Monday, July 7, 2008

Side dishes make my brain hurt

Growing up, there was a lack of side dishes in my house. We'd have a chicken breast with some seasoning on it ... and that's it. Once in a while, I'd luck out and get some instant mashed potatoes or a side salad too. So now that I'm cooking for myself and Matt, I often struggle with what to make for a side dish. They just don't occur to me when I'm planning my menus.

Matt is a fan of green peas. I've added them to casseroles and gotten high marks. When I saw a Cajun pea dish, I had to try it.

Hot Pecan Peas

4 bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen baby sweet peas (do not thaw)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

Stir onion into hot drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium low; cook 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Add peas, 1/2 cup water, and Creole seasoning; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until peas are tender. Stir in bacon and pecans.

Note: To toast pecans, bake in a shallow pan at 350°, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.

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