I was looking through the archives trying to decide which recipes to repeat and this one caught my eye, mostly because I had totally forgotten this cooking method. So reposting as an idea for your holiday dinner. For all the Thanksgiving recipes, click on this link: Thanksgiving Files.
I’m never going to turn away mashed potatoes. Ever. But I do have a favorite style – unpeeled and hand mashed potatoes. I love creamy ones too, but with a good gravy, the hearty ones really hold up.
A while I ago I wrote about a mistake I made cooking potatoes and how I used a recipe I remembered from a few weeks before to save them. Well, I decided to try it for real this time. I could not track down the recipe, but did the best I could with what I remembered. I must have remembered pretty well. They turned out great.
This recipe uses unpeeled potatoes, but you can peel them and whip them for creamy mashed potatoes suitable for the fanciest Thanksgiving table. And don’t be startled, but you don’t boil the potatoes either, you cook them in cream and butter. Yummy.
Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- 1/4 cup half & half
- 1/4 cup water or broth
- 3 tbsp to 1/4 cup of butter
- 4-6 small garlic gloves, peeled and minced
- 6 to 8 medium potatoes (russet or yukon gold work best)
Add half & half, water, butter and garlic cloves to the pan and turn heat to low and let butter melt and liquid heat. Meanwhile, scrub potatoes well and cut small (not diced, but smaller than 1-inch cubes). Add to liquid and turn heat to high. Stir constantly until liquid begins to boil, turn heat down to medium-low, cover and let cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them and turn the heat lower if it looks like they might stick – if you feel like you need more liquid, add half & half. There is so much water in the potatoes, this technique works really well. And the potatoes are extremely creamy because you haven’t soaked them in water. When they are tender, turn off heat and mash to desired constancy.
Originally posted November 2011
In preparation for next week, I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite Thanksgiving ideas. Also, to see all of them, click on this link: Thanksgiving Files.
This is by far the most requested dessert I make. This time of year every dinner I attend, this is what I am asked to bring. I’ll be making two tonight to take to various get-togethers this week. Easy, easy, easy and foolproof, but always a beautiful presentation. If you’re looking to wow, try this one. From 2009:
Cranberries are on sale! Buy them now, because I’ve got some great cranberry recipes coming up. I’m starting with this one, because if you’re going to be a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner, this is the dish to take. It’s pretty to look at and it’s both sweet and tangy, perfect after a big dinner. You’ll wow everyone with it and it’s foolproof to make.
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups cranberries, chopped*
- ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp orange zest (rind)
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1-1/2 tbsp orange juice (more as needed)
- 2 tsp butter, softened
8×8 glass baking dish & mixing bowl
Preheat oven to 350°
Melt 3 tbsp of butter and pour into baking dish, spread to cover bottom and up the sides. Add ½ cup sugar, mix with butter on bottom of pan. Add cranberries & walnuts, spread over bottom of pan. Cream remaining butter & sugar, add vanilla, egg, orange zest, mix well. Add flour, baking powder & milk, mix until well blended, don’t over mix. Pour batter over cranberry mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and center bounces back at the touch. Invert on plate. Let cool.
Topping: Mix together butter, orange juice & powdered sugar, pour over cake and serve.
* if you don’t have a food processor, you can leave cranberries whole.
Finally got down to some cooking. I started the week out with Pumpkin Squares (recipe here), a real favorite with everyone, so a big pan goes pretty quickly. Then it was on to a good spicy pumpkin cookie, the featured recipe tonight. The photo shows both a crumble topping and a cream cheese frosting, but since I really preferred the crumble topping, that’s what I included in the recipe. These freeze well, so they can travel to Thanksgiving dinner with family.
I really wanted to make a Pumpkin Bundt Cake this year, so I went searching for recipes and adapted one to use buttermilk, click here, which I thought created a very moist, flavorful cake.
And finally, Pumpkin Cream Pie with a brown sugar whipped cream topping, which I am really enjoying at Thanksgiving instead of the traditional custard pumpkin pie. Pictures and recipe here. I’ll probably make it again this year.
For the pet lovers, Bixby update is here. He’s five months old this week and a wild thing. And as I was writing this, JeffreyW put up some adorable photos of shelter puppies in sweaters, click here. Please keep your squeals to a minimum.
