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Showing posts from January, 2021

Sour Cream & Chive Scalloped Potatoes

Can't believe the Month of the Potato is over.  There are so many more potato recipes saved.  Guess I will have to work them into another month. Last week's scalloped potatoes were one of the best new recipes during the month of potatoes.  With today being the last day in the Month of Potatoes, I decided to go out with a bang by cooking another batch of scalloped potatoes but this time sour cream and chive.   The Best Scalloped Potatoes , or so they said. Modifications Made: Recipe was reduced by half.  Mayo was omitted and one entire package of chives were chopped and added to sauce before pouring onto layers. Scaled for Likability: Good Betty Crocker Sour Cream and Chive Box Scalloped Potatoes were the standard for this recipe.  These were a family favorite for years but have long since been discounted.  Bummer.  Trying to replicate this seemed easy enough.  Alas, it was not. These had a nice texture but were too oily from the cheese and did not contain enough onion, garlic,

Potato Sticks

  As an adult, have you ever stumbled across a beloved treat way back from when you were a child?  Do you stand there and let the yummy memories flood back?  Or do you snatch up said treat to relive those memories again?  If you do, are the current treats ever as good as the memory treats? Today in the grocery store was one of those days.  Walking the same chip isle I have walked thousands and thousands of time, there on the top shelf in the same orange juice style can were  Pik Nik Shoestring Potatoes . Some processed foods are not worth the effort to make at home.  They are just fabulous the way they are.  With the Month of the Potato wrapping up, I could not let the teen not experience a food of my youth.   Scaled for Likability: Great Yum.  What else is there to say?

Potato Rolls

Nothing says love like homemade dinner rolls.  Especially when they are  Soft & Fluffy One Hour Dinner Rolls .  And really, if they failed it only just an hour or so wasted, not half the day. Modifications Made: None.  Maybe one day when I am more comfortable with all things yeast I will chance some changes.  Until then, stick to the letter... Scaled for Likability: Great Oh, the flavor, the butter, the texture, the butter, the softness, the butter, the airiness, the butter.  Did I mention the butter.  You can literally see the butter in the bottom of the cast iron skillet.  Once all rolls were consumed, there was not a drop of butter left. The recipe states 12 rolls but I miss counted and only made eight. They would be have been better as 12 rolls but they were still amazing as eight.  Twelve would have offered an even more fluffy roll instead these were slightly heavier than desired.  Yet no one complained.  Until desert that is... Three people, eight rolls, somebody missed out o


When life gives lemons, make lemonade.  When life gives mushy apples, make applesauce.  No recipe was followed as it was simply a chop and cook. Scaled for Likability: Good Some of the apples cooked down to sauce, others stayed chunky.  The sauce had good flavor but the texture was not correct.  Served over homemade potatoes pancakes, the sauce was just right.  When made again, I would like to use slightly green apples to maintain a full chunk texture and I would like to use a sweeter apple instead of a hodgepodge of back of the drawer apples.

Potato Pancakes

My hometown has food festivals all year round.  One around Easter, another in summer, and a third in October.  Foods celebrate the various ethnics cuisines, Mexican, German, Polish, and Cajun to name just a short few.  One of my favorite October festival foods are potato pancakes.  They were to die for. I'd eat two or three servings with cold, cold applesauce and just a hint of cinnamon.  German Kartoffelpuffer (Potato Pancakes)  seemed like the perfect example of memories. Modifications Made: A teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of sugar were added to the batter. Scaled for Likability: Great The pancakes needed to be a little thinner to maintain a nice crunch all the way through but the flavor and texture of the potatoes were spot on.  If I would make one tip to any new makers, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the potatoes dry.  

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Enchilada Casserole is a staple.  It is a great way to use leftover taco meat when there is not enough taco meat for tacos and too much taco meat for one taco.  It has all the same great flavors of meat enchiladas but in a casserole.   Two different chicken enchilada casseroles have been made with green sauce but none with red sauce. Tonight, the same concept for meat enchilada casserole was used with chicken instead of beef.   Scaled for Likability: Good It is not the fault of the chicken or the chicken enchilada casserole.  I just prefer enchilada casserole to plain cheese or meat.  Usually just plain cheese The chicken was tender, flavorful, and combined well with the pepper jack cheese and black beans.  Sweet corn would have been a great addition to the casserole along with some sharp cheddar cheese.

