Archive for Starchy Sides

Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts

I’ll be honest. I’ve never eaten or cooked a rutabaga. I was told that it is similar to a turnip. GAME ON!  I love turnips and know exactly how to make them. I knew Melissa would want to throw in something green so I decided to make roasted rutabaga and Brussels sprouts. Thank you, Kayla for turning me on to this amazing vegetable!

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 45 min


1 rutabaga

2 T. olive oil

1 tsp. each salt, pepper and thyme

12 Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and quartered

1 T. olive oil

1/2 tsp. each salt, pepper and thyme

Preparing Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Cut the skin off of the rutabaga and chop into bit size pieces. Put in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 T. olive oil, 1 tsp. each salt, pepper and thyme.

Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts

Mix well and put on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the Brussels sprouts. After they are quartered, put in a large mixing bowl and add oil, salt, pepper and thyme. When the rutabagas have cooked for 15 minutes, add the Brussels sprouts. Continue cooking for 30 minutes. Serve hot. 

Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts

Important Tips:

Don’t cook them together for the whole time like I did. The Brussels sprouts really do take less time and will start to get too crispy if you cook them for 45 minutes.

Meal Ideas:

I served this with chipotle beer braised short ribs and blue cheese filled puff pastry with blackberry sauce. Delish!!

Huh, what do you know! Denise roasted a root vegetable! ~Melissa

I roast them all the time, silly goose! ~Denise

Exactly my point, Deary. ~Melissa

Whatever! I never roasted a rutabaga so one new thing at a time for me. I still want to serve an edible dinner. ~Denise

Blue Cheese Filled Puff Pastry with Blackberry Sauce

Chipotle Beer Braised Short Ribs

I don’t work with puff pastry often. I use it to make baked brie and that’s pretty much it. When I saw blue cheese, blackberries and puff pastry in the mystery basket, I knew I was going to make blue cheese filled puff pastry with blackberry sauce. I was pretty confident about the puff pastry, but had never made a blackberry sauce. I’ll be honest…I’d make it again in a heartbeat!!

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 10 min; Cook Time – 25 min


Blue cheese filled puff pastry

2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

4 oz. Blue cheese, crumbled

1 egg

Blackberry Sauce

1 pint of blackberries, washed

1/4 cup sugar

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Parchment paper

Pastry Brush

Wooden Spoon

Preparing Blue Cheese Filled Puff Pastry with Blackberry Sauce:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry onto the parchment paper and sprinkle it with blue cheese. Gently lay the other puff pastry sheet on top, pinching the edges together. Crack the egg in a bowl and whisk it with 1T of water for an egg wash. Brush the egg wash all over the top of the puff pastry to help it turn a more deep brown color. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  

Blue Cheese Puff Pastry

While the puff pastry is cooking, put the blackberries in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the blackberries break down and start to liquify. Using a wooden spoon to smash the blackberries once they begin to soften will help with the process. When the blackberries start turning to nice bubbly sauce, add the sugar and stir well.

Blackberry Sauce


The sauce will be thick and will be done in the time it takes to cook the puff pastry. How convenient is that?

Cut the puff pastry into squares and top with blackberry sauce!

Chipotle Beer Braised Short Ribs


Any cheese would be fantastic inside of the puff pastry, as well as any other berry sauce. 

Meal Ideas:

I served this along side roasted rutabagas and Brussels sprouts, and chipotle beer braised short ribs as a part of the McNack’s Kitchen First-ever Mystery Basket.

Look at you, Denise! Stepping so far outside of your comfort zone! Rather impressive! Just in case you are still picking the blackberry seeds out of your teeth, you may want to strain the sauce through a wire mesh strainer next time. 😉


Oh, and you should watch the video again since you clearly changed the rules even though you are always saying that I’m the one changing the rules! You said you were going to cook the short ribs in the puff pastry and blue cheese not serve next to….just sayin’  ~Melissa


My sauce was so thick that it wouldn’t go through the strainer. I did try that. Surprisingly the seeds weren’t an issue. It was all good though. 


