Archive for Side Dishes

Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon

Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon

I made these hasselback potatoes with bacon as part of a “back to school” dinner celebration. Little did I know how absolutely amazing they would be. Normally I would prepare one per person. However, depending on the size of the potato, you might want to make two per person. They really are JUST that good!! 

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 30min; Cook Time – 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients for 4 people (2 each):

6 pieces of thick cut bacon, cut into pieces about an inch thick

8 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled

1 stick butter, divided

Kosher salt and ground pepper

2 T. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Pastry Brush

Preparing Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon:

1. Put the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while also bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

3. Using a sharp knife, make horizontal slits in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart and making sure you do not cut all the way through the potato. 

4. Gently place the potatoes in the boiling water and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Pat the potatoes dry. Insert 3-4 pieces of bacon in the cuts of each potato, trying to space the bacon evenly (the bacon will poke out of the top of the slits). Melt half of the butter and brush generously over the potatoes. Reserve any extra butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

5. Place the potatoes in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the outside of the potatoes start to brown. Make sure you baste with the reserved melted butter halfway through cooking. 

6. Right before you take the potatoes out of the oven, melt the other half of the butter. Mix in the parsley and garlic. After the potatoes are done and on a serving tray, spoon the butter mixture over the potatoes. Serve hot!! 



Grilled Eggplant Pasta

roasted eggplant pasta

Ok, so I know Denise will never try this with her family but I’m just saying that my 5 year old, who had no idea what she was eating, loved it! It’s simple and tasty and beautiful. It could be a main dish or a side dish, your choice.

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 20 min


1 lb spaghetti rigati (I like the grooves)

2 medium sized eggplants

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Fresh thyme

1 t garlic powder (if I wasn’t cooking on the grill, I’d just roast some garlic cloves with the eggplant in the oven)

Zest of 1 lemon


Feta Cheese

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:


Preparing grilled eggplant pasta:

Get your grill ready for direct heat. If you don’t want to use the grill, you can roast it in the oven too.

Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and garlic powder. Grill flesh side down for about 15-20 minutes.

 grilled eggplant

While it is cooking, cook your pasta. If you need to know the best way to make the best pasta, check out this article.

When the eggplant is done, use a spoon to scrape out the cooked flesh from the skin. Place in a bowl. Add the thyme, lemon zest and parsley. Stir together and mash up the eggplant as you go.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the bowl with the eggplant but leave a little bit of pasta water too (maybe 1/4 cup). Stir together. Add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed. At the last minute add the feta and serve.

roasted eggplant pasta

 Cut me some slack. Eggplant is probably the one vegetable I am not a huge fan of. If I won’t eat it, my family surely won’t. It’s a texture thing…like seafood! ~Denise

Sauteed Baby Squash

I did it! I finally “pulled a Melissa”! If you have been following our blog for a while, you know that I try to limit the trips to the store that I make in any given week and have a “weekly menu” set for my family. I deviate from it, but not often. Melissa, on the other hand, will go to the store almost on a daily basis and buy ingredients for dinner “that just look good.” Then she goes home and whips up something delicious. 

I have found and embraced The Dekalb Farmer’s Market. That place is like the Mothership to me. If you live anywhere near Atlanta, you really should check it out. It’s truly amazing. Anyway, when I went a few weeks ago to mostly buy herbs, spices and wine, I decided to check out the produce section. I came across these amazing looking baby squash. I just HAD to buy them. I was already buying fresh basil (because Melissa hasn’t helped me plant my herb garden yet..ahem) so I thought I would make sautéed baby squash for dinner that night. There really is something to be said about eating FRESH ingredients. 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 5-10 min.


Baby Squash (enough for your family)

3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1 T. fresh basil, chopped

1. T. Extra Virgin Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparing Sauteed Baby Squash:

In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil, add the baby squash for a couple of minutes, take out and plunge in an ice cold bath (a process called shocking). Drain. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and basil and cook for 30 seconds. Add the squash and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to coat with garlic and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste!

Sauteed Baby Squash

Important Tips:

Don’t overcook the vegetables. Cook them just enough so they are hot but still crunchy!