Chewy Pistachio Cookies

Rummaging around at the bottom on the pantry drawer usually leads to things like half eaten cookies stored in a ziplock bag for "later", granola bars gone hard or soft depending upon original state, and odd and ends from various bite size candies.  A whole bag of pre-shelled pistachios is a never find.  When bags of nuts are bought it is a first come, first serve unless otherwise designated for a specific recipe.  Wanting to spread the wealth of this find cookies were the best option.   Shortbread Pistachio Cookies  vs Pistachio Drop Cookies .  Drop vs rolled.  Chopped vs whole.  Icing or no icing.  So many decisions.  It was the chill time of the shortbread cookies that made the drop cookies the winner.  This time. Modifications Made: Recipe, including the icing, was halved. Scaled for Likability: Good They looked just the like the pictures from the original post!  Just. Like. The. Pictures.  I was so, so excited and I am not even a major pistachio fan.  The cookie was tende

Whole Boiled Sliced FRIED Potatoes

Whole Boiled Sliced Potatoes were served with dinner two nights ago.  They were good but not really what I had in mind when the side dish was created.  With two remaining whole boiled potatoes in the fridge, tonight a second attempt was made with a completely different method. Ingredients: Two cold whole boiled potatoes, sliced thin Bacon grease Instructions: To warmed bacon grease (enough to fully cover the bottom of cast iron skillet) potato slices were lined without touching and fried crisp.  Once flipped and fried to a golden brown on the second side, the potatoes were placed on a cookie cooling rack (to allow to cool without becoming soggy) and sprinkled with salt. Scaled for Likability: Good Better but still not what I had in mind.  These are crispy on the outside but they are still dry on the inside.  Am beginning to think the potatoes were over boiled to start with....

Chipotle Turkey Hominy Chili

All I needed was a medium can of hominy.  All that was available had was a small can and #10 can of hominy, of course.  The 15 oz can was literally two dollars and three cents more. So what does the money conscience person do, buy the can as big as your head and figure out what to make with the rest. Yesterday it was Hominy Hash , my new favorite meal.  Today it is  Turkey and Hominy Chili with Smokey Chipotle . Modifications Made: Recipe was reduced by half.  This was another recipe with the oddest cooking instructions.   To large Dutch oven, onion/red & green bell pepper/jalapeno were sautéed till soft.  Turkey was added and browned.  Garlic, chili powder, one chipotle in adobo, and two cups tomato juice were added along with one HEAPING teaspoon of comino.  Chili was cooked on low for 30 minutes.  Add one can drained kidney beans, two cups hominy, handful of diced cilantro, cook for additional 15 minutes adding water if needed.   Scaled for Likability: Great Between the non hot

Lard Potato Tortillas

I'm on a quest for the best homemade tortillas. Softest White Flour Tortillas  made with lard, yes lard, not shortening or butter or oil. Modifications Made: 2 cups flour  1/4 cup potato flakes 3/4 tsp salt 4 tablespoons lard, not butter 1/2 cup+ 1% milk, warm, not water To a stand mixer, flour, flakes and salt were combined.  Lard was added until fully incorporated.  Warm milk was added and allowed to mix for three to five minutes.  Dough rested for one hour before rolled. Scaled for Likability: Great These by far are the best tortillas to date.  They have chew without being chewy, they have spring but still tearable, and they have a great flavor without being overly oily. Next time, additional salt and lard will be added.

Whole Boiled Sliced Potatoes

Yesterday in the making of Sweet, too many potatoes were boiled.  Thinking I was gonna make leftover potato dumplings, they were just tossed in the fridge as soon as they cooled.  Tonight, I had no intentions of working that hard for dumplings so instead the potatoes were sliced thickly and pan fried in a garlic butter/oil mixture. Scaled for Likability: Good For a first time off the hip recipe these were not bad.  They were like large bites of baked potato.  Not what I had in mind.  Tomorrow, since yes there are still leftover whole boiled potatoes, the slices will be thinner, fried in just oil/bacon grease, and a heavy garlic butter sauce will be poured on top as soon as they are done.

