Tag Archives: potatoes

Curry, cravings, & a cure for the weekly dinner rut.

What’s the weirdest food you craved when you were preggo? With both of my pregnancies, I’ve had an incessant, nigh-incurable craving for curry. The first time, that wasn’t a problem because we lived in a college town with a seemingly endless array of international restaurants in close proximity — read: walking distance — to one another, including what is still hands-down my favorite Thai place. (They also had an amazing Turkish place where we got to sit on cushions to eat at low tables & everything… but that’s another story.) This time around, however, I haven’t been so lucky. Living in suburban sprawl has its downsides, for sure, & restaurant choice is one of them, especially if I don’t want to drive 30 minutes each way. (Bakeries too… but again, another story.)

But then my friend Patty introduced me to Weelicious. In less than 15 minutes of perusal, my weekly dinner rut had disappeared completely. I was pinning & bookmarking dinner ideas faster than I ever have before! Catherine (what a nice name!) has everything from baby & toddler foods to family dinners, snacks, incredible lunchbox ideas, ways to get your picky eater to be less picky… Why was I just now finding out about this?!

Then I saw it. The cure for my curry craving (for the moment, anyway). It’s actually not one of Catherine’s, but a contest submission from a lady named Deb. & it rocks. Before I go back for thirds, let me share my version with you. The original recipe is here.

  •  2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • dash ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp. ketchup (if this weirds you out, use the tomato paste called for in the original recipe; ketchup achieves the same effect without requiring me to open a whole new can of paste)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, cored, skin on, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup carrots (about 2 large), peeled, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken (about 4 breasts), cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed braiser or pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion; saute 3-4 minutes or until soft & translucent.
  3. Add spice mixture & saute 30 seconds more.
  4. Add apple, carrots, potatoes, & chicken; toss until evenly coated with spice mixture & onions.
  5. Add broth & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through & veggies are tender, stirring occasionally to keep curry from sticking to the bottom & to help the veggies cook evenly.
  6. Serve over basmati rice. (Trust me: I’ve tried just using regular old white rice in recipes like this before, but it doesn’t even compare. Spend a little extra for the basmati. Your family & your tastebuds will thank you profusely.)

Like the other Catherine, my family devoured this. Munchkin included. (Her affinity for curry may have something to do with the amount of it that I ate when I was pregnant & nursing with her…) It was flavorful without being spicy. I wondered about the apples, but decided to try it anyway & loved the touch of sweetness they added. If you look at the original recipe, you’ll see that I substituted potatoes for celery, simply because they were what was in my favorite curry at that one Thai place in Bloomington. I’m sure you could do both if you wanted to, but the whole family agreed that it was exactly perfect just like this.

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Delicious potatoes au gratin.

Unlike my last recipe post, this is not resolution-friendly. At all. In all fairness, I did make this for Christmas dinner, before New Year’s Resolutions would have been made. If you’re like me & feel you can justify the extra calories because you’re growing a small human in your belly, go for it! It’s so worth it. If you did make a resolution to eat better, then maybe just pin it on Pinterest until a) you make it to your goal weight, or b) you do what I inevitably do & reneg on your resolution in mid-February.

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, so when it says “serves 8,” it really means “serves 8 hungry cattle ranchers, or 27 cityfolk.” The recipe below is a half recipe, which our family of 3 ate for days afterwards. I also subbed half & half for her 3-to-1 cream-to-milk ratio for two reasons. First, it lightened it up just slightly. But mostly, that’s what I had on hand, because I had made this for Christmas breakfast.

  • 2 whole Russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (or to taste) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a small baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cut potatoes into third- to half-inch slices, then cut each slice into fourths.
  3. In a smallish bowl, whisk together half & half, flour, garlic, salt, & pepper.
  4. Place half the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, then cover with half of the half & half mixture. Then place the rest of the potatoes over the top & pour the rest of the half & half over the top.
  5. Cover with foil & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake another 20 or until the potatoes are golden brown & fork-tender. Then sprinkle generously with cheese & bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is nice & bubbly.

