The Family Meal: Sassy Sides


the-family-mealIt’s happened to all of us.  There’s a great chicken or pork roasting in the oven minutes away from being complete.  All of a sudden the panic sets in on what side dishes to serve up.  If you’re like me you have a Luby’s cafeteria mentality because I grew up thinking that when dinner is served I have the right to a meat and two sides along with my chocolate milk.

While I’ve traded in chocolate milk for sweet ice tea, I still like to see two little side dishes accompany my meat to the table.  As a mom, I find it a challenge sometimes to keep things creative and fresh.  If you are tired of heating up the same old canned or steamable bag of vegetables I have some suggestions that might help you the next time you’re questioning your side dish worthiness.

While I recognize that fresh is often the best, sometimes that’s just not an option for a woman who has spent the day cleaning up graham cracker slobber off floors and sofas while listening to “Wheels on the Bus” seventy-two times.  I believe that by mixing in other ingredients to either the canned or frozen vegetables you already have on hand then you can achieve a delicious and healthy addition to your main meal.

The following are two of my own personal favorite side dishes and the ingredients I add to each vegetable really give them a homemade feeling that I hope your family appreciates.

Italian Green Beans

It never ceases to amaze me, but these green beans always impress our guests and they are ridiculously easy!


1 (15 ounce) can French style green beans (I drain the juice but it’s your personal preference)
1 (14 ounce) can canned stewed tomatoes
Italian seasoning to taste
1/3 cup sliced almonds

In a pot over medium heat, cook the green beans and tomatoes until heated through.  Season with Italian seasoning.  Stir in the almonds just before serving.

Creamed Spinach

This is so good and my son will actually eat the spinach when prepared this way.


1 (10 ounce) box of frozen chopped spinach
3 triangle wedges of spreadable cheese (Laughing Cow or Weight Watchers)

Thaw spinach and drain all excess water.  Add cheese to spinach in a microwavable bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir to incorporate cheese and spinach and heat 15 seconds more if needed.


224215_10150232788595763_692905762_9265226_5431791_nSteph is a small town girl living the big city life with her superhero hubby of nearly 6 years, Scott and their superhero- in-training son, Weston who is 14 months old.   When she isn’t chasing her son away from electrical outlets she loves to throw theme parties, write notes to her friends, read, travel and cook.  She is obsessed with taking pictures but has yet to complete her son’s baby album because she loves hanging out at antique stores and barn sales on weekends.



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