Category Archives: Side Dish

hasselback potatoes

hasselback potatoes | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comOkay, so I am willing to bet that you have probably already seen this of baked potato somewhere. But, I thought I would post the recipe (if you can call it that) just in case. Because this twisted baked potato is totally worth trying.

I particularly like it because (a) I can it with my hands (I don’t know if that’s how it’s meant to be eaten, but I find it way easier) and (b) it has more crispy edges than your traditional baked potato. And I could definitely use some more crispy edges in my life.

In other news, I am so happy this day is almost over. I hate Mondays. And not because it’s the first day of the week but because Monday is definitely one of my longer days of the week. Although it is one hour shorter than Fridays. Which is just great (note the sarcasm) because I start and end my week with pure awful.

Anyhow, I’m in class from 11 to 4 on Mondays. Which might not seem that bad. But I don’t have any break (no lunch people… well… besides a granola bar. But does that really count?) and it is pretty much a non-stop bore. No offense to any my professors or anything. But, they’re not exactly teaching the most enthusing of subjects.

So, this lack of lunch has led me to eat two dinners tonight. Yep. I have reached an all time low. Right after class I bought a taco salad. Which I convinced myself was healthy even though I know I’ve looked up the nutritional information on that before and it’s definitely around 700-800 calories.

Really? A salad?

Convinced that it was healthy, after doing a little homework and taking a shower, I decided I was hungry again and I really wanted something hot to eat since everything I’d eaten today was cold. So I proceeded to eat a 900 calorie pizza. Ummm…. oops?

On that note, I don’t know how people do raw diets. Don’t you want something warm? Or ice cream? Everybody wants ice cream.

hasselback potatoes

Makes 4 Servings

4 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Starting at the end of a potato, cut slices into the potato widthwise as close together as you can get them. Try to cut as close as you can to slicing through the potato, but do NOT slice all the way through (if you do, no worries. Just prop the pieces up together during baking and you should be okay). Do this for the entire length of the potato.

Wedge butter pieces every so often in between the slices of the potato. This comes out to be about half a tablespoon of butter per potato. Drizzle with olive oil and rub down with salt.

Place in a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for about 60-90 minutes, until the potato is cooked through and the edges are getting brown.



roasted garlic broccoli

roasted garlic broccoli | drag it through the gardenI bring to you a quick and easy recipe to get those veggies packed into your meals… in a way you will want to eat them! God knows I need all the help in that department I can get.

I am sorry about the lack of posts this past week. And I’m sorry if you have written me a comment and I have not responded. I was really on top of my updates for a while there. School just got super crazy within this last week and I am still trying to get on top of it. This whole Spanish senior thesis thing is driving me up a wall, mainly because (a) I have to re-read two Spanish books probably by next week, (b) I want to be in a blow-off non-literature-based Spanish class instead of writing this, and (c) I don’t want to have to present this in April… which I will have to do in front of a bunch of professors, unfortunately. I am already nervous.

Between that, having to write my chemistry senior thesis, all of my other classes and labs, and the start of hockey season (Let’s go Blues!), I have surrendered myself to the fact that I will probably have a minimal social life this semester.

roasted garlic broccoli

Makes 4 servings

6 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from half a lemon

Preheat oven to 375°F. On a baking sheet, toss together broccoli, olive oil, salt, and garlic. Spread out in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-23 minutes, until broccoli is cooked through and a little crispy in some parts. Squeeze lemon juice over broccoli and serve.

spicy kale chips

spicy kale chips | drag it through the garden

Kale chips and me? We have had a unique relationship. The first time I had ever heard of them was on some cooking show. And the only thing I could think was that it was some weird ploy by the health nuts of the world trying in vain to satisfy their snack cravings. And I thought they (the kale chips I mean… not the health nuts) looked disgusting.

The first time I tried kale chips… well, I did not like them. Not one bit. I suppose that statement wouldn’t make you want to try them for yourself if you have never delved into the world of crispy kale, but just for the record, I cooked the living hell out of them. Hence, the repulsion.

The second time I made them, I liked them. They were pretty good and a decent alternative to the supermarket staple of grease-packed potato chips. You know, the kind where you open the bag and you are shocked that whichever company could get away with putting so few chips inside?

The third time I cooked them, I loved them. Now, 80% of the time when I think about chips and how much I would love to eat an entire half-filled bag of them, I turn to kale chips. No joke.

Nineteen percent of the time I am too lazy to go to the store to get either potato chips or kale to make kale chips. And that last 1%, I give in to my cravings.

If you have never had kale chips, try them. Seriously. With or without the red pepper flakes. But, me? I like a little spice in my life.

spicy kale chips

Makes 4 to 5 servings

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl, mix kale with olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes until all leaves are evenly coated. Transfer to a baking sheet so that the kale forms a single layer (you may need to use two or more baking sheets for this). Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned around the edges.

red wine and garlic mushrooms

red wine and garlic mushrooms | drag it through the gardenThis is not the original recipe I had planned to post today, but a friend of mine just reminded me that exactly a year ago today, we left to spend a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain. So, in honor of that journey, I decided to switch it up a bit and let you all enjoy a taste of Spain with these red wine and garlic mushrooms.

