I mentioned in a previous post, (which one friend has affectionately termed my “psychotic food manifesto”) that we have a weekly veggie night at our house. I was inspired by Cracker Barrel since my kids love their “veggie plate,” which is really just four sides of your choice. I figured I could do the same thing at home for a little less money and a lot less butter. So I made a list of all our favorite Southern-style sides, and each week I pick four or five from the list below. It’s kid-friendly, cheap, and relatively simple to prepare. I explained how to prepare some of the less common vegetables in a previous post, and have linked them accordingly. Just to be thorough (and not to insult your intelligence!) I’ve briefly explained how I prepare the other sides.
- Baked Sweet Potato–bake at 400° for about an hour and sprinkle with cinnamon. (A tip I learned from my MIL: If you want to eat the nutrient-packed skin, rub it in olive oil. It’ll keep it extra moist and tasty.)
- Biscuits/Cornbread–a “reward” for eating all the veggies 🙂
- Cinnamon Apples—you can mix fresh apples with some cinnamon and brown sugar and microwave them until soft, or toss them in olive oil and bake them at 400 until soft
- Collard Greens—I’ve linked this to my original post, but must share that a reader introduced me to Goya Ham Stock as a tasty alternative to chicken broth for collard greens. Great tip!
- Corn on the Cob/Cream Corn—chop the kernels off the cob, then run the dull side of the knife blade over the cob to scrape out any milk. Sauté kernels in butter 3-5 minutes. Add some milk (or half and half), salt and pepper to taste. Mix cornstarch with cold water and spoon some into the corn to thicken.
- Fried Okra—it’s a lot of work to make fresh, so I buy this frozen and sauté in olive oil
- Green Beans—simmer in chicken broth until tender (it’s also tasty to add chopped red potatoes and carrots and simmer it all together)
- Honey Carrots—steam carrots, then toss lightly in butter and honey
- Lima Beans/Butter Beans—simmer frozen beans in chicken broth until tender (in traditional Southern fashion, you can add “fat back” using bacon or ham if you want extra flavor. For a lighter version, omit the fat back)
- Macaroni and Cheese (recipe following)
- Squash Casserole (recipe following)
- Turnip/Mustard Greens
Macaroni and Cheese
(My friend, Amy Pearson shared this family recipe, and it’s my favorite! Thanks Amy!)
1 ½ cups elbow macaroni
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream 1 egg, lightly beaten
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
salt/pepper to taste
1. Boil and drain macaroni according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Mix together with cooked macaroni and bake uncovered at 350° for 45 min. Let stand 5 min. before serving.
(This delicious recipe comes from the Macon Jr League Cookbook: “Gracious Goodness.”)
3 cups yellow squash, cubed and steamed until soft
4 Tbsps chopped onion
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
3 Tbsps butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup saltine crackers, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup scalded milk
1. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and preheat oven to 350°
2. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, except milk.
3. Microwave milk for 1-2 minutes (to scald) and pour into bowl. Mix well.
4. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 1 hour.
Do you have any family dinner traditions? Or any tasty Southern veggies we can add to the list? Feel free to share–I’m always on the hunt for menu inspiration!