Oh…and as I’ve explained to you…I must have more of a Southern accent than you do. Either that or I just don’t enunciate my words clearly. Either explanation is possible. When you think I said “in” what I really said was “and”. Most likely it came out as “en”. ~Denise

Explanation or excuse? You be the judge. ~Melissa


Grilled Corn Mexican Style

Mexican grilled corn

Since part of our “one dish – two ways” challenge was everything had to be cooked on the grill, I decided I needed to do something different with the corn. I’ve always heard about Mexican Street Food being famous for a grilled corn with lime, mayonnaise and cheese, so I thought I’d give it a try. I read a few recipes on the web and decided to adapt one of Tyler Florence’s versions because I trust his style.

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


4 ears of corn in husk
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1t chili powder
3T mayonnaise
3T low-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup freshly grated parmesan or crumbled cojito cheese

UPDATE: I made this a 2nd time and just used mayo and no yogurt and jused the cojito crumbling cheese. WAY BETTER!!!

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

I use a microplane to grate my parmesan so it is nice a fluffy and melts easily


In a bowl, mix the yogurt, mayo, chili powder and cilantro together. Season the mixture with a little salt as needed. Grate/crumble the cheese into a separate bowl.

Grilled Mexican Corn

Heat grill to medium high heat.

Pull back husks on corn and remove silky threads. Return husks around corn. Place ears of corn in husks under some water to help prevent burning while they grill.

Place the corn on the grill and cook about 10-15 minutes or until done, turning every few minutes.

Mexican grilled corn

Remove from grill, pull back the husks to use as a handle, generously put mixture all over corn, squeeze some lime over top, top with the cheese  and serve!

Mexican grilled corn

First time I made it with the parmesan cheese mixed in

Second time I made it with cojita cheese crumbled on top - much better!!

Second time I made it with cojita cheese crumbled on top – much better!!


I liked the corn, but next time I do it I will add the cheese on top instead of in the mixture (I already adapted the instructions above to reflect that – I mixed the cheese into the rest of the ingredients when I made it).

Meal Ideas:

This was part of Melissa’s one dish-two ways meal which included Filet Mignon stuffed with spinach and manchego and a warm roasted tomatillo, onion and poblano salsa.

Doesn’t that get all over your face when you’re eating it? -Denise


Why, yes, yes it does! Is there a problem with that?! You don’t like to get a little dirty sometimes? I thought you liked 50 Shades! ~Melissa

Simple Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Costco fingerling potato medley

Since I was crunched for time, I decided to make a simple dish of roasted fingerling potatoes as my potato dish for the night. I got the medley from Costco since I really like the different colors on my plate. I did the prep work and left it to my daughter to cook them. Couldn’t have been easier!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 40 min.


Desired quantity of fingerling potatoes

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Preparing Simple Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Rinse potatoes over cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well (the best way to mix well is with your hands). Spread potatoes on a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. 

Costco fingerling potato medley

Meal Ideas:

I served this with lemon pepper chicken and sautéed kale with coconut oil. 

Classic and delicious. Well played Denise! These may be ‘simple’ but they are a perfect accompaniment to roasted/grilled meat of any kind. However, are you not going to talk about how you ended up with a plate full of the purple potatoes? ~Melissa

Ok…so my family is not a fan of the purple potatoes in the ever so colorful medley. To be honest, they don’t care about color..they just want yummy! -Denise

Potato Galette or Potatoes Anna ?

potatoes anna

Denise is always busting my chops about being more ‘fancy’ of a cook than her, so with our inaugural ‘one meal two ways’, I decided I better not disappoint. For my potato side dish to accompany the roasted chicken, I decided on a traditional accompaniment of a Potato Galette. However, I think mine turned out more like a Potatoes Anna or Pommes Anna. Quite honestly, I have no idea what the true difference is between the two so I’m not sure which one I made!!

Regardless, because we are trying to cut back on white potatoes in our house, I mixed the Galette with sweet potatoes too. They were a hit although I did not think they were crispy enough…but there is always a next time.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required:Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time -45 min


2 russet potatoes or 3-4 Yukon gold

1-2 sweet potatoes depending on size

salt and pepper

3 T butter

olive oil

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Cast iron skillet is the best one to use for this recipe. You may also need a mandolin to slice the potatoes thin.

How to make a potato galette or potatoes Anna or whatever it is I made:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a mandolin or really good knife skills, slice the potatoes (both kinds) into 1/8″ thick rounds.

