Cooking with Katie

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Super Side Dishes category.

Greek Salad

Whenever someone says “salad”, I always imagine people are thinking, “Oh great, what kind of boring salad am I going to be eating this time?” But salads don’t have to be boring, especially if they’re full of different textures and flavors. They also don’t have to be complicated, and are a great way to use up your leftovers. That’s how I came up with this salad, I used some left over ingredients from a salad we had had a few days ago, and I used a couple of ingredients that I always have on hand. It was a huge hit and so easy to throw together and I’m sure you’re family will love it, too!

Greek Salad
-Mixed Greens
-Sun dried Tomatoes, chopped
-Calamata Olives, halved
-Feta Cheese
-Cucumber, sliced
-Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
-Lemon juice (1 lemon)
-Shallot, diced
-Olive oil (2-3 tbsp.)
-Salt and pepper
-Sugar (1-2 tsp.)

Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, shallot, and sugar to make the dressing. Just keep tasting it to adjust it to your likings. Then combine all the other ingredients in a big bowl and toss with the dressing. Enjoy!


Macaroni and Cheese

Mac ‘n’ Cheese is every kid’s favorite dinner, but it can become every adult’s favorite, too, when you make it the “gourmet” way. This is not some macaroni and cheese out of a box; this is a rich, bubbly, cheesy-beyond-belief macaroni and cheese that is sure to satisfy the simplest and most sophisticated palettes!

 Try it with fish and broccoli (as I did), chicken, steak, pork chops, or just a salad and you’ve got a great, easy dinner! You could also add different ingredients into the macaroni such as bacon, tuna fish, peas, or even mushrooms. You could also try experimenting with different cheeses. I like the classic cheddar, but this macaroni and cheese could be whatever you want it to be!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1-1/2 c milk
  • 2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • salt and pepper

Start by melting the butter in a large saucepan.

Add the flour and whisk it up until it looks like…

..this! This is called a “roux.”

Then, pour in the milk. I actually just eyeball this step and estimate the right sauce-to-pasta ratio. Start whisking the mixture immediately and don’t stop until it’s thick and coats the back of a spoon. This mixture is called a “bechamel sauce,” and is used in alot of French and Italian cooking.

After the bechamel sauce comes together, add in the cheese to make it a “mornay sauce.” Don’t you feel so fancy using all these technical terms? Once the cheese is melted, add in the cooked pasta and toss it to coat. If you feel like you have too much sauce or pasta, then just remove a little bit before you combine them. You can always add stuff, but you can’t take it away!

Pour it in a greased baking dish and bake it at 350 degrees until it’s brown and bubbly! Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato and Asparagus Risotto

I first had risotto at a fancy, gourmet restaurant on a “dinner date” with my dad in downtown Fort Worth a few years ago. (I know, a 12-year-old chooses a fancy, risotto-serving place for her date….she’s got good taste! 🙂 ) Anyway, I ordered the asparagus and prosciutto risotto and immediately fell in love with it! It was so creamy and dreamy and flavorful! I’ve always been too intimidated to actually make it myself, though. But as it turns out, as long as you allow yourself plenty of time, it’s super easy!

“Risotto” is actually just a method for cooking rice. The type of rice we use is very starchy, and as the rice releases its starch, it creates this beautiful, creamy sauce. Once you learn the method, you can make whatever kind of risotto you want! Mushrooms, squash, broccoli, carrots, meats, and other sturdy vegetables would all be wonderful choices!

Roasted Tomato and Asparagus Risotto

  • olive oil
  • asparagus
  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5-6 c chicken stock
  • 1 -1 1/2 c arborio rice
  • 1/3-1/2 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2-2/3 c parmesan cheese

Start with the asparagus. Lay it on a sheet tray, drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roll it around to coat. Roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. You just want it to be soft and caramelized. Do the same with the tomatoes.

Set the vegetables on a plate and keep them on standby. (BTW, this is a great way to use up those tomatoes that aren’t looking so good anymore!) Pour your chicken stock in a pan and bring it to a simmer. It’s VERY important that you have hot chicken stock!

This is arborio rice. It’s very starchy and is one of the only rices that works for risotto. If you can’t find arborio, then you can use vialone nano, carnaroli, or originario rice.

Finely mince the onion and saute it in some olive oil with salt and pepper just until it’s softened.

Then, add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes.

