Colorado never ceases to amaze me. It’s May and we’re still getting snow. Well, we got inches of snow last weekend, but still… SNOW! In MAY! What happened to Spring?
Oh well, before you know it the sun comes out and melts everything away. Plus, snow is an excuse for me to dust off the ol’ crock pot and make something that is warm and makes the entire house smell like awesome.
Like these scalloped potatoes for example. Oh my yum. These are hot, cheesy, and the perfect amount of salty from the ham. Just… drool-worthy. I burnt the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to get this into my mouth.
Totally worth it.
Snow and scalloped potatoes… who needs Spring? Okay I do. But for now, I have these flowers.
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (NOT extra-sharp cheddar)
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1-1/2 cups diced thick-cut ham, cooked
Prepare your slow-cooker: Fold a sheet of parchment paper into a 3-inch strip and place inside perimeter of slow-cooker insert (along the sides). Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray. This will prevent the potatoes around the edge of the cooker from burning.
Par-cook potatoes: Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons cream in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the edges of potatoes are translucent, 6-8 minutes, shaking bowl (without moving plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking.
Whisk broth and cornstarch in large liquid measuring cup until smooth. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture, remaining cream, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add cheeses, whisking until smooth. Add ham and combine.
Pour half of sauce into slow-cooker insert. Arrange potatoes in even layer over sauce and pour remaining sauce over potatoes. Cover and cook on low until potatoes are tender, 5-6 hours. Let cool 20 minutes. Remove parchment and serve.
Shepherd’s pie is one of those sinful dishes – meat, potatoes and creamy broth. Definitely a dish that warms the soul. Of course, we couldn’t just have normal Joe blow Shepherd’s Pie. Been there, done that. We had to step it up a notch (okay, a few notches) and pack a sourdough bread bowl with Sheperd’s Pie inspired soup.
It’s been unseasonably cold already here. It’s a bit too soon for my taste, but it makes for perfect soup weather!
Don’t let the pictures fool you – the soup has a wonderful consistency. The broth can be made creamier if you prefer it that way too. Most of our broth soaked into the bread bowl immediately (mmmm) but that’s because I choose not to blend the potatoes and stock together this time around.
If you’re looking for something different to make on a chilly night, definitely try this soup!
Small bread bowls, tops cut of and insides gutted!
Chop the potatoes and put them into a pot with the stock. Bring the stock to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. If you would like a creamier texture to your soup, put everything in a blender at this point and blend everything together until smooth.
Cook the turkey in a bit of olive oil until no pink shows, about 8 minutes. Then drain any fat and set aside.
In the mean time, cook the carrots and onion for about 8 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the cooked turkey and cooked vegetable mixture to the potatoes and stock. Add the frozen corn and peas. Mix, reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour into a bread bowl shell, top with shredded cheese and serve in a large bowl. Enjoy!
Most girls like flowers. I like food. Bring any combination of these foods to me and I am yours. Forever. Or at least until I am hungry again.
These homemade chips speak straight to my heart. They are perfectly crisp, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly addicting. Yep, they’re pretty darn perfect. I don’t know why I buy potato chips to be honest with you (oh wait, yes I do… it’s because I’m lazy). At any rate, these are easy to make and great for parties (or yourself).
Think about making your own potato chips instead of popcorn the next time you get the munchies. If you’re not a fan of BBQ chips, you can add your own seasonings. Get creative – salt and vinegar, parmesan and garlic, salt and pepper, garlic and cayenne, mustard and ketchup (do I still have your attention?). Hell, even the purist salted chips will please a crowd. Just make these already!
oil for deep frying (vegetable, canola or peanut oil)
Small amounts of paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground mustard and sugar
Wash, scrub and peel the potatoes (leave skin on, if you want extra dietary fiber). Using a very sharp knife, cut potatoes into very thin slices (about ¼ - ⅛ inch rounds) and soak them in a bowl of iced water. Place the bowl in your refrigerator for 30-40 minutes. This will help to remove all the starch from the potatoes, making them ready for deep frying – make the chips crispier. You can also use a mandolin or blade attachment of food processor to slice potato paper thin.
In the mean time, combine all seasoning ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.
Remove, rinse a few times (water must be clear in the last rinse) and let drain completely. Then lay flat on kitchen towels and pat dry (the dryer the better because hot oil and water do not like each other).
