Category Archives: potatoes

Shepherd’s Pie

I have a confession to make. Before cooking this recipe, I had never had shepherd’s pie before. It just goes against what I believe in, I’m a firm member of the Foods Don’t Touch club. And here you have your meat touching your carrots and mashed potatoes. It’s madness!! Sidenote: Thanksgiving dinner can be a NIGHTMARE for those of us in the Foods Don’t Touch Club!

Anyway, my mom wanted me to try this recipe and so did my husband so I took one for the team and made it. Like most Cook’s Illustrated recipes, it is more involved than the average shepherd’s pie recipe. But trust me, follow the recipe because they test things so many times and they have this down pat. I followed the recipe exactly and guess what? Not only did I LIKE it, but I went back for a small spoon of seconds. ūüôā The gravy-like sauce on the meat is just to die for! The mashed potatoes were just okay, if you have an easier way of doing mashed potatoes for the top, I won’t blame you. Or judge you. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1.5 lbs. 93% lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 lbs. russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg yolk
8 green onions, green only, sliced thinly
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ruby port
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup beef broth
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cornstarch


In a medium-sized bowl, toss beef with 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp salt, baking soda and 1/4 tsp pepper until thoroughly combined, then set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest.

While that’s sitting, place potatoes in a pan and cover with one inch water and 1 tbsp salt. ¬†Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until potatoes are soft enough for a knife to easily stick in. ¬†Drain, then return to the pan and cook, shaking the pot occasionally for a minute while the surface moisture has evaporated. ¬†Remove from heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. ¬†Stir in the melted butter then whisk the milk and egg yolk together and stir in. ¬†Add the green onions and season to taste with salt and pepper. ¬†Cover and set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the onion, mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cook until vegetables are softened and dark bits are forming on bottom, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook about two minutes, until the bottom of the skillet is turning a dark brown.  Add the port and using the spatula, scrape the browned bits from the bottom, until the port has evaporated.  Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, then add the broth, carrots, Worcestershire, thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits again.  Reduce heat and add beef in 2-inch chunks and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook until the beef is cooked through.  Halfway through cooking, break up the beef chunks into small pieces.  Stir together the cornstarch and water and stir this into the beef mixture and allow to simmer for 30 seconds.  Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and season to taste.

Spray a pie dish with nonstick spray and transfer the meat mixture to the dish, spreading evenly.  Spoon the potato mixture into a large Ziploc bag and snip off a large corner.  Pipe onto the top of the meat mixture, then use a spoon to spread it evenly over the top.  Using the tines of a fork, create ridges over the surface of the potatoes.  Place under the broiler on HIGH for a few minutes, watching carefully, until the potatoes turn golden on the ridges.  Allow to sit for five minutes before serving.

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie


Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

We’ve been dieting (which you really can’t tell from recent posts) and part of the diet is that every other night we have Cheerios.¬† Poor hubby isn’t a fan of this new plan.¬† He works hard all day outside, moving huge slabs of rocks around.¬† He doesn’t want to come home to a nice bowl of ….Cheerios.

So on those other nights, I try to cook something I know he’ll like while still trying to stay inside the realm of “healthy” or at least “healthy-ish.”¬† And while he likes to eat unusual aka “fancy” foods, deep down he’s really a meat and potatoes man.¬† I saw this recipe on Pinterest¬†(I know, I know, I told you I’m an addict!!) and immediately thought that it screamed JAMES!¬† I cooked it – it was REALLY simple to make….duh I guess that’s why it came from Real Simple magazine!¬† He loved it.¬† He said I should make it really often.¬† He opted to dip his chicken into some Dijon mustard, I tried a bite and it was quite tasty with the dipper, so there’s an option for ya.¬† I hope you enjoy it as much as he did!

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes
Recipe slightly adapted from Real Simple magazine

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I think bone-in, skin-on would be great though)
3/4 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, washed
8 small red potatoes, washed and quartered, skin-on
1 lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
optional:  crushed rosemary or Herbs de Provence


  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Mix your olive oil, the juice of the lemon, salt, pepper and garlic (and rosemary if you’re using some)¬†in a medium-sized bowl.¬† Toss the green beans in the mixture, then using tongs remove the green beans to a roaster or casserole dish (coated with nonstick spray), leaving the liquid in the bowl.
  • Now toss the potatoes in the liquid, and using a slotted spoon remove them and add to the green beans.
  • Toss the chicken in the mixture and then place the chicken on top of the green beans and potatoes.¬† Drizzle any remaining liquid in the bowl over the chicken.¬† Sprinkle Herbs de Provence on top of the chicken.
  • Bake/roast for 50 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside and cook the green beans and potatoes for another ten minutes or so – until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork.¬† While that’s cooking, check if your chicken is done.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and serve.

