Mashed Cauliflower

Second day of side dishes in honor of Thanksgiving (See below for more side suggestions). When I was first presented with this side dish long ago, I was told you could substitute this for mashed potatoes. Look, mashed potatoes are a staple on our holiday table and there are rarely leftovers so I would never hear of a mashed potato substitution (I mean that is just crazy). Plus, I wasn’t wild about the mashed cauliflower I had tried. I decided to try it again this weekend, just to get some more vegetable variations on our menu. I initially tried to “mash” the cauliflower using my stand mixer paddle attachment but this was not successful. I was unimpressed, I didn’t like the texture and the taste was blah as I didn’t add a lot of seasoning. I decided to try again using my food processor to puree the cauliflower also adding fresh chives and sour cream to achieve the creaminess of mashed potatoes. Although, I was still skeptical about calling this a substitute for mashed potatoes. With these changes though, I have to say the pureed cauliflower is so similar to mashed potatoes I don’t know that I would miss the mashed potatoes at a meal. Wait, did I just say I wouldn’t miss mashed potatoes? My family reading this just gasped, my mom is probably laughing not believing I would ever say that as I would arm wrestle my stepdad for the last spoonful of her mashed potatoes. I too can’t believe that I just said this as I have a love for mashed potatoes but these are a nice change (that is if you are looking for one or just another way to get more vegetables on your menu). Maybe you could make both and see what your family likes best at Thanksgiving.

Tip: Don’t have a food processor? Use a blender (Just use with caution as the heat will build up and the top will might have a tendency to come off. You can put a towel over the lid and hold it down. If the cauliflower is not moving around in the blender you can add a bit of milk – just not too much).

Serves: 4

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 sour cream (I used light sour cream)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon course sea salt

1. Boil cauliflower until very soft (a fork should easily pierce the cauliflower), drain.
2. Puree cauliflower in a food processor or blender (Note: You may have to do this in batches in order to get the cauliflower pureed. I had to do this in 3 batches).
3. With a whisk or whisk attachment on a stand mixer or hand held mixer whisk in sour cream and minced garlic.
4. Stir in salt and chives.

Serve Warm

Other side dishes on Hoosier Baker:
Roasted Asparagus
Roasted Sesame Green Beans (you could always switch out the sesame oil for olive oil and omit sesame seeds if sesame doesn’t go with your menu).
Tomato Cucumber Salad
Roasted Carrots with Honey and Cumin
Cinnamon Applesauce (add a dash of nutmeg for something special)
Lindsay Lou


Roasted Asparagus

Wow, I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week! Can you? Is your menu planned? Have you done all your grocery shopping? Are you cooking something new this year or sticking with old favorites? Feel free to leave comments about what you are cooking, I would love to hear from you! I want to dedicate the next 3 days to sides, in case you are still trying to decide on your menu or what to bring on Thursday. Why sides? I know the turkey is the leading lady on Thanksgiving but the sides are my favorite, besides dessert of course 😉

Now, this recipe is not fancy but I love that it is simple and a nice side when you have a lot of other decadent sides. Plus, it is easy. Asparagus wasn’t on our menu this week but I couldn’t resist the asparagus in the store. If the asparagus isn’t fancy enough for your taste you could always make this lemon sauce, drizzle it over the asparagus with a little grated lemon peel on top 😉

Tip: If your asparagus is different sizes you can use a vegetable peeler (peeling vertically) to peel the larger ones so they will cook evenly.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
1 pound asparagus (rinsed and ends cut)

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Lay asparagus on a baking sheet with sides (I use a jelly roll pan). Make sure they are in a single layer.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt, toss to coat.
4. Spread asparagus out again to make sure they are in a single layer.
5. Bake 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus and how crispy you like the asparagus (we like ours a bit crisp so I usually cook for 10 -15 minutes).

Tomorrow: Pureed Cauliflower (trust me, it is fantastic!)

