Category Archives: Sidedish

Polenta

I think I may have given the pink slip to some of my naughtier starchy side dishes. This is your basic polenta that you can either keep plain or build on. I love using this as a side dish now. You can do so much with it, it is delicious, and filling! I never knew how easy and fast polenta was to make. You can even make it ahead of time. Which I did, because I wanted to make sure I had nice firm cakes for grilling or pan frying. I even had one of these as a snack with a bit of mint sauce on top. YUM! I love these little cakes and can’t wait to bring them out for grilling season.

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1.5 cup broth (any will do, I used chicken)
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp italian spice blend
  1. Combine the broth, water, and seasonings in a small pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the cornmeal. Stir constantly. The polenta will form up quite quickly. It is done when it is thick enough to pull away from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Pour into 6 jumbo muffin cups or 12 regular sized ones and smooth.
  5. Allow to cool. Refrigerate atleast 30 minutes or overnight. Reheat before serving by either pan frying until slightly golden or grilling.

Makes 6 servings. Each serving contains 77 calories, .9 gram of fat, 1.5 grams of fibre, 16 grams of carbs, and 1.9 grams of protein. My favourite part of these has to be when you panfry them just right, they get this crunchy crust and the inside is nice and creamy. Yum! A superb side dish.

Pistachio Avocado Pesto

I’m one of those people who has a sensitivity to pine nuts. It’s not so bad to have stuff that may have been in contact with them but if I eat them, well…it’s just not a happy time. So, for the longest time pesto was something I eyed with longing and dread. Then one day years ago I made my own, but with different nuts. There was dancing and rejoicing far across the shire. Pesto was once again a tasty thing to be had again. I have done it with walnuts, pecans, and almonds but so far my favourite has to be this newest version with pistachios. Pesto is chock full of nice and healthy ingredients but sadly so full of fats. It’s those fats though that are giving us those healthy benefits so they stay. This is one of those things to be enjoyed in moderation.

  • 30 basil leaves
  • 4 tbl pistachios
  • 4 tbl extra virgin avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbl parmesan cheese
  1. Pulse the pistachios to the desired texture in a blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a paste or sauce forms.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains 92 calories, 8.3 grams of fat and .9 grams of fibre. To help metabolize a lot of that fat you can add a clear dissolving fibre supplement to the mix without any loss of taste or texture. This pesto is great tossed with angel hair pasta but my favourite is serving it as a flatbread topped with a nice light goat cheese and prosciutto.

There are some really great high fibre flat breads out there or you can make this using some of the dough from the deep dish pizza crust recipe.

Hardcore Hobbit: Barley Stew

Alright, it’s a barley risotto. So creamy, so nummy, and so filling. According to the game barley stew is made with barley and coney stock. Well, to me when you get a grain like that and some stock together it just begs to be made into a risotto. Yes the barley tells me to do things. You can hear it too…I know you can…don’t deny it. Granted, my husband claims I have already made barley stew…that one time I was a bit overzealous adding the barley to the soup. It was tasty yes but this is more elegant and involves mushrooms. What self-respecting hobbit turns down another opportunity for mushrooms? Exactly.

  • 1 cup barley
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 3 cup coney stock (any stock of choice works here too, chicken especially)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 14 g parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbl dried parsley (more if using fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  1. Combine the stock and the wine in a pot and heat to near boiling. Lower the heat to low and allow to simmer. We want to keep that good and warm for when we make the risotto.
  2. Spray a pan and heat to medium. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until done. About 2-4 minutes depending on desired doneness. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the shallot and garlic to the pan. Cook until the shallots begin to turn golden.
  4. Add the barley to the pan and toast for a couple of minutes. Stirring constantly.
  5. Now is the time to have your adventure in babysitting. Add the stock mixture one or two ladles at a time. Allow the liquid to mostly absorb before adding another ladle.  This process takes around 20 minutes, so be patient and keep stirring.
  6. After the last ladle has been poured in and mostly absorbed, add the parsley, parmesan, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and serve immediately.

I like this topped with an additional tablespoon of parmesan but that is not included in the nutritional info. Serves four, each serving contains 252 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 8.5 grams of fibre. I know! Check out that fibre. That’s the reason why you feel so full after eating this side dish. You can serve this for two as a main dish. Prepare to be super full! I love risotto.

