One of the biggest changes that transformed me from a newlywed struggling to get something edible on the table to making family-friendly meals nightly was the addition of side dishes. I used to just make a lasagna and call it a night. Well, it’s actually a money-saver to add a salad and maybe some garlic bread to that lasagna. And it makes for a much nicer (well-rounded) meal.
Why is it a money-saver to add side dishes? Depending on what you buy, the side dishes will be cheaper than the main dish, and help to fill your family up. When they have a couple of side dishes, there is more of the main dish leftover, possibly for lunches or even dinner the next night.
I’ve gathered up some of my favorite, easy, inexpensive, tasty side dishes. Hopefully this list can give you some ideas when you are (yet again!) planning dinner.
Lemon Roasted Asparagus
This is a great spring recipe. So easy & flavorful.
I usually have a bag of carrots in the fridge, since my husband uses them for a snack & they’re the only vegetable my daughter will eat. The glaze for this dish is so simple; items like soy sauce and honey, that I always have on hand.
Romaine Lettuce & any veggies in the fridge
I’ve mentioned before that I prefer whole romaine hearts to buying a bag of lettuce. They just last so much longer. I keep romaine and/or spinach in the fridge so I can whip up a quick salad for any dinner. Salad dressing is typically olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. Bottled is cool too, of course.
Ok, so I’m not reinventing the wheel here. But I think it’s easy to forget, in the dead of winter, that plenty of veggies taste great out of the can. I keep canned corn in the cabinet, so I can pop it open whenever I need an extra side dish.
Parmesan Green Beans
Once again, roasted veggies for the win. Easy, flavorful, and looks like you put a lot more effort into it than you did.
Tomato, Onion, Cucumber Salad
I’ve brought this salad to many BBQ’s. Quick, tasty, and a perfect mix of summer flavors. Can you tell I’m missing warmer weather and good produce??
Sage Butter Gnocchi
This one’s a bit of a stretch in the “quick” category, but it’s just so good, I had to include it. Essentially, you fried up fresh sage in some butter, and then use it to top freshly-cooked gnocchi. It’s awesome as a side to steak, or any other main dish that typically gets a potato dish. Trust me, you won’t regret trying it.
Any side dish favorites in your family? Do you struggle, like I do, to make a “complete meal’?