Tag Archive: sides

Favorite Family Sides for Easter

Holiday Meal Side Dishes

I don’t know about you but in my family there are certain sides that must accompany each holiday meal.  At Easter, Andy equals broccoli rice, Amy equals deviled eggs, Krista equals rolls and mashed potatoes.  No one would say anything but it would be akin to disowning them.  So, I have whipped up some of these to be ready for Sunday.  We are adding fruits and vegetables because that is what Cameron (my oldest grandaughter) likes.  Maddie must lick the bowl when I am baking…see all of my cupcake recipes.  Oh yeah…there is ham.  That is a given, but really my group gathers round for their favorite side dishes.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Deviled Eggs


KiStrawNana Salsa

I am taking all these family favorites to Saturday dishes which starts tomorrow morning.  I hope you will join us there.  It promises to be a grand collection of side dishes if you are still making your shopping list.

Saturday Dishes

Happy Easter



Fresh from the Garden Week-Okra Fritters

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

For This Week’s Cravings on Mom’s Crazy Cooking.

Summer is the only time to get fresh okra.  At our local farmer’s market you have to be there first to get any.  People buy it all at once!  I would share and buy just enough to cook up or maybe a little extra to freeze.  But noooo, they take it all.  This summer I am trying to grow my own.  I still won’t pass up any at the market, if I can get it.  I like it best breaded in cornmeal and pan fried.  I know that isn’t good for you, but it takes me back to my momma’s cast iron skillet fried okra and fresh Pecos cantaloupe for dinner.  Just a side for some delicious chicken fried steak and gravy.  Oh my, how good does all that sound?  I feel a cooking frenzy coming on.  I better keep writing.

These can be made with fresh or frozen sliced okra.  I have to give credit for the recipe to Paula Deen.  I have taste-tested this one with my family and it is good.  I did add the jalapenos and dipping sauce.  They just spice it up a bit, and my kids LOVE the heat.

Serve them hot with a baked brisket and a pot of beans alongside fresh sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe (icy cold).  Yummmmm!


  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon The Lady’s House Seasoning (see below)
  • 1 cup buttermilk plus extra for thinning, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 4 cups okra, sliced
  • 4 fresh jalapenos finely diced, seeds in for extra heat
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Heat the oil in a cast iron Dutch oven to 350° or until a small piece of white bread toasts in the oil.

In a large bowl add flour, seasoning, buttermilk and egg. Mix well together. Add okra and jalapenos to mixture and coat.  You may need to add a bit more buttermilk to make the batter consistency easy to spoon into the oil.

Using 2 tablespoons, scoop mixture into the hot oil. Constantly flip fritters to cook and brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Salt while still hot.  (May keep warm in a 200° oven while completing the remainder of the fritters.)

Place in a serving bowl or platter and serve hot.

A tasty sauce for dipping that I created is chipotle in adobo and mayonnaise.   Finely dice 2 chipotle peppers with the sauce and mix well with the mayo.  Make this a few hours ahead of time and let sit for the flavors to marry.

The Lady’s House Seasoning

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Chop Chop!

Confetti Salad 1

Chop, chop and chop some more for this great salad recipe!

As it gets warmer I always go back to summers in Kansas.  Homemade ice cream, banana salad, banana bread, homemade chicken and noodles, fresh country eggs and cream.  And the best salads.  I love marinated sweet and sour salads that are cut up in small pieces.  They make a sandwich taste so good.  I’m sure I got this from my grandmother.  She had recipes for 3 Bean Salad, Carrot Salad, and Pickled Beets.  She had small dishes of these on the cutting board along with cold sliced ham, pickles and bread and butter for sandwiches for lunch.

I spent 2 weeks each year in Meade, a little Kansas community, with my parents and brother and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins.  I had a great time every year.  We had the best meals.   Many of those recipes are still some of my favorites.  But the memories that food conjures up are very special to me.  My grandmother had a little fold out of the wall table in her kitchen.  Lots of times the 3 cousins (Pam, Pat and me) got to eat in the kitchen at that little table.  There were more cousins, but we were the oldest and most important.  When I went back for a visit as an adult I was disappointed to find she had removed the table.

Of course, as a kid I never realized or understood how much energy it took to produce all those meals.  I do know how many dishes there were to wash and how hot it was in my grandmother’s kitchen.  Pam, Pat and I did an assembly line to try to get them done faster.  Aunt Betty and momma would pitch in too, and we would step out onto the back porch as we dried a plate just for a cool breath of air.  I believe the stove in her kitchen could have heated the entire house in the winter.  We would never have complained though.  She would have shooed us out of the kitchen and done them all herself (and we would have been in deep trouble with our mothers!)  Today, I would suggest we go out to eat!  But I would love to do it all over again – just one time in that same tiny kitchen with ALL those wonderful people in my life!

