Tag Archives: casseroles

Potato Palooza! My Top 20 in Spuds

This week marked two years since I started this blog. It started with a 30-day vegetarian challenge issued by my daughter, Claire.  From there it has become a fun way to share my love of food and cooking with my family and friends (even the friends I’ve never met!), an online recipe box for myself and an ongoing cooking project for me and my kids to work on together.

To celebrate, I thought I would highlight my favorite food – the potato! I know National Potato Day is in August, but let’s be honest.  If you know me, you know it’s always National Potato Day at my house.  Maybe it’s my Irish side, or maybe just because they are irresistible, but I love them.  And apparently, so do you, since some of these rate among my most popular posts over the last couple of years.  I thought it made sense to have a collection of these favorites all in one place.  So I give to you my top 20 in spuds.

One of the most fun things about potatoes are all the incredible ways to cook them.  Which is your favorite?  It’s so hard to choose! Just click on the photo caption to go to the corresponding post.

The #1 most popular potato post on my site, and in the top five of ALL my posts, you can’t go wrong with this fancy presentation of an old favorite.

Like salt & vinegar potato chips?  You will LOVE these zippy roasted potatoes!

Who says potatoes are a side dish?  Grab yourself some big spuds and let them shine as a main course.

Forget frozen french fries.  Leave the chemicals behind and make them yourself!  Easy and oh so good.

Work out your aggression and enjoy a tasty side dish with these delightful smashed and baked potatoes.

One of my very favorites and a cure-all for just about everything.  Restaurant quality hash browns right in your own kitchen.

Spanish tortilla. One of my favorite tastes of Spain and such a beautiful presentation too!

Easy to throw together for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  And you can even use up your leftovers!

My favorite camping food – but perfect for a lazy evening at home too.

Not your mama’s scalloped potatoes.  No cans of soup here.  Just unbelievably good comfort food.

Breakfast anyone?  Easy baked eggs with a little potato and cheese.

Lemony potatoes, perfect side dish for fish or chicken.  I can eat a whole batch of these by myself. Scroll down past the fish recipe for the potatoes (but the fish is worth stopping for too!).

 

The most perfect side dish with just about anything, but especially if you are a “meat & potatoes” type.

A very veggie version of Shepherd’s Pie.

The best – and most unusual – stuffed peppers you will ever eat.  A touch of heat and Indian spices make these irresistible.

A classic potato salad to make your grandma (and mine!) proud.

A not-s0-classic potato salad.  This hearty spinach salad features tiny potatoes that steal the show.

Put your leftover baked potatoes to good use in this hearty, comforting soup.

Cheesy, with a southwestern kick.  This is a great spin on the classic potato soup.

Who says potato soup isn’t healthy?  Get your veggies for the day without evening noticing in this delicious concoction.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bring Me My Turkey Pot Pie!

I woke up to snow falling this morning.  Well, sort of snow.  More like slush.  But it’s Portland, Oregon, and I’ll take whatever snow I can get.  I caught a flake on my tongue and it didn’t taste like rain.

What to do on a snowy/rainy evening?  Whip up a little comfort food of course.

I grew up eating frozen chicken or turkey pot pies.  You know the little individual ones I mean.  I always liked them, even though I burned the roof of my mouth every dang time.  For some reason, I don’t ever buy them.  Probably haven’t eaten one in 20 years.  But in this case, no frozen pie was needed.  I made my own and it was even better than I remember.  I still burned the roof of my mouth.  Sometimes you just can’t wait.

One of the things I don’t like about most turkey pot pies is the mushy crust on the bottom.  Problem solved by not using one.  I used a top crust only and it was every bit as delicious.  Not to mention a little more healthy since the crust is the most fattening part of the whole thing.  I am not a pie crust expert, so I used a refrigerated roll up crust by Pillsbury.  One of the best convenience products ever invented in my opinion.  This was a huge hit in my house.  Hope it is in yours as well.

turkeypotpie4

Turkey Pot Pie

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken
3 medium potatoes
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup frozen peas
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. chives
1/2 tsp. creole seasoning
1 refrigerated pie crust

Stab the potatoes and microwave for 5 minutes or so, until fork tender.  Remove, let cool a bit and dice.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to a skillet and add carrots, onion and mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt & pepper.  Saute until veggies are tender.  Add frozen peas and toss with the other vegetables.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk flour into the butter until it’s all absorbed and mixture is smooth.  Whisk in milk gradually, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Continue to whisk until mixture is bubbly and thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in a big pinch of salt & pepper, chives, and creole seasoning.  Combine sauce in a large bowl with vegetables, potatoes, and turkey.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Prep a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Add your turkey and vegetable mixture.  Cover with a pie crust and tuck around the edges.  Make a few slices in the top for steam to escape.