Versions of these mushrooms make an appearance on many of the menus in tapas bars around Madrid. Red wine and garlic represent two of the three food products that are so prevalent in Spanish life and cooking (the third being olive oil). These mushroom embody that garlicky flare that is common in Spanish food, but they won’t make you break a sweat in the kitchen (and that is always a plus in my book).

I know it sounds like an overused cliché, but I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. It seems like just a month ago that I left for my adventure in Spain and postponed my life here. And although I was freaking out (to put it lightly) the night before I was set to leave, I am so happy that I took a leap of faith and decided to go.

Even though I was happy to come home and resume my life here, there will always be a part of me that longs to go back to my home in Madrid.

Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain

Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain

red wine and garlic mushrooms

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup red wine
16 oz. mushrooms (I used cremini, but you can use whatever kind you want)
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted and begins to bubble, add in garlic, stirring frequently, until it turns just golden, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in red wine and return mixture simmer.

Add in mushrooms and toss to coat with sauce. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Remove lid, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking on medium-low heat for an additional 5-8 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through and the bottoms are golden.

Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle parsley over the top.

Source: Slightly adapted from Bev Cooks

haricot verts with honeyed pecans, blue cheese, and bacon

I think I should probably start this post off by telling you how much I love haricot verts and how much I love pecans and the combination of the two just make everything better.

That’s not the complete truth though. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of green beans (besides the canned French-cut ones that hardly even resemble green beans). I don’t really even care for pecans that much… or any type of nut besides pistachios.

But, I do love bacon and blue cheese. I mean, who doesn’t?

My taste preferences aside, I do actually like this dish. Every flavor inside is pretty strong, but no one flavor overpowers the other. The honey also adds a nice touch of sweetness to the haricot verts.

And if you need complete approval of this dish from someone who actually likes to eat haricot verts and pecans, just ask my family. It’s a pretty good sign when all the veggies are gone at the end of dinner…

In other news, I went to a nearby craft store yesterday to pick up some supplies so I could venture into cake-pop-making. Anyhow, on my way back home…


I was rear-ended. My very, very first accident. I suppose at least it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t hurt or anything. My car is drivable, but definitely needs some repairs sometime soon.

All in the name of cake pops.

Haricot Verts with Honeyed Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Bacon

Makes 6 Servings

4 slices thick-sliced bacon (or 6 slices regular bacon)
1 pound haricot verts, ends trimmed
¾ cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey
4 ounces blue cheese (I used Stilton)

In a large frying pan, add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove to a paper towel. Once cool enough to handle, break up into pieces.

Add haricot verts to bacon grease on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, toast pecans in a medium non-stick pan over medium high heat. Once the pecans have a bit of color on them, add honey and toss until evenly coated. Leave on heat for 2 more minutes, tossing frequently. Add to pot with haricot verts along with crumbled bacon.

Once haricot verts are tender, remove to a serving dish. Crumble blue cheese on top and serve.

Source: Adapted from Claire Robinson 

southwestern quinoa

I’m always looking for healthy side dish options for dinners. But, I usually get stuck in ruts and can’t really think of anything to make. There’s the usual steamed veggies, maybe a sweet potato, or rice.

So, when I realized I had a bunch of quinoa in the pantry and a delicious recipe printed, I jumped at the opportunity to switch things up a bit.

The lime vinaigrette in this dish brightens things up a bit while the black beans keeps it hearty enough to not feel like cardboard health food.

This is definitely a recipe that I’ll go back and make again.

Southwestern Quinoa

Print this recipe

Adapted from Gourmet
Makes 5 Servings

1 c. uncooked quinoa
1 tomato, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar

In a large bowl, combine lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a sieve, rinse quinoa well. Add to a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve. Return saucepan to heat with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer. Place sieve over water (the sieve should not be touching the water). Cover with a kitchen towel, then with a lid. Keep simmering for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Remove lid, but keep towel over quinoa for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add quinoa to bowl with dressing and combine. Mix in tomatoes, scallions, and black beans. Serve.

sweet potato fries

Oh, French fries. I hardly ever eat them anymore. But, that’s probably because the only fast food I ever get anymore is St. Louis Bread Co… or Panera Bread for all the non-St. Louisans. So, these sweet potato fries were a delicious alternative to the regular deep-fried white potatoes. I might even go out on a limb and say they were even better.

Feel free to substitute any spices that you want on these. I bet these would even be yummy with just salt and pepper.

Anyway, I have to keep this short. My sister and I are going to tan on the deck this afternoon and my kiddie pool still needs to be blown up. So, we might look like four year olds in the yard, but at least I’ll be getting my vitamin D.

Sweet Potato Fries

Print this recipe

Adapted from Cook Yourself Thin
Makes 4 Servings

3-4 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
¾ tsp. chili powder
¾ tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut sweet potatoes (skin-on) in 1/2-inch rounds. Slice into finger-size pieces. Place into a bowl. Toss with olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.

Lay flat in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, tossing every once in a while, until crispy.