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Oven Roasted Broccoli

By Polly Conner

This simple side dish will turn your broccoli-hater into a broccoli-lover! Our 3 ingredients Oven Roasted Broccoli is DELISH!

Friends, take me seriously when I tell you that cooking broccoli this way will convert your family into broccoli eaters. Want proof?

  • My husband who has turned his nose up at broccoli his entire life now scoops a generous portion of this onto his plate.
  • My two-year-old repeated the phrase, “Mo brockwy” at least five times when we served this at dinner for the first time.
  • When we went to a tailgate a few days later, the same two-year-old passed up the chips and other junk food for a handful of raw broccoli (thinking it would taste the way I made it.) She wasn’t too happy when she took a bite to find out it didn’t have the flavor of the oven-roasted goodness.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to steaming broccoli. We are oven roasted converts.

The Three Simple Ingredients in Oven Roasted Broccoli

This side dish is incredibly easy. To be honest, I don’t even measure the ingredients any more. Once you get the feel for it, you will be able to make it intuitively as well. The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • Broccoli – using fresh is far better than roasting it from frozen. BUT from frozen will work in a pinch.
  • Olive oil – another great option is avocado oil.
  • Sea salt – I have for sure used table salt, kosher salt, and even garlic salt and they all work.

Raw broccoli on a baking sheet

How Long do I Roast the Broccoli?

This really depends how crispy you want your broccoli to be. Anywhere from 13-18 minutes will have it done. I like mine pretty charred so I error on the longer side. If it’s not browning up like you want it to, you can always broil it for a minute or two at the end!

Overhead shot of oven roasted broccoli

How to Store and Reheat Roasted Broccoli

Like most leftovers, you’ll want to store your roasted broccoli in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

To reheat, I highly recommend using a toaster oven or your oven. If not, the reheated broccoli will be pretty soggy and sad.

What to Serve with Roasted Broccoli

Roasted broccoli would be a great side dish for SO many meals. Here are a few ideas:

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Oven Roasted Broccoli

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Oven roasted broccoli is the perfect side dish for your next meal. It is perfectly crispy, does not get soft, and has fantastic flavor because of the olive oil and sea salt.


Ingredients

  • 23 heads of broccoli, cut up
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the florets off of your broccoli and put them all in a ziplock bag
  2. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt
  3. Shake it up until broccoli is coated with oil
  4. Spread broccoli out on greased baking sheet
  5. Cook at 450 for about 13 minutes.

If you like roasted vegetables, you might also like:

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Vegetable Hash

Sweet and Savory Carrots

Make Ahead 10-Minute Cranberry Sauce

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Wow your guests at your next holiday meal with this deceptively simple Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce. The best part is that you can work ahead and freeze it, so you can spend more time with loved ones at your gathering.

Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce with orange zest and fresh cranberries

To be honest, I used to think cranberry sauce came from a can, and I wanted nothing to do with that gelatinous mound of goo. Yuck! Once I tasted homemade cranberry sauce many years later, though, I realized what an amazingly delicious, tangy-sweet side dish it is!

homemade cranberry sauce in a glass bowl with orange and rosemary as garnish

What’s in This Sauce?

When first making my own cranberry sauce, I learned that it is one of THE easiest and most beautiful holiday side dishes ever, producing “ooos and ahhhs” every year it shows up at the holiday table.

My recipe includes fresh or frozen cranberries, fresh orange juice and zest, honey, and several autumnal spices. You can even toss in a little bit of fresh, minced rosemary if you’d like, too. The smell is out of this world!

zesting orange over homemade cranberry sauce in a pot

My daughter, age 12 now, has been making this Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for many years now. Homemade cranberry sauce is THAT easy. It really only takes 10 minutes to come together!

girl making homemade cranberry sauce

Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

You can definitely freeze homemade cranberry sauce! In fact, we double the recipe at Thanksgiving and freeze half for Christmas!

To freeze your sauce, let it cool and then seal and freeze it in a BPA freezer bag, a freezer container with lid, or a mason jar (leave 1 inch of head room at the top).

When you’re ready to use it later, let the cranberry sauce thaw in the refrigerator or use one of these 3 safes ways to defrosting it. Warm it up over low heat on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.

homemade cranberry sauce in a glass bowl with fresh cranberries, orange, and rosemary as garnish

Cooking and freezing ahead is one of our top 10 tips for making a big holiday meal less stressful!

Main Dishes That Go with Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce isn’t just for turkey. Serve it up alongside one of these main dishes, too.

Holiday Ham with Cranberry-Orange Glaze

spiral sliced ham on a serving dish with parsley and grapes

Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

pork tenderloin

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this beautiful, aromatic, and EASY side dish at your next holiday meal.

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cranberry sauce

Make Ahead 10-Minute Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups (6 servings) 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top or Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This cranberry sauce is made with all real food ingredients, comes together in just 10 minutes, and can be frozen ahead of time. So delicious!


Ingredients

  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted
  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • Zest of 1 medium orange (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Instructions

Make It Now

Stovetop Method: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey, 1/2 cup water, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Instant Pot Method: Turn on the Sauté function. Combine the cranberries, honey, 1⁄2 cup water, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Freeze For Later

Let sauce cool completely. Seal and freeze in a freezer bag or freezer container with lid. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen

Thaw. Warm gently over low heat on the stove, in a crock pot, or in the microwave.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

By Polly Conner

Crispy Smashed Potatoes are an easy side dish sure to please even the pickiest eater. They are easy to customize and will make you feel like a pro in the kitchen (even though they require very little cooking skills.)

Crispy Smashed Potato on a baking sheet

What Potatoes Should I Use for Crispy Smashed Potatoes?