That is a beautiful pie crust that I didn't make.

That is a beautiful pie crust that I didn’t make.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown on top.

turkeypotpie2

Perfect Turkey Pot Pie

turkeypotpie3

And the cutaway shot, showing all the yummy goodness lurking underneath that crust. Note the absence of gooey gross bottom crust.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Shepherd’s Pie Goes Veggie

Yesterday I posted about an amazing Shepherd’s Pie I made with pulled pork.  It was delicious.  But what I didn’t tell you is that I made a vegetarian version at the same time since I had a friend over who doesn’t eat pork (or anything else with a face).  It was easy enough to layer things in two dishes instead of one.  This is one of the things that I really like about this recipe.  Since you prepare the ingredients separately, it’s very easy to customize to different tastes.  You could even do individual servings if you wanted to really go crazy.

I have to say, I love the vegetarian version just as much as the meat version.  But then, there ARE mashed potatoes involved, and how can you go wrong there?  Want the meaty version?  Click here for the recipe.

Shepherd's Pie Goes Veggie

Shepherd’s Pie Goes Veggie

Shepherd’s Pie Goes Veggie

8 oz. (or more) sliced mushrooms (I used a mix of button mushrooms and shiitake)
1/2 cup pearl onions (I use the frozen, peeled ones because I hate peeling these things)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1-2 inch pieces
2-3 medium red potatoes, with skin on
1-2 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
1-2 tbsp. butter
1/4- 1/2 cup milk
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Quarter the potatoes and cover with water in a large sauce pan.  Throw in the whole, peeled cloves of garlic.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so until fork tender.  Drain the water.  Add butter, milk and salt & pepper to taste and mash with a potato masher.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet saute mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil with fresh thyme and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until softened and set aside.  Put green beans and pearl onions in a glass bowl with a little water, cover with a plate or plastic wrap (undone a bit to let steam escape) and microwave for a 2-3 minutes.  Drain water.  (You could alternatively boil these on the stove for 3-4 minutes if you prefer).

Preheat oven to 375˚. Assemble your pie by mushrooms in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with green beans and onions.  Pile on the mashed potatoes and spread out to cover everything evenly.  Sprinkle with green onions and parmesan.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until everything is hot and mashed potatoes are starting to brown on top.  Dig in!  Makes 2-3 servings.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

One Pork Roast, 3 Dinners. Day 3: Shepherd’s Pie

The grand finale of pork week was Shepherd’s Pie.  While it’s a humble dish at heart, the presentation is beautiful and it was oh, so delicious.  I’ve never made it before, but having eaten it I knew that the basic recipe was a meat something, topped with a veggie something (usually peas) and then lots of yummy mashed potatoes.  Could you go wrong with that?  I didn’t think so, and it seemed simple enough that I decided to wing it without a recipe.  I already had leftover pulled pork and it was the perfect base for my pie.  And you thought pork pies were just an English thing, didn’t you?

Interested in Day One and Two of my pork roast saga?  Click here for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Shredded Pork & Black Bean Tacos.  If you’re stretching the dollars, these are three easy meals that were very nice to my food budget.

porkroastpie

Shepherd’s Pie. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Shepherd’s Pie

2 cups (or so) Basic Pulled Pork
4-6 oz. mushrooms (I used a mix of button mushrooms and shiitake)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1-2 inch pieces
4-5 medium red potatoes, with skin on
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. butter
1/4- 1/2 cup milk
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Quarter the potatoes and cover with water in a large sauce pan.  Throw in the whole, peeled cloves of garlic.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so until fork tender.  Drain the water.  Add butter, milk and salt & pepper to taste and mash with a potato masher.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet saute mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil with fresh thyme and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until softened and set aside.  Put green beans in a glass bowl with a little water, cover with a plate or plastic wrap (undone a bit to let steam escape) and microwave for a 2-3 minutes.  Drain water.  (You could alternatively boil these on the stove for 3-4 minutes if you prefer).  If your pork is cooled in the fridge, warm it up slightly in the microwave.

