Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods. We are experiencing a mixture of warm sunny days and cold/windy/rainy days. When it’s cold, I like having something warm and comforting to eat. And going outside to grill just doesn’t seem like a good idea.
On days like that, I want a comforting side dish. The most comforting side dish I can think of is mashed potatoes. But, I grew up in a small town in Idaho where our high school mascot is a potato. So, if you don’t know how to make a decent mashed potato and you come from Shelley, Idaho, there is definitely something wrong. Well, these potatoes are more than decent. They’re delicious. And QUICK!
The ingredients are the normal mashed potato ingredients: potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper. It’s the method that makes these potatoes my go-to recipe. And there’s enough for 6 to eat, with leftovers!
Sure, you can feed your family potatoes from a box. Or spend close to an hour waiting for the huge pot of water and potatoes on the stove to come to a boil. But, seriously, boxed potatoes taste kinda funny. And who has time to wait for water to boil on a glass-top electric stove? I swear, the stove we have is the SLOWEST thing I’ve ever cooked on. Ever.
I hope you’re able to try this recipe, and that you love it as much as we do.
- about 5 lbs russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
- 4 quart glass (microwave-safe) casserole dish with lid
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Place potatoes in the casserole dish with enough water to come half way up the sides. Put on the lid and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Check the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork – if they are soft and break easily, then they are ready to mash. If not, give them a good stir, and microwave on high for another 3 to 4 minutes. Drain potatoes.
- Place milk and butter in a microwave safe dish (I use my pyrex measuring cup) and microwave about a minute. Watch it to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
- Place potatoes back into the casserole dish or in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Using an electric mixer, add about half of the milk/butter mixture, and whip on low speed. Keep adding the milk until your desired consistency is reached. If you like thinner mashed potatoes than I do, you might need more milk.
- I whip mine in the same dish I use to cook it in, but you could also whip the potatoes in another dish and add back to the casserole dish. I like to serve in that dish because it’s already warm!
You could also flavor these mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, sour cream and chives, sour cream and cheddar– whatever! :)
It’s that time of year. A time where it seems that everyone I know is posting pictures on facebook from a tropical island, holding a drink in a pineapple or coconut. I’d love to crawl in someone’s suitcase, but I’d definitely be over the weight limit. So, I decided to contribute to my weight instead. Ha!
This candy is awesome. It’s not an Almond Joy – there’s way more almonds than that. Almonds all through the candy, not just in a bite or two. Go ahead. Indulge in a little island paradise without leaving your kitchen!
Almond Coconut Candy
- 2 cups sliced almonds, roasted
- 2 cups flaked coconut (unsweetened is better)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract or vanilla extract
- 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the coconut and almonds on the sheet pan in an even layer, and set them in the oven to warm. Butter a separate large sheet pan and set aside.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and cream. Heat over medium until the mixture boils. If needed, you can use a wet pastry brush to ‘wash’ the side of the pot at any time.
- Insert a candy thermometer. Heat over medium heat until the temperature reaches about 280°F.
- Stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until it is all incorporated. It will BUBBLE LIKE CRAZY. Click the thermometer back on, and cook until the temperature comes back up to 280°F (the temp will drop when you add the butter).
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the warmed coconut and almonds, salt, baking soda, and coconut or vanilla extract. Stir well.
- Quickly dump the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet. Using two forks, spread the mixture out into an even layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
- Place sheet pan in 200°F oven and let it warm about 20 minutes.
- Carefully take the pan out of the oven, and spread the melted chocolate evenly over the top of the candy. Let sit at least 4 hours (overnight is best), then break or cut into pieces.
- Ignore the dishes, laundry, etc. Kick up your feet, and watch an episode of Gilligan’s Island. :)
Are you drooling yet? You should be. If you’re not, you need to get that checked out. Seriously.
I’m warning you – if you make this bread, it has a tendency to disappear. I made 8 mini-loaves (really, it should have been 10), and the little loaves grew legs and walked away. Some even walked into some mayo, tomato, lettuce and bacon slices. Holy crap. Good thing I caught that one. Didn’t want it getting away. Just think of the accidents if it actually made it down the street. See? I really AM a super hero. :)
You can make this bread with just about any mix-in you want. But jalapenos, bacon bits, and diced cheddar are really, really good. Some people don’t like jalapenos. That’s cool. Just leave them out. Bacon cheddar bread is pretty darn good, too. Just not AS good. So, you know. Choose wisely.
Jalapeno BACON Cheddar Bread
- 1/2 cup warm water (115°F)
- 1 packet quick rise yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup bacon bits (the real kind. Bacos are for weenies)
- 8 oz can diced jalapenos, drained
- 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut in small cubes and frozen.
- Preheat oven to lowest possible temp. For me, that’s 170°F. When it gets to this temp, turn it off.
- Place yeast in a bowl and sprinkle a little of the sugar on top. Pour in warm water and stir well. Let sit about 5 minutes.
- Place remaining sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Whip them up!