You’ll want to use a small variety of potato for this recipe. I used Yukon Gold potatoes. They have the smoothest texture and squish (that’s a technical cooking term) very easily!

How Do I Make Them Crispy?

Here’s how you’ll get that glorious contrast of “moist in the middle and crispy on the outside” texture. In short, you’ll boil or pressure cook the potatoes, give them a squish, and then roast them.

First, you’ll need to cook your potatoes until tender. Here are some ways to do that:

  • You could easily boil them using this method.
  • Use the Instant Pot! I cooked mine for 12 minutes at high pressure with a quick release in the Instant Pot. Here’s a cooking times chart for reference on other types of meals.
  • You could steam them on the stove top. Add about 1 cup of chicken stock or water and the potatoes to a pot. Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and steam for 10-15 minutes.

Once you’ve cooked your potatoes, lay them out on a greased baking sheet and SQUISH THEM! This is a fun part for kids to do. I’ve found that using the bottom of a glass is an easy way to do this.

Using mason jar to smash yukon potatoes

After you’ve smashed your potatoes down, you’ll want to season them up. You can also have fun with this.

Drizzle olive oil over the tops of them to help them get crispy in the oven. Your pan will get messy. Fret not. This is quite normal.

Now, add seasonings that make you happiest in life. Some ideas:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • Fresh minced rosemary
  • Salt (lots of salt in my opinion!)
  • Pepper
Smashed yukon potatoes seasoned and ready for the oven

Next, you’re going to roast those puppies!

Beware. They smell SO good.

Fully cooked smashed potatoes

What to Serve with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

These make a great side dish for a lot of different types of main dishes. Here are some ideas:

Crispy smashed potatoes on a plate with salad and steak
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Crispy Smashed Potatoes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Steamed
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Delicate Yukon gold potatoes are cooked, seasoned and roasted in the oven. Quite likely to become your next favorite side dish.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes (recommended: Yukon gold)
  • 34 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh thyme, rosemary. Top with chives and parmesan after cooked!

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes using this quick stovetop method. Or, cook them in the Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water to the bottom, place potatoes on the trivet, lock and seal the lid, cook at high pressure for 12 minutes, and use a quick release of pressure. Drain and pat dry the cooked potatoes. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  3. Place cooked potatoes on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet
  4. Use the bottom of a mason jar or glass to partially flatten the cooked potatoes.
  5. Drizzle olive oil generously over the potatoes and evenly sprinkle the seasonings over the potatoes.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and crispy. Serve immediately!

Notes

Potatoes can be prepped in advance through Step 5 and sit out a few hours before baking.

Asian Slaw

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This light, flavorful Asian slaw is a delicious, healthy side dish that is perfect for the spring and summer months. Serve it with some grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and watermelon and you have yourself a perfect meal.

Asian Slaw

A Short Video of How Asian Slaw Comes Together:

Asian Slaw makes a perfect light side for a summer dinner or a “no mayo” salad for an outdoor BBQ. It’s made with fresh veggies and gives that satisfying crunch while still providing tons of flavor. Here is a short video of how it comes together!

Asian Slaw in a white bowl

You know that delicious slaw salad made from Oriental Ramen Noodles? Well, unfortunately, that recipe is usually full of processed ingredients and MSG.

The good news is, my friend Carla took a stab at making a homemade version of that dressing. I then tweaked the recipe resulting in a delicious Asian Slaw recipe that is healthy and still awesome-tasting according to our husbands and friends.

What’s in Asian Slaw?

The ingredients in Asian Slaw are quite simple and require very little prep. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cabbage slaw mix
  • Chopped green onion
  • Almond slivers or slices
  • Dried cranberries
  • Sunflower seeds
  • 1 crisp pear or apple
  • Optional: grilled chicken

You could also toss in some edamame, peanuts, or snow peas. Play with it! Have fun!

The dressing has a handful of ingredients that you likely have in your pantry.

Ingredients for Asian Slaw

What to Serve with Asian Slaw?

While this recipe can be used any time of the year, I seem to gravitate towards it in the summer time. Here are some ideas that it would pair well with:

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Asian Slaw

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings for main dish; 6-8 servings as a side dish 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This light, flavorful Asian slaw is a delicious, healthy side dish that is perfect for the spring and summer months. Serve it with some grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and watermelon and you have yourself a perfect meal.


Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Slaw Ingredients:

  • 16 oz bag of cabbage slaw mix
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers or slices
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 crisp pear or apple, diced in small chunks
  • Optional: 1 1/2 lbs grilled chicken, diced

Instructions

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a sealed jar and shake until combined. Chill in the fridge while making the rest of the salad.
  2. Toast the almonds at 350°F for about 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Watch closely so they don’t burn.
  3. Approximately 30 minutes before serving, combine the slaw ingredients and then toss with part of the dressing. Taste and then add more dressing, as needed.
  4. Optional: To add grilled chicken, make a second batch of the dressing. Marinate chicken breasts in that mixture for 1-2 hours and discard the marinade. Grill chicken over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let rest for 5 minutes and then slice on against the grain and top the Asian Slaw.
Asian Slaw in a white bowl on a cutting board

Oven Baked Steak Fries

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This steak fries recipe turns out perfectly crispy and seasoned, thanks to a few tricks including a secret ingredient. Plus, this oven baked method is healthier and less messy than frying!

steak fries dipped in ketchup

I’ve been making this steak fries recipe at home for many years. Not only do they taste like restaurant quality, but they are much healthier thanks to the oven baking method.

Tips for Making Crispy Oven Baked Steak Fries

To make sure your oven baked fries turn out right, follow these tips to make them crispy:.