Preheat oven to 375˚. Assemble your pie by spreading pork (and any pork juices there might be) in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with mushrooms.  Then spread green beans over the top.  Pile on the mashed potatoes and spread out to cover everything evenly.  Sprinkle with green onions and parmesan.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until everything is hot and mashed potatoes are starting to brown on top.  Dig in!  Makes 4-6 servings.

porkroastpie4

Cutaway View of Shepherd’s Pie. Also known as my lunch the next day.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Very Veggie Quiche. It’s Gouda!

Quiche is one of those things that seems like it should be good for you.  It’s high in protein, filled with veggies…but alas, quite high in fat and calories as well.  But let’s face it, that’s probably why it’s so good.  It’s still one of my favorite foods, and to justify it, I usually eat it with a giant salad or a pile of fresh fruit and call it healthy.  Mostly.  I’ve made this recipe hundreds of times and it is foolproof.

Very Veggie Quiche & Strawberries.

Very Veggie Quiche

1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half & half
Salt & pepper
2 oz. shredded gouda cheese
1 pie crust (I prefer Pillsbury fresh crust)

Preheat oven to 425˚. Unroll crust and place in a pie pan.  Press lightly to fit to pan and crimp edges.  Saute onion and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes in a bit of olive oil.  Add spinach and cook and stir one more minute.  Add veggies to pie crust.

Sauteing the veggies first will minimize extra liquid and give you a better texture.

Then add the cheese.

Mmmmm, smoky gouda.

Whisk eggs and half & half with a pinch of salt & pepper in a bowl.  Pour over cheese and veggies.

Be sure to not overfill the crust. Just go up to the edge, or a little below it. If you have to throw away a little bit of the egg mixture, no big deal.

Place carefully in preheated oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Then turn down oven temperature to 375˚ and continue to bake another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve with salad and/or fruit.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Beautiful, right out of the oven. As it sits, it will deflate just a bit. Don’t panic, it’s supposed to do that. Let it sit 10 minutes before cutting!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes

I grew up eating scalloped potatoes made with cream o’ mushroom soup and – I’ll admit it – loving every bite.  But as my tastes and cooking skills have evolved, I have found there is a better way.  Not to mention that lately I just don’t see any reason to eat the extra sodium and chemicals that come with most canned food if it can be avoided.  So ditch the can, get out a saucepan, and spend an extra five minutes making a scrumptious cheese sauce to replace it.  You won’t regret it!

For those of you not so keen on the veggies, or trying to disguise them for picky kiddos (or husbands), this is one of those recipes that I use to “hide” veggies.  I added a layer of fresh spinach in this one.  Don’t like spinach?  Try a different green like kale, or chopped peppers, zucchini, eggplant, whatever!

This is a great vegetarian meal, but if you want to take it way over the top add some lean sausage or fresh franks to the top.  I was lucky enough to score some lean, freshly-made spicy frankfurters last time I went to farmer’s market and they made a fine addition to this!  Lip smackin’ good!

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes – Sans Meat

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes – Over The Top Version!

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes (I used half small yukon gold potatoes and half baby red potatoes)
3 large spring onions
2 cups fresh spinach
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan
Lean sausage or frankfurters (optional)

Slice potatoes in thin rounds.  Chop spring onions (if you don’t have spring onions you can substitute leeks or regular onions). In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, dry mustard, cayenne, and black pepper.  In a saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour mixture.  When the butter is absorbed, gradually whisk in milk.  Continue to cook and whisk until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.  Whisk until smooth.  Add a little more milk if it seems too thick.

In a large casserole dish, start with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with onions and generously drizzle with sauce.  Repeat.  After two potato layers, add all of the spinach in one layer.  Top with at least one more potato-onion-sauce layers (I had enough ingredients for two more layers).  End with sauce.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 375˚ for 1 hour.  Remove foil.  If you are using sausage or frankfurters, scatter over the top now.  Either way, continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender and top is browned.

In theory, you should let it sit for 10-15 minutes so it can set up and be cut into pretty wedges.  But let’s face it, it smells so good that I usually cannot wait.  So if you don’t let it set up, it will still taste great, but instead of a wedge it will look more like this:

Scalloped potatoes in a bowl when you’re too impatient to wait!

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Pizza Quiche

One of our favorite meals, especially when we have friends over, is the “build your own” pizza.  We get ciabatta rolls or french bread and all sorts of yummy toppings and create delicious masterpieces.  It’s always a hit.  But that’s not what this post is about.  Mostly because the four tween girls who were building pizzas distracted me so I didn’t get any pictures.  But you get the idea.  This post is about leftovers.