- Put butter and milk in a microwave safe dish and heat on high until butter melts, about 1 minute 30 seconds.
- Pour milk and butter mixture, and foamy yeast mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Whip it again!
- Add the 3 cups bread flour and mix on low until incorporated. Add bacon bits and jalapenos. Then, you know– WHIP IT!
- In a medium bowl, mix the all purpose flour and salt. Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook. Add the all purpose flour/salt a little at a time until it’s all incorporated. If needed, you can add a bit of warm water, a teaspoon at a time, to wet the dough a bit and help the last of the flour get incorporated.
- Once all the flour is in, turn the mixer on low and let it do the kneading for you – about 5 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, and flatten into a large rectangle. Sprinkle the cheddar on top, then knead by hand about 3 minutes, or until dough springs back when poked and cheese is distributed evenly. Freezing helps keep the cheese intact.
- Place dough in a large, well oiled bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the oven until doubled, about an hour. Once rising is done, heat oven to 375°F.
- Shape and bake according to options:
- Mini Loaves (5-1/2″ x 3″ x 2-1/2″): Divide dough into 10 equal portions. Shape each into a log, sealing seams on the bottom if needed. Place in greased loaf pans and let rise until over the top of the pan, 45 minutes to an hour. Bake 20 minutes, rotate pans, and bake another 15-20 minutes.
- Regular Loaves (8″ x 4″ x 3″): Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each into a log, pinching seams closed on the bottom if needed. Place in greased loaf pans and let rise until over the top of the pan, 45 minutes to an hour. Bake 25 minutes, rotate pans, and bake another 25 to 35 minutes.
- Rolls: Divide dough into balls about the size of a hacky sack. If you don’t know what a hacky sack is, go hang out on a college campus and ask one of the hipsters. They might roll their eyes, but they’ll tell you. Anyway… Shape each ball and place in a greased 9″ x 13″ pan. You should be able to fit 12-15 rolls per pan with about a half an inch around each ball to allow for room to rise. Grease the top, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise about 45 minutes, then bake 20 minutes. Rotate pan, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool about 5 minutes on a cooling rack, then remove from pan to cool completely. If you have any left over (yeah, right), store in an airtight container in the fridge.
PS: If you REALLY want to be awesome, make rolls but leave out the cheese in step 9. Put a bit in the middle of each roll instead of incorporating into the dough. Make sure it’s completely surrounded by dough and sealed. Don’t want any cheese leak-ers on my watch… Bake and cool as directed.
It’s that time of year. That time where everyone is put into one of two categories. You know the ones – Naughty or Nice. Well, what if you’re a little bit of both? What if your halo is held a little crooked because of those cute little horns coming out of your forehead? Is there a gray area? No, not one of the 50 shades…
Well, Santa, I’ve been NICE this year. I’ve done some good deeds, thought some good thoughts, put others before myself. But I’ve also been NAUGHTY. I snuck Halloween candy and ate it without telling my hubby I bought any. And I didn’t share. I let my babies cry on the floor when they didn’t want to do tummy time and I made them do it for a few minutes more anyway. And I ate my dinner before feeding the dog. Because I was hungry.
So, this cracker spread is a little like me. There’s the nice side that is all creamy and sweet. Then there’s the naughty side that you THINK is creamy and sweet– until it punches you in the taste buds. Don’t be surprised if you have every intention of sharing, then end up in the closet with a few Ritz crackers and a spoon. Go ahead. Double dip. Be naughty. I won’t tell…
Naughty and Nice Cracker Spread
- 2 (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup raspberry preserves (I used seedless)
- 1 cup jalapeno pepper jelly (I used Tabasco brand)
- Crackers (Ritz are NICE)
- Plop cream cheese blocks onto a plate- I used one that was about 15″ in diameter. Use a rubber spatula to smush and squish the cream cheese into a flat layer. Smooth out the top.
- Pour raspberry preserves on one half, and pepper jelly on the other half.
- Serve with crackers.
By the way, the spicy NAUGHTY side is fantastic on a bagel in the morning. Especially with bacon. ;)
Here’s a quick tip for your Tuesday. And it just happens to involve a taco. We were having tacos for dinner, and I only had one hand available to build my tacos. I had to come up with a way to hold the shells upright while filling it with goodies. So, I used a chip clip.
Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!
Sometimes, life is crazy. Sometimes, life is BUSY! And then there are times when things slow down. When the house is so quiet, you can hear the dog snoring from 3 rooms away. It gets that way when the kids are at grandma and grandpa’s house 4 hours away. Sure, you could get caught up on laundry and dishes. Or you could COOK. Cooking it is!!
This recipe is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Kind of like a cinnamon roll, but savory. Salty. Cheesy. Yummy!
Sure, this recipe takes a while to put together, but most of the time is rising time. Promise. It’s really not that complicated. If my kids were a bit older, I would let them ‘decorate’ their own section of dough before rolling it all up. That would be fun. Can’t wait. Well, yes I can. You two can stay small, okay?
