Side dishes are on my list of “things I regularly forget about”. I’m not the only one that can plan main dishes for every night and conveniently forget that I should serve something along with it, right?
Except Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about the sides for me. And this would be a great one.
Simple ingredients and quick prep make this a winner any night, but it’d be especially great for your holiday table, given how great butternut squash are this time of year.
Brown Sugar Butternut Squash
(from Chew Out Loud)
1 large butternut squash, peeled/seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
In a bowl, toss the squash with the oil until evenly coated. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Spread out on the baking sheet evenly.
Roast for 40 minutes until the squash is fork-tender and the edges are browned.
I hosted Thanksgiving for years before I tried making my own cranberry sauce. I always assumed it would be difficult and not worth it. It’s not – and it is.
This only takes about fifteen minutes to make and tastes so, so much better than the canned version. It’s also make-ahead friendly and is the perfect dish to bring with you if you’re travelling because it can be served warm, cold, or at room temp.
(from Savory Sweet Life)
Makes about 2 cups
1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
You’ll hear the cranberries popping as this cooks – that’s okay! You want them to open up!
This can be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature.
It’s officially November which means my Facebook feed is all “hey! let’s do Christmas!” Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I totally have Christmas prep going here (like, the fill-it-yourself advent calendar I bought about a month ago and have been obsessing over what to put in it), but I also don’t want to brush other holidays under the rug. We did Halloween big (as it should be!) and now I’m thinking about Thanksgiving.
One of the hardest things about coordinating a Thanksgiving dinner is getting everything on the table at the same time. Either space in the oven/on the stove top is at a premium or there are just too many balls in the air to keep track of it all. Using other kitchen appliances other than the stove can help things go more smoothly. I’ve always been a big fan of the slow cooker, but this year I’m excited to throw the instant pot in the mix.
These mashed potatoes are basic, but they’re hands-off and perfect for your Thanksgiving meal. I used my stand mixer to make things go super fast but if you don’t have one (or it’s tied up with other Thanksgiving prep!) a hand mixer would work just fine too.
Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
(adapted from The Baker Upstairs)
2 lbs. potatoes
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash the potatoes. Peel, if desired, and quarter.
Add the rack to the instant pot, then the potatoes. Pour the chicken stock over the potatoes.
Using the manual setting, set to cook for 8 minutes and then quick release the pressure.
Drain the liquid and add the hot potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add remaining ingredients and mix until you reach the desired consistency.
I jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon when they were on sale on Prime Day, but honestly, aside from cooking chicken to shred, I haven’t used to much. What seemed so versatile and useful on my computer screen now seems overwhelming on my kitchen counter. I guess that means I’m getting old? This recipe seemed simple enough so it became my first real Instant Pot test – and I fell in love.
What I loved here was that it was simple and hands-off. When I roast potatoes, I feel like I’m checking them a million times, they have to be flipped, etc. – with this I just threw potatoes in the IP and went on to do the rest of dinner. They cooked and you could switch up the seasonings to make it fit whatever meal you’re making.
I’m really excited about playing with the Instant Pot more and seeing what else I can do – is anyone interested in seeing more IP recipes here?
Instant Pot Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
(slightly adapted from Pressure Cooking Today)
Serves 4 as a side
1 lb. potatoes
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash and slice the potatoes and add them to the steamer basket of the Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup of water into the pot. Lock the lid in place, set to high pressure with a 4 minute cook time.
While the potatoes cook, whisk together the oil, garlic and rosemary in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until the garlic is fragrant.
When the Instant Pot beeps, turn it off and do a quick pressure release. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and pour the oil over. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Does anyone else crave fresh produce in the summer? I’d blame it on pregnancy, but this happens every year. Farmers’ markets become crazy dangerous because I just want to buy everything.
Summer also makes me lazy, though. I can’t tell you how many times I end up cooking up those impulse farmers’ market just before they go bad. Salads like this that require no cooking are always my best bet.
To my surprise, the toddler really liked this too. I fully expected him to just pick out the cranberries and apples, but the dressing was just sweet enough that he would happily eat it all.
Broccoli Apple Salad
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 6-8 as a side
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 large Gala apples, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
In a large bowl, toss together the broccoli, carrots, onions, apples, pecans and cranberries.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the broccoli mixture and toss until evenly coated.
Refrigerate until serving.
