Apr 102012
 

Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes Recipe

Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes

Most people only associate Maine with lobsters (and occasionally blueberries and whoopie pies), but Maine is one of the top ten states in terms of growing potatoes.  Idaho gets all the name recognition, but let me tell you as someone who grew up in Maine and worked every potato harvest until I left for college: Maine potatoes kick some serious butt.

As you can probably imagine, when a food item is so widely available and tied into the economy, you eat a whole lot of them.  I was pretty sure I’d had potatoes served in every way imaginable.  Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, french fries, crash potatoes, potato cakes, tater tots, hash browns: seriously, this could turn into the Bubba Gump moment of the potato world.

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Feb 222012
 

Easy Recipes For Kids

This week Tasty Tuesday is being dedicated to the younger set.  We’re cooking with kids!

Cooking With Kids: Easy Recipes for Kids

Growing up, I baked with my Grandmother in her kitchen nearly every Saturday morning.  We made bread for my entire extended family, and Gram would whip up big batches of baked beans and potato salad.  Those memories are very vivid – and cherished – and they were nurtured from a very young age.

I would love for Baby C. to share my love of creativity in the kitchen.  I also want to create special memories for her and have been looking for ways to start doing that even now.  Baby C. loves to shake things and it’s an instruction she understands.  Asking “Can you shake your Pooh toy for me?  Can you shake Clifford?” while we’re driving in the car keeps her entertained for a bit if she’s getting fidgety.

When I was tossing red potatoes with oil and spices the other night, it kind of struck me – she could definitely do that part for me!  If I put the items in a small bowl with a lid she’d be able to shake away.  Since she loves sweet potatoes, I decided she and I would use those instead for her “lesson”.

Roasted Sweet Potato Shapes

1 medium sweet potato
2T olive oil

First I peeled and washed the sweet potato (I did this over the garbage can with her highchair pulled up next to it so she could watch).  Next I sliced the potato into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick.  After that I cut some of them into basic shapes (triangle, square, etc.), showing and explaining each shape to her.  I have a fairly decent-sized collection of cookie cutters so I grabbed a few of the little ones – like stars, hearts, teddy bears, and gingerbread men – and cut shapes out of a few of the rounds.

Cooking With Kids: Easy Recipes for Kids

Now the part that has some action for the kiddos: I put all the shapes into a small bowl and added 2T of olive oil.   I snapped the lid on tight and gave it a quick demonstration shake, then handed the bowl to Baby C.  She had such a fun time shaking the bowl.  She kept grinning as if to say “Are you sure I should be doing this?”  When the excitement wore off and she started trying to peel the lid off, I spread the shapes out on a baking sheet and roasted them for 30 minutes at 350.

Since she had such a good time with the activity, and because she loves eating them, it’s definitely something we’ll be doing again soon!  Maybe next time we’ll doctor them up a little and sprinkle on a small bit of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Do you have a favorite easy recipe for kids?  I’d love to hear about your own experiences cooking in the kitchen with your kiddos!

Feb 152012
 

We are big fans of the Cheesecake Factory’s lovely array of cheesecakes.  I’m pretty partial to their Godiva chocolate cheesecake; my husband usually went for the plain cheesecake with the fresh glazed strawberries on top.  Then the Cheesecake Factory came out with Red Velvet Cheesecake which combined two of his favorite desserts.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Recipe

I had thought it would be fun to make him one, and when I saw that the Brown Eyed Baker (if you don’t already read it, her blog is great) gave a stab at it, I decided to do it myself.  I chose to use my own cheesecake recipe, because I’m confident in the outcome I have with it, and I also chose to use a red velvet cake mix since I was already a little short on time.  Also my husband will only eat canned cream cheese frosting, so that’s what I used. Continue reading »

Feb 142012
 

Sweets For Your Sweet: Valentine’s Day Recipe

Last week I shared a post with an image of peanut butter blossom cookies made with heart-shaped chocolates instead of Kisses. I knew that I had to make them; as I shared awhile back, peanut butter cookies are a hot commodity around here.

The recipe I originally pinned used a bagged cookie mix. While I’m not against shortcuts, I don’t usually keep those kinds of things on hand. But I did have all I needed to whip up some from the recipe my Mom gave me awhile back.

Sweets for your sweet: Valentine's Day recipes

Valentine’s Peanut Butter Blossoms

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Jan 252012
 
At least a couple of times per month, we make this corn chowder recipe.  It took us a few times, with multiple tweaks, to get it just right, but now we consider it perfect.  It’s also pretty quick and easy to throw together!  It’s a little lighter in calories than most chowders and you really can’t notice a difference in taste.
Corn Chowder
4-6 strips bacon
1 sm onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 carton (32oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
approx. 3 cups diced potatoes (fresh or canned)
2 cans creamed corn
1 can corn nibblets
2 cups 2% milk
1 packet country gravy mix
8 oz Velveeta, cubed
  1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove; drain on paper towels.
  2. Add onion and celery to the bacon drippings.  Saute over medium heat about five minutes, or until they are translucent.
  3. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes; return to a boil, then simmer over low heat 15-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. In a small bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk the gravy mix into the milk.  Set aside.
  5. Add both the creamed corn and corn nibblets; bring to a boil.  Pour in milk mixture and return to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium; add in the cubed cheese a little at a time, stirring until each addition is completely melted.
Remove from heat.  The longer the soup has to sit before serving, the more the flavors will meld.  We usually try to wait 3-4 hours, but it’s delicious when served immediately, too.  We like ours served with cornbread on the side and topped with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and sometimes croutons (if we’re not having cornbread).
What is your favorite soup?