Side Dish Showdown #1: February

I’m thrilled at the response to the Showdown! I wasn’t sure at first if there would be a second month or not. It all depended on you. And you came through. I have a lovely set of side dishes to wow you with.

Lori of Fake Food Free made her healthy and delicious Smoky Sautéed Kale & Mushrooms. It was her first time eating/cooking Kale and was inspired by a challenge to try a new green. Lori says “You’ll be hard pressed to find something easier to cook as well. I got a batch of great tasting kale finished in the amount of time it would take to go through a drive through.” She served her Smoky Kale alongside Salmon and quinoa.  Kale is one of my favorite greens, being less bitter than others. Lori’s dish was a delicious success!

Smoky Sauteed Kale & Mushrooms @ Fake Food Free

Meghan of You’re Gonna Bake It After All made her Haricots Verts with Shallots, and like Lori she says “These are the perfect side dish – quick, healthy and delicious.” Meghan loved the shallots cooked in butter and the slight crunch of the beans. I love the vibrant colors and flavors; like summer on a plate.

You're Gonna Bake it After All

Natasha of 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures made her Sweet Grapes; a side dish her family says tastes like cherries. She served the Sweet Grapes with a Lemon Zest Crusted Cod with Horseradish Emulsion. A   flavor combination her family loved. But she also says “I first made with flounder, and it is also great with poultry, veal or pork.” I can’t wait to try these truly unique grapes.

5 Star Foodie

Caveman of Caveman Cooking sent these 2x Baked Potatoes that he also refers to as his “Angioplasty Special” but says “they are so amazingly good you won’t even care!” He served these with his Juicy Beer Can Chicken and has a recipe for the leftovers too. He’s right! I don’t care! Everything in moderation, right? I hope you saved me one Caveman.

2x Baked Potatoes @ Caveman Cooking

Chaya from the gluten-free Comfy Cook Blog made this sweet and spicy African Sweet Potato Stew with peanut butter in it. Chaya “liked the green beans and sweet potatoes” and says “the sauce is delicious.” She discovered her husband doesn’t like Garbanzo beans – if you’re like him you could substitute a bean you like. This has everything I love in it and the peanut butter seals the deal for me.

African Sweet Potato Stew Chaya Comfy Cook Blog

Chaya is a busy lady cooking up a storm for two blogs. She also authors Sweet and Savory where she posted this Corn Maque Choux made with  Emeril’s Creole Seasoning. Chaya says “This is a delicious dish. Everyone liked it and I would make it again.” Chaya thought the seasoning gave it an extra boost that brought it to higher level of greatness. Spicy greatness, indeed.

Corn Maque Choux @ Sweet and Savory

Swapna of Crafts and Cooking sent her Chicken Stew all the way from India. She followed my suggestion to ‘think outside the box’ and says of her stew “I think that this one really fits that bill… maybe it is not very new in some parts of the world, but to me, the flavours were really new and I am absolutely sure that I will make this a lot more times.” I’m so happy to be a part of her delicious new discovery.

Chicken Stew @ Crafts and Cooking

Kim of Stirring the Pot sent me her Mom’s recipe for using leftover mashed potatoes: Potato Cakes. Kim says “If you are lucky enough to have leftover mashed potatoes, you should consider making these Potato Cakes. I think that these are one side dish that everyone, including kids, would love to eat!” I agree! And love her Mom’s way of serving them for breakfast alongside eggs and bacon. Hearty and comforting.

Potato Cakes @ Stirring The Pot

Kathy of Are You Hungry? sent me her Szechuan Broccoli, Asparagus and Mushrooms, a recipe she found in one her mother-in-law’s (now hers) cookbooks. Kathy says “This vegetable stir fry has a great flavor and just the right zing. The guys were impressed with it. In fact, we liked it so much there were no leftovers!” She served it along side her Teriyaki Pork Chops. What a perfect combo!

Are You Hungry SchezuanVegetables

Dajana of Baker’s corner…Somewhere in my Kitchen sent her Glazed Vegetables with Thyme. Dajana says of the dish “Absolutely delicious. Slightly sweet, but not overwhelmingly. You’re not Brussels sprouts lover, because they’re bitter and bla, bla? Well, I think you’ll love them prepared this way.She also says that ideally you should serve them with white meat roasts, grilled fish or sharp cheese. Sounds good to me! I’ve been using thyme all the time now in my soups and vegetable dishes. I love it. And I bet the sweetness in the dish offsets any bitterness that might be there.

 Bakers Corner

Shirley of Enriching Your Kid sent me her Purple Amaranth Cutlets. Amaranthus is a herb whose seeds are eaten as a cereal grain, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, and made into porridge. Shirley’s cutlets have potatoes in them and are flavored with ginger, mint, chile powder, and garam masala. I’d love to try them with this healthy and pretty purple Amaranth herb.

Amaranth Cutlets @ Enriching Your Kids

Brad of Eatnlisten made his classic Creamy Cheesey Scalloped Potatoes. “Potatoes and onions roasted in a butter cream sauce, finished with tangy extra sharp cheddar cheese and baked to creamy cheesy perfection…” Brad has been ‘fiddling’ with this recipe, his Mom’s, for 20 years, never straying far from the original. He says it’s perfect alongside crispy fried fish and slow roasted, grilled, and smoked meats. I say pass me a big plate full please and then don’t mind me as I eat my way to bliss!

Eat n Listen's Creamy-Dreamy-Scalloped-Potatoes

Megan of Megan’s Cooking made a Orange & Mozzarella Salad w/ Basil. Megan says “This is just like a Caprese Salad except it uses orange slices instead of tomatoes in the salad, and orange juice in the vinaigrette. It’s quick and simple to put together, and delicious with it’s fresh and bold flavors.” This is a surprising twist on the classic that my mouth waters for with it’s vibrant and fresh flavors. Gorgeous!

Orange & Mozzarella Salad w/ Basil @ Megan's Cookin

Deb of Kahakai Kitchen “brings a little bit of sunshine to my gloomy winter days” with her Orzo w/ Fennel, Edamame and Pineapple; “a nutritionally packed dish and keeper recipe for sure.” Deb says ” The combination may sound a bit strange but trust me it works.” She found inspiration from two sources: a deli salad and the latest issue of Clean Eating Magazine. It’s the best of both. Just talking about it makes my day feel brighter…and my step lighter after all that snow! Sunshine in a bowl.

Kahakai Kitchen's Orzo with Fennel, Edamame, and Pineapple

Joanne of Eats Well With Others made Soft Polenta w/ Mascarpone, a recipe from Michael Symon’s new cookbook.  Joanne says it’s “An absolute dream. It is smooth and creamy and definitely one of the best tasting things on this earth.” She served it with oven-roasted asparagus and a fried egg over top but says you “could top it with anything and it will taste delicious.” I don’t need convincing! I haven’t stopped dreaming of it since I first laid eyes on it.

Soft Polenta w/ Mascarpone @ Eats Well With Others

Last but not least are my side dishes. I broke my own rule of two entries per person and made three. Oops.

First up are my Roasted Lemon Potatoes:

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Potatoes

Sour Cream Poppy Seed Noodles:

Moon's Macaroni & Cheese
Classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Thank you all for making the first Showdown a success! This month ‘Anything Goes’ again because I don’t want to discourage or rule out any entries. I’m also putting out an optional secondary challenge to try a new ingredient, whether it be a vegetable, a type of grain/pasta or a spice/herb. Add your link here to the MckLinky or e-mail it right to me: cinnamonyspice@gmail.com.

Side Dish Showdown rules can be found here.

What sides are looking good to you?

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