One of the fun parts of #CookoutWeek has been getting acquainted with some of the sponsors. I got the opportunity to try out True Made Foods sauces and I’m a total convert.
If you haven’t heard of them, the gist is this: they infuse their sauces with vegetables and cut back on the sugar to make a product you can feel good about. Why am I so obsessed with this? I have a toddler that LOVES to dip anything and everything. If I can get some extra veggies in him while he slathers his dinner in ketchup, I’m all about it. This isn’t just a toddler ketchup, though – they’re really good and will easily please a more sophisticated palate. Wins all around.
I used two of the sauces they sent – the ketchup and the bbq sauce – to make up a batch of slow cooker baked beans. They were amazing. While most baked beans are loaded with sugar, these are pretty modest – but you don’t miss it at all. They’re full of flavor and a perfect accompaniment to any cookout.
Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 8-10 as a side
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup True Made Foods Ketchup
1/2 cup True Made Foods Barbecue Sauce
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
Add beans and onions to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over beans and stir to combine.
Cook on low for 6 hours. Vent the lid for the last 15-20 minutes to thicken the sauce, if desired.
I’m just starting to get back into some solid meal planning. Even though I’ve been feeling better for weeks, I haven’t been mentally ready to prep big meals more than once or twice a week. We’re on about week 3 of a real meal plan again and it feels good. Even if I’m mostly just doing main dishes and praying that the sides figure themselves out.
These delicious potatoes were mostly an after-thought. We were planning to make dinner on the grill and I decided to throw these on too instead of roasting them. The simple seasonings made them a breeze to throw together but they were still really good. And using a foil packet meant no dishes to clean up – always a plus!
Italian-Parmesan Grilled Potatoes
(adapted from Kraft)
4-5 red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley, for garnish
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
In a medium bowl, toss together the potato chunks, olive oil and water. Transfer to a large sheet of foil and fold into a packet.
Grill the foil packet of potatoes for twenty minutes, turning halfway.
Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and toss with dressing, cheese, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve.
I often tease my husband that he must have had a boring childhood because he doesn’t know 99% of the kid songs I know and he doesn’t get any of my Sesame Street references – and this started way before we had kids. There’s a few times he’s been able to tease me back – and making pumpkin seeds is one of them.
His family always roasted their seeds as a part of the annual pumpkin carving festivities. We never did. And now that I found a recipe I really like, I’m happy to incorporate them into our new family traditions.
This year was Jake’s first time helping with everything – he was unimpressed with the pumpkin and the seeds. Here’s to hoping he grows to love it!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table)
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne
Rinse the seeds until they’re free of all pumpkin. Place in a pot and add 4 cups of water and the salt. Bring the pot to a boil then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter and spices. Add in the pumpkin seeds and toss until evenly coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread out the pumpkin seeds in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, then let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
This weekend, Babywearing International of Central NJ celebrated their first anniversary of becoming a Babywearing International chapter. If there’s one thing that’s saved my sanity during the past year, it’s baby wearing. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found this community so early in motherhood and that my local chapter is so awesome.
Saturday’s celebration was a potluck picnic at a beautiful local park. This salad was my contribution to the feast. It’s something I’ve made before and have been meaning to make again since Jake is currently loving sweet potatoes and black beans. And this is one of the best potluck dishes I’ve found – it can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature and it’s gluten, nut and dairy free so it’s perfect for pretty much everyone.
Stuck with leftovers? It also makes an awesome burrito filling!
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad
(slightly adapted from Beantown Baker)
Serves 10-12 as a side
3 Tbsp. olive oil
5 large sweet potatoes
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp. salt, divided
Pinch or two cayenne
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cube into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender but not smushing, tossing halfway through. Remove and let cool for five minutes.
While the sweet potatoes roast, rinse and drain the black beans.
Whisk together lime juice, zest, remaining salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Toss with black beans and slightly-cooled sweet potatoes. Stir in cilantro.
I think pretty much every food blogger (and Chipotle fan) has already made this. Why did it take me so long? I’m super lazy about side dishes.
And, I ran across a version that used the rice cooker. Because, if we’re being honest, I suck at cooking rice any other way. This came out perfectly, though, and will definitely be in the regular rotation going forward!
Cilantro Lime Rice
(from Shari Blogs)
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. canola oil, divided
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
In a rice cooker, combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp. of canola oil. Cook on the white rice cycle.
When done, stir in remaining canola oil, lime juice and cilantro. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.