Category Archives: Side Dishes

Creamy Pesto Spinach

Hello Everyone,

Here’s a recipe we made awhile back..

Creamy Pesto Spinach:

3 medium tomatoes or 6 Roma tomatoes

1 tbsp. salt

2 (10 oz.) packages, frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/4 cup purchased pesto sauce

1/2 cup whipping cream

2/3 cup romano cheese, grated

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Cut tomatoes in half; remove seeds and pulp. Sprinkle salt inside tomato shells and turn upside down on a wire rack to drain 30 minutes. Use a paper towel to pat inside of each tomato dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium skillet, cook spinach over medium heat 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Stir in pesto sauce; cook 2-3 minutes longer. Stir in cream; cook until mixture is thick (about 2 minutes). Stir in Romano cheese and pepper. Spoon about 1/2 cup spinach into each tomato shell. (If using Roma tomatoes, spoon 1/4 cup  spinach mixture into each tomato). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. Bake in a greased 8-inch square baking dish for 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

My ex sister-in-law made these for Christmas several years ago and we all LOVED them I know you will to!!!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Side Dishes


Festive Rice Cups

Hello Everyone,

Here’s a really tasty and easy recipe.

Festive Rice Cups:

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

5 cups chicken broth

2 cups uncooked brown rice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

In a large saucepan, melt butter with the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until golden brown. Add chicken broth, rice salt, turmeric, and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50-60 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in red and green peppers. For each serving, firmly press about 1/2 cup mixture into 3-inch tart mold or use a standard size muffin tins; invert onto plate and serve immediately.

My new sewing machine came today!! I have never had a sewing machine before, Ray ordered it awhile ago. It will be nice to fix some cloths or sew a blanket. I used to fix thing’s with just a needle and thread, but the needle hurts my fingers.. I am really happy to have my new toy!! YAAA!!

I have to get my cake done today for the veteran. I was still sick yesterday and didn’t the cake baked. It will be a busy afternoon for me!!!

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in Side Dishes


Corn Pudding

Hello everyone,

I know I haven’t been very good about posting anything for a while… I’m still feeling a bit blue this time of year… I had another great-uncle pass away over the weekend. This makes 4 people in my family to pass away in just the last 6 months! I hope it stops, can’t take much more of this..

Here is a recipe I made last year for Christmas. My husband loved this one, of course anything with corn and bacon he loves!!!

Corn Pudding:

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick) 4 oz.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

1-1/2 cups half and half

4 cups drained canned corn

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, sugar, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Continuing to stir constantly, add half and half and cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in corn, eggs, bacon, parsley, and cayenne. Pour into a lightly buttered 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

My husband’s Birthday was Saturday and we didn’t do too much. We went to a restaurant here we like to go to on Friday, then on Saturday we went to see Tron in 3-D, it was a really good movie! On Saturday I made him something his mom made for him when he was growing up. Chocolate and biscuits. I had never heard of putting chocolate sauce on baking powder biscuits before. My dad made sausage gravy for them when I was a kid. I really liked the chocolate sauce of the biscuits, I’ll be making it more often. I’ll get the recipe and post it tomorrow, its super simple and so tasty!!!

We celebrated my grandma’s Birthday today. I guess my grandma just wanted spaghetti, salad, and pineapple upside-down cake. My aunt made all this for her today, since it was an impromptu party with just a few of us there. We had a nice time tonight..

Well I’m off to bed… I have A LOT to get done tomorrow!! An Angel cake to get finished and lots of Christmas baking to do… Nite all…


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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Casseroles, Side Dishes


Thanksgiving Menu part 2

Hello Everyone,

Here is the 2nd and last 3 recipes I made up for my Thanksgiving menu. This is my first time roasting a duck and I will say it’s completely different than roasting a chicken or turkey. I got the recipe from one of my absolute favorite cookbooks, it’s from Williams-Sonoma. I was first introduced to Williams-Sonoma several years ago, when my mom bought one of their cooking CD’s to play with on her computer. Well I searched through it and have been hooked ever since then!!! I have several more of their cookbooks plus I LOVE to visit there store and website!!! I have made so many recipes from their cookbooks. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, THEM!!! LOL!! My husband say’s I’m obsessed with them!! He’s right!! 🙂 I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!!

