Category Archives: Sides

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes-Indian Inspiration





Erm…happy spring?

Let it snow (or not).   I’m eatin’ good.


That sweet potato is overflowing because it just can’t contain the FLAVOR!

Flavor blasted, Indian inspired, sweet and spicy, creamy and crunchy, oh and HEALTHY!?  I’ll take two.


This blog post brought to you by: roasting.

I can’t stop, won’t stop roasting allll of the things.



Bam. Roasted.




Roast city.






Sweet potato?


Obviously roasted.




Yes.  The cauliflower too.


Nothing is safe.



Ok…not roasted.  Just grated.

gingergroundPeas, please!  Leave them alone.  They stay fresh.


Scoop the middle of your potatoes into a large bowl


Get your act together


Aaaaand go


DO NOT leave out the crispy chickpeas!  The crunch is a must.


I also highly recommend you stir some roasted garlic into some plain yogurt.  It’s a flavorful way to tame some of that heat.  It really made the meal.


By the way you don’t actually have to roast all of the things.  This could be a super super quick meal.  If you microwave your sweet potatoes and saute all the filling this whole thing could be done in 20 minutes.


A word of warning, however: never ever ever ever ever saute jalapeno seeds ever never ever.

I accidentally did that once.  I actually thought I might die.  My lungs were on FIRE and the oils in the air wouldn’t go away.  Daniel and I were crying and gasping and laughing and opening windows in the middle of winter and crying.  Learn from us.

And with that….



❤ Ellen

Indian Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe slightly adapted from Culinary Colleen

**NOTE: This meal could take ages (roasting each individual thing) or it could be ready in 20 minutes.  You could microwave the sweet potato, saute all the other ingredients together, mix them up, stuff the potatoes and broil.  OR you could roast each individual ingredient and it’ll take hours.  Another option is to prepare ahead of time.  Roasted garlic is a good thing to have on hand.  Sweet potatoes and jalapenos and be roasted a day or two before which leaves just quick assembly.  Choose your own adventure!

You’ll need:

3 small-medium sweet potatoes
about 1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about 1/3 of a head)
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, roasted, minced (I left all the seeds in and it was very spicy.  Remove seeds for less heat!)
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
small squeeze of lime juice
3/4 cup peas, (defrosted if frozen)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 15 oz. can chickpeas

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Pierce your scrubbed sweet potatoes with a fork a couple of times and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake until the sweet potatoes are completely soft inside and are easily pierced with a fork.  Mine took 1 hour and 10 minutes.  The time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.  (OPTION: you could poke some holes in your potato, wrap it in a paper towel and microwave for about 4-5 minutes.  Time varies with size)
  2. While the potatoes bake, prepare the cauliflower to roast.  Roughly chop the florets and toss with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and about a teaspoon of salt.  Spread evenly on a foil lined baking sheet.
  3. While the potatoes and other veggies roast, roughly chop and saute the onion in coconut oil until they get soft and start to brown.  Add grated ginger to the pan and cook about 1 minute. Add the coriander, cumin and garam masala, let toast for about a minute and remove from heat.
  4. When the potatoes are soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.  Place the prepared cauliflower in the 400 degree oven and roast until it is soft and starts to brown (about 15 minutes for me).
  5. When it is finished, remove the cauliflower from the oven, set aside to cool and place the whole jalapeno on a baking sheet.  Roast at 400 degrees until soft and slightly charred, turning at least once during cooking (about   15 minutes for me).
  6. While the jalapeno roasts, drain, rinse and thoroughly dry chickpeas.  Spray with a light coat of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and maybe some cumin if you’d like and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast for 15-20 minutes or until as crunchy as you want (longer=crunchier..they could be just like corn nuts).  More detailed directions for roasting chickpeas can be found here.
  7. Slice the cooled sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop the filling out and place it in a large bowl.  Mix and mash the sweet potato with the cooked onions, spices, cooked cauliflower, peas, cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and more salt (to taste…you’ll need it)
  8. Evenly distribute the sweet potato mixture among the empty skins, place on a baking sheet and broil until the tops just barely start to brown.
  9. Top with crispy chickpeas, more cilantro and either plain yogurt, sour cream or garlic yogurt (directions for roasting garlic here.  Mix a few roasted cloves with a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt to taste.  Amazing.)


Filed under Main Dish, Sides, Uncategorized

Squash n’ Sauce

((Sorry, does squash n’ sauce sound gross?  I really mean two separate dishes.)) 

Two-for-one today!

  1. Super simple, irresistible, maple roasted butternut squash
  2. Fresh cranberry sauce

I’m battling butternut once again!  We’ve made friends since our first adventures together.  Now I can’t get enough.

This is my favorite way to eat it.

I  love the crispy outside and the creamy inside.

This is a salty-sweet flavor burst with a decidedly autumnal spin.

I love to roast one up just to have on hand for for snacking, or to throw in salad or soup.

To get crispy perfection, find a way to raise the squash off of the baking sheet.  I use a cooling rack that does just fine in the oven.  Make sure you leave plenty of space between pieces, too; if the squash is too close together it’ll steam instead of roast.  Give it some room to breathe!  Like this:

Roasted butternut squash is awesome all the time, but it can be an especially nice Thanksgiving side dish.  This combination of salty-sweet squash, sweet-tart dried cranberries and toasty pecans makes me swoon.

I could eat a squash a day like this…I’m totally addicted.

Speaking of cranberries…

Hey guy.  You’re cute.

Cranberry sauce, I’m sorry I never fully appreciated your potential.

Can we just discuss this beast for a second?


