Baked Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

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I ran my first 5K on Saturday and considering I’ve run only one other time in 2015, I would consider it a success. I didn’t run the entire time but most of it and was able to beat the goal I had set for myself. Plus, it was for a cause very near and dear to my heart so I would be proud no matter what. I’m going to talk about it more on Friday so stay tuned for that.
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Last week we were craving some comfort food so I whipped up some BBQ meatballs (recipe coming soon) and this delicious, cheesy, creamy bowl of goodness. I like potatoes in any form but these may be my new favorite. Joel thought the only thing that would make them better is bacon. Because bacon makes everything better.
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Sharp cheddar is diced small and stirred throughout then shredded and sprinkled on top with some crispy whole wheat panko (that makes them healthy) and parsley. The crispy panko topping gives a nice crunchy texture to the smooth, creamy potatoes.
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A little buttermilk is added to the potatoes to provide some tanginess. I’m kind of addicted to buttermilk in mashed potatoes ever since these bad boys. And adding cheese is always a good choice.
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I know mashed potatoes are more of a winter food but if you are having the weather we have lately, rainy and dreary, these will warm and fill you up.
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Baked Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice 4 ounces of the cheddar into small, 1/4-inch pieces. Shred the other half. Place potatoes in a pan and cover completely with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain potatoes and return to pan.

2. Mash potatoes then add butter, buttermilk, milk, salt and pepper. Stir in the cubed cheddar. Place in a greased baking dish. In a small bowl, mix shredded cheese, panko and parsley. Sprinkle over the potatoes and bake for 15-20 minutes.
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Easter Side Dish Round Up

Yesterday I brought a round up of desserts that would be perfect for Easter. Today I thought I would bring you a collection of tasty side dishes that will totally make your meal.

I have to start it out with the perfect hard boiled egg. We always make a morning of dying Easter eggs so the night before I boil a dozen eggs so we are ready to go the next day. Then when Easter rolls around, we make either deviled eggs or deviled egg macaroni salad with them.
hard boiled eggs
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are amazing with ham so they would be perfect for Easter. The ones pictures below were made for sandwiches so I would make them smaller (you’ll get 24 out of the batch) when serving them as a side.
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls 1
I think cheesy potatoes always have a place at the dinner table, but especially with ham. If you are a classic mashed potato kind of person, these Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes would be right up your alley. If calories didn’t count, Creamy Cheesy Potatoes would be my life. If you’re looking for a chilled side dish, Loaded Baked Potato Salad would be the perfect meal accompaniment. I just want to face plant into that bowl of goodness.
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Roasted vegetables have become my jam. I made these roasted green beans recently and I absolutely adore them. Another plus, they are super easy and quick to throw together. It’s always nice to have a healthy option among all the calorie laden sides. Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots are another great, simple vegetable side dish that your guests would inhale.roasted green beans 1

I love a cucumber salad and when it comes to Easter, I finally feel like we can break out the cool salads that are just so refreshing. This Cucumber Tomato Salad is all of those things and so visually appealing. Look at the colors!
Cucumber Tomato Salad 1

There you have it. Hope you found something inspiring for Sunday’s meal.

Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes

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So I’m pretty sure I have the weirdest kid in the world. He doesn’t like potatoes. POTATOES. Seriously, not mashed, baked, fried….nothing. What kid, or person really, doesn’t like fries? It’s seriously concerning and makes me question whether he’s really mine. Because this lady never met a potato she didn’t like.

I usually make these potatoes with gorgonzola (ala How Sweet It Is) but we had some leftover feta from pizza night so I gave it a try. It was definitely a good decision. I loved the creamy, saltiness the that it brought to the potatoes.
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We had these on Fat Tuesday with our ridiculous steaks but they would be equally delicious with chicken or pork. Or roasted veggies if your torturing yourself and not eating meat. I mean, if you’re a vegetarian.
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Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup crumbled feta

1. Place potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pan. Add butter and salt and mash potatoes. Slowly add in buttermilk as you mash, adding more or less depending on your preference. Stir in crumbled feta and leave on heat for a couple minutes to allow it to melt. Serve immediately.

Loaded Broccoli Cheese Soup

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It seems like people fall into two categories when it comes to soup, love it or hate it. My boys both moan and groan when they find out we’re having soup for dinner. It doesn’t matter what kind, they still complain. The grown one says it’s not filling enough. The little says it’s too hot (even when I ladle it out 15 minutes before everyone else’s).

Hannah and myself on the other hand love soup. But Hannah will eat anything so I guess that’s not too much of a feat. Seriously, anything. She was begging for a snitch when I was preparing this so I gave her a bit of raw onion to see what she would do. She ate it and opened her mouth for more. Do you guys know what “snitch” means when in the kitchen? It’s a little bite or sample of something while you’re cooking. I was talking to one of the babysitters where I work out and was telling her how if we ask Hannah if she wants a snitch she comes running to the kitchen with her mouth open. She’s really starting to understand what we’re telling her and reacting so I thought it was really funny that one of the first things she truly understands is related to eating. She just looked at me, confused. I thought this was a common thing but maybe it just was in my family. I don’t know, it should totally be a thing if it’s not.
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Broccoli cheese soup and potato soup are my two favorites and this recipe combines the two into perfection. Cheese, broccoli, potatoes, bacon, can’t get much better than that. This soup is loaded with veggies which makes it super filling but if your people are still complaining, give them a pretzel stick to carb load. They are pretty heavenly when dipped in this soup.

