Tag Archives: cooking

Mashed potato holidays

25 Nov

Mashed potato holidays are the best.* In their honor, here’s a giant never-fail mashed potato recipe that, true to the name, can be kept in the fridge and re-heated. It’s perfect for a make-ahead situation … or if you just love mashed potatoes.

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds potatoes
6 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons onion salt
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook and mash the potatoes — or whip them if you prefer. Add the remaining ingredients; beat until fluffy. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. May be used for up to two weeks.

* That sentence was a tweet I sent on Thanksgiving. Someone at work thought it was clever, because it was picked up for our daily “people” column. I’m people — who knew! Also: I’m a firm believer that any day can be a mashed potato holiday.

The cornbread experiment

15 Jan

I’m cleaning out the kitchen cupboards again, which this time has resulted in cornbread.

I love cornbread, usually with a little fresh honey. I’ve had a box of mix for some time, mostly because I rarely have eggs and milk on hand at the same time. (It’s the milk — I almost never have milk.) But by some miracle (um, a trip to the grocery store yesterday to buy eggs), I have both.

I also have jalapenos. And corn. And half of an onion. So I really wanted to make Mexican cornbread. Not as good with honey, but darn tasty.

The recipes I found all call for cream corn, which I definitely do not keep on hand. (Or even recommend.) So it’s time to experiment and see what happens. (By the way, I am neither a cook nor a baker, so it’s kind of strange that the last three posts have been about cooking.)

It turned out awesome. So here’s my improvised Mexican cornbread recipe.

Mexican cornbread

1 box cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons chopped onion
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Beat egg until it’s frothy; add milk and cornbread mix. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir until well blended. Pour batter into muffin cups or 8×8 pan. Bake until golden brown.

If you don’t like spicy, cut down on the jalapenos. (I kinda added the cheese on a whim — it was in the fridge when I went to grab everything else, and there was only about 1/2 cup.)

Hold the ketchup

14 Jan

My friend Gabe wrote a short review of the meatloaf at SideBar — a restaurant and bar just down the street from where I live.

I love meatloaf. But not restaurant meatloaf. It’s the ketchup.

When I was in the second grade, my mother had to go to the hospital for surgery. She was there more than a day, so her brother drove three hours to our home to look after me, my brother and my sister. Mom planned ahead — the fridge was stocked and meals were ready to go in the oven, including a meatloaf.

Everything was fine until Uncle Terry poured ketchup on top. We wouldn’t eat it.

If only he’d had this, Mom’s meatloaf recipe. Notice the lack of ketchup, and the addition of barbecue sauce.

Mom’s meatloaf

1 lb. hamburger
Chopped onion or onion soup mix
Chopped green pepper (optional)
1 egg
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Mix it all together and put it in a loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with barbecue sauce (whatever looks right) and celery seed (optional). Bake for another 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 180 degrees.

Goes great with cheesy au gratin potatoes … I think I know now what I’m making for dinner tomorrow.

How to make teal fudge

9 Jan

I decided to clear out part of a kitchen cabinet, and ended up with teal fudge.


I had half a bag of chocolate chips, 5 cubes of almond bark, a little mint extract and a can of just-expired condensed milk. Perfect!


I kind of started with a recipe. It called for two cups of chocolate chips, so I melted together the chocolate chips that I had and three almond bark cubes.

The recipe then called for a cup of condensed milk. I kinda estimated, figuring that was about 2/3 of the 14 oz. can.

It looks much better once the chocolate has melted and everything’s all mixed together.

To make it easier to actually get to the fudge later, I lined an 8×8 pan with wax paper.

I removed the chocolaty goodness from the stove and added 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

And dumped half it in the wax paper-lined pan, leaving it to firm up a bit before the next layer.

Next for the minty center. That’s where the last two almond bark cubes come in. The original recipe called for “white chocolate wafers.” Close enough, right?

So I melted them in the microwave on a low setting. It seemed easier. You can see where I poked the one on the right to see if it was melted; It was.

I added the rest of the condensed milk, which looks kind of goopy until it gets mixed together better.

Back to that recipe, it called for 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract. I almost had 1 tablespoon of mint extract … close enough, once again.

The recipe suggested adding food coloring to make the center layer of the fudge red or green. But I noticed I’d never used the blue food coloring; that didn’t seem right.

So blue it is!


Because the base wasn’t a true white, it looked kind of green. So I added more blue …

… and ended up with teal.

I poured the teal goop on top of the chocolaty layer and put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to become a little more firm.

Then I added the top chocolaty layer.

After two hours in the fridge, I popped the fudge out of the pan. (Thank goodness for that wax paper.)

Best of all, it’s pretty tasty. The chocolate layer is a little grainy, for lack of a better word, which the Internetz tell me happens when it’s overstirred. Plus, I used up the almond bark that I’ve had for a year, the chocolate chips that I’ve had for almost as long, the just-expired can of condensed milk, the last of the mint extract (which I’ve moved at least three times, and I last moved in 2006.) and I finally got to use the blue food coloring. Yay!

2 tablespoons floor

26 Nov

There are some Thanksgiving-related traditions that I just don’t understand. The main one: Putting food inside the turkey to cook it. Turducken? Why? Turbaconducken? Why? Even in-the-bird stuffing — why? (I’m one of those people who doesn’t really like her food to touch on her plate, either.)

Other Thanksgiving traditions I do not like:

  • Bickering among family.
  • Deboning the bird. My mother insists that my high school and college experience working at Kentucky Fried Chicken makes me the perfect candidate for this. She is wrong.

But there are Thanksgiving traditions that I do like. Usually the food. Another blogger was looking for turkey day recipes; here’s one of my favorites for corn pudding. I’m not sure where the recipe really came from, but the copy my mother has was written out several years ago by my grandmother. The recipe calls for flour; after my grandmother wrote it, it called for floor. Every year we joke about scraping up 2 tablespoons of floor.

Corn pudding

  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons floor (flour can be substituted)
  • 1/2 pound cheese spread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Throw everything together, mix it up and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Or microwave it, which is what I usually do. I usually throw in some onion and green pepper too. Sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top if you’re feeling fancy.