Smashed Potatoes

How many ways can you make potatoes? Baked, mashed, roasted, boiled, twice baked, and on and on and on. How about smashed potatoes? This is one of my most favorite side dishes and so easy to make. These smashed potatoes take on a crispier outside and soft inside. My fave!

These measurements for this recipe are more like guidelines. I tend to like my food a little saltier than my husband, so I use almost 3 teaspoons of the Kosher salt. But you can cater this to what your family likes. I have left out the pepper completely when I know I will be serving this dish to little kids.

SMASHED POTATOES

  • 12 or so baby red potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary

In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add potatoes and two pinches of salt and boil for about 20 minutes, or until a fork inserted into potato feels tender.

On a jelly roll pan, drizzle some olive oil so potatoes do not stick to pan. Place potatoes on jelly roll pan and arrange like you would cookies. Then, using a potato masher, smash the potatoes then turn the masher 90 degrees amd smash again. (I find this takes a delicate touch) Then brush or drizzle more olive oil over the tops of the potatoes. Then sprinkle the salt on the potatoes. Lastly, sprinkle rosemary on. Remember that if you are using dried rosemary, to use less than if you are using fresh.

Place in a 450 degree preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops start to golden. Serve immediately!

Advertisements

Cheesy Garlic Bread

An oldie, but a goodie! I love ordering cheesy garlic bread when we go out, but it’s even better homemade! Yes, it’s bad for you, it’s a lot of carbs going in, but can’t a girl live a little?? I would not make this every night, but it sure is a great complement to any Italian meal. (Have you tried our homemade Alfredo sauce yet?) I love that it is a crispy, cheesy delight on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It is quick and easy to make and will dress up your meal!

Here they are right before going into the oven….yum!

CHEESY GARLIC BREAD

  • 1 loaf of French Bread
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup Shredded or Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup per side)
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – no need to measure, enough to cover
  • 1 teaspoon dry Parsley flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Soften the butter in the microwave then add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix together well. Cut your bread in half the long way and spread the butter and garlic mixture on top. Take the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of both halves. Then cover with the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle dry parsley flakes on top and salt and pepper to taste. Cook  for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are browned and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and slice bread horizontally for serving.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

For the month of June, I have been teaching kids how to cook. Sadly, it is the last week of cooking classes. These kids have been so fun and so curious! And really, such great cooks! I let the older kids decide what they wanted to make for the last week of class. One of the things they really wanted to learn was soft pretzels. I have only made these one other time and while they are pretty simple to make, they were not a regular in my household. So, I set out to find a good recipe for these students. Nailed it! Try these soft, chewy, touch of sweet, like you find in the mall pretzels!

SOFT PRETZELS

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons butter (2 Tablespoons for dough and 3 Tablespoons for brushing on finished pretzels)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups warm water
  • Coarse salt, to taste

Warm the milk in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes. Then stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour with a wooden spoon. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups flour and salt to make a sticky dough. Add more flour if necessary (you’ll probably need a few tablespoons) to form dough into a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each into a pretzel shape (form a U-shape, then holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press firmly onto the bottom of the pretzel).

Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on a prepared baking sheet (re-shaping if necessary) and sprinkle lightly with course salt. Bake until golden, 10 – 12 minutes. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter and brush on baked pretzels.

 Yields 6 big pretzels

Cooking Kids Class, minus Zoe. Aren’t they cute?!?

Easy Homemade Meatballs

I pretty much love any kind of Italian food. And who doesn’t love a good meatball? These meatballs are easy to make and best of all, you can freeze them! They are great on top of spaghetti or as a quick snack. (my kids love these!) They are packed with flavor and would make any Italian mama proud!

HOMEMADE MEATBALLS

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup Italian seasoned dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well. Try not to squeeze the mixture through your fingers, but just combine, as “squeezing” will give your meatball a tough texture.

