Often it's not the main course that makes a meal successful -- it's the side dishes. When I'm reading a menu at a restaurant I'll scan the side dishes instead of the meat to decide what to have.

Often it's not the main course that makes a meal successful -- it's the side dishes. When I'm reading a menu at a restaurant I'll scan the side dishes instead of the meat to decide what to have.

The same is true at home. I know I'm making chicken, but what should I serve alongside? Roasted potatoes? Rice?

Below are two recipes based on ones that recently appeared in the Dispatch Food section. They're excellent side dishes together or on their own.

HONEY CARROT COINS WITH CINNAMON PISTACHIO

Combine carrots, water and salt in a large saut pan or shallow saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Add honey, sugar, butter and cinnamon. Cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until carrots are very tender and glazed.

RICE PILAF WITH GOLDEN RAISINS

Makes 4 servings

For a change of pace, replace the raisins with pomegranate seeds.

Heat oil in a deep skillet or saut pan. Add onion. Cook over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and saut over medium heat 2 minutes. Add hot broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir once. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add raisins; do not stir. Cover and cook 8 minutes or until rice is just tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Fluff rice lightly with a fork. Using a fork, gently stir in orange peel. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon pilaf into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with pistachios.