Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Super Sides

It is no secret that I love to cook. I really enjoy putting a menu together and seeing all the flavors and textures come together on the plate. Sometimes I have time to create something spectacular, even if I do say so myself but some nights I have little creative energy to give, and all I want is a way to make chicken and vegetables a bit more exciting!

I coated the chicken breast halves in a little olive oil and garlic and then dipped them in (gluten free) breadcrumbs mixed with a little grated Parmesan cheese, ground pepper and dried basil. Then I just put them in a dish and baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. I have certainly used plain grilled, or baked chicken on my low creativity nights but in this particular case I had seen this easy baked chicken recipe and happened to have all the ingredients so I whipped it up.

On a chicken and veg night, I have a fall back to sides of mashed potatoes and something green, usually broccoli or green beans but I get bored easily and have been searching for alternatives. The contents of our produce box gave me a push to use it's contents (something different) as my sides this time. First up were the collard greens. Now, I have tried to cook these before but never did a good job, they were always tough and chewy. I searched online and found a great recipe on which had good reviews and looked like it was worth a shot.

You can find that recipe here I only used 4 slices of bacon and that worked great with the bunch of collard greens we had (probably less than the 1lb on the recipe). I followed the rest of the recipe to the word, and it was yummy. The red pepper flakes gave it a lovely spicy kick and the bacon and onion really complimented the greens.

The other side I have been wanting to try for a while was mashed cauliflower. We had eaten it at a friends house for dinner and it was so good and such an easy, nutritious alternative to potatoes.

This was so simple, and so good. J told me at the table how much he liked the "cauliflower mixed with the potatoes" and I had to tell him that actually it was just cauliflower. A pretty big deal considering he is not the biggest cauliflower fan to begin with, so the fact he enjoyed it so much was great.

This is what I did for my Garlic mashed cauliflower.

I head of organic cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/4 C grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Boil a large pot of water on the stove. When it's at a rolling boil, add the cauliflower and cook for 6 minutes or until tender. Drain well, but don't let the cauliflower get cold. Place cauliflower on a paper towel and place another one over the top, and pat dry.

Put the cauliflower in a bowl with the cream cheese, Parmesan, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend it all together and serve immediately.

I like this recipe because I got the other ingredients in a bowl, and put a pot on to boil and then cooked it and whipped it last minute to serve.

What are the sides you enjoy most?

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