Sides & Vegetables

Elly Baker’s Noodle Kugel
Submitted By Susan Reinhard, Raleigh

12 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
½ cup milk
1 pound cottage cheese
1 stick melted butter
4 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 teaspoons sugar, mixed with ¾ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together all ingredients except preserves and cinnamon sugar. Place half of the noodle mixture in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Dot the noodles with apricot preserves. Pour in remaining noodles, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Bake for 50 minutes, if you want to freeze it for later. Bake for 70 minutes to serve. Serves 12-15.


Cranberry Conserve
Submitted By Amber Keister, S&A Cherokee, Cary

“This is what I serve instead of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving; it’s tastier and more versatile than the Jello-mold sauce from the can. We eat it on turkey burgers, turkey sandwiches, bagels and cream cheese! I usually make a double batch of this in mid-November, as soon as the fresh cranberries appear in the supermarkets. That usually lasts us through Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve also frozen the fresh cranberries to make more for the summer grilling season.”

4 cups fresh cranberries
2/3 cup cold water
1 orange, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 cup raisins, chopped
3 cups sugar
1 cup pecans, optional

Wash and pick over cranberries. Cook in water until skins burst, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Add orange slices, raisins and sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in nuts, if using.

Put into 2 pint jars. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in freezer for up to 6 months.

Original recipe from Virginia Hospitality by the Hampton Roads Junior League.

Appetizer option: “This also makes a great holiday baked brie appetizer. For that, I set a 4-inch wheel of brie in the center of a premade pie crust, spoon on enough cranberry conserve to cover the top of the brie, and bring up edges of pie crust to enclose brie. Bake at 375 degrees F until pastry is golden brown. Serve with hearty crackers such as Wheatsworth.”

Corn Soufflé
Submitted by Jennifer Hunt, Apex

“You’ll be surprised at how yummy this simple recipe tastes. I am asked to bring this to every holiday dinner!”

1/2 stick butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed
1 15.25 ounce can whole kernel
     corn, drained
1 14.75-ounce can cream-style corn
1 8.5-ounce package Jiffy corn muffin mix
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Microwave butter in medium to large microwaveable bowl on high 30 seconds or until melted. Add cubed cream cheese; continue microwaving 15 seconds or until cream cheese is softened; stir until well blended. Add both cans of corn, muffin mix and eggs; mix well.
Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 16.

Arroz con Gandules
Submitted By Edith Jachym, S&A Cherokee, Cary

“This rice is special to our family because our mother usually only made it for holidays to complement her homemade Puerto Rican pasteles and her oh-so flavorful and tender fresh ham. As a child learning the cuisine, I would be in charge of making the sofrito in the well-seasoned wooden mortar and pestle. There were no measuring tools per se, just the use of the everyday spoons and cups from the kitchen, and it was always perfect! The memories of her in the kitchen preparing those tantalizing ‘old school meals’ along with the smells that drifted through the house are with us still, and because of that she will always be.”

In bottom of caldero (heavy kettle or 3-quart Dutch oven) add the following ingredients, chopped. We call this sofrito.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 small green pepper, seeded
3 ajices, or sweet peppers
1 clove garlic
1 piece of small onion
6 fresh culantro leaves, not to be confused with cilantro

Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add together and mix to the sofrito:
8 to 12 pimiento stuffed olives
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon whole dried oregano
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil with achiote coloring. We usually have this made ahead of time, by coloring a cup of oil with annatto seeds; you can also buy Sazón and use two packets with the oil.

Wash 2 1/2 cups medium grain rice until water runs clear. Drain and mix with above, and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add 1 can pigeon peas (a type of legume), including liquid, plus 2 cups of water. Cook on medium heat until rice appears dry. Fold over, cover and cook on low for 30 minutes, turning once at 15 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Sage Stuffing
Submitted by Chef Ryan Payne, Southern Season and The Weathervane, Chapel Hill

non-stick cooking spray

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

2 eggs, beaten

2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth

1 loaf day-old French bread, diced into ½-inch cubes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare one day in advance of baking.

