Dinner Plans: 6 Easy Side Dishes

If you took culinary arts or home-ec in high school you were taught the requirements of a "proper" meal: meat, starch, vegetable. 

Now days those requirements are negotiable and lifestyle-dependent. Low carbers drop the starch, vegetarians drop the meat, and most bachelors will skip the vegetables. 

Regardless of your lifestyle, it's nice to have more than just a pile of meat (or tofu) on your plate. I've told you about sensory specific satiety before and how our appetite can get satisfied with one thing, but then get fired-up again when dessert or a different tasting food is offered.

What a side dish does is keep the meal diverse enough so that you can continue enjoying the entree. (Note: If you're eating a one-pot meal or giant salad, there's enough variety on your plate to not need a side.)

Dinners at my house usually consist of some sort of meat along with a cooked vegetable. Nothing too fussy. Here are some easy ideas. 

1. Spinach-Rice: Ease-up on the starch by combining your rice with cooked spinach. Add loads of oregano, garlic, and onion. Slice up some olives, or whatever random veg you want, and add those too. 

 

2. Green faux-tatoes: Thaw out a bag of frozen spinach and cauliflower. Blend them in a food processor, add chicken stock, and anything that'll add creaminess: coconut milk, butter, heavy cream, cream cheese, whatever you want. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and whatever spice will make it go best with your main dish. 

How do you know how much spice or creamy components to add? Add to taste.

3. Carrots. Slice them thinly. Then bake them in your oven at 400 for about 15 minutes. 
 

4. Butternut squash: You can do almost anything to it and it'll turn out good. Slice, spray with a little coconut oil, spice them up with cinnamon, allspice, and a little salt, and lay across a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until they're soft. Your kitchen will smell amazing.

 

5. Make something naughty. Like these baked pickles that taste fried. Actually this was a total mess. I looked up a dozen recipes, then winged it with a coating of crushed pork rinds. 

 

6. Sauteed Spinach: Make this really luscious, sexy, and simple. Sexy vegetables? Yes. Saute fresh spinach in coconut oil. Add garlic, salt and pepper, then lay it over a sliced avocado. 

Remember, we eat with our eyes first, so pamper yourself and nourish your loved ones with beautiful healthy food.