side dishes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow

We are now less than a week away from Thanksgiving, are you ready? I’m sadly not cooking a feast this year so I don’t have a menu to share but that doesn’t mean that I can’t experiment a little to find tasty dishes for future Thanksgivings and/or holidays. So, I have been cooking and coming up with a few new (to my family) dishes that would be great on Thanksgiving  or anytime you are wanting something a little extra special.

We eat a lot of sweet potatoes in our house, they are a staple. My top ways of making them are baking and roasting and typically on holidays I make my sweet potato casserole. It is awesome, it’s even award winning,lol, but i’m keeping that recipe to myself for a bit longer. What i’m going to share with you is,Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow. It  is simply awesome.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow | Country Girl Gourmet

When looking at this recipe you may be thinking cream cheese and sweet potatoes, say what? I know, I thought the same thing. I never thought to mash sweet potatoes with cream cheese but guess what? It works and it makes them awesome. To make them even better just add browned butter and finish by giving them a spicy bite cayenne pepper. Oh and of course top with some toasty marshmallows. It is a flavor explosion in your mouth!

Outside of how great these taste the only thing better about this recipe is how easy these are to make while looking like you spent hours on them. While they do take a while to make that is because you roast the sweet potatoes and that takes time the rest is pretty easy. While your potatoes are cooling enough to handle you brown your butter. Once that is done set aside while you carefully split and scoop out you sweet potatoes. While you can use a hand masher I use a hand mixer to mash my sweet potatoes to help get some of the stringy fibers that can sometimes be found in sweet potatoes. Then all is left is refilling the sweet potato skins and to do this I use a piping bag to get it done quick and easy. Top with mini marshmallows  and bake until toasty. Then there you have it, a side dish that will make your guest go wow that looks amazing that will be soon be followed by it taste amazing too.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow | Country Girl Gourmet

So how are you making your sweet potatoes this year? Try Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow and you and your family and friends won’t be disappointed!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • sea salt to taste
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Rub olive oil onto the outside of each sweet potato and sprinkle sea salt over each. Arrange sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a sharp knife easily pierces the potato, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool sweet potatoes until easily handled, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until solids begin to brown and smell nutty, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop insides into a large bowl. Add browned butter, cream cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and mash using a potato masher until smooth. Spoon mixture back into the sweet potato skins and top each with ¼ cup marshmallows. Place sweet potatoes back onto the baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven until warmed through and marshmallows are toasted, about 10 minutes.

Recipe from

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño, and Bacon

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias

Welcome November! Here in NC we welcomed November with some mild temperatures and rain. The weather here has actually been so mild that my pepper plants in my garden are still producing like crazy. It’s a good thing that we like spicy food around here because i’ve been adding them to everything that I think they would be tasty in.  I have been thinking of some different ways to use them and remembered when I made Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread in the past and I thought to myself why not cornbread. All of the flavors go together really well so why not and to kick it up a notch I added bacon too. Cornbread with Kraft Natural Cheddar Cheese, jalapeño and bacon, what is there not to like? Sounds like the perfect comfort food mix to me!

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet

I headed up the road to Walmart and picked up some yummy Kraft Natural Cheddar Cheese then hurried home to start creating.

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon

I went to my garden and picked a couple peppers and got to work and created Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon. The recipe was pretty simple. It was a mix of different recipes I have used in the past. I used both cornmeal and corn in this cornbread and incorporated in the jalapeño, bacon and Kraft Natural Cheddar Cheese creating some delicious muffins.

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet


To start I mixed my dry and wet ingredients together and then I incorporated in the corn, jalapeños,bacon, and Kraft Natural Cheddar Cheese.

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet

Once well combined I filled a well greased muffin tin and filled the cups 2/3-3/4 full.

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet

I then baked the muffins in a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes.

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet

They looked beautiful! I couldn’t wait to try them but I let them cool down a bit before we dug in.

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet

The muffins were a huge hit with my family and I can’t wait to make them again for my parents and sister when they come down for one of our monthly family meals. I think they will love them as much as my husband and kids do. I am thinking that I just may have to add these cornbread muffins to my holiday dinner menus they were so good! The muffins are also the perfect side for all the super yummy soups and stews that are made in the cooler months. The combination of yummy cornbread mixed with bacon and cheesy Kraft Natural Cheddar Cheese and the heat of Jalapeño makes these muffins a yummy comfort food must have.