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Perfect oven fries with genuine fry sauce.

I LOVE FRENCH FRIES. I crave them all the time. (Even when I’m not pregnant!) However, rather than frequent our local Five Guys often enough for them to know my name & “usual,” I thought I’d make my own. Probably healthier anyway, right?

So a couple weeks ago I searched my Google Reader — it may or may not have been the first time in like 2 months that it had been open, so I won’t tell you how many unread posts were in there — & found this treasure over at Talkin’ Chow, Playin’ House. They are PERFECT. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve made them since.

I had attempted sweet potato fries once, early in our marriage, & I ran into several problems: 1) they were impossible to cut, 2) they didn’t cook uniformly, & 3) the ones that weren’t charred were soggy & greasy. Briana’s method takes care of all of these problems beautifully, & even gives the fries that crispy, fried texture without all the oil!

Her fries use cayenne to give them a little bit of a kick, but it was a bit too much of a kick for The Munchkin, so here’s my 2-year-old-friendly version.

  • 2 1/2 lbs. Russet potatoes (2 large-ish potatoes is perfect for our little family of 3)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil (yes, that’s really it!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white sugar (you don’t taste it; it’s the secret ingredient that makes them crisp up so nicely)
  • 1 heaping tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 & GENEROUSLY grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Don’t use foil; it’ll actually make the fries stick worse!
  2. Scrub your potatoes & cut each one into a “brick” by slicing off a little of the rounded bit on each long side. Don’t worry about trimming the short ends; this leaves just the perfect little bit of tasty skin on.
  3. Then make 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices long-ways in each brick. Rotate the brick 90 degrees & make more slices. Ta-da! Fries!
  4. Throw your fries into a mixing bowl & add the oil. Let your kitchen helper toss them with her clean hands to coat.
  5. Combine the seasonings in a tiny bowl, then gradually sprinkle them over the fries as your kitchen helper continues to toss, making sure they’re coated evenly.
  6. Spread the fries out on your cookie sheet in a single layer so they don’t make each other soggy.
  7. Bake 15 minutes, pull them out, flip them all over with a spatula so they can crisp on the other side, then bake another 15 minutes.

Now wait, we’re not done yet. No fry is complete without genuine Utah fry sauce.

At its most basic, fry sauce is essentially mayo & ketchup, but there are many permutations of this condiment concoction, which is served at almost every local fast-food joint in the state. Briana’s uses barbecue sauce like a certain restaurant chain does out there, some places add a little garlic powder, & one restaurant that I won’t name even adds relish to theirs (as a pickle hater, I consider this a travesty).

Here’s my version, which I believe to be as close to “original” as possible. Simply combine the following & enjoy:

  • 2 parts mayo (not Miracle Whip)
  • 1 part ketchup
  • a small squirt of yellow mustard (amounts to like a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.)

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Easy Funeral Potatoes.

Before I answer your question, “Funeral potatoes???” please let me draw your attention to the fact that — I actually cooked something!

(Let’s just hope that my cooking skills haven’t atrophied as much as my photography skills apparently have during the last month or so…)

Okay, so, funeral potatoes. They’re basically au gratin-style potatoes so named because of their prevalence at (well, after) Mormon funerals. I don’t really know why honeybaked ham & au gratin potatoes are the unofficial official food of Mormon funerals — & at Easter, now that I think of it… irony? — but they’re tasty, so that’s all that matters, right? Oh, & they’re easy. At least this recipe is. Which my I-haven’t-really-cooked-in-forever-&-I-may-need-to-run-to-the-bathroom-at-any-moment self is a big fan of.

There are a million different variations of this Mormon staple (in fact, there were no fewer than 4 different delicious varieties at a potluck I attended Saturday… which may explain my irrational craving for them all week…), but here’s a basic easy version my friend Chelsey shared with me from Cooks.com.