Sweet Vinegar Potato Salad

After having succeeded in making the most perfect of perfect scalloped potatoes, tonight I decided to try and make Great-Grandma's  German Potato Salad .  Of course, this is not her recipe as her recipe was in her head, this was as close as anybody could remember. Modifications Made: None. Scaled for Likability: Great Great-Grandma would never have served hot potato salad over a bed of Rocket greens nor along side a side salad but these were ever as good as hers.  And since time has erased the taste from my tongue, these are now going to be referred to as Great-Grandma's German Potato Salad.  The only change needed is to exchange apple cider for white vinegar.  Apple cider is just too much for this table's taste.

Simple Scalloped Potatoes

One of my favorite dishes as a child my grandmother made was scalloped potatoes.  They were buttery, creamy, not excessively cheesy, with a crunchy top layer and outsides and soft, tender insides.   Scalloped Potatoes  seemed like the perfect example to recreate this dish.   Modifications Made: Yellow onion not white onion, low sodium chicken stock not water, whole milk not reduced fat, and dried thyme not fresh.  Recipe was reduced by half to fill am 8x8 pan, Scaled for Likability: Great Oh. my. goodness.  This was blissful.  Served with a side of garlic chard it was a perfect, filling meal.  No meat was needed.  Some of the changes for next time would be a dash of Hungarian paprika and a pinch of white pepper for some extra heat. Edit Jan 23, 2021: Leftovers were warmed in the microwave.  While still very yummy, the outside layer did lose its perfect crunchy edge.

Churro Tots

Leftover bags of tots and fries do not bode well in the freezer.  They get bogged down with ice and become soggy and unusable.  Not wanting to waste a quarter bag of tater tots, the remaining tots were fried and tossed in cinnamon sugar mixture. Scaled for Likability: No, Thank You Crunchy, salty, sweet.  Should have been great but it wasn't.  The teen loved them, of course, it was sugar.

Roaring Mexican Tot Cassrole

Somewhere over the last year a tater tot casserole was attempted (no pics taken) along tot nachos ( Totchos ). Both were different from anything this table had ever eaten, even as a kid when casseroles where popular. Tonight the two were combined for Mexican Tot Casserole.  Instructions: Over freshly fried tots, a handful of shredded cheese, a spoonful of taco meat, and half spoonful of black beans were added along pico de gallo and salsa. Scaled for Likability: Great I don't think I would make this as a bake but as a freshly piled mess of good stuff, this was fabulous.  Not there are ever fresh tots laying around but if there was, this would be made again.

Soggy Potato Waffles

Waffles are the best when they are fresh and warm, crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.   Steve's Loaded Potato Waffles  are not waffles, they are sog dogs. Modifications Made: Cheese, bacon, and green onions were omitted.  One tablespoon of brown sugar was added to mixture. Scaled for Likability: No, Thank You Great in flavor.  Soggy in texture.

Stewed Apple Oatmeal

Dinner and dessert.  This is a terrible habit to get into but 20+ years of programming is hard to overcome.  I mean seriously, the habit is started as soon as a child enters daycare or schooling.  Wanting to break out of the habit of sugar right before bed, Stewed Apple Oatmeal was served instead.   Ingredients: Two Granny Smith apples, diced One tablespoon of brown sugar One teaspoon cinnamon Half teaspoon ginger Three servings cooked oatmeal Instructions: Cook apples, cinnamon, and ginger in a heavy saucepan on low simmer until apples are fork tender.  Spoon steaming apples over warm oatmeal. Scaled for Likability: Great Sweet, filling, fibrous dessert.  Oatmeal was cooked in milk but this would have been great even if the oatmeal had been cooked in plain water.  One word of advice, cook extra as seconds will be wanted.

Chicken Pot Pie Stew

The internet is full of endless recipes, some new, some old, some exciting, some garbage. Pictures are modified and recipes don't always match what's seen. Instructions are lengthy, vague, or missing major steps and minor details. There are times when the recipe is an instant winner, could be a winner, or was written as a winner fabricator. Cooking decisions are based upon gut instinct like this Chicken Stew  where the pictures don't match the video and the instructions leave too many variables.  Modifications Made: Small whole chicken cooked and deboned.  Chicken broth was reduced to five cups and set aside.  Rosemary, sage, and sweet potatoes, red pepper, and white wine were omitted.  Russet were swapped for gold potatoes. Scaled for Likability: Good For all the work this was just chicken pot pie in a soup.  Nothing spectacular but it was warm and filling.

