Get Adobe Flash player
New Stuff
Cool Stuff Just For You

Side Dishes

We made this soon after visiting the Strip District in Pittsburgh.  There was a Korean street vendor selling chicken on a stick. Since everyone loved it, I asked the woman if they sold a sauce for it in their store. She rolled her eyes in disgust and said “I make it myself.” I knew enough not to say anything else on the matter. After some internet searching I did find the standard recipe which is below. My youngest son informed me that what I made tasted nothing like the chicken we got in Pittsburgh. Kids can be brutally honest. This recipe called for chicken breast, but the chicken thighs stay juicy when cooked on the grill.

1 pound chicken thigh (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1/2 small onion (grated)
1/2 Asian or Bartlett pear (grated)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onions (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for at least an hour.
2. Skewer the chicken on wet skewers and set aside.
3. Strain the solids from the marinade and simmer the marinade until it thickens and becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes per side basting it with the marinade as you go.

Dakkochi (Korean Skewered Chicken)

When you can’t get fresh tomatoes and other ingredients from the garden you can still make a nice salsa.


1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 medium onion diced

1/4 cup canned jalapeno peppers diced

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 bunch cilantro

1 Tbsp course salt

1/4 cup cider vinegar



Prepared all of the ingredients and mix together in a bowl. Let sit aside for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Cilantro may be hard to get this time of year but if you plan ahead pick some from your garden and freeze for later. Most of these ingredients are canned but they still make a nice fresh tasting salsa.

Fresh Winter Salsa

This is a wonderful recipe given to me by my Aunt Judy.  I must be on a cheesy kick.  I made mac and cheese yesterday and Au gratin potatoes today.  These potatoes are very flavorful and yummy.  The downside is the cooking time.  I have to make them on the weekend because they need to bake about 2 1/2 hours.  They are worth the wait though.  I used longhorn cheese which I buy whenever it goes on sale and freeze it.  I pulled it out of the freezer this morning and after lunch it was thawed and ready to go.  The only downside to freezing cheeses like longhorn is that it crumbles.  However, since I needed it for a casserole  it didn’t matter that it was crumbly.



6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can evaporated milk

Salt and pepper

1 onion, diced

2/3 stick butter, cut into pats

1 pound longhorn cheese, sliced or shredded



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2 quart casserole.  Place half of the potatoes on the bottom, sprinkle with salt and pepper, diced onion and 1/3 stick of butter pats.   Place 1/2 of the longhorn cheese on top.  Add the rest of the potatoes, salt and pepper, diced onion and 1/3 stick of butter pats.  Mix 1 can of cream of celery soup with 1 can of evaporated milk.  Pour over casserole.  Cover and bake for 2 hours.  Remove from oven, uncover and put the remainder of the longhorn cheese on top and bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered.  Remove and let sit for a 15-30 minutes before serving.

Hot Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

My Mom made homemade mac and cheese all the time.  This recipe has been passed down through the generations but I have changed it for my boys.  I will include the original way to make it and an alternate way which is the way I made it today.  I like the original way better.  The only difference in the two is that my Mom used longhorn cheese and chopped peppers and onions and I use sliced American cheese and onion powder.  All other ingredients and the process is the same.  My Great Uncle Chuck passed away a few weeks ago and I remember him telling me one time that my mac and cheese tasted just like Poppy’s mac and cheese.  Poppy was his Dad and my Great Grandfather.  I was honored.



1 pound macaroni, cooked and drained  (Mom always used elbow macaroni.  I use Cellantani or other shapes for my boys)

1 stick butter, sliced

Salt and pepper

1 can evaporated milk (You can use regular milk)

Cheese (Mom used sliced Longhorn.  I use sliced American)

2 tsp. onion powder (Mom used 1 small onion diced and 1 small green pepper diced)



Placed half the pasta into a greased 2 quart casserole dish.  I like to use a throw away pan because the cheese tends to stick.  Sprinkle salt and pepper, 1 tsp. onion powder or 1/2 of the onions and peppers, add sliced cheese to cover the pasta.  Place the remaining pasta on top of the cheese and complete the next layer the same, EXCEPT before you add the cheese, pour canned milk over the noodles.  Now add the final layer of cheese.  I always put extra cheese on the top layer.  Bake covered at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.  It’s great if you can let a sit 15-30 minutes covered once it comes out of the oven.  We don’t always wait because we are usually too hungry.  Again, both ways are great.  The traditional way uses the real peppers and onions and Longhorn cheese which is my favorite, but my boys prefer the other one.

Certainly not Kraft Dinner. This is homemade Macaroni and Cheese and tastes amazing.



These mushrooms are a quick and easy side dish or a great appetizer!


16 ounce mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

1/2 pound (8 ounce block)  Colby Jack cheese cut into small cubes (or your favorite cheese)

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

2 eggs

1/3  cup milk



Spray 9×13 pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix eggs and milk.  Place bread crumbs in a bowl.  Take mushrooms individually, dip into egg mixture, then dip into bread crumbs.  Place in pan and add block of cheese.  Do this for all the mushrooms.  Bake for 30 minutes uncovered until cheese has melted.

Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms, just an excuse to eat melted cheese :)

Cabbage and noodles are a great side dish or even main dish if you add some kielbasi or other meat to it.  Cut up a head of cabbage.  Cook about 1 pound of Kluski noodles in salted water.  Follow package instructions for time.  Fry cabbage in olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Drain noodles and add them to the fried cabbage.  Then add 6 tablespoons of butter and give it a stir.  Serve.

Cabbage and Noodles with ham and homemade bread

This is an awesome recipe for old-fashioned calico beans!  It could be a meal in itself.  I think of my dear friend, Elizabeth White, who shared this recipe with me many, many years ago.  Elizabeth passed away several years ago but whenever I think of her, I smile because she was such a lovely, Godly lady.


1 pound hamburger

5 strips bacon and drippings

1 onion, diced

2 – 15 -16 ounce cans pork and beans

1 – 15-16 ounce  can Lima beans, drained

1 – 15-16 ounce can kidney beans, drained

2 cups ketchup

2 1/2 cups brown sugar



Bake bacon in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.  Let bacon cool so you can crumble and save bacon grease.  You can also fry it if you prefer to do that.  Cook onion and hamburger in bacon grease.   Now, Elizabeth put everything into a casserole and baked it at 350 degrees  for about an hour.  I like to throw everything into the crock pot and cook on low about 4 hours, either way is great!

Place cooked hamburger and onion into crock pot.  Crumble bacon and put into crock pot.  (I sometimes add a little extra bacon).

Place beans into crock.

Dump ketchup and brown sugar into crock and give everything a stir. Let it simmer for 4 hours in crock or in the oven for an hour.  I like to let it cool a bit to thicken back up before serving.



This recipe comes from our neighbor, Judy Crawford.  It always tastes  great.  Whenever Judy and her husband, Sam  are home in the summertime, I always take a bowl  to them whenever I make this recipe.  (They are Florida winter birds).  We all love this recipe!


4-5 pounds peeled, cubed potatoes

4 stalks of celery and leaves

6 hard-boiled eggs

2 large carrots



2 cups mayo

2 cups miracle whip

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Couple squirts of  yellow mustard



Chop celery and leaves and add to a large bowl.

Julienne carrots by using a vegetable peeler and add to bowl.

Chop eggs and add to mixture.  Stir.

Cook potatoes in salt water until fork tender.  Drain.  Add to the celery, carrot, and egg mixture.  Let the potatoes sit on top for about 15 minutes.

Prepare dressing.

Mix everything together and serve.

 Dawnie's Potato Salad along with Calico Beans and Country Style Ribs



My friend, Regina, shared this tip with me.  If you hate all the splatter of frying bacon, place bacon on a cookie sheet and bake it.  It is so much easier and leaves no splatters!  You can cook it at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  I did mine a little longer today because I needed it crispy for a recipe so I could crumble it. Also, you do not have to preheat your oven, you can throw it right in and turn the oven on and bake.   This works so well that  I never fry bacon anymore! One more tip is that you can place aluminum foil over the pan and then place bacon on the aluminum foil.  This makes it easier to clean the pan.  Thanks, Regina, for this awesome tip!

There are many different types of sushi. We have tried a lot of them in the Strip District or at various Japanese Steak Houses around the Pittsburgh area. My husband came up with this recipe for a sushi roll many, many years ago. He came up with the  original recipe, which  is one of the oldest sushi recipes to be found on  Type in Sushi roll on and his recipe will come up with great reviews and a 4 1/2 star rating!  I’m so proud of him!  We have updated it a bit since but it’s still basically the same.


2/3 cup uncooked short-grain white rice

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 sheets nori seaweed sheets

1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut into small strips

2 tablespoons pickled ginger

1 avocado

1/2 pound imitation crab meat


In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/3 cups water to a boil. Add rice, and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, sugar ,and salt. Blend the mixture into the rice. We have had decent success with instant rice also. Its not quite as good but it cuts the prep time way down.

Instead of placing the nori in the oven, using  a microwave oven does the trick just as well, maybe better. Microwave nori sheets on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Take them out and let them sit for a few minutes. This drives any unwanted moisture out and makes them perfect to use. In the meantime, prepare your filling for your sushi. Peel, de-seed, and slice the cucumber. De-seed, peel and slice the avocado.

Center one sheet nori on a bamboo sushi mat.  We put the nori mat in a zip lock bag to make cleanup simple.  Wet your hands. Using your hands, spread a thin layer of rice on the sheet of nori, and press into a thin layer. Arrange 1/4 of the cucumber, ginger, avocado, and imitation crabmeat in a line down the center of the rice. Lift the end of the mat, and gently roll it over the ingredients, pressing gently. Roll it forward to make a complete roll. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Cut each roll into 4 to 6 slices using a wet, sharp knife. This would technically be an inside out California Roll. We also mix some tuna and sriracha hot sauce to make a spicy tuna roll.

Remi eating Sushi

My Favorite Sushi is the California Roll

Inside Out California in a Flower Pattern

Inside Out California in a Flower Pattern