Loaded Broccoli Cheese Soup
recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café

3 cups chicken stock
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots, diced small
3 cups potatoes, diced small
1/2 cup finely minced onion
4-5 cups broccoli crowns, diced small (about 2 heads of broccoli)
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk (I used half Vitamin D, half skim)
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 16 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried mustard

1. In a dutch oven, combine the chicken broth, carrots, potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are starting to soften. Add the broccoli and cook another 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile in a separate saucepan, melt the butter then sprinkle in the flour. Stir and cook for a minute then slowly add in the milk, whisking the whole time. Simmer until it thickens. Take off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Season with salt, pepper and dried mustard.

3. Slowly stir and incorporate the cheese sauce into the broth/veggie mixture. Make sure it is combined well then stir in the bacon. If you prefer a thinner soup, you may stir in a bit more broth or milk until you reach the desired consistency.
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Chicken Sausage, Broccoli and Potato Frittata

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I always have an ongoing list of cookbooks I want to add to my “collection.” I haven’t counted but I’m sure I already have close to 30 and have officially run out of space to store them in my kitchen. So rather than get rid of some, or stop buying more, I add this Ikea cart to my dining room for storage #cookbookproblems. It’s research and inspiration I tell you…or at least that’s what I tell Joel. I’m not sure he’s falling for it though.
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This year, my cookbook wish list consisted of all food blogger cookbooks recently released and I got them all, yay! I’m very excited to cook out of all them but I was especially motivated by The Skinnytaste Cookbook with the new year and eating healthy and all that. Don’t worry Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant (have you seen her baby, so stinkin’ cute), Homemade Decadence by Joy the Baker and The Girl Who Ate Everything by Christy Denney will get plenty of use too!
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Do you sit and read cookbooks or is it just me? I spent hours perusing through them, flagging recipes and making a grocery list so that all the deliciousness could come to my kitchen. We love brinner around here (breakfast for dinner) so I decided to try this Chicken Sausage Frittata first. The original recipe calls for kale but the kale didn’t look so great at the store so I decided to add in some broccoli instead. Spinach would be a great alternative but I knew broccoli would go over better in my house.
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This frittata is lightened up with egg whites, chicken sausage and a healthy dose of veggies. It would be a great way to start off your day or a filling way to end it.

Chicken Sausage, Broccoli and Potato Frittata
recipe adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook

5 large eggs
3 large egg whites
2 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. fully cooked Italian chicken sausage, cut into half moons
1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
10 oz. Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Grape seed oil spray*

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk eggs, egg whites, Romano cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat (ensure that it is oven safe). Add a spritz of grape seed oil then add the sausage and broccoli. Cook for a few minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add another spritz of grape seed oil then place potatoes in pan in a single layer. Cook for 5 minutes with the lid on then carefully flip, cover and cook another 5 minutes or until brown and crispy. Add the sausage and broccoli and stir to combine everything. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, reduce heat to low and cook for about 6 minutes, or until edges are set.

4. Transfer pan to oven and bake until the frittata is set, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the frittata onto a plate. Cut into 6 wedges and serve.

*Located with the nonstick cooking sprays. If you can’t find it, you can use 2 tsp. olive or grape seed oil instead.

Breakfast Potatoes

Breakfast Potatoes
I have to say, this is one of our favorite recipes that we’ve tried in quite awhile. It seems kind of silly that something so easy can be a new favorite but they are just so good.

I have made them at least 4 times in the past couple months which is really saying something around here. A lot of times, we try a new recipe and then don’t have it again for months and months because I am always trying new recipes….but not this one. I seem to keep coming up with reasons to make breakfast for dinner (because fancy breakfasts don’t happen around here right now) just so we can have these potatoes.
Breakfast Potatoes
These potatoes are super simple to throw together and easily customizable to suit your own taste. I like to keep them simple with garlic, paprika, salt and pepper but you could spice them up to accompany any flavor profile. Wouldn’t chili powder and cumin spiced potatoes be good with a southwestern omelet? Or dill potatoes with a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel? Just think of all the possibilities!
Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast Potatoes
recipe from Our Best Bites

4 medium baking potatoes
1 small white or yellow onion, minced
2 Tbsp. salted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
About 10-20 shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce

1. Bring a medium or large bot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, cut potatoes into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes. Add to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened but not fully cooked. Drain and rinse in cool water.

2. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and heat until melted and bubbly. Add the diced onion and cook for about 1 minute or until the onions are softened. Add the potatoes in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes (don’t even touch them) and then sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, 10 dashes of Tabasco, salt and pepper. Using a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan and flip as many potatoes as you can at once. You just want to handle the potatoes as little as possible so that you can get them super crispy.

3. When the potatoes have cooked for another 3-4 minutes, test them for doneness and seasoning; add more Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until desired doneness is reached, flipping them the same way as before. It’s hard to overcook these potatoes, they should be a little crispy on the outside, but not burned. Serves 4-6.

Potato Chips

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all are having a wonderful day that is filled with family, friends and barbeque.
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I have a major problem when it comes to potato chips. I completely lack self control and I could literally sit down and eat this entire bowl at once. I didn’t, but it was gone by the end of the day…without any help. But potatoes are a vegetable so they are healthy, right? Let’s just go with that logic, ok?
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I’m not too biased when it comes to chip flavors but I have always adored plain kettle chips. I love actually tasting the potato (and the salt of course) and that crazy crunch makes my heart skip a beat. It’s a wonder why it took me so long to make chips at home. They were super easy to whip up and tasted incredibly delicious. And just like homemade fries, there is nothing quite like homemade potato chips.
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It’s a good thing I don’t usually keep much oil in the house, otherwise I would be in big trouble.

Potato Chips

3 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried
seasoned salt
peanut oil, for frying

1. Fill a saucepan about halfway with oil and heat to 350 degrees F. While the oil is heating up, thinly slice the potatoes with a mandolin.

2. Fry the potatoes for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil into a paper towel lined bowl and promptly season them with seasoned salt.
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