Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

Chili Cheese Fries Testing, Photos and Reviews.

June 30th, 2009 1 comment

sonic-022Have you seen our Chili Cheese Fries Comparison post?  We just added these Chili Cheese Fries from SONIC Drive-In to the post.  The report is linked below.  ALSO, we still need an address from two SONIC Drive-In Gift Card Giveaway Winners.  Hurry and get back to us or we’ll need to draw two new winners on July 10th, 2009.  All prizes need a home.

Chili Cheese Fries Comparison Post:

SONIC Drive-In Gift Card Giveaway:

Have You Seen ALL Our Chili Cheese Fries?

April 13th, 2009 4 comments


Have you seen ALL the Chili Cheese Fries on Nibbles of Tidbits?  We’ve reviewed a lot more than the ones pictured here.  These are super good, but unfortunately not easily available to most, unless you live or work in Irvine.  They’re made by Peter’s Cafe, a small Cafe located on the ground floor of the Daimler Chrysler Building on Irvine Center Drive.  If you’re around the area, they’re worth trying — I think it’s the Oil they use that makes them so tasty.  If you’re not local, please see our Chili Cheese Fries link which includes photos and reviews of Chili Cheese Fries offered my many restaurant chains across the nation.

Chili Cheese Fries Comparison (Photos & Reviews):

Peter’s Cafe:  (949) 753-0855

This ‘Cheese Lover’s Five Cheese Mac & Cheese’ Won $25,000 In An Ultimate Recipe Showdown.

February 21st, 2009 1 comment


This Macaroni and Cheese helped Rick Massa win $25,000 in a Food Network Ultimate Recipe Showdown Comfort Food Competition.  And it’s now on T.G.I. Friday’s Menu.  After seeing the Judges rave about it, I had to make it too, especially since it includes Bacon.

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I followed the exact recipe.  It was very good, but I didn’t fall in love with it like I wanted to.  I toasted and smashed my own Breadcrumbs, which made the Cheese Crumb Topping extra tasty.  I’ll definitely use the same topping on future casseroles — It’s excellent when crispy.

Bonus INFO:  Collection of MORE Terrific Mac & Cheese Recipes

Baked & Broiled Potatoes With Artichoke Hearts.

February 17th, 2009 No comments


misc-0031I love this easy recipe of roughly chopped Red Potatoes and Marinated Artichoke Hearts — That’s it.  I simply combine the two in a baking dish with a little Artichoke Marinade and S & P, cover all with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 425°.  I then remove the cover and broil all for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to evenly brown.

I used to chop the Artichoke Hearts, but it’s best not to, since ‘too small’ pieces often disappear during the broiling process.  The Marinated Artichoke Hearts are usually halved in the jar.  I’ll leave them as is (minus the hard/woody parts) or cut ’em in half lengthwise if they’re extra large.  Caution:  The final result is so good that it’s hard to stop eating them, so make enough or not too many, HA. 🙂

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus On The BBQ.

January 4th, 2009 4 comments

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus on the BBQ – Just wrap bundles of Asparagus with strips of Bacon.  I usually wrap one slice of Bacon around 3-4 Asparagus.  I’ll add a well placed toothpick to each bundle, so not to worry about the Bacon unraveling on the grill — That’s a bad thing.  Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is an easy tasty appetizer or side dish.  Everyone loves them.

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Cranberry Sauce After The Holidays.

January 3rd, 2009 1 comment

I like fresh Cranberry Sauce all year long.  It’s easy to make and a great side dish to have on hand.  It goes well with Pork, Chicken, Ice Cream, Sandwiches, and much more.  Why ever eat Cranberry Sauce out of a can when all you need to do is boil Cranberries in a mixture of half Sugar and Water for about 10 minutes?!  One Bag of Cranberries calls for 1 Cup of Sugar & 1 Cup of Water.  I also like to add Orange Zest and Juice.  It really makes a tasty Cranberry Sauce.

“Crash Hot Potatoes” Aka Smashed Garlic Potatoes.

