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Slow-Cooker Tangy Pot Roast

Marinated Pot Roast Final

New puppy or not, gotta eat. Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so I bought a five pound one, cut in half and marinated one half and froze the other. I threw the corn in the slow-cooker during the last 15 minutes an it was perfectly steamed.

Recipe is here: Tangy Pot Roast

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More Grilling Fun

DSC_8609 (1600x1060)The ribeye was seasoned with salt and pepper and left to come to room temperature before grilling, the asparagus marinated in olive oil, balsamic glaze, minced garlic, and lemon juice.  The potatoes were tossed with oil, garlic, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  I started the potatoes first in one of those perforated veggie grilling trays, then the steaks went on, and finally the asparagus for a quick grilling while the steaks were resting.DSC_8606 (1600x1060)Mrs J made the caprese salad using our cherry tomatoes and basil.  We didn’t have a really good. fresh mozzarella but what we did have worked well enough.DSC_8605 (1600x1060)

Dinner Menu: Hot Orange Chicken, Potato Wedges and Mocha Cake

Potato Wedges1a

As promised, this week’s menu. Kind of hodge-podge. I love spicy, citrus flavored chicken and this one is quick and easy. The potato wedges are a breeze and the Mocha Cake is the simplest chocolate cake to make, a cousin to yummy Lava cake.  Enjoy.

  1. Hot Orange Chicken
  2. Potato Wedges
  3. Tossed Salad w/Pineapple chunks
  4. Mocha Cake

Hot Orange Chicken

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • ¼ tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

bowl

skillet or wok

Mix the first 6 spices in bowl and rub chicken with it.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat oil in skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides (5 minutes).  Add water, cornstarch, lemon and orange juice and let simmer 7 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken, keep warm.  Bring liquid to a boil, cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until reduced by half.  Spoon over chicken and serve.

Potato Wedges – easy to do, quarter potatoes, rub with olive oil, salt and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425° until tender.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flourMocha6b
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee (see notes)

8×8 inch baking dish

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Combine milk, oil and vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture.  Stir well.  Pour batter into baking dish.  Combine sugar and cocoa (from bottom list) and sprinkle over batter.  Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir.  Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched.

NOTE: if you don’t want to use coffee, use boiling water. If you want stronger coffee flavor you can use ½ cup hot espresso and ½ cup boiling water.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Corned Beef Cabbage Dinner

Corned Beef by JeffreyW

Corned Beef by JeffreyW

Well look at that, it’s Friday and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have already begun. I think that means we’ll revisit last year’s recipes, because I was at the store yesterday and briskets were half priced and I bought two, a tip and a flat. I’ll be doing the slow-cooker method first. Then I’ll think about grilling or pressure cooking the other. Corned beef is really one of the perfect foods to do in a pressure cooker. You get a nice, tender beef and instead of mushy, colorless vegetables, you get perfectly cooked vegetables infused with that great corned beef broth flavor.

Tonight’s featured recipe uses a bit of dill pickle juice in place of some of the water and a touch of spicy brown mustard. But I saw recipes that used chicken broth, sherry or beer in place of some of the water. I think you should experiment and use what sounds good to you. I really  like dill pickle juice. And I have become a big fan of Napa cabbage with my corned beef.

A lot of recipes call for 3-4 lbs of corned beef. When I was shopping, 4 lbs was the smallest piece I could find, most were 5-6 lbs. You may have to cut a piece in half, but since both the pressure cooker and slow-cooker recipes are easy, you don’t need to save corned beef and cabbage for a special occasion. Just freeze the other half for another day.

And the best part of a corned beef and cabbage dinner? Making Reuben’s with the leftovers. My mom makes the best ones, but I one up her by grilling mine Panini-style. Yum.

Are you a corned beef and cabbage household? Reuben fans? What other recipes do you have for the leftovers? Any good hash recipes? Doing anything special to celebrate your Irish (adopted or otherwise) heritage this weekend?

Now for the recipes:

JeffreyW tackles corned beef  leftovers – see his gallery of Corned Beef Sandwiches here. (lots of yummy pictures at those links)

My family weighs in on their favorite ways to fix corned beef, including grilling. (click here)

And, in case you missed it, my vacation plans now include cooking lessons in exchange for a nice place to stay: Have Frying Pan, Will Travel.

Now tonight’s featured recipes:

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner:

  • 3 to 4 lbs corned beef, trim the fat to about 1/4 inch
  • Water
  • Spices included with corned beef or the following: 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds,
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed – opt
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 – 6  medium to large potatoes, cut into four to eight pieces, peeling optional
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced in half and cut into 2” lengths
  • Cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 pieces

pressure cooker and cooking rack

Remove the corned beef from the brine (discarding the brine), rinse thoroughly and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker, fatty side up. [You don’t really want to brown this beef, because it’s been brined.] Sprinkle spices over the top of the beef. Add enough liquid (water or water and a combination of ONE of the following: pickle juice, chicken broth, beer or wine) to come to the top of beef, about 3-4 cups usually.  Cover and bring to pressure and let cook for 1 hour. I use the cold water method to depressurize (that is when you run cold water over the pan in the sink, otherwise you can remove it from the heat and let slowly depressurize).