Hope you enjoy this recipe. And if you’re in the mood for something sweet, this dough makes FANTASTIC cinnamon rolls. :)
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 1/4 cup warm water (115°F)
- 1 envelope (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1-1/2 cup warm whole milk (115°F)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2-1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
- 3 cups all purpose flour
FOR THE FILLING / TOPPING:
- 2 cups (2-8 oz. cans) tomato sauce with basil, oregano, and garlic
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
- pizza toppings, cut into very small pieces (1/4″ dice), 1/2 cup each (up to 4)
- Your favorite marinara sauce for dipping
- Place warm water in a small bowl with about 1 tsp sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir gently. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the warm milk, 1/4 cup sugar, eggs and salt. Whisk in the foamy yeast mixture.
- With mixer on low, slowly add the 3 cups of bread flour. Give it a good whirl, then switch the attachment to the dough hook. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the all purpose flour. The resulting dough should pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. You may need more or less flour depending on the humidity that day. Once the dough ball forms, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. This rest helps the flour to hydrate a bit and will also aid in the formation of gluten while kneading.
- Mix on medium speed for 6 minutes, adding flour, a Tbsp at a time, as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a large ball. Grease a large bowl and place the dough ball inside, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Butter two 9″x13″ pans. Deflate the dough by gently pushing down and turning it over in the bowl. Divide in half with a sharp knife. Return one of the halves to the bowl and recover with plastic wrap.
- Roll out the other dough ball into a rectangle that is 1/4″ thick on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper.
- Spread tomato sauce over the rectangle of dough, leaving 1″ at the far long end of the dough rectangle. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Top with pizza toppings.
- Roll up lengthwise, ending with the 1″ filling-free edge. Pinch the seams to seal. Cut into 1″ slices – I like to do this with unflavored dental floss. Just place the floss under the log of dough and position where you want to cut. Bring the ends of the floss up over the dough, cross from one side to the other, and pull. Perfect slice every time! You should end up with about 12 slices. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
- Place about 12 dough slices in each 9″x13″ pan. Don’t overcrowd the rolls – they will need room to rise. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls one pan at a time, unless you are lucky enough to have a convection oven!
- Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes.
- Let cool about 15-20 minutes, then dig in!
Follow directions through step 5. Butter the rolled out dough with 4 tablespoons of softened butter, then sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up, cut, and place in a greased 9″x13″ pan. Sprinkle a bit more brown sugar and cinnmon on top, then place a little dollop of butter on top of that. Bake as directed and serve with cream cheese frosting! For the cream cheese frosting, blend together 1 block (8 oz. ) cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat kind) and 1 stick of softened butter. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2-4 Tbsp milk (depending on how thin or thick you want it). Spread over warm rolls and enjoy!
Follow directions through step 5. Spread with 1 cup pesto and 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Roll up, cut, and place in buttered dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and allow to rise. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!!
This summer is just FLYING by, isn’t it? I haven’t posted a recipe in what seems like FOREVER. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. I just haven’t been cooking as much. Having two littles at the same time kinda takes a lot of time. And less sleep. Heck, they’re 6 months old today and still wake up once a night to eat. We’ve had a few nights where they’ve slept through the night. Four nights in a row! Then teething started. Poor littles!
So, we’ve been grilling a lot. Making BLTs and other sandwiches. Or ordering pizza on the nights that we’re just too tired to even think about what to cook. Nothing too fancy.
These egg rolls are definitely not fancy. But they are delicious. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did! :)
Pork Egg Rolls
- 1 head napa cabbage, sliced thin
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1.5 lbs ground pork
- 3 Tbsp stir fry seasoning mix (or 2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger and 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cups shredded carrots, drained well
- Egg Roll Wrappers (about 20, in the veggie section of the supermarket)
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp water
- Vegetable or peanut oil
- Place cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle with 1.5 tsp salt. Mix well, then set the colander in the fridge over a bowl. Let it sit for about an hour, mixing once in a while. After the hour is up, remove from the fridge. Place the cabbage in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to get out the excess moisture. Place cabbage in a large bowl.
- In a large skillet (12″) over medium-high heat, brown the ground pork, stir fry seasoning mix, and 1/2 tsp salt. Crumble as the pork cooks.
- Place cooked pork and shredded carrots in the bowl with the cabbage. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir well.
- Combine flour and water in a small bowl, set aside.
- Place the egg roll wrapper with a corner facing you. Put about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pork mixture in the middle. Fold the corner facing you over the filling, then bring the sides toward the middle. Place a dab of the flour mixture on the farthest corner (the only one not folded in), then roll the egg roll closed. The flour mixture will act as a glue! Continue until all the filling is used up.
- Fry egg rolls, a few at a time, in oil at 365°F, turning often, until golden brown on all sides. Serve with dipping sauce like the one I serve with Potstickers.
I hope you’ve had a great summer. I can’t wait for Fall! This summer has been a HOT one, and I’m looking forward to sweat shirts, warm mugs of hot cocoa, and walking around the neighborhood with these two…