Archive for ‘Side’

May 25, 2012

Homemade baked tortilla chips

Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 1 small package of white corn tortillas, taco size, cut into triangles
  • Cooking spray-we use a canola oil spray
  • Salt-to taste

Preheat the broiler to high. Put corn tortilla triangles on a large baking sheet. Don’t overlap the chips. If you want to make a large batch, fill a second pan and only bake one at a time.

Spray the triangles lightly with cooking spray. Turn over triangles and spray again. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

Bake in the oven for about 3-4 minutes. Turn chips over and bake for another five minutes, or until chips are golden brown and crisp. Make sure you don’t go too far while the chips are in the oven. They will bake quickly!

Cool and serve with guacamole, salsa, or eat them plain.

*Chef’s note: I used La Banderita yellow corn tortillas, original Pam cooking spray and sea salt, which produced a really great flavor, but these turned out a bit chewy when they weren’t burnt. I made several batches and tried adjusting the heat, but I still never got it quite right. Perhaps the white corn is lighter and would work better as they listed? Next time I will try baking it “low and slow,” broiling at the very end to crisp if necessary. I would love to get it right, because this is a delicious and much cheaper way to enjoy tortilla chips :)

May 16, 2012

The BEST guacamole

Benjamin Stanley

Serves: 6

  • 6 avocados
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • Southwestern Chipotle Ms. Dash
  • Salt and pepper
  • LIME and/or lemon
  • Olive oil

Serves: 6-10

(If you wanna go “nutritional serving size,” figure about half – to a quarter an avocado per person. If you wanna go “this shit is delicious and we’re having a party”, go with full avo per person or more. That being said, it doesnt keep real well, so take that into consideration.)

Start with your avocados. Kinda squishy and just the right color green. Cut out any ugly spots.

Next are the onions and peppers. Now, if I’m making guac with 6 avocados, I’ll use about half a red bell pepper and half an onion. give or take.

Dice the onion and pepper up, and sautee them in a pan with a little olive oil. I add in a little Southwestern Chipotle Ms Dash ( I forget the exact name, I always just call it “Senorita Dash”). I’ve thought about adding corn into this medley, but have yet to act on it.

While all that is sautee-ing, get to mashing. Just take a fork (or adequate mashing tool) and just smush it all up together. Once pretty well mashed, i like to add a good bit of sea salt and a lilttle bit of cracked pepper, and lately I’ve been adding Season-All to the mix. Even more important is Lime. Squeeze a lime in there, maybe a little lemon if you like, but lime is the superior flavor. Then I pour in the sauteed veggies and mix them into the guac. From here on out it’s basically just taste and adjust, taste and adjust. Its better too be too salty rather than too pepper-y. Maybe more lime, maybe not, just kinda tweak it to how you’re feeling about it.

It is best served warm – but if you must wait to consume, put it all in your bowl/serving dish/whatever, and squeeze more lemon/lime all over the top of it. this will help prevent it from browning – which i dont think effects the taste, it just starts to look gnarly and inedible. I also like to make a little like 1/4 indent in the top of the guac bowl and pour a little salsa in it.

*Chef’s note: This is by far my favorite guacamole. And no, I am not biased because it is my brother’s recipe. He just happens to be a guac god. This is very easy to make, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about eating it. I hope you enjoyed his instruction as much as I did :) Also, my favorite way to peel the avocado is not to peel it. Just slide your knife around the whole avocado until it splits into two, then remove the pit, and the green flesh will slide out like butta with a spoon. Also, notice how there’s no nasty cilantro in this guac? I love my brother.

April 10, 2012

Low-fat scalloped potatoes

Food Network


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-fat milk (1%), at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 3-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the potatoes and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon to make a paste. Cook, stirring, until the paste puffs slightly, about 1 minute. Graduallywhisk in both milks and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the nutmeg. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and gently toss to coat.

Transfer the potato mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the gruyere. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Switch the oven to the broiler setting and broil the potatoes until browned on top, about 5 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

*Chef’s note: I think this definitely would taste low-fat if I hadn’t doubled the cheese and added a bit of cheddar, too. Be sure to season well with salt and pepper, and it still should satisfy a craving for traditional scalloped potatoes. I also would recommend boiling and baking the potatoes a few minutes more.

