All Posts By:

Katie

Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes + Tips for Making Mashed Potatoes

November 21, 2022

I love these mashed potatoes so much, and I am so excited to make them for Thanksgiving.

They are inspired by a restaurant we love in North Conway, NH called The Red Fox. I always asked to swamp my side for these because they are just the best comfort food. I recently tried to make them at home, and they are so easy and so yummy.  If you’re looking to add an easy, delicious twist to this classic Thanksgiving side dish, these should be in contention.

I thought I would share a few tips that helped make these so good. They will help you with any kind of mash you are trying to make – sour cream and chive, cheddar, horseradish, truffle, bacon (I’m getting hungry typing that list.) Just follow the basic potato-butter-salt-milk/cream steps and then add your preferred flavor ingredient a little at time, tasting along the way (the best job?) and tweaking by adding more of the flavor ingredient or salt and pepper. Here are some basic tips that will help you always get the best mashed potatoes.

1) Use Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes.  The Russet will be whiter and fluffier, while some people prefer the golden color of the Yukon Gold. I find both deliver great results.

2) Start with your potatoes in cold water. Cubing them helps to cook faster. Once you have cubed them, put them in a pot with cold water and a teaspoon of salt, then turn on a medium-high flame and cook for 15-20. Then drain them, and as soon as you can, add your other ingredients.

3) Add your ingredients while the potatoes are still hot, and warm up your dairy. I’ve read lots of cooks describe how to make good mashed potatoes – Alton Brown, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart. The common denominator for all of them is to make sure you add the ingredients while the potatoes are warm, and it is even better if you can warm up the dairy – milk, butter, cream or cheese – first before you start to mash them. They will just absorb the flavor better when they are hot.

4) Use a potato masher or potato ricer. The method of mashing is a personal preference I think. I’ve used a potato masher the whole of my cooking life and I tend to like my mashed potatoes with a few bits of potatoes here and there, it feels a bit rustic. If that is not you, the potato ricer is the way to go, and you’ll avoid lumps completely. If you want them to be extra fluffy, break out the hand mixer, which I tend to do for Thanksgiving but not for every day dinners.

5) Taste them and tweak as needed. When you taste them your taste buds will tell you if you need more salt/pepper/butter/milk. Almost every time I make mashed potatoes I am adding a little more of one of these, and it helps if you give a spoonful to some warm body standing around to see if they thing it could use a tiny bit more of the above.

If you follow these steps and then taste for seasoning and texture you will end up with amazing potatoes, I promise. Purists recommend using white pepper but I am not a purist.

Now let’s talk about add Smoked Gouda. You’ll want to buy two smoked gouda rounds since they are usually about 1/2 pound and this recipe calls for 1 pound. Get out the box grater or the food processor. I am sure I’m not alone, but I always feel like you either spend the time grating or you spend the time cleaning the food processor, so I usually opt for the arm workout.

Ingredients:

5 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 T. unsalted butter (add more to taste if preferred)

2 cups whole milk (can use half and half for regular mashed potatoes but with all the cheese it gets rich)

1 lb. smoked gouda cheese, grated

3 T. salt, divided + more to taste

pepper

Directions:

Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

While they cook, in a saucepan place the milk, butter and 2 T. salt. Heat until simmering, then add shredded cheese and stir until combined – the cheese doesn’t have to melt you just want to add it to the potatoes warm. (You can also do this step in the microwave in a glass bowl.)

Return the potatoes to the pan and sprinkle 2 tsp. salt over them, then pour in the heated milk, butter, and cheese mixture.

Mash the potatoes, stirring to incorporate the seasonings.

Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve warm.

Picadillo

October 19, 2022

Well the flu just whipped through our house and I do not recommend that situation at all. Now that I am finally feeling better, I am so eager to start making healthy comfort food dinners again. This yummy dinner was buried in my blog, and when we pulled it out and made it, it was SO good it needed to have a new post about it because it is amazing.

This dinner was introduced to me by my neighbor, and it is Spanish/Latin American dish that is like a hash (it comes from the word picar which means ‘to mince’). There are endless variations, but the presence of ground beef, potatoes, and chopped vegetables along with an interesting mixture of warm spices like cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin make every bite super flavorful. Cinnamon in a savory dish was so interesting. I am also thinking about adding some cubed butternut squash next time I make it.

My seven year old gave it a 10/10 after previously looking at it and saying he didn’t think he would like it. So if you are in the habit of taking grade schoolers as your food critic, there’s that.