1) Soak the cut potatoes in a bowl of water for 30 minutes or more. Then, drain and rinse them. This removes some of the starch from the potatoes.

potatoes cut into steak fries in a bowl of water

2) Dry the potatoes really well using a dish towel or paper towels.

potatoes cut into steak fries in a towel

3) Season with our secret ingredient in this recipe! Believe it or not, just a little bit of sugar in the seasoning mix helps the potatoes to caramelize in the oven and produces delicious flavor. Be sure to season these fries well before they go in the oven and after (to taste).

potatoes cut in the shape of steak fries on a sheet pan

4) Make sure the potato wedges don’t touch or over lap so they can get nice and crispy on both sides. Be sure to flip them halfway through the cook time. I’ve found that using parchment paper underneath makes for much easier flipping and clean up.

oven baked steak fries on a sheet pan

How to Make Crispy Oven Fries at Home

Making homemade steak fries is not only cheaper and healthier than eating out, but they really are easy to make. Once you’ve done this a time or two, it will become like second nature.

Here’s how to make Steak Fries in the Oven..

What to Serve with Oven Baked Steak Fries

Oven Baked Steak Fries are one of our favorite side dishes. They go well with some of these main dishes…

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

chicken burger on a bun with cheese on a plate

Pesto Burgers

Freezer friendly pesto burgers

Mini Wild Salmon Patties with Lemony Avocado Sauce

Steak Fries Recipe

Once you learn this method for making homemade steak fries, you may never have to make a trip to Red Robin for their fries again!

oven baked steak fries on a sheet pan
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steak fries dipped in ketchup

Oven Baked Steak Fries

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 68 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Try your hand at these yummy, healthy oven steak fries. With just a bit of sugar added, you’ll amaze your friends and family with how good these taste.


Ingredients

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed clean (no need to peel them)
  • 12 tablespoons avocado oil (sub: olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (this addition makes a big taste difference!)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and then slice into steak fry wedges, about 1/4-1/2 inch wide each. (Just make sure they are all about the same size to ensure even cooking.)
  3. Soak the fries in a large bowl of water for about 30 minutes or until you’re ready to bake them. (This helps remove some of the starch and makes them crispier in the end.)
  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then pat them very dry with a dish towel. (This is a VERY important step! They must be really dry.)
  5. Rinse and dry out the large bowl and return the potatoes to it. Toss with enough oil to coat them, sea salt, a few cranks of fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, and sugar.
  6. Spread out the potatoes in a single layer on the two sheet pans. Make sure none of the fries touch, so they can get nice and crispy all around.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Then, flip the fries over with a spatula, and rotate the pans by moving the one on the top rack to the bottom and vice versa. We also recommend rotating the pans themselves 180 degrees, so the front is now in the back of the oven and vice versa. (Rotating the pans like this helps with even baking.) Bake another 10-20 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn. 
  8. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper, as desired. Serve while hot with ketchup or our Avocado Aioli.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

By Polly Conner

Do you have a green bean hater? I dare you to try this bacon-wrapped green bean recipe. I dare you.

Bacon wrapped green beans on a white plate

I took the dare and I now have a transformed husband who looks forward to his green beans. Not to mention my kiddos who eat them up as fast as all the other food on their plates. I also love this recipe because it looks super fancy when in reality it takes very little skill to assemble.

Want to take the dare?

How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Par-cooked Bacon on foil

Cook 6-8 pieces of bacon about half way done. You don’t want them cooked all the way because they are going to go into the oven. You don’t want them too undercooked because they won’t get finished in the oven. Half way. Trust me on this one. I cooked my bacon for about 6 minutes but it really depends on the type of bacon you use.

Meanwhile, wash and snap off the ends of about 1 pound of green beans. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and toss green beans into boiling water. Let boil for only 3-4 minutes. They should turn bright green and be softened a tad.

Fresh green beans in a strainer

Now, gather about 6-8 green beans and wrap them up in either 1/2 piece of bacon or a whole piece. It kind of depends on how healthy you want to be OR how much of a green bean hater you have at your dinner table.

Green bean hater=full piece of bacon.

Once you’ve wrapped up your green bean bundle, stick it all the way through with a toothpick. This holds the bacon in place, thus holding your green beans in place.

Sprinkle the tops of your bundles with a little salt, pepper, and brown sugar.

Bacon-wrapped green beans on a foil lined pan

Bake your green bean bundles in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.

Bacon-wrapped green beans on a white plate

More Great Side Dish Ideas

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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Do you have a green bean hater in your house? Try this simple, no-fail bacon and green bean recipe. You’ll convert everyone who tries them!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound bacon (here is where we get our favorite bacon)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bake the bacon on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes, until cooked but not crispy at all. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil green beans for about 2 minutes, until still crisp and only partially cooked through. Drain in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
  4. Wrap 6-8 green beans with 1/2 piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
  5. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top of bean bundles.
  6. Cook 15-20 minutes at 400°F until the bacon is done to your preference.

What goes well with bacon wrapped green beans?

Here are some ideas that bacon wrapped green beans would go great with!

How Long to Boil Baby Potatoes (+ Delicious Recipe)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Looking for an incredibly simple side dish for a weeknight meal or a special occasion? Boiled baby (or small) potatoes take very little time to cook and only a few ingredients to look stunning and please everyone at the table.

Boiled baby potatoes in a white bowl

Video Tutorial: How to Prepare Boiled Baby Potatoes

Tips for Making Delicious Boiled Baby Potatoes

Start by selecting the smallest potatoes you can find. If they are not bite-sized, you may want to cut them in half. Make sure they are all roughly the same size, so that they boil at the same rate.

baby potatoes in a metal pot

The key to making these baby potatoes look appetizing and festive is finding an assortment of blue, red, and yellow baby potatoes. I see these all over the place now, even at Aldi and Walmart. The fresh or dried parsley flakes you’ll add at the end lends a little pop of color that add to the holiday feel.

boiled baby potatoes on a white bowl

I’ve given a range on the seasonings, so you will have to taste and adjust to your liking. Our family really enjoys a sprinkling of grated Parmesan on the potatoes at the end, but it’s totally optional.

