A multitude of “excuses” have kept me away from the kitchen. Weary from holiday shenanigans…uninspired to try new things…quick meals out… and just feeling “blah”! In fact, my last post kind of sums it up…Crabby
Nancy, err, Patties. 😉 I’ve been producing a lot of repeat recipes recently. Perhaps I’m seeking comfort from food… Me? Ingesting comfort food? Yes, and yes! In between carry-outs and eating out, I did make two new recipes and one favorite I’ve yet to share. The first recipe I’ll link you to is a beautiful, red rice dish from Margherita at la petite casserole. It is a “Red rice and vegetable crown with pumpkin and almond béchamel”. We loved this so much, I actually made it twice within three days! Yes, my pumpkin/almond béchamel was too thick and not nearly as pretty as Margherita’s…the taste was still divine though! I thought the colors of the dish were beautiful…from the red rice [2 stores later, I found some], to the green zucchini, and orangeish béchamel. I served this along side chicken one night and fish the other. Yum!
A post from Sweet & Savory by Shailja brought me a homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. I did mention comfort food, right? Well, this could fall into that category! I couldn’t resist. The thing that really intrigued me about this recipe? No ice cream maker required and only 3 ingredients. Doesn’t get much easier than that! We enjoyed a scoop of this after dinner one night…the fresh strawberries provided wonderful flavor. And then I did something quite out of the ordinary, for me, with the remaining ice cream the next night. We were grilling hamburgers, so I made strawberry shakes. Excellent strawberry shakes! They were on par with any soda fountain variety I’ve had in the past. All I had to do was whip it up in the blender, adding milk [I used 1%] and mashed strawberries with the juices. I just kept adding a bit at a time to achieve the right consistency. Delicious!
Finally, I bring you Twice Baked Potato Casserole. This has become one of my favorite recipes when serving a large group. It holds well for a buffet type meal, yet is perfectly appropriate for a sit down dinner too. I typically make the casserole ahead of time [from one day ahead to a few hours] and bake it when needed.
It is simple to make – implementing baked potatoes, sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon. Did I mention the calories? No? Well, I’m not gonna go there! That would take all the fun away. 😉
The recipe is easily adjusted to accommodate any size group. In my past experiences though, I can tell you…make more than you think you’ll need. Going for “seconds” is common and if there are any leftovers, they re-heat perfectly.
Twice Baked Potato Casserole
9 medium russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup milk [if needed to thin the potato mixture]
6 slices bacon, fried until crispy then crumbled
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Scrub potatoes; pierce each several times with a sharp knife. Bake potatoes for about 1 hour, or until cooked through. Potatoes will “give” slightly when done if gently squeezed [use an oven mitt or pot holder!]. Remove potatoes and cool slightly until easily handled.
Slice each potato in half and carefully scoop out the insides. Combine the potato insides in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Set the skins aside.
Combine the potatoes with the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper. DO NOT add the milk yet. Beat until thoroughly mixed. IF the “mashed” potato mixture is too thick, add the milk, 1/8 cup at a time to achieve your desired consistency.
Spray a large baking dish [13×9] with cooking spray; set aside.
Using approximately 1/2 of the potato skins, dice into bite-size pieces. Spread in an even layer in the bottom of your baking dish. Spread potato mixture evenly on top of skins. Cover with foil. Casserole can be refrigerated at this point until needed OR heat oven to 325ºF for immediate baking.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes [or until heated through] @ 325ºF. Immediately after removing from the oven, top with the shredded cheese and the crumbled bacon. Let potatoes stand 10-15 minutes allowing cheese to melt before serving.
Recipe adapted from Key Ingredient.