Category Archives: Sides

Potato Bacon Bites

bacon wrapped potatoQuick one today – these are very similar to the Sweet Chicken Bacon Bites I’ve posted before only this time with potatoes. The fact is, you can wrap pretty much anything in bacon and it will taste good, but there’s something particularly good about both chicken and potatoes. (There is a reason for that I’ll discuss in an upcoming post on bacon.)

The trick to this recipe is to get the smallest new potatoes you can find. They are sweeter, faster to cook and you can double your mileage from the bacon by cutting the strips in half. Of course you can do larger potatoes too but you’ll need more bacon.

Anyway, here goes…

Ingredients
5-6 small new potatoes per person
equal number of tooth pics as potatoes (plus a couple just in case)
3 strips of smoked streaky bacon per person – preferably American bacon (dry cured) if you can find it
olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

Wash the new potatoes and pat dry. Set aside. Cut the bacon strips in half and wrap around the potatoes, securing with a tooth pic.

Place the wrapped potatoes on a lightly oiled baking tray and add a couple of drops of olive oil to each. Add a generous amount of salt & pepper – if you’re using American or dry-cured bacon you probably won’t need any additional salt like you will if you’re just using smoked streaky bacon.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is crispy and potatoes are soft. Times will vary each time you make them depending on the size of the potatoes but generally 25-30 minutes is enough.

Serve immediately.

Cornbread Bites

cornbread_bites

These make a great snack for any homesick American who misses corn dogs.

I use our cornbread mix for the dry mixture but this is essentially the same.

Ingredients:
8-10 hot dogs – all beef if you can find them, cut into 2.5cm pieces
2 eggs
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 190C (375F)

Sift together the baking soda, cornmeal, flour, and salt. Give it a quick stir around to make sure it’s mixed well. In a separate bowl combine butter and sugar and mix. Then the eggs and mix. Then the buttermilk and mix.

Now, add the dry mix into the wet mix. Don’t do it all at once or you may get some lumps. I normally do it in two or three batches.

Line a mini muffin tin with butter, and put 1 tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup. Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (oven temperatures vary), or until cornbread is golden brown. Cool in mini muffin tin for 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, and re-heat for 20-30 seconds before serving.

Homemade Southern Cornbread

cornbreadCornbread is definitely a Southern specialty that warrants a homemade, scratch recipe – particularly considering you can’t buy the dry mix anywhere in the UK.

We originally had to come up with our own recipe for cornbread because we needed the dry portion of the mix for our Cornbread Casserole recipe. In fact, a lot of the recipes we’ll post are for basics that any American would be able to go to the store and buy (but should make at home). Anyway, I digress.

Here’s how we do it.

Ingredients
290 ml milk
225 g coarse cornmeal (maize flour for polenta)
55 g  plain flower
55 g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
2 eggs – lightly beaten
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon caster sugar

Personally, I prefer plain cornbread but lots of people add other ingredients like jalapeño peppers. Feel free to experiment with adding other things and let us know in the comments how it tastes!

Directions
Preheat oven to 200C (400F)

Sift the cornmeal flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the caster sugar, making a well in the centre. Now, if all you need is the dry mix to use in another recipe, you can stop here. This is the basic mix. If you want to continue making a batch of cornbread, add the wet ingredients into the well and mix thoroughly.

Right. There are a couple of different ways to cook the cornbread from this point.

Traditional Southern cornbread pan
Traditional Southern cornbread pan

The traditional way is to pour the mixture into a pre-heated, oiled cornbread tin. Cornbread tin are a bit like muffin tins but they are usually made of iron and have little indentations shaped like ears of corn. (see image) The other way would be to just use a loaf tin about 9×5 or a muffin tray.

If you use a traditional pan, make sure it is piping hot with a bit of oil in the pan. (Like you would cook a Yorkshire Pudding) The hot oil will fry the bottom slightly and make the outside nice and crispy while the centre stays nice and soft. Cooking time will be around 20-25 minutes.

If you use a standard loaf tin make sure to butter the dish first and just pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-45 minutes. If you use a muffin tin you should reduce the cooking time to around 20-25 minutes.

That’s it! Serve immediately or save it ’till later. Just don’t let it hang around too long. Happy baking!

§

Have you ever had cornbread? Do you like it? Let us know in the comments!

Terrific Turkey Stuffing

sage-and-onion-stuffingWe have been making this stuffing for over 10 years now and it’s been a great hit every time we have made it. It’s a great way to enhance a normal box of stuffing to make it taste fresh and luxurious. The recipe can be prepped in about 30 minutes, most of which is chopping vegetables. Cooking time is around 30 minutes.