Other sides on Hoosier Baker:
Roasted Sesame Green Beans (you could always switch out the sesame oil for olive oil and omit sesame seeds if sesame doesn’t go with your menu).
Tomato Cucumber Salad
Roasted Carrots with Honey and Cumin
Cinnamon Applesauce (add a dash of nutmeg for something special)

Lindsay Lou

Source: Lindsay Lou original

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

I have a thing for roasted vegetables – as I post more recipes this will become obvious 😉 This recipe for green beans is a nice break from canned green beans and an easy, quick side dish. These beans are good served warm or cold. Just a little bit of sesame oil goes a long way but definitely don’t skip this step. Sesame oil may seem expensive but you never need a lot for flavor because it is strong.

1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped off
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Toss green beans, garlic, sesame oil, salt, and sesame seeds, in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet that has sides (I use a jelly roll pan).
3. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your beans (longer for more tender green beans).

Lindsay Lou

Papa’s Cheesy Grits with Bacon

I acquired my love of grits from my Papa. He would make me cheesy grits when I would come over to see him and my Nanny. It was a simple meal but it was made with love. I am not sure what made me hungry for grits the other day but it made me think of my Papa. Never had grits? Grits is ground up corn popular in the South and served for breakfast. Grits can (usually) be found in the cereal aisle near oatmeal. We had this dish for dinner but you could use it as a side or serve it for breakfast. Follow the recipe on your package of grits to make 4 servings.

Grits and water to make 4 servings (refer to your package of grits for amounts).
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
8 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook grits according to the package (when I add my grits to the boiling water, I like to whisk them in to make sure there are no clumps). As grits are starting to thicken, add whipping cream and butter, stir.
2. Add cheese, onions, and bacon, stir.
3. Season with salt and pepper, serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Lindsay Lou

Source: Lindsay Lou original inspired by Papa

Tomato Cucumber Salad

I know summer is over, but I feel like I am hanging on to it. I think it has to do with the weather – hard to believe it is fall when the temperature outside is in the upper 70’s 😉 So when the farm stand still had tomatoes I bought them but with hesitation – would they be good this time of year? Seemed a bit late in the season to me for tomatoes. Glad I went ahead and bought them, not to mention thrilled I had a cucumber on hand. This salad is easy to throw together and great to take on a picnic, pitch-in, or tailgating.

1 English cucumber (or regular cucumber, seeded), chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon course sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Source: Lindsay Lou 😉

Lindsay Lou

Cinnamon Applesauce

I love fall. I like to watch the leaves change, the cool weather, and the fact that apples and pumpkins are everywhere. I couldn’t resist the large basket of apples at the farm stand and when I got them home I decided I would make applesauce. This is a super easy recipe but I would suggest doing it on the weekend as it takes awhile to cook (about 1.5 hours). Serve either warm or cold. Adding sugar really depends on the apples you use (may want to add more if you use a tart apple such as granny smith or less if using a sweet apple such as red delicious). I would start with very little sugar and add as needed, you will be very surprised how sweet the apples become without any or very little added sugar. This is also a nice side dish to take to pitch-ins, which I have done and people always say it tastes like apple pie.
8 medium apples (any choice), cored, peeled, and chopped
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon sugar (depending on type of apple and your/family’s taste)

1. Mix apples, water, cinnamon, and sugar in pot on low heat, cover.
2. After about an hour (check on apples occasionally as time will differ slightly depending on the type of apple you use) mash up apples with a potato masher.
3. Cover with lid and continue to simmer on low for another 30 minutes.
4. Finish mashing up apples.
Serve warm or cold. Keeps well in the refrigerator.
If you don’t want a chunky applesauce you can always use a food processor or blender to puree the applesauce after it has cooled a bit.

Lindsay Lou

Roasted Carrots with Honey and Cumin

I am always trying to find new recipes for vegetables. Roasting is probably one of my favorite methods of cooking vegetables. I got the idea of using honey and cumin with carrots from my dad who made a similar side dish with carrots but on top of the stove. The combination of honey, cumin and carrots is amazing. The hint of vanilla in the salt is also quite nice.