December 28th, 2008 No comments

This fabulously easy recipe is shown step-by-step in the links below.  It’s been made by several food bloggers/writers/cooks.  When I came across it, I had to make it too.  The preparation is simple — Just boil Red Potatoes until soft and smash them down onto an Oiled baking sheet.  Drizzle the smashed Potatoes with melted Butter, minced Garlic and S&P, then bake in the oven at 450° for 25 minutes without turning.  Voila!  They’re done and taste great.  If you need more information than that, check out The Pioneer Woman and For The Love Of Cooking.

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A Favorite Addition To Any Basic Stuffing.

November 24th, 2008 No comments

It’s Chicken Liver.  I fry small cubes then add them to any basic Stuffing / Dressing recipe.  Here I made Mrs. Cubbison’s Original Recipe – Basic Dressing Casserole.  It’s on the back of the box, which also notes a Lite Recipe.  After making the Original Recipe (OR), I learned that next time I’ll try the Lite Recipe.  I thought this one was too buttery — The OR seems to call for an unnecessary amount of melted Butter.

If you’re not completely adverse to Chicken Liver, you’ll love it in a good Stuffing Casserole.  Just bake it on the side or in the Turkey or Chicken.  Thanksgiving is around the corner — Why not give this addition some consideration?

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Orange County Chili Cheese Fries Comparison Report.

November 6th, 2008 6 comments

Where’s your favorite place to get Chili Cheese Fries?  We’ve been trying a few around town and would love to know whose Chili Cheese Fries you like BEST.  Some are extra good and some are just okay.  We describe a few, but want you to be the judge too.  Each photograph will have a brief description and related restaurant link directly below it.  And we’ll be adding more Chili Cheese Fries photos and observations, so keep checking back.

The Hat’s Chili Cheese Fries with Pickles & Tomatoes – You get a lot of them.  It’s heavy.

Tommy Pastrami’s Chili Cheese Fries – It’s got nice Steak Fries, but the Chili is a bit Tomato-Paste tasting.  It has big chunks of Beef in it, which is ok, but generally not preferred in a CCF.

Carl’s Junior’s Chili Cheese Fries – They’re not bad.

Fatburger’s Chili Cheese Fries – For some reason I expected more, but they were good.  Fatburger offers a choice of Skinny Fries or Fat Fries.  Pictured here are the Skinny Fries.


SONIC Drive-In’s Chili Cheese Fries – I haven’t tried these yet, but others like them.

Orange County Fair’s Chili Cheese Fries – You can only get them during the OC Fair.

Wienerschnitzel’s Chili Cheese Fries – Unfortunately they’re not one of my top picks.  I’d have to go with Carl’s Jr.’s Chili Cheese Fries before these (above).


Pink’s Chili Cheese Fries – Very good.  Second favorite to Original Tommy’s Chili Cheese Fries.

Del Taco’s Chili Cheese Fries – I’d pick them over Carl’s Jr. ones, since the Fries are better.

EZ Take Out Burger’s Chili Cheese Fries – I liked them, especially the French Fries.  Their Hamburgers are similar to In-N-Out’s Burgers, but dare I say I like EZ Take Out’s Fries better.  And Chili Cheese Fries don’t appear to be an option at In-N-Out Burger.

Johnny Rocket’s Chili Cheese Fries – They’re acceptable.  Nothing to rave about, nor rag on.  On a separate note, their Hamburgers are very good.

Original Tommy’s Chili Cheese Fries – They still stand as my favorite over all those pictured.

Wendy's Chili Cheese Fries

Wendy’s Chili Cheese Fries — It’s made with Chili that should be served in a bowl with a side of Buttered Crackers, but instead it’s dumped over French Fries and topped with Cheese.  I don’t think so.  They’re not recommended.

Chili Cheese Fries - Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box Loaded Chili Cheese Wedges — Good with the Onions picked out.

Portillo's Chili Cheese Fries

Portillo’s Chili Cheese Fries — Portillo’s Chili has a really good flavor that goes well with their crinkled-cut French Fries and a little melted Cheese.  We’d have them again.

