Archive for the ‘side dish’ Category

In my post for Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce, you may have noticed that I served it with a side of fried shredded potatoes. I guess a neater version of these would be called a “shredded potato pancake”, but I move them around in the pan so much  that they don’t come out like a pancake in the end.

I don’t really have a specific recipe for these – I just put it together as I go along. The general idea is:

1. Shred potatoes (however many you want!) in a food processor:

2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat:

3. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper:

4. Every so often, flip/rotate the potatoes until evenly browned.

5. Serve. Here they are with my chicken schnitzel:

That’s it! Very very simple. This is one of the sides I make for Stan when we’re out of pasta, or when I’ve made him too many mashed potatoes!

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I found a zucchini recipe that Stas likes!

It wasn’t a huge surprise, though – this dish contains dill and sour cream (the 2 components of what I call ‘Russian crack’). If I haven’t mentioned this before in my blog, I have a theory that no Russian can resist dill or sour cream. This irresistableness (is that a word?) increases tenfold when the two are combined.

Anyway, on to the recipe…

Dilled Zucchini

equivalent of 6 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream (I used a combo of 1/4 cup fat free and 1/4 cup regular)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, garlic, and onion and cook for 8-10 minutes (or until zucchini is light brown), stirring occasionally.


zucchini and onions, before going into the pan

zucchini and onions: before

zucchini and onions: before

zucchini and onions: after

zucchini and onions: after

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper; remove from heat.

3. Mix the sour cream and dill; stir into the zucchini mixture.

sour cream and dill mixture

sour cream and dill mixture


the finished side dish

4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

serves 6

(Weight Watchers points will depend on the type and amount of sour cream you use – adjust accordingly)

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As soon as I laid eyes on that massive zucchini, I started Gooling zucchini recipes. This was one of the first ones I found, and I knew right away that I’d love it. This is a great healthy alternative to mozarella sticks. I didn’t have any marinara sauce on hand to dip them in, but I plan on buying some and making these again!

I loved these – but Stas hated them… I ended up eating all of mine, PLUS his.

But in all fairness, he doesn’t care much for zucchini to begin with.

Baked Zucchini Sticks

  • equivalent of 3 medium zucchini, sliced into 3″ x 1/2″ sticks
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
  • cooking spray (or parchment paper)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • fresh pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag, place breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and cheese; shake well. Cove cookie sheet with parchment paper (or spray cookie sheet with cooking spray) and set aside.


zucchini slices


breadcrumbs and egg white

3. Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer on parchment paper (optional: spray cooking spray on top).

zucchini sticks pre-baking

zucchini sticks pre-baking

4. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.


baked zucchini sticks, plated

Serves 3

Here is the breakdown of Weight Watchers points:
zucchini = 0
1 egg white = 0
1/3 cup bread crumbs = 2
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese = 2

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One of my Christmas gifts was a set of pasta plates for my KitchenAid stand mixer. I’ve read mixed reviews about the pasta plates, and I’m unsure how I feel about them. When the pasta comes out, it immediately sticks together, and it’s hard and time-consuming to peel each noodle apart one by one. It took me a long time to process half of the dough from the recipe; the other half is sitting in my fridge – I’m unsure whether or not I’ll be using it.

Another downside to the plates is that they’re hard to clean (poor Stas!).

But the upside is that it was very cool to have made my own pasta… it’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.

And it was very tasty!

Basic Pasta Dough
serves 4-8

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)

Make a mound with the flour and use your fingers to create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well, and add the salt and olive oil. Using a fork, carefully whisk the eggs, slowly drawing in some of the surrounding flour. Once the eggs are whisked, use the fingertips of one hand to swirl the egg in a circular motion, continuing to draw in flour until it is fully combined. If the dough is too stiff or crumbly, add a small amount of water; if it is too wet, add a small amount of flour. Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, divide into 4 pieces, and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes.


(Now the dough is ready for your pasta press)

To cook the pasta, add it to salted boiling water and boil for3-5 minutes.




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Yesterday I made a big pot of borscht. I don’t like borscht (I hate beets) but Stas (of course) LOVES it, so he was a very happy man.