To make evenly sized meatballs, turn mixture out on a cutting board and shape it into a rectangle. Pat down until it is perfectly shaped. Using a sharp knife, cut mixture into 24 squares. (or less if you like a bigger meatball) Roll each square into a ball. Place on an aluminum lined jelly roll pan.

Bake for 14-18 minutes.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

This is what we had for our Father’s Day dessert yesterday. When I asked my husband what he would like for his big day, he was very specific in his request. “I would like an ice cream cake. Oreo. Ice cream. Lots of ice cream.” I jumped on that one! This is one of the easiest desserts out there and yet one of the most delicious! It’s so nice to be married to a man who knows what he wants! And remember friends, it is 110 degrees here in Arizona, so saying this dessert hit the spot is an understatement. What did you all have for your Father’s Day dessert?

OREO ICE CREAM CAKE

  • 30 Oreos, crushed
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 (half gallon) Oreo ice cream (cookies n’ cream), slightly defrosted
  • Caramel sauce
  • 2 (8 ounce) containers of Cool Whip
  • Hot Fudge Sauce

In a bowl, combine melted butter and crushed Oreo’s. Stir until butter has coated the Oreo’s. Press the Oreo mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Next, layer the slightly defrosted ice cream on top of Oreo crust. (I defrosted my ice cream by putting it in the fridge for about 45 minutes) On top of the ice cream, drizzle some caramel sauce. Then on top of that spread both tubs of cool whip. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best. Cut into individual pieces and drizzle with hot fudge sauce.

English Flapjacks

When I first heard about English Flapjacks, this is NOT what I envisioned at all! Flapjacks here in America mean some sort of pancake. I guess I thought they would be big, fluffy pancakes with some stewed tomatoes on top or something. (yuck, gross!) But as I learned more about them, I discovered that they are made out of rolled oats, with sugar and butter in them. I, of course, was instantly a fan. Sugar and butter? Yes, I want to eat these! They are really simple to make and are a great “on the go” breakfast or snack.

ENGLISH FLAPJACKS

  • 3 cups old fashoined oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 4 Tbsp. corn syrup 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put your butter, brown sugar, and syrup in saucepan.  Heat on low until the butter and sugar have both melted.  You’ll be able to tell if the sugar has melted when you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan.  If it still feels gritty, it’s not melted yet.

Once that mixture is melted, stir in the oats.

Once it’s well-mixed, press the mixture into a 8″ square pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Gram’s Up ‘N’ Down Biscuits

My mom made these biscuits for us when I was a kid. And her mom made them for her when she was a kid! They’ve been in the family a long time. I decided to share these today because I keep seeing cinnamon pull apart bread recipes on Pinterest and it made me realize that my Gram was way ahead of her time! These are, of course, a little thicker and more dense than the pull apart bread, but it’s the same concept. Warm, cinnamony, breakfast treat that will be devoured!

These biscuits bring a flood of memories back. I can just see my mom now in her robe, rolling out the dough, doing a double batch because we ate so many, and me begging to taste them before they were even out of the oven. And really people, they are so easy to make. So treat your family (and you!) to a yummy breakfast treat. I know my husband and kids are so happy every time I make these.

Gram’s Up ‘N’ Down Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup shortening or butter
  • 2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, cut the shortening into dry ingredients. Add milk and stir. Knead 10 times on floured board. Roll into a rectangle 1/4″ thick.

Melt ¼  cup butter. Spread on the dough. Sprinkle a mixture of ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon over the buttered dough.  Cut into 5 lengthwise strips. Stack strips one on top of the other, then cut into 12 pieces. Place each piece on its side (so that the 5 layers are visible) in greased muffin tin.

Bake for 12 minutes.

***Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sugarholic. So, I added a quick glaze to smother these biscuits in. Gram’s recipe does not call for this, and honestly, they don’t need it. But somehow the glaze keeps calling to me! (1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons milk and a splash of vanilla)

The biscuits before going in the oven