When it comes to holiday dinners, the main course tends to take center stage. This season it’s usually glazed ham, pork roast or leg of lamb. But it’s time to put the spotlight on the supporting players – side dishes. They not only complete your feast, they make it more satisfying. Even if your kids, or in some cases your spouse, turn up their noses at anything that’s green, orange, or yellow and grown in a garden, we all know your meal would be pretty bland (and not nearly as nutritious) without these colorful edibles.
It’s customary in our family to have two kinds of vegetables, along with a salad and potatoes with the glazed ham for Easter dinner. When considering the menu for the upcoming holiday, I got to thinking about different side dishes we could add to mix things up this year. After searching for recipes, I found a few that I’m anxious to try (hopefully they’ll impress the relatives!).
Good tasting, Good-For-You Veggies
I adore asparagus (it’s my vegetable du jour for spring and summer) and I’m always looking for new ways to serve these delightful green spears. I came across this easy, but enticing recipe in the April edition of Food Network Magazine.
Dill Mushrooms and Asparagus
- 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- Olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. chopped dill
- 3/4 tsp. lemon zest
Directions: brown sliced mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add asparagus and water; season with salt & pepper. Cook and stir, until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Toss with chopped dill and lemon zest.
If you don’t care for mushrooms, you’ll find dozens of other asparagus recipes at tasteofhome.com.
Here’s a simple recipe for Glazed Carrots that has just the right amount of sweetness to appeal to kids… anything to get them to eat their vegetables, right?
Glazed Baby Carrots
- 1 lb. fresh, frozen or canned whole baby carrots (fresh is best)
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
Directions: Cook carrots in a small amount of water until tender. Drain. In a saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar; heat until sugar dissolves. Add carrots and toss to coat. Heat through. Yield: 4 servings – double or triple ingredient amounts for a bigger crowd.
Recipe from tasteofhome.com.
Tired of the same old tossed salad? Add more flavor and texture to your greens with mandarin oranges, pecans and a tangy dressing!
Mandarin Orange and Pecan Salad
- 2 heads romaine lettuce (washed and torn into bite size pieces)
- 1 cup pecan halves or slivered almonds (toasted)
- 1 (8 oz.) can mandarin oranges
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 tbsp. water
Directions: Place lettuce, pecans (or almonds) and oranges in salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed. Make ahead and refrigerate until ready to toss with salad. Recipe courtesy of food.com.
Potato Latkes are a traditional dish served on Passover and Hanukkah – they refer to them as potato pancakes, but really they’re more like hash browns. Anyway, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them. I found this recipe for classic Potato Latkes on realsimple.com.
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 2 lbs. (5 medium) peeled medium-starch potatoes, such as Yukon gold
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Applesauce and sour cream, for serving
- Heat oven to 450° F. Brush 2 baking sheets with 1 tablespoon of the oil and set aside.
- Using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade, coarsely grate the potatoes. Place the grated potatoes in a large bowl with the onion, flour, salt, pepper, eggs, and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Toss to mix well.
- Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets and press lightly to make patties. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the latkes with a metal spatula and rotate the baking sheets. Bake another 5 minutes or until golden.
- Transfer to a platter and serve with the applesauce and sour cream.
Even though I plan to modify our Easter menu with a few of these scrumptious side dishes, I still have to include a family favorite – Cheesy Potatoes. My aunt gave me this recipe several years ago and it’s been a hit ever since.
- 1 2-lb. package frozen hash browns (thawed)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 16-oz. carton sour cream
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 large package shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1-1/2 cups crushed corn flakes
Directions: combine first 6 ingredients except for 1/4 stick butter. Spread in a large casserole dish. Coat corn flakes in remaining melted butter and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350º for 1 hour.
Have a Happy Easter, Passover or whatever you’re celebrating this spring!
Smart Perks Blogger Catherine B. tricks the kids and sometimes even her husband into eating vegetables by disguising them under mounds of melted cheese.