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Lighter Loaded Potato Soup

4 Mar

Since it’s March I would love to say that the balmy, winter weather is over, but I know better than that.  Unfortunately March can be a cruel month, leading you to believe that the worst is over and Spring has sprung, but that’s not always the case.  March is definitely one of those months that you have to pay close attention to the weather because one day it can be close to 70, and the next, low 40s.

It’s always a good idea to have a few quick recipes ready to go for those days that the weather is just a little more balmy than  expected – such as a quick, filling soup.  I first saw this soup a few months ago in a Cooking Light my boss discarded in the magazine pile at work and I knew I needed to make it.  The problem is – I lost the magazine for a few months and couldn’t remember where I saw the recipe.  Upon finding it while cleaning I knew I immediately needed to make this recipe.  I love anything potatoes and I was gearing up for a chilly weekend, and Saturday afternoon alone, so I figured what better time to try it out then a quick weekend lunch.  I have never been so glad to actually make something for a weekend lunch!  Not only was it delicious then, it made for great leftovers for work since it’s always a little chilly in the office!  And, bonus – not too bad for you!  I’m not saying this was an uber-healthy meal, however as starchy soups go this was a light version that wasn’t light on flavor by any means!

Loaded Potato Soup
Ingredients:
2 lbs red potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 bacon slices
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions

Directions:
Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly.

While potatoes cook, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in measuring cup; add to pan then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often, being careful to not let the milk boil over. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.

Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.

Scoop potato into soup and discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup using a potato masher. Ladle soup into bowls and top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.

Source: Cooking Light, October 2010

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Homemade Potato Chips

16 Jun


Homemade potato chips are a food that I’ve been wanting to make for awhile, I just hadn’t gotten around to it.  It’s not that I’ve been intimidated, but since I don’t have a mandoline slicer I keep putting them off because it seems rather daunting to slice by hand.  One day I gave in, thinking homemade chips would be a good side to a small dinner.  I can cut things pretty thinly so not having a mandoline didn’t seem to be an issue for me, though with given how easy these were I may have to bump a slicer up on my kitchen want list!

To me, one of the most difficult things about homemade potato chips was deciding what to season with.  Sure, I could have gone simple with just salt, but I had this great wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and some thriving Rosemary in my herb garden that I thought I’d work with that.  The fragrance of the Rosemary paired with the smooth, slightly nutty flavor of the cheese, paired with a bit of Paprika for and fresh ground pepper was amazing.  
I can’t wait to try out homemade chips again with other flavor variations!

Homemade Potato Chips
Ingredients:
1 lb. Russet Potatoes
large bowl of cold water
Canola Oil, for frying
Desired seasoning – I used:

1 tablespoon freshly shredded Parmesan Cheese

1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Paprika

1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Special equipment:
Deep fryer or Dutch oven and candy thermometer
Towels (paper for draining oil, paper or cloth to remove water)

Directions:
Using a Mandoline slicer, or sharp knife, very thinly slice potatoes.  Place in cold water for up to an hour.  Meanwhile, prepare oil either in a deep fryer, or dutch oven with a candy thermometer.  Oil should reach 350 degrees.  Combine seasonings in a prep bowl and prepare a baking sheet lined with paper towels

Using towels, drain and remove excess water from potatoes.  Carefully place a batch of the potatoes in the hot oil, cooking about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Make sure not to overcrowd the potatoes in the oil or they’ll cook unevenly and take longer.  Remove with a spider skimmer or deep fryer basket and carefully place on the towel-lined baking sheet to drain excess oil.  Immediately season with prepared seasonings.

Continue until all chips are fried.  Allow to cool and serve the same day they’re made.  Will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-days.

Buttermilk Twice Baked Potatoes

16 May
Twice Baked potatoes don’t really require too much of a recipe, but if you’re a novice chef, any little tip and trick will be helpful in preparing delicious meals for you and your family.  I know when I first wanted to make twice baked potatoes I asked my mother-in-law for a recipe and was floored that she didn’t have one considering we’d had them at their house multiple times.  She explained the general process, told me typically what she used and set me free.  I still had lots of questions but now looking back I don’t know what I was so nervous about considering I certainly knew how to cook.  I think a lot had to do with not really ever seeing my mom make them.
I’ve always made my twice baked potatoes pretty much the same way: bake, scoop, mash potatoes with milk/cream, S & P, a little cheese and maybe throw in some chives or bacon.  As I mentioned in my recent Cheez-It Chicken post, I had a lot of buttermilk to use up, so I thought I’d try that in my twice baked potatoes.  Again, I am so glad I had all of the extra buttermilk!  I’ve never really cooked or baked with buttermilk too much before but I’m thinking it may become a relative staple in the fridge.  These potatoes were creamy and a bit tangy, and still fluffy once baked again.  
Buttermilk Twice Baked Potatoes
Ingredients:
2 baking potatoes
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup shredded cheese, any type desired
2 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
S & P to taste 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450
Poke fork holes in the potatoes and place directly on the oven rack.  Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a fork can be inserted and removed easily and potato has softened some.
Allow to cool if you have time.  Slice the top of each potato off and scoop flesh of potato out using a spoon and leaving a shell of about 1/4″ thick.  
In a medium bowl, add buttermilk and butter to potato flesh.  Using a potato masher, mash to desired consistency.
Stir in cheese, bacon, S & P.
Fill each potato shell with 1/2 of the potato mixture.  Top with additonal cheese if desired and bake in still heated oven for 20-40 minutes, depending on temperature of potato going in to the oven.