After the pizza party, I had bits and pieces of pizza toppings to use for…something.  And so pizza quiche was born.  Obviously, you could change this up with whatever toppings YOU like on a pizza, but this combo was particularly tasty.

Pizza Quiche

Pizza Quiche

1 pie crust (I prefer Pillsbury fresh pie crust, found in the dairy case)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup pepperoni
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup mild banana pepper rings
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425˚.  Unroll pie crust and press into a pie pan (I usually dust the bottom with a little flour to prevent sticking).  Crimp edges around the pan and trim off any extra dough.  In a bowl whisk together eggs, half & half, and salt & pepper.  In the pie pan, layer the pepperoni and veggies.  Top with cheese.  Pour egg mixture over the top.  Carefully set it in the preheated oven.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Turn oven temperature down to 375˚ and cook another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and LET IT SIT FOR 10 MINUTES.  If you don’t let it sit it won’t set up and it will be a mess on a plate instead of a pretty wedge.  I have learned this the hard way.  Cut into wedges and enjoy hot, cold or in between.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Project Veggie: Day 27 – Roasted Sweet Pepper Quiche

Sometimes I plan dinner and then go buy the stuff to make it.  But sometimes I go to the store and find cool stuff and then have to figure out what to do with it.  A couple of days ago at the store these little beauties were calling out to me.  “Buy me!”  So I did.

Big bag o’ baby sweet peppers.

Now I had to find something to do with 2 pounds of sweet baby peppers.  No doubt many of them will find their way into Claire’s lunch.  And I’ll use a few here and there in other dinners just to add a little color and crunch.  But that still leaves a lot of peppers.  Luckily during the same shopping trip I came across my favorite pie crust on sale which sparked an idea.  Roasted pepper quiche.  Who cares if I haven’t made it before?  I’ve made quiche.  I’ve roasted peppers. The great thing about quiche is with an excellent basic recipe, you can pretty much mix and match whatever ingredients you like to put into it.

My stepmom, Sheila, gave me this basic quiche recipe when she and my dad owned a bed & breakfast in Taos, New Mexico.  Some of the best breakfasts I’ve ever eaten happened there.  What a cool place.  Up until then, I had tried a few different quiche recipes, but this one is absolutely foolproof and so delicious.

One note about pie crust.  Maybe you love to make pie crust.  If you do, go for it.  But for me, my passion lies in cooking, not baking so much, and pie crust is hard to get right. For some people it’s an art form.  I love those people.  I’m not one of them. Pillsbury makes a great fresh pie crust that you just unroll and plop in the pan and it tastes terrific and has a nice texture.  On most things I don’t care much about the brand names but this is not one of those things!  Go with the dough boy on this one.  The store brand is not as good in my opinion.

Roasted Sweet Pepper Quiche and Winter Fruit Salad

Roasted Pepper Quiche

1 pie crust
1 pound baby sweet peppers (or you could use bell peppers)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half & half
Salt & pepper
3/4 cup Gruyere or swiss cheese, shredded

Spread peppers out on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler for a few minutes on each side until they turn mostly black.  Put them in a paper or plastic bag to cool.  After that you can take the skins off easily if you want.  With bigger peppers I usually do skin them, but with the small ones, I left them on.  Chop up the peppers and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425˚.  Place pie crust in 9″ pie pan (I usually dust it with flour on the bottom so it doesn’t stick).  Press down in the pan and crimp edges with a fork.  Put roasted peppers, mushrooms, green onions and shallots in the pie crust.  (Note:  if you want a less juicy quiche, you can saute the mushrooms and onions first and drain off any liquid before adding them to the pie crust.  Personally, I don’t mind a little extra juiciness so I put them in raw more often than not.) Top with shredded cheese.  In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, half & half, and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Pour over veggies and cheese in pie crust.  Do not overfill.  Carefully set it in the preheated oven.  Bake at 425˚ for 15 minutes.  Then turn the temp down to 375˚ and bake an additional 30 minutes.  Take it out and let it sit for 10 minutes to set up.  Don’t skip this step.  Use the time to throw together a fruit salad or green salad to go with it.  Slice and eat.  It’s also good cold the next day if you have any leftovers.

Roasted Sweet Pepper Quiche, right out of the oven.

Tagged , , ,
Advertisements