Now it’s your turn. Are you a fan of pumpkin? I know it can be one of those ingredients that inspires a very strong response, either positive or negative. What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe or product this time of year? If not pumpkin, what treat really puts you in a fall mood?
Spicy Pumpkin Cookies with Crumble Topping
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice
Cream together butter and sugar; add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together dry ingredients and slowly mix into pumpkin mixture and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then drop by spoonful on a baking sheet. Top with crumble topping, pressing gently into the dough. Refrigerate remaining dough until ready to bake.
Bake for 12-13 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 2 dozen
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Mix together until crumbly
That’s it for this week. Stay warm – TaMara
JeffreyW’s Cornbread Muffins. His recipe: I always use the recipe on the round box that Quaker yellow corn meal comes in as a base, these also have cheddar cheese, minced fresh jalapeno, and a thinly sliced green onion, white part and all. A half recipe yielded 4 muffins. I used 1 whole egg in the half recipe, and about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.
Sorry I have been absent of late. Work has been busy and the deadline of another project I’m working on is looming, so I’ve barely seen my kitchen. Not to mention it’s fall in Colorado and I want to be outdoors whenever possible.
I doubt there will be a Bixby update this week, but he is doing well and growing daily, though he still has not caught up to his ears or his feet. Standing on his back legs he is 53 inches.
This menu tonight is from my Kid-Friendly series. I loved chili-mac as a kid and it’s still one of those quick comfort foods I make when it needs to be easy and tasty.
- Corn Muffins
- Raw Vegetable Tray
- 12 oz elbow macaroni
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ green pepper diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can kidney beans
- 1 tsp to 2 tbsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 qt. saucepan, skillet
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain. While macaroni is cooking, heat oil in skillet, sauté onions & peppers. Add hamburger, brown & crumble. Add hamburger, tomatoes, beans, chili powder & salt to drained macaroni. Stir, let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
( you can’t beat those 33¢ Jiffy mixes, but this is a good muffin recipe)
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 egg (well beaten)
- 8 oz can creamed corn
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
muffin pan, paper muffin cups
Mix dry ingredients, make well in the center, add egg, corn, milk & oil. Stir until just moistened, don’t over mix. Add paper muffin cups to pan, fill each 2/3 full. Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes.
The day got away from me and I almost forgot to put this together. So it’s kind of quick and to the point. For the dog lovers, Bixby’s latest diary is here.
Okay, enough of the chit-chat, bring on the recipes.
How about Fish Tacos? Recipe and full menu here.
Kid-friendly Tortilla Pizzas, recipe here.
JefferyW makes all the good stuff you see pictured above here.
And this week’s Dinner Menu – Carne en su Jugo – recipes and shopping list are here
Now, what’s on your menu for the weekend? Cookin’ something good, share your recipes in the comments.
It’s hot as the blazes here and expected to stay that way through the weekend, so soups are on hold and salads have moved to the front of the boards. Tonight’s featured recipe is a nice fresh Tortilla bowl that you can really fill with whatever makes you happy.
One of my favorite things to do is have salad in tortilla shell salad bowls. I have 4 heat-resistant (Pyrex) bowls – 1.5 to 2.5 qt bowls work best – that I use to make my tortilla bowls. I lightly oil tortillas, place one in each bowl, so it takes on a bowl shape. I bake them at 425° until bowls are toasted golden, 7 to 12 minutes.
Alternately, there are tortilla bowl forms you can buy if you’re inclined and at the store recently I also saw pre-cooked tortilla bowls – though I would check the fat content on those, it could be very high, since they may be deep-fried. Also, you can make foil bowls, lightly oiled and use those as your forms, that works pretty well. You don’t need the foil to come up to the top of the tortilla shell, about half-way up will allow the tortilla to keep its shape while it bakes.
Whatever way you choose, this is a nice salad to fill them with:
Southwestern Taco Salad
- 4 tortilla bowls
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 1 lb chicken breasts, cubed or 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 pkg. fajita seasoning mix (recipe here)
- ½ cup water
- ½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- ½ head red leaf lettuce, shredded
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 oz sliced black olives
- 6 oz canned corn, drained
- 14 oz black beans, drained
- 8 oz salsa
- 8 oz ranch dressing
- 4 oz shredded Mexican 4-blend cheese
Heat oil in skillet and sauté onions, add chicken and brown for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add fajita seasoning and water. Stir and let simmer on medium-low heat.
