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Dash of Grace: Sensational sides

Grace adds pineapple to her coleslaw to give it a new twist.
Grace adds pineapple to her coleslaw to give it a new twist.

It’s time to prepare some great side dishes to go with some of our recent main entrees.

We have focused on meat and main dishes for the past few weeks, and fish, to show off my new fish basket.

We also included our old friend, meatloaf, for which everyone in town has a different recipe. We all tend to serve the same old side dishes with certain meals, especially the classic meatloaf, which doesn’t often appear without its sidekick, the baked potato. That pair hooked up many years ago, when we all had small children. We could put the meatloaf and potatoes in the oven, turn it down low and let it cook a couple of hours so we could get some much-needed rest while the kids were sleeping. That was in the days before slow cookers.

Then, there was (and still is) the green bean casserole. You know, the one with the mushroom soup and fried canned onions over the top. I never did like that dish, but it still appears on the table every Thanksgiving and every Christmas dinner at our house.

What would happen if we all tried one new dish for the holidays this year? Why don’t you all pick out one new dish, or a favorite from your holiday table, that really is tasty and pretty, and send it to me to share. It will be fun to see what a beautiful table we can design. Some of it just might catch on and we could change the future look of the holiday table. I will find something pretty to pass along, if you will send me a holiday recipe you would like to see included. I will look for yours next week.

For now, here is a recipe a son-in-law passed along to me. I did not use it for a while because the combination of cabbage and pineapple did not sound that good.

When I finally made it and tasted it, It was perfect, and went well with the grilled fish. I took it to a family cookout, and received several positive comments. Even the men who do not usually like fruit in salads liked the taste, because the pineapple adds just enough sweet, but not too much.

Pineapple coleslaw

Servings: 8

3⁄4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons wine vinegar or cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons milk

4 cups shredded cabbage

1 can (8 ounces) pineapple tidbits, well drained

Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and milk. Place pineapple and cabbage in a large salad bowl. Add dressing and toss. Chill. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

– Original recipe from Dorothy Venhuizen of Morrison

Corn and broccoli bake

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 package chicken-flavored crackers, crushed

½ cup butter, melted

1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed

1 can (15¼ ounces) whole-kernel corn, drained well

1 can (143⁄4 ounces) cream-style corn

Combine cracker crumbs and butter. Reserve 1/2 cup for topping. In a bowl, combine broccoli, both cans of corn, and remaining crumbs. Transfer to a greased, 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 degrees, or until lightly brown.

Green beans almondiine

Serves 6

This simple side dish is perfect for just about any meal or occasion, and just might replace the green bean/fried onion ring casserole on the holiday table. This is a great and easy twist on plain green beans. Use fresh green beans and make this dish fabulous.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Trim beans and rinse. In heavy saucepan, place green beans in cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain well and set aside beans. Melt butter and olive oil in saucepan and add garlic and almonds. Cook, stirring constantly, until almonds begin to brown. Add beans along with lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss gently to coat.

NOTE: You also can use frozen green beans; cook them according to package directions, then drain. Melt butter, add garlic and almonds, and continue with the recipe.

Slow cooker chunky cinnamon applesauce

You can make this applesauce with any kind of apples. Before you decide what you like best, gather a few apples and do some sampling. Choose the ones you like best and make some applesauce. You make the applesauce in the slow cooker and there is no canning involved. The most time-consuming part is chopping the apples, which, to me, is therapeutic. The apples all need to be peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced.

I chose a combination of the tart, deep green, granny Smith apples, mixed with the milder gala apples, and sweet honey crisp, and I added lots of cinnamon. The house smelled wonderful, while the applesauce was simmering and long after.

If you like chunky applesauce, don’t mush it up too much. If you want super-smooth applesauce, puree it in a food processor or blender.

Crockpot chunky cinnamon applesauce

Makes approximately 4 cups of applesauce.

All apples should be peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced. Use your own choice of apples, Here is one possibility.

5 medium Gala

2 medium granny Smith

Fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup water

Prepare apples and mix together. Place all of the apple pieces in a large bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the apples and stir. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Pour water into the bottom of a large slow cooker and add the apples. Put the lid on the pot and turn on. Cook for about 8 hours on low or on high for 5 hours. Stir occasionally. If you want smooth applesauce, puree in a food processor or blender. I like mine chunky. Keep in the fridge for a week or 2. You can freeze it too.

Maple, bacon breakfast rolls

A simple breakfast roll to serve with eggs and fruit for breakfast or brunch, to family or company. These maple and bacon roll-ups start with Pillsbury refrigerated dough for extra-quick prep.

Makes: 12 rolls

Prep: 15 minutes

Total: 40 minutes

10 slices precooked bacon

1 can (8 ounces) Pillsbury Crescent refrigerated seamless dough sheet

3 tablespoons butter, softened

5 tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Microwave bacon as directed on package until very crisp. Drain on paper towels. Set aside to cool. Generously spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Unroll dough sheet on work surface; press into 12-by-8-inch rectangle.

In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the syrup with fork or wire whisk until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly over dough, covering to edges. Finely chop bacon; reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish. Spread remaining bacon evenly over butter mixture. Starting at short end, roll up dough; pinch edge to seal. Wrap roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate 5 minutes to chill so dough will be easier to cut. Unwrap roll; place seam side down on cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut roll into 12 (about 3/4-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides up, on cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Place waxed paper under cooling rack. Remove rolls from cookie sheet to cooling rack; cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix powdered sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon butter and remaining 3 tablespoons syrup with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle icing over rolls. Garnish with reserved bacon.

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