  • 1 pkg. (2 lbs.) frozen Southern-style (cubed, not shredded) hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (we use the reduced-fat kind to make up for the stick of butter)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (again, reduced-fat, for the same reason)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional topping: 2 cups corn flakes plus 1/4 cup melted butter
  1. Let your kitchen helper help you mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Optional: sprinkle on corn flakes & drizzle with melted butter.
  3. Spread into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

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“It’s Shake & Bake {Potatoes}, & I helped!”

Anyone else remember those commercials? Well, these potatoes don’t use the Shake & Bake mix you buy at the store; you use your very own herbs & seasonings. This keeps the sodium level down — a plus! We seriously love these potatoes. The recipe first came from one of my Young Women’s leaders in — you guessed it — the ward cookbook! That thing is worth its weight in gold, I tell you what. Since then I’ve started customizing the spices to complement whatever meal I happen to be making. They’re delicious every time!

  • A couple lbs. of potatoes of your choice (we like reds & sweets), cut into 1-inch cubes (peel the sweet potatoes & russets first)
  • 1 med. onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or enough to coat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • seasonings of choice (see below)

Seasonings: The original recipe calls for approx. 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary & salt & pepper to taste. This way is delicious! So is using dill in its place. Tonight, though, I went with Herbes de Provence Sea Salt & my Steakhouse Grinder.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Let your kitchen helper help you put the potato & onion chunks in a gallon Ziploc bag.
  3. Add garlic & olive oil. (You can add seasonings at this point too, but I prefer adding them later to keep it even & reduce the amount I use.)
  4. Let your kitchen helper shake it up!
  5. This is where I sprinkle on the seasonings evenly.
  6. Arrange in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.

Let me know what seasonings you decide to use!

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Perfect Patriotic Picnic Potato Salad. (Say that 10 times fast!)

Happy Flag Day! It’s actually tomorrow, but I’ve been so excited to share this recipe that I couldn’t wait one more day. Flag Day, every June 14, celebrates the day in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress adopted the American Flag. Though it’s not a national holiday, it’s a significant day in our nation’s history, & especially since it falls just about halfway between Memorial Day & Independence Day, it’s a great day to feel a little more patriotic!

That’s why I’m sharing this potato salad with you.

Summer seems to be the “official season” of potato salad, with all of its picnics & potlucks, but those pesky health code restrictions kind of get in the way, don’t they? Keep it cold. Don’t let any potato salad with eggs in it sit out for too long. Etc. That’s why this is the perfect potato salad! Number one, it’s not made with eggs, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling. Number two, it’s actually designed to be served warm (even though it still tastes great cold), so it’s just fine at a picnic on a hot day! I thought you couldn’t get any more perfect than that… until I realized I could make it red, white, & blue.

You can buy blue potatoes at most higher-end supermarkets — I got a bag of reds, blues, & a few Yukon Golds at Whole Foods. Blue potatoes are fun, tasty (a little heartier than a standard new potato), & will be a great conversation-starter at your next potluck!

Those of you who’ve been around here for awhile may recognize this recipe as the potato salad served alongside these slow-cooker-braised chicken thighs. I just swapped in some blue potatoes, served it with my mom’s BBQ beef sandwiches, & had a whole new meal!

Perfect Patriotic Picnic Potato Salad

  • Shallot Vinaigrette, to taste (below)
  • 20 small assorted red & blue potatoes, quartered (or halved, if your blues are especially tiny like mine were)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano

Shallot Vinaigrette

  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • a few shakes or grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all but the last of the Shallot Vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. Cover bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate until ready to use (no longer than an hour; it’ll separate).
  2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan or stock pot with enough salted water to cover, & bring just to boil on medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, 8 min. or until tender.
  3. Drain & transfer to a serving bowl. While still hot, drizzle with 1/3 to 1/2 cup (or to taste, but start small & work your way up) Shallot Vinaigrette (you may need to whisk it again if it separated) & toss to coat. The smell as the dressing hits the hot potatoes is amazing!
  4. Let cool slightly, then add cherry tomatoes & oregano. Toss to coat.
  5. Serve warm immediately (it tastes best this way) or refrigerate until ready to serve.



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