Oven Baked Fries

21 Mar

Now that it’s Spring you’ll want to break out your grills and enjoy the warming air, longer days and fresh scents and flavors of the season.  A meal, in my opinion, that is synonymous with spring is a big juicy burger and side of fries (and an ice cold beer, perhaps?!)  The whole thing just makes me want to open the windows and watch a baseball game (Go Cards!!)

I recently posted the perfect hamburger, and to help add to the perfect spring meal add these oven baked fries on the side.  Pair with an ice cold beer, or lemonade and sigh… ah, hello Spring!

Oven Baked Fries
Ingredients:
3 russet potatoes (about 24 oz. total), peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges
5 tbsp. vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
¾ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this). Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Source: Annie’s Eats, as adapted from The New Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated

Crash Hot Potatoes

23 Feb
I make a lot of potato side dishes however I normally just quarter, toss with some EVOO and whichever seasonings pair well with the main course.  Truth be told – it’s getting a little stale.  I’ve had these Crash Hot Potatoes from Pioneer Woman on my “to-make list” for.ev.er and I’ve finally made them.  I’ll definitely be making these more often.  Not only are they delicious, they were so easy to make.

Crash Hot Potatoes
Source: Pioneer Woman, originally from Jill Dupleix
Ingredients:
12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste
Directions:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Italian Potato Croquettes

22 Feb
When my husband and I went out for our anniversary we were given a sample of some potato croquettes that were served along side one of the specials of the evening.  Neither of us got that special but as soon as we tried the potatoes we both almost wanted to change our order just to get more of these delicious bites of heaven.  I mean, they were balls of delicious mashed potatoes, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried.  Certainly decidant!  Rob immediately asked if I could try to make them at home and I figured why not?!  Plus, it gave me an excuse to try another one!
While I still don’t think mine were as good as the one’s from the restaurant (Roberto’s Trattoria in St. Louis), they were melt in your mouth good!  Below is the recipe I put together when making them, however I have to be honest that I made mine a little bigger than I put in the recipe because they’d be better that way and I’ll have to make them that way next time!
Please note that these are rich, so a little can go a long way, but that is only if you want it to!  I believe an average size serving of these would probably be like 3 per person with their meal.
Italian Potato Croquettes

printer friendly recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. red potatoes (or your favorite potato)
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 oz. Pancetta, chopped, sauteed and set aside to drain and cool
2 teaspoons chives, chopped
S&P to taste
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Oil for frying

Directions:
In a large pot, boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain and peel.  In a separate bowl, mash potatoes and mix in 1/4 cup of the cream, the cheese, pancetta, chives and S&P to taste.  Add more cream if necessary, however you do not want a loose potato mash as it won’t ball up as well.  Place the potato mash in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or the fridge for about 35, or until chilled enough to hold together well for handling.

Start heating up oil for frying – either in a deep skillet or deep fryer.  Set up the flour, eggs (whisked) and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes/bowls for dredging.  Roll potatoes in to about 1 or 1 1/4″ balls, or croquettes.  Dredge the potato croquettes in the flour, shaking off excess, then egg, shaking off excess and finally the breadcrumbs.  Gently place in the hot oil and fry until golden, about 5 minutes, gently flipping once.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool slightly.  Repeat with remaining croquettes. 

Yields 12-15 croquettes

Source: Telly’s Tasty Tidbits original

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

22 May

I had my parents and one of my grandmothers over for a Mother’s Day dinner the night before due to travel schedules (my brother had to drive home), conflicting plans, etc. I was totally fine with that because I’ve never really had my family over for dinner, it’s always been brunch or appetizer type events. As a side I made these delicious garlic mashed potatoes that I found on the Williams-Sonoma site. Yet again I’ve found a winner with their recipes!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
3 baking potatoes, about 1 1/2 lb. total, peeled or unpeeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives (optional)

Directions
-Preheat an oven to 325°F.
-Place the garlic cloves in a small baking dish.
-Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary.
-Cover with aluminum foil and bake until very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.
-Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic from the skins into a small bowl.
-Mash with a fork.
-Strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve held over the garlic and mix well.
-Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch.
-Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 20 minutes.
-Just before the potatoes are ready, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot.
-Drain the potatoes, transfer to a warmed bowl, and mash well with a fork or potato masher.
-Alternatively, push them through a ricer or food mill placed over a warmed bowl.
-Add the butter mixture to the potatoes and stir until smooth.
-Mix in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
-Stir in the chives and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.