Category Archives: Side Dishes

Avocado & Bacon Potato Salad

I needed to bring a Vegetarian friendly dish to a lunch with friends and came across this one from Vegan Visitor for an Avocado Potato Salad. It was delicious but being the lover of meats that I am, I couldn’t help but think…


Yes, bacon inspiration requires all caps.

So I took the basic idea from the link above and made this not so very vegetarian version.

Avocado & Bacon Potato Salad

3 pounds red potatoes, diced and boiled until soft but not mushy
2 large avocados, diced/mashed
juice from one lemon (a few teaspoons of juice will do)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (more or less to taste, of course)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder (use less if you’re not a fan…I’m a fan of a lot of garlic)
1/2 tsp ground basil (completely optional or use another of your favorite herbs!)
several pieces of cooked bacon, chopped

Once your potatoes are cooled, mix with the avocados. You can either completely mash the avocados or leave some of the pieces diced. Mix in the lemon juice and all of the seasonings. Carefully fold in the bacon pieces. Chill completely before serving. I’d recommend eating this fairly quickly. Even with the lemon juice added the avocados will brown. It still tastes good though!


Linked To:

Mouthwatering Mondays

Healthy Meal: Broiled Steak and Zucchini

Excuse the bad iPhone picture!

So it’s January. The month of healthy eating habits! Here is one of my favorite quick and easy meals that I can feel good about eating! Students earning a nutrition degree online
would approve of this quick and healthy meal.

Broiled Steak

1 boneless sirloin steak
1 medium onion
1 red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Cut steak into cubes. Cut onion and pepper into chunks. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Place steak and veggies in a broiler pan. (If you don’t have one you could put a metal cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet. The point is to let the fat drain off.) Broil a few inches from the oven burner for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully!

Broiled Zucchini

2 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbs diced red pepper (it’s good with diced pimentos too!)
2 Tbs chopped black olives
1 Tbs olive oil

Brush both sides of the zucchini with olive oil. Place on a broiler pan and broil for about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese, peppers and olives. Put back under broiler until cheese melts. Watch carefully!

I like to make these together because I can put it all in one pan and it cooks within 10 minutes! So quick and easy!


Linked To:

Mouthwatering Mondays

Fake Mashed Potatoes…Made With Cauliflower!

Want to play a great trick on your kids? Make these delightful “fake mashed potatoes”! We looooove mashed potatoes around here but we can’t eat them as often as we would like. Not because potatoes aren’t good for you. But because when I mash them with cream and cream cheese and butter and anything else that makes it fattening, it’s just not an every day kind of dish. Making this fake version is a nice healthy alternative.

Personally I think they are delicious. When my kids saw them on the plate they thought it was potatoes. But when they tasted it, they were like, “Wait! Is this a new recipe?”  hehehe. Yes, it is! The boys did eat it. Not as heartily as the real kind, but that’s ok.

Fake Mashed Potatoes

8 cups raw cauliflower florets (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 tablespoons half and half (more or less depending on your desired creaminess)
Salt and Pepper to taste
I like to add a little garlic powder in there too

Steam cauliflower for about 15 minutes or until it is very tender and falling apart.

Place in food processor and process until smooth. I have also used a hand mixer to mash it up. It leaves the cauliflower a little chunky, but we don’t mind it that way. Picky eaters may prefer it all the way smooth. Add butter, slat and pepper and mix. Stir in cream and add until you reach the consistency you prefer.

You can also just add these in to your regular mashed potatoes for a healthy kick!

This is a very healthy side dish and a great option for Thanksgiving dinner!


Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday by Beauty and Bedlam

Recipe: BLT Tortellini Salad

 I kind of made this up the other day when we got together with friends and needed a side dish. I don’t have an exact “recipe” but here is what I threw together!

BLT Tortellini Salad

2 packages Spinach and Cheese Tortellini
Ranch dressing
Bacon, crumbled (or bacon bits if you want to make it quick!)
Diced tomatoes
Black olives (if desired)
Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil and drain tortellini. Let cool. Toss with ranch dressing (use as much or as little ranch as you like). Toss in remaining ingredients (also measured to how much you like them!) and chill before serving.


This post linked to Tasty Tuesday by Beauty and Bedlam

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

So this recipe isn’t exactly the healthiest one, but it is made with real ingredients!  So if your kids are mac and cheese lovers, leave the blue box on the shelf and make it homemade!  I promise, it’s super easy and quick!  And delicious, might I add.  You need comfort food like this on these chilly winter nights!