Then grab some white wine. Pinot Grigio is said to be the best cooking wine, so that’s what I always use.

Just pour it in the pan until the rice is almost covered with wine. I just eyeball it.

Don’t hover over your risotto and constantly stir it, just stir every 5-8 minutes. Once all the liquid is absorbed, start adding chicken stock by the ladelful until the rice is almost covered. Stir it every so often and let the rice cook and release its starches. When all the liquid is absorbed, add more chicken stock by the ladelful until the rice is fully cooked. (You’ll need to taste it every so often.) I used about 5 cups of chicken stock in the end, but it really just depends on how much rice you use.

Once the rice is creamy and fully cooked, add the vegetables back in just to heat them through.

Now this is the secret to really good risotto: Add a few tablespoons of butter and a ton of parmesan cheese and stir them into the risotto. What you end up with is the smoothest, creamiest risotto that you and your family will love! Bon Appetit!

Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese

Ratatouille…it sounds like rat..and patootie! I know, I’m sorry, I just had to throw in a line from the movie! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the line I just wrote, it’s from a Disney movie called Ratatouille. This has nothing to do with the actual French vegetable dish usually eaten in the form of a stew, but it is a great way to get your kids to eat this dish!

As I said before, ratatouille is a French vegetable dish usually eaten in the form of a stew, but this recipe is a more updated version.  You roast the vegetables, giving them 10x more flavor, and you add a ton of cheese! Who doesn’t love cheese? Even better, this can serve as a vegetarian entrée, a vegan entrée (without the cheese), or a fantastic side dish to steak, pork chops, or chicken breasts. And , it’s even better the next day!

Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese (Yahoo Food)

  • 1 eggplant, cut into chunks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole Plum tomatoes
  • handful basil, chopped
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • LOTS of mozzarella cheese

Place the first 5 ingredients on a sheet tray and drizzle with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to combine.

Roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping every so often. See how they get all nice and caramelized!

Chop up the tomatoes and add them (and their juices) to a 9×13 baking dish along with the vegetables, basil, and parsley. Cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake uncovered for another 8-10 minutes. And as they say in France, Bonne Chance!

Five Cheese Macaroni and Cheese


I loooooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I could eat it morning, noon, and night….and not get sick of it! This one is one of the best mac ‘n’ cheeses out there, and the 5 different cheeses don’t hurt that at all! Plus, I love getting to use my ramekins!:)

I used Ricotta cheese for creaminess, some Parmesan cheese for saltiness, Asiago cheese for a bite, Mozzarella cheese for a little richness, and….that’s it.:( I know, I failed! I didn’t get the 5th cheese in! But, since my mother detests goat cheese, I had to leave it out. Gorgonzola, Brie, Fontina, Manchego, Gruyère, and even Gouda would be fabulous here, but you can use whatever cheeses you like.

5 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese (Ina Garten)

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c asiago cheese
  • 1/4 c crumbled goat cheese or gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 c ricotta cheese
  • handful of basil, chopped
  • 1 lb. rigatoni, penne, or fusilli
  • 1/4 mozzarella, sliced

Combine everything except the pasta and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Cook the pasta and add it. Make sure not to cook the pasta all the way though!

Then spoon them into individual ramekins or a baking dish and top with the mozzarella. Bake at 500 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Bon Appetit!

Israeli Couscous Salad with Spicy Toasted Chickpeas

Israeli coucous….sounds exoctic, right? Well actually, it’s pretty easy to find at local grocery stores, nowadays, and is just a bigger version of regular couscous. It’s a type of pasta, and if you’re like me, then that right there will tell you that it’s fabulous!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, who would chickpeas in a pasta dish? But trust me, they turned out to be one of the best components in the dish! They give that right amount of kick from the cayenne and add this really meaty texture, along with the crunch of the fresh veggies. If you’re looking for a light, summery side dish, then try this recipe!

Israeli Couscous Salad (Little House of Veggies)

  • 2 c Israeli Couscous
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 c green olives
  • 1/2 c black olives
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Spicy Toasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • a good pinch of salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper

Cook the couscous according to the package directions with the olive oil and salt, then add the veggies and the dressing.

For the chickpeas, heat the oil in a pan, then add the chickpeas and the seasonings. Toast for 3-4 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then fold into the salad. You can refrigerate before serving or serve at room temperature.