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.

Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

If I had to choose a favorite cuisine, it would be Mexican. It’s something that I really came around to during my first pregnancy, and it definitely stuck with me. Sadly, our only local Mexican restaurant closed it’s doors a few months ago – which means we have to drive 40 minutes north or south to go out…and that’s really sucked this time around as far as pregnancy cravings are concerned.

I already have a few really good enchilada recipes up my sleeve, but sometimes you just need something super-quick and easy. That’s where these bean and cheese enchiladas come in. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand to make them, they come together quickly, and they’re filling and delicious.

If you’re worried about spice, don’t be – they aren’t spicy. The green chilies are very mild, but add a nice bite of flavor. I wrote the recipe using canned pinto beans, but I’ve been soaking my own beans lately and doing it the “old-fashioned” way. If you’re down with that – you’ll need about 3 cups of dried beans. I’ll cook them with a smoked ham hock, ham base, or some bacon for a little extra flavor. But,  rest assured they’re great with canned beans too! Also, take a few minutes and make your own enchilada sauce. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to throw together, and the results are so much more delicious (and economical!) than the stuff from the can. Just saying…

They’re gooey and delicious with the use of flour tortillas and plenty of cheese. We all really loved them, Andrew declaring that they’re his second favorite enchiladas – right behind the beef. Which is really saying something considering that my chicken version was the favorite meal in the house for quite a few years!

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!