Santa Fe Cafe Chili Cheese Fries

Santa Fe Cafe Chili Cheese Fries — They’re best had on their outdoor patio with a Pitcher of Beer.


Vinegar Potatoes For A Thanksgiving Side Dish?

November 3rd, 2008 1 comment

It might not sound good to some, but these Vinegar Potatoes for lack of a creative title, end up sweet, soft and crunchy — You can’t stop eating them, or at least I can’t.  I finally write the easy prep steps here.  Three large Red Potatoes were used in the picture, although a few were consumed pre photo op.


Red Potatoes
Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

(1)  Peel and roughly cube Red Potatoes.

(2)  Boil cubed Potatoes until soft (Don’t overcook).  Drain and salt.

(3)  Add soft salted Potatoes to a frying pan with a little Oil (Olive/Canola combo or other) and fry until golden brown.

(4)  After browned add enough Vinegar to reach each Potato in the pan then quickly evaporate, approximately 1/8 – 1/4 cup.  Cook another 5-10 minutes, adjust S & P then serve.

This would make a great Thanksgiving side dish, especially since it can be made a day or two ahead.  It’s successfully reheated in the oven the next day.  I’m telling you they’re Tast-TEE. 🙂

Related Link:

Coleslaw’s On Hand Again and Again.

October 6th, 2008 1 comment


I’ve been making this basic recipe for years.  I just switch it up between an all in, or some out combination of chopped Red and/or Green Cabbage, grated or chopped Carrots, finely chopped Celery or Celery Seed, chopped Parsley and finely sliced Green Onions.

I then add all to the above — Mayonnaise, White Wine Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, and freshly ground Pepper to taste.  This is one of my favorite snacks to have on hand.  It’s hard to rival that perfect combination of ingredients. 

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The Coleslaw above is made with Red Cabbage and Carrots, and the one below is made with Red Cabbage, finely grated Celery and Green Onions.  The measurements of the remaining ingredients vary on the volume of vegetables.  I’ll usually add a little at a time to dial in that perfect taste and coverage.  I tend to have a lighter hand on the Mayo and heavier hand on the Vinegar, without overdoing it.


P.S.  I confess that I also happen to like Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Coleslaw and Chic-Fil-A’s Coleslaw, although neither taste like mine, nor each other.  Coleslaw has endless variations and it’s a better snack than many.

Post-Post Coleslaw:  This one was made with shredded Green Cabbage, grated Carrots, chopped Parsley and finely sliced Green Onions, plus the standard mix-in, as detailed above.


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Deviled Eggs To Me.

September 15th, 2008 No comments

To me, Deviled Eggs are a perfect combination of Mayonnaise, Yellow Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar and S & P.  This is the first time I’ve piped in the filling using a pastry bag.  I could use a little more practice.  Some turned out good and others needed to be fixed — Once you lose that swirl you can’t get it back, but they all tasted the same.  Deviled Eggs are a good pre lunch or dinner snack to have on hand.  I’ve even had them for breakfast.  Why not?


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Corned Beef Hash Wannabe Inspired By Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.

September 6th, 2008 2 comments

It was very good, but more like diced Corned Beef and Potatoes with Onion, Garlic and Salt, rather than “Corned Beef Hash.”  I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and saw a similar recipe being made by a featured Diner.  I later looked it up on the TV Food Network’s website, re-watched the video online, and reviewed the posted recipe.  The recipe actually differs from the TV footage, so I prepared my own variation of the two.

I sauteed Sweet Onion, blanched the Potatoes and then combined them with the Onion and Salt.  I fried all a little longer then added the minced Garlic and Corned Beef, and after a few minutes placed the skillet in the oven and baked all at 450° for 15 minutes.  Although it was super tasty, it didn’t stick together like a true Corned Beef Hash.  Perhaps I should have mashed it or chopped all smaller to make it more authentic.  I believe Eggs are optional to this dish.

Have You Tried Broccoflower Yet?

August 24th, 2008 No comments

I finally tried it.  To me it tastes like Cauliflower, but with less flavor.  I didn’t expect that.  It’s a pretty color and fun to try, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it, unless I needed its color contribution to a dish. 