What is your favorite cheesy recipe? Looking for more Cheesy inspiration take a look HERE

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon | Country Girl Gourmet

Cornbread Muffins with Cheddar, Jalapeño and Bacon
Serves: 12
  • ½ Cup Cornmeal
  • ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ Cup Sour Cream
  • ¼ Cup Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine, melted
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup Corn (Fresh, Canned or Thawed Frozen)
  • ½ Cup Bacon, Chopped into Pieces
  • 1-2 Jalapeños, Seeded if desired and diced
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. In a bowl combine dry ingredients- Cornmeal, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, and Onion Powder
  3. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients- Egg, Sour Cream, Milk, and melted Butter.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined. Next add in Cheddar Cheese, Corn, Bacon and Jalapeño and incorporate well.
  5. Place cornbread batter in greased muffin pan, filling cups ⅔-3/4 full.
  6. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until done.


Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash

I’m a veggie girl. I have always been one. One of my grandma’s favorite stories about my childhood was eating dinner and me patiently waiting for everyone to be done and asking to finish the vegetables. Yeah, I was a weird kid. I loved all of those veggies that you hear of kids hating, broccoli, spinach, lima beans, cauliflower, and more. Even today, I have gone through vegetarian periods while my husband has been away. My husband on the other hand was anti-vegetable when we first married but has started to learn to love veggies now that he is in his thirties.  One of those vegetables is Cauliflower.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash | Country Girl Gourmet

I serve cauliflower on a regular basis in our house. Usually I serve it raw, steamed or roasted but sometimes I mash it. I always forget about how good cauliflower mash is and I was reminded again this month while working with Allrecipes and Swanson. This month one of my Allrecipes Allstar activities was to make, review and take pictures of various Swanson recipes and one of the ones I chose was their Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash and I am glad I did. It was delicious and super easy to make!

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash | Country Girl Gourmet

It honestly couldn’t be any easier. You take a head of cauliflower and cut into florets add to a pot with garlic and chicken broth. For the broth, while I am a huge fan of making my own chicken broth sometimes I use prepared and Swanson now has unsalted broth which I loved! I’m not a fan of overly salted dishes. You have to let the flavor of the food come through and the unsalted broth does just that!

Once you have your ingredients in the pot bring it to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes, drain reserving broth and mash adding broth, butter and parmesan. You can also season with some salt and pepper and then voila you have an awesome and easy to make side dish in less than 30 minutes! Add it to some roast chicken and maybe some green beans or broccoli and you have yourself a delicious and nutritious meal.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash | Country Girl Gourmet

What is your favorite way to serve Cauliflower? Have you tried it mashed?

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1¼ cups Swanson® Chicken Broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat the cauliflower, broth and garlic to a boil in a 10-inch skillet over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
  2. Mash the cauliflower mixture in the skillet and stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter. Season to taste.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Mash | Country Girl Gourmet

Recipe from

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Country Girl Gourmet. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Country Girl Gourmet.


Creamy Cucumber Salad

My garden really has been doing pretty well this year. There were times I wasn’t so sure like when we had an early season 100 degree heat wave in June. The only thing it really seem to hurt  were my tomatoes. They just did not do well this year after the heat wave. It is what it is though because otherwise my garden has done pretty well. Every couple days I am harvesting vegetables. One of the plentiful veggies this year has been the cucumbers. We have had enough cucumbers that nearly everyday for the last month or so we have been eating garden fresh cucumbers in some form. There have been plenty of cucumbers for just eating while others have become refrigerator pickles and various salads. One of the salads that has won my family over has been a simple, creamy cucumber salad.

Creamy Cucumber Salad | Country Girl Gourmet

Creamy Cucumber Salad is an easy to make cucumber side dish. You can make it in minutes with only a handful of ingredients. All you need is sour cream, apple cider vinegar, garlic, dill, salt, pepper and cucumbers of course. We eat it along side most anything from burgers to chicken breast. It is a go-to, go with anything side dish of the summer that I never seem to make enough of.

What is your favorite way to eat cucumbers? Have you tried cucumber salad? Try this simple, creamy cucumber salad and see how good it is for yourself!

Simple Creamy Cucumber Salad
  • 2 Cucumbers, halved (lengthwise) and sliced
  • ¼ Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dill Weed
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
  1. Mix sour cream, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and dill together in a bowl. Add cucumbers and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.


Squash Cakes

One of the best part of having a vegetable garden is all the wonderful homegrown produce that is right in your back yard. One part of growing a garden that people seem to forget to mention is that sometimes (Ok, well maybe more like often) you have an over abundance of veggies. Right now that is going on in my garden. I have so much yellow crookneck squash.

