Tuesday, August 16

Three Easy Sides

Have I mentioned before that I can be a bit lazy?  I enjoy cooking and I really like eating fresh food.  But sometimes it’s 6:30 after a long day of work and I’m starving and whatever I’m making as a main dish is sure to kick my butt and I just really need a side that can cook itself.

Enter these three stand-bys.  They’re delicious, easy, cheap and almost impossible to screw up.  They also use fewer than 4 ingredients each.  I make the roasted potatoes and oven-roasted garlic broccoli about 2 times a month and I make the tomato/cucumber salad as much as I can in the summer months when they are in season. 

I’ll be the first to admit these are not the most creative sides (remember the motto of this blog?  Lower your expectations, I’m just here to eat food that tastes good!).  But on the nights when it’s all about getting dinner on the table and that glass of wine in my hand… they are perfect.  Plus they leave more time for fun things, like an after-dinner walk to get ice cream or summer reality TV like Project Runway or a good book (anyone read the Hunger Games series?).

So without further ado… here are my 3 staple sides to get you out of the kitchen, enjoying a delicious meal, and on to a relaxing evening.  Where applicable I’ve included alternate cooking temps, just in case you want to cook them at the same time you’re cooking something else that requires a lower temp. 


Oven Roasted Potatoes
These are so easy and they completely satiate my desire to eat something starchy without adding in a lot of bad ingredients.  I use baby red potatoes most often but you can easily use Yukon golds or any other kind of potato.  Just cut them up to be bite size pieces and leave the skin on so you get more nutrients! 

3 lbs baby red potatoes, washed/scrubbed and halved or quartered (leave the skin on)
1 tbsp olive oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Wash and scrub dirt from potatoes.  Halve or quarter them so they are easy to eat.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.

Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Use your hands to mix so the potatoes get coated in olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Bake for 30 minutes, flipping them over with a spatula halfway through, until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

NOTE: Serves 4.  The potatoes can also be cooked at 400 or 425 degrees.  Just extend the cooking time by a few minutes (start with 5). 


Oven Roasted Garlic Broccoli
For me broccoli is one of those things that needs to be accessorized before I’ll eat it on a regular basis.  This recipe has the perfect “accessories” to make boring broccoli a regular for you.  This is another Dave and AY recipe and is my go-to when I’m at a loss on what to cook for dinner. 

2 bunches broccoli
1 tbsp or less of olive oil
Garlic Salt or minced garlic
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash broccoli and pat dry.  Cut florets and stems into bite sized chunks.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.

Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Use your hands to mix broccoli so it gets coated in olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt or minced garlic (not both).  For a kick, shake a bit of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce over the broccoli.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve with light ranch dressing for dipping if you’re feeding the Royfriend.

NOTE:  Serves 4.  The broccoli can also be cooked at 350 and 400 degrees.  At 400 it will only need 16-17 minutes and maybe get a bit crispier around the edges.  Don’t be deterred, it will still be delicious!


Cucumber and Tomato Italian Salad
This is so simple I’m embarrassed to even be posting the "recipe".  It is literally chopping up tomatoes and cucumbers, but it's a favorite and it brings great color to any plate.

1 English cucumber or two regular cucumbers
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
Kraft fat-free zesty Italian salad dressing (or your preferred Italian dressing)

Wash tomatoes, peel regular cucumbers or remove plastic on English cucumber.  Slice tomatoes in half.  Cut cucumber in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again.  Then cut into slices.

Mix tomatoes, cucumbers and Italian dressing in a medium bowl until well coated.  Add fresh herbs to taste.  Serve alone or on top of a bed of lettuce. 

Serves 4


  1. Oh I'm totally making the broccoli with the hot sauce...and dipping it in ranch dressing. It'll be like vegetarian hot wings (sort of).

    P.S. Loved the Hunger Games...you know they're making a movie!

  2. YES - I cannot WAIT for the Hunger Games movie. Those books were so addicting.

    PS: Love the vegetarian hot wings idea!