Heat oil in a deep fryer or a large saucepan until the oil reaches 350˚F. Gently lower potato slices into hot oil in small batches and deep fry for 3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, shake off excess oil and drain on paper towels to remove the rest of the oil. Then transfer them to a big bowl. Dust with BBQ seasoning immediately while the chips are still hot so that the flavor adheres to the hot oil.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Corned Beef and Cabbage this St. Patrick’s Day, give this recipe a try. This Shepherd’s Pie is lighter in fat than your average pie and jam packed with tender vegetables. The heaviest (and most unhealthy) part of this meal is the potato topping. You can lighten the fat content even more so by using butter or milk substitutes or even sweet potatoes as a topping instead.
I would make this dish any time of year, but it seemed appropriate given the Irish holiday that is right around the corner. To me, Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food. Every bite is filled with meat and potatoes – everything a growing Irishperson needs. Let’s just pretend you and I are Irish for a moment. Thank you for your cooperation. Plus you’ll need something delicious to soak up all of the whiskey you’ll be drinking on St. Patty’s Day.
1 large tomato, seeded and diced (you can use some canned tomatoes too)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Boil the potatoes in salted water and cook until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the same hot pot. Add the butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper and mash. Add the milk and mix gently until creamy. Add more milk if necessary. Taste for seasoning then set aside.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and the ground turkey. Crumble and cook the turkey until browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
Remove all fat from the pan and add a bit more olive oil. Add the carrots and saute over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the celery and onion and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the peas, corn, and flour, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the cooked turkey, Worcestershire, soy sauce, paprika, thyme, rosemary, tomato and broth, combine and bring to a low simmer. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Once the mixture is slightly thickened, pour the turkey mixture into a casserole dish (9x13 for a thinner casserole, or an 8-inch square for a thicker casserole). Top with potatoes and decorate if you'd like (some people scrape a fork across the top, others pipe their potatoes on. I personally just slather it on.) Sprinkle some paprika on top of the potatoes and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown.
To freeze: Follow directions up until baking, then cover tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil. To reheat a frozen casserole: Thaw completely and bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
I live in a small city near the foothills of Colorado. To give you an idea of how life is here, I’ll say that life is pretty simple. I mean, we do have a Walmart and Target and many chain stores, but life seems to stop after the sun sets. The stores downtown close by 6pm, the grocery stores aren’t open 24/7 and people get really (really) excited when the Broncos (or Rockies or the Avalanche or the Mammoth) win a game. It’s a nice little place. Just enough off of the grid to have that small town feel with your neighbors but just enough going on for a community to survive on.
Recently, I noticed a Sprouts grocery store had moved into an old bookstore. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Sprouts is a more family friendly version of Whole Foods. I used to drive 30 minutes just to shop at one. Why? Because their produce and meat specials are amazing! How amazing you ask? How about $1 blueberries amazing? Or an 8lb. bag of russet potatoes for $1 amazing? Or a pack of pork chops for $2 amazing? Don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Everything they have is quality too because everything they had is either natural and/or organic, which made that 30 minute trip (back in the day) well worth it for me. Now I luckily don’t have to worry about the drive – I have a location 5 minutes away from me!
I used the potatoes I bought at Sprouts in this recipe. Quiche can be both a breakfast or lunch type of dish, depending on what you serve it with. For us, we were having brunch and I was craving Home Fries (“American Fries,” if you’re in Wisconsin). This was my compromise. I love, love, love potatoes and this cheesy-potato top was the icing on my quiche cake!! It turned out very much like a gratin with a savory, veggie egg scramble underneath it. Really yummy! Plus the presentation isn’t bad either.
3/4 cup chopped vegetables (we used sliced mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes)
1 cup cheese (we used a mixture of gruyere, feta, and mozzarella)
Small slices of parmesan
1 whole baked or boiled potato, thinly sliced
For the Crust:
Move your oven rack to the top third part of your oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place all ingredients in 9-inch pie pan. Stir together with fork. Pat mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pan slightly. Poke holes in bottom and side of crust.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown.
For the Quiche:
Lower oven heat to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet, saute the onion and vegetables (omit the tomatoes) with butter over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the water, garlic powder, dill, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Add cheeses and the cooked vegetable mixture, and tomatoes. Combine. Pour the egg-mixture into the half-baked crust.
Top the mixture with a thin layer of potatoes, gratin-style. Add the slices of parmesan on top of the potatoes. Drop four or five small dabs of butter on top of the potatoes and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the quiche has set in the middle and the potatoes and cheese are crisp and bubbly. Serve hot or cold.
What better way to start the work week with a recipe that calls for bacon. Yes you are absolutely right, this is not a breakfast recipe. As far as I see it, bacon should be enjoyed during all times of the day.
Over the last couple of years a few people at my workplace have given birth to a new nickname, The Doctor. Now I won’t go into the details on how I achieved this nickname (for fear that you will just fall asleep in your chair) but I will go into how a doctor’s advice should be taken seriously. This doctor (i.e. me) specializes in working hard, playing hard and eating hard. My best advice? Eat as much bacon as you can before this “bacon shortage” takes it’s toll.