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the canola oil. Stir in the onions and celery and cook until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the herbs and cook until vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the eggs and chicken broth in a large bowl. Add the cubed bread and toss to coat all of the bread. Stir in the cooked vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to prepared baking dish and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to marry.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove from refrigerator and cover loosely with foil. Bake in preheated oven 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking time to brown the top. Remove from the oven and serve. Serves 8.

Dolmadakia, or Little Stuffed Grape Leaves
Submitted By Christa Leupen, S&A Cherokee, Cary
“I have many happy memories in the kitchen with my Mom and Grandmother baking double and triple batches of these because they disappear so quickly! There are many variations on the dolma (or dolmades, or dolmadakia), but this one has been amended several times until it passed the test of every Greek and non-Greek in our family. Even my Dad, born and raised in small-town eastern NC, gobbles these up!”

2 large sweet onions

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup uncooked rice

1 big bunch of parsley

3 lemons

3 cups water

3/4 cup olive oil

1 jar grape leaves in brine

Mix together ingredients one through five (onions through parsley), uncooked, and squeeze one lemon into the mix. Keep onion skins and parsley stems in a separate bowl. 

Rinse grape leaves under running water, remove any stems, separate and place them shiny side down on a surface. (If leaves are small, put two together.)

Place 1 teaspoon of rice filling near the stem end of the leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling, fold both sides in and then roll it up like a jelly roll. Be careful not to roll too tightly, or they will burst as the rice cooks, but tight enough to keep them from falling apart.

Line the bottom of a large pot with the onion peels to prevent sticking. Arrange the rolls snugly in the pot, using the parsley stems between layers. Cover the layers with water and olive oil, and cut lemons into thick slices and layer over the top.

Place a plate and a weight inside the pot on top of the leaves, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and let sit until any remaining water is absorbed. Serve at room temperature.

Pimento Cheese Soufflé
Submitted By Marilyn Markel, Southern Season, Chapel Hill

5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1½ cups milk
2 piquillo peppers, minced and blotted dry
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan, then stir in flour and mustard. Cook 2 minutes, stirring. Using a wire whisk, stir in the milk and cook, whisking, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the peppers.

One-by-one, beat in the egg yolks, whisking well after each addition. Turn off heat.

Stir the cheddar cheese into the mix. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Thoroughly coat eight 6-ounce ramekins with butter. Sprinkle the inside of each ramekin (bottom and sides) with Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form definite peaks. Thoroughly stir ¼ of these whipped egg whites into the cheese mixture. Gently fold the remaining whites in, but only until you can no longer see white streaks in the mixture.

Spoon soufflé evenly into the prepared ramekins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove soufflé from the oven and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Warm Onion Marmalade with Roasted Vegetables
By Chef Jeffrey Bane, The Chef’s Academy, Morrisville

6 large onions, diced or sliced very thin

3 cups sherry wine

1 cup strong veal stock

4 bay leaves

6 juniper berries

20 black peppercorns in a sachet

8 ounces dried plums, medium diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Place ingredients except plums and fresh herbs in a stainless steel, thick bottomed saucepan and simmer on very low heat until almost all liquid is evaporated and onions are translucent. They should be sweet in flavor. Remove peppercorns and juniper berries. Fold in the plums and herbs while still hot and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Serve with your favorite pork dishes, or with Roasted Kohlrabi with Red and Yellow Beets, recipe below.

Roasted Kohlrabi with Red and Yellow Beets

5 each large red and yellow beets and kohlrabi

salt and pepper

melted butter

wine, stock or water

Peel the vegetables and season with butter, salt and pepper. Cover in aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour at 350 degrees F until tender. Cool and slice or dice according to your liking.

Reheat in a shallow pan with a bit of liquid like wine, stock or even water. Time beets so the liquid will evaporate as beets are heated through. Coat and season with butter, salt and pepper.

Best-Ever Deviled Eggs
Submitted By Elizabeth Wooten, Wake Forest  

6 hard-boiled eggs

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 cup mayo (I use salad dressing)

salt and pepper to taste

7 slices bacon, fried crisp and cut into little pieces

 Mash the egg yolks, then add all other ingredients. Serves 4 to 6.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Submitted By Nancy Pardue, Cary Magazine
“Super sweet!”

3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, about 2 large or 3 medium

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons melted butter

¼ cup evaporated milk

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend all ingredients with mixer; place in casserole dish.

