side dish

Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, cheese galore, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

Hot, melted cheese is one of the finest things in life. Add some flavor oomph and you have the perfect yumminess to stuff in your face.

Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

The concept is simple: freeze cheese sticks. Wrap them in egg roll wrappers. Apply seasoning. Bake. Devour.

Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

To boost this to another level, I recommend jalapeno mozzarella sticks. I was a little worried they might be too hot, but it turned out the flavor was very mild. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE CHEESE STICK.

Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

The wrapping process is pretty easy. It gives directions on the back of the egg roll wrap package. However, don’t be like me and forget to brush water on the edges. (I think that’s why my wrappers leaked cheese. This can be categorized as a fantastic problem, because I then had to eat puddles of seasoned cheese off the aluminum foil. Darn.)

Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

Modified from Carlsbad Cravings. First posted by me at the Holy Taco Church.

Bready or Not: Chili Lime Mozzarella Sticks

These dressed-up mozzarella cheese sticks are delicious hot or cold!
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cheese, citrus
Author: Beth Cato


  • 24 mozzarella sticks regular or jalapeno
  • 20 egg roll wrappers 21-22 come in a pack; count wrappers and perhaps double up on a cheese stick or two
  • 1/4 cup water

Chili Lime Olive Oil

  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Unwrap mozzarella sticks and freeze for 1-2 hours. Do this on wax paper so they don't stick.
  • Whisk together the chili lime olive oil ingredients in a small bowl while the oven preheats to 400 degrees.
  • Wrap your sticks. Follow the directions on the package or you can Google it. Be gentle so you don't tear the thin pastry, and do remember to brush water on the edges so that it seals. Note that you likely won't have 24 wrappers in the pack, so count them and be prepared to eat some naked cheese or do some double-wrapped versions.
  • Place the wrapped cheese on a baking rack placed on a foil-lined baking sheet. Stir the seasonings again (the spices will settle) and then brush the oil all over the cheese sticks. Use up all that good stuff.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 400-degrees. Adjust the rack and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until golden, then flip them to broil the other side.
  • Eat up! They are amazing fresh--dip them in the oil in the pan. Serve with salsa or guac. Also, these things are amazing cold out of the fridge, if you happen to have any leftover.
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Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Blog, Bready or Not, gluten-free, healthier, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

When you make tacos, do you ever use up all of the tortillas? I sure don’t. There always end up being half a pack wallowing in the fridge. They come in handy for quick-fix quesadillas, but here’s another quick-fix for those leftovers: homemade tortilla chips!

Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

I think corn tortillas are the best way to go here, but feel free to try this with flour. I just think they’d get too hard. I like corn because there’s more chewiness. Also, this can totally be gluten-free, if you need that kinda thing.

Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

Choose how you wish to equip your chips. I went with ranch mix. If you use a packet, you won’t need that much out of it. You could likewise use taco seasoning, sea salt and pepper, cayenne, whatever. Heck, make this dessert with cinnamon and sugar and dip up some ice cream!

Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

The technique is simple. Slice up your tortillas. A pizza cutter makes this easy. Brush oil on both sides of the wedges. Season. Bake a short time.

Do keep a close eye on the oven so you don’t overbake these! That would be a tragedy.

The batch shown here, I baked for 15 minutes. The resulting chips were crisp yet still somewhat chewy and fresh. Find your sweet spot for the texture you want.

Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

Modified from DIY Ranch Tortilla Chips at Make the Best of Everything. Originally posted at the Holy Taco Church.

Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

Use leftover corn tortillas to make fresh chips in under 30 minutes! Make them savory with ranch dressing mix or ground sea salt and pepper, or go for dessert chips with cinnamon and sugar.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: gluten free
Author: Beth Cato


  • corn tortillas
  • oil olive oil, avocado oil, canola, etc
  • ranch dressing mix or other seasoning like taco mix, Italian, etc


  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Prep a large baking sheet with silicone mats or parchment paper. You can likely only fit 5 or 6 tortilla's worth of chips on a sheet.
  • Use a pizza cutter to slice your chips to desired size; they will shrink some as they bake. Brush a small amount of oil onto both sides of the wedges. Season them as much as you want; it's probably not necessary to do both sides. Use your fingers to smooth out any clumps.
  • Bake chips for 12 minutes then monitor them closely for desired crispness. Stay close to the oven--these are thin, remember, so they can quickly overcook!
  • Eat promptly or store chips in a sealed container.


Bready or Not: Homemade Tortilla Chips

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Bready or Not: Legendary Macaroni and Cheese

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, main dish, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Legendary Macaroni and Cheese

I needed a make-ahead macaroni and cheese recipe. I already have several other reliable ones like Civil War Macaroni and Cheese and the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but I didn’t need to babysit boiling milk or dirty a score of pots and pans as I was enjoying company over for a visit.

Legendary MacNCheese

I have had John Legend’s recipe saved on Pinterest for years. I watched a video of him cooking the recipe with Martha Stewart and read tips from other cooks. I decided to halve the recipe, since this was a side for four people, and otherwise tweak things.

