The Kitchen is My Playground: Sides

Showing posts with label Sides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sides. Show all posts

Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens

October 9, 2019
Love collard greens?  Love cabbage?  The two are even better together than they are on their own! -- Especially if you like a milder-flavored version of collards.  Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens are seasoned with bacon, slow-simmered until super tender, and packed full with fabulous flavor.  They're a perfect comfort food side for Thanksgiving dinner, New Year's Day, or any time that Southern collards craving hits.

Bowl of Southern Collards & Cabbage Mixed Greens Image
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Creamy Baked Noodles

August 19, 2019
Creamy Baked Noodles are such a simple side dish, I hesitate to even call them a "recipe."  But while Creamy Baked Noodles may be simple, they're simply one of our favorites.  And who knows? ~ they may just become one of your favorites, too.
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Creamy Baked Noodles in Baking Dish Image
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Ma's Mashed Summer Squash Casserole

August 12, 2019
Ma's Mashed Summer Squash Casserole is one of those old-timey recipes that's simple, basic, and oh-soo good.  Easy to make from everyday ingredients, it's a wonderful way to enjoy that summer abundance of summer squash.
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Serving Spoon of Ma's Mashed Summer Squash Casserole Image
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Cheesy Fiesta Corn Casserole

April 29, 2019
Add some spice to dinner with Cheesy Fiesta Corn Casserole!  Ready for the oven in just 10 minutes, this easy creamy corn goodness adds just the right kick to any meal.  And it truly couldn't be any easier to prepare.
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Serving Spoon of Cheesy Fiesta Corn Casserole Image

Classic Green Bean Casserole

March 26, 2019
Whether you make a big pan of classic Green Bean Casserole for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, a potluck, or just everyday dinner, this creamy favorite is sure to please.  With its layer of tender, creamy green beans topped with that ever-present layer of crispy fried onions, folks just won't be able to wait to dig in!

Classic Green Bean Casserole Image
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Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

November 2, 2018
Mom's cooking is the best!  Especially when it's her family-favorite Baked Macaroni and Cheese, loaded with melty Vermont white cheddar.  Around our parts, it's just not a holiday meal without it.
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Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese Image
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How to Cook Collard Greens: Step-by-Step

October 22, 2018
Want silky, tender, flavorful collards?  Follow these steps on how to cook collard greens to cook up a pot in true Southern style.  Then keep the recipe handy all year long, because these silky greens are just too good to serve only on Thanksgiving and New Year's Day!
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Collard Greens with Chopped Ham Hocks Image
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How to Freeze Zucchini

August 20, 2018
Enjoy summer's zucchini bounty all year long!  Just follow these simple steps on how to freeze zucchini, and you'll be enjoying it long after summer has come and gone. 
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How to Freeze Zucchini Image

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Stewed Zucchini & Summer Squash

August 7, 2018
Stewed Zucchini & Summer Squash is a super easy, tasty, and freezer-friendly way to prepare summer's squash bounty.  Gobble up some now, and freeze some to enjoy all year round!

Stewed Zucchini & Summer Squash Image
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Corn Fritter Casserole

March 26, 2018
Whether this Corn Fritter Casserole actually qualifies as a "fritter" is open for debate.  But one thing's for sure ... its baked cornbread-like batter surrounding the tasty, creamy corn tucked inside makes for one delicious comfort food casserole, indeed.  It's perfect alongside ham for Easter or Christmas, great with turkey for Thanksgiving, or a tasty side for everyday dinner.

Corn Fritter Casserole Image ~ its baked cornbread-like batter surrounding the tasty, creamy corn tucked inside makes for one delicious comfort food casserole, indeed.


Comfort food vegetable casseroles are right up my alley.  There's just something about the creaminess of vegetables slathered in sauce or cheese, or baked up in a tasty custard-type batter, I love.

Some of my favorites?  The classic Creamy Broccoli Casserole my Mom always makes for Thanksgiving dinner.  Or the custardy  Corn Pudding we discovered while on a trip to Chesapeake Bay's Tangier Island.  And when I'm trying to eat lower-carb?  I adore digging in to a pan full of Cauliflower {Just Like} Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

When it comes to comfort food vegetable casseroles, this creamy Corn Fritter Casserole sure fits the bill.   

