Category Archives: Sides

Loaded Potato Casserole

I didn’t grow up with mashed potatoes being part of the Thanksgiving spread, we always had the sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping. However, my husband feels mashed potatoes are a necessity for the holidays. They are so simple, so why not jazz them up a bit?

Begin by partially skinning and cubing 4lbs of red potatoes and slice 3 large garlic cloves into thirds.

Place into a large pot of boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes soften. Mash to your desired consistency. 

Now add the following: 1/4C butter, 1C sour cream, 1/2C heavy cream, 4oz cream cheese, 2 chopped green onions, 2C shredded cheddar, and 10 slices chopped, crispy bacon. I used my hand mixer to combine everything but stirring would be fine also. 

Top with 1/2C cheddar, 2 chopped green onions, and 2 more pieces of chopped, crispy bacon. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Inspired By – Spend With Pennies

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The Best Ever Holiday Stuffing 

With the holidays upon us and Thanksgiving less than a week away, I’ve decided to share the sides that are a MUST in our house. Ryan is in charge of frying a turkey, smoking another, and the oysters, but I’m in charge of the sides that he feels are mandatory. 

I think we can all agree that stuffing is a must-have with the Thanksgiving spread. It happens to be one of my absolute favorite sides too, so several years ago I set out to make the most epic stuffing possible. I think I’ve achieved it – try it and see for yourself.😋

Begin with a couple large loaves of good, soft, unsliced bread. I use a combo of white and wheat. You’ll need about 9 cups total of bread cubes. Lay them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Set aside. 

Sauté over medium heat in 3/4 cup of butter the following: 1.5C diced celery, 3/4C diced onions, and 1C mushrooms (optional) until soft. Now stir in 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp sage, 1/2tsp thyme, 1tsp poultry seasoning, and 1/4tsp pepper. 

Toss seasoned veggies with bread cubes in large mixing bowl. Add in 1C chicken broth to moisten. 

Transfer into a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350 (uncovered) for 35-40 minutes. You can thank me later – Enjoy!!

Inspired by – Chef In Training 

Epic Fish Tacos

These tacos can be made with a variety of fish and with a variety of different seasonings. This is how I make our white fish tacos (and will share my red snapper seasoning in another post). 

These are made with tilapia. I season the loins with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and dried parsley. Warm a couple tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat until the oil begins to ripple. Cook the fish for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel lined plate. 

I serve these with my 234 sauce (2tbl mayo, 3tbl Greek yogurt, & 4tbl Franks hot sauce) and pico (recipe on blog). As a side I like either my Best Black Beans, Mexican Corn Salad, or Mexican Street Corn (all on blog).

Warm raw corn tortillas (Tortilla Land are awesome) and serve immediately. So, so good. 

The most EPIC Mac & Cheese

This is not an over statement – it really is the best Mac I’ve ever had, and my friends and family would agree. It’s a bit tedious, but WELL worth the effort!

Begin by shredding 8oz of gruyere, 10oz of white cheddar, and 10oz of yellow cheddar. 

Now warm 3.5 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of heavy cream together over medium heat in a saucepan. 

In a large saucepan melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter bubbles, whisk in 1/2 cup of flour. Whisk for about a minute until it combines and thickens. 

Slowly add in your warm milk/cream mixture whisking continuously until sauce thickens and bubbles. 

Remove from heat and add 2tsp salt, 1/4tsp nutmeg, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, & 1/4tsp black pepper. 

Stir in grated cheeses. 

Now add 2lbs cooked elbow macaroni. 

Prepare 6 slices good white bread, crust removed and ripped into 1/2inch size pieces. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of melted butter over the breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Cover your pot of macaroni with breadcrumbs and bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes until top begins to brown. Enjoy!😋

Adapted from: Eat Drink Smile

Grilled, Cheese Stuffed Banana Peppers

With yesterday’s harvest of 15 banana peppers and 18 jalapeños, we felt compelled to try something new.


We took a small batch of 5 banana peppers and hollowed out the seeds and membranes.

Slice them lengthwise almost all the way down one side. 

