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Eating Well: Crowd-pleasing side dishes work with variety of entrees

So many times when I'm entertaining for a group, I find myself searching my recipe files for side dishes to prepare that are appropriate to serve with any type of entrée, whether it's chicken, pork, beef or fish.

The same thing happened to me this last weekend, when looking for the "right" potato dish to serve with hamburgers and brats.

I ended up doing a variation of the "Crowd-Pleaser Potatoes" by using my crockpot instead of the oven method.

In my search for other side dishes, I ran across a few other "favorites" I haven't prepared for a long time but will no doubt be turning to at some point this summer while on the same quest for that appropriate side dish - among them simple roasted potatoes, a tangy coleslaw, a heartier pasta dish, also adapted for the crockpot, and a rice and vegetable casserole excellent when served straight from the oven piping hot.

An extra hint, the "Crowd-Pleaser" potatoes can be made with store-bought frozen hash browns, substituting a 32 oz. bag for the fresh potatoes. I prefer the fresh potatoes, but using the frozen does save a little extra time.

If you are preparing your recipes for a larger group, double or triple accordingly, to what you think you'll need.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking.

Crowd-Pleaser Potatoes

8 medium potatoes (unpeeled-boil until tender)

3 green onions (diced)

1 cup sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1 cup cornflake crumbs

1 stick margarine or butter

After potatoes have cooled, peel, grate and place in a 9x13 serving dish. In a sauce pan melt margarine, add soup and sour cream. Pour over grated potatoes, add ½ cup cheese and fold mixtures together (also green onions). Mix cornflake crumbs and ½ cup cheese and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Onion Roasted Potatoes

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

2 pounds potatoes, cut into large chunks

1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In large plastic bag, add all ingredients. Close bag tightly and shake until all the potatoes are coated. Pour potatoes into shallow baking or roasting pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes to an hour or until potatoes are tender and golden brown. Serves about 8.

Zippy Coleslaw

Shred one head cabbage

1 medium onion, chopped fine


1 cup real mayonnaise

1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream

½ cup horseradish mustard

1/3 cup horseradish

Mix shredded cabbage and onion well. Pour dressing over top and blend well. Serve shortly thereafter.

Slow Cooked Macaroni

and Cheese

1 package 16 oz. elbow macaroni

2 eggs, beaten

1 can condensed Cheddar cheese soup

1/8 tsp. paprika

½ cup butter, melted

1 can (12-oz.) evaporated milk

1 cup milk

4 cups (16-oz.) Cheddar cheese, divided

Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain. Place in a 5-qt. slow cooker, add butter. In a bowl, combine the eggs, evaporated milk, soup, milk and three cups cheese. Pour over macaroni mixture, stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low for four hours. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cook 15 minutes or longer until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with paprika. Ten servings.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

1 16 oz. bag broccoli/cauliflower

1 chopped onion

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup Minute Rice

1 cup chopped Velveeta cheese

1 can Durkee onions

Brown raw Minute Rice with the onion in ½ cup of butter. Remove from stove and pour one cup of boiling water over. Cover and let sit 15 minutes. Cook vegetables until tender. Combine all ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes at 350