Goulash over Garlic Taters

One of the teen's new favorite meals is Opa's Goulash .  When requested last night, the request was to "serve the goulash good stuff over taters not pasta".  Well sure, why not. Modifications Made: Opa's goulash recipe was followed to the point of adding the noodles.  At that point, the meat and veggies were allowed to cook further on low while a big batch of extra buttery, garlic mashed potatoes were made. Scaled for Likability: Great Serving over mashed potatoes completely changed this meal.  Meat and veggies retained a certain amount of liquid from the lack of noodle starch creating its own gravy for the potatoes.  The only draw back was the meat and veggies did not go as far as when served with the noodles premixed.  Both table counterparts had an unequal portion of meat to potatoes.  If needing to maintain a budget friendly meal, stick to the noodles.

Hominy Hash with Sausage

One of my new favorite meals is Hominy Hash .  Having found a link of Eckert sausage in the freezer, I decided to try hominy hash with sausage instead of bacon. Modifications Made: Pan fried thinly sliced sausage and set to the side.  Continue with same steps as before. Scaled for Likability: Good It was good and we would all eat it again but the original is so, so much better.  There is just something about the bacon.  Um, bacon.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

Ah, the cold weather. With another day of blistery cold upon us and another one or two days ahead of us, this table needed a body warming, soul filling soup stat. Something more than just the down and dirty potato soup, something easier than vegetable beef soup, and something lighter than chicken and dumplings last night. Potato Leek Soup was literally a last minute decision meal that turned out just beautiful.  Modifications Made: Three chicken bouillon cubes replaced low stock chicken stock and salt was omitted. Scaled for Likability: Good We all liked the flavor but the consistency was odd.  It was thick and creamy like warm pudding.  Not overly leek or heavy on the cream, the soup would have been better with bacon and oyster crackers.  It needed something with chew.

Budget Kabobs

In the summer of every year my hometown has a different festival of cultures with food and dance being the main focus. German, Portuguese, Lebanese, Creole, Oriental, and Salvadoran are just a few of my favorite foods. Due to this here pandemic 2020, the festival was canceled this year. No powdered sugar puffs, no lo mein, no pupusas, no shish kabobs with little pita triangles. So sad.  Lo mein has become almost a monthly dinner staple.  It is served so often the teen counterpart complains, alot. Fried dough balls are too much work, as are pupusas.  Kabobs on the o ther hand are so good and easy if one does not count the marinade time.   Unmarinated Kabobs were good and Hawaiian Kabobs were great but I wanted the  Best Beef Kabob Marinade  to remind me of the missing festival goodness. Modifications Made: Marinade: basil and parsley were omitted.  Vegetable oil replaced olive oil and standard yellow mustard for dijon mustard. Kabobs: rump roast was cubed into 1" chunks, mushroom

Smashed Potato Dumplings

Over the holidays while visiting family, I spent some time flipping through dozens of 60+ year old cookbooks some in English, some in German (not that I read German). In those cookbooks were many recipes for potato dumplings served in a gravy, in soup, served over kraut, stuffed, and even pan fried. Storing the idea for later usage, I forgot to snap a couple of pictures of the recipes. Luckily the base dumpling was all about the same: mashed potato, egg, flour, salt and pepper. It was the cooking process that varied. Wanting to start off easily, Polish Potato Dumplings were the base for tonight's dinner. Modifications Made:  Not having the time to make real mashed potatoes, two cups instant were used instead.  Following instructions to form a potato roll, it took close to three cup of flour to form a dough.  Dumplings were boiled and then covered in a mushroom, bacon, onion gravy. Scaled for Likability: Good  Real leftover mashed potatoes would have been better for both a richer t