Hardcore Hobbit: Carrot Sticks

Really, how hard could duplicating carrot sticks be? Well, let’s see. According to the game you need carrots (uh huh), and butter (what?). To make them epic we need allspice. Carrot sticks with butter…hmmm…aha! How about carrots sticks that are tossed in a butter and allspice coating? A great way to liven up tired old carrot sticks and definitely helps anyone pump up their will (power). Get those veggies in!

  • 1 tsp light butter or cooking margarine
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 2 carrots
  1. Slice the side of the carrot to create a rectangle. I hate peeling carrots and I find this method makes a nice looking carrot stick. First you slice one side of the carrot:Then you place that cut side down on the board and cut the other sides in the same way making the carrot take on a rectangular shape:
  2. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise and then again for each half. Cut the resulting sticks in half vertically and tada! Pretty carrot sticks:
  3. Mix the butter and allspice until smooth.
  4. Heat a pan to medium. Drop the butter blend into the pan, swirl for a few seconds then add the carrots sticks. Remove from heat. Swirl the mixture a bit longer to coat the carrots and serve!

Who knew carrot sticks could be so involved? In the end you get a tasty still crunchy carrot stick that is covered with a butter spice sauce. Num! Serves 2. Each serving contains 25 calories, 1.3 grams of fat and .9 grams of fibre.

Want to know what happened to those carrot trimmings? They went to a worthy cause:Our little Godric is a very hungry boy.

Potato Pancake

Yes, this is also called a Latkes but really I first heard them called potato pancake so I’ll go with that. A tasty brunch item or even a dinner side dish. These are great on their own with a bit of fat free sour cream and sautéed onions, or topped with  light cream cheese and salmon. Num! No limits with these really. I’ve even seen them eaten with honey. Sweet and savoury. My grandmother would often make something similar to these for breakfast. Want to add a bit more flavour to your potato pancake? Try subbing in a bit of shredded carrot or celery root instead of half of the potato. It’s great and more veggy nutritious goodness! These particular pancakes were made by my husband for a special weekend breakfast under some advisement from me. Goodtimes.

  • 200 grams potato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbl whole wheat flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Grate potatoes and onion using the coarse side of the grater. Stir to combine. Using a colander, squeeze the mixture to get the excess liquid out.
  2. Move the mixture to a bowl. Add the flour, egg whites and seasoning.
  3. Spray a pan with non-stick. Heat to medium, when hot enough drop 1/4 cup of batter into piles on the pan. Leave plenty of room between the piles. Press the piles to form a flat pancake.
  4. Allow to brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes, flip carefully and allow other side to brown. Serve.

Makes plenty to serve 2 people. Each serving (half of the resulting pancakes) is 123 calories, .4 grams of fat and 3.1 grams of fibre.

Hardcore Hobbit: Fried Mushrooms

A true hobbit favourite, a basic recipe but always a winner. Like it says in the description “easy to make and enjoyable anytime.” These are great as a side dish or topping for any main ingredient. According to the game all you need is mushrooms and butter, and it is so true! Choose a tasty fancy mushroom and let that flavour shine through!

  • 400 grams Mushroom of choice
  • 1 tbl light butter
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Clean the mushrooms and slice them. You can leave the stalks on most types if you wish, I tend to remove them and reward my foodie puppies with them.
  2. Heat a pan to medium, Spray the pan with butter flavoured cooking spray. Add the mushrooms then add the butter.
  3. As the butter melts add the garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Either shake or stir the mushrooms around making sure that neither the mushrooms or the butter burns.
  4. Allow the juices from the mushrooms and the butter reduce, serve!

This makes plenty for two, especially for hobbits such as ourselves. Each serving contains 71 calories, 3.2 grams of fat and 2.7 grams of fibre. Great even on toast! An awesome simple recipe that helps build a dish to true hobbit greatness.

Hardcore Hobbit: Golden Roast Potatoes

Sometimes, a side dish requires that extra bit of something special. Instead of approaching these with my usual slice potatoes, season and oven method, I thought I would give another tried and true method a go. In the game Golden Roast Potatoes are made from golden shire taters, fine seasonings, and savoury seasonings. I made mine from the golden fleshed shire taters grown right here in the shire…*cough* I mean on the island.

