You guys. It is still so hot. But, I have it on good authority that fall has come to other parts of the country, and that it may soon make an appearance here! If Starbucks has pumpkins spice lattes, it must be true — right?
Anyway, if you’re ready for soup weather (and boy am I ever), hop on over to LiveMom and check out my latest post with a delicious recipe for crock pot potato soup.
It’s easy to throw together, delicious and comforting — perfect for fall. Enjoy!
* And also, apparently, something of a fraud, at least according to New Mexicans. This article (discovered via Addie Broyles) has me questioning everything I hold dear.
One evening last week saw the hubby thumbing through the Recipe Book, and he landed on two recipes that sounded equally delicious, so we decided to try both of them out. The first was a squash casserole starring cheese and Hatch peppers. I’m always looking for ways to use zucchini and summer squash (other than zucchini bread, of course), and this turned out to be a good combination.
Author: Adapted from a recipe for Yellow Squash with Green Chiles found in Central Market's The First Ever Un-Edited and Un-Tested Hatch Chile Pepper Recipe Book
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and chopped
½ tsp salt
3 small zucchini, sliced
3 small yellow squash, sliced
1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil an 8x8 pan and set aside.
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic together until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the Hatch chiles, zucchini and squash and saute until softened but not soggy. Season with salt to taste.
Transfer the squash mixture to the baking pan and top with the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is hot and melted.
The second, delightfully termed a “Potato, Corn and Green Chile Thing” by the author, was originally a camp recipe, and it was delicious just as it is. It would be even better treated as a hash and served with some fried eggs over the top. Next time, that’s what we’ll do. The sweet corn was a wonderful complement to the spicy Hatch peppers.
Author: Adapted from a recipe for RCM Potato, Corn and Green Chile Thing from The First Ever Un-Edited and Un-Tested Hatch Chile Pepper Recipe Book from Central Market
4 Tbs butter, divided
2-3 large red potatoes (or Yukon Golds), chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, divided
2 ears corn, grilled and cut off cob
1 tsp sugar
3 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 onion chopped
Melt 2 Tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the potatoes with one of the garlic cloves, stirring, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and set aside.
Melt the remaining 2 Tbs butter in the same skillet. Add the corn and the other garlic clove and saute for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir for 5 more minutes.
Add the reserved potatoes, the onion and Hatch chiles to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve alone as a side dish, or topped with a fried egg.
Okay, so I fully admit it is not baked potato weather. We’re going on a streak of 100-degree days here, and I don’t love turning the oven on.
On the other hand, I am loving potatoes right now, and sometimes, when I’m having a blah day,* a baked potato is the only thing that sounds good. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered a recipe that not only promised to deliver the tastiest baked potato possible (with butter and cheese cooked right into it!), but also cut down cooking time by a third.
* Yes, I still have them occasionally, and yes, I’m taking about nausea/food aversions. This pregnancy has been difficult, especially with the heat, but I’m coping — and it could be a lot worse. But carbs are still my friends a lot of the time.
Of course I tried it at the earliest possible opportunity, and — there’s no better way to say it — these potatoes were awesome. The other members of my family, neither or whom has ever been as enthusiastic about baked potatoes as I am, loved them too.
Mom to Bed by 8 offers a great tutorial here, but I tweaked it just a little bit (and not in the direction of making it any healthier, I’m afraid — quite the opposite). So I’ll share my version here, too, but hop on over there to get a step-by-step feel for how you should be doing things. I don’t think you’ll ever make baked potatoes the “old way” again!
Author: Lightly adapted from this recipe from Mom to Bed by 8
Recipe type: weeknight meal
4 large baking potatoes*
Sour cream, chives, salt and pepper and any other ingredients you desire for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Wash and dry the potatoes. Using a sharp knife, but ¼-inch slices into each potato, crosswise, but don't cut all the way through to the bottom.Leave enough flesh to keep the potato together (think accordion-style).
Stuff each of the slits you've just made with butter and cheese, alternately. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet (make a little foil "boat" to keep things neat if you want -- I did) and bake for 35 minutes.
Add additional shredded cheese to the potatoes and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are cooked perfectly.
Remove from the oven and cool slightly, then add your additional toppings -- I recommend a healthy dollop of sour cream and chives, if you have them, plus salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
*Or as many servings as you would like to prepare.
I’m pretty particular about my potato salad. Yukon Golds are my favorite potatoes to use (skin on, please!), but I like red-skinned potatoes from time to time, too. I don’t like too many crunchy surprises, like chopped celery (blech!)… but it does need to have the right crunch to it. Onions are a no, but scallions are a must, for the flavor. Pickles are a good addition, but sometimes I like to get creative with olives or capers instead. The pickles definitely shouldn’t be too sweet, though, or it ruins the flavor. And it should be creamy, but not overwhelmingly so. So, yeah, I’d say that’s pretty picky.
Potatoes have been a good friend of mine this pregnancy (yay carbs!), so my go-to dish for a summer potluck is potato salad.* And that way, I know it’ll meet my exacting standards!
*Well-chilled, of course. Food safety, people! I like to serve it in smaller batches in a bowl with a larger, ice-filled bowl under it, if it’s going to sit out in the heat at all.
Here’s my tried-and-true recipe for perfect picnic potato salad. Enjoy!
Cut the potatoes into bite-size cubes and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add the mayo, sour cream, scallions, pickles, dill, chopped hard-boiled eggs, Dijon mustard and lemon juice, and stir with a spatula to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chill for at least an hour or two, or until ready to serve. Enjoy!
I am starting to love twice-baked potatoes. Not the smallest reason is that they are easy to make ahead and then finish off right before dinner time. When I saw Kitchen Treaty’s recipe for Greek yogurt and chive twice-baked potatoes, I wanted to try them ASAP, and then I stumbled on a baked potato casserole recipe on Pinterest, and the rest is history. I made my very own Frankenstein version combining these dishes, and it was perfect.
The Greek yogurt, aside from adding creaminess to the filling, also packs a protein punch, and it’s tasty to boot. Add some sharp cheddar (I used Dubliner cheese leftover from my last twice-baked potato adventure, but any good sharp cheese will do), sautéed mushrooms and onions, and broccoli, and we’re in business. I would love to say that I served this as a put-together meal with a side salad or some roasted kale, but, alas, it was a busy night, and the fact that the potatoes already had veggies in the filling won out, and I just called it a complete meal in itself.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil a large casserole dish, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and arrange then cut-side down in the dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
Flip the potatoes, pierce them with a fork and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
While the potatoes are cooking, caramelize the onion. In a large sauté pan, melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook the onion over medium heat for until soft and translucent. Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Return the heat to medium and add the garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and saute for a minute or two more.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop most of the flesh out, leaving about ¼ inch so that the potato skin holds its shape, and place the insides in a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and the Greek yogurt and mash well.
Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar and the onion-mushroom-broccoli mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Scoop the potato mixture back into the potato skins, mounding over. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and arrange the potatoes in the same casserole dish.*
Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve warm.
* If you want to make these ahead and finish baking them right before dinner, stop here and refrigerate the potatoes. Simply add about 5 minutes to the cooking time.
I haven’t made twice-baked potatoes in ages. I remembered them taking lots of time, even if the results are tasty. If I’m in a potatoes-for-dinner kind of mood, I save myself the work and just make fill-your-own baked potatoes instead. But then I tried Potatoes Stuffed with Caramelized Onions and Dubliner Cheese, and I was glad I didn’t just make plain ol’ baked potatoes.
These potatoes marry a sharp Irish cheese (just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!) with sweet caramelized onions, and the results are delicious and even kid-approved! Plus they aren’t nearly as time-intensive as I remembered. Hop on over to LiveMom and check out my Thursday’s Dish post for the recipe (and for a chance to win a set of two Not Your Mother’s cookbooks).
I received a review copy of Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook to review for the LiveMom piece. I was a little skeptical that freezer meals could be actually, you know, good, but we all know how much I like make-ahead meals to avoid the dinnertime rush. I have to say, I have discovered a few gems in this book (my family spent the better part of this week eating from it) and now I’m a believer.
I think I’ll start trying to cook one extra freezer meal each weekend, just so I have a stash of healthy and delicious homemade meals in the freezer for a rainy day. I’ll be sure to share more of my favorite recipes, perhaps in round-up form, as I discover them!
“Tis the season. You know, the season of lots and lots of leftovers. Do you have them? At this point, they are just hanging out in the fridge, begging to be used ASAP or tossed. Here are a few tasty ideas that will hopefully help keep you from feeding a post-feast feast to your compost pile.
Sweet potato waffles. We added a nice hefty scoop of leftover sweet potato casserole (topping and all) to our favorite waffle batter.