Seriously, I love squash but i’m at a point of what the heck do I do with all of this squash? I’ve roasted it and sautéed it, I have even frozen some of it, i’ve spammed my Facebook friends for recipe ideas too.  Looking at the squash I wasn’t sure what to do with it anymore then I remembered something I first made a couple years ago, zucchini cakes. Zucchini cakes are basically a vegetarian crab cake and delicious! I figure why not try it with the yellow crook neck squash, I had nothing to lose. I have definitely earned back my dollar and change I invested when I bought the seeds back in the spring.

I threw some gluten free bread in the oven to toast up and dry out to make some fresh breadcrumbs and went to work on shredding my squash, making sure to remove the seedy portions. The seeds just don’t shred that well.  After draining the squash I put together the faux cakes and started frying and let me tell you the squash cakes were delicious and were a hit with my family! They were the perfect way to use up some of my excess squash. I know I will be making them again real soon!

Squash Cakes | Country Girl Gourmet

Do you have squash (yellow or zucchini) growing like crazy in your garden? Try this recipe and discover a new delicious way to eat squash!

Squash Cakes |Country Girl Gourmet

Squash Cakes
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded zucchini or yellow squash
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (gluten free work well)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
  • 1½ teaspoons seafood seasoning or season all (seasoned salt) or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Place grated zucchini in a colander; sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Press with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible; zucchini should be fairly dry and reduced to about 2 cups.
  2. Mix zucchini, bread crumbs, green onions, bell pepper,garlic, seafood seasoning, mustard, mayonnaise, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Form into patties (large or small)
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Recipe adapted from


Corn in a Cup (Elote en Vaso)

When I was pregnant with my daughter I had what I thought was a weird craving. It wasn’t anything gross, it was just corn, especially canned corn. A few years later after we had moved to El Paso, Texas I learned my craving wasn’t that odd at all. In El Paso eating elotes en vaso or corn in a cup was a normal thing. You could find corn in a cup at local grocery stores, some gas stations and at concession stands. I even sold it at a concession stand for my kid’s track team. Who knew?  Growing up corn was also simple, butter with salt and pepper in El Paso my eyes and taste buds were opened to a new way to eat corn.

Corn in a Cup/ Elote en Vaso | Country Girl Gourmet

Corn in the cup takes your basic corn to the next level elevating it with chili powder (like Tajin) and/or hot sauce (esp. Valentina), fresh lime, a bit of crema or sour cream and some cojita cheese. It is typically served in a styrofoam cup and is easily customizable. You have this cup of buttered corn and then you just add the layers of flavor turning it into something really wonderful. I don’t know if it is the simplicity of it or if it is just comfort food but in El Paso it was guaranteed to be something you would sell out of. Try it for yourself and change how you and your family enjoy eating corn!

Corn in a Cup (Elote en Vaso)
  • 10 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed
  • 1¼ cups butter
  • 2½ cups lime juice
  • 2½ cups crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste (such as Tajin)
  • salt to taste
  • 1¼ cups crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Valentina®), or to taste (optional)
  • 10 wedges fresh lime
  1. Place corn in a saucepan and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and return corn to saucepan.
  2. Spoon ¾ cup corn into 10 serving bowls; add 2 tablespoons butter to each and stir until butter is melted. Mix ¼ cup lime juice (or to taste) and ¼ cup crema Mexicana into each bowl; sprinkle a generous amount of chili powder or tajin over each. Season with salt if desired.
  3. Top each serving with 1-2 tablespoons cotija cheese and hot sauce; garnish with a lime wedge.
  4. *canned or frozen corn can be substituted for fresh corn... 5 15.25oz cans of corn=10 ears of corn*


Easy Polenta

When I went gluten free over a year ago I had to redo how we did our meals and come up with some new dishes to include in our regular meals. One of those dishes was polenta. I had made polenta before and I liked it. I’m not quite sure why I never made it again. Maybe it was out of laziness and not wanting to go through all the steps of making it. Back then I made the polenta, then molded it and finally sliced and fried it up. That’s not how we eat it now though. Now I keep it simple, I serve it as is. No molding,slicing or frying.

