Saturday, November 5, 2011

25 fast, easy sides for meals

Here are 25 ideas that I had for sides to your supper. These are mostly vegetable sides that take around 20 minutes to make. They also make use of your oven if it takes longer so that the stove is free.
  1. Heat up a skillet on medium heat. When warm, add some chopped bacon. Stir fry until it becomes brown and crisp, drain off a little fat if desired. Add chopped cleaned broccoli and stir fry until broccoli becomes bright green. Serve with rice. This can be done with green beans or Brussels sprouts as well.
  2. Chop 3 onions into thin slices and a box of cleaned mushrooms into quarters. Add to a warm skillet with a little oil and sauté down until reduced in size by half, about 15 to 20 min. Add as a side to steak and rice, or potatoes.
  3. Take four onions. Peel off the skin, cut off the hairy ends. Set all four onions (whole) in a purex baking dish. Brush with BBQ sauce then roast in an oven at 375 degrees for 45 min to one hour, or until soft. Serve with steak.
  4. Clean off three large potatoes (peel if desired). Cut into wedges, fries or hash browns. Toss in a bowl with a little oil and a variety of spices, from chili powder to thyme and basil. Add salt and pepper. Lay in one layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 min, shaking and stirring at least once, until golden brown.
  5. Take some leftover mashed potatoes. Add cooked bacon and chopped green onions, or other add-ins. Add enough flour and an egg to bind it together, then form into patties in your hands. Add to a hot skillet and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 4 mins. Serve.
  6. Sliver some nappa cabbage and add to a warm skillet with a little oil. Stir fry and add some hot sauce. This only takes five mins at the most, when the cabbage is limp, it’s done.
  7. Sliver some nappa cabbage, chop an onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Add the onion to a hot skillet with a little oil and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cabbage and saute until the cabbage is done.
  8. Heat up the oven to 375 degrees. Cut an acorn squash in half, clean out seeds. Season with salt and pepper and add spoonfuls of applesauce. Add a little grated cheese on top if desired. Roast covered with aluminum foil for 45 min to an hour, or until soft with pierced with a fork.
  9. Peel and chop some cucumber into rounds. Add to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons vinegar and a 1 tablespoon of white sugar, enough to create a watery sauce. Season with salt and pepper, let set for as long as possible.
  10. Cut a butternut squash in half. Peel with a vegetable peeler (it’s easier) and scoop out seeds. Add to a roasting dish. Toss with a little oil, salt and pepper then roast in the oven at 350 until fork tender, about 30-45 min. When done, toss with a chopped fresh herb before serving, like basil or coriander.
  11. Heat up one and a half cups of chicken stock in the microwave. Meanwhile, chop up some cleaned spinach and some sun-dried tomatoes. When stock is hot, add to a bowl and pour in one cup of couscous. Add the spinach and tomatoes, cover. Let set for about 5 to 8 min, fluff with a fork before serving.
  12. Chop up some peeled carrot and peeled turnip. Add to a pot and simmer with enough chicken stock to cover with a little extra. Add a clove of peeled garlic too. Once fork tender, purée in a blender and season if necessary.
  13. Clean four hot house tomatoes. Finely chop up some onions, bacon, mushrooms and green pepper and add to a skillet to reduce it down. In another bowl, mix some of your favorite shredded cheese with some bread crumbs of finely chopped nuts. While the onion mixture is reducing, cut the tops off of the tomatoes and remove the seeds and pulp so that you can stuff them. Once the onion mixture is ready, add the bread crumb mixture to it. Stuff the tomatoes with the onion-bread crumb mixture and top with the cheese. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-45 min or until the bread crumbs and cheese are golden brown.
  14. Open two cans of sliced beets and drain. Cube on a chopping board. On a separate board, crumble some feta or goat cheese. Heat up a skillet, add the chopped beets and sauté. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped basil. Add crumbled cheese and serve. 
  15. Cook some frozen peas in water until they are done, usually 5 min after the boiling point. Drain and toss with some sour cream and freshly chopped mint or coriander.
  16. Clean off four large portabello mushrooms with a paper towel and remove the stem. Meanwhile, chop up two Italian tomatoes, some pitted black olives, some fresh spinach and some feta cheese. Add all of these ingredients to a bowl and toss with fresh bread crumbs or finely chopped walnuts. Stuff mixture into mushroom cavity, bake in preheated 375 oven until the top is brown and the mushrooms have shrunken a little in size.
  17. Chop off the frizzy top (fronds) of a fennel and the stump off the bottom. Slice in half, then cut into ½ inch slices. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat up a skillet and spray with Pam or add butter to melt down. When hot, place in the slices of fennel in one layer and let sear down. This takes about 6 min per side and it’s done once the core of the fennel is softened.
  18. Chop of the hairy end and dark green parts of the leek. Clean, half and chop into small pieces. Clean and chop up some mushrooms and an onion. Sauté in a warm pan with a little oil, first the onion, the leek then the mushrooms until all is softened. Meanwhile, place dethawed pastry tartlets in a muffin tin. Place leek mixture into tartlets by the spoonful, not too full. Add a little cream to each tart and cover with a little grated cheese; bake in a preheated 375 oven until the cheese is gold and bubbly.
  19. Peel or clean an English cucumber. Slice into rounds, not too thick or thin. On the cutting board, season each side with salt and pepper. Arrange cucumber rounds onto a plate and eat as a veggie side.
  20. Preheat the oven to 375. Clean and chop the ends off of two small zucchinis. Slice in half. Salt and pepper the top. Crumb some feta or goat cheese and add on top of the zucchini halves, add a dash of hot sauce if you like. Place in a square baking dish and bake until soft and the cheese is a little golden, about 10-15 min. Serve on the side.
  21. Take a ripened avocado and slice in half, twist apart. With a quick thrust with a butchers knife, hit the pit, turn to the side and pull it out. Now, very quickly, use a spoon and go around the entire edge of the avocado to scoop it out in one piece. On a cutting board, chop it up into cubes and put into a dish. Quickly douse it with the juice from one lime. Add salt and pepper and some freshly chopped coriander, toss together for a side salad.
  22. Open a can of lentils, drain and wash well. Add to a bowl. Chop up some fresh coriander and  two chopped tomatoes, add to bowl with lentils. Sprinkle with a little thinly chopped onion and garlic, the juice from a lemon, pepper, and some Parmesan cheese. Toss together and put in the fridge for a couple of hours beforehand.
  23. Heat up two cups of vegetable or chicken stock in the microwave until boiling. Once done, add one cup of couscous, let set for five min. Meanwhile, chop up some dried apricots and fresh coriander. Have some chopped walnuts and raisins ready, along with a chopped fresh tomato and a little olive oil. Once the couscous is ready, add all of this and fluff. Add salt and pepper.
  24. Québécois mashed potatoes: Peel and chop up 2 or 3 large potatoes, 2 or 3 large carrots, 2 parsnips and half of a turnip. Add to a pot with enough chicken stock or vegetable stock to cover (Or, mix the stock with water so that you don’t use so much of it). Boil and cook until fork tender, like normal with potatoes, but make sure that it’s the turnip that’s cooked. Once done, drain off some of the stock, using some for natural liquid when mashing. Add salt and/or pepper if desired, perhaps a little sour cream if you want. Serve on the side. 
  25. Heat up a skillet over medium heat and chop up an onion, a box of mushrooms and some cleaned spinach. Saute onion and mushrooms with a pat of butter until the mushrooms have shrunken (6 minutes) then add the spinach. Add a little hot sauce if desired then serve.

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