Spice Up Your Side Dishes

In the 1950’s dinner was predictable most often consisting of meat, potatoes, a vegetable, and bread & butter.  Those days of mashed potatoes and canned peas are over!   Today with our country becoming a melting pot of cultures & cuisines, beef tenderloin can end up being paired with bok choy and ahi tuna with fried kale chips. Side dishes have long taken a back seat to the entrees when in reality the side’s are what can take a dish from ordinary to exquisite.  Most importantly, it doesn’t have to be an elaborate process to whip up a healthy delicious side item. Some of these wonderful side’s can be prepared in as little as six minutes. So next time when your planning a family dinner and are thinking about what side to serve,  forget the fifties and spice it up with something new, healthy, & delicious and something your family can appreciate & savor.

Green  Beans Amandine

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt (optional)
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper, to taste 


  1. Place beans in a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until crisp-tender, drain and set aside
  2. In a large skillet, cook almonds in butter over low heat until slightly golden brown, add minced garlic, stir in lemon juice and seasoned salt.  Add beans and heat through. 
  3. Season to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Wild Rice & Squash Pilaf 

This pilaf is a great side with poultry or fish. 

  • 1 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 c finely chopped peeled winter squash (butternut)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped   (Time Saver:  You can find these items in the grocery store already diced and measured)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 c cooked wild rice (Time Saver:  Let rice cook while your working on other ingredients.)
  • 1/2 c chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP  soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried savory  (thyme or sage will make for a fine substitute)
  • 1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted,  (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms, squash, onions, and green pepper in oil until crisp-tender.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute longer
  2. Stir in the rice, broth, soy sauce, and savory.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 13-15 minutes or until squash is tender, stir in almonds if desired. Season with salt & pepper.

Simple Roasted Asparagus

  • 2 lb fresh asparagus
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to a broil.  Snap off and discard the ends of asparagus (there will be a natural break).  Arrange in 2 (15×10 inch) jelly-roll pans.  Drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Broil in 2 batches, 5 inches from heat for 4 minutes until tender.  Sprinkle with sugar, salt & pepper.  (I like to squeeze a little lemon juice over the top as well, or drizzle with a nice balsamic just before serving)


Bon Appetit!


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