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into bite-sized pieces
4 small potatoes, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Place the chopped bacon in a skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until evenly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.
Melt the butter in the same skillet and add the potatoes. Cook the potatoes until they are almost fork tender and have a nice crust on them, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. Once the potatoes are mostly cooked, add the onion, green beans, garlic and chicken broth. Cover and simmer over low heat until the green beans are tender, about 8 minutes. Finish with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
We’ve already had our first snow here in Colorado. The second I saw the white stuff on the grass I immediately knew it was soup season. All I wanted to do after that long day at the office was to cuddle up in my soft PJ’s and warm myself inside and out with some homemade soup.
I love the how beautiful colors of the red pepper, chives, carrots and celery shine in this soup. There is something absolutely comforting about these ingredients. Maybe it’s the vegetables, but I think the half-and-half and cheese are really what does it for me. Mmm… yep. The cheesier the better. That’s my humble opinion of course.
1 cup shredded cheese blend (I used colby/monterrey)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Fill a large pot quarter of the way full with water and bring it to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt and boil the potatoes for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the potatoes to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a small pan to medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and brown the ground turkey 80% cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the browned turkey, corn, broth, poultry seasoning, red pepper, cayenne, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring the contents to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard thyme and add the chives and cooked potatoes.
Taste test and adjust seasonings as desired. Add the milk, half-and-half, and shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely incorporated into the soup. Pour some of the soup in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until the cornstarch is completely incorporated. Add the mixture to the soup pot. Keep repeating this step until the soup reaches the thickness you like. Serve hot with freshly baked bread.
The first time I met my Mister’s family was a bit of a stressful experience for everyone. His sister was in the middle of planning her wedding and family members flew in from New York to lend a hand and attend the festivities.
Somehow we started talking about the celebrated New York State Fair. Of course, the conversation lead to food and Mister’s mom and sisters asked me (almost in unison), “Have you ever had salt potatoes?” I had never heard of salt potatoes prior to this conversation and they INSISTED that I tried these, acting like I had said something blasphemous toward the Potato Gods.
After doing a little research, it looks like salt potatoes are local to Syracuse, NY. No wonder I had never heard of them before! Well, being a good girlfriend (and an adventurous foodie) I made these for Mister and myself and I’ve come to the conclusion that vast amounts of salt and butter make any potatoes completely drool-worthy.
This recipe is super simple and the potatoes aren’t as salty as you’d expect. The salt acts like a brine, leaving the potatoes plump and juicy and begging to be drenched in butter. Which I did. And I added a little bit extra, because it’s good. And then we ate them all. Man I’m getting hungry…
Anywho, the wedding was a success, his family is absolutely amazing and I didn’t anger anymore Potato Gods. Phew!
Wash the potatoes and set aside. Fill a large pot with water; stir in salt until it no longer dissolves and settles on the bottom. Place potatoes in the pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Drain; cover to keep hot.
While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a small pan over medium high heat, or carefully in microwave (butter loves to explode!). Toss the potatoes in the melted butter and serve hot.
What can I say about mashed potatoes? Besides that they are buttery, delicious, soul-warming, a holiday favorite and really pick me up when I’m having “one of those days.” Other than that, there really isn’t much to say about mashed potatoes.
My mashed potato recipe is based on many tips from many different potato experts. If you want perfectly light and fluffy mashed potatoes, you must first rinse as much starch off of the potatoes as you can before you even start cooking them. Excess starch can sometimes make your potatoes gummy.
Secondly, boiling your potatoes really leaves them water-logged after they are cooked. Because of all of this water, they don’t have a chance to absorb as much butter or dairy as we’d like. Steaming your potatoes is the best way to cook them.
From there, some people swear by their ricer for a perfect mash. Others like whipping their potatoes. Personally, I like hand mashing them because I like tasting a few chunks in my potatoes. Use your favorite method to mash your potatoes!
Ree, The Pioneer Woman, brings up a good point when she says that mashed potatoes can be very labor intensive, especially with everything else going on during a holiday dinner. The good news is you can make this recipe ahead of time and heat it up when you’re ready to rock n’ roll. I got the ‘make ahead and reheat’ part of this recipe from her.
Here’s how to make some mean mashed potatoes:
Start by peeling your potatoes and chopping them into uniform sizes (I like the skin in my mashed potatoes, so I leave some of them on). Then steam them until they are fork tender.
Smash your potatoes then add lots of delicious ingredients like butter. Lots and lots of beautiful, glorious butter.