I think kids really love any meal that is meat and potatoes, and we all agreed that this dinner was great comfort food. You can get very inventive with the toppings you use too – cilantro, green olives, sliced jalapeños, tabasco or sriracha for a kick, or even raisins are all some of the spice/sweet/savory combos you can use. It is also really easy to make.

These beauties all cook together until it looks like this:

Then you add the spices, tomato paste and stir for a minute. Then you add the broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 min while you cook some rice in the rice cooker. We loved serving it with rice and also loved having Naan bread or flat bread to soak up the juices because who doesn’t need three carbs at dinner?

This recipe will definitely be on repeat at our house, it is a new favorite! I hope you can make it your new favorite too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Picadillo (I doubled this recipe to feed our crowd)

 

Ingredients: 

1 tbspExtra virgin olive oil

1 lb Ground beef

1 Small yellow onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 Green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1 Large carrot, chopped

1 tsp salt

2 tsp Chili powder

1 tsp Dried oregano

2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

2 tbsp Tomato paste

2 cups Chicken stock

1 Large russet potato, peeled and 1/2 inch diced

Cooked rice for serving

Warm tortillas for serving

Fresh cilantro for serving

Jalapeño peppers slices, green olives and sriracha or tabasco for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil In a large skillet set over medium high heat, cook the beef with the onions, garlic, bell pepper and carrots until meat is browned, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in the salt, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and tomato paste mix for 30 seconds until incorporated.
  3. Add in the chicken stock and potatoes, mix to combine. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender and the mixture has completely thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with cooked rice or warmed tortillas, fresh cilantro and peppers if you want extra heat.

This recipe originally appeared on The Modern Proper.

 

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs & Potatoes

September 24, 2022

Is there a better stick-to-your-ribs comfort food than meat and potatoes? My kids love this combo in all its forms (beef stew, burgers & fries, pot roast with mashed potatoes, shepherd’s pie – all hits). So when I saw someone make this Swedish Meatballs with Potatoes on Instagram, I new it would be a great fall dinner to add to our rotation. I couldn’t find their recipe so I came up with this one and was SO good. You will seriously want to lick your plate when you are done. My kids might have even fought over the leftovers.

We needed some new crock pot meals now that fall sports are underway (4 kids in sports is no joke. Also, I can’t believe I have 2 high schoolers now!). Having a hot dinner ready when we come home is the best, and when people get home at different times crock pot dinners saves them from having to reheat dinner. We were starting to get tired of our regular standbys, so it is great to have a new one. My oldest son LOVES this dinner. Which is good, because during football season he needs a lot of food. I actually doubled this recipe to have leftovers for him (ok, fine, for me too). I’ve been trying to serve whole foods, so I love that this dinner is comforting and good for you.


This dinner is so easy – its basically just making meatballs & gravy. Once you add all the meatball ingredients and form into balls, you fry them for a few minutes in butter (yum). Then you transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker and make the gravy. You start by making a roux, and when you add the broth, scrape up all the browned bits in the pan for that yummy homemade flavor. Then add the sour cream (or cream if you want to substitute) and stir to combine. Taste gravy and add any additional salt or pepper if needed. Then pour over the meatballs and potatoes, and 4 hours later you have this:

Add some peas, and top with extra sour cream and dill, and dig in.


Bonus points if you make this on a rainy night. Who wouldn’t want tuck into a bowl of this? I know your crew will love this dinner so hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs & Potatoes

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

1/2 bread crumbs

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped dill (optional)

4 T. butter + more for frying

2 lb. small potatoes, halved

1/2 cup flour

4 cups beef stock

1 cup sour cream (or heavy cream)

2 T. Dijion mustard

 

Directions:  

Combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, salt & pepper and herbs in a bowl. Form into small balls. Heat 2 T. butter in a large frying pan. Add meatballs to pan and let brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over and brown for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Put potatoes on top. In pan over medium heat melt 4 T. butter and then whisk in 1/2 cup flour, cooking the roux for 1 minute. Slowly add beef stock, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thick, then add sour cream and Dijion mustard. Taste gravy for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed. Take gravy and pour into slow cooker on top of potatoes and meatballs. Let cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Serve with more sour cream and dill if desired.

Balsamic Pulled Chicken

September 16, 2022

 

If your fall is anything like mine, you are looking for fast & delicious dinners and if it involves a crockpot, even better. I actually searched on my own blog for inspiration for meal planning and found this delicious Balsamic Pulled Chicken that I totally forgot all about! So it needs a replay here on THO.