Roast Duck with Parsnips and Marsala Wine

1 duck, 4-5lb.

1 lemon

5 sprigs fresh marjoram

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 lb parsnips

1 whole clove

1 bay leaf

2 cups rich chicken stock

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

1/2 cup dry Marsala wine

salt and black pepper

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse duck inside and out. Dry with paper towels. Cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice inside of duck, sprinkle salt and pepper inside and outside of the duck. Place 4 marjoram springs inside duck along with the cut lemon. Place breast side down in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. Turn over the duck and prick the duck breast in several places, this allows the fat to drain from the duck. Roast another 45 minutes longer pricking the duck breast a couple more times. While duck is roasting, peel and slice the parsnips and cover with water and cook with 1 tsp. salt and the cut up onion, until tender; drain and set aside. Check if the duck is done: pierce the thigh with a knife tip; the juices should run pink for medium-rare. Alternatively, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone. It should read about 180 degrees. If you prefer your duck well done, roast for 10-20 minutes more. Be forwarned, however, for the meat will be dry. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the duck from the pan, pouring off the accumulated liquid from the cavity into the pan. Place duck on a warmed platter and keep warm. Tilt the pan and skim the fat from the surface, there will be about 1/2 cup full of fat from the duck. (keep it and fry potatoes in the duck fat, it’s is so tasty)!! Place the remaining juices from the duck, marjoram sprig, clove, bay leaf, 2 cups chicken stock, 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar, and the wine in a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and let boil slightly until reduced by half and thickened. Strain the sauce and add to the parsnips and heat through. Using poultry shears , cut the duck into quarters, discarding the backbone. Add any juices that have accumulated on the platter to the parsnips. Serve the parsnips with the duck and spoon some sauce over the duck and parsnips.

Spinach Risotto:

1 lb. fresh spinach

4-1/2 cups chicken stock or broth, keep warm

1/2 cup unsalted butter, 4 oz.

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter and add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes just until opaque in color. Reduce the heat to low and add the wine and stir until the wine has been absorbed. Start adding the hot chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been completely absorbed and the grains are tender but firm to the bite. This will take about 20-25 minutes; you will need all of the chicken stock. Stir in the spinach until wilted and then add the cheese.

Orange Floating Islands:

For the orange sauce:

1 orange

2 cups whole milk

5 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Meringues:

4 egg whites

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

1/3 cup sugar

Unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling

ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Grate zest from the orange, you should have about 1 tbsp. In a medium saucepan over medium heat warm the milk just until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan; remove from the heat. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk until light, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the cream and orange zest. Then gradually whisk in the hot milk until well blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, heat until thickened and the mixture coats the spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. To test, run a finger across the back of the spoon; it should leave a trail. Immediately transfer to a shallow serving bowl, set aside to cool a little, then cover and refrigerate to chill.

To make the meringues, in a large saute pan or deep-frying pan, pour in water to a depth of 1-inch and bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, in a large, clean, dry bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, beat until stiff peaks form. While continuing to whisk, gradually add half of the sugar, a little at a time, until the whites are glossy and stand in peaks. Using a large spoon fold in the remaining sugar, a little at a time. The meringue should remain glossy and stand in peaks. Cover a baking pan with paper towels. Using a serving spoon and forming one at a time, scoop up oval mounds of meringue and float them in the simmering water. Poach, turning once, about 45 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meringues to the prepared pan to drain. Repeat with the rest of the meringue. Transfer to a plate, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. To serve, spoon the custard into shallow dessert bowls or deep dessert plates and float 2 or 3 meringues on each custard. Sprinkle each meringue with a little cocoa powder and cinnamon.

Well I hope I have inspired you to try something different for your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday!


Amanda 🙂


Thanksgiving Menu

Hello everyone,

Here’s part of the menu I have been working on. I’m sorry I am late in posting this… I have been having a lot of headaches, so I am really slooowww!!!

Salad with Fried Goat Cheese in Parmesan Cheese Cups:

Ok to this one there isn’t really any recipe, I’ll just write down how I made this..