April 10, 2012

Green bean and shallot salad

Rachael Ray

Serves: 6-8


  • Ice water
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound small green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a nonreactive medium bowl, add the shallots, separating them with your fingers. Add 2 tbsp. vinegar and toss to coat; refrigerate.
In a large pot of boiling, salting water, cook the green beans until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, then transfer the colander immediately to the ice bath, stirring the beans gently to encourage even cooling.
In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp. vinegar, the paprika, Worcestershire and mustard; season with salt. Slowly drizzle in the EVOO, whisking constantly to thicken.
Drain the beans and transfer to a towel; pat dry. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the shallots, discarding the liquid. Pour in the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
*Chef’s note: Tasty and easy peasy! Love this change-up with the unique dressing. I may also try a version with sauteed shallots for a different bite. 


March 24, 2012

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

The Neelys

Serves: 3-4

  • 1 head garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, washed well and quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Drizzle head with olive oiland wrap in foil. Place on a sheet tray and bake until tender and fragrant, roughly 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the cloves and mash with a wooden spoon.

Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender and drain. Mash the potatoes until smooth.

Meanwhile heat butter and cream until butter melts. Add the roasted garlic and potatoes and mash all together. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

*Chef’s note: YUM! That roasted garlic really takes these up a notch. These are the type of mashed that don’t need gravy. I used buttermilk instead of cream, and I really like the way its tang balanced out the almost-bitter taste of the red potatoes. I’m sure these would be top-notch with Yukon potatoes, too. I added melted butter and room-temperature buttermilk instead of heating them together because I was afraid the buttermilk might curdle.

February 20, 2012

Smoky scalloped potatoes

Pat Neely

Serves: 6

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter foams, add the shallot and garlic and saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the half-and-half, smoked paprika and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour half of the potato mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Shake the pan to arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle half of each of the cheeses on top of the bottom potato layer. Add the remaining potatoes and shake again to arrange in a layer. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake 45 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove the foil and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and cheese are golden and browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*Chef’s note: That Neely knows his scalloped potatoes! Very tasty. Be sure to season well with salt; my only comment!

January 8, 2012

Cheesy pearl couscous with roasted broccoli

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (6.3 oz.) box Israeli or pearl couscous
  • 10 oz. frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups ( about 8 oz.) grated aged Gouda

Preheat the oven to 450. In a small bowl, melt 3 Tbsp. butter in the microwave, then stir in the garlic. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with the garlic butter. Toast until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lines plate. Reserve the skillet, discarding all but 1 Tbsp. of the bacon fat.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the couscous until just al dente, 5 to 6 minutes; drain.

Add the corn and scallions to the reserved skillet and cook over medium-high heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the couscous and chicken broth and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, the cheese and the reserved bacon. Serve with the broccoli.

*Chef’s note: This couscous was awesome. I loved the corn, bacon and scallions together. I used closer to 2 cups of cheese (Dutch Gouda and Havarti were on hand), and that was plenty cheesy. You can totally halve the recipe and use it as a side like I did; it went well with roasted shrimp (*Toss shrimp with olive oil or butter, salt and pepper, and minced garlic; drizzle with the juice of one lemon and roast on a foil-lined sheet pan at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until pink). The broccoli was a little disappointing, but then again I don’t love broccoli and used “fresh frozen” florets….

January 1, 2012

Creamy polenta

Bon Appetit 

Serves: 6

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in polenta; whisk constantly until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until tender and thickened but still creamy, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. **Cornmeal cooks faster than polenta, so if replacing the polenta with cornmeal, cook it about half as long.

*Chef’s note: Pretty good as far as polenta goes. I swapped chicken broth for half the water, used cormeal and added 2 springs chopped rosemary.

January 1, 2012

Green beans with warm bacon dressing

Woman’s Day

Serves: 8

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper

In large pot, bring green beans and enough water to cover to a boil. Cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towel. Remove all but 2 Tbsp bacon fat from skillet. Add shallots and sauté 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar. Add green beans, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Crumble bacon on top.

*Chef’s note: This has become my go-to green bean recipe; a great veggie to serve for company because it’s easy to make and goes well with many different entrees. Not to mention super tasty!

January 1, 2012

Brown sugar-glazed carrots with rosemary and pecans

Real Simple

Serves: 8

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 3 pounds carrots—peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths, and halved lengthwise if large
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 375° F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing once, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the carrots, brown sugar, butter, rosemary, cayenne, ½ cup water, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and cook, stirring often, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Discard the rosemary and toss the carrots with the lemon juice and pecans.

*Chef’s note: This dish was a bit to sweet and a tad too mushy for me. I like all the ingredients going into it, but next time would probably put in about half the sugar!