Category Archives: Sidedish

Spicy Spread

No, I’m not being dirty…this time. This is a spicy margarine spread that I made for an awesome side dish the other day. It was a nice step away from the usual and perfect for compliment a delicious fall time veggie: corn! Oh glorious corn! This is the last month for farmer’s market around here so I’ve been taking advantage of all that fresh local corn. I used this on a lovely sweet yellow corn, num! I think its extra great that the spread turns into such a fall festive colour too. Check it out!

  • 2-3 tbl light cooking margarine
  • 1 red hot chili pepper (not the band…that would just get gruesome)
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • ground pepper to taste
  1. Remove the seeds and top of the pepper. Chop very fine.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or ramekin until it looks like above. Allow to sit at room temp for 10 minutes before using.

This makes about 4 tbl of spicy spread. Each tbl contains 22 calories, 1 gram fat and .2 gram of fibre. To use this spread I covered a cob of sweet yellow corn and grilled the corn for 20-30 minutes on low or medium heat. I specifically wanted that slight char and smoky taste. I basted one side, cooked, flipped halfway through cooking and basted the other side. The end result on the cob:

Mmmmm. For more civilized eating the corn can be cut off the cob carefully to give you something more like this:

Either way it remains tasty! A great side dish during this harvest season. The best part is, everything except the margarine was obtained from my local farmers market. Hurray!

Onion Mini Buns

I like big buns and I cannot lie…but these mini buns I can’t deny. Hehehe…o.k. I’ll stop. So I have tackled yet another slider version but this time I wanted a different type of mini bun to go with my new sliders. I love onion buns, the gargantuan ones in the grocery story are just filled with calories and fat though…if you can even get your hands on them. So, it was time to work a little hobbit kitchen magic to get the job done. The only way these could be better is if I was actually able to wood fire them in that supreme oven over in Michel Delving. Mmmmm wood fired buns and all the giggle worthy naughtiness that involves.

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp cooking margarine
  • 2 tbl brown sugar, unpacked
  • 3 cup flour
  • 2 tbl onion soup mix, dry
  • 4 1/2 tsp yeast
  1. Combine the ingredients using a kneading motion once moistened. Allow to proof twice. Use dough setting if you have a bread maker.
  2. Form the dough into 20 balls, flatten each ball slightly to form a disc.
  3. Bake 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 20 mini buns perfect for sliders. Each bun contains 75 calories, .4 grams fat and .6 grams of fibre. Really tasty with the beef sliders I have posted before or with my newest sliders I will post tomorrow. Actually, my husband has found these great for snacking with a bit of margarine too! Enjoy!

Hardcore Hobbit: Hard Biscuit

For a twist on these biscuits I made them with puree sweet potato. Oh yum! It helps to add a bit of nutritional value to an otherwise less than nutritional treat. According to the game folks make hard biscuits out of spring barley flour, chicken egg, and water. So these biscuits may not be as hard as the name suggests but I have a feeling most hobbits would heartily approve of this variation. The reason why my biscuits are not as orange as you would expect is because I used a white sweet potato. I heard they were sweeter, no real difference really. So either sweet potato variety you choose will do just fine.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbl brown sugar, unpacked
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbl cooking margarine, chilled
  • 3/4 cup puree cooked sweet potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of water or fat free milk
  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cut the margarine into the dry ingredients until the mix resembles coarse meal.
  3. Blend the sweet potato, milk or water, and egg together in a blender. Add to the flour mixture until just moist.
  4. You can roll these out on a floured surface and cut using biscuit cutter or form with floured hands into flat disks for a more rustic looking biscuit.
  5. Bake 400F for 30 minutes.

Makes 16 biscuits. Each biscuit contains 83 calories, 1.4 grams of fat and.8 grams of fibre. These values are based on using milk instead of water. If you went with water it would be lower in calories and slightly lower in fat. I went with the milk because what hobbit would turn down a richer tasting biscuit? Best right out of the oven…mmm!

Cheesy Focaccia Sticks

Focaccia is so easy to make, I can’t understand why most folks bother to buy it in a store. You can so easily whip one together and top it with anything you like! No need to get that same old olive focaccia or rosemary focaccia if you can even find it. Go nuts! My favourite version currently involves either just cheese or cheese and garlic. So naughty seeming but really not all that bad. All about portion size. I love to cut these into sticks and have them ready to snack or dip while watching a marathon of movies or rocking out with rockband (three is coming out in late october eeee!).

  • 2 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbl yeast
  • 3 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 pinch ground pepper
  • 1 tbl canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • olive oil or butter flavoured cooking spray
  • 1 tbl parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup low fat cheddar or mozzeralla
  1. Combine everything except the last three ingredients in either a  bread machine or by hand. Allow to proof.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F
  3. Grease a baking sheet, pat dough into the pan (rectangle shape). Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheeses on top.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Slice into 12 sticks.