First you make the parmesan cheese cups; In a small 6-inch non-stick skillet put a small layer of parmesan cheese in bottom of pan. Let cheese get crispy around the edges. (It took me a couple of times the first time I made these to get them to look right). Flip cheese over with a small spatula, flatten it out, then lay cheese over a lightly greased bowl, let dry. The cheese will need a couple of hours to dry out and get crispy. Next put some salad greens in cups, and toss in some capers, and dried sweetened cranberries. To make vinaigrette, put 1 tbsp. stone ground mustard in a bowl add 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil, salt and pepper to taste; blend well. For fried goat cheese rounds, use firm round goat cheese. Coat each side with panko breadcrumbs, fry in hot oil on both sides, until crispy; about 1 minute per side. Place on top of each salad. Lightly drizzle each salad with vinaigrette. Serve at once.

Parmesan Cheese Rolls:

1-1/3 cups sour milk (110-130 degrees)

1 stick unsalted butter 4 oz., melted

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. active dry yeast

3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a mixing bowl (again I just use my Kitchenaide to mix my dough) with paddle attachment lightly beat milk, butter, salt yeast, and cheese together. Add flour and mix with dough hook until you get a sticky soft dough, about 5 minutes. Turn dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let raise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Lightly grease a 9-inch round or square baking pan, and roll dough into balls to fit pan. Let raise again until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. In the last 5 minutes of baking sprinkle tops with more parmesan cheese. These are so tasty with just some butter!!!

Broccoli Gratin:

1 bunch broccoli, 1-1/4 lbs. cut into flowerets and peel and cut up the stalks.

2 cups whole milk

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 panko bread crumbs

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli until just crisp tender. Lay out onto paper towels to cool and get dry; about 15 minutes. For sauce melt butter in a medium saucepan and flour and cook for 1 minute over medium-low heat, stirring constantly; do let it become brown. Add milk and whisk slowly until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix sauce with broccoli, put into a 9-inch square baking dish. Combine panko breadcrumbs and cheese, place on top of broccoli, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are bubbling and topping is brown.

I’ll try to get the other 2 recipes posted tomorrow night. I have 2 dr apts tomorrow and who know’s  what they will say. I don’t have any cakes this week!! YES!! I was going to make the Birthday mission cake this week, but one other baker wanted to make it, so I am off the hook. I get to rest this week!! I have 6 sheet cakes  to get done for next week so not too much resting will be going on!!!

I am looking forward to going to TF for Thanksgiving, I don’t know where we will be eating at or with. It will be nice to get away from here and not have to cook for my family.

Well I better go for now.. I need to sleep..

Until next time everyone!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Breads, Salads, Side Dishes, Thanksgiving Menu


Asparagus with mint.

Hello everyone,

I have good news my Dr. app went well!!! I just have to watch my blood thinner level and my folic acid. It was great to hear good news instead of bad news!!! I still have the shingles and am taking some medicine for it, it still hurts like crazy!!!  I am still working on my Easter menu, made one more recipe tonight. I am going to make the rest tomorrow night. Please leave me comments if you make the menu! I love to get feedback from everyone!!! 🙂  

I am finishing up a cake for the VA tomorrow, all I have to do is wrap it up. I kept it simple, he likes angel food cake. I made the Betty Crocker Angel Food cake mix, and you know what??? I was so surprised on how good the flavor of this cake is. I had to level it out and I ate the crumbs!!! lol… I normally make angel food from my Betty Crocker cookbook, there is a great recipe in there for angel food cake. This is only the 2nd Angel food cake mix I have made, I am very pleased with the flavor.

I made an easy asparagus recipe tonight, I saw some really nice looking asparagus at Fred Meyer today and had to get some!! I love asparagus!!!

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cleaned

4 green onions chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tblsp. fresh mint, chopped 

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tblsp. unsalted butter

2 tblsp. olive oil

2 tblsp. fresh bread crumbs

In a large non-stick pan, over medium-high heat melt the butter and heat the oil. Add asparagus, and onion and saute until just tender-crisp. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the mint parsley and bread crumbs and heat through. Serve right away.

Note: I used leftover garlic bread sticks, and ran them through my food processor.

Enjoy everyone!!!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on March 26, 2010 in Side Dishes