Chicken Fried Steak and Hashbrowns

Every American diner serves chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes.  Every American fast food diner serves chicken fried steak fingers with french fries.  Either is good but I felt there was something out there that was better.  Something that would offer a much needed crunch to the steak yet hold up to the gravy.  Something like a deep fried hash brown patty.  And what better way to compliment a deep fried to golden perfection hash brown patty?  You got it, a perfectly fried egg over easy. Scaled for Likability: Great Do Not Eat This Weekly.  Do Not.  You will want to, no doubt.  Rightfully so, too.  But restrain yourself and limit it to special occasions. Deep fried hash browns, golden and crispy with a slight dusting of salt.  Chicken fried steak with its crispy batter outside and tender beef inside.  Homemade white gravy made with leftover salty bacon grease.  Eggs over easy fried gently in bacon grease, naturally.  At this point in the game, the canned green beans are really jus

Potato Flake Lace Cookies

When researching different potato recipes, in the obscure hidden files of the internet, I stumbled across one rouge image of a potato cookie. After narrowing results, I then came across a few select posts about potato flake cookies.. Comments were few and far between and step by step pictures or videos were nonexistent. Taking a leap, I settled upon Crispy Potato Flake Cookies  mostly because the cookies contained pecans. Modifications Made: Recipe was cut in half and followed to her specific instructions to the amount of egg used. Sugar, however, was reduced to just a half cup instead of three quarters. Coconut was replaced with quarter cup sweetened and quarter cup unsweetened as I feared the cookie being extremely sweet otherwise. Walnuts replaced pecans and were only lightly toasted instead of well toasted. Scaled for Likability: Good  Really with no previous experiences and nothing to base results against, as long as the cookie was edible, I considered them a success. Would I eat

Spicy Sauce Spaghetti

You really should have seen this coming.  Using the leftovers from That's a Spicy Sauce to make a homemade spaghetti sauce with green bell peppers, mushrooms, and sweet italian sausage. Instructions: Brown SWEET Italian sausage, set aside to drain.  To fat, sautee one small diced yellow onion and one diced green bell pepper.  Add one tablespoon minced garlic, two tablespoons tomato paste, one teaspoon sugar, cook until paste bubbly.  Return sausage, add spicy sauce, one can sliced mushrooms with juice.  Cook until sauce thick. Scaled for Likability: Great Last night was good, today was great.  Spicy sauce had time to develop overnight, losing some of its heat from the red pepper flakes.  Sweet sausage and a teaspoon of sugar ensured the heat would be completely balanced.  Green bell pepper added a much needed bitter undertone and the mushrooms were just an added bonus.  Who doesn't love mushrooms in the spaghetti sauce?

That's a Spicy Sauce

Don't you love winter tomatoes? Bright yellow and red cherry tomatoes against a dull, dead yard brings joy to the heart. Deciding what to cook with these cherished beauties takes days to decide. Testing out of the non ordinary dishes is scary. Fearful of failed recipe leads to safe boring dishes.  Not wanting to be boring, I went crazy with Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce . Modifications Made:  One heaping teaspoon of red pepper flakes replaced jalapeno.  Harissa, tomato paste, and cilantro were omitted.  Seasonings were limited to Hungarian paprika and salt.  Sun gold replaced cherry tomatoes. Scaled for Likability: Great Let me say it was a good thing there were gobs and gobs of butter potatoes to offset the heat of this sauce.  And to think, only red pepper flakes were added.  Not jalapenos and harissa.  Then there was the sweet red onion, sweet red bell pepper, and sweet orange carrots to help, too.  If there had not been all this sweet and starchy potatoes, the sauce would have been

Potato and Butternut Squash Mash

Looking for a new roasted veg dish, Mashed Potato and Butternut Squash  was stumbled across. Don't really know how mashed potatoes fits into a roasted vegetables search feed but nonetheless there it was.  And I am so glad it was, too. Modifications Made: Recipe reduced by half.  Potatoes smashed with fork, not put through a ricer. Scaled for Likability: Good Very fluffy potatoes in a deep yellow color without any butternut squash flavor.  If this was served again, everybody at this table would happily eat a serving or two.  If I am required to make, them probably not as it made the clean up process a mess.  TOO MANY DISHES.