I use Con’ Olio olive oil in this recipe.  It is a great olive oil store in Austin.  Here is the link:  http://www.conolios.com/index.htm  They’ll ship!

Confetti Veggie Salad

  • 2 fresh zucchini
  • 3 fresh carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 can cut green beans
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used about a third of a yellow, orange and red pepper)
  • 1 small package frozen baby peas


  • 1/2 cup light olive oil (I used Basil Olive Oil from Con Olio in Austin)
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used my homemade Basil Vinegar)
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic granules

Cut all the vegetables the size of the corn (or about that small). It took me about an hour to chop everything.  I was in no particular hurry so I’m sure it wouldn’t take a super chef that long.



Combine all dressing ingredients in a  jar.  Shake well until the sugar is dissolved and pour over the vegetables to marinade at least 2-4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.  Stir occasionally to give all the vegetables a good coating.  If after marinating overnight it appears to be a little dry, I have been known to make another half recipe of the dressing and add that.  Your option.

When I serve this, I transfer the salad to a chilled bowl and don’t serve it with all the dressing.  Again, your option.

Start off with your largest bowl.  I graduated through three before finding one large enough to be able to toss it with the dressing.  My kitchen looked like my grandmother’s by the time I finished chopping and dressing this salad!  Bowls everywhere!

I have taken some liberty with this recipe and adapted it to my taste.  This wasn’t my grandmother’s recipe. Rather a girl at work brought this salad to a pot luck lunch one time.  Denise was very generous and shared this recipe with me.    I sent a bowl of this with my son to an office pot luck and they loved it too.  So I think it might be worth a try.


Waiting on Good Stuff from the Garden….

I have been doing a lot of garden work lately.  No time to cook!  I am imagining one of the best dinners I have had fresh from the garden. It is so much fun to get some basic flavors and add what is growing right in your own dirt. The plants inspire me. This is simple and so tasty.  Summer veggies are so good and good for you too.

Veggie Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 2 red bell peppers cut in half through the stems
  • 16 cherry tomatoes yellow and red
  • 1/4 cup black olives chopped
  • 5-6 small peppers and chiles red, yellow and green
  • 2 tablespoon capers with the juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1-2 cloves sliced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 slices bacon


Halve the tomatoes. Thinly slice the peppers and chiles (remove some of the seeds) and garlic. Mix all the ingredients except the bacon. With your hands squeeze all the filling to make a little juice.

Sprinkle the inside of the cleaned bell pepper halves with a little kosher salt. Fill each half with the pepper/tomato filling. Drape a slice of bacon over each half. Pour any remaining juice over the peppers. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes at 350° to steam the peppers, then uncover and continue baking to crisp up the bacon.

Meanwhile grill a baguette that has been sliced lengthwise until crisp. Rub with a peeled clove of garlic. Serve each pepper half on a slice of toasted bread and drizzle any remaining juices over the peppers.  With a sharp knife pierce through the pepper half to allow some of the juices to soak into the bread.

I served this with fresh sliced tomato and basil leaves and a small chicken breast grilled. (This is when I toasted the bread.)



Broccoli Rice-Must Have Thanksgiving Side

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Comforting side dishes are necessary to complete any meal in my kitchen.  If you can find a basic one that includes a rib-sticking starch and a vegetable, you can add or switch ingredients and make several different variations.  In my family, this one combination is the most requested.  This came about as an emergency addition one Thanksgiving dinner when my son, Andy asked if we were planning to serve it. (This was in answer to my question, “Are you coming to dinner?”   It has become a part of the menu planning to be sure I have everybody’s favorite.  So, I call this one Andy’s Broccoli Rice Casserole.

Rice was a favorite with my husband.  His family was from the South and rice was included in many meals.  It was new to me, and I had to scrub a lot of pans until I learned the right way to prepare it.  I burned it, let it dry out and served it undercooked!
Burning it is the worst clean up job there can be.  I think it forms a particularly strong bond with aluminum when not prepared correctly.  Non-stick pans weren’t around when I began to practice cooking.

The Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe came from a long-time high school friend when I was just married. Hank didn’t like soup combined with his rice and let me know it.  Then an Aunt made this and he raved about how good it was.   He even requested it with
his favorite meal which was a ham.