Not only were they excellent, the leftover waffles freeze well so that you have quick breakfast for mornings to come!
Bon Appétit’s Thanksgiving leftovers slideshow has a bunch of excellent-sounding recipes, including pumpkin flan (a great use for that partial can of pumpkin you have in the fridge).
Brussels sprouts pizza. Yeah, seriously. We had this for dinner the other night and it was so good. We already had some leftover grilled pizza crusts in the freezer, so it was quick and easy to throw together (the hubby finished them off on the grill).
Eat your veggies!
My vegetarian version included halved roasted Brussels sprouts, mozzarella and manchego cheeses, sautéed spinach and a sprinkle of fleur de sel and crushed red pepper. The hubby’s version included Brussels sprouts, bacon and mozzarella. Both were delicious (or at least so I hear).
Cranberry brie bites. I stumbled across these on Rufus’ Guide to Food and Spirits, and I must have them now. What an awesome use of leftover cranberry sauce (which is plentiful in my fridge right now).
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, laughter and delicious food! I was going to write a big Thanksgiving post this year, but, when it came down to it, I was just too busy cooking and enjoying time with my family to do it. No apologies here — that’s what this holiday is all about isn’t it? I was just too busy being thankful and enjoying the things I have to be thankful for to sit down and write about it.
But I certainly am thankful. There is so much I am thankful for, it’s hard to know where to begin, but the thing I keep coming back to is that I am thankful for where I am. I wouldn’t have chosen the road that led me here, particularly, but here I am! Don’t get me wrong… I am still traveling that road, and I am not sure where it’s leading, but now I know it’s the journey, not the destination. I am comfortable with a little uncertainty, which is something I have ever really been able to embrace before now. I went from high school to college to law school to law firm without ever not knowing what the next step was… and then I had to take a huge step into the unknown. It was terrifying at the time, but it turned out to be so right. I just had to close my eyes and jump, without knowing where or when I would land. I am still falling, but my parachute is open, and I’m enjoying the ride.
I went to prenatal yoga weekly when I was pregnant with Nora. During savasana the instructor would always tell us to think about something for which we were truly grateful. What would always come to mind, immediately, was “this time.” I was (and am) grateful to be a position to step back and explore, to find my passion, to take care of my child full-time. I appreciate that’s a choice that many people don’t have, just from the pressures of day-to-day living, and I’m so glad that my crooked path led me to this place.
You know the question career counselors ask: What would you do if you were independently wealthy? It’s supposed to lead you to your perfect career. It seems like it should be easy an easy question, but I never had a great answer for it. I spent a couple of years putzing around (okay, there was some parenting involved, too) before I finally got relaxed and clear and wound-down enough to see it: I like to write. I like to cook. I like my family. So, I write about cooking and my family. This blog, which I started as just a fun thing to do, to keep my mind entertained while spending the lion’s share of my time as a mommy and homemaker.* As it turns out, this is it — the thing I would do if I didn’t have to work. So I’ve started picking up freelance writing assignments here and there, and doing some editing. Nora gets to go to preschool a couple of days a week (which she loves), and I get a little time away to flex my brain muscles. It doesn’t feel like work. I’m certainly not getting paid much, but maybe someday!
* It’s interesting trying to come up with a neutral term for that occupation.
So, basically, I am thankful I’m now at a place where I have figured out what I want to be when I grow up. Not that I’m there yet — it’s the journey — but I feel like that was really the hard part.
Anyway, that’s enough introspection for one day. Let’s get down to business. Thanksgiving is over, and that means leftovers! I don’t know about you, but I ended up with lots of delicious mashed potatoes left over (I always make more than necessary because I love them so much). I recently discovered a brilliant (in a “why have I never thought of that?” kind of way) use for leftover mashed potatoes: Mashed potato cakes! They made a great dinner last night.
Even Nora loved them, although she was a bit disappointed that we weren’t really having “cakes” for dinner.
chopped fresh parsley or chives for serving (optional)
sour cream for serving (optional)
Roll a nice spoonful of the mashed potatoes into a ball using your hands. Roll in a shallow dish with the eggs, and then in another shallow dish to coat with the panko.
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the coated potato balls in the skillet and gently flatten them with a spatula. Cook until golden brown on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Flip over and cook until golden brown and crispy on the other side.
Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Serve sprinkled with the parsley or chives and a dollop of sour cream on the side.
