the cheese is melted (OK not super healthy with the velvetta but it is yummy!).

Cukes, tomatos & mozzarella salad (you can add some sliced onions too)-I mix it with olive oil, salt & basil to taste. My kids LOVE this. I also add lettuce to it & make it minus the cheese since one of my kids is allergic to cheese.

Broccoli with some oil & lemon juice (cold & cooked broccoli).
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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One side dish that my DS9 enjoys is portabella mushrooms. If we are grilling the rest of our dinner, we throw the whole mushrooms on the grill as well. They cook very quickly! For the last 2 minutes, my DH brushes the mushrooms with sesame soy marinade. I often serve these at cookouts, and they seem to appeal to lots of people.

We also like to grill or steam asparagus as a side dish. Once cooked, we sprinkle it lightly with a bit of Adobo seasoning. It's good for you....no butter, no oil, but plenty of flavor!

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Old 08-10-2009, 12:20 AM   #10
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A variation on the roasted veg (which I also love) in the summer is BBQ roasted veg.
Simply cut up your veg, or evn use frozen thawed in micro veg like broccoli, cauli, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, baby corn. Put it on a piece of foil and add a bit of butter, salt and pepper and a dash of favorite spices. cover with foil, fold and pinch the sides, BBQ until tender. Fab and dirties no dishes...

Cuke and tomato salad: Just dice a english cuke and a couple roma tomatoes. Add diced sweet onion if you wish, toss with favorite sweet dressing, like sweet onion, or french.

Broccoli Salad is another tasty one- the recipe is everywhere, its the one with diced cheese, bacon, tons of broccoli florets, and a light mayo dressing.

Greek salad is one of my favorites as well. Don't skimp on the good stuff!

When I am making a typical meat/potato or rice/veg I usually just pour my veggies into a pyrex cup, add a very small amt of water, adn steam them in the micro. They only take about 4 minutes.

Cut carrots taste yum after they are cooked, drain off the water and add some butter and dill, seems fancier when they are already buttered and dilly.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:35 PM   #11
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Sort of like tara32, we grill a LOT of veggies in the summer - but not in foil. We just put asparagus on a tray, spray with oil (I use a Misto so it's really not much at all), spinkle with sea salt & grind some black pepper over it. DH puts it right on the grill rack. It's delicious! Bell peppers get cut, de-seeded & the same type of thing. Corn goes straight on & then we squeeze lime juice on it as we eat it instead of the usual butter & salt.

In our household veggies rarely have a sauce or anything. Just steamed frozen veggies like green beans, corn & peas. Carrots get about a tablespoon of brown sugar added to the water - more boiled than steamed I guess for those. Lima beans are served like my mother did - drain & put back in the pan with a bit of butter & some milk...just long enough to warm the milk. Yum! We have garden salads most every night with a variety of stuff in them - mainly other veggies.

What we call sides are the carbs...baked potatoes (or nuked ), baked sweet potatoes [which need to be in a baking dish as they always seem to leak juice onto the oven for me], mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, a bag of Lipton's rice or noodles, corn bread, toasted bread with bruschetta...something like that. If I'm really ambitious I'll make scalloped potatoes but that's not often due to the added calories in those. Oh - and pasta salad especially in the summer.

One of my favorites is when we have leftover angel hair from spaghetti night. I always make the whole box, but we never eat it all. I put some oil in a pan, add some roasted garlic cloves (I do it & freeze it so I have for 3 - 4 months at a time) - no need to cut or anything as they turn to mush in the pan, red pepper flakes, parsley & then add the pasta. Just toss together add some Parmesan & a splash of wine to deglaze the pan. Oh - and something I learned from the Rachel Ray show...squeeze in some anchovie paste with the garlic. I don't like it either, but you don't taste it. However, it changes the taste enough that it's like getting from the Italian deli near where I worked. Sometimes I'll toss in some pesto if I have a jar open in the refrigerator, but if you can get Tastefully Simple's Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto toss in a tablespoon of that! (No, I don't sell it & don't even know anyone who does anymore. )

Things like green bean casserole are a rarity here.
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