How Long Should I Boil Baby Potatoes?

Add enough water to your pot to cover your baby potatoes by at least 1 inch of water. Bring it to a boil and salt the water liberally. Boil the baby (or small) potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.

What Main Dishes Go Well with Boiled Baby Potatoes?

Here are some of my favorite main dishes to make that go with Boiled Baby Potatoes:

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

You won’t believe how easy and delicious these Boiled Baby Potatoes are! It’s hard to mess these up. You can even make extras and save them in the fridge for leftovers for lunch or dinner another day.

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Simple and Delicious Boiled Baby Potatoes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Boiled (or small) baby potatoes take very little time to boil, yet this side dish looks stunning and will please everyone at the table.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds small baby potatoes (preferably an assortment of red, blue, and yellow)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed 
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • Optional: 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. If your potatoes are not bite-sized, then cut them in half.
  2. In a large pot, add enough water to cover your baby potatoes by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat (put on the lid to help it boil faster). Then, salt the water liberally once it’s boiling.
  3. Boil the baby (or small) potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. 
  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander over the sink and then return them to the pot.
  5. Gently toss the potatoes with the butter, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, the pepper, the garlic powder, and the parsley. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or garlic powder, as desired. Stir in Parmesan, if desired.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Dairy-Free Option: Use ghee (lactose-free clarified butter) or olive oil instead of butter. Leave out the Parmesan cheese.

Kosher Salt Substitute: If subbing table salt for the Kosher salt in this recipe, use about half as much.

How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Thank you to my mother-in-law for this quick trick on how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave! Did you know that cooking corn on the cob doesn’t require dirtying up a pot, heating up the kitchen, or waiting for a gallon of water to boil? I sure didn’t.

Microwaved corn on a gray plate with butter

Get this. You can cook your corn on the cob to perfection in the microwave. It’s especially helpful when you only need to cook a few ears at a time.

Video Tutorial: How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

Directions to Microwave Corn on the Cob (Without Husk)

Here’s the foolproof and ridiculously easy trick that I like to call the 3-Minute No Boil Corn on the Cob Method:

1 – Take your shucked ear of corn and wrap it in a moist paper towel so that it is entirely wrapped.

Raw corn wrapped in a damp paper towel

2 – Place it in your microwave and nuke for 3-4 minutes. 3 minutes works for my microwave, but yours may take a smidgen longer. Note: I usually do two ears at the same time and they turn out fine.

Corn in the microwave

3 – Using a potholder or towel, remove the hot ears of corn. They will continue to cook a bit if you leave it in the paper towel after you remove it.

Corn on the cob after being cooked in the microwave

4 – Butter and salt and enjoy some perfectly done corn on the cob!

How Long Do You Microwave Corn on the Cob Without a Husk?

Bottom line: Wrap each shucked ear of corn on the cob in a damp paper towel and microwave for 3-4 minutes, depending on your microwave oven.

I sure hope you enjoy this simple method for cooking corn!

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How to Cook Corn in the Microwave

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: 4 ears 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Don’t have time to wait for water to boil? Not enough daylight left to turn on your grill? Then try this 3-minute, no boil microwave method for corn on the cob. It’s a winner!


Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • paper towels
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Take your shucked ear of corn and wrap it in a moist paper towel so that it is entirely wrapped.
  2. Place it in your microwave and nuke for 3-4 minutes. *3 minutes works for my microwave, but yours may take a smidgen longer. Note: I usually do two ears at the same time and they turn out fine.
  3. Using a pot holder or towel, remove the hot ears of corn. They will continue to cook a bit if you leave it in the paper towel after you remove it.
  4. Butter and salt and enjoy some perfectly done corn on the cob!
Microwaved corn on the cob with butter

If you do have time to grill, make sure to check out our Simple Trick on How to Grill Corn on the Cob.

You also might like our 30+ Real Food Grilling Recipes!

collage image of grilling recipes.

Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots

By Polly Conner
Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

Little fun factoid of the day:

In the book, Salt Sugar Fat, I learned that the man responsible for popularizing baby carrots was a top executive for Coca-Cola. After years of using his genius marketing strategies towards promoting a sugary beverage, he realized he was a major contributor to the health crisis in western countries. In an effort to rectify the harm he had done, he set out to use the same marketing strategies to promote something healthy–the baby carrot. In short, he marketed baby carrots as a junk food (not as an antidote to junk food). Very quickly, baby carrots became a regular item in homes, vending machines and other food venues.

Probably like you, baby carrots are very much a staple in our home. My kids love them and they seem to be a go-to veggie when nothing else sounds good or I don’t have time to make something. While I do like a fresh baby carrot, it’s fun to tinker with recipes that give them a new flavor.

Sweet and Savory Baby Carrots

I’m pretty much a sucker for any sweet-savory combination so it is no surprise that I liked this recipe. I was inspired by this recipe but made tweaks with what ingredients I had on hand.

It’s super simple to make. Simply mix together all of the ingredients, minus the carrots.

Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

Now stir in the carrots, making sure they are all coated with the glazed goodness. Place them in a baking dish or on a baking sheet and cook them for 30-40 minutes. I like mine a tad on the firm side so I cooked mine for 30. If you like a little more mush to your cooked carrot, let them cook for around 40.

Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

Behold. You have now created a super flavorful baby carrot.

Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

I think these would be a great side dish to any of these dinners:

Balsamic Shredded Beef

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Chicken Nuggets - They are AWESOME!
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Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pound 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Try this sweet-savory twist on carrots. These make a great side dish to almost any dinner.


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/8 tsp ground thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound baby carrots

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the carrots. Mix well.
  2. Add carrots into the mix until they are all covered in the glaze.
  3. Place carrots into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (depending on how done you like them.)

 

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Bowl of salad
This colorful Cranberry Spinach Salad and Creamy Citrus Dressing came from my mom and was a delightful hit at our family’s Christmas celebration.

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

The dressing is just about perfect in my estimation–citrusy, light, yet creamy-tasting. A simple mix of baby spinach, dried cranberries, feta or goat cheese crumbles, and some toasted pecans was complemented well by the Creamy Citrus Dressing. Honestly, this is my favorite kind of salad–one that is topped with fruit, some good cheese, toasted nuts, and an interesting dressing.

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing in white bowl

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is a darn good salad recipe that my mom passed on to me!

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

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Cranberry Spinach Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

Spinach Cranberry Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large salads or 8 side salads 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Spinach, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and toasted pecans are the perfect winter salad match for this light and delicious Creamy Citrus Dressing.


Ingredients

Creamy Citrus Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Spinach Cranberry Salad:

  • 8 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

Creamy Citrus Dressing:

  1. Pour all ingredients in a mason jar. Close lid tightly and shake until combined. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Spinach Cranberry Salad:

  1. Toss all ingredients together. Voila!

Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly. Since I was in charge of bringing some type of broccoli casserole to Thanksgiving this year, I searched high and low for a recipe that could be made in advance (since we had to drive 2 hours that day) and that most people would like.

I came across Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole recipe. I mean, a Pioneer Woman recipe has never served me wrong so I thought it was a no brainer. Well, I’m glad I gave it a trial run before making it for Thanksgiving because, well, I didn’t like it. (Please note-the pictures in this post are from when I made it the FIRST time. I have since tweaked it so if you make it, it may look a bit different).

I made quite a few changes to the recipe. First of all, the original recipe was WAY too much rice. I also felt like it needed more broccoli and veggies so I upped the amount of broccoli and added in some cauliflower.  With a few other tweaks, I got the recipe to be where I wanted it. I thought it was pretty dang good! I felt confident about the dish I was bringing (and that felt somewhat representative of my cooking abilities to my in-laws). Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Well, pride comes before the fall, my friends. I probably should have known that at a large Thanksgiving, people have LOTS of options and little space on their plate. When a broccoli and rice casserole is competing with cheesy twice baked potatoes, buttery rolls, three different types of turkey and so on, it pretty much doesn’t stand a chance. It just wasn’t fair to put the broccoli casserole to caramelized sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Or maybe I’m making excuses. I don’t know. For one reason or not, the broccoli casserole was not a hit. Just being real here.

Despite the majority of the crowds turning their nose at it, I stand by my recipe. I liked it and think it is worth sharing. It was full of flavor, filled with seasoned veggies, and made a great side dish. If you’re a broccoli and rice lover like me, you’ll probably like it too.

Ready or not, here is how to make Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Preheat oven to 375.

Time to get that wild rice cooking. Combine rice with 4-5 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until rice begins to break open. Mine took about 35-40 minutes, but follow the instructions on the package. As I mentioned above, the pictures I have are not necessarily representative of what it should look like. I used half of the rice in the picture below AND this rice should have cooked a bit more. 

Once the rice is cooked, set it aside or go ahead and spread it out in a 9×13 casserole dish.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Meanwhile, get to chopping up all of those veggies. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Finely chop the other veggies up. This recipe does have a lot of chopping to do so use a food chopper if you have one! Otherwise, give your forearms a pep talk because they are about to get a workout.

To make sure your broccoli gets cooked, you’re going to need to give it a head start. This means cooking it in boiling water for a minute or two then blanching it (removing it from the boiling water and plunging it into icy water to stop the cooking process). After this step, spread it out evenly over your wild rice.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Now it’s time to make the good stuff. In a large pot, melt about 6 tablespoons of butter and then toss all the rest of your diced veggies in with it. Stir frequently for about 8 minutes until they are softening and turning a bit darker.

Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate it, then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine in separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Cover with foil and bake your casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more until the breadcrumbs brown a bit.

Enjoy!Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

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Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy, fresh ingredients and freezer friendly. Take this to your next family gathering!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Wild Rice
  • 10 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, more If needed for thinning
  • 1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter
  • 4 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 package (8oz) white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 whole medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Start cooking your wild rice. Combine 4-5 cups chicken broth with wild rice. Bring to a boil (follow the cooking instructions that are on the wild rice package or cook the rice until it has just started to break open and is slightly tender). Mine took about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and set it aside.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli by throwing the florets into boiling water for 1½ to 2 minutes. Immediately drain and plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove it from the ice water and set it aside.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add all of your vegetables and cook them, stirring frequently for about 7-8 minutes. When they start to soften and turn a bit brown, they are done.
  4. Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then layer on the broccoli. Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.
  6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine in separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.
  7. Cover with foil and bake the casserole at 375 for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Optional: sprinkle on the parsley after you remove it from the oven.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Follow steps 1-6. Freeze before cooking.

To Prepare:
When ready to cook, let thaw completely and follow step 7.

Balsamic Dressing with Herbs

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This light and fresh balsamic dressing will enhance any salad you pair it with. Enjoy this easy, healthy dressing!For Thanksgiving, I worked up this new dressing recipe and it did not disappoint. Several family members commented on the outstanding flavor of this salad/dressing combo. Although I love my mom’s Balsamic Parmesan Salad Dressing, this one tastes a bit lighter and more fresh, especially with the addition of the dried herbs. It’s also very versatile and can be used on almost any type of green salad you can dream up.