2 cups elbow macaroni
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 1/2 cups milk
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and drain macaroni noodles.  Melt butter in a pot and then whisk in flour.  Add salt and pepper.  Whisk in milk, stirring until somewhat thick and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add in cooked noodles.

If you need it quick, keep in the pot and stir together until warm.  But if you like it nice and crispy-like on top, add a bit more shredded cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

As you can see in my picture, I added a bit of chopped ham (Matt’s favorite meal!) and baked it for a full meal.  Normally, I will also add one cup of pureed squash as well for a little added nutritional boost!


Recipe: Homemade Gravy

I can’t give you turkey and stuffing recipes without giving you gravy how-to’s!  So here is how I make some good old fashioned (and maybe even a little southern?) GRAVY love.

Accredited online
are an option for those who want to take cooking classes!

First off, I melt butter in a pan. Once it’s melted, I whisk in some flour, a little at a time.  The general rule of thumb is one tablespoon of butter for every tablespoon flour.  I made a big ol’ batch of gravy, so I used 1 cup of each. This is also the same way I start out my Sausage Gravy for Biscuits and Gravy and my Homemade Cheese Sauce. Lots of butter. Paula Deen would be proud.

Next, I use the drippings from my turkey  (or roast or whatever meat I have drippings from) to add to the gravy.  First, be sure to strain the drippings to get out all the chunks!  Add in the drippings a little at a time and whisk as you go.  If you do not have drippings, or not enough to go around, you can use chicken or beef broth depending on the meat you are serving.  You can also add in some milk for a really creamy gravy.

You are going to want to skim the fat off the top of the gravy as you go too.

Whisk and add liquids like broth and/or milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency.  If it is too runny, mix some cornstarch and water in a separate bowl and then whisk into the gravy to thicken it.


Recipe: Grilled Corn

Summer is coming to an end but corn on the grill still has a place on the table!  This is how I like to do it.  It’s a bit of work, but so worth it in the end!

Finally – Forget to take a picture of the end result because you are too busy eating it.

This post is linked to:

Tasty Tuesday
Homemaker Monday
Mouthwatering Mondays
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday


Recipe: Tortellini Pasta Salad

Perfect for your next BBQ. Quick and easy!

Tortellini Pasta Salad

2 bags (19 oz each) cheese-filled tortellini (frozen, fresh, whatever!)
4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup ranch dressing
1 lb bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Let pasta cool.
Mix together all ingredients. Let sit in refrigerator for about an hour. Serve cold!


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Check them out for more recipes!

Recipe: Homemade Stuffing

I know it’s not Thanksgiving, but I love stuffing.  I just do.  I serve it year round in all kinds of ways.  With roasted chicken, with ham mixed in like a casserole, stuffed in a pork chop, the list goes on!  So here is my favorite stuffing recipe!  Forget the box, this is easy and much better for you!

Homemade Stuffing

1 pound of bread – of course, I like to use whole grain and/or whole wheat
1/2 stick of butter, softened ( I almost always use unsalted butter, who need extra salt in their diets anyway?!)
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 small onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium, all natural chicken broth
2 tsp poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Dry out the bread. I just lay it out all over the counter the day before or in the morning on the day I am going to make it.  Flip them around about half way through.  You could also toast them or stick them in the oven for a quick fix.  But I like to do it this way so it doesn’t turn out too crispy.  Once nice and dry, stale-like, cut into cubes.  I find it’s easiest done with a serrated bread knife.

Saute onion and celery in the butter until soft and translucent.  Add in garlic and cook for just a moment, don’t burn the garlic!

Add in the poultry seasoning.  I like to use this one.  If you do not have any, get creative and season it with whatever you have, but poultry seasoning gives it that yummy “I’ve been baking inside a turkey all day” flavor.

Toss the bread cubes into the pan with the celery, onion and garlic.  Yes, you are going to want a big pan for this.  Toss it around and coat it with the the seasoned veggies.  Then pour in the broth and mix together well.

Place in a 9×13 casserole dish.  I like to use my Pampered Chef stoneware which does not need to be sprayed, but if you are using a glass or aluminum dish, you just might want to do that.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until the desired crunchiness or sogginess that you prefer.  I like mine to be just a tad bit soggy-ish with crispy edges.

Delicious with leftover ham from Easter!  Also, this freezes really well, so make a double batch and stick the leftovers in the freezer for another time!
This post is linked to:
Homemaker Monday