Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes are not skinny by any means. These are the indulgent mashed potatoes that I’m always asked to bring to family gatherings or put on the table when friends come over for a down home dinner. They are buttery….yes, there’s a whole pound of butter in there….a cross between creamy with just a few tiny pieces of potato to satisfy those who love a few lumps or two in their mash and seasoned to perfection. These are indeed mashed, but then they are whipped to result in that perfect texture.

Growing up my mom and my grandmother made mashed potatoes from scratch, but they not only mashed them a bit, they would pull out the hand mixer. They would mix together all of those wonderful, indulgent ingredients until everything was just right. For years I always thought that’s how everyone made “mashed” potatoes. It wasn’t until much later that I learned about instant potatoes. I’m not knocking instant potatoes in any way. I myself have made them and there are some pretty tasty ones out there. But there is something comforting about the process of making them from scratch, not to mention the taste. It always makes me think of my