Sides Dishes

Calico Beans

I have been making these beans for years.  The recipe originally came from my sister.  It is a very easy recipe to alter to suit your taste.  My sister makes these with ground beef, which would make them a nice main dish.  I usually leave the ground beef out and make these beans as a side dish.  You can also vary the type of beans you use.  I usually make these beans in the crock pot, but you can also put it all into a 13" x 9" in. pan and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.  Enjoy!

Calico Beans


1/2 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
1 (15 oz) can pork & beans
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) Great Northern beans, drained
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup chopped onion
3 tbs cider vinegar
1 lb ground beef, if desired

Pour all ingredients into a slow cooker.  Cook on low four hours or on high for two hours.  Alternatively, put all ingredients in a 13x9 in. pan and bake at 350 for 45-60 min.




Baked Oven Fries

These fries were amazing!  They were easy to make and so delicious!  They will definitely be a regular in our house!

Baked Oven Fries
via:  Annie's Eats


3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges
5 tbs vegetable oil, divided
3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, plus more to taste


Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this). Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

7-Up Biscuits

Image Source: Plain Chicken

This recipe is from Plain Chicken (love her!).  They were easy to make and came out so delicious!  The biggest challenge was that this recipe makes a very sticky dough.  It was not easy to pat them out and get them into the pan without having dough stuck to everything (even with using extra baking mix on the counter and my hands).  I think next time I make this, (and there will be a next time) instead of patting and cutting the dough I might just be a little more rustic and grab globs of dough and put it in the pan :-).

7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-up
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.
Cut sour cream into biscuit mix, add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.
Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan.  Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Glazed Carrots with Rosemary

Oh these carrots were yummy!  They make a wonderful side dish to chicken or beef.  I drizzled mine with some honey when they came out of the oven to add a little extra sweetness.  

The original recipe says to use the long carrots, not baby carrots.  Honestly, I think these would be just as good with baby carrots.

Glazed Carrots with Rosemary
Source: Jamie Cooks it Up

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

10 long carrots 
2 T salted butter, melted 
4 T brown sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped
4 T fresh orange juice
1/8 t cracked pepper
1/4 t cracked sea salt

1. Peel the carrots and chop off the tops and the very tips. Cut each carrot into sticks.
2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, rosemary and orange juice together in a small bowl.
3. Place the carrots in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the butter mixture over the top.
4. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Check them after about 20 minutes and give them a little stir.
5. After taking them out of the oven crack the pepper and salt over the top. Stir to incorporate, cover and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Easy Parmesan Knots

Last Sunday I had a very sweet friend over for a visit.  Because she loves food just as much as me, I made Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti, lettuce wedge salads and these delicious rolls. 

Because they are made with very simple ingredients - canned biscuits, oil and a few seasonings, they came together really quickly.  You could easily vary the seasonings to suit your tastes.

Easy Parmesan Knots
via Real Mom Kitchen


1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I did use the green can stuff)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture.



Twice Baked Potatoes

On Sundays I love to cook a really yummy meal.  One that takes a little more time and effort since I don't get to make things like that during the week.  If you love baked potatoes with all the fixins you will love these.

These potatoes are a bit time consuming making them the perfect weekend side dish.  Or you can make them ahead and just heat them up for a quick and delicious side dish during the week!

My recipe is for four people but you can easily adapt it to make as many as you need.  Just increase the sour cream.
Twice Baked Potatoes

4 russet potatoes
8 oz. sour cream
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese
4 tbs. butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped green onion (optional)
olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Scrub the potatoes under cold running water until clean.  Rub the skins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (I prefer Kosher salt but regular salt is fine too). 

Bake the potatoes directly on the rack of the oven for 90 minutes or until a knife goes in easily.  (If your potatoes are really large they will probably take closer to 2 hours to cook).  Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.  Then cut them in half lengthwise and allow to cool until you can handle them without burning your hands.

