Category Archives: Sides

Paula Deen’s Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This was so, so very good.  Yum. We left off the bacon and the grocery store didn’t have chives, but I’d put them on next time. It’s rich and light and delicious.

8 medium baking potatoes, about 4 pounds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 pint sour cream
2 cups ( ½ pound) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped chives, for garnish
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Pierce potatoes and place on baking pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until very soft. (to speed up the process, we just peeled and boiled them like if we were making regular mashed potatoes)

Peel and mash potatoes in large bowl with potato masher or back of fork. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream and 1 cup of cheddar. Stir well. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and stir again.

Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place potato mixture in dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate casserole until ready to bake.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F, remove plastic wrap and bake casserole 30 to 35 minutes until hot. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheddar over casserole and return to oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped chives and crumbled bacon before serving.


Ina Garten’s Roasted Broccoli

I had high hopes for this. HIGH. Because I needed a solution for my picky 7 year old that will only eat broccoli if it’s covered in fake orange cheese, or when he’s threatened.  This stuff? He said “holy cow! I like this broccoli!” WIN.

Her recipe would make an enormous ton.  I used what I had (3 heads, stems? stalks? whatever), and cut them into florets. I forgot to use the garlic in the recipe, which is a bummer because I LOVE garlic, but it was still great. I ran out of olive oil so used maybe half of what she suggested, and it was just fine.  Also used lemon juice out of a bottle, so no lemon zest.

  • 4 to 5 pounds broccoli
  • garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees .

Cut the broccoli florets from the stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Put the florets on a baking sheet that lets the broccoli be on a single layer and sprinkle and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove from the oven and immediately toss with lemon juice (and lemon zest and more olive oil, if you’re doing that) , pine nuts,  Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

This recipe is what we renamed Our Best Bite’s Easy Potato and Bacon Breakfast Casserole.  We made it for Mother’s Day breakfast but all agreed it is not a breakfast casserole – it’s more like a funeral potato type recipe, and would be a different, easy alternative for twice baked potatoes or loaded baked potatoes.  In other words, it was good, and we’ll totally make it again – but as a dinner side dish, not as a breakfast.  If you (at least) doubled the number of eggs, then it would be more main-dish-breakfast-y.

photo from

4 c. Southern/country-style hash browns (cubes), completely thawed (if they’re not thawed, they won’t cook correctly)

1 12-oz. package bacon
1 1/2 c. pepper jack cheese
1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 eggs
1 c. milk*
about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
about 10 turns freshly ground black pepper

*For high altitudes, reduce milk to 2/3 cup and sauté the potatoes in rendered bacon grease until partially cooked before baking.

Begin cooking bacon.  While the bacon is cooking, place the potatoes in a 9×13″ baking dish. Mix the cheeses together and sprinkle it over the potatoes. When the bacon is done cooking, drain it on a paper towel and reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Cook the onions in the drippings for 2-3 minutes or until they’re tender and fragrant. Spread the onions over the cheese mixture and then sprinkle everything with the crumbled bacon.  Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper and, whisking constantly, pour the egg mixture evenly over the potato mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 7-8 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.  Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly but not brown. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Serve with fresh fruit.

Paula Deen’s Red Potato Salad Recipe

Super Yum and fun for different.

  • 12 cups cubed red potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, bell pepper and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

green cilantro rice

I looked up a few recipes and took the ingredients from 3 to get what we had last night.  By the time I was done blending everything to stir into the rice, I tasted it and was a bit worried; but once it was stirred into the rice it was really good.  This isn’t an exact recipe, and you really can’t ruin it.  It was SO good.  My 2 year old, who eats dinner about once a week, devoured hers, and everyone went back for seconds.

I cooked just over 1 cup of dry rice in chicken broth with a bit of salt and about half of a (small) finely chopped onion thrown into the dry rice and broth mix.

While that was doing its thing I blended over a cup of cilantro, about 2 t of minced garlic, 2 green onions (green and white) chopped, a bit of lemon juice (2 teaspoons-ish), and some olive oil – maybe 2 T.  I had to add a small bit of water just to make everything blend together really well.

When the rice is done, stir the green mixture into the rice and serve hot.  Delish.

Next time I think I’ll add a seeded, chopped jalapeno to the green mixture.

Tabasco and Asparagus Quinoa

It was our first time with quinoa.  It was fine, but I don’t understand all the hype around it.  We really liked this dish, adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
25 drops Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments

4 cups cooked quinoa

Start by making the Tabasco butter. In a food processor, or with a hand blender, whip the butter until it is light and airy. Add the mustard, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice and salt. You can make it stronger if you like, adding more hot sauce to taste.

We steamed our asparagus after it was cut in chunks. Drain. If you are serving this immediately you can leave the asparagus hot, but if you are going to wait to serve this, or think you’ll have leftovers I recommend you stop the cooking with cold water or a dunk in an ice bath, then drain well before using.

Take the hot cooked quinoa and toss with 3 tablespoons of the tabasco butter. You’ll have leftover butter – you can serve that on the side or use it for other purposes. Stir in the asparagus. I added a bit more tabasco and shake of salt to mine.

Serves 4 – 6 as a main dish.



Marie’s Sweet Potatoes

These aren’t good, they are great.

1 can yams (40 0z) or 3-4 cooked yams
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Optional – brown sugar if you cook your own yams (I cooked my own and added about 1/2 cup brown sugar – just taste as you go)
3 c. mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat potatoes with butter, optional sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until well blended.  Place in lightly greased 1 1/2 qt (or 9×9) baking dish.  Top with marshmallows.  Bake 15-20 min until heated through and marshmallows are toasted.