Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Guys, this is one of my favorite side dishes of all time – and frankly I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it here on the blog. Slow roasted garlic, butter, fresh parsley, and tender red potatoes mashed up into a delicious heap of goodness.

It’s a nice change of pace from the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, and the flavor is just wonderful. It takes a little bit more time and forethought, as you have to roast the garlic ahead of time before mashing the potatoes – but trust me, it’s worth it! Roasting the garlic, as opposed to just using garlic powder, really mellows and deepens the flavor – so it doesn’t have that harsh bite that many garlic mashed potatoes have.

I like to add parsley, for a little pop of color and bright flavor, but it’s great with other herbs as well – I’ve used some chopped rosemary and thyme in the past, and both were wonderful. This side dish would be great on your Easter table, paired with ham or turkey. Or, it’s always my go-to side to serve with a homey traditional dish like meatloaf. It’s a favorite in my family, and I know it will be one in yours as well.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Growing up, Brussels sprouts were always one of those things that I thought I didn’t like – probably because they were usually frozen and then steamed. All in all, mushy and flavorless. A few years ago I took a recommendation I’d seen somewhere and tried roasting them. Mind blown. Wonderful rich flavor, tender yet with some bite left, not to mention they were absolutely beautiful when cooked.

At first I roasted them simply with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. But somewhere along the line I started adding a little balsamic vinegar into the mix before roasting, and I haven’t looked back since. It adds a depth of flavor and a slight tangy note that pairs so perfectly well with the veggie. Some people add it after the roasting process, but I like to add it before as the heat really mellows the flavor of the vinegar as well – mingling all those flavors together.

They’re great served with just about anything, and I’ve even been known to save leftovers to toss with a little bit of pasta with olive oil and garlic the next day. Makes a delicious and easy lunch!

So if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, definitely give this recipe a try. I promise it will be eye opening and life changing! People are always shocked when I tell them that they’re one of my little ones favorite vegetables, but when they’re this good – there is no excuse for anyone not to love them. Give them a try!

Veggie Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of the best “quick & easy” dishes out there. It’s filling, economical, and versatile. The perfect way to clean out the refrigerator at the end of the week! This time around I used carrots, peas, scallions, bean sprouts, and a scrambled egg. I’ll usually make this as a side dish whenever I make my mother-in-law’s famous egg rolls. I always had leftover bean sprouts, and I hated to let them go to waste. This was a great way to use them up, as well as being a way to fill tummies up that isn’t fried, or as labor-intensive.

You do have to think a bit ahead of time when it comes to the rice. Using rice that has been chilled is key to a good fried rice. If you use fresh, hot rice – you’ll end up with a sticky ball of mess. By using cooled rice, the grains of rice stay separated – creating the perfect fried rice. I also love the addition of egg to the mix. You don’t see egg in fried rice that often anymore, and it’s something I always loved, so I knew I wanted to add that as well.

It makes a pretty large batch, enough to eat for dinner one night and a couple of extra servings for lunch. You could certainly add a protein as well, if you wanted to make it a complete one-dish meal. Shrimp or chicken are my favorites. Just saute in the pan, and remove before cooking the veggies. A favorite that is guaranteed to be made again and again. Enjoy!

Singapore Mei Fun

I love making our favorite Chinese take-out dishes at home. They’re always tastier, healthier, and much easier on the old pocketbook. Jon’s favorite dish to order-out, hands down, would have to be Singapore Mei Fun. Now, I realize this probably isn’t anywhere close to the noodle dishes you’d actually find in Singpore – but let’s be honest, what comes out most Chinese restaurants in this country  actually is authentic? Am I right?

Soft rice noodles, sauteed with all kinds of crispy yet tender vegetables – and a protein if you like, all in a delicious spicy sauce chock full of curry. I’d never had it before her ordered it, he used to be a General Tso’s guy…but switched to this when he was trying to lose a little weight, and years later he’s still never gone back. I’ve almost grown to love it over my beloved lo mein noodles! Our local place always adds a scrambled egg to the stir-fry, which I feel is a great addition as it helps to soak up any extra sauce and flavor, so I added that to my at-home version too.

It turned out really great, and was a fairly quick and easy meal. I just softened the rice noodles while I was prepping the veggies (stuff I had laying around in the fridge and pantry), stirred together the spices with some soy sauce and sesame oil, and stir-fried for a delicious dinner. I sliced up half a pork tenderloin that I had from a meal earlier in the week and added it to the mix, to add a little protein – but shrimp, leftover chicken or beef would also be great. Ff you wanted to make it vegetarian try adding tofu, or even just bulking up the veggies. And by using your favorite soy sauce substitute, it’s easily gluten-free. You can also switch up the spices in a bit – adding more or less Sriracha or red chili flakes to adapt the heat to your liking. We like it pretty spicy, but I realize not all folks do.

This is one I’m definitely glad to be adding to my repertoire, as it’s a favorite of our whole family! 

Source: adapted from Messy Kitchen Stories