Combine 4oz of cream cheese and 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt. Then add: 2 cloves minced garlic,  1/4tsp basil, 1/4tsp oregano, 1/2tsp salt, pinch of pepper, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup parmesan. Fill each pepper with mixture. 

We capped the ends with foil and put them on the grill until they blackened on the bottoms and began to brown on top. 

These were really tasty, however, we love spicy food, so next time we make them we will either use spicy cheese or leave some of the seeds inside!

Adapted from: Cooking a la Mel

Baked Zucchini Fries

With our abundance of beautiful zucchini from our garden, I decided to give this recipe a try. It exceeded my expectations, and was quick and easy to prepare. 

After slicing up 2 huge zucchinis, I combined 1 cup of Panko, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and salt/pepper. In small batches I dredged my fries through flour, then beaten egg, and then my Panko mixture.

Place a cooling rack (or 2) on top of your baking sheet and coat thoroughly with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the fries begin to turn golden brown. Enjoy this delicious guilt free snack plain or pair it with aioli, marinara, or ranch dressing.

Adapted from: Damn Delicious

Grilled, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

With a million jalapeños from our garden and a cheat day/Father’s Day upon us, what better way to use some of our fresh produce than load them up with cheese. These were a bit labor intensive, but worth it.

I used 12 jalapeños and halved them, removing the seeds and membranes.

Combine 1 cup shredded cheddar, 8oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Use a dinner knife and spread each half with as much as it will hold.

Cut 12 strips of bacon in half and wrap each jalapeño, placing a toothpick in each to hold the bacon in place.

Grill with the cheese side down for 6-8 minutes and then flip and grill until the bacon blackens.

Try not to eat the entire batch!

Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Roasted Mexican Street Corn🌽

This corn is just as easy to prepare as it is delicious….and you don’t even have to fire up the grill! Begin with 5-6 corn cobs still in the husks. Place them on the racks of a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until tender.

They will look like this when they are done, and the smell is absolutely amazing.

Remove the husks and rub about a tablespoon of unsalted butter on each ear.

Then sprinkle with chili pepper, cotija (Mexican grated cheese), chopped fresh cilantro and lime juice. Wow, just wow.

Adapted from: Damn Delicious

Homemade Dill Pickles

Another summer staple is the almighty dill pickle. Nothing completes the sandwich and chips trio more perfectly.  Well, with the insane amount of cucumbers we have growing, I knew I wanted to not only have cucumber water in the fridge daily, but also plenty of pickles! They could not be any easier to make. 


I used 3 of our garden fresh cukes about this size. 

Chop off the tops and bottoms, and slice the haves into spears. 

Bring 3.5 cups of water and 1.25 cups of white vinegar to a boil. Then add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and remove it from the heat. Let cool completely. Meanwhile, chop up a small container of fresh dill and put it in the bottom of a large mason jar. Cram as many cucumber spears as will fit on top of the dill. Drop a teaspoon of minced garlic on top and a handful of black peppercorns. Then pour the cooled mixture in. Once you screw your top on, give it a good shake and put them into the fridge. So Good.👍🏼

Adapted From: My Frugal Adventures

Farmers Market Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of the most delicious side dishes in my opinion. It is a summer food that pairs perfectly with everything from burgers to chicken to mile high sandwiches. The key to amazing pasta salad is using the freshest veggies and fruit during the peak of the season. 

I start with a nice hearty pasta cooked al dente such as a penne or rotini. Then I combine the following in a large bowl:

-A container of mixed rainbow cherry tomatoes, 2 small zucchinis sliced into half moons, 1 red pepper thinly sliced, 1 cup corn sliced off the cob, a few green onions sliced finely, 2 ripe, firm peaches sliced, 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (optional), and a handful of fresh basil and cilantro chopped. 

Now, you can put just about any homemade dressing on top but this one tastes perfect with this salad:

Combine 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, 1/2 cup EVOO, juice and zest of a lemon, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 1/4 cup chopped basil. Pour over mixture, combine, then fold in your pasta. Enjoy!!!

Adapted from: Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen