• Orange Tarragon Rainbow Carrots
    Side Dish,  Thanksgiving,  Vegetable

    Orange Tarragon Rainbow Carrots

    I really love rainbow carrots, they add a fun pop of color variation that makes them look great.  The purple ones are especially fun as the color changes inside so it provides even more visual interest.  For this recipe, I wanted a bright, fresh note to go with some of the more savory sides and turkey for Thanksgiving.  To do that, I added Tarragon, which has become one of my favorite herbs, and some orange to tie it in with my turkey recipe. What I really love about these carrots is that they are the easiest side to whip up last minute while you let your turkey rest for your…

  • Fig Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
    Side Dish,  Vegetable

    Fig Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

    Somehow Brussels Sprouts have gotten a bad reputation.  I think it may be memories of poorly prepared sprouts that just didn’t taste (or likely smell) good.  When prepared well, brussels sprouts are awesome and can be prepared in a variety of ways to suit many tastes.  I personally like mine sautéed in a hot cast iron skillet in rendered down pancetta.  They get that great browning and slight char while the pancetta fat helps to cut back on that harsh flavor that seems to have given them a bad name. While you can use regular balsamic just fine for cooking these, I happened to have a bottle of fig infused…

  • Rice Pilaf
    Side Dish

    Rice Pilaf

    Rice Pilaf is my definitive, go-to side dish.  It is so easy to throw together and goes with almost anything. I have also even been known to cook the rice on its own as an afternoon snack when I just need something to eat. The great this about this rice is that it serves as a bit of a blank canvas for flavors, I love to pair this with a pan sauce or braising liquid, as it just soaks up the flavors and enhances the meal.  The key to the pilaf is good seasoning (I like it a little peppery and with some thyme) and I like to use homemade…

  • Roasted Parsnips Puree
    Side Dish,  Thanksgiving,  Vegetable

    Roasted Parsnips Puree

    Parsnips are one of those under-rated root veggies, but I love them. We actually figured out that we liked them while making a beef stew at a cooking class. We had never really thought about them too much, as they don’t feature prominently, but we found out that we were really missing out on their great flavor. They have a slightly woody flavor that is really different than anything like potatoes or carrots that makes them a fun alternative. What I love about this puree is that it makes for an interesting substitute for mashed potatoes or as a base for other veggies or meat. Another perk is that you…

  • Mashed Potatoes
    Dinner,  Side Dish,  Thanksgiving

    Shallot-Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

    Mashed potatoes are something my husband feels very strongly about, they need to be light and smooth but full of flavor. The trick we have found is steaming the potatoes instead of boiling. The ideal potato to me is Yukon Golds, they have a lot of natural flavor and the right structure to make that light and creamy mash. For a more rustic look, you could leave the skin on, but be careful as this can impact the smooth texture if that is what you are going for. Also never put potatoes in a blender, this damages the structure and makes the mashed potatoes gummy. You really should use a…

  • Apple Fennel Stuffing
    Side Dish,  Thanksgiving

    Apple Fennel Stuffing

    To say that I am a fan of stuffing is probably a bit of an understatement, it is one of my favorite fall/winter side dishes. My family loves it so much we have TWO different kinds at Thanksgiving.  Of the various types, I personally prefer mine to be slightly moist and sticky, but not soggy. This stuffing with apple and fennel is my favorite.  I love the crisp, sweet apple with that unique fennel flavor.  As an added bonus, the fennel replaces celery, which my husband can’t stand; it’s a win-win! After a bit of experimenting, I found that the bread is really key, it needs to be just right…

  • Tzatziki
    Side Dish

    Tzatziki

    My husband’s family is of Greek decent, so he loves to experiment and make Greek dishes like Tzatziki.  Many of them are fairly simple (like this one), while others can be extremely complex (like pastitsio or spanikopita).  Tzatziki is one of the easiest recipes to throw together in a pinch and it can be used in a variety of different ways.  It is great alone as a dip for vegetables or pita chips.  It is also a perfect spread for anything from gyros to burgers.      I love tzatziki because it is able to provide a creaminess and tang to a dish while also being crisp and refreshing, just like a…

  • Sage Pepper Risotto
    Side Dish

    Sage & Black Pepper Risotto

    I absolutely love risotto!  I think I have made it at least 6 different ways over the years.  Risotto is a technique that involves cooking rice in broth until it reaches an amazing creamy consistency through constant stirring.  Its amazing how the rice starch by itself creates this perfectly sticky, gooey mix with almost nothing else!  It is a bit labor intensive (it is half an hour of near constant stirring), but DEFINITELY worth it.  The key to this version is to add a healthy grind of coarsely cracked pepper at each step.  It gives it a good bite that pairs well with the orange and sage. You can cook…

  • Salsa Verde
    Side Dish

    Salsa Verde

    I love salsa (I mean… Who doesn’t?!)!!  You can make so many variations, like this Salsa Verde, and it is so easy to throw together in a food processor.  Once you make your own, you will think twice about just picking up a jar for your next get together or party!  Added bonus… all of your friends will be impressed that you made the salsa from scratch, they just don’t need to know how easy it was. I really like this Salsa Verde specifically.  Tomatillos are a lot of fun and look pretty cool when in their husks.  Just be warned they do need to be rinsed first as they have…

  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
    Side Dish

    Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

    I love hummus as a healthy snack.  What’s great is that it is so common and popular now it doesn’t feel like an odd thing to have at any party.  I’ve even seen it at parties for things like the super bowl now!  It is so versatile, you can vary up the dip itself like this one or provide a wide variety of what you dip in it like carrots, crackers, celery, etc.  Roasted Red Pepper is one of the most common varieties out there; likely because it makes for such a great flavor combination. Not only can you use it as a dip, you can spread hummus on sandwiches…

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