Easy Polenta | Country Girl Gourmet

The actual creating of the polenta is easy. Your biggest concern is keeping your polenta from getting lumpy. That is pretty simple to accomplish though. Polenta is one of those foods that take a few extra minutes can mean all the difference in the world. When you add your polenta or cornmeal to your liquid you have to take it slow. You slowly pour and stir in your polenta instead of dumping it in. That is all. Stir on a regular basis and voila, lump free polenta. All there is left to do when it is done cooking is add butter and parmesan cheese. It really is an easy dish to make if you take your time.

Polenta has become a staple in our diet because it is just that good. I probably make it twice a month. It is one of my daughter’s favorite things to eat that she begs me to make. She is 8. Now how many 8 year olds do you know that ask for polenta for dinner? Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!



Easy Polenta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring milk, chicken broth, and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook 20 minutes, until creamy, lifting the lid and stirring every 3 or 4 minutes to prevent sticking. Remove pot from stove, stir in pepper and butter. Gradually stir in cheese. Serve.

adapted from 


Gluten Free Corn Casserole

This year for Thanksgiving I have the challenge of making our normal Thanksgiving feast gluten free. After talking to my husband and kids about what they want to eat I discovered there were only a couple things that would need a gluten free makeover. The stuffing, corn casserole and any baked goods like pies. The stuffing is the easiest makeover as it will be made using gluten free bread instead of regular bread. The corn casserole and pies, well more so the pie crust would be a bit more tricky but I felt I could do it. I chose to tackle the corn casserole first and save pie crust for another day.

I have been making corn casserole for years. I cannot even tell you how many years ago I started making it. I can tell you it all started after watching Paula Dean on Food Network. It looked good and it was easy to make. One of the key components of the recipe was Jiffy corn muffin mix. This is where my gluten problem is. I needed to figure out how to make the recipe without the Jiffy corn muffin mix. Well, lucky for me I saw an article on Buzzfeed about how to make your own DIY mixes and as luck would have it Jiffy corn muffin mix was on the list. I then checked on Google and found multiple other websites with similar DIY recipes. I figured I could convert those recipes to gluten free and test things out. It seemed to easy to me but I did and it worked! My kids were none the wiser and gobbled up my test run of Gluten Free Corn Casserole.

Gluten Free Corn Casserole | Country Girl Gourmet

I can’t wait until Thanksgiving now to see what the rest of my family thinks. I wonder if they will be able to tell it is gluten free? Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Gluten Free Corn Casserole | Country Girl Gourmet

Gluten Free Corn Casserole
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
An awesome and easy to make Gluten Free Corn Casserole. Sure to become a family favorite!
  • ⅔ cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, mix well.
  3. Add can of corn and can of creamed corn, sour cream, and melted butter. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan/dish and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with desired amount of cheese 1-2 cups. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until cheese has been melted.

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

I have always been a vegetable lover. As a child I would eat seconds of my veggies and loved broccoli and spinach. One vegetable that we never had was Brussel Sprouts so I always assumed they were gross little green balls. As an adult I never really had any desire to buy them but one day while grocery shopping my daughter asked me to buy a bag in the frozen food section. So I did. I made them and no one would touch them. They were soggy little things, overcooked by the steam bag.I knew there had to be a better way to make brussel sprouts and my daughter still wanted her brussel sprouts.

I came up with this recipe accidentally and it has become a fast family favorite since.  It is quick and easy and doesn’t disappoint. I highly suggest trying these Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and giving these wonderful sprouts another try!

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta | Country Girl Gourmet

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta


1lb Brussel Sprouts

3 slices thinly sliced Pancetta,diced (I like to use a scissors and cut it. Bacon can be used instead of Pancetta)

2 TB Butter

2 Cloves Garlic

Fresh Ground Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Wash  and cut Brussel Sprouts into quarters.

2. In a large skillet using medium heat melt butter and then add Pancetta and sauté until it begins to crisp.

3. Add Brussel Sprouts and garlic and sauté until brussel sprouts start to brown and are cooked thoroughly. This should take less than 10 minutes.

4. Season with Salt and Pepper and serve.

Cranberry Almond Pasta Salad

This is a sweet and tangy pasta salad filled with dried cranberries and almonds.

Cranberry Almond Pasta Salad

1 12oz box of bow tie pasta
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisens)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
8oz diced turkey or ham
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Cook pasta per box instructions(9-12 minutes) when done drain and rinse with cold water.  While pasta is cooking combine mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar in a bowl.  Once cooled pasta has been drained add to large bowl with diced turkey or ham,celery, dried cranberries,almonds and dressing.  Mix well until everything is well coated.  Serve as is or refrigerate.

Cranberry Almond Pasta Salad |Country Girl Gourmet