Hot side dishes for cold winter days

With the rollercoaster cold, warm, cold again winter still upon us, it can be challenging to pique the palates of the family around the table. When the days are really frigid, there’s nothing more comforting than hot everything on the plates.

But when it feels like mid-spring, too much hot seems like too much to eat, and warm side dishes are tossed in favor of cool salad or cold pickled beets or beans or … name your favorite.

Salads and other cold sides are open-a-jar-or-bag simple; not so for the satisfying hot side dishes so welcome on days with ‘brrrrr’ in them. Here are three recipes which are pretty easy to prepare and will keep well for several days in the fridge. Serve on a cold day now and save for a few days from now, when the outside temperature will plummet again.


Herbs are the secret to this buttery, flavorful side dish

12 C frozen corn

1 C water

1/2 C butter or margarine, cubed

2 Tbls minced fresh parsley OR 2-3 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp salt

1 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp dried thyme

In a large saucepan, combine corn and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until corn is tender. Drain; stir in the remaining ingredients. Makes 10-12 servings.

cooking cauliflower webCAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN

The perfect comfort dish, creamy and cheesy

2 large heads cauliflower, washed and broken into florets

1-1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese

1 C shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

6 Tbls butter, cubed

3/4 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp dry steak seasoning


1 C (4 oz.) Italian-style panko (Japanese) bread crumbs

1/4 C butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the cauliflower in a large pan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10-12 minutes or until very tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Mash cauliflower lightly then stir in cheeses, cubed butter and seasonings. Place in a greased 3-quart or 13 x 9-in. baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated. Sprinkle over the cauliflower mixture. Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes or until it’s heated through and the topping is golden brown.

Note:  This casserole can be frozen ahead of time for later use. To freeze, cool the prepared, but unbaked cauliflower, cover and freeze. Before using, partially thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°.

Bake casserole as directed above, increasing the oven time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Yields a dozen 3/4 cup servings.


With bacon involved, this could be a meal in itself.

1-1/2 lb. red potatoes (about 6 medium), baked

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 lb. sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled

3 C (24 oz.) sour cream

2 C (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

2 C (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

2 green onions, thinly sliced or diced

Preheat oven to 350°. Cool hot potatoes fully and cut into 1-in. cubes. (Warm potatoes do not cut properly; they crumble.) Place half the potato cubes in a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers.

Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with onions. Makes 6-8 servings.

By Jean Redstone

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Swedesboro NJ
July 6, 2022, 5:27 am
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