Serve hot. When making your potatoes a day or two in advance pack them in an oven friendly dish, top with a few “greens” to make those vegetables lovers happy and drop a few more tabs of butter on top. Yup, more butter. Cover and store in the fridge.
When your special day arrives, take the potatoes out of the fridge a couple of hours ahead of time. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until warmed through. Enjoy!
Note: If you would like to make these potatoes ahead of time and serve them later, stir finished potatoes well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through. When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
5 pounds Russet Potatoes
3/4 cups Butter
1 package (8-ounces) Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Whole Milk
1/2 teaspoon (to 1 teaspoon) Salt
1/2 teaspoon (to 1 teaspoon) Black Pepper
Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces that are relatively uniform. Rinse in a colander with cool water for about a minute. Add an inch or two of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add a steamer basket (if your steamer basket doesn't have legs and submerges into the water, add a wad of aluminum foil to the bottom of the pot so the steamer basket is lifted). Add the potatoes on top of the steamer pot and cook for 25 or so minutes, or until a fork easily slides into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander then place the potatoes back into the large pot over low heat. This will allow the potatoes to dry a bit in the pot for a couple of minutes. You can simply mash the potatoes in the pot with a hand masher or use a mixer with the whipped beater attachment, either way, mash the potatoes before adding in the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add the butter, cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of milk. Continue mashing until everything is combined. Next, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. Add more milk, a couple tablespoons at a time if your potatoes are too stiff. Note: If you are using a mixer for your potatoes, you want to oversaturate your potatoes a bit. After you mix for another couple of minutes, you will see your soupy potato mixture transform into beautiful, fluffy mashed potatoes.
If you enjoy a hearty breakfast with crispy hash browns but you love the sweetness and nutrition that a sweet potato brings to the plate, this recipe is perfect for you.
I recently fell in love with baked sweet potatoes. A reader had unknowingly planted a nugget into my brain: How many more ways can I use sweet potatoes in my culinary life? Well for starters, hash browns. These are super easy and crisped up better than I expected too. Hooray for sweet potatoes!
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated coarsely
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skilled and fry onions over medium high heat until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sweet potatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook 10 to 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked through and crispy. Some people stir the potatoes as they cook to keep them loose and separate, while other allow them to form a cake, and flip those halfway through cooking to ensure even browning. Both ways are good.
French fries are my guilty pleasure, especially when it comes to steak fries. I can’t resist! Imagine it – a salty, crunchy basket of hot steak fries sitting on the table in front of you. Can you smell them? So can I! I admit, homemade fries never seem quite the same when they aren’t deep-fried, but these baked steak fries are AWESOME! Plus, you’ll have complete control over the seasoning and you will save on the sodium content by making them at home too. All great things!
For the seasonings, I always throw in garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and basil. Everything else I toss in the bowl is on a whim. I included all the spices that I’ve used in the past in this recipe. Use some or all of them!
Note: It’s very important to toss the potatoes at the 20 minute mark. You’ll get crispier steak fries this way.
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon individual spices (I like to use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, then 1/4 teaspoon chile powder, cumin, basil, salt, and a dash of rosemary)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Mix desired spices in a large bowl. Add olive oil and combine.
Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch thick wedges, skin on. Add potatoes to seasonings and toss to coat.
Lay some parchment paper on a baking sheet (or aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray). Arrange potatoes on foil in a single layer. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes, flipping the potatoes over at the halfway point. Serve hot.
I have been on a bit of a frittata kick lately and after some debate about which vegetables I should use (by the way Smashers, “salad” is NOT a vegetable!), I finalized this list of ingredients.
Foodie McBooty factoid: I absolutely LOVE goat cheese. Any excuse to use this delectably bitter and decadent cheese in a recipe is cool with me. I shamelessly licked the packaging clean when I unloaded the goat cheese into this recipe – and it wont be the last time.
4 ounces goat cheese, cut or broken into small chunks
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 russet potato (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel the potato and thinly slice it using a mandolin or a cheese slicer. Put the slices of potato in a bowl and cover them with cold water to keep them from turning brown.
Saute the shallots in the olive oil until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the grated zucchini mixture and cook for another couple of minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and stir gently for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. Add salt, pepper, thyme, basil, and vanilla and mix well. Add both cheeses, bread crumbs and the zucchini and scallion mixture.
Heavily spray a dark muffin tin and lay down an overlapping layer of potato slices in the bottom of each muffin cup. I used three or four slices in mine. Gently pour the egg mixture into each muffin cup, leaving a little room for each one to rise. Gently top each frittata with the remaining slices of potato and sprinkle a bit of parmesan on top.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes before removing the foil. Remove the foil and brush with a bit of melted butter. Finish under a high broiler for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown.