Superior Slutty Sides

Chef Julie has spoken!

I narrowed the Mommy Dish Side Dish Slut contest down to the final four, but simply couldn’t pick a Head ‘Ho (uh, winner). It was like choosing children (I am so thankful for all of you). Told you I am easy! Good thing I have Chef Julie to do my dirty work.

I hate to pull a Ryan Seacrest on you and torment you with his signature, “We’ll find out who’s going home after the break” tease, but that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am going to reveal the triumphant trollop of the Mommy Dish Side Dish Slut contest tomorrow. The dishes below are too divine to ignore…and the sluttiest side dish is among them! Can you guess which one it is?

Here’s the final four (in no particular order):

1) Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Submitted by Kelly Cushing


6 sweet potatoes, even in size and scrubbed

4 tablespoons brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place sweet potatoes on sheet tray and bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle.

Split potatoes and remove the flesh to a medium sized bowl, reserving skins. In another bowl, add brown sugar, butter and cream cheese and the all of the spices and mash with a fork or rubber spatula.

Add the butter and cream cheese mixture to the sweet potato flesh and fold in completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on a half sheet tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

2) Butternut Squash and Apple Crisp

Submitted by Kim Checkoway


1 small butternut squash (about 2-21/2 lbs)

2 tart apples

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

4 tablespoons butter, cold

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Butter a 2-2 1/2 quart baking dish.  Heat oven to 350. Peel, seed, and cut squash into small pieces (obviously you can buy the squash already cut). Core the apples; peel and cut into thin slices.  Toss squash and apples together. Transfer squash and apple slices to the prepared baking dish.

Combine brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs over sliced squash and apples.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until squash is tender.  I found it actually took about 75 minutes before it was ready. Enjoy!

3) Cranberry and Pear Relish

Submitted by Jody King

1 (16-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar (or to taste)
3 to 4 unripe pears (Bartlett, Anjou, or Comice), peeled and diced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Rinse and pick over the fresh cranberries, discarding stems and imperfect berries.

In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the pears and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the berries start to pop, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, cinnamon, and allspice. Refrigerate and enjoy!

4) Grilled Acorn Squash with Asiago Cheese

Submitted by Leah Hirschorn


3 acorn squashes, 1 1/4- 1 1/2 pounds each

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese


Light a grill (Leah uses a gas grill). While the grill is heating up, carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise with a large knife. Scoop out and discard seeds and strings.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of sage, granulated onion, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Brush butter mixture all over the exposed flesh of the squash.

Put squash on the grill, not directly over the flame. Place squash, cut side up, on the cool side of the grill. Cover and grill for 30 minutes. Sprinkle cheese all over the exposed flesh of each squash. Cover and grill until very soft when pierced by a knife and cheese is browned, about 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining sage and serve warm.

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