I love the ease of cooking pulled pork or chicken for a crowd. Cook, shredded, mix with sauce, add some coleslaw. Done. And for the record, six kids including 2 football players + 2 field hockey players is a crowd.

When I saw this recipe for Balsamic Pulled Chicken, I instantly craved it. And as I put together the sauce, I realized it is actually very similar to the ingredient list for BBQ sauce, just with balsamic vinegar’s depth of flavor and richness, and without BBQs sticky sweetness.

Which makes it amazing.

It is a major plus that this whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes. I made it for a family get together and it was so easy, the chicken baked away in the oven while I made the sauce. When I shredded it, it was super tasty on its own (go garlic power, salt and pepper for making baked chicken breast super yummy).  If I made this for a party I would probably make it according to these directions and then keep it warm in a crock pot.

It’s good to have options.

I served it on Ciabatta rolls but for low carb romaine lettuce or Bibb lettuce slices work or even topping a salad with the shredded sauced chicken and some blue cheese crumbles would be perfect.

Ok, lets talk cole slaw! The recipe calls for a slaw made with aioli and canned pineapple. I don’t love canned pineapple, and so I made my favorite cole slaw recipe which is mayo, milk, celery salt, celery seed, a splash of white or apple cider vinegar and  a pinch of sugar.  This coleslaw recipe from Bon Appetit is really close to how I make it, though I add some milk to thin it.

And I think it is fine to sub mayonnaise for the greek yogurt and aioli. But maybe unlike me you do have some aioli nearby.

I loved it with this coleslaw but maybe your crew would like the sweet version so it is listed below with some tweaks.

This one is definitely a keeper when you need to cook for a crowd. I tripled the recipe for leftovers and easily fed 10.

(FYI, my little kids liked it in a hotdog roll with American cheese and no slaw.)

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Balsamic Pulled Chicken

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

SAUCE

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup boiling water 
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce/ketchup 
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

SLAW

  • 14 oz slaw mix
  • 8 oz. can pineapple pieces in juice
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt (or mayo)
  • 1/3 cup aioli (or mayo)
  • 2 Tbsp juice from canned pineapple
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

TO SERVE

  • 4-8 rolls or burger buns
  • 4-8 slices cheese, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. COOK CHICKEN

    Preheat oven to 375ºF fan bake. Place a large piece of foil on an oven tray. Place chicken on top. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle garlic powder over the top and season well with salt and pepper. Wrap up in the foil to enclose. Bake for 25 minutes, until chicken is completely cooked through.

  2. MAKE SAUCE

    While chicken cooks, place oil, vinegar, water, tomato sauce, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, crumbled stock cube and garlic powder in a small non-stick saucepan. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until thickened (should be about the same consistency as tomato sauce/ketchup). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. MAKE SLAW

    Combine slaw and pineapple (reserve the pineapple juice!) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together yoghurt, aioli, pineapple juice and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add approximately two thirds of the dressing to the slaw and toss to combine.

  4. ASSEMBLE AND SERVE

    If you prefer the rolls warm, place in the oven for a few minutes. Remove chicken from foil, place in a shallow dish and use two forks to roughly shred. Pour balsamic sauce over the top (adjust quantity to suit your tastes) and toss to combine.

  5. Cut rolls in half, spread with remaining slaw dressing, add slices of cheese and top with slaw and chicken. Sandwich together. Serve with extra slaw on the side (the slaw is nice topped with any extra chicken too).

    Recipe adapted from yourultimatemenu.com

Sunshine Bowls with Lemon Dill Salmon and Cumin Cauliflower

September 2, 2022

I recently shared on Instagram how I was in Boston and had a ‘Sunshine Bowl’. I saw that they were so healthy (I’ve been trying to gently pay attention to macros to eat more protein and good carbs & fats) and I knew I would feel great after eating one.

Well, I did feel great, but I was bummed that the dish had very little flavor. After claiming to have marinated grilled salmon, pickled cauliflower, and sautéed greens, plus a cilantro lime yogurt dressing on top, I thought I was in for a flavor bomb.

But nope. Everything was bland and under seasoned, and the pickled cauliflowers were super tough.

I came home and started thinking about ways to increase the flavors.

  1.  I mixed a packet of dill dip seasoning mix, juice of 2 lemons and 1/4 cup of olive oil, and used half as a marinade and the other half as a creamy dressing for the top with mayo and sour cream.

