salad · Side dish

Side Dishes That Take Center Stage

Yesterday for Mother’s Day I had the joy of inviting my daughter and her family to our home for dinner. She’s a busy mom with little guys, and I felt like she needed a break. It was such a fun time together. The menu was important because we are “foodies!” We want to have delicious food, worthy the occasion. We decided I’d make the meal and she would make dessert! I was excited already!

My sweet grandson was so proud of the plastic goblets I got them to drink from. I wanted them to have a “special” glass for holiday dinners without having to make everyone nervous about them drinking from crystal. The boys definitely approved!

I got a good deal on Pork Tenderloin at Kroger last week, so I decided to make the Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin that I’ve share here before. Then I got stumped. What sides should I make? It’s my norm to go searching for a recipe, rather than falling to a tried and true favorite. Not sure why, but that’s the way I roll. I found a recipe for Individual Stuffed Sweet Potato “Casseroles,” which I knew would pair well with the pork. They were so good! You simply bake the potatoes and add some special ingredients inside the skin. It was so easy, and also not overly sweet. Wow. I will be making these on repeat!

The recipe called for miniature marshmallows, but I used what I had on hand, and I loved the presentation!

Individual Stuffed Sweet Potato “Casseroles”

  • 4 Sweet Potoates
  • 1/2 Cup Applesauce
  • 3/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Mini Marshmallows

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the pan; pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Roast until tender, 50 to 60 minutes.In a small bowl, stir together the applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Cut a lengthwise slit along the top of each sweet potato; gently push ends toward the center to open up the potatoes. Using a fork, gently fluff the flesh. Add 1 tablespoon of the applesauce mixture to each potato; gently mix in with the fork.Preheat the broiler to High. Arrange about 8 marshmallows on each sweet potato. Broil until the marshmallows are toasted, about 1 minute.
  • The other side dish I found was a Corn Salad with Goat Cheese. The warm corn slightly melts the cheese and makes it soooo creamy. We all loved this new dish! It has a small handful of ingredients and comes together so quickly.

    Fresh Corn Salad with Goat Cheese

    • 4 ears fresh yellow corn ( I used frozen corn)
    • 1/4 Cup Red Onion, chopped
    • 1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper
    • 1/4 Cup Soft-type Goat Cheese (I used a Honey-Goat Cheese)
    • 2 Tbl Fresh Lemon Juice
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Steam or microwave corn until tender. Cool, then cut kernels from cob. Stir together corn, diced scallions and red pepper in a medium bowl.
    2. Combine chopped scallion, goat cheese and lemon juice in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour over corn mixture and toss well; season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

    These two side dishes were really different and truly special. The flavors were so good with the Pork Tenderloin!

    I hope you’ll refresh your side dishes with these recipes!

    2 thoughts on “Side Dishes That Take Center Stage

    1. Denise, you think of every little detail when it comes to making your guests feel welcome…even getting the plastic goblets for the twins. You can tell they think they are very special and grown-up.
      When my granddaughters were small I found some really colorful plastic mugs with their names on them. Even when they were in their teens they would come over to eat and get their mugs out.


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