Gorgeous and…intense.  They’re bitter, insanely tart…it’s hard to believe they get delicious.  Oh, but they do!  They really, really do.  It’s not even difficult.  Not one bit.

This is my first time on the sauce so I kept it pure and simple.  Cranberries, sugar, orange juice and water.  Throw ’em in a pot.

You can cook them as long as you like.  I would recommend at least letting them cook until they burst.  Biting into a whole fresh cranberry doesn’t appeal to me at all; it’s like concentrated bitterness.  As they cook they take on the orange juice, water and sugar until they explode into a juicy, ruby mess of awesome.

In other words…once they pop the fun don’t stop 😉

You can even puree the whole mess…it’s entirely up to you!

Not just for turkey!  I discovered that this stuff is delicious on sandwiches of all kinds.

(That guy is egg, avocado, tomato and cranberry sauce. Don’t knock it til you try it.  Oh, and bacon if you roll that way =)

All on a homemade English muffin.  Recipe coming soon!)

For more awesome things to do with leftover sauce:  check this out!  Lots of good ideas!

Happy Thanksgiving!


❤ Ellen

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash

EVERYTHING IS TO TASTE! Use however much you want.  Seriously.  I’ll give you rough estimates but PLEASE adapt to your own taste.  You may like it saltier or sweeter than I do, or maybe you hate thyme.  Choose your own adventure.

1 medium utternut squash
at least 1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans (toasted)

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven heats, peel your butternut squash and cut into slices or cubes (whichever you prefer).  Put the pecans in to toast while you prepare the squash for roasting.  Seriously, check them every 5 minutes.  The SECOND they start to smell toasty, taste toasty and brown slightly take them out.  They’ll burn quickly!  Set aside to cool.

2.  Place the squash in a large bowl and toss with at least enough maple syrup to coat evenly.  Add the salt, pepper and thyme and toss to coat. (Yes, pepper and maple syrup are delicious together.)

3. Arrange on a wire rack with a sheet pan underneath, (to catch drippings), leaving space between the pieces of squash.  Roasting time will depend on the size of your squash pieces.  It will probably take at least 20 minutes.  Let it go until it starts to brown and you can easily pierce it with a fork.

4.  Toss with cranberries and pecans in a serving dish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately

Cranberry Sauce

Recipe a conglomeration of quite a few recipes I found…adjusted to taste

1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup water

1. Put the cranberries, sugars, juice and water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir until the sugars dissolve.

2.  Let the mixture cook down until the berries start to pop (best part-about 5 minutes after the sugar dissolves).  Turn the heat down to low and let simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.  The longer it cooks, the thicker it’ll be.  If you don’t want any chunks at all, puree in a food processor, or in a blender in batches.

*Now do what you want. Add nuts, add vanilla, add orange or lemon zest, add salt and pepper, add apples, pomegranates and pears or nothing at all.  This is a base for you adjust to your taste.  Happy cooking!


Filed under Sides, Uncategorized

The Best Dinner Rolls of Daniel’s Life

((For real.  He said that.  I didn’t make it up.  The world needs to know =) ))

This is it!  Crunch time.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and yours truly will be contributing to the feast this year.  Starting with my favorite thing:


(What?  Were you expecting turkey?)

Listen, I know I don’t need to tell you this, but bread is great.

Dinner rolls should taste like something.  Not too much something, they are in a supporting role after all, but a great roll could easily elevate a meal to the next level.  Forget tasteless, cardboard filler…this is not a side to neglect!

The task:  light, fluffy, tasty, simple, excellent gravy sopper.

Mission accomplished.

The secret’s in the butter y’all.

We’re going to use all of that…don’t worry about it.

Oh and yeast…you know how I feel about yeast.

Those little guys are such miracle workers.  I can’t get over it.  I know they can be scary but they don’t have to be!  All they need is some time and respect.  A little warmth changes their temperament dramatically.  I can relate.  Keep the little buggers warm, (not hot!), give them some time and they’ll  come through every time.  That means you need to be patient. If the recipe tells you to let it get frothy….let it get frothy.

At some point in this process, your life will look something like this (minus the ugly plastic yellow bowl from the dollar bin at Target…):

That, my friends, is soupy grossness.  Don’t panic!  With more flour and more loving you’ll make your way to this:

Nothing makes me happier.

After it doubles in size you need to shape your rolls.

There’s a technique here…tuck and roll.  You want to form a nice smooth skin.  Use the table to pull the dough tight.

Tuck one side under with your thumb…

..then drrraaaggg it along the table to pull it tight.

Or you could try this technique.  Do whatever it takes to get a smooth skin!

Honey wash to make sure they get perfectly golden brown…also because honey is delicious.

A second rise before they go in the oven relaxes that taut skin and makes sure they’ll be light and fluffy.

Not just for turkey!

((Potato soup recipe coming soon!))

Good enough to make someone say “this is the best blankity blank of my life.” What an awesome thing to hear.


❤ Ellen

P.S.  I would bet a lot of money that a bit of orange zest in the dough and a simple powdered sugar/milk glaze would make these instant sweet bun treats.  Just saying.

Parker House Rolls

So here’s the deal.  These rolls are classic.  I didn’t change the recipe enough to claim it as my own and frankly…I wouldn’t dare mess with such a reliably delicious recipe.

My only alterations:

-Buttermilk in place of the milk.

-Honey wash before baking. (Make honey wash by thinning honey with juuuust enough water to make it easy to brush on a roll.)

Click here for the recipe.  Happy baking!


Filed under Sides, Uncategorized