Archives for category: Sides

I’ve always wondered how hard it was to make pumpkin puree, so I went ahead and made it!  It definitely isn’t hard, but requires a little time.  And if you plan on roasting the seeds afterwards (you should!)- your oven will be running for a long time.  Not necessarily a bad thing when it’s getting chilly out!

Pumpkin puree can be used for any of your pumpkin needs.  It’s awesome in pumpkin pies and makes it truly homemade.  It is good in many other baked goods, such as Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, Pumpkin Pancakes, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles, or Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Slice pumpkins in half, as pictured.

Scoop out the insides and save the seeds if you plan on roasting them.

Place the pumpkin halves on a foiled lined baking sheet, open side down.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.

Scoop out the soft pumpkin with a spoon and put in a food processor or blender.

There you have it, pureed pumpkin!

It’s that time of year!  I love everything apple and pear, especially in baked goods form.  Muffins are even better because it’s a good excuse to eat something sweet and tasty for breakfast!


-1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
-1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
-1 teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/4 teaspoon Salt
-1/2 Cup Ground Almonds
-3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
-1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
-1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
-1 Egg
-1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
-2 Pears, peeled and cubed
-1/4-1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

Optional:  Top muffins with a small amount of cinnamon/sugar before baking.

Preheat oven to 375F.  In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, ground almonds, and cinnamon, and mix until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture until just mixed, and add pear cubes and pecans.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill 3/4 full with batter.  Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture on top if desired.  Bake for 15-25 minutes, until golden and done.

Makes approximately one dozen muffins.

Is it obvious yet that I just love squash this time of year?  I received a lot of nice squash in my produce bin and decided to roast it up.  The nice thing about squash is that it doesn’t need a whole lot to be delicious, especially when roasted.  The thing is, most recipes involve disturbing amounts of butter and brown sugar.  I promise you that although tasty, it isn’t necessary.  Squash is great to have on hand, since it will keep for a month or so.

-2 Small Acorn Squash, washed and cut into wedges
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper, to taste
-1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly drizzle olive oil on top of the acorn squash on a baking sheet.  Shake on some salt and pepper, to your preference.  Add chopped rosemary on top and bake for 30-35 minutes, until fork tender.

When the leaves start changing color, it’s time to get the fireplace ready, sip hot apple cider, and bring out the Fall recipes.  I love making squash during this time of year.  It’s so hearty!  No one likes a boring squash recipe, so I’ve mixed up the traditional butternut squash by roasting it with olive oil and garlic.  At the end, stir in some chopped kale and shredded Parmesan, and you have a delicious and healthy side dish to any meal.

-1 Large Butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
-Salt and Pepper, to taste
-1 Cup of Kale, washed and chopped
-1/4 Cup of Shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400F.  Toss the peeled and cubed squash into a 9×13 baking pan with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Do not add kale or cheese.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, until the squash is fork tender.  Add the kale and Parmesan, gently mixing in with a utensil.  Put back in the oven for five minutes, until kale is wilted and starting to get cripsy.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

After being inspired by a good friend’s fritatta with Swiss chard, I decided to try it on its own.  Swiss chard is buttery and delectable when sautéed (even without butter!)  It is one of the most healthy vegetables out there, second to spinach.  I don’t suggest eating it raw because it is a little tough and bitter, but once cooked down, it completely changes character.  If you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest giving it a shot!

To prep:  Rinse and pat dry the chard leaves.  Cut the leaves off from the stems and then into bite sized pieces.  Discard the stems for this recipe.  I’ve seen recipes out there for the stems, so if you’re feeling creative, do a quick search!

-1 Large Bunch of Fresh Chard
-1/4 Cup Onion, finely chopped
-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
-2 Tablespoons Water
-Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
-1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
-Salt to taste

Heat skillet to medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, and crushed red pepper. Cook for a minute or two until onion is translucent.  Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves, toss to coat, and cover for 3 minutes.  Remove the lid and add 2 Tablespoons of water.  Cover for another 3 minutes.  Serve immediately.

This is one of my favorite salads of Summer.  It’s a standby in my house because tomatoes and cucumbers are always in abundance, especially if you have a garden!  It’s refreshing and perfect to accompany a good fresh meal on a hot day.  It’s also good to take to a cookout because you don’t have to worry about it sitting out for too long.

It’s even better the second day after the flavors have had a chance to mingle together.  If you like onions, I’d suggest thinly slicing some red onion to add as well.  I don’t like uncooked onions so I leave them out.

-2 Large Ripe Tomatoes
-1 Large English Cucumber
-Handful of Basil
-3 Tablespoons Italian Dressing

Cut the tomatoes into wedges.  Wash and peel the cucumber; cut into slices and then halve.  Chiffonade the basil and sprinkle on top.  Stir in Italian Dressing and add more to your personal preference if needed.  Simple yet delicious!

I recently signed up for a weekly organic produce bin (more on that in a future post!) and received these gorgeous red potatoes.

I wanted to make something quickly that would be delicious and let the flavor and texture of these little gems shine.

-1 Pound Red Skin Potatoes, scrubbed and halved
-3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
-1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, stem removed
-3-4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 425F.  Toss the halved potatoes in a bag with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a fork easily pierces the potatoes.

Serve hot out of the oven with a tasty meal!

With the holiday coming up, I figured I’d share some ideas of great things to make and take to a 4th of July cookout!  Instead of your usual sides, appetizers, and desserts, I’ve included a few unique ones.  Enjoy!

Hummus and Veggies 


Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
Simple White Sangria
 Refreshing Lemon Sparkler

Key Lime Pie- with Coconut Graham Crust

Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

I love fresh salads in the summer!  They are refreshing and healthy!  This salad is full of bright colors and flavors.  It goes well with anything, but I served it with some southwestern style grilled chicken and some refried black beans.

-1 Avocado, diced
-1 Ear of Corn, husked and cleaned
-1/2 of a Cucumber, peeled and sliced
-2 Ripe Tomatoes, diced
-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper

Stand the ear of corn up and using a sharp knife, slice the kernels off and into a bowl.  Add the diced avocado, cucumber, and tomato.  Squeeze a fresh lime over the top of the vegetables in the bowl.  Drizzle some olive oil over the top.  Add salt and pepper if desired.  Stir together with a serving spoon and serve immediately.

Caprese salad is the perfect combination of colors and flavors.  It instantly brightens up an almost-boring “all I could think to make is spaghetti” night.  Plus, with tomato season here, and basil aplenty in my garden, it’s impossible to not crave this delicious salad.

 I drizzled a balsamic reduction over the top of the salad, which you can make yourself or buy at the grocery store.  Bertolli makes a decent bottle of the pre-made stuff.  Otherwise, pour 1/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until reduced by half.

-2 Large Ripe Tomatoes, sliced
-8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
-Fresh Basil Leaves
-Drizzle of Olive Oil
-Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction

Assemble the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves on a platter.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top, followed by the balsamic reduction.  Eat and enjoy!