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Recipe Review: *Cracker Barrel* Hashbrown Casserole

14 Jul
I have an obsession with the hashbrown casserole at Cracker Barrel that can’t be normal.  Whenever we take the girls out to eat and we are near a Cracker Barrel, they always want to eat there.  You won’t get a big argument from me because I can have my hashbrown casserole fix.  
I have searched for years for the right recipe that duplicates this dish.  Every recipe that I found called for canned soup and/or sour cream.  Don’t get me wrong, those recipes are very tasty but they are not the same dish served at Cracker Barrel. 
Last week, as I was reading through my favorite blogs, I somehow came across The Pioneer Cookbook blog.  I scrolled through some of her posts and came across her recipe for hashbrown casserole.  After reading the ingredients, I was skeptical, but couldn’t wait to give it a try.  People….I am here to tell you this is it!  This is the one…my search is over!  Yes, it is true…no soup and no sour cream…just milk and broth.  
I made this for dinner a couple of days ago, along with some BBQ smoked sausage, and my family ate it up and loved it.  I substituted the vegetable broth that is called for in the original recipe with beef broth and I also increased the amount of garlic powder slightly.  Stirring the casserole midway through the cooking is key to making the dish have the consistency of Cracker Barrel’s.
If you have an unhealthy obsession with hashbrown casserole like me, you need to make this…and thank me later.  If you don’t have an unhealthy obsession with hashbrown casserole (what is wrong with you?), you need make this dish and get a new obsession…and thank me later.
PS…Cracker Barrel did not sponsor my post today…they should..for all the therapy that I need…

Hashbrown Casserole
(adapted from original recipe by Miriam Barton/The Pioneer Cookbook)
2 large potatoes, peeled and grated             
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup milk
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Lightly coat an 8 x 8-inch square baking dish with butter. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, cheese, and onion. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Spread the potato mixture into the prepared baking dish, then pour the liquid mixture over the potatoes. Bake for 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes.  Cool for a couple of minutes to allow potatoes to firm up.

Linked To:
 *It’s A Keeper:  It’s A Keeper Thursday
 *Prairie Story:  Recipe Swap #45
 *Simply Sweet Home:  Friday Favorites
 *Paisley Passions:  Fun with Food Friday
 *Girlichef:  Friday Potluck
 *Six Sister’s Stuff:  Strut Your Stuff Saturday
 *This Chick Cooks: Cooked Link Party
 *LambAround:  Not Baad Sunday 
 *Nifty Thrifty Things: Nifty Thrifty Sunday
 *Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms: Melt in Your Mouth Monday
 *Fresh from the Farm:  Homemade by You Monday
 *From Mess Hall to Bistro: Made From Scratch Tuesday 
 *All the Small Stuff: Tuesdays at the Table 
 *Blessed with Grace: Tempt My Tummy Tuesday 
 *Mandy’s Recipe Box: Recipe Roundup 
 *Dining with Debbie: What’s on the Menu Wednesday 


Recipe Review: Boiled Potatoes with Parsley

16 Feb
Our family has never met a potato that we didn’t like.  I mean really, who doesn’t love a good potato dish?  The potatoes were a perfect addition to our sausage with apples, onions and sauerkraut meal.  I adapted the recipe from one that I saw on Mad Hungry.  This is a quick and easy throw together and would be great with any main dish.

Boiled Potatoes with Parsley
(adapted from Mad Hungry/Lucinda Scala-Quinn)


6 red potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and halved
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons torn fresh curly leaf parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes)

Place potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a warm serving bowl, add butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss with parsley. (Potatoes can be made up to 1 day ahead; warm over low heat, tossing with parsley just before serving.)

Linked To:
 *From My Tiny Kitchen:  This Week’s Cravings

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Recipe: Cauliflower Mash

12 Dec

This is a family favorite!  Even my kids will devour this dish until there is nothing left.  Really!  Who knew that cauliflower could taste this good?  And while it is not the healthiest way to enjoy cauliflower it has to be the most enjoyable way.  It is creamy and delightful and a great side to chicken or beef or all by itself.  And not only is is delicious it is so simple to make. 


Cauliflower Mash

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp butter
1/3 pkg cream cheese, room temperature
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Separate florets and remove stem and any leaves.  Steam cauliflower until it is fork tender.  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter and cream cheese to pot with cauliflower and mash with a fork or masher.  Mash to a consistency to suit your taste.  Add salt and pepper.  Top with parmesan cheese.