Mix ingredients for topping, recipe below. Spread topping evenly over top of casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Serves 8 to 10.  


1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons melted butter

Orzo with Spinach
Submitted By Kristy Pickurel, Cary

1 16-ounce can chicken broth 

4 ounces orzo pasta

1 teaspoon butter 

1 bunch spinach, chopped 

Garlic powder, to taste  

White pepper, to taste    

Parmesan cheese, shredded, to taste    

Heat the chicken broth and cook the orzo in it for 8 to 10 minutes, until done. Heat the butter over medium heat. Add the spinach, garlic powder and pepper. Stir over heat until spinach is just wilted. Add the orzo and stir until heated through. Remove from heat, place in serving bowl and top with Parmesan. Serves 2 as a side dish.

Dad's Oyster Stuffing
Submitted By Kristy Pickurel, Cary
“My dad makes this every Thanksgiving; he’ll even bring it when Thanksgiving isn’t at his house. Everyone loves it and gets constant requests for the recipe. It’s become a Thanksgiving staple in our family.”

1 cup finely chopped celery

½ cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 pint shucked oysters, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

8 cups homemade dry bread crumbs, recipe below

¼ to 1/2 cup chicken broth

In medium saucepan, cook onion and celery in butter until tender but not brown. Add oysters; cook and stir 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in seasonings. Place dry breadcrumbs in a very large bowl. Add the onion mixture. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten. Toss lightly to combine. Use to stuff turkey, or place in a casserole dish and bake, covered, at 325 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Serves 14 as a side dish.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

8 cups bread, or 12-14 slices

Cut bread into ½-inch cubes; do not remove crust. Place in a baking pan or spread on cookie sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until dry. May have to stir or turn once or twice.

Cabbage Fried Rice
Submitted by Karen C. Gray, Cary
“Tastes great with leftover chicken, turkey or sautéed shrimp!”

9 teaspoons sesame oil

1 small Vidalia onion, chopped, or 2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 piece of fresh ginger, about 1-1/2-inch, minced

3 cups shredded coleslaw mix, more if you’d like

2 stalks diced celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

seasoning salt


1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups cooked rice

Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the onion, celery and ginger and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and stir fry until the cabbage is wilted and soft, about 3 minutes. Season with a pinch of seasoning salt and about half of the teriyaki sauce.

Remove the vegetables to a bowl or plate and wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel. Put the pan back on the heat and add 2 teaspoons of the oil. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté gently until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside on the platter with the vegetables.

Add remaining 3 teaspoons of oil to the wok and when oil is hot add rice, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continually. Spread the rice to the sides of the pan and add the rest of the oil and the egg into the center. Season the egg with a little salt and pepper. Scramble the eggs lightly. Mix together with the rice.

Return the sautéed vegetables to the pan and add the rest of the teriyaki sauce, to taste. Toss everything together to heat through. Serves 6 to 8.

Submitted by Karen C. Gray, Cary

“This recipe works well with turkey sausage and/or turkey bacon.”

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup Supermoist yellow cake mix, such as Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines

1 tablespoon sugar

1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 cups milk

Cooked chopped bacon or ground sausage, about 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.

Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl, and mix. Add 1 cup milk, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Add additional milk until batter has the consistency of pancake batter. Stir in bacon or sausage.

Fill muffins tins about 3/4 full. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.

Cranberry Sauce
Submitted By Chef Ryan Payne, Southern Season and The Weathervane, Chapel Hill

1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried

2 cups granulated sugar

¼ cup brandy

⅓ cup water

1 cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 orange, zested and juiced

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar, brandy and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Stir in the orange juice and zest. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

Oriental Cole Slaw
Submitted By Kristy Pickurel, Cary

1 pound bagged coleslaw mix

12 scallions, or 2 bunches, chopped  

1 package ramen noodles, beef flavored

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

1/4 cup sugar 

1/3 cup white vinegar 

Combine the coleslaw mix and scallions. Break up and add the uncooked ramen noodles; do not include flavor packet. Mix together vegetable oil, sugar, white wine vinegar and seasoning packet from ramen noodles. Pour dressing over slaw mixture, toss and serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 15 as a side dish.

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