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes

These days with so many websites devoted to food sharing, we’re used to being inundated with over the top sounding dishes.¬† And it gets to where even things that are so over the top, aren’t really that surprising or exciting anymore.¬† Am I being too cynical?¬† Sorry.¬† Sometimes you just want something simple.¬† Something comfortable.¬† Something that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside.

I participated again in a food blogger recipe swap.¬† I’ve done it a few times before, this time the theme was potatoes.¬† When I received the recipe I needed to make (from Melissa at I Was Born to Cook), I was very excited because it sounded perfect and just like love in a pot.¬† This was very easy to put together and cook, I managed to get a three-year old to bed while cooking it!¬† It definitely wasn’t a diet recipe but it was oh so good, I’m really hoping my hubby forgets that we have leftovers in the fridge, I’d like those for lunch tomorrow!

This would be fantastic on a cold, rainy night.¬† Or even on a night where you just had a bad day.¬† Or you know, for breakfast.¬† ūüėČ

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes

Baked Eggs with Cheddar and Potatoes
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

3 tbsp butter
1.5 lbs. small red potatoes, diced (skin on)
2 cloves garlic, minced
seasonings to taste (I used Creole seasoning)
4 large eggs
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Cabot’s Vermont White Cheddar)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt the butter¬† over medium heat in a deep oven-safe skillet.¬† Add the potatoes and cook until soft (you may have to add a little water to prevent sticking) and add the garlic, cook for an additional minute or two.¬† Season to taste and remove from heat.
  • Make four holes in the potatoes and crack an egg into each.
  • Bake 10 minutes until the egg whites are cooked.¬† Do not overbake (as I did) because you want your egg yolks to be runny.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for one more minute, until the cheese has melted.¬† Serve immediately.


Bourbon Sweet Potato Gratin

At this time of year, I’m always on the hunt for new dishes to try for Thanksgiving.¬† When I was at IFBC, I won a cookbook called Born to Grill and it had a recipe for Bourbon (and black walnut) Sweet Potato Gratin.¬† It sounded great.

I felt a little weird making a sweet potato dish because my mom always makes that.¬† I still wanted to try it and I’m glad I did.¬† The recipe called for just putting the black walnuts on top, but I tried that and it was a bit blah.¬† I picked them all off, chopped them well and mixed with some brown sugar, butter and bourbon to make a crumble topping.¬† Yum!!¬† My mom is still the Sweet Potato Queen in my book, so she’s still making her dish for Thanksgiving, but if you’re looking for something still pretty traditional but with a little oomph, look no further!

Bourbon Sweet Potato Gratin with boring walnut topping

Bourbon Sweet Potato Gratin
Recipe adapted from Born to Grill

3 lbs. large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup bourbon, plus a little extra
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tbsp unsulphured molasses
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup walnut pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
bourbon, to taste


Preheat oven to 375.

Boil or steam the sweet potato cubes until tender.  Mash them with a potato masher, then stir in the cream, bourbon, butter, molasses, oil and salt.  Taste for any additional seasonings needed.  Spoon into a greased casserole.

Make the topping, mix all the topping ingredients together until it is a coarse mixture.  Spoon evenly over potato mixture and bake for 20-24 minutes, until heated through and the topping has made a crust and is bubbling at the sides.

Serve hot.

Bourbon Sweet Potato Gratin with yummy crumble topping!

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is coming, it’ll be here before you know it!¬† The recipe swap I’ve been participating in did a Thanksgiving Sides swap and I was excited to receive a recipe for Emeril’s Twice Baked Potato Casserole.¬† I LOVE twice baked potatoes.

Sadly, I decided to go on a diet between the time that I received the recipe and the due date for submitting it (today).  So I kept putting off making it because it is NOT diet food.  Nothing like a little procrastination.  I finally made it last night and served with a rotisserie chicken and roasted brussels sprouts.  It was a clear winner, judging by the two MASSIVE servings my husband ate.  Guess the potatoes were a diet deal-breaker for him!  It really was good, it makes a TON though, so I broke the recipe down to half and it still made a lot.  Thanks for sharing, Nicole!  (The recipe below is my halved version, please click on the Emeril Live link for the full version.)