2 pounds baby carrots
1 teaspoon salt (I used vanilla salt)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Mix carrots, salt, cumin, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of honey in a large bowl; toss to coat carrots.
3. Spread carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides
4. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and drizzle 1 teaspoon honey over carrots

Excellent hot or cold!

Lindsay Lou

Source: Adapted from Lindsay Lou’s Dad

Fried Onion Straws with Spicy Straw Sauce

Did I mention something about being healthy this week? Onions are a vegetable….Well besides wanting pizza on Thursday and Friday I sometimes want a hamburger (not both the pizza and hamburger, one or the other –remember I said we were trying to eat healthy ;). Well with that hamburger I either like fries or onion rings. Until recently I had never made onion rings, we just usually went to our favorite diner when we wanted good onion rings or french fries (not often, I don’t want ya’ll to think we eat a lot of junk food). After reading through a few recipes, I didn’t find one I liked particularly well so I improvised and came up with this recipe. I have made it a few times and we like it. I also wanted a spicy dip to go with the onion strings, like some of the chain restaurants give you with fried onions. I immediately thought of the Russian Dressing my parents would make for leftover turkey (mayonnaise and ketchup) as the base. With a little experimentation, I came up with a sauce that compliments the onion straws and is great on burgers. This recipe is fairly flexible, increase the buttermilk and flour if you use a larger onion. 1 large onion could serve 4 people. I use a small or medium for us and it is plenty. Onion straws (some refer to them as strings) are best served hot. I call these onion straws because they are very thin unlike the big onion rings we are used to.

Ingredients for onion straws
1 small sweet onion
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable oil

Directions for onion straws
1. Slice onion in thin rings, place in shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. You can let these soak while you cook dinner or at least let them soak for 10-15 minutes.
2. Heat all of vegetable oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat.
3. In a large bowl, mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.
4. Remove onion rings from buttermilk and toss onion rings in the flour (discard buttermilk)
5. Add onion rings to hot oil (the oil should be around 375F or if you don’t have a candy thermometer to measure the oil temperature – if you put a little flour in the pot and it sizzles, the oil is ready).
6. Fry onion strings until golden brown; about 5-10 minutes.
7. Scoop onion strings out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place on plate with paper towels to drain oil. Serve with dipping sauce (see below)

Ingredients for spicy straw sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/8 teaspoon horseradish
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (1/8 teaspoon if you want a little spice, 1/4 teaspoon if you want more spice)

Instructions for spicy straw sauce
1. Mix all ingredients together

Lindsay Lou

Source: Lindsay Lou original

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

This is a nice revision of the usual potato salad. We had something similar at a restaurant and I set out to make my own as they no longer carry this potato salad. I made this twice, once with regular sour cream and once with light sour cream. The regular sour cream version was much better and well worth the extra calories. Take this to a potluck or tailgating – it will surely be a hit!

1 lb red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (I used sharp cheddar)
Salt to taste

1. Boil potatoes until tender but still firm (you should be able to easily stick a fork in the potatoes without them falling apart), drain and let cool.
2. Mix together potatoes, sour cream, green onions, bacon and cheese. Add salt to taste.

Lindsay Lou

CousCous Salad

I love couscous! I don’t make it enough. In fact I was organizing a cabinet and found an unopened package of couscous hiding in the back so it immediately went on the menu for that night as a side dish with salmon. I decided to make this salad with the leftover couscous.

CousCous Ingredients
1 1/2 cups CousCous
2 3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
2. Add salt and CousCous, remove from heat.
3. Let sit 5 minutes, fluff with fork.

Salad Ingredients
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 can artichokes, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped (can use either sun dried tomatoes packed in oil or not)

1. Toss all ingredients with couscous. (see dressing recipe below)

Dressing Ingredients
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 large garlic glove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

1. Mix vinegar and dijon mustard into a bowl with a whisk
2. Whisk in garlic, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper
3. Slowly whisk oil into mixture, first in a few droplets then in a slow steady stream to make an emulsified vinaigrette.

1. Pour over couscous and mix.

Source: CousCous basic cooking instructions from: Saad Fayed via
Dressing from: Pam Anderson via