Once cool, scoop the potato out into a bowl, leaving about 1/4 inch border.  You do not want the skins to collapse.  Mash the potato with butter.  Mix in the sour cream, bacon, cheese and green onion.

Fill the potato shells with mashed potato mixture.  At this point you can wrap them up and put them in the fridge to use another day.  If making the same day, put potatoes on a cookie sheet, sprinkle some paprika on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through.  I like to then pop them under the broiler to crisp up the tops.

NOTE:  You can also bake your potatoes in the microwave to save massive amounts of time.  But I really think cooking them in the oven helps them keep their shape and makes the skin (which is most nutritious part) so much more delicious!



Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

I have had the recipe for this side dish for quite some time and for some reason haven't made it...until now.  See, that's what I love about this blog.  It's, more like encouraging me to try new recipes.  And believe me, I have tons of them!

The recipe for this side dish came from and all I have to say is WOW!!!  It was really, really good!  Delicious!  Easy and so tasty!  Now who doesn't love that kind of recipe?  I will definitely make this one over and over again!  YUM!  

Ok, now onto the recipe.

The Stars of the Show: Orzo, butter, chicken broth, parmesan cheese, dried basil.  The original recipe calls for fresh basil.  I didn't have any so I used dried and it was still delicious!

Orzo is a rice shaped pasta (in case you've never cooked with it before).  It can be found right next to all the other dried pasta in any grocery store.  Above is my cute little Peanut modeling it for you!

The first step is to brown the orzo in some melted butter.  Just melt some butter and pour in the dry pasta.  You don't have to stir it constantly but you do want to give it a stir every few minutes to make sure it doesn't burn.  Browning the orzo first gives it a real yummy flavor.

This is what it will look like when it is browned.  Once it's browned you are going to pour in your can of chicken broth and bring it to a boil.  Once it's boiling be sure to turn down the heat to med-low, cover the pan and leave it alone for about 15-20 minutes.  I did give mine a little stir about halfway through just to make sure it was doing ok and not sticking to the bottom.

Here is what it looks like when it's done.  You want most of the liquid to be absorbed, but you don't want it to be dried out.  At this point, you turn off the heat and add the parmesan and basil and stir it to combine.  Then try not to burn your mouth as you dig into it!

So delicious!  Please don't let my bad photography keep you from trying this recipe :-).

Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

2 tbs. butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 (12.5 oz.) can chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy skillet over med-high heat.  Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.  
 Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Cover.  Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
Mix in Parmesan cheese and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a shallow bowl.  Garnish with basil sprigs if desired.

Herbed Steak Fries

This is a great recipe for jazzing up store bought, frozen french fries.  

In general, I like to try to avoid extra salt and preservatives by cooking my meals from scratch.  But there are certain convenience foods that really do make preparing dinner quicker and easier.  

As a full time working mom, using some of these items is a necessity.  Frozen fries make a very easy side dish and are something I use regularly.  

This recipe makes frozen fries so much more special than just regular fries and ketchup.  I just love the flavor of the olive oil and the basil and they have just the right amount of saltiness.  

I usually serve them with my All-American Hamburgers but they would also be great with sloppy joes, cheese steaks, subs or even steak!

The Stars of the Show:  Frozen steak fries, olive oil, garlic salt, dried basil, seasoning salt and dried parsley.  You can always vary the herbs on these fries.  They would be wonderful with rosemary or thyme also.

Mix the oil with the seasonings, add the frozen fries and mix it up.  So fast and easy but makes the fries taste so good!

Spread the fries in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Try to keep them from overlapping to maximize crispiness.  Throw them in the oven and you're done!!  So easy!  

And did I mention how great these fries taste with just a little extra work?  

I would have liked to take a picture of them after they were finished cooking but my hungry family dug into them too fast!

The next time you pull a bag of frozen fries out of your freezer you should give this recipe a try!

Herbed Steak Fries

4 cups frozen steak fries
1 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss to coat.  Arrange steak fries in a single layer in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.