Papas a La Mexicana (Ranchera)

It  is a crying shame that there are six hens and not a egg in sight. What am I supposed to do with homemade ranchero sauce? Thankfully with a few quick searches of the internet a recipe from my hometown newspaper was discovered: Papas Ranchera . Not once in the thirty years I lived in my hometown did I ever eat at a local food joint serving papas rancheras. No time like the present to remedy this cultural dish. Because this recipe is hidden behind a paywall (grrr...) I have included it here for you: Servings: 4-6  Ingredients: 1 pound potatoes, diced 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 large onion 1 1/2 medium tomatoes 3 jalapenos 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup juice from canned tomatoes Instructions: Fry potatoes in vegetable oil until lightly browned (about 4-6 minutes).  Saute onions, tomatoes, jalapenos until soft.  Add garlic powder and salt. Add tomato juice until vegetables are covered (may need to add water).  Bring to a boil and then add potatoes.  Cover and reduc

Pan Fried Papas

Mexican food breakfast plates come with your choice of eggs, refried beans, and papas .  If having a taco with potatoes (like my favorite bean and cheese with papas), the potato is fried papa style before adding to the taco stuffing.  Some restaurants deep fry the potato cubes, then pan fry.  Some just deep fry.  Some just pan fry.  All methods require two things, lots of oil and evenly diced potatoes.  After that, the sky is the limit.  Any of the three cookings options are fine by this table as long as the potato is just barley crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. Ingredients: One small russet potato per person, 1" cubes, room temp Oil/lard/bacon grease Salt (or seasoning of choice: Tony Chachere's, Chupacabra , or Traeger Veggie to name a few) Instructions: Peel and cube potato.  To a cast iron skillet, place 1" oil of choice and heat to medium low heat.  Add potatoes, toss evenly in oil, cook on medium low till just fork tender. Turn often for eve

Over Baked Potatoes

Love me some baked potatoes. Buttered baked potatoes.  Loaded baked potatoes.  Broccoli and cheese baked potatoes. Brisket baked potatoes.  You get the picture right?  Right.  What you don't know is that I have never ever made homemade baked potatoes.  Never. Ever.  With this cold weather upon us, now is the time for  The BEST Baked Potato .  Her words, not mine. Modifications Made: NONE.  I followed to an exact T. Even with the two step cooking method of half baked, then butter and salt, and bake again. Scaled for Likability: Great Yup, baked potatoes are still time consuming and not as good as McAlister's.  But these skins were soft and pliable (I ate all of mine and the teens') but the insides were dry on the outside next to the skin (too done?) while moist on the inside (just right?)  Oh, well.  As with all microwave baked potatoes extra butter cures any dried out spots.  Top with greasy cheese, green onions, bacon, and sour cream and they were GREAT!

The Month of Potatoes

The Month of ________. What a fabulous idea. 12 months, 12 selected food items, a minimum of 156 new recipes. Of course, it is only fitting to start this year long monthly food challenge with the item that started the whole crazy idea itself: the potato. Potato varieties  grown in the US reach into hundreds.  Hundreds! For this challenge, potatoes used must fit into one of the following seven catering: Russet, red, white, yellow, blue/purple, fingerling, petite, and flour. Potatoes can be served in any form, fashion, or function. Basically the sky's the limit, just no sweet potatoes/yams.  Below is the list of potato dishes. Each dish is linked to its corresponding recipe.  If it is a new recipe, the link will be BLUE . If it is a previously used recipe from this blog, the link will be GREEN . If it is self explanatory or does not contain a recipe, it will be uncolored (black) January 1: Over Baked Potatoes January 2: Pan Fried Papas January 3: Papas A La Mexicana January 4: Potato

The Year Of.....

Way back in November watching the teen counterpart pick apart breakfast tacos, the potatoes to be exact, the table counterpart said in a joking fashion the teen would be a stuck duck if when the Year of Different Daily Recipes was over the new challenge was the Year of the Potato.  The Year of the Potato. As days went by, we joked about all the different ways to eat a potato. Soon both counterparts drifted away from the idea of the daily potato. But not me. Every spare moment of free time was spent brainstorming. Dull moments during the holidays, driving to the store, hours when I should have been sleeping but instead I lay in bed awake thinking. Pondering, contemplating, scheming.  One thought lead to another and what was settled on was a monthly food challenge.  Starting in January a food item will be picked and the selected item must be consumed every day in one form or another. However, the food item cannot be consumed in its native state, it must altered before eating. For example