Layer ¼ ea: lettuce, tomato, olives, beans & chicken in tortilla bowls. Mix salsa & ranch dressing together, add some to salad & garnish with cheese. Serve.
They were predicting snow today, it did not show up, but it’s unseasonably cold. SNOW. I am not ready. But it does put me in the mood for cool weather recipes. Soups and tonight’s featured recipe, easy Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pot Pie.
Life has been hectic, I’ve been busy with house hunting, work and of course the puppy, so I’ve kept meals simple. I haven’t linked to it in a while, but I have a bunch of tips for keeping meals quick, easy and full of flavor right here, which may come in handy now that school and activities are back in full swing.
On to the recipes. Soup is what I miss most in summer, so as soon as the temperatures dip, I break out the soup recipes. Here are three for you:
Cream of Chicken Soup (recipe here).
Spicy Black Bean Soup (recipe and full dinner menu here)
Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe here)
What’s the weather like in corner of the planet? What’s on your plate for the weekend? Hit the comments and share some of your favorite fall recipes.
For tonight’s featured recipe, I brought together some of my favorite comfort foods into one dish. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can transfer the chicken mixture to a baking dish and top with biscuits.
Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pot Pie
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cups sliced carrots (frozen ok)
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and diced
- 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1/2 cup peas (frozen ok)
Set a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat
In a large bowl, combine the chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil. Sear chicken in pan, stirring occasionally, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside in a separate bowl. Add butter to the pan and, when melted, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the stock, browned chicken, potatoes, and spices.
Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat so that the sauce just simmers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken and potatoes are tender…about 25-35 minutes.
While it simmers, prepare Buttermilk Biscuits, below.
Just before adding biscuits, fold peas into chicken mixture and then remove the pan from the heat.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place the biscuits on top of the chicken and gravy, with 6 biscuits around the edge of the pan and the remaining 4 biscuits in the center (if you have a left over biscuit or two, bake on a separate baking sheet). Be sure the biscuits do not touch, so they cook thoroughly. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and flaky…14 to 15 minutes. Allow the pot pie to cool briefly before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup shortening
- ¾ cup milk
- 4 tbsp powdered buttermilk
- 2 tbsp melted butter to brush on formed biscuits
Mix dry ingredients, make a center hole in the dry ingredients and add in shortening and milk. Blend together, then knead 10-12 strokes on a floured surface, roll out to ½” thick, cut into 8-10 biscuits.
That’s it for this week. Have great weekend. – TaMara
copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring
Mouthwatering Photo by JeffreyW
Believe it or not, they are forecasting snow by the end of the week. From 90 to snow in 4 days. Fall in Colorado. If it does snow it will be quick and brief I’m sure, then back to warm days and fall leaves. But cool weather means soup to me, so that is what I chose for this week’s menu.
This is a recipe from a restaurant in Ouray, CO that was in an old bank. They gave it to me 20 years ago on my honeymoon and I make it all the time. This was my first experience at having to change a recipe meant for 60 into one for 6-8. It’s spicy, so ease up on the cumin and chili powder if needed, you can always add more during the last 30 minutes if needed.
On the board tonight:
- Spicy Black Bean Soup
- French Bread
- Red Grape Salad
- Apple wedges & Cheese
Black Bean Soup
- 4-14 oz cans black beans
- 2 tsp to 1 tbsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp to 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 3 cubes beef bouillon
- 1 tsp to 2 tsp cumin
- 3 carrots, shredded
- ½ onion, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 green pepper, minced
- ½ cup dry red wine (opt)
- 1 lb chopped smoked sausage
- 12 cups water
Add all ingredients to slow-cooker and cook according to directions (usually 8-10 hours on low). Just before serving, take a potato masher or hand blender and blend/mash slightly to thicken
Red Grape Salad
- ½ head red leaf lettuce, torn
- 3 cups seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 pear, peeled, cored and cubed
- 4 oz shredded carrots
- Poppy Seed dressing
Toss ingredients together, chill and serve
- 4-14 oz cans black beans
- 4 -6 carrots or equivalent shredded carrots
- ½ onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 green pepper
- 4 oz dry red wine (opt)
- 1 lb smoked sausage
- ½ head red leaf lettuce
- 3 cups seedless red grapes
- 1 pear
- Poppy Seed dressing
- French Bread
- Apple wedges & Cheese
Also: salt, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, chili powder, beef bouillon, cumin, pepper
Originally posted December 2009
Happy Labor Day weekend. This will be a quick exchange before I run out the door. Oh, I’m not going anywhere for the weekend, we’re still working on potty training with Bixby. LOL. His latest update is here.
I decided on shish kabobs for the recipe exchange because they are a favorite for large get-togethers. I can prepare them a day ahead and then pop them on the grill when guests arrive. They cook up quick and everyone can get theirs cooked to their idea of perfection. And if you’re lucky and everyone is staying at your house, you can form an assembly line to put them together.
Pictured above is one of my go-to skewers, easy marinade and simple to assemble for a small family dinner or a big get-together. It’s equal parts vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and toss in some crushed garlic cloves. Mix together and marinate cubed pieces of steak (sirloin works well) for at least an hour or overnight. I remove the steak pieces from the marinade and then toss the veggies with the marinade quickly before alternating meat, vegetables and pineapple chunks on skewers. The ones above really need some cherry tomatoes, too. Grill over high heat, turning frequently until steak is cooked to desired style.
Some other fun food on a stick:
Fajita Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs can be found here.
Grilled Chicken and Papaya Skewers are here.
Lamb Kabobs recipe is here.
And a variety of other Marinades can be found here, to create any number of skewers to grill.
What’s on your plate for the weekend? Grilling anything tasty?
For tonight’s featured recipe, I thought it would be fun to make sure dessert was included in the mix.
Spicy Fruit Kabobs
You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe.
- 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
- 2 pears, cored
- 2 apples, cored
- 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
- 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
- ½ cup warmed honey
- ½ cup warm water
- ¼ cup limejuice
- 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
- 1 to 2 tsp chili paste
13×9 glass baking dish, blender
Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.
Banana Split Kabobs
- 12 fresh large strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 bananas, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 12 fresh pineapple chunks
- pound cake, cut into 2-inch cubes
- chocolate syrup
- shredded, unsweetened coconut
4 long bamboo skewers, 4 dessert plates
Roll strawberries in sugar, coating lightly. Alternate fruit and cake on the skewers. Place on plates and drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with coconut. Serve with additional syrup for dipping if desired.
That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend. – TaMara
Thought it was time for some end-of-summer burgers. I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheese burger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo. Grill some plums or peaches and dinner is done. Enjoy.
On the board tonight:
- Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
- Kaiser Rolls
- Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
- Raw Vegetable Tray
Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
Ingredients for each burger:
- 4 oz ground beef
- salt, pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
- 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
- 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos
Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.
Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.
The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.
If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.
Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.
That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.
Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
- 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
- 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
- ¼ tsp cumin (opt)
large bowl or baking dish and baking sheet
Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 lengthwise slices. In bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown outside and tender inside.
If you grilled the burgers you can also grill the plums. Slice in half, remove the pits and grill over low heat
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
- sliced jalapenos (I use pickled)
- 4 green onions
- 1 tomato
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 4 large Kaiser rolls
- Favorite raw vegetables
- Vegetable dip
- 4 to 8 plums
Also: cumin, Cajun spice, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic
It seems everyone but at my house has a garden full of tomatoes. That’s okay, I know where all the good farm stands are located. What to do with all those tomatoes then becomes the question. Tonight’s recipe exchange will give you a few ideas.
First, let’s get this out of the way, Bixby’s weekly update is here.
Now for the recipes:
You can then use those dried tomatoes in place of sun-dried tomatoes in this Roasted Green Beans, with Tomatoes and Feta, here.
I love soups and while the weather is still hot, Cold Cucumber and Tomato Soup is a perfect way to use some of the garden’s bounty, recipe here.
Tired of tomatoes? This week’s dinner menu of Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa has not a hint of tomato.
What’s on your menu this weekend? Anything good cookin’ in your kitchen?
For tonight’s featured recipe, I’ve adapted JefferyW’s recipe for his sauteed cherry tomatoes and pasta, pictured above.
Pasta Tossed with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil
- 10 oz favorite pasta, cook according to pkg directions, drain (don’t dry) and reserve water
- 16 oz (or more) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh basil, packed, reserve a few leaves for garnish
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Fresh grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
Heat oil in skillet, sauté onions until translucent, add minced garlic, cook for about another minute and then add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, add tomato paste and basil. Stir and let simmer additional 5 minutes, ladle in some pasta water if needed for the desired consistency. Toss with pasta and top with cheese before serving.