Whenever I make borscht, I end up with leftover beets and carrots. They usually just sit in my fridge for awhile, and eventually go bad. In addition to beets, I hate carrots… so I’m never motivated to actually use them – and I don’t know many recipes that call for them (besides borscht).

Until tonight…

I recently subscribed to Eating Well Magazine, through my Delta frequent flier miles. I’m not sure if I actually like the magazine yet, but I did get one good recipe out of this issue. And now I know exactly what to do with leftover beets or carrots!

Shredded Beet and Carrot Pancakes
from Eating Well, November/December 2008

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 tablespoon fresh dill (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups peeled and shredded beets and/or carrots
oil, for frying (I used sunflower oil)
sour cream, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine egg, flour, scallions, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in vegetables.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 pancakes per batch: place about 1/4 cup beet/carrot mixture into pan and flatten with a spatula (flatten so that they are 2 or 3 inch pancakes). Cook until crispy and golden, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Finish the remaining pancakes. When finish pan-frying, transfer them to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and dill.

Serves 6 (2 pancakes per person)

imgp3675 imgp3671

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11-05-08 peppers

I went to BJ’s today to stock up on things like laundry detergent, fabric softener and plastic wrap, and I just couldn’t resist these mini sweet bell peppers! Id never seen them before – and I’m a sucker for cute things.

11-05-08 peppers (3)

They were so tiny that the seeds were hard to clean out… After attempting to clean a few, I gave up and decided to leave them as-is.

11-05-08 peppers (2)

We (finally) finished off the beef stew leftovers as our main dish. Instead of eating the peppers raw like I usually do, I decided to roast them. I forgot how wonderful it is to roast veggies in the fall and winter months – the heat isn’t unbearable, and it leaves such a nice scent lingering in the house.

11-05-08 peppers (4)

I roasted them for about 30 minutes (15 minutes each side) at 400 degrees F. I didn’t bother to spray them with olive oil, and I had no problem with them sticking.

… and I always roast things on aluminum foil – it helps with the cleanup. One less thing for Stas to wash 🙂

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Tonight’s main dish was leftover beef stew from Saturday’s big batch. Stas had been asking for it for awile, and I had been promising it for awhile.

I normally use McCormick’s Beef Stew packets and just add my own vegetables and pre-cut “beef stew cuts”. But this time, I wanted to challenge myself. (Plus, Market Basket didn’t have any of the beef stew packages!)

I used a recipe for “Hearty Beef Stew” from Cook’s Illustrated. Now I’ve never liked beef stew – whenever my mom made it growing up, she’d always cook a separate meal for me. But I tried some of Stas’ on Sunday and LOVED it – so I was actually really excited to have some tonight:

But that’s not what this post is about. (I’ll blog about the stew and how to make it the next time I make it.)

This post is about the side dish. I’m a big fan of vegetables, so I wanted something extra to eat with my beef stew. I normally just heat up some frozen broccoli in the microwave, but I wanted a change.

I normally make a variation of this salad for Stas, using full-fat sour cream and I add in tomatoes or radishes. Stas looooooves this salad. Why? Because it combines the 2 types of “Russian crack”: dill and sour cream!

Sour cream is something else that I didn’t think I liked until this past weekend. I used to love it on my baked potatoes as a kid, but over the years I’ve acquired an aversion to most full-fat dairy. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a tub of the fat-free variety to use in a recipe (which I never did). Not wanting it to go to waste, I opened it last night and mixed some in with my sauteed mushrooms… and it was yummy!

So tonight, I wanted to enjoy more of it! Hence, my salad…

Step 1: Gather all ingredients:

  • seedless cucumbers (I like the mini seedless cukes, but European cukes work just as well)
  • dill
  • salt
  • sour cream (fat-free or regular)
  • optional: tomatoes or radishes

Step 2: Cut cucumbers into tiny quarter-sized slices:

Step 3: Sprinkle with salt and chopped dill (amounts will vary by taste):

Step 4: Add a dollop or two (or the whole tub if you’re Russian) of sour cream:

Step 5: Mix and enjoy!

It was a strange side to go with the beef stew, but oddly enough I was craving both of them, and they were extremely satisfying 🙂

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