Yes, I know there are much much healthier ways to enjoy my vegetables.  And most of the time, I do indeed eat my veggies in their more pure, simpler, healthier form.  But when they're around, a good vegetable casserole is something I just can't resist.

And when it comes to comfort food vegetable casseroles, this creamy Corn Fritter Casserole sure fits the bill.
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Broccoli-Rice Casserole

March 12, 2018
Cheesy Broccoli-Rice Casserole is a perfectly tasty side dish for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or everyday dinner.  It's classic creamy, cheesy comfort food at its best.
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Broccoli-Rice Casserole Image


I'm a true lover of those little local cookbooks put together by church and local charity groups.  I just can't get enough of them, and seem to constantly be buying more ... despite the fact there's no way on this Earth I need yet another cookbook.  However, I just can't seem to help myself.

Some of my favorites?

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Boiled Onions

November 10, 2017
Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth, Boiled Onions is a simple classic New England dish that serves up big flavor.

Boiled Onions image ~ Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth, Boiled Onions is a simple classic New England dish that serves up big flavor.


Everyone has those classic Thanksgiving dishes that grace their tables every year, right?  You know, the ones that are just such a tradition that the table just doesn't look right without them?

Well, for my Mom growing up, the New England classic Boiled Onions were that dish.  Whole onions simmered until fork-tender, surrounded in a simple milk-and-butter broth ... they were a dish my grandmother made every Thanksgiving without fail.

It's a tradition my Mom continued for our own Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid.  And I absolutely loved them.  It's amazing that such simple ingredients ... just onions, milk, butter, salt, and pepper ... can come together to create such deliciousness.  But they truly do.

My favorite part?

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Parmesan Broiled Tomatoes

July 23, 2017
Parmesan Broiled Tomatoes ~ This super quick and easy way to enjoy fresh tomatoes goes from prep to table in just minutes!

Parmesan Broiled Tomatoes ~ This super quick & easy way to enjoy fresh tomatoes goes from prep to table in just minutes.


Have you got oodles of tomatoes coming out of the garden?  I just adore fresh-off-the-vine homegrown tomatoes ... especially their smell.  Yes, I'm totally enamored with the smell of a freshly-picked tomato.

And I'm totally enamored with the flavor, too.

One of our favorite super easy ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes from the garden is as this simple side dish of Parmesan Broiled Tomatoes.
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Creamy Broccoli Casserole

November 7, 2016
Creamy Broccoli Casserole is a family-favorite, indeed.  With its cheesy broccoli goodness and buttered cracker crumb topping, what's not to love?  It's a perfect side for the holidays or any day!
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Creamy Broccoli Casserole Image ~ This is a family-favorite, indeed.  With its cheesy broccoli goodness and buttered cracker crumb topping, what's not to love?  It's a perfect side for the holidays or any day!  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


Well, it's happened.  After 40+ years of my Mom cooking our family's Thanksgiving dinner, this year the torch is passing to me.  Now even though I love to cook and cook all the time, the task of taking on my first Thanksgiving dinner still makes me a tad bit nervous.  

I mean, I've been responsible for several Thanksgiving meal side dishes before ... but never the entire dinner.

Do you want to know what dish is making me the most nervous?
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Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin

November 4, 2016
Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin ~ Tender pearl onions are baked in creamy cheesy sauce, delicately seasoned with a fresh thyme crumb topping.  They're a perfect Thanksgiving or holiday side!
Thank you to the Partnership for Food Safety Education for sponsoring this post.
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Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin ~ Tender pearl onions baked in creamy cheesy sauce, delicately seasoned with fresh thyme crumb topping. They're a perfect Thanksgiving or holiday side.  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


I just love to hear what foods are Thanksgiving traditions for different families.  For our family, some form of an onion dish has always graced our Thanksgiving table.  And I must say, aside from stuffing (that's my absolute favorite), the onion dish is the one I look forward to most.

For the last six years or so, this Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin has become our traditional go-to Thanksgiving onion dish.  And man, is it delicious!!  I'm so glad we decided to give this recipe a chance on the Thanksgiving menu those several years ago.  It's become our favorite ever since its debut.