(serving size 10 or one 12-16 lb turkey)

Ingredients
1 box (160 g) dry stuffing mix – we usually get a box of Paxo Sage & Onion with Apple although we have tried others over time
160 g spicy sausage with casings removed – we prefer Italian sausage if we can find it but any spicy sausage will do
170 ml chicken stock
125 ml orange liqueur – it doesn’t matter what type
85 g celery – finely chopped
50 g raisins
40 g pecans, crushed or chopped
40 g unsalted butter
1/2 a large onion – finely chopped
1 1/2 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 g fresh sage – chopped

Directions
To start off with, preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

Heat the raisins in a small pan with all of the liqueur. Heat just to the boiling point then remove from the heat and set aside.

Next, use half the butter to cook the onions and celery in a frying pan. Cook the onions until just clear and soft. (Usually around 10 minutes) Once cooked, put it into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Don’t clean the pan.

Using the same pan you cooked the onions and celery in, cook the sausage until it’s brown. Drain any excess fat and add to the onion mixture.

Use some of the remaining butter to line the inside of a baking dish and gently melt what’s left.

Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately.

§

Do you have any tips on how to improve store bought stuffing? Let us know in the comments!

 

Sweet Potato Pie

sweet potato pieWhen I was growing up in Memphis, we always called this dish Sweet Potato Pie (even though it isn’t really a pie, and there are other recipes that are pies). Anyone outside the South probably calls this Sweet Potato Casserole. Regardless of what you call it, it’s one of the staple Thanksgiving dishes I remember from my childhood.

makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients
5 – 6 medium sized sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package miniature marshmallows

Directions
Preheat oven to 180C (350F)

Peel and dice sweet potatoes into approx. 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes and place in a large pot of boiling water. Boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return to pot, away from heat. Mash in all the ingredients except the marshmallows. Personally we like to use a ricer to get totally smooth potatoes but make it to whatever texture you like for mashed potatoes. Once thoroughly mixed, spread the mixture evenly in a well-greased 9×13 pan. Evenly spread all the marshmallows on the top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until marshmallows are golden brown. Serve immediately.

§

What would you call this dish? Pie or Casserole? Let us know in the comments!

Grilled Cabbage Wedges (Roasted Cabbage)

Image by greenlitebites.com

The first time we made roasted cabbage was when we had some friends around for Thanksgiving dinner and wanted something a bit more exciting than the standard ‘Brussels sprouts with bacon’.

The basic idea for Grilled Cabbage is one that’s been making the rounds on Pinterest for a while now and as far as I can tell there are a couple of main versions – Martha Stewarts’s version using slices (or ’rounds’) and the “Green Lite Bites” version using wedges. (See image to right.) We have cooked these a few times now and have developed a hybrid of our own.

1 head of cabbage serves 4 (no matter how you cut them)

Ingredients
1 medium head cabbage
4 tablespoons bacon bits
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (two large lemons)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons quality olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Directions
Light the grill and make sure the coals are ready for cooking. If you don’t have a grill then preheat the oven to 220C (425F) instead.

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and mix thoroughly, then rinse the cabbage and remove any unsightly leaves from the outside.

Now – how to cut. Here’s our recommendation:

  • If you’re grilling, cut into quarters to make wedges. You’ll also want to wrap each one individually and seal the top to make sure and keep the juices in the foil.
  • If you’re roasting, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) thick slices. For this you’ll want to use a baking tray lined with foil. We also add a liberal coating of olive oil (or the oil of your choice) to keep them from sticking.

Either way, they will want to cook for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.

§

Have you grilled cabbage before? Did you slice them into rounds or quarter into wedges? Let us know in the comments!

Simple Guacamole

fresh guacamole
Photo credit: She Paused 4 Thought

Having lived in Texas for a few years, guacamole is close to my heart. It’s probably one of the easiest things to make, yet everyone has their own twist on how to make it. This is our recipe which is loosely based off a recipe by American celebrity chef Rick Bayless.

Ingredients
3 ripe avocados (medium sized)
2 Serrano peppers finely chopped (remove seeds)
2 ripe plum tomatoes (about a cup) finely chopped and deseeded
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (about one lime)
½ cup of white onion finely chopped
¼ cup coriander (cilantro) finely sliced
Pinch of salt

Directions
Mash the avocados until you get the consistency you want. This is one of the areas where people vary on what consistency they consider ‘correct’ – some like it totally smooth (like mashed potatoes) while others like it chunky. Personally, I’m in the ‘chunky’ camp so I don’t like to crush them too much. Nevertheless once you have them like you want them, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Taste.

Add salt to taste.

Rinse, repeat until you’re happy.

§

Are you a guacamole fan? Do you have your own tips? Please share in the comments!