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Recipe adapted from Emeril Live

4 large russet baking potatoes
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 block sharp white cheddar cheese (I used the Cabot brand), cut into cubes
shredded mild cheddar cheese for topping
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 egg, lightly beaten


  • Wash potatoes well and prick with a fork.¬† Place on a microwave-safe plate and cover with plastic wrap, leaving an open end for ventilation.¬† Cook in the microwave about 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. (You could bake in the oven, but I was in a time crunch!)
  • Allow the potatoes to cool enough to handle, then gently peel the skin away from the flesh, discard the skin.¬† Use a potato masher and mash in a bowl until it is small chunks but mostly smooth.
  • Add to the potatoes the butter, sour cream, heavy cream, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Add in the bacon, cubed cheddar, green onions and egg and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into a greased casserole and top with shredded cheddar cheese.¬† Bake at 375 until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through and browning at the edges.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Chipotle Pork and Sweet Potato Posole

This past weekend marked the first official weekend of Fall.¬† It’s one of my favorite times of year, I love the cooler temperatures and there is always so much fun stuff going on!¬† It miraculously cooled off here so I wanted to cook something that would “feel” right with the weather.

I picked this posole¬†recipe because in the picture, it looked a lot like chili¬†and I love chili!¬† I was a bit skeptical of how it would turn out because for one, it called for hominy (which is a main ingredient of posole, you shouldn’t substitute it) which I’ve heard mixed reviews on.¬† Also, it called for TWO cans of chipotle¬†chili peppers in adobo¬†sauce, which equals super spicy!¬† Now don’t get me wrong, I am no wimp when it comes to spice.¬† But while I like spice, I also like to actually taste my food, not just spice.¬† So my recommendation to you is that you only use ONE can.¬† Also, the recipe called for leaving them whole, which is not very appealing to eat.¬† I suggest either puree’ them or dice them.¬† That’s how I’ll write the recipe.

It really was a great dish, it was hearty and the chipotle flavor is great, it is understandable how this was the winner in the entree category of the Sweet Potato Recipe Contest!

Special Note:  The day after making this, I ended up with half of a can of pumpkin puree leftover from a baking project so rather than waste it, I stirred it into the posole and it was wonderful!  It would be a great addition РI used probably about a cup!

Chipotle Pork and Sweet Potato Posole
Recipe adapted¬†from Louisiana Cookin’, courtesy of Devon Delaney

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into cubes (I used thick pork chops)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 sweet potato (about a pound), peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups chicken stock
2 15-oz cans hominy, drained (I used one white hominy, one yellow hominy)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 7-oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, drained but 1 tbsp adobo sauce reserved and peppers chopped
1 4.5-oz can diced green chilis, drained
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
desired toppings:  cheese, cilantro, lime, avocado, sour cream


  • In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the pork.
  • Brown on all sides, then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about three minutes.
  • Add the oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper and cook about a minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, stock, hominy, tomatoes, chili peppers and reserved adobo sauce and cook until it comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to med-low and simmer for about 15 minutes before adding the beans.
  • Cook uncovered for another ten minutes, then cover and let simmer for a half hour or so (the extra simmering is optional, I feel it tasted better that way).¬† Serve with your favorite toppings.

Chipotle Pork and Sweet Potato Posole

Christen’s Twice-Baked Potatoes

This is one of my husband’s favorite side dishes.¬† It’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but sometimes you just want comfort food so it’s good for an every now and then side to a great steak.¬† I mean really, what says “comfort” more than cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta??

Christen’s Twice-Baked Potatoes
Serves 8 (unless one of your guests is my husband, he eats several of them!)

4 baking potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 oz. Velveeta
Seasoning to taste (I use salt and Tony’s)
2 tbsp butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Shredded cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350.

Wash the potatoes really well and pat them dry.¬† Using a fork or knife, poke holes around the outer edges (where you would cut it in half at), don’t poke holes on what will become the “bowl” part.¬† Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook 10 minutes, test for doneness with a fork.¬† Continue cooking if not ready.¬†

Once they are easily pierced with a fork, set aside until cool enough to handle.  Cut each one in half  and carefully scoop out the filling.  Leave a little in as a liner.  In a bowl, mash with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and taste for seasonings.  When it is to your liking, scoop the filling into the potato shells.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Christen's Twice-Baked Potatoes