I love cooking a full-course Thanksgiving dinner, even though it’s a lot of work. So much food to prepare in so little time. I have, however, figured out one quick little shortcut that helps save time, and confusion, in the kitchen.
I first discovered baked sweet potatoes at a buffet restaurant. The friend I was dining with pointed them out to me and raved about how delicious they were. While not a huge sweet potato fan myself, I noticed what an easy side dish it would be to prepare. Simply take a sweet potato, or a yam, quarter it, wrap it in foil, and bake it like a regular potato.
I tried it myself a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and it was a big hit. Much less prep time and less hassle than candied yams, with no added sugars or preservatives, no casserole dish to wash, and fewer calories to boot. Best of all, my guests loved them.
Sometimes I spend so much time worrying about the main course that I forget about the side dishes. This timeless, historic recipe is quick and easy, and would compliment any meal.
- 1½ cups cut cabbage
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup boiling water
Combine and cook until tender. (20 minutes.) Makes 4 servings.
Modern adaptation: Omit salt and use ½ cup of chicken stock instead of ½ cup of water.
I think every family has favorite recipes that may or may not have ever been actually written down as they were passed down generation to generation. One of ours was my grandmother’s green beans. She prepared it for years, as did my mother, and it was always a family favorite. I’ve played with it a little over the years myself, but not too much. It’s an oldie but a goody, and there are probably a lot of other grandmothers out there who made this dish as well. Here is my interpretation. Please consider this recipe as a guide as I never make it the quite the same way twice. (And I don’t think Grandma ever did either.)
GRANDMA’S HOMEMADE GREEN BEANS
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
- 3 or 4 red potatoes
- 3 or 4 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Wash green beans, snap off ends, snap into two or three bite-sized pieces and drop into a large mixing bowl. Scrub and dice the potatoes and add them to the beans. Cut bacon slices into small pieces and brown in a small stockpot. Once bacon is browned dump in the green beans and potatoes. Add chicken broth, stir, and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and cooked all the way through. Stir occasionally, and, if necessary, add small amounts of water or chicken broth to prevent the beans from scorching. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish with pork roast, pork chops or fried chicken.
This recipe is such a classic, and it’s so simple, that I’m surprised that neither my mother, nor any of my grandmothers, ever prepared it. It’s included in Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, and it’s probably one of the easiest recipes in the entire book. The results are delicious. The pudding has a rich, buttery flavor, making it the perfect, flavorful side dish. Enjoy.
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups fresh or canned corn
- 2 tablespoons melted margarine
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups milk
Beat the eggs. Add all the other ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased baking dish, place in a pan of hot water, and bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour or until set in the center. Yields 6 servings.
Note: A 15.5 ounce can of corn works nicely for this recipe.
Fall is in the air, and there’s nothing like a cup of hot, homemade soup on a cool fall day. This recipe comes from Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, and it’s just as delicious today as it was in her time. It’s also incredibly simple, and a great way to use up any leftover vegetables that may be lurking in the fridge.
CREAM OF VEGETABLE SOUP
- 2 tablespoons fat
- 4 tablespoons flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup cooked vegetable pulp*
Melt fat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in milk. Add vegetable pulp. Cook 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
* Pureed cooked vegetables (of your choice)
Modern adaptation: Cooking oil or olive oil may be used instead of “fat.” If you don’t have a blender or food processor simply chop the vegetables into tiny pieces. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, to help keep the milk from scorching. Once soup begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10 minutes, as directed. For more zing, try lemon pepper or season salt instead of salt and pepper.
The other day someone gave me a big bag of red potatoes, so I did a little experimenting with my basic potato soup recipe, and came up with something amazing. This dish is economical, easy to prepare, and delicious.
TWICE BAKED RED POTATO SOUP
- 4 to 6 medium to large red potatoes
- 1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 quart milk
- 2 to 3 slices cooked bacon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Peel potatoes and slice into small cubes. Set aside. Drop butter into a small stock pot and melt over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add milk and potatoes. Break bacon into small pieces and drop into soup. Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Add cheeses, stir and simmer until melted.