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balsamic dressing with herbs

Balsamic Dressing with Herbs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups dressing 1x
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This light and fresh balsamic dressing will enhance any salad you pair it with. Enjoy this easy, healthy dressing!


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, crushed in hand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Crowd Pleaser Green Beans

By Polly Conner
Green beans in a blue baking dish

For some reason I have always preferred canned green beans versus fresh. Maybe it’s just what I grew up on, but I have never been able to LOVE fresh green beans.

However, when I saw the Pioneer Woman make this recipe on her show, I knew I had to give them a try. I have yet to find a recipe of hers that I don’t like, so I was hoping these green beans wouldn’t be the exception.

I was right! Even my husband who claims he doesn’t like green beans at all went back for seconds. It probably doesn’t hurt that they have a little bacon grease in them. If bacon is in any recipe I make, my husband has an open mind.

They are worth a try for your green bean haters.

Green beans on the stove
Green beans
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Crowd Pleaser Green Beans

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 56 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Have a picky eater in your house? Try these crowd-pleasing green beans. A touch of bacon grease and a combo of fresh veggies makes a delicious side dish!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (can substitute 2 tablespoons butter)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (can substitute regular tablesalt, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Snap the stem ends of the green beans
  2. Melt the bacon grease (or butter) in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the garlic and onions and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add the green beans. Toss and cook for about 1-2 minutes
  5. Add the chicken broth, chopped red pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid, leaving the lid cracked to allow steam to escape.
  7. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the beans are fairly soft, yet still a bit crisp. Usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes depending on cooking temperature.
  8. You can add more chicken broth during the cooking process, but don’t be afraid to let it all cook away so the onions and peppers can start to caramelize.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Food Network

Creamy Avocado Dip: For One or For a Crowd

By Rachel Tiemeyer

creamy avocado dip recipe

As afternoon snacks go, dark chocolate chips and peanuts rank #1 in my book. But, Creamy Avocado Dip might come in at #2. This healthy and filling dip is a great love of mine for lunch or for snacking.

You can also whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer for a crowd. Pinky swear that it doesn’t taste “healthy”–just creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.

I must note that my absolute favorite salsa in this recipe is the Double Roasted Salsa from Trader Joes. We always stock up on it when we’re in the city. As you may know, I heart TJs.

Check out more of our healthy snacks here and appetizers here. I hope you can enjoy some of this green goodness soon!

creamy avocado dip

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Creamy Avocado Dip

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (single serving) or 8 (crowd directions) 1x
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You can whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer or for a crowd. It is creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.


Ingredients

  • For One:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 12 tablespoons of salsa (I love Double Smoked Salsa at Trader Joe’s in mine!)
  • 12 tablespoons of plain Greek Yogurt (fat-free works fine)
  • For a Crowd (serves 8-10):
  • 8 avocados
  • 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 23 lemons)
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (fat-free works fine)

Instructions

  1. Remove the avocado flesh with a spoon and place in a bowl. Add lemon juice and smash with a potato masher or back of a fork until smooth.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Stir to combine.
  3. Add in salsa and Greek yogurt and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Serve with fresh veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers) and/or chips.

Basic Roasted Vegetables Recipe

By Rachel Tiemeyer


This no-fail veggie recipe is a sure hit. You can use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

Build Roast it, and they will come eat.

I’ve found this mantra to be so true over the years–from Brussel Sprouts to Asparagus to Purple Potatoes and Carrots to Broccoli. My young kids will try just about anything roasted! And, this simple recipe for Roasted Vegetables is the key.

This no-fail veggie recipe is a sure hit. You can use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

The basic recipe came from Ina Garten on Food Network, but I use my own vegetable mixture every time. Really, experiment with whatever veggies you have on hand. Some ideas: carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash, mushrooms, peppers, parsnips, radishes, purple potatoes. Be sure to cut up the vegetables into similar-sized pieces and watch them closely so they don’t burn. But, honestly, it’s hard to mess this dish up.

This no-fail veggie recipe is a sure hit. You can use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

Get ready to make some veggie eaters out of your family. Keep at it and they will come eat!

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Basic Roasted Vegetables

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Description

This no-fail veggie recipe is a sure hit. You can use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge to make up this crisp, yummy side dish.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled (sub: 1 pound baby potatoes)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded (about 2 pounds) (sub: 2 cups Brussels Sprouts)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil (enough to make sure all veggies are coated)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (add more to taste at the end)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, and butternut squash (or whatever starchy veggies you desire) in 1 to 1 1/4-inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don’t cut them too small.
  3. Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss well and spread out on the pan. Bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula halfway through. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Creamy Citrus Pasta Recipe

By Polly Conner

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light. It is a flavorful dish that you'll love to serve up.

I seriously can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this citrus pasta recipe. After my friend Sara shared this dish with me that she found in a Rachel Ray cookbook, I’ve been making it for years. I’ve made a few tweaks, but it’s pretty close to the original. Its creamy sauce is full of flavor and has proven to be a hit with all ages.

I really like to serve it with roasted broccoli and wheat dinner rolls. It can be a great pasta dish for the summer, too. While it’s warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light.

Give it a whirl if you are looking for a new recipe!

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light. It is a flavorful dish that you'll love to serve up.

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Creamy Citrus Pasta Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the citrus flavor makes it seem fresh and light. It is a flavorful dish that you’ll love to serve up.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 navel orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (I leave this out)
  • 12 leaves fresh basil, chopped or torn
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat linguine, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (I just use Parmesan)
  • (optional: add 1 lb of cooked shrimp to the pasta. I love it this way!)