I prepared a dish I make often with Cauliflower.  This time it’s ‘Roasted Broccoflower’ with Lemons, Garlic, Olive Oil and S & P.  It’s so simple and good.  If needed, the exact cooking instructions from a previous post are linked below.

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Rachael Ray’s Potato Salad Fra Diavolo Esta No Fantastico.

August 23rd, 2008 4 comments


Lo Siento.  I’m not really sure why I’m trying to speak Spanish right now – HA.  I tried a recipe I saw Rachael Ray make on 30 Minute Meals.  It’s called Potato Salad Fra Diavolo.  The combination sounded really interesting to me, so I made it, but didn’t like it. 

That was a bummer, since I was hoping to eat it for lunch throughout the week.  I followed the recipe exactly, which I rarely do.  I’ll usually change something.  To me, the flavor was a bit heavy and didn’t jive — Perhaps too much Mustard or Fennel, I’m not sure.

I love the TV Food Network and Rachael Ray, but this particular recipe doesn’t work that well, with all due respect.  It’s from Episode#: TM1903.  Has anyone else made it?  If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s a few pictures of my preparation and a link to the recipe so you can try it yourself.  Good luck.

Recipe Links –


Houston’s Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese.

August 11th, 2008 17 comments

Have you had it before?  Houston’s Restaurant makes a fabulous Braised Red Cabbage.  I like it so much, I created this Copycat Recipe.  To me it tastes just like it — It’s super easy too.

Braised Red Cabbage Recipe:

1 Head of Red Cabbage (Chopped or Shredded) 

1/2 Cup White White Vinegar

1/4 Cup Water

2 1/2 Tbsp. Butter

2 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar

Add the Vinegar, Water, Butter and Sugar to a Dutch Oven.  Heat all on the stove for about 5 minutes.  When the Sugar is dissolved, add the chopped Red Cabbage. 

Stir all together, then cover and braise in the oven at 325° for 2 hours.  Stir every half hour or so.  If the liquid completely evaporates, just add a little extra Water.

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Houston’s serves their Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese.  Since I wanted to create the entire experience, I purchased a Goat Cheese trio from Trader Joe’s

TJ’s trio includes a combination of Plain, Garlic & Herb and Four Pepper flavored Goat Cheese.  I had already used the plain, so I used the Garlic & Herb for this dish.  Each is 3.5 ounces and individually wrapped, which is great for freshness.

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Choppin’ Broc-Co-Lay Souffle´

July 27th, 2008 1 comment

This dish happened by mistake.  And the title was inspired by a funny SNL skit that cracks me up every time.  Here’s an excerpt of the song by Dana Carvey with some fun animation.  Choppin’ Bro CO Lay — It’s funny stuff!

I was attempting to make my Aunt Barbara’s Spinach Souffle´.  She’s been making it every Christmas for years.  My sister and I always look forward to gobbling it down.  And since I recently learned how simple the recipe is, I wanted to make it immediately.

But it appears I wasn’t paying enough attention at the grocery store, because I ended up with (3) blocks of frozen chopped Broccoli, instead of frozen chopped Spinach.  Since I had the rest of the ingredients, I made the recipe with the Broccoli and added some Panko Breadcrumbs on top.

The Broc-Co-Lay Souffle´ was okay tasting, but the recipe is a lot better with Spinach, and no Panko Breadcrumbs are needed.  Also, it was a bit curdled looking when made with Broccoli, which isn’t attractive in a Souffle´, Gratin or similar.  I won’t be making it with Broccoli again.

Aunt Barbara’s Spinach Souffle´ Recipe: 

3 10oz. Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and drained
[It’s made with Broccoli above and Spinach below – YEAH]

1 16oz. Sour Cream

1 Envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Mix all ingredients together and bake in the oven at 350° for 35-40 minutes.

Recipe shown here with Broccoli and Panko Breadcrumbs.

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And here, as it’s supposed to be made with Spinach.  Yum.  Thanks for the recipe Aunt B.