  • 500 grams golden fleshed potatoes
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
  • 3 1/2 tbl lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • cooking spray
  1. Scrub your potatoes and cube them.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes and drain.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling combine the remaining ingredients in another bowl. Allow to sit until the potatoes are done cooking.
  4. Pour the mixture over the drained, hot potatoes and stir.
  5. Pour into a baking dish and spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes. Turn once during baking.

Serves 2 or 4, depending on how much you love potatoes. Each serving for 2 contains 190 calories, .4 grams of fat, and 4.4 grams of fibre. Just cut that in half for servings for four. These are delicious cold too!

Chimichurri

So I’ll admit it, we watch a lot of those reality cooking competition shows like top chef, hell’s kitchen, etc. For some reason atleast once per season…often more than that, somebody absolutely has to make a chimichurri sauced something. Colour me all impressed, ooo bringing out this Argentinian sauce, awesomeness, you culinary gods you. Then I started looking at recipes and such. It’s just a nice easy tasty blender creation. Not so impressed anymore am I (I know, I totally yoda’d that statement. It happens. Chill.). Granted, thanks to those shows I have now added another tasty to my repertoire.

  • 6 cloves garlic (you may want to use less, I am involved in a torrid love affair with garlic. So, you might not want to be as involved with it as much as I sometimes am.)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine or red wine vinegar (I used the wine because I just plain wanted to.)
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbl fresh basil
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth like the sauce above.

See? You see how easy this is? Takes more work to make rice crispy squares. I’m so totally going to give the evil closet monkey stare to the next person on one of these culinary reality shows that stands there all proud next to their chimichurri sauced whatever. I used mine as a marinade and sauce for a two person steak. So the sauce for two is 75 calories, 1.6 grams of fat and 2.4 grams of fibre per person. Folks use this as a dipping sauce as well. I highly recommend this as a marinade, that was one happy steak….in my tummy. Goodtimes.

 

Confetti Slaw

My husband wanted to make a fun veggie side dish using whatever we had in the fridge. It was proclaimed that this side dish would be a slaw of some sort, without cabbage since we had none…and tasty somehow. Once we got to the stage where I was mixing and tasting the dressing we realized it was kind of a pretty slaw with all its colours so it was named confetti slaw. We had this as a side with some crab cakes I had made and it was nummy! So low calorie and so filling. Just plain can’t go wrong there.

  • 6 apples
  • 4 small carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 tbl lemon juice
  • 4 tbl light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp mrs. dash original
  • 2 tsp horseradish dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Core the apples. Slice the apples, carrots and celery into matchsticks. My husband went with chunky matchsticks but thinner ones would be tasty too.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Combine thoroughly and allow to sit atleast 20 minutes. The longer it sits the better the flavours combine.

Makes 6 servings. Each serving contains 111 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 3.8 grams of fibre. I don’t think this would keep very well so its best eaten the day of. If you need less for your dinner this recipe will cut in half to create 3 servings very easily. Enjoy!

Hardcore Hobbit: Shire Pudding

Now, this one was an easy one to figure out. A shire pudding must be quite similar to a yorkshire pudding. York-shire…pudding….aaaah. Pretty sneaky LOTRO. Oh, how I love a yorkshire pudding. Typically though before my new eating style I used to just pick up a package of premade yorkshires and save myself the trouble. I had no idea they were so easy to make! I feel silly now. All this time I could have had a healthier version. In the game a shire pudding is made from a cup of spring barley flour and a chicken egg. Quite simple, just like those yorkshire puddings.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Combine the ingredients with a whisk. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Allow to sit 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Spoon into 12 sprayed muffin cups.
  4. Bake at 425F for 25 minutes.

Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 58 calories, 1 gram fat, and .3 gram fibre. How do I like my shire puddings? Why with a good old fashioned crockpot roast with onions ofcourse!

Num! Don’t worry, I had some cooked carrots on the side as well. A delicious meal for those cold days. These little shire puddings really soak up the gravy once you open them up. Good times!