I know this is unique to my local grocery store, but you can find other brands at your store or whip up your own with these ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1-1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp Dried Chives
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Minced Onions
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder

2. Cumin Roasted Cauliflower – I sprinkled 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 tsp. salt on a head of cauliflower.

3. Oven roasted tomatoes – these get roasted with just a little olive oil and salt, and the flavor concentrates into a yummy tangy acidic note for the bowl.

4. Marinaded Greek Chickpeas from Trader Joes: These are amazing!

5. Edamame tossed with lemon juice, a little oil and salt.

You pile all of these yummy parts onto a bowl with quinoa and/or greens ( like both):

When you roast 3 of the main ingredients on a sheet pan, this dinner comes together in no time.

And to make it even faster or to help those people that don’t love fish, you can use your favorite marinated protein or rotisserie chicken tossed with some of the dill seasoning.

Even though there were a few skeptics in the bunch at the start, they all said it was totally delicious!

The leftovers kept so well in the fridge and make for the best lunch the next day. Hope these help keep you fueled, happy and healthy! I know what it takes to take on the knew school year, and trust me, you will need good fuel. But also, let’s make it yummy too.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Sunshine Bowls with Lemon Dill Salmon and Cumin Cauliflower

Ingredients: 

1 lb. salmon

1 packet dill dip (or see recipe above to make your own)

Juice of 2 lemons, divided

olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 head of cauliflower, cut into even sized florets

1 Tbsp. cumin

1/4 mayo

1/4 sour cream

salt + pepper

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package

mixed greens

1 cup edamame, seasoned with salt and lemon juice

Other ideas: chickpeas, pickled onion, avocado, lentils, sautéed greens or summer squash, roasted broccoli.

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook quinoa according to package.

Put salmon in a zip lock bag. Mix half of the flavor packet in a bowl with juice of 1 lemon and 2 T. olive oil, then put into bag with salmon, trying to evenly coat the fish. Refrigerate for 30 min or up to 2 hours.

Put cauliflower on large cooking sheet and toss with cumin and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add salmon to baking sheet, and put it in oven for 20-24 min., until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, mix remaining flavor packet with mayonnaise, sour cream, and juice of 1 lemon. Taste for seasoning and add any salt, pepper or water/milk to thin it to your desired consistency.

Assemble bowls by combining greens, quinoa, salmon, veggies, and dressing. Serve immediately.

 

Creamy Chicken, Corn, Tomato and Zucchini Pasta

August 16, 2022

This dinner has been on rotation ever since the corn, zucchini and tomatoes have been showing up at our local farm stand. It’s even better now that we have zucchini from the garden. I know lots of families are headed back to school all ready, and with high school sports starting already it is really back to a full schedule for our fam.

But this dinner is helping us hold on to the sweet days of summer.

This is such an easy dinner, and you can make it even faster & easier with a rotisserie chicken. The amazing flavor comes from cooking it in white wine, and using the easy & delicious secret ingredient – chive cream cheese.

I have made this dish plenty of times with just cream and it still turned out great, but when I was out of cream recently I used this instead and it was such a happy accident! It really brought this dish to the next level so I highly recommend. If you want to use regular cream cheese + fresh chives that works too.

After making this a bunch this summer, I also really like to cut the zucchini in bigger chunks so they don’t fall apart too easily. This is such a chunky pasta dish that will make you feel amazing. The fresh corn makes it so try to use it instead of frozen if you can.

You guys will love this dinner, and it is great for little fingers too since corn and tomatoes are usually a hit (they can pick around the zucchini if they have to). Hope you try it as much as you can before all these beautiful summer ingredients are just a thing to remember. Just make sure to break it out again next summer. 🙂

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Chicken, Corn, Tomato and Zucchini Pasta

Serves 4-6

 

1 lb. orecchiette or other small pasta shape (like penne)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb. chicken, cubed

4 small (or 3 large) ears of corn, kernels removed to equal about 2.5 cups

1 zucchini, chopped chunky (so they don’t fall apart)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup chive whipped cream cheese (or more to taste)

Fresh basil or chives

 

Directions:

Boil pasta according to package directions.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sautee shallots with a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken and if raw, cook for 5-6 minutes. (If using rotisserie you can skip to next step). Add corn, zucchini, tomatoes, salt and pepper and sautee for 5 more minutes. Add wine and let it reduce for 5 minutes. Then add chicken broth and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

Serve over pasta immediately, garnishing with basil or chives.