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Tag: side dish

Spinach Polenta with Short Ribs

I have now made a few polenta dishes where I have added a bunch of different ingredients to make them a bit different. I realized that polenta is like any other starch and I can go crazy with all the different aromatics or vegetables I can add to it.

In this case I was making the short ribs and wanted to keep it simple and serve it on top of polenta. Both my husband and I love polenta. My daughter on the other hand, is not a big fan. In fact the last time I made it, she asked not to give it to her ever again. I am okay with her not wanting to eat polenta- she is such a good eater and everyone has a few things they don’t like- although I can’t think of a thing I would have on that list.

Anyway, I started with shallots and garlic and added baby spinach. I then added chicken broth and milk. The polenta was made in no time. I topped it with some cheese and that was it. I made it simple for myself by adding baby spinach to the starch- I didn’t have to make a salad or a vegetable on the side.

The polenta was delicious with the short ribs- creamy and earthy with the rich meat.

  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the baby spinach and sauté till it is wilted and cooked down. Keep aside.

  • 1 cup fine polenta
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups milk
  • Salt
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

Add the liquids to the spinach mixture and bring to a boil. Add salt and the polenta. Cook according to instructions on the polenta package. Add the cheese and serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup

Sometimes simple is the way to go- actually that is my way when it comes to entertaining for any event- even when it is a casual dinner party.

When it comes to holiday entertaining I try to make things simple for myself and look for recipes that I can make in advance or at least prep in advance.

For Thanksgiving there is a lot to think about and so I make sure not every dish is complicated and time consuming.

This is one of the side dishes that is delicious yet very simple to make. All I did was to cut up a butternut squash, drizzle it with olive oil and good maple syrup- thats it. 40 minutes in the oven and I had a fabulous side dish. It is delicious with the sweet maple syrup and a bit of savory salt.

You can buy already cut up butternut squash to make things easier for yourself. Prep it in advance- the morning of and even roast it. You can reheat it right before the big feast is served… easy and yummy- that is the way to go.
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South Indian Style Quinoa

This one is genius- if I do say so myself… the flavors are yum and the whole things is super healthy!


I made this dish with the chicken curry and the whole meal was delicious!

  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Bring the coconut milk, lemon juice and salt to a boil in a small pan. Add the quinoa and cook according to package directions.

  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • ½ cup raw peanuts, rough chop
  • 3 to 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt to taste

Heat a wok like pan with the oil. Add the peanuts, green onions, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves to the pan. Saute on medium heat for a minute or two, until the spices become aromatic. Add the frozen peas and the quinoa. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and salt. Taste for seasonings and serve.

Layered Roast Potatoes with Onions

I served this side dish with the chicken quarters. It is a bit different than your typical roast potatoes- I love pairing them with onions and thyme..

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Heat a non stick pan with one tablespoon butter and olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes till the onions are soft. Turn heat off and set aside.

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 oven proof pan (I used a 8X8 roasting pan)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line the pan with half of the onions, spreading them well. Add half of the potatoes, sprinkle with some salt. Add the rest of the onions on top and finish off with the remaining potatoes. Pour the chicken broth over the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and dot with the remaining butter on top. Cover with foil and roast for an hour. Take the cover off and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes till the potatoes are golden brown and crispy on top.

Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower

Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower I made this couscous dish with grilled chicken. I added some roasted cauliflower and tomatoes to the quick cooking starch. I drizzled some olive oil on the cauliflower and tomatoes and I cooked them in oven until the florets were golden brown and the tomatoes soft.

Making the couscous is super simple. I make mine with chicken broth and buy the whole wheat variety from Trader Joes.

The rest was simple, I added the veggies to the cooked couscous. I made extra for the next day… I served the delicious side dish with the fish with romesco sauce. It was a delicious combination…
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Broccoli Rabe with Kalamata Olives

Broccoli Rabe with Olives Broccoli rabe is by far one of my favorite vegetables. I love the earthy bitterness the leafy greens have. I usually cook them with pasta and some sausage. I add some pine nuts, garlic and basil and top it off with lots of parmesan cheese. It is the most delicious thing to have. Unfortunately my husband and daughter don’t love the pasta dish as much as I do. They prefer  pasta with red sauce- I think a lot of people feel the same. I like pasta with all sorts of sauces and toppings but I have to say, I do like the sauceless ones the best. I like to be able to taste all the ingredients in my pasta.

Anyway, as usual I digress. I decided to use the broccoli rabe as a side dish. I like to pair the bitterness of the greens with super salty ingredients like olives and anchovies. I started with blanching the broccoli rabe and sauteed some garlic in olive oil. I melted anchovies into the mix and added the olives.

The dish was delicious with all the ingredients but I decided to take it to another level and added some crumbled feta on top. It made the dish come alive and gave it a creamy texture.

I could have eaten the whole dish by myself. All I needed was some warm crusty bread and a glass of red wine…
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Spanish Rice with Smoked Paprika

Spanish Rice with Spanish Rice This rice is quite simple to make and is full of delicious flavor. I made it with the steaks and used – yes, you guessed correctly- smoked paprika. I started by sauteing onions and garlic with some roasted cumin seeds and tomato paste. Some paprika and rice later, I had a fabulous side dish. Speaking of the rice, I used basmati rice. I didn’t have any other in the house. My husband felt, the nuttiness of the basmati rice was distracting in the Spanish preparation. I agreed with him but really like the long grained rice I used. If you don’t want the same distraction, feel free to use Jasmine instead.

I served the steaks and brussels sprouts with this rice dish. If you wanted to make a one-pot meal, you could add some shredded chicken and peas into the rice and call it a day.

The rice went beautifully with the steaks and the chipotle sauce. It was a great way to eat steaks with Latin flavors… try this dish, you will love it.
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