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FYI:  These are the Panko Breadcrumbs I’ve been using in recipes.  They continue to stay fresh and crispy each time I open the container.


Panko Breadcrumbs –

What I Did With That Sauce.

July 20th, 2008 No comments


What Sauce?  The Sauce associated with this post –

I added a little Cream and Shaved Parmesan, then had it with Penne Pasta.  The Sauce is good without Cream too, but it does add a needed dimension of flavor if you don’t have fresh herbs.  I think I’ll try it with Vodka next time.


A serving without the Cream.

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Been Camping & Grilling in Carlsbad.

June 23rd, 2008 2 comments

Here’s a preview.  It’s Grilled Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.  More to come…

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Lemon Zest Potatoes, with Cilantro.

May 27th, 2008 1 comment

Lemon Zest adds so much flavor to food.  It can be magical in some dishes.  I often make Lemon Zest Potatoes as a side dish.  To vary the flavor, I’ll usually toss in whatever herb(s) I have on hand.  This time it was Cilantro, one of my favorites.  It’s a punch of flavor.

This is simply a combination of Red Potatoes, Lemon Zest, Butter, Cilantro, Salt, and freshly ground Pepper.  Toss all together lightly, so not to mash.  Sometimes I put them in a skillet to fry the outsides a bit, and other times I’ve made a soup out of it.  Both ways it’s been delicious.

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* I partially peel the Potatoes, mostly to cut off the weird parts.  If I have a perfect Red Potato, I usually don’t peel it at all — Mostly because I just don’t find it aPEELing.  Sorry.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic & Lemon.

May 23rd, 2008 No comments

For some reason, preparing this dish makes me want to go back to Italy.  I’m not sure why — I didn’t eat this there.  Maybe because it’s rustic, simple and flavorful. 

Just cut all the florets off (1) whole Cauliflower, then toss with a fair amount of Olive Oil, several whole or cut Garlic Cloves, Lemon pieces, Salt, and freshly ground Pepper.  Place all in a glass baking dish and ROAST in the oven at 475° for 20 minutes, or longer if necessary.  Stir a couple times to evenly brown.  It tastes so great, and it’s pretty good for you too.  I even eat the Garlic and some Lemons.

Note:  Although most roasting is at 500°, I often prefer the oven be preheated, and a bit lower in temperature.  475° can be good too, or 500° if deemed necessary.  If areas of your baking dish start to burn, add a little water to loosen.  It can steam the Cauliflower a bit, and help to avoid adding more oil.

What Not To Do:  It’s not necessary to squeeze the Lemons into the mix, it can make the dish too tart.  It’s best to just stir in the pieces.  It imparts a better flavor.

Fried Rice from Yesterday’s Saffron Rice.

May 14th, 2008 No comments

Fried Rice is so easy to make, especially if you already have left over rice.  For a simple and flavorful Fried Rice, just dice half an Onion, then carmelize in Oil/Butter.  Once cooked well, add a clove of minced Garlic, cook for a minute, and then add the prepared Rice, thawed Peas, Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil. 

Mix all together and heat through.  Then push the Rice to one side of skillet and scramble a couple Eggs on the other side.  Once cooked, fold the Eggs into the Rice.  Taste.  Stir in more Soy sauce, if necessary.  You’re done.

Note:  Sometimes it’s easier to scramble the Eggs in a separate pan to avoid having them prematurely mix with the Rice.

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Chicken Kick.

May 13th, 2008 1 comment

Six Chicken Thighs marinated in ‘Feast from the East Sesame Dressing’, plus two others marinated in the Pasta Connection’s Chimichurri Sauce.  It’s been previously mentioned that Chicken marinated in this sesame dressing is supurb, but wanted to test something different.  This Cimmichuri Sauce has been great on bread, and an awesome marinade for a Pork Loin, so thought I’d try it on Chicken this time.  For the record, I think it toughened the meat a bit, which wasn’t good.  The two weren’t as juicy as the other six.  All were BBQ’d on a propane grill.

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