** Optional. Otherwise, just use more panko... but the parmesan is tasty.
We have just finished a terrible round of the pukies here at our house. Thankfully Nora seems to have skipped the worst of it (fingers crossed), but being sick with a toddler is no fun. Even less fun is being sick with a toddler when your spouse and co-parent is also sick. But, the worst is over now, so onward and upward. It’s time to sanitize the kitchen and start thinking about Thanksgiving!
Here’s what will be on our table this year:
Turkey – I defer to my omnivore guests on the centerpiece of the meal. Hubby is in charge of the turkey business this year (as always), and he decided to order a smoked turkey breast from Rudy’s.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce – Fresh is so much better, people. Are you still using the canned stuff? Please tell me no. If you want a processed sugar-free version, use the recipe at the link, but substitute coconut palm sugar for the brown sugar. Done and done.
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie – You knew this was going to make the cut again, didn’t you? I’m pretty sure we’ll never have another Thanksgiving without it.
Bread Pudding – I seize on any excuse to make a good bread pudding, and Thanksgiving certainly is one! I’m not sure yet if I’ll be making White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding or another variation (maybe chocolate bread pudding with walnuts?), but it’s happening.
In general, I like to overdo it, but this year, just coming off of feeling like death for a few days, I got responsible and pared back a bit. What’s on your Thanksgiving table this year? Are you trying anything new, or sticking with the tried-and-true?
***GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED — CONGRATS TO WINNER ALI!***
Now, for what you’re all really interested in: the giveaway! I’ve never done one before, but when Cooking Planit gave me the opportunity to offer you one of my favorite kitchen gadgets on their dime, it sounded like a win-win to me. Just in time to help with all your holiday cooking this year, how about a Cuisinart Mini-Prep Food Processor?
Not only is it lovely, it does a bang-up job with small tasks like making dressing, chopping onions and more. All you have to do to win is visit Cooking Planit and let me know which of their featured “Alternative Thanksgiving” meals looks yummiest to you! Check out the Rafflecopter for more details and ways to get more entries.
Thanksgiving is kind of the Super Bowl of the foodie world. I’m only hosting a small dinner this year (the three of us plus my dad and his wife), but that certainly will not stop me from planning a fabulous menu. Enter Cooking Planit, a new online tool for home cooks that started up right here in Austin.
Cooking Planit has a wide variety of meals and sides in its database, but there’s a twist that makes it better than any old recipe site. Once you pick your recipes, it generates a grocery list for you, and then helps you organize what to do when, so that your meal gets ready right on time. I love the grocery list feature, but I will say that I am far too entrenched in my haphazard ways in the kitchen to change now. I like my haphazard style. It works for me… but that’s just me.
But, onto the real deal: the side dishes. Over the next few days, I’ll be cooking my way through several of Cooking Planit’s chef-created sides as a trial for the main event. Who will make the cut? Can you feel the tension in the air? I’ll also be providing a few of my own tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes in the hope that they may find their way to your Thanksgiving table. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started!
With our kale going like gangbusters out in the garden, it was a no-brainer to try this deliciously simple kale salad recipe first. I cooked it up with ingredients I already had on hand, and it was ready in about 5 minutes flat, no joke.
I served it alongside a quinoa-stuffed acorn squash for dinner one night this week, and it was delightful. I didn’t have pine nuts on hand, so I substituted walnuts, and it was fine (though I do think the pine nuts would be better).
Does it make the cut for Thanksgiving? The jury is still out. I love the idea of using our garden’s bounty on our Thanksgiving table, but a salad just seems a little non-Thanksgiving-ish for some reason. We shall see.
2. Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Next I decided to try out a recipe for cream cheese mashed potatoes. Hey, I like cream cheese, I like potatoes — what could go wrong? Turns out, not much.
These are fluffiest, creamiest, richest mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. Plus they’re a snap to throw together. Hey, if I can pull it off while my kid is watching Signing Time, anyone can do it. Speaking of kids, Nora couldn’t get enough of these potatoes. She kept stealing them off my plate.
I’m a recovering lawyer-turned-freelance writer, aspiring domestic goddess, and mom to a spunky and demanding preschooler and a tiny and demanding baby girl. I love all things food and drink, and I’ve rediscovered a love for cooking now that I’m not spending most of my days locked in the office, but I often have to improvise, since having ankle-biters around makes it more challenging!