Instructions

  1. Boil a pot of water and add linguine.
  2. While pasta is cooking, warm the cream over low-medium heat.
  3. Add in the cognac or dry sherry, lemon and orange zest, and salt; simmer 7-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add mint and basil.
  5. Toss the hot, drained pasta with the sauce and grated cheese.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. (I like to throw a small handful of Parmesan cheese on top of each dish right before I serve it.)

Garden Greek Salad Recipe

By Rachel Tiemeyer
You can make this simple salad almost any way you like it. The simple dressing highlights the yummy, fresh produce.

It’s not often I get addicted to a salad and can’t stop eating it. But, I did with this Garden Greek Salad. (Oh, and this one, too.) Who doesn’t want to be addicted to veggies?!?

You can make this simple salad almost any way you like it. The simple dressing highlights the yummy, fresh produce.

The simplicity of the dressing highlights the freshness of the produce this time of year and lends some sweetness, as well. So, load up on the Garden Greek Salad and pat yourself on the back when you binge on this dish!

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garden greek salad

Garden Greek Salad Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

This simple and sweet Greek Garden Salad highlights summer’s best produce!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered as needed
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cucumber (or 1 bell pepper of a different color), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 small ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • a handful of fresh herbs (I prefer basil and parsley)
  • 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients together and serve.
  2. If it sits in the refrigerator for a little bit, the flavors get even better!

Roasted Purple Potatoes and Carrots

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Roasted Potatoes and Carrots Recipe

Have you ever had purple potatoes? My son picked them out at Natural Grocer a few weeks ago (that’s one of my keys to getting the kids to try new foods) and they were delightful. The bluish-purple hue popped against the carrots when I served them. And, since you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth, it made for a delicious and beautiful side dish. The rosemary and thyme lent some deeper character to them, as well.

But…get this. Purple potatoes are much better for you than white potatoes. Why? This Chicago Tribune article reports that their bluish-purple color is “due to the antioxidant powerhouse anthocyanin…This flavonoid has been shown in studies to possess anti-cancer and heart-protective effects, as well as benefits such as boosting the immune system and protecting against age-related memory loss. U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis of potato varieties reveals that their content of phenols (powerful plant antioxidants) rivals that of broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts.”

If I have choice in potatoes to roast, purple is my pick!

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Roasted Purple Potatoes and Carrots

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Have you ever cooked with purple potatoes? If not, check your local store for these beauties. They are full of anti-cancer ingredients and may help fight against memory loss.


Ingredients

  • 23 purple potatoes (they are fairly small), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 23 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 12 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or a few good cranks)
  • 34 sprigs of thyme, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, stems removed and minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Toss well. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

7 Layer Taco Dip Recipe (Healthified!)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

A simple, healthy appetizer fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meatless meal.

I’ll give you 3 reasons why you need to make this dip soon:

1 – It’s an easy, no-cook and healthy meal. I left this in the fridge, and we ate on it for lunch, snacks, and dinner throughout the week. Not only can you dip tortilla chips but carrot sticks, as well. Seriously one of my favorite meals.

2 – Perfect for a Thanksgiving or holiday party appetizer. You can throw this app together in about 15 minutes and there’s no cooking required. Plus, who doesn’t love this dip? It’s sure to be a party favorite.

3 – This version of the 7 Layer Taco Dip is actually healthy! Let’s take a glance at what’s in my version:

Beans = fiber, protein, low in fat and calories (Make sure you either make your own refried beans or buy organic to avoid strange ingredients. I’ve found that the Vegetarian Refried Beans in my store had the least amount of ingredients and were the lowest in fat, as well.)

Avocados = good fat, vitamins, minerals

Yogurt = probiotics, calcium, protein (By the way, yogurt is a near perfect substitution for sour cream! It adds some awesome probiotics.)

A little cheese = calcium, protein

Veggies of your choice (lettuce, tomatoes, olives) = fiber, vitamins, minerals

And, to make this even cheaper and healthier, whip up some of your own taco seasoning to have on hand for this appetizer and more recipes like our favorite Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas.

homemade taco seasoning mix

Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Now, you’re not sure your kids will eat 7 Layer Taco Dip, are you? And for moms like me, that’s always a factor when taking time to prepare food. Well, I’m here to say that at least one of my kiddos did eat this when I improvised a bit. I scooped out some of the beans, guac, and cheese part (minus the veggies on top), rolled it up in a tortilla, and warmed it up. She loved it when it looked “normal.” The other little people had to make due with leftovers or sandwiches that night.

Ready to get your 7 Layer Taco Dip on? Here’s my simple, healthy recipe fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meal.

A simple, healthy appetizer fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meatless meal.

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7 Layer Taco Dip Recipe (Healthified!)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Americna==an

Description

A simple, healthy appetizer fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meatless meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 can refried beans (look for organic or make your own)
  • 23 avocados, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups plain organic Greek yogurt or whole milk yogurt
  • 12 tablespoons taco seasoning (according to your taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded romaine or green leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • a few sliced olives, optional for garnish

Instructions

  1. Spread refried beans in large glass bowl or pan.
  2. In a small bowl, smash avocado. Stir in lemon/lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread avocado mixture over dip.
  3. Combine taco seasoning with yogurt. Spread over avocado layer.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of cheddar cheese on top.
  5. Top with shredded lettuce, then chopped tomatoes, and then chopped olives (optional).
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

By Polly Conner
The unique flavor from the glaze makes these sweet potatoes taste out of this world!

We get a little crazy with the sweet potato recipes around Thriving Home. Rachel has found amazing ways to sneak them into banana breadbiscuits, pancakes, and even french toast. If you poke around our Recipe Index you will have no problem finding lots of recipes that include them. Why are we so crazy about sweet potatoes? Because they are seriously good for you.