Way to go Denise! Those little baby squash are so adorable. And, I’ll get over there and plant that herb garden for you!! Really! ~Melissa

Roasted Edamame

A while ago, we gave you a recipe for Roasted Chickpeas, which was VERY well received. Out of the blue a few weeks ago, my husband asked if I could make roasted edamame the way I make the chickpeas. After I got over my initial shock regarding his request, I eagerly took on the challenge. How could that NOT be delicious if you like edamame? I made them almost exactly the same way as the chickpeas, I just cooked them less since they are smaller. Yet another healthy snack brought to you by McNack’s Kitchen. 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 20 min


1 frozen pack of edamame, shelled

2 T. Olive Oil

1 1/2 T. Original Slavo Salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preparing Roasted Edamame:

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Defrost the edamame as directed and drain. Place in mixing bowl. Add olive oil, Slavo Salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Place on baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.

Roasted Edamame

Baked Zucchini Fries

baked zucchini fries

Denise made zucchini crisps some time back, but it is summertime now and zucchini is at its peak for the coming months. My zucchini plants are starting to produce some fruit and I can’t wait to make the baked zucchini fries. Ok, so they are not French fries but they are a nice substitute with some great flavor. Better yet, zucchini fries are a fantastic appetizer and a great side dish too. Even kids love them!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 10-15 min


2 zucchini

1 cup panko

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese



cayenne or chili powder depending on how spicy you like it

1 egg

1/4 cup water

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Parchment paper

How to make baked zucchini fries:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare an egg wash with a beaten egg, water and some salt and pepper and chili powder.

Mix the panko and parmesan cheese. Add a bit of chili powder and/or cayenne to taste.

Cut the zucchini into thirds, then cut each third into 6 strips.

Salt and pepper the zucchini. Sprinkle with chili powder or cayenne.

Dredge the zucchini through the egg wash and then into the panko-parmesan mixture.baked zucchini fries

Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat for remaining zucchini fries. Cook until crisp.baked zucchini fries

Serve with anything from sriracha aioli for a little more zing.

Grilled Side Dishes

Grilled Romaine Salad

To continue with our grilling series this week, today we have our favorite grilled side dishes! Please don’t think that the only side dishes you can make are grilled vegetables! Some of our favorites require a combination of using the grill and putting the finishing touches on in the kitchen. 

Green Tomato Caprese Salad

Grilled Mushrooms in Butter

Mexican Style Grilled Corn

Fire Roasted Tomatillo and Poblano Salsa

Grilled Romaine Salad with Tomato and Corn Tumble

Grilled Asparagus with Hollandaise

Grilled Polenta

Grilled Peaches



Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini

We’ve been making versions of bruschetta for nice and summer like appetizers for a long, long time. So, when we were asked to do a cooking demonstration at a local farmer’s market in Atlanta, this was a natural choice.

We wanted to showcase local produce vendors and thought this would be a great way to do so. We researched other vendors at the market and decided that Will’s Farm, Capra Gia Cheese Company and Sweetwater Growers were perfect fits for our tomatoes, goat cheese and basil ingredients, super fresh and super delicious!

The bruschetta was a huge hit, even with a couple of Italian women who know what good bruschetta is all about. We were so excited! We hope you enjoy the Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini too.

Now, we currently only sell the McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend at farmer’s markets. Reach out to us if you are interested! If not, just leave that part out and add some salt and pepper to taste. It’s not the same but is very good.

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 10 min


4-6 Ripe Tomatoes
10-12 Leaves of Basil
6 Cloves of Garlic
1T McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend ©
6oz Goat Cheese
2 T Olive Oil
2T Balsamic Vinegar
1T Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil for crostini

How to make Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini:

Make a vinaigrette with the olive oil, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Whisk together.

Dice the tomatoes in a small dice. Mince the garlic. Cut the basil into a chiffonade. Add the McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend ©. Set in refrigerator for an hour or more to let the flavors blend together.

Slice the baguette on a bias into ¼” thick slices. Brush with olive oil and place on a grill or in a 400 degree oven until toasted but not hard.

Let the goat cheese come to room temperature. Smear goat cheese on the crostini and top with the bruschetta.

Important Tips:

Fresh quality ingredients are the key!! Fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and amazing goat cheese will turn this ‘simple’ every day dish into something your friends are begging for!


There are lots of ways to make this different and amazing. Subscribe to McNack’s and you’ll find some great ideas.

Got Leftovers?:

This is great with pasta. Just cook your favorite pasta shape, sauté some of the bruschetta and toss with the warm, cooked pasta for a great dish. Add parmesan and olive oil as needed.