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Side Dishes

Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Maple Syrup

May 11, 2016

My brother-in-law makes the best bacon with sugar and garlic, and it inspired me to try brussel sprouts with bacon and maple syrup.  It turned out pretty darn good if I don’t say so myself.  My husband loved it as well.  This is a very easy recipe and can go with just about anything.



  • 1 pound of brussel sprouts cut in half
  • 1 package of bacon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)


  1. Cook the bacon either in the oven or stove top and make on the crispy side.
  2. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to soak up the grease and let it cool down.
  3. Crumble bacon and set aside.
  4. Saute the brussel sprouts in the olive oil over medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the bacon, pine nuts and maple syrup and simmer at a lower heat for about 5 to 10 minutes and serve!
Appetizers, Lunch, Pasta, Side Dishes

Thai Noodle Salad

May 6, 2016

I recently had a broker open at one of my listings, and I decided to make my famous Thai Noodle salad that I have perfected over the years.  I served it in Chinese Food Boxes that I got at Michaels and put my logo on it.  This could be a great appetizer though for any party.



  • 1 package of spaghetti noodles (this time I tried the short spaghetti noodles because I thought they would be easier to eat as an appetizer)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 package julienned carrots
  • 1/3 to 1/2 package of sliced red cabbage
  • fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup of peanuts
  • 1 to 2 red bell peppers cut into thin julienned slices
  • 3 to 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce or sriracha sauce (more if you like really spicy)
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Amino Acid or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey


  1. To make the sauce, whisk the peanut butter, chili/sriracha sauce, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and sesame seed oil.  Set aside.
  2. Cook the spaghetti noodle per package instructions; drain and then place in a large bowl.
  3. While the pasta is still warm add the sauce along with all the other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Garnish with Cilantro and/or more peanuts.

This can be made a day before.  The noodles end up soaking up the liquid, so you can make more sauce or what I have done when I am in a hurry is just put some rice vinegar in it and mix right before you are ready to serve.

Salads, Side Dishes

Mixed Green Salad with Strawberries, Blueberries and Pecans

April 5, 2016

This is one of my favorite salads for spring and summer!  Any type of berries would be great in this salad.  I used poppy seed dressing, but I have also made a strawberry balsamic dressing with this that is very good as well.

I made this salad at Easter and served it with French onion soup and sliders.  We didn’t have many bowls in the condo we were staying at, so the salad doesn’t look at pretty as it normally would in a beautiful dish.



  • 2 packages of mixed greens
  • 1 package of strawberries, sliced
  • 1 package blueberries
  • 1 small package of feta cheese (or blue cheese would be great with this too)
  • 2 to 3 cups candied pecans (see how to make candied pecans below)
  • 1/2 purple onion, chopped
  • 1 bottle of poppy seed dressing or other balsamic type of dressing (I make this sometimes with strawberry syrup, EVOO and balsamic)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions for Pecans:

  1. To make the candied pecans, set a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar.  Once it has melted, toss in the pecans and continue to toss to coat and cook evenly, about 1 minute. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with waxed paper.  Make sure you separate with a fork so that they don’t stick together before they cool.  Set aside and prepare the salad.
Comfort Food, Side Dishes

Scalloped Potatoes

February 20, 2016

Last weekend we had a couples Valentines Day dinner, and I cooked a fillet roast with my favorite scalloped potatoes recipe.  Although the fillet roast and scalloped potatoes where fabulous together, scalloped potatoes would be good with anything.  Who doesn’t like potatoes and cheese?  In my normal recipe I usually use 1/2 sweet potatoes and 1/2 Yukon Gold potatoes, but a few people I was cooking for did not like sweet potatoes.



  • 2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes (approximately 20 potatoes) or 10 russet potatoes (you can also mix it up and use some sweet potatoes as well)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 to 5 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 2 to 3 cups Fontina cheese, grated (or some other favorite cheese)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh thyme removed from stem (I used almost the entire package)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves


  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and salt.
  2. Peel one potato at a time and use a mandolin slicer to cut very thin potato slices.  Place them in the bowl of water and repeat until you have peeled and sliced all the potatoes.  If you do not have a mandolin slicer, try to cut as thin as you can using a knife.  Mandolin slicers are easier to find these days, and you can find them fairly inexpensively.
  3. Keep potatoes in water until you are ready to put them in a large Pyrex baking dish to put in oven.
  4. In a medium sauce pan add butter and garlic and cook at very low heat until melted.  Then add spices, heavy whipping cream and milk.  Keep at low heat and stir occasionally.  You do not want to curdle the milk.
  5. Add 1/2 to 3/4 of the Gruyere cheese to the milk mixture.  Stir for a few minutes and remove pan from heat.
  6. Pour the water out of the bowl with the potatoes and then start placing the potatoes in a large Pyrex pan.
  7. Pour the milk mixture over the potatoes and then add the remainder of the cheese on top.  Note:  Depending on how large your pan is, you might have excess liquid.  Be careful not to overfill the Pyrex dish.
  8. Place in over at 400 for approximately 30 minutes covered with foil and then another 20-25 minutes uncovered to brown the top a bit.  You might want to place something underneath the baking dish in case liquid comes overflows.
  9. Let stand for at least 10 minutes and serve.

NOTE:  This makes a lot of potatoes, so if you are cooking for just your family and not a party, cut the recipe in half with the exception of the bay leaves and cayenne pepper which is really more to taste anyway.