Janet's Notebook
Why Do I Have to Pick a Side?

Mary's Cheesy Scalloped Cabbage

Every Easter, I serve a main course like ham or lamb. Add a nice salad, warm bread, some sort of vegetable side dish and you have a great meal.

This year, I'm still planning on making my usual recipes. One delicious ham recipe is Pam Martin-Allen's Honey Baked Ham. It's a great one - some of the best tasting ham I've ever eaten.

But, side dishes round out a meal. And, on my plate, typically occupy most of the space! You can take a little of this, and a little of that ... and enjoy a whole lot of yummy dishes. This year I am planning on mixing up my sides a bit.

I feel like Brussels sprouts are very misunderstood. I am a huge fan of them - and trying to convert the rest of my family. Lou Kostura's Sherry Balsamic Caramelized Brussels Sprouts may have people thinking twice about this veggie. "[I] tried something new with Brussels sprouts and this recipe hits it outta the park," says Lou. When prepared like this, there's a love affair in the making.

Recently, I've jumped on the kale bandwagon and have grown to love it. Kale seems to be the "IT" green these days and I've been looking for ways to incorporate it into my cooking. I also love spinach as a side dish (which is similar to kale). You can saute it, add some butter, a little garlic and it's great. But I'm thinking about serving Kim Biegacki's Fried Kale with Mushrooms and Bacon. "I love how [kale] has a more delicate flavor than spinach," explains Kim. This side dish is super savory.

"Amazing and tasty" is how Marti Green describes her Healthy Ginger-Cumin Cauliflower recipe. When prepared well there's nothing that beats cauliflower. I mean it! The wonderful seasoning in this recipe packs a ton of flavor and causes you to forget you're eating healthy. A lighter side dish for those watching their calories.

Ellen Bales' Mary's Cheesy Scalloped Cabbage recipe is definitely big in taste! To me, the flavors are a culinary match made in heaven. I have a scalloped potato recipe I love. But in the theme of switching things up this year, take a look at this recipe. "[This] has long been a family favorite," says Ellen. "Even people who don't like cabbage like it!" The cabbage and cheese in this dish are simply divine together. This is one side dish guests will go back for seconds for.

As much as I try to say no, I always find myself reaching for the bread basket. I can't tell you how many times I've said "I'll have just one." (I'm sure some of you can relate!) I can guarantee you won't be able to have only one of Millie Johnson's Sweet Potato Biscuits. "You will fall in love with [these]," says Millie. I did! The sweet potato made this a wonderful twist on a biscuit. I am going to make these a little smaller than usual. Then, with the leftover rolls and ham I can make tasty sandwiches for lunch on Monday.

I know, I know. People come to expect certain things at holiday meals and switching up the side dishes may have guests talking. What's a little friendly discussion among family? Savor the conversation ... and a few bites of these lovely recipes.

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Sheelagh Schano - Apr 4, 2014
I love your Easter sides article. I'm one of those who prefer the sides to the main protein. I ALWAYS have some ham, lamb, turkey, etc., but I load up on sides. No bread or rolls for me - they fill me up and keep me from eating the sides. I do, however, love all the leftovers ... ham on rolls, sides heated up ... yum. Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you who celebrate it, and good holiday eats to those who don't.
Paula Todora - Apr 4, 2014
Love the side dish article, Janet. I sometimes overlook wonderful sides, and I'll be sure to try some of these wonderful recipes for Easter!
Melanie B - Apr 1, 2014
These are all awesome recipes.
Here are a few more sides to consider:
Spinach Salad and Dressing
Grandmother's Seafood Salad
Grandma's Holiday Corn Pudding
Millie Johnson - Apr 1, 2014
Thank you for the mention of my sweet potato biscuits, Janet ! Sounds like you are having a wonderful Easter dinner this year. YUM !!!
Ellen Bales - Apr 1, 2014
Thanks so much, Janet, for mentioning my mother-in-law's Scalloped Cabbage in your Easter dishes. I hope lots of people will try it! So yummy!