Legendary MacNCheese

I did the bulk of the recipe in the morning. When it was time to start supper, all I had to do was heat the oven and add the paprika and bread crumbs. It baked up into an oozing, cheesy mass. Everyone raved over it. There were no leftovers.

Legendary MacNCheese

My other mac and cheese recipes are great but this is the one I’ll keep handy for holidays or when company is coming. Tastiness and convenience? Heck yeah!

Halved and modified from John Legend’s Macaroni and Cheese, as featured on Martha Stewart.

Bready or Not: Legendary Macaroni and Cheese

This modified version of John Legend's recipe, as featured on Martha Stewart's show, can be prepared in the morning and cooked later in the day! It's everything macaroni and cheese should be: cheesy with a crunchy baked crust.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: cheese
Author: Beth Cato


  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
  • 1 1/2 cups macaroni
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheeses or a mix of cheddars, shredded
  • sprinkle paprika
  • bread crumbs


  • If you plan to bake this right away, preheat oven to 375-degrees. Butter or spray a 9x9 baking dish.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt and macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain the water and return the macaroni to the pot. Add butter and stir until it has melted.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk and egg. Add seasoned salt, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Place about 1/3 of the macaroni in an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish. This should be just enough to cover the bottom. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat twice more with remaining macaroni and cheese.
  • Pour the milk and seasonings mixture evenly over the contents of the baking dish. At this point, you can stash the dish in the fridge overnight or during the day until it's meal time.
  • When you're ready to bake, make sure the oven is preheated. Sprinkle the top of the macaroni with paprika and bread crumbs.
  • Bake until top layer is lightly browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Legendary MacNCheese


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Bready or Not Guest Post: T. Frohock with Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, guest recipe, healthier, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not Guest Post: T. Frohock with Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Frohock-IMSToday I welcome T. Frohock, a fellow Harper Voyager Impulse author and a generally awesome person. Her first novella in the Los Nefilim series is In Midnight’s Silence and it is fantastic–I happily blurbed it! Think pre-World War II Spain with angels, demons, and dark machinations. The novella is out tomorrow and it’s only 99-cents.

To get you ready for a good read, here is a healthy, genuine recipe that is something her characters might enjoy.


Okay, bready people, it’s time to shake off those carbs and go for the green!

I have a new series coming out called Los Nefilim, which is set in Spain in the early thirties. While doing research for the novellas, I had to schedule events around mealtimes, because in Spain, lunch (usually held between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.) is the biggest meal of the day. It is a lengthy affair with many courses whereas dinner is a lighter meal usually consisting of the kind of foods that Americans tend to associate with lunch.

When Beth offered her gracious invitation for a guest post, I contacted my friend in Barcelona. Josep suggested a couple of recipes for me: spinach with raisins and pine nuts, or panellets, I chose spinach, because I have a “vintage kitchen.” That means my oven is old. I’m also a lousy baker and sweet potatoes have never appealed to me in any form. However, since this is a bready blog, I’m including a link to panellets, which are cookies or cakes made with sweet potatoes, almonds, and pine nuts. You can find a recipe for them here.

The recipe I’m going to tell you about is spinach with raisins and pine nuts, mainly because we’ve got to balance out all this delicious sweet stuff with something that is good for us.

I searched around online and found this recipe on Leite’s Culinaria blog.

I had a great deal of success with it, so here goes:

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 teaspoons for the nuts (optional)
1 small onion, chopped (optional), or 3 ounces serrano ham, minced (optional)
2 pounds spinach, tough stems removed and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A short note here: 2 pounds of spinach looks like you’re walking out of the store with enough spinach to feed a small herd of goats. Not so. Like any other green, spinach cooks up small, so be sure you get the full 2 pounds.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 003I measured everything out and covered the raisins in hot water in order to plump them. Give them about 30 minutes.

While the raisins are soaking, you want to remove the stems from the spinach. Removing the stems took me the longest, so if you’re planning on using this recipe on a weeknight, I’d recommend preparing the spinach over the weekend. Yes, you can probably use frozen, but fresh is the best.

Once the stems are removed, rinse the spinach.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 0091. Roast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently. This isn’t the time to check your Twitter feed. It only takes about 3 to 5 minutes, and once they start to brown, you can go from brown to burnt in seconds. Pour them into a plate or small bowl to cool.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 0102. In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. If you are using either onion or ham, add them to the oil, stirring often. The onion should be soft and translucent, and the ham lightly colored. Probably 5 to 10 minutes.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 0123. Add the spinach (with a little of the water still clinging to the leaves). Turn and stir constantly with tongs, until the spinach is wilted and shimmering with oil, about 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Drain the raisins and add to the pan along with the pine nuts. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.

Frohock-SpinachRecipe 013The olive oil, raisins, and pine nuts take all the bitterness from the spinach and leave it with a rich flavor in addition to giving the dish a nice texture. It was positively delicious, and this from a person who hates eating vegetables. I served the spinach with raisins and pine nuts with roast pork and red potatoes, but the dish would really complement any meat.