Makes 12 servings. Each serving is 124 calories, 1.6 grams of fat and 1 gram of fibre. These are pretty big sticks of focaccia! Whether they are a side dish or a snack they are definitely a handy bread to have around. Yes, they do share well.

Smoked Tomato Basil Jam

Inspired by the smoked jam we had at the spa. All the ingredients except the gelatin and the sugar came from my local market. I suggest giving yours a visit for making this jam. Tomatoes that have been picked the day before without shipping far and wide really gave this jam a strong flavour! I figure this will go well with those cheese fritters I’ve had an idea for. Another idea that crossed my mind was making bruschetta with it. Mmm could be so fun. Especially since I normally can’t eat tomatoes. There is something about tomatoes that often makes me ill. I think its the acid in them. When they are heavily processed like in ketchup, tomato paste, and some sauces I can eat them just fine…but on a sandwich or in a chunky sauce, oh my! I’m a heartburn mess! This tomato jam at the spa had no such effect on me. So, as you can understand I am pretty excited about it. One day soon I too may be able to eat some bruschetta!

  • 2 lbs Roma Tomatoes, quartered
  • sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • Hickory wood chips, soaked
  • butter spray
  • 2 cups sugar/splenda
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups basil, chopped
  • 1 pkg gelatin or strawberry jello sugar free
  1. Arrange the hickory chips in a packet of foil, pierce with holes to make a smoker pack. Arrange the quartered tomatoes on a foil covered tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray with butter spray.
  2. Place the smoker pack on the element of the grill. Place the tomato tray on the grill rack. Cook on low for one hour. They should look a bit like this: 
  3. Meanwhile, put 1 1/2 cup of the chopped basil and the water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and return the liquid to the saucepan.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done smoking, strain them and add the liquid to the herb liquid. Add the sugar/splenda (I did a combination of 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 cup splenda). Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining basil and gelatin.
  6. Divide into your chosen storage method.

This recipe makes enough to fill 3 250ml jars. Each 1 tbl serving of my sugar splenda blend has 10 calories, 0 fat, and .2 grams of fibre. A little goes a long way with this tasty jam. I can’t wait to think of all sorts of things to serve it with. Note: Sometimes the gelatin needs to be chilled for a bit after cooking to activate.

Pumpkin Seed Cracker

After the spa I definitely wanted to give making my own cracker a try. I figured now was the time since I wanted to start packing some “gourmet lunchables” for my husband to just grab and go to work with. He is no longer on a ship so he actually has to bring his lunch to school with him. Hehe. He spends a lot of his lunch helping folks out with their computer stuff so even though he packs a lunch sometimes he doesn’t get to eat it. I figured a quick grab deli tray might be the answer. So I made up some of these crackers, bought some spicy cheese at the market, and smoked some chicken for cold cuts. Yes, I have a deli slicer…yes…I have a kitchen appliance problem. I have a lot of them and use them all! *snuggles her kitchen appliances…ouch!* Anyways, rather than buying those high fat and boring lunchables I decided to put together something more fun, tasty, and healthy. I packed up all he needed for the week after watching True Blood (omg!) and it only took me half an hour of leisurely slicing and assembling. He is all set now! definitely a winner. So here is my first cracker attempt, and they worked!

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 3 oz water
  • 2 tbl pumpkin seeds
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and seeds. Stir in the oil and half of the water.
  2. Slowly add more water as needed while you combine until a nice dough ball is formed, not too sticky but not too dry.
  3. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a silicon baking mat. Transfer the mat to a baking sheet. Cut using either a knife or a pizza slicer into 48 squares.
  4. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until they brown nicely on top.

Makes 48 crackers. Each cracker is 15 calories, .7 grams of fat and .2 grams of fibre. This is a nice basic recipe, switching out the seeds for any other seed of choice shouldn’t be a problem at all. So easy too! I had the crackers in the oven toasting up within 10 minutes of starting them. A lovely way to customize your own fancy crackers for tasting trays.

Mango Couscous Salad

This is a quick lunch I whipped up the other day. I really wanted something with mangoes in it but needed it to be quick and easy because I had other things to get to. I think this would pack really well for a boxed lunch at work or school as well. So easy to just have ready and tasty too! Very filling, hurray for couscous!

  • 1/2 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 pkg chicken oxo
  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • juice of 2 lime wedges
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  1. Combine the chicken oxo and couscous in a heat proof measuring cup. Add 3/4 cup boiling water and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit atleast 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the mango, green onion, lime juice, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Once the couscous is done sitting, add the couscous to the mango mixture. Mix thoroughly, serve!

This makes two lovely lunch servings. Each serving contains 182 calories, .5 grams of fat, and 3.6 grams of fibre. If you skip the chicken oxo ingredient this is a tasty vegetarian dish as well! A variation of this with strawberries instead of mangoes is sooo delicious. This can also be a great side dish for a tropical themed dinner.