Linked To:
  * My Sweet and Savory:  Meatless Mondays

Recipe Review: Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

8 Dec

I know right?  Macaroni and cheese cupcakes?  Really??  Really!  And they are awesome.  While mac and cheese has been a kid favorite forever, mixing it up a bit and turning it into something new and different is a great idea.  I would have never thought to put mac and cheese in a muffin tin to make these awesome little treats.  (But this does get the mind going on what else you can create…)  While these are not “cupcakes” they are a fun way to eat something that has been around since forever. 

Two out of three of my kids liked them but I bet I can convince that reluctant one to give these another chance.  And I will be trying these out in their lunch boxes very soon.  I will also be making these when we have the entire family here for the holidays and we are looking for ways to feed a bunch of kids lunch.


Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Recipe from Framed Cooks

8 ozs elbow macaroni (I used a box of mac and cheese)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish
2 eggs
1 cups milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line or spray very well a 12 cup muffin tin.  Cook the macaroni until done.  Drain and immediately return to pot.  Add cheese and stir briefly until almost melting.  Beat eggs into milk and then pour mixture into macaroni making sure not to cook the eggs.  Mix very well.  Ladle macaroni mixture into tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.


Recipe: Potato Puffs

28 Nov

Do you have leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving and don’t want to keep eating them the same old way?  I have the perfect recipe for you.  My grandmother made these for her family when she had leftover mashed potatoes.  This is the first time that I have made them and I can tell you I will be making extra potatoes just so I can make these again.  The puffs are almost like  hush puppies because the potatoes take on a bread like quality.  They are awesome and would be a perfect replacement for french fries or tater tots.  They are good plain, but I jazzed mine up with some powdered ranch dressing mix, cheese and bacon crumbles.  The girls dipped theirs in ranch dressing, but I think they would be good with honey. 


Potato Puffs

1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp powdered ranch dressing mix, optional
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon, optional
1/4 cup finely shredded cheese, optional

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Heat about a 1″ of oil in a skillet.  Drop mixture by heaping teaspoonfuls, four or five at a time, into hot oil. Fry about 2 or 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. They brown quickly so watch carefully. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately. 


Linked To:
  * Mommy’s Kitchen:  Potluck Sunday
  * A Southern Fairytale:  Mouthwatering Monday
  * 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven:  Homemaker Monday
  * Blessed with Grace:  Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
  * Balancing Beauty and Bedlam:  Tasty Tuesday
  * All the Small Stuff:  Tuesdays at the Table
  * From My Tiny Kitchen:  This Week’s Cravings

Recipe: Oh So Tasty Bean Salad

22 Sep

Sometimes I think my girls only love me because I make this bean salad for them.  I am not exaggerating when I say that they LOVE this salad.  They have been eating this since they were toddlers.  And that is how their love of feta cheese came about.  While I am making this dish, my girls like to “taste test” it to make sure it is good.  By the time the taste testing is over, there is not a lot left. 

I decided to surprise the girls and make this for the lunch.  This will be the first time that they have had it in their lunch so I know they will be excited.  When I make this for dinner, I add herbed cream cheese stuffed pitas that are grilled…another of their favorites. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as our family does.

Oh So Tasty Bean Salad

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cucumbers, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup to 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 small can chopped olives (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Combine garbanzo beans, cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes in large bowl.  Mix in feta cheese and olives.  In a small bowl, mix dressing, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over bean mixture and toss gently. 

This is best served when chilled and taste even better the next day once the flavors have melded.

Linked To:

Recipe: Tomato and Bacon Pasta Salad

17 Aug
It has been so hot here for the past two weeks.  I don’t think we have left the house unless we need to.  With it being so hot, I don’t like to heat the kitchen up, but this pasta is well worth it.  We had it as a main dish with some bread, but it could be a great side dish.  I added parmesan cheese the first night and some feta cheese the next day.  Both were equally good.  I served this at room temperature for dinner and cold for lunch.  I preferred it cold and so did my family.
Tomato and Bacon Pasta Salad
1 box penne pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsps olive oil
12 ounces bacon, cooked
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tbsps green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, feta or the cheese of your choice
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Toss the cooked pasta with 1/2 cup milk; set aside.  Put olive oil in a pan; add tomatoes and garlic.  Toss until warmed through and remove from heat; season with salt and pepper.  Crumble the bacon into bite-sized pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish.  Add tomato mixture and bacon to pasta and toss.  Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons green onions.  Add to pasta mixture and toss until evenly combined.  Garnish with reserved bacon and green onion.  This may be served room temperature or chilled.