While I love to debut new foods in our holiday meals, do you know what I don't  want to debut at our house for Thanksgiving?  Bacteria in our food that could lead to foodborne illness, that's what!

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Seasoned Black Beans

September 26, 2016
For a quick side dish, whip up a pan of these Seasoned Black Beans ~ loaded with flavor, packing a good dose of heat, and on the table in under 15 minutes!
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Seasoned Black Beans ~ a quick side dish loaded with flavor & on the table in under 15 minutes!  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


I often get stuck in a rut with my side dishes.  It's easy to do.

When life is crazy with work, school, and activities ... and you find yourself running ragged most days of the week, ... it's easy to simply fall back on the same old sides day-in and day-out.  After all, falling back on the same stuff requires so much less thinking than coming up with a variety of different things, right?

Well in a moment of inspiration to try to break out of the side dish rut, I thumbed through my recipe box the other day.  And can you guess what I stumbled upon?  My recipe for these easy Seasoned Black Beans.  Which got to me to thinking ... I really need to make these more often!

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Spicy Baked Beans with Bacon

August 22, 2016
With a handful of pantry staples and a few slices of bacon, whip up a tasty pan of easy semi-homemade Spicy Baked Beans with Bacon.  They're the perfect cookout side.
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Spicy Baked Beans with Bacon ~ Easily whip up a tasty pan of these semi-homemade baked beans!  They're the perfect cookout side dish.  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


Alas, we are nearing the end of summer.  And I can hardly believe it.  It's that time of year when school is about to start up and the less-structured, stay-up-later days of summer are about to be figments of the past.  But as our warmer days wind down, there's still time to get in a cookout or two more before we pack away the grills and pool toys for cooler weather.

And what makes a better cookout side dish than baked beans?  Nothing!  Especially when they're easy, semi-homemade Spicy Baked Beans with Bacon.

This particular baked beans recipe is a cookout staple in our family.  As a matter of fact, ...
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Fresh Cucumber Pickles {a.k.a. Refrigerator Pickles}

July 22, 2016
Enjoy summer's bounty of fresh garden cucumbers with these easy, no cook Fresh Cucumber Pickles ... made in the refrigerator with just cucumbers, vinegar, a handful of spices, and a couple of days chilling time.
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Fresh Cucumber Pickles Image

Fresh garden produce time is in full swing here in the Carolinas.  And I'm lovin' the bounty I'm scoring from friends' and family member's gardens!

The other day I came home from my parents' house with about 2 pounds of freshly-picked green beans, some summer squash, all kinds of fresh herbs, and ... one of my absolute favorites ... freshly picked garden cucumbers.  I was in fresh produce heaven.

These pickles are made super easily in the refrigerator.  With just cucumbers, a bit of apple cider vinegar, some spices, and a couple of days of chillin' time.

So I whipped out one of our family-favorite ways to enjoy fresh garden cucumbers ...
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2-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

February 5, 2016
2-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe ~ This classic side dish is made extra creamy & delicious with 2 cheeses and an easy-to-make white sauce.  Pure comfort food at it's best!

2-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese ~ This classic side dish is made extra creamy & delicious with 2 cheeses and an easy-to-make white sauce.  Pure comfort food at it's best!   www.thekitchenismyplayground.com


You know those comfort foods you remember so fondly from your childhood?  Those you just totally loved and got so excited when your Mom made them?  This 2-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe is one of those dishes for me.

Well, actually this 2-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese isn't exactly  what Mom used to make ...
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Southern Collard Greens Recipe

December 27, 2015
Want to bring good luck for the new year?  Cook up a pot of New Year's Day good-luck collards with this Southern Collard Greens recipe ~ And usher in the new year in true Southern style.
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Southern Collard Greens Image


If you want good luck in the new year, Southern tradition says to eat your collard greens!  Along with black-eyed peas and some form of pork, that is.

According to Southern lore, a New Year's meal of these three things brings luck and good fortune for the upcoming year.

And this New Year's Day tradition is certainly one we honor and follow in our home.

But have you ever wondered why  these three foods are said to bring good fortune?


According to Southern lore, a New Year's meal of collards, black-eyed peas, & pork brings luck and good fortune for the upcoming year.

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