Stumped by side dishes? This column is for you.

Some weeknights, I put so much effort into preparing the main dish that the sides tend to get thrown together.

The good news is that vegetables are just fine with a little salt and pepper and a good steaming, but I’m usually a little disappointed in the end.

I’ve found that with just one or two extra spices or herbs, these veggies go from OK to really, really good.

Keep the list of ingredients down to a few spice cabinet staples, and you can turn the preparation over to a family member or guest while you pull together the rest of the meal.

And these recipes require only a few ingredients — something I’ve been asked to do from time to time. So, everybody wins !

This week’s trip to the market yielded some fresh kale and pretty, plump carrots. In the freezer, I had some corn from last season, which is a favorite with my girls. The corn has a nice smoky flavor that complements its sweetness.

This recipe will work well with leftover corn from a crawfish boil, too. That little bit of cream zaps any bitter taste from the kale.

I roast vegetables quite often during the spring and summer, so I like to experiment with different herbs to mix things up. A sprinkle of dill on these carrots is just perfect. I used last year’s dill that I dried in a food dehydrator. (Food dehydrators are a great investment, but more on that later.)

Try these fast and simple sides when you need to focus on the main event and fill the table, too.

Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at