T. Frohock
Web site

BIO: T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight’s Silence.

T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.

In Midnight’s Silence (Los Nefilim: Part I): 99 cents everywhere


Barnes and Noble



More about In Midnight’s Silence

The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind …

Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can’t get to him directly, they do the one thing he’s always feared.

They go after Miquel.

Now, in order to save his lover’s life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world’s next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.

A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock’s IN MIDNIGHT’S SILENCE shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he’ll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.


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Bready or Not: Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette with Spaghetti Squash

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, gluten-free, healthier, lemon, main dish, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette with Spaghetti Squash

It’s getting hot (ugh) but that also means it’s time for light, fresh salads and pasta dishes. Today that means two recipes: lemon-basil vinaigrette and an easy technique to make spaghetti squash in the microwave.

Lemon-Basil Dressing

Last summer I planted some basil. The basil apparently really liked the Arizona heat, and it grew huge and I had to keep making pesto and figure out other recipes to utilize it.


This quick dressing became a favorite because it made a reasonably-sized amount and was great with both spaghetti squash and salads. This would be great tossed with any pasta, too.

Lemon-Basil Dressing on Caprese Salad3_sm

The pictures I have here show that I used it to make a modified caprese salad. I heated up my squash, mixed in the vinaigrette, heated it some more, and then topped it with fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. All kinds of mix-ins would be great with this dressing.

Lemon-Basil Dressing on Caprese Salad10_sm

If you don’t have fresh basil handy, I bet this would be great with some jarred pesto, too.

Vinaigrette modified from My Recipes.

Bready or Not: Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

A perfect summer vinaigrette to use on pasta, spaghetti squash, salads, or most anything else.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: dressing, gluten free, lemon
Author: Beth Cato


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 garlic clove minced


  • Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and pulse a few seconds, until blended. Store in the fridge and use on pasta, spaghetti squash, sandwiches, or salads.


Bready or Not: Easy Microwave Spaghetti Squash

Quickly and safely cook spaghetti squash in the microwave.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: vegetable
Author: Beth Cato


  • 2 - 3 lb spaghetti squash


  • Wash and dry the squash. Very carefully stab with a knife to penetrate the surface every few inches.
  • Place the squash on a microwave safe plate and cook in microwave on normal heat for 7-9 minutes, depending on size. Remove from microwave--the plate will be hot--and set on counter to cool at least twenty minutes.
  • Use a large knife to cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise. Be cautious of escaping steam. Let the opened squash sit out a while more to cool.
  • Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then use a fork to shred the squash itself. Store in fridge up to five days. Use in various dishes as a pasta substitute and heat up the squash in the oven or microwave.


Lemon-Basil Dressing on Caprese Salad4_sm

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Bready or Not: Maple Brussels Sprouts

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Blog, Bready or Not, healthier, maple, side dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Maple Brussels Sprouts

I’m here to convert you to the goodness of Brussels sprouts. Also known as: maple syrup makes everything better.

Maple Brussels Sprouts

If you’re like me and a lot of other folks, you have scarring childhood memories of Brussels sprouts (or as I remember them, nasty mini cabbage-like things). My mom, bless her heart, boiled them. The result was not delicious.

It was only last year I decided to make my own Brussels sprouts. For a few years, I had noticed recipes on Pinterest that made the roasted version look delicious. Then I ate some at a nice restaurant and realized, “I can do this myself for a whole lot cheaper.”

Maple Brussels Sprouts1_sm

The maple syrup doesn’t make these sugary sweet, but the sweetness is definitely there. It makes these the perfect complement to all sorts of savory, salty meats. Leftovers are also fabulous cold out of the fridge or chopped into a sweet salad.

On that note, you can also use this maple vinaigrette as a salad dressing. Just increase the amounts in proportion (say, 1/2 cup each of olive oil and maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar) and store the leftovers in the fridge. Use it on mixed greens, slaws, etc.

Maple. Best stuff ever.

Maple Brussels Sprouts


Bready or Not: Maple Brussels Sprouts with Maple Vinaigrette Dressing/Marinade

Forget the childhood trauma of Brussels sprouts with this slightly-sweet roasted version.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: gluten free, maple, vegetable
Author: Beth Cato


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tb olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 Tb pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • salt
  • 2 - 3 slices bacon optional, chopped


  • Prepare the Brussels sprouts. Remove any damaged leaves and trim the stem to remove any browning, then slice the sprouts into quarters or halves depending on their size. Place them in a gallon-sized Ziplock-type bag. (If you want to add bacon, add it to bag.)
  • Add the oil, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar to the bag. Seal the bag and give everything a good jostle and shake. You can bake right away or set the bag in the fridge for several hours. If you let it marinate, turn the bag every so often.
  • Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Set out a rimmed cookie sheet; for easy cleaning, line it with aluminum foil. Pour the Brussels sprouts onto the sheet and make them as even as possible. Add some salt.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, turn and stir sprouts, then roast for another 10 or 15 minutes until they are firm yet tender.


Maple Brussels Sprouts

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