In a cast iron skillet drizzle some olive oil and place 1 T of butter over medium-high heat. This will help the butter not burn.

Begin placing the white potatoes in a circle around the skillet, slightly overlapping each potato until the bottom is covered. Being careful not to burn yourself, press the potatoes down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Add a layer of the sweet potatoes in the same method as before. Press them down, salt, pepper, drizzle. Add the final layer of white potatoes, press, sprinkle, drizzle.

Let cook on the stove for about 10-15 minutes so the bottom gets a bit brown. Dot the top with the remaining butter and transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the top is crispy and the potatoes are tender.

potatoes anna


Remove from oven and let sit for a minute, then use a knife to peel the potatoes from the edge. Place a serving plate over the potatoes (upside down), turn the skillet and plate over in a swift motion, say a little prayer and hope the potatoes come out on the platter.

A couple of mine were still in the skillet but I just gently removed and placed back on top.

potato galette


Use a sharp knife and cut the galette into wedges and serve. Mine wasn’t pretty enough to take pictures of after I cut, but it still tasted really good. The sweet potatoes mixed in went really well with my more savory roasted chicken.

Important Tips:

I’ll figure this out the next time I do it and perfect it….


You don’t have to use the sweet potatoes and a lot of traditional recipes call for thyme or rosemary in the galette, but I just did not want that flavor profile with my roasted chicken.

Meal Ideas:

Serve with any roasted/grilled protein. I served with Roasted Chicken with Coriander, Cumin and Cardamom and a kale salad with apples and feta.

Are you kidding me? I’ll be the first one to say it…I have no idea what Potato Galette or Pommes Anna are. Time to make it VERY clear that my dinner had to be prepared by me then cooked by my 12 year (who did an amazing job by the way) on an extremely busy school night!! -Denise

Isn’t that ‘convenient’ (said like the Church Lady from SNL) to choose to cook in our little competition on a night you have no time! ~Melissa

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter is the type of dish I expected our good friend, Andrea to bring to Winefest. She is a great cook and always comes up with recipes that are a little more “sophisticated” than I do. Pinot Noir Butter? Really? How could I have missed this? In a word…”Fantastic!” She got it off of

Level of Difficulty: Difficult



[slightly adapted from my cranberry biscuits, which were adapted from bon appetit]

makes about 20 round biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold butter, cut into pieces

1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)

6 ounces gorgonzola cheese (or your favorite blue), crumbled


[slightly adapted from Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain]

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/2 cups pinot noir

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

pinch of black pepper

Preparing Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter:



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda, and whisk until combined. Using a fork, pastry blender or your hands, add butter pieces to the flour and mix until coarse little crumbles remain. Add in crumbled gorgonzola. Pour in milk and stir with a spoon until just combined, not overmixing. Use your hands if needed to bring the dough together – I did.

Use a 1/4 cup measure to drop batter onto a nonstick baking sheet, or press dough on a sheet of parchment paper or cutting board, then using a biscuit cutter to shape the dough into rounds. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.


Bring the wine to a boil in a saucepan (be careful so it does not boil over!) and cook until reduced to just under  1/4 cup – this took me about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

Once wine is cool, combine with softened butter, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly to combine. I had some issues with the butter absorbing all of the wine, so what I did was place the entire bowl in the fridge, and pop it out every 15 minutes or so, mixing really well with a spoon until all of the wine mixed in. Once mixed completely, chill in the fridge for about 5 minutes, then form into a square or log with your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use – best if used after 2-3 days so the flavors can mesh!

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Pinot Noir Butter 


Popovers are something I have loved since I was a kid. They are so light and fluffy and go with just about any meal that you could make. There are many different recipes for popovers but this one from Food Network is one of my favorites.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Cook Time – 50 minutes


1/3 cup plus 4 T. melted unsalted butter

6 eggs

2 cups milk

2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Muffin Pan or Popover Tin

Preparing Popovers:

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Grease each cup of the popover tin (you can use a muffin pan if you don’t have a popover tin) with a tsp. of butter. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in milk and remaining butter. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt together. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Pour batter into prepare tins. Bake popovers  for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with butter or assorted jams.


Important Tips:

When the popovers are in the oven, keep the oven door shut. Don’t keep opening it up to check on them…that’s why they make oven lights!