The unique flavor from the glaze makes these sweet potatoes taste out of this world!

While Rachel may be the queen of baking with sweet potatoes, I have stumbled upon a flavorful way to cook them that I can’t get enough of. This is an easy sweet potato recipe that only requires a few simple ingredients. The glaze adds such a unique flavor from the sweet potatoes that I’ve never tasted before. Ready for some serious YUM?

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easy sweet potato recipe

Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American

Description

The unique flavor from the glaze makes these sweet potatoes taste out of this world! If you’re not a sweet potato fan, you will be after this recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 23 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (for easy clean up).
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, bring balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until vinegar thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add butter and salt and stir until butter melts.
  4. Add potato pieces to skillet; toss to coat. Season potatoes with freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Spread potatoes evenly on the rimmed baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are tender and golden, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.
  6. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to large platter or bowl and serve.

Jane’s Grilled Peaches Recipe

By Polly Conner

This grilled peach recipe is an explosion of flavors. It’s a perfect side dish for your next cookout! Grilled peaches are also a great recipe for large groups.

grilled peaches on a grill and on a plate.

Ever had grilled peaches? I hadn’t until this weekend. At first I was a bit skeptical. Especially when I saw that there was Gorgonzola cheese involved. However, after my first bite, I was sold on this grilled peaches recipe.

It was an explosion of different flavors that somehow deliciously complimented each other. I also love that it just has a few simple ingredients: Peaches (preferably Freestone peaches), honey, Gorgonzola cheese, balsamic vinegar, and a little olive oil. 

peaches on a grill

Want to give these grilled peaches a shot?  Here’s how you make them. 

Heat your grill to about 400 degrees.

Using freestone peaches if possible, slice peaches in half and remove the seed.

Brush the cut side of peaches lightly with olive oil.

Place peaches face down on grill and cook 1-2 minutes.

peaches on a grill

Flip peaches over, so the cut side of the peach is up. Fill the seed hole with Gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle with honey. Now drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Close the grill lid and let the peaches cook until they are soft. Ours took about 5 minutes.

Carefully remove peaches from the grill so that the ingredients remain in the peach seed cavity.Peaches on a grill

Serve warm and enjoy the flavorful combination!

Thanks to our friend, Jane, who gave us this yummy grilled peach recipe!

Loving those in-season peaches? Here is a post on how to save and freeze fresh peaches for the future!

If you liked this, here are a few other grilling ideas:

Rosemary Shrimp Scampi Skewers

Garlic Honey Chicken Kabobs

Grilled Sirloin Steak Kabobs

Mini Italian Burgers

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Jane’s Grilled Peaches Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Grilled peaches create an explosion of flavor! Perfect side dish for a summer cookout.


Ingredients

  • 46 Peaches (preferably Freestone peaches)
  • Honey
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat your grill to about 400 degrees.
  2. Using freestone peaches if possible, slice peaches in half and remove the seed.
  3. Brush the cut side of peaches lightly with olive oil.
  4. Place peaches face down on grill and cook 1-2 minutes.
  5. Flip peaches over, so the cut side of the peach is up. Fill the seed hole with gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle with honey. Now drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  6. Close the grill lid and let the peaches cook until they are soft. Ours took about 5 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove peaches from the grill so that the ingredients remain in the peach seed cavity.
  8. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These sweet potato biscuits are packed with Vitamins A and C. Try these healthy, flavorful biscuits as part of your next meal.

As you might know, I love finding ways to sneak more vegetables into food for my kids.  One of our favorite and fast side dishes is Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits.

The sweet potato adds moisture and a hint of sweetness, and the whole grain mix makes them more nutritious than your average biscuit.  Even my husband–who was raised on amazing buttery homemade biscuits–likes these.

Check this out. Your biscuit dough will look orange because it’s full of Vitamin A and C-rich sweet potato.

These sweet potato biscuits are packed with Vitamins A and C. Try these healthy, flavorful biscuits as part of your next meal.

Then, you’ll simply drop biscuits by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet. I doubled the recipe for my fam, because the people will eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

These sweet potato biscuits are packed with Vitamins A and C. Try these healthy, flavorful biscuits as part of your next meal.

Last night we had them for dinner with Homemade Chicken Nuggets and some steamed broccoli. Success for all ages, I cry!

These sweet potato biscuits are packed with Vitamins A and C. Try these healthy, flavorful biscuits as part of your next meal.

One ingredient you’ll need to have on hand is a good whole grain baking mix. I found mine in the bulk food section of our natural grocer, but I’ve also bought it at Trader Joes in a box before, too. This shortcut is what makes the recipe so quick and easy!

You’ll also need some buttermilk, which isn’t something I normally have in the fridge. Instead, I’ve found that dry buttermilk mix (something like this) is handy to keep in the pantry, since the fresh stuff often goes to waste. The dry mix works very well!

These sweet potato biscuits are packed with Vitamins A and C. Try these healthy, flavorful biscuits as part of your next meal.

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Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 regular biscuits (or 8 jumbo) 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These sweet potato biscuits are packed with Vitamins A and C. Try these healthy, flavorful biscuits as part of your next meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 1/4 cups whole grain baking mix
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice (or cinnamon works)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Wrap sweet potato in a paper towel. Microwave on high until soft, 4 minutes. Scoop flesh into a bowl and mash; set aside.
  3. Place baking mix and butter in a bowl; rub butter into mix with fingertips until large pea-sized crumbs form. Add sweet potato, buttermilk and allspice; mix until just combined.
  4. Drop dough by big spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet (making eight total).
  5. Bake until biscuits are firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Bake biscuits as directed. Cool completely. Place in freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
To Prepare:
Wrap biscuits in damp paper towel and heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds.