Tag Archives: side dishes

Beer Baked Beans

Day 144: Barbecues 101

May 24, 2011

Now that grilling season is upon us, I now have to look for the perfect side dish to go along with everything that I am pulling off the grill. Baked beans seem to fit the bill. Summer is the only time that we tend to make them in our household. Everyone likes them, but I am not sure why we don’t eat them more year round. My favorite bean recipe is the one where you add hamburger and bacon along with several variety of beans. You can find the type that I am talking about here. I think my original recipe is still written on an index card….it goes back that far. What I love about that bean recipe is that is an all in one meal. You don’t need anything else but the beans!

Can I tell you how excited I am to be in the grilling section of the cookbooks in the library? If you are a novice at grilling, this cookbook authored by Rick Rodgers can help you gain some confidence. He goes in-depth of safety precautions as well as concerns with temperature. Want to learn how to brine and smoke a turkey….this cookbook will show you how.

The Ruling: We brought this to some friend’s lake home for dinner. Everyone loved them. One friend in particular had 3 helpings! I just thought they were ok. I think they were a little on the sweet side for me. The can of beer added some depth of flavor that was unexpected. If you didn’t tell people that there was beer in it, they would wonder about the flavor.

Beer Baked Beans, pg 105

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) can lager beer
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup spicy brown mustard
  • 5 (15 ½ to 19 ounce) cans white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degree F.
  2. Place the bacon in a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned, about 6 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels, leaving the fat in the pan.  Cool the bacon and set aside.
  3. Add the onions to the fat in the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 minutes.  Stir in the beer, ketchup, honey, and brown mustard.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the beans and reserved bacon.  Bring to a simmer.
  4. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.  Uncover and continue baking until the beans have absorbed most of the liquid and look glazed, about 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings! For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

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Filed under Grill, Side Dishes

Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad

Day 125: Hungry Girl 200 Under 200

May 5, 2011

So who doesn’t love a Chinese Chicken Salad? Although I have been to some authentic Chinese restaurants in China Town in San Francisco and there is not a single salad that even resembles this on the menu. So is it really a Chinese Chicken Salad? I think the only reason we call it Chinese is that sometimes chow mein noodles are sprinkled on top. That really does not qualify as Chinese. Well, you know what time of salad I am talking about anyway. Lovely and refreshing salad. Something to take to a potluck or to serve at an office lunch.

I had a request to do a Hungry Girl cookbook. They are in such high demand at my library that I had to be put on the waiting list for it. But when I finally got this one I looked for something that I could make fast. Finding recipes for under 200 calories are almost impossible. unfortunately the recipes are often filled with sugar substitutes and I am not a big fan of sugar substitutes unless it comes in the form of diet coke…..kidding! But if you are watching your weight, you will find plenty of things to make!

The Ruling: We liked it. The leftovers were great the next day. Because it does not contain chow mein noodles it stays fresh and you don’t have the soggy noodles in it! The flavors developed more the next day. To save time I picked up a rotisserie cake from the deli and shredded the breast. I could not find the Newman’s dressing in our grocery store, but I had another sesame dressing at home that I used. Nice and refreshing salad.

Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad, page 77

Ingredients:

  • One 16 ounce package dry broccoli slaw mix
  • 12 ounces cooked skinless lean chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup canned mandarin orange segments packed in water or juice, drained and chopped (and rinsed, if packed in juice)
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup Newman’s Own Lighten Up! Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together until mixed well.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir well before serving. Enjoy!

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

Register today for “Meal Planning for Busy Families: Grilling Part 1”,  if you are in the Fargo/Moorhead area. Class is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 and includes handouts, recipes, family meal planner and sampling of the food. Cost is $25. Please email MS. Simplicity at Melissa@ididit-fargo.com for more information.

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

1 Comment

Filed under Fast Meals, Salads, Side Dishes

Wild Rice Dried Cranberry Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette

Day 119: The Minnesota Table

April 29, 2011

So I live .2 miles from Minnesota and what is a great stable that is grown in Minnesota, why wild rice of course. My favorite way to eat wild rice is in a soup or as a side to Thanksgiving with slivered almonds and mushrooms in it. But every once in a while I find it in the form of a cold salad and I am surprised at how good it tastes. A little nutty and a little bit of a bite to it and then you mix in some sweet and savory combinations and you have a great side dish.

If you live in Minnesota or are a fan of the state, this is a lovely cookbook that takes you through the seasons of the state along with the food that is in its prime season. April you will find Asparagus and August will find tips to oven roast tomatoes. Whenever you can prepare food that is in season for your family, remember you can save some money. Buying local also saves on gas prices and helps support the local economy. Find a local CSA where you will be sure to be filled with an abundance of produce all season long.

The Ruling: I have a confession to make, I forgot about the rice. So instead of it being nutty and a little bit hard, it was more on the soft side. Like really soft. Truth be told however my mom really liked it. I was just ok with it, but I know if I would have prepared it right, I would have loved it. I will try making this again in the upcoming months. If you have to make a salad for a group gathering, this would be a fun one to bring. I think my cousin has brought this to a few family gatherings and when she made it….it tasted great!

Wild Rice Dried Cranberry Salad with Clementine Vinaigrette, page 80

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw (3-4 c. cooked) wild rice, washed and prepared according to basic cooking instructions
  • 1 c. long-grain white or brown rice (2c. cooked)
  • 3/4 c. unsalted toasted, hulled, hazelnuts, pecans, or hickory nuts
  • 3-4 Clementines, peeled, sectioned, and seeded (tangerines, tangelos, or navel oranges can be substituted)
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 2 bunches small scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced at an angle
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes, or freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. A day before, wash wild rice in cold water, and cook according to directions.
  2. Cook long-grain or brown rice in a separate pot. Use 2 c. lightly salted water for every 1 cu. uncooked rice. Bring water to a boil and add salt and rice. Bring back to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and stir to loosen rice grains stuck on the bottom of the pan, Simmer, covered, until the rice has absorbed most of the water, about 15-20 minutes; the surface should be marked by little steam holes. Brown rice needs a bit more water and will take a little longer than white.
  3. Remove rice from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Toss cooked rice with a little canola oil to keep the grains separate. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a small opening to vent any steam, and refrigerate.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, placing a rack in the center. Spread hazelnuts evenly over the surface of a sided sheet pan. Place in oven for a few minutes, or until the nuts begin to color. Shake pan to redistribute the hazelnuts, return to oven and continue browning. To remove husks, wrap hot, roasted nuts in a cotton dishtowel and rub. If not using immediately, let the hazelnuts cool to room temperature, store in a tightly covered dry container (tin or glass), and set aside. This step can be done a day ahead too. To keep their crunch, the nuts are the last ingredient incorporated into the salad.
  5. Peel, section, and seed Clementines and place in large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries, green onions, and chilled, cooked rice. Dress with Clementine Vinaigrette, and toss several times to mix well.

Clementine Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • Fine zest of one Clementine
  • 1/2 c. freshly squeezed Clementine juice
  • 2-3 tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes, or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 scant c. canola oil, plus 1 tbsp. hazelnut oil if available

Directions:

  1. Combine zest, juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper flakes or pepper in a blender, a metal bowl with a whisk, or a glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid. Blend (or whisk or shake) until well mixed. Add oils in a steady stream. Blend or whisk again until very thick. Taste and adjust seasonings. If it is too vinegary, add cold water to cut the acidity. If it is too vinegary, add cold water to cut the acidity. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before dressing the salad.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

1 Comment

Filed under Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Date, Bacon and Bean Salad

Day 65: “Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express”

March 6, 2001

I am teaching a class this week called “Meal Planning for Busy Families”, so my quest for finding those quick meals for families on the go has been heightened as of late.  The library has a great selection of fast meal cookbooks.  But I am on the search for ones that don’t add processed ingredients in them.  I like something that is made with real and fresh ingredients.  I want to inspire home cooks everywhere to know with confidence that they can get a home cooked meal on the table every night and it doesn’t have to come out of box to make it happen.  The basics are simple, you have got to plan ahead and you have to plan for the unexpected.  Seems a little ironic I know, but life happens and you have no control over it.  So when little Jimmy gets sick and you have to spend 2 hours at the walk in clinic, you want to know that there is a meal in your slow cooker waiting for you at home.  Or when you have to work late, you want the comfort in knowing that the chicken is marinating and your spouse is throwing it on the grill when he/she arrives home.  So many of the tricks and tips I teach are in the planning aspect.  You will begin to see a trend in this week’s cookbooks

Mark Bittman’s “Kitchen Express” cookbook is loaded with 404 dishes that you can make in under 20 minutes, for real.  The ingredient lists for each recipe are not long and the cookbook is divided into sections by season.  (Remember the tip about sticking with buying produce for what is in season will help you save money.) I chose a recipe in the winter section, not because I am rejoicing winter, but more because of the ingredient list.  I had all of the ingredients on hand plus they needed to be used up quickly.  I had an open package of bacon and an open package of dates that I had used in the cinnamon rolls that I had made awhile back.  Easy to follow instructions, no pictures but that is the tradeoff you get with 404 recipes.  All the recipes are written in paragraph form.

The Ruling:  The three of us who eat salads liked it.  We did add some balsamic dressing on top of it for some added flavor.  This was an easy thing to do and I think it actually added to the flavor.  The flavor was fine on its own, but we needed just a little something else.  So easy to make but not sure if I will make it again. It was nice once, but it didn’t hit a home run but did get to 3rd base. This could be served as a side dish or as a main dish.

Date, Bacon, and Bean Salad, page 123

Instructions:

Cut some bacon into one-inch pieces and fry until browned; drain off most of the fat. Add a can of drained cannellini beans to the bacon along with a handful or more of chopped pitted dates; continue cooking until everything is just warm. Serve over a big bed of bitter greens with good-quality whole grain bread.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

3 Comments

Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes, Salads, Side Dishes

Potato and Onion Flat bread

Day 62: “Real Simple Celebrations: Easy Entertaining For Every Occasion”

March 3, 2011

Sometimes taking the simplest ingredients can turn a few simple things into something magical.  To say that I loved the ease and taste of this flatbread recipe is an understatment.  Easy ingredients like refrigerated pizza dough and some sautéed onions and potatoes with a sprinkling of salt, so simple yet so tasty.  Since the low-carb revolution took over the United States many years ago, bread has been seen as a bad thing.  Baking of homemade bread has been making a comeback of sorts lately, however making bread from scratch takes time.  Opening a tube of dough and placing it on a pizza stone and layering on some ingredients could not be easier.  I love making bread. But I also love making something simple that my family will eat!

Throwing a party can be stressful for some (me, I thrive off of it!).  The editors of “Real Simple” magazine realize that their magazine is full of good tips for leading a more simple life.  Putting all those good tips into books of various themes only makes perfect sense.  So this cookbook entitled “Real Simple Celebrations: Easy Entertaining for Any Occasion” should come as no surprise.  Want to know how to decorate for a New Year’s Eve Potluck….they have this taken care of.  Want to know what food and drinks to serve at said party, they have it covered. Want to throw a baby shower….they have this taken care.  I love the tips that they give, such as have the guests write their addresses down on thank you note envelopes for any easy way for the mom-to-be to get the thank you notes written. How about all the guests bring a baby picture of themselves and they are displayed and the guests try to guess who is who?  Each chapter covers a different occasion with tips from A-Z and nothing is forgotten.  This is not only a cookbook but a go-to guide for throwing any type of party.

The Ruling: We all liked it, some more than others of course.  Youngest child wouldn’t have any pieces with onions on it.  I thought this was so easy to make.  I made it even easier than the instructions stated.  I skipped the cornmeal and forming it into a circle, and just put it on a baking stone.  I also sautéed the onions and then added the potatoes and sautéed them for a few minutes together.  I think this helped the potatoes take on more flavor.  I would defiantly make this again.  I think it would taste good with a base of pesto on it as well.  Flatbread is so versatile.  This can easily be served as a side dish for dinner, but it could also be used as an appetizer. Or even as a meal with a salad….yum!

Flatbread, page 56

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into circles
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal for the skillet
  • 1 package (about 1 pound) refrigerated pizza dough

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the potato, rosemary leaves, salt, and pepper and toss; set aside. Sprinkle a baking sheet with the cornmeal. Place the dough on a work surface, shape into a 12-inch round, and transfer to the prepared sheet. Spoon the potato mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Slice into wedges. Serve warm or a room temperature.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

3 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

Day 59: “Betty Crocker Celebrate!”

February 28, 2011

If I can make something in my slow cooker and not have to worry about it and it tastes great, it is a home run.  This my friends is a home run!  I love sweet potatoes and their health benefits.  What I don’t like is the stick of butter, cups of brown sugar and cups of marshmallow…..well I do like it from a taste perspective but not from a health perspective.  When I saw the ingredient list, I thought to myself that it could work.  I didn’t hold out much hope however.  But the addition of the applesauce gives it some sweetness, and the limited amounts of the brown sugar and butter give you the taste of decadence without all the calories of a traditional sweet potato casserole.

This cookbook is in the area of a putting together menu ideas and other party planning ideas.  Most of the recipes are easy to follow and easy to make.  Ingredient lists are not full of odd things and most can be found at a small town grocery store.  The cookbook has many full colored pictures, which you know I love.

The Ruling:  This is a keeper.  It will go in my Thanksgiving recipe file.  Nice flavor, easy to mix and easy to forget in the slow cooker.  I love that you use fresh sweet potatoes (or yams) and not the vacuum sealed ones in syrup.  I just feel a little better knowing that the sweet potato is not loaded with preservatives.  Everyone ate it….and everyone enjoyed it!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes, page 172

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes or yams (2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, toasted

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potatoes in 2 to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker.  Mix remaining ingredients except nuts; spoon over potatoes.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook nuts in ungreased heavy skillet over medium-low heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until browning begins, then stirring constantly until golden brown and fragrant; set aside.  Sprinkle nuts over sweet potatoes.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

4 Comments

Filed under Side Dishes, Slow Cooker, Uncategorized, Vegetarian