August: Potlucks!

August Theme: Potlucks. What do you take with you?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spinach Bake

I've made some adjustments to the recipe...when I made it for the swap, the cheese on top got WAY too dark. I think tin foil will solve that problem. To turn this into a main dish, add cooked chicken and crumbled bacon.

1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/4 pounds fresh spinach
1/4 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter
2 TBSP. parsley
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup + mozzarella cheese

Saute onion. Chop spinach. Mix all remaining ingredients, except for cheese. Combine with spinach and onion in an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil and bake 40-50 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese turns golden brown.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Green Beans

I thought I'd add one more before the month is out. I love fresh green beans, and these are easy and delicious.

Sauté 1 package (or if in season, use the fresh kind) green beans in 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp garlic

Add 1/2 cup sliced, blanched almonds and cook until lightly toasted

Add 1/2 cup craisins and cook for another minute or so

Apple & Celery Salad

3-4 apple cored and diced (you can use all one kind of apple or a variety)
1-2 celery stalks, diced

Sprinkle with approx. 1/2 tsp lemon juice (this helps prevent the apples from browning)

1 Tbsp. Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1 Tbsp. Cool Whip
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients together and chill.

Rice on the Side

This is an easy and healthy way to use up leftover rice. It is yummiest if you are a little generous with oil or butter when you coat the pan!

Rice Dish
½ cup slivered almonds
handful raisins
handful peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups cooked rice
Stir-fry the almonds in oil or butter until golden; then set aside. Add the pepper, then the peas, cooking a couple of minutes until they are starting to cook but still pretty firm; set aside. Next add the raisins and rice and stir until it is all warmed through. Add back in all the other ingredients. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Spaghetti Salad

I didn't make this for the recipe exchange last night, but it is my other favorite side dish.

8 oz. spaghetti, cooked ( or angel hair pasta)
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
7 tsp. Johnny's salad elegance
Mix these ingredients together and set aside.
1 bundle green onions
1 or 2 tomatoes
1 or 2 cucumbers
1/2 c. shredded carrots
Add to spaghetti mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spanish Snap Beans

Simmer in 1/4 c. butter (but do not brown):
1 chopped green pepper
2 large chopped onions
Then add in the following:
2 cans of chopped tomatoes (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese (sharp/medium)
Then make a white sauce:
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
salt & pepper to taste
Combine the two sauces.

Grease casserole dish. Drain canned beans (2-4 cans), & put in casserole dish. Pour all the sauce over the beans. The sauce will be very, very thick.

Cut crusts off of 4-6 slices of white bread. Cube the bread. Drizzle melted butter over the cubes & toss well so they are covered.

Cover beans with bread cubes & bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bread is lightly browned & casserole is bubbling.

This can be made in the morning & put in fridge until ready to eat. It is almost BETTER reheated as a left-over.

*This is my Grandma's recipe & we would have it every Christmas. We all LOVE it!

Strawberry Delight

This is great as a side dish jello salad or a dessert because it is soooo good!

2 pkgs. (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
2 C. boiling water
1 pkg (16 oz.) frozen strawberries
1 can (15 or 16 oz.) crushed pineapples
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 C. sugar
1 carton (8 oz.) sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. nuts

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Put strawberries in hot gelatin and stir until melted. Add pineapple and stir well. Pour into rectangular flat dish, chill for two hours or over night. Stir cream cheese and sugar together until fluffy. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. Spread over gelatin and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Chill.

* You can change it to orange flavor or cranberry by substituting orange jello and 2 (11 oz. ) or 1 (15 oz.) can mandarine oranges (keep everything else the same) or use cherry or cranberry jello with whole berry cranberry sauce (keep everything else the same).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Roasted Potatoes

This isn't the recipe I'm bringing to the swap, but it is one of my favorite ways to cook potatoes, so I thought I'd share. It's SO easy and DEE-licious! You can make really yummy yams/sweet potatoes this way also (just omit the ranch dressing).

potatoes (enough to feed your family)
olive oil (or vegetable oil for us poor college students)
dry ranch dressing mix

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks. Place in a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Pour enough oil in to coat potatoes. Sprinkle in some ranch dressing powder. Zip the bag and shake to coat each potato. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees until potatoes are tender and golden. Enjoy, all!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mango Salsa

Okay, this is not really a side dish, but we like it whenever we make any mexican dishes. I don't know how long it actually keeps in the fridge, because it never lasts more than two days at our house.

8 vine ripened tomatoes (or a mix of hot house and vine ripened ones)
1 white onion
1 avocado
2 mangos
1 bunch cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 jalapeno (or spicier pepper if you so choose)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp seasoned pepper
salt to taste

Chop it all up and stir together. If it sits for an hour before you serve it, the flavors mesh better, but it is darn good freshly chopped as well. You can also add orange or yellow bell peppers if you want more color.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Festive Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes (3-4 oz. each)
2 cups crushed pineapple, undrained
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp slivered almonds (optional)

To cook sweet potatoes, either boil, unpeeled, in a large pot and let them cook over medium heat for 45 minutes, uncovered, until you can put a fork in them easily. Or you can bake the sweet potatoes in a preheated 375 degree oven directly on the rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the cooked potatoes cool and then gently peel them.

Mash the potatoes with the pineapple and spices. Put in a 1-quart casserole dish and top with slivered almonds. Bake for 20 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned.

* This dish provides great flavor, and is low in calories and fat.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Creamy Corn

I thought I'd be the first to post a great side dish. This is one I take to dinner parties and things like that. I rarely make it just for my little family, but it's a great one. Makes a very large batch, scale down for your needs. (I got the recipe from my aunt who has 10 kids). I've got another "everyday" style side dish that I'll post later. Have a great time at the recipe night you all! Wish I was there. (sigh)

1 large bag frozen corn (family sized)
1 stick of butter
2 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
At least 2 Tbs sugar

Put all together in a pan on low until it all starts to melt together and right before serving, you heat it to warm all the way through.