The key to getting the perfect corned beef and vegetables with the pressure cooker is to cook them separately. Prep the vegetables during the last 15 or so minutes of beef cooking time. Once the beef is done, put it on a cutting board, cover loosely in foil and put a towel over the whole deal.

Remove all but enough liquid to come to the bottom of the cooking rack when placed in the pressure cooker. Place potatoes first on the tray, then carrots and then cabbage, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 12 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender, not mushy and the beef will be fully rested. Slice, plate and serve.

For the slow-cooker:

Place rinsed beef in the bottom of the slow-cooker, sprinkle spices, add liquid to come to the top of the beef,  and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. At the 4 hour mark, add potatoes and then carrots. Cook additional 4 hours, adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes. With the exception of adding the vegetables, try to resist the temptation to open the lid. You need it to stay covered to properly cook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil for about 15 minutes before carving.

There you go, some easy ways to put together a nice corned beef dinner.

Interestingly last year there seemed to be a green cabbage shortage. I went to three different grocery stores and they were completely sold out. I didn’t want to use red cabbage because I don’t really like it. I decided to use Napa cabbage and really liked it, much more than green cabbage, it’s sweeter and has a more delicate flavor and now it is my cabbage of choice.

Enjoy your weekend and watch out for leprechauns… – TaMara

UPDATED: Dinner Menu: Cajun Catfish and Buttered Potato Pie

Buttered Potatoes2

UPDATED: Added a photo and oh, my, what did I ever do without a mandolin all these years? Took me about 10 minutes to make this recipe from start to finish. Lots of butter and I added crushed roasted garlic and brushed a little olive oil on the top layer. I had forgotten how good these ‘taters are, and with the ease of prep, I’ll make them more often.

Trying out my new mandolin and these pan-fried potatoes were first on my list.  And catfish is always a favorite. I just picked up a new jar of Lucille’s Cajun Spice, so the menu became pretty easy after that. You can substitute any fresh fruit, but I thought pears because I received the Harry and David gift basket. Yum. No citrus drop cookies though, so I guess I’ll have to make more of my own.

And if you really think I’m making broccoli tonight, you haven’t been reading this blog very long. But you should, because, you know, it’s good for you. ;-)

I’ll update with photos of the potatoes if I get the chance.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-fried Catfish
  2. Broccoli
  3. Buttered Potato Pie
  4. Sliced Pears

Pan-fried Catfish*

  • 4 catfish fillets – approx. 6 oz each
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun spice (according to your taste preferences)

large skillet

Brush catfish with oil and season with Cajun spice.  Lightly oil pan, using high heat fry 3-4 minutes on each side.

*if you don’t think you’ll like catfish, you can substitute salmon, whitefish, trout, or even boneless chicken breasts (requires longer cooking time).

If you can’t find commercial Cajun spice mixture, you can mix together equal parts of the following  and store in an airtight container:  paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper, allspice, thyme, ground cloves, mace, cayenne, and crushed bay leaf.

Buttered Potato Pie

  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ onion, sliced in thin ring
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley

large skillet

Peel & slice potatoes thinly.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in skillet.  Arrange onions on the bottom of the skillet, then layer potatoes slices overlapping in a ring on the bottom of the pan.  As you make each layer, drizzle remaining butter over the top and season with salt & pepper.  Invert heat-proof plate, or I use a metal pie pan, over the potatoes, weight down with heavy heat-proof object (like a can of water).  Sauté over medium heat until potatoes are molded and golden brown.  Remove the plate. Transfer the potatoes to the 400 degree oven and cook until caramelized and cooked through, about 30 minutes, pressing the potatoes occasionally to compress and shaking the pan to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Cut into four wedges and serve with parsley garnish.

Shopping List

  • 4 Pears (or one large can sliced pears)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 4 catfish fillets
  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • ½ onion
  • Parsley
  • 1 stick butter

Also: olive oil, Cajun spice, salt, pepper

Full Dinner Menu:Cream of Potato Soup, Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad and Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

The deep chill set in last week and shows no sign of leaving, so it had to be soup tonight. I just made a big pot of potato soup from leftover mashed potatoes and a few whole potatoes I sliced on my new mandolin to help get me through the big freeze. I thought it should then be the theme for tonight’s menu.

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I’ve been eyeing mandolins for a while and settled on one that would be useful for how seldom I would use it. So far I really liked it. I did invest in a glove to prevent adding my fingertips to any meal prep. So between that and the new camera, I’m hoping to wow you with some pretty plates in the coming weeks.

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But until then, here is tonight’s full menu and shopping list:

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There’s nothing better on a cold night than Creamy Potato Cheese Soup.  I rarely peel potatoes, I scrub the skins thoroughly and that’s good enough for me. It also saves a lot of time and potato skins are full of good things. Yes, there is cheese, but milk instead of cream, and you can even use non-fat milk without noticing any loss. I threw the Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp in at the last minute, because to me, fall is all about fruit crisps.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cream of Potato Cheese Soup
  2. Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad
  3. Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

Cream of Potato Cheese Soup

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp ea: sage, rosemary, basil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

Lg. saucepan (2 to 4 qt)

In saucepan or Dutch oven, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, drain all but 2 cups water. Add onions, garlic and spices to potatoes*. In a bowl mix together  milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well, no lumps, add melted butter. Add to potatoes and mix well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cheese, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*A great trick is to remove about ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and mash, then add back into soup, this gives you an extra creamy texture.

Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad

  • 10 oz spinach, washed
  • 2 oranges, peeled, remove white skin & cut into chunks (you can substitute equivalent canned mandarin orange slices)
  • ½ red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing

large salad bowl

Tear spinach leaves. Layer in a large salad bowl. Top with orange chunks, onion, sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts. Add dressing & toss before serving.

Pears & Sour Cherry Crisp

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly

Filling:

  • 4 large fresh pears, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar

8×8 baking dish, greased

Combine pears, cherries, sugar, & cornstarch. Spread in baking dish. Top fruit mixture with flour topping. Bake at 375° for 25 to 34 minutes, topping should be golden & pears tender.

Shopping List:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 oz bleu cheese,
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 large fresh pears
  • 12 oz frozen pitted cherries

Also: cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, basil, garlic

Originally posted November 2009

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Full Dinner Menu: Spicy Potato Soup, Garlic Biscuits and Mocha Pudding Cake

Dad Uniform

It’s Veteran’s Day, so I thought I’d post photos of two of my favorite veterans. Although they are not the only two, they are the two closest to my heart. The above photo is of my dad when he first enlisted. A career Air Force man, he served in Vietnam when I was quite young and his service took me on many adventures during my youth.

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And my brother, who served in the National Guard and was stationed in Iraq/Kuwait during the Iraqi war.  So proud of both. Thanks to all who serve this country and the families that support them.

In recipe news, it was 60 degrees at noon today and by 3 pm it had dropped to a windy, cold 45 degrees, so soup seemed the best idea for the dinner menu tonight. I make several kinds of potato soups regularly, but spicy potato is by far my favorite.

For tonight:

It is all about comfort foods. When the cold weather hits, it is great to hunker down with some hot soup, buttery biscuits and finish with some melt-in-your-mouth cake warm from the oven. This is my go-to potato soup, over the traditional cream of potato soup; I like the spiciness and the sautéed onions add a deep, rich flavor. The garlic biscuits are a nice complement to the soup. I was going to find a healthy dessert for tonight, but then thought to heck with it, it’s cold and we need chocolate.  Rich, gooey, chocolaty goodness.

JeffW's awesome biscuit photo.  So beautiful I wouldn't even try to compete with my own.

JeffW’s awesome biscuit photo.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Potato Soup
  2. Garlic Biscuits
  3. Salad
  4. Mocha Cake

Spicy Potato Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • ½ lb spicy ground sausage, browned and drained
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (opt)
  • 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 6 potatoes, well scrubbed, unpeeled and cubed
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack

saucepan

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about five minutes. Add sausage, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, garlic, broth, & potatoes. Mix milk & flour, add. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until potatoes are soft. If it’s too thick, add water. With a potato masher, slightly mash a few of the potatoes. Serve with cheese to garnish.

Garlic Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup milk*

bowl and baking sheet or cast iron skillet, greased

I prefer using butter over shortening because it gives the biscuits a buttery, garlic flavor that is irresistible.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter, stir in garlic, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet or cast iron skillet, and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

*or substitute 1 cup buttermilk,  then omitting buttermilk powder and milk.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee**
  • 8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled

Preheat oven to 350°

This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.

From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish. From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.

** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio, or use espresso.

Shopping list:

  • Salad fixin’s
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ lb spicy ground sausage
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 6 potatoes (russets work best)
  • 5-1/2 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • Coffee or espresso to make 1 strong cup

Also: flour, sugar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, cayenne, salt, pepper, baking powder, oil, vanilla

Originally posted on February 2011

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Pot Roast Yesterday = Beef Stew Today

DSC_7215 (1600x1060)I did bake a fresh loaf of white bread because stew needs a good sopping tool.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Let’s Talk Stews

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Phew, almost forgot about the recipe exchange – was out house hunting and lost track of time.

I am just not sure how it got to November 1st already. I am not ready for the holiday season to begin. I am thinking about Christmas Eve dinner menu, though, because I am hosting again this year. Suppose to visit family for Thanksgiving, but that may not happen, so I might have to begin to think about that menu, as well.

BTW, in case you missed it – and if you visited the blog anytime in the last week, how could you have – my beloved Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions.

I decided it was stew weather. When things get chilly and busy, stew is one of those things I love to have slow cooking when I get home in the evening.  In my mind, stew is best when it’s simple: meat, potatoes, carrots, turnips or rutabaga, onions, salt, pepper and a bay leaf.  But I understand that there are as many stews as there are families who enjoy them. With that in mind I have a few recipes and the featured recipe will be a simple one that you can add anything to that suits your fancy.

Let’s start with the Dinner Menu this week, which is Spicy Chicken Stew and Sweet Potatoes with Apples (click here).

Tes at Home had a Beef Stew with Apples, link here.

I have a Beef Stew in Wine with both pressure cooker and slow-cooker instructions here.

And finally JeffreyW does a Guinness Lamb Stew, pictured above and recipe here.

What’s on the menu for the weekend? How do you dress up your stew recipes? Hit the comments and share your tips.

Now for the featured recipe with bonus biscuits:

Beef Stew

  • 1 lb chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4-6 small potatoes, quartered
  • 2 small turnips or rutabaga, peeled and quartered
  • 8 oz baby carrots, halved
  • pinch of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • ½ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 tbsp flour

slow-cooker, skillet

Heat oil in skillet and brown beef (you can do this the  night before and refrigerate with all the pan drippings). Place meat, onion, turnip or rutabaga, potatoes, carrots & spices in the slow-cooker,  add 6 cups water and cook according to slow-cooker directions, (usually 8 to 10 hours on low). Before serving, turn heat to high, mix 1 cup water and flour completely, add to stew, stirring constantly, and cook additional 10-15 minutes.

Wheat Biscuits

  • 1-1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk

large bowl and baking sheet

Mix dry ingredients together, cut in shortening, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Twice-Baked Potatoes

JeffreyW's Loaded Baked Potato

JeffreyW’s Loaded Baked Potato

I think potatoes are one of my favorite foods. So many things you can do with them. I’ve covered a lot of recipes for potatoes over the years, but there always seems to be more. Tonight I wanted to cover a simple recipe, but one that is oh so good.  Time consuming, but you can make part of it ahead of time and assemble before the final baking.

For some less laborious baked potatoes, let’s start with some easier, foolproof recipes:

Quick and easy baked potatoesinstructions here. I love these because by splitting the potato you get a nice crispy roasted flavor.

Smashed potatoes are fun, flavorful and a great side for a dinner party. We have two good recipes, here and here.

And if you missed it, this week’s Dinner Menu – Beef and Pepper Subs with Walnut Pear Salad, can be found here.

What’s on the weekend agenda? Any fun pre-Halloween plans like corn mazes or pumpkin hay rides? Hit the comments, and don’t forget to share your favorite potato (or other) recipes. And what do you think, should we tackle pumpkin recipes next week?

Tonight I’m feature two recipes:

Twice Baked Potatoes

(pictured at the top of the post)

These potatoes are packed full and could be a complete meal with a nice salad. You can bake the potatoes a day ahead, refrigerate them and then prep quickly before dinner.

  • 5 large baking potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped (reserve 2 tbsps of chopped greens for garnish)
  • 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz shredded Jack cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature

Additional Ideas to make it a meal: Fresh chopped broccoli, diced mushrooms to mix in

Baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Rub the potatoes with the olive oil and salt. Place in the oven, pierce each with a fork and bake until fork-tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the potatoes sit until cool enough to handle (or refrigerate for preparation the next day)

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chopped onions and cook until tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes. Drain bacon and onions on paper towels.

Cut ONE potato in half and scoop out completely. Place the pulp in a large bowl.

Cut the top quarter from each of the remaining FOUR potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and pepper and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.

Using a handheld masher, mash the potato pulp until smooth. Add 2 oz of each cheese, the sour cream, butter, bacon, cooked onions, salt, pepper and mix well with a fork. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato shells, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees until hot and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with remaining onion greens.

All those leftover potato tops can be used in soup or other recipe.

How about  changing things up with the next recipe?

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Photo by, who else, JeffreyW.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 sweet potatoes, washed scrubbed
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Baking sheet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Pierce potatoes with a fork and place sweet potatoes on sheet tray and bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle (again you can make a day ahead and refrigerate at this point).

Cut the top quarter from each of the potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and brown sugar and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.

In another bowl, add brown sugar, butter and cream cheese and the all of the spices and mash with a fork or rubber spatula. Add the butter and cream cheese mixture to the sweet potato flesh and mash completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on a half sheet tray. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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