I like to cook, but I always feel like we have the same things over and over again. I know we aren't the only household that goes through this, and I'm always looking for something a little different to throw in the mix. Although I must admit the appetizer course is my real forte, my side dishes ain't too shabby either. My goal is to stay somewhat healthy, but keep it simple and quick with fresh ingredients. Of course we do have canned veggies and the occasional box of mac'n cheese, but I try my best to keep it fresh. Here are a couple of my go-to faves that are quick, easy, and delicious.
Drawn Butter for dipping
This is the easiest recipe of all time. Put about 3 inches of lightly salted water in a pot. Get one whole artichoke per person and slice off the bottom stem so it will sit flat. Put the artichokes in the pot of water, cover, and boil/steam for about 30 minutes. Once they are done, you simply pull the leaves off one-by-one and eat them kind of like a crab claw (bite, drag, and pull method). I like to dip each leaf in the drawn butter, which I spice up with a little seasoning. Yummy and very pretty-youre friends will be impressed cause they look so fancy! These go really well with grilled meats-especially steaks!
Sauteed Green Beans
Whole, fresh green beans
Olive Oil & Butter
I buy the whole, fresh green beans instead of canned ones. (Farmers Plug - Buy fresh and local!) Rinse and then snap the ends off each bean. I get some chopped garlic cloves going in some olive oil and little bit of butter, then I throw in my green beans. I let them cook on low for probably 20-30 minutes or until they are al dente. You can of course cook them until they are soft, but I like mine with a little bit of crunch. Right at the end I like to sprinkle some parmesan cheese lightly over the top of the beans. They are still warm and when the parmesan mixes with the garlice and oil....well let's just say angels have been heard singing the Heavenly chorus.
(Although that might also be the whir from the flourescent light I still have in my kitchen. I drink wine while I cook sometimes and it's hard to tell the difference.)
Last but not least on my list of side dishes....Cajun Taters!
There is no picture because these look different every time I cook them. And the recipe also changes, too, if that helps you at all. Basically this is one of those go-to side dishes that can be as fancy or as plain as you want it to be. Which is part of the beauty of the dish!
Diced raw potatoes (I prefer Russet because they hold up well and don't mush up)
Salt & pepper
Slap Yo Momma or Tony Chachere's (cajun-esque spices for ya'll Yankees)
Drizzle some olive oil on a flat baking sheet. In a bowl, drizzle some olive oil on the diced potatoes and then season with salt, pepper, and SYM. You can also add any other type of seasonings you have on hand. Trust me, it only makes them better. I have added sauteed onions, garlic and bell peppers to the mix as well. Spread the taters on the baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 400 for approximately 20-30 minutes. I like to stir them around a few times during the cooking process so they bake evenly. Sometimes I add more spices or small bits of butter. These potatoes go really well with hamburgers, and it's a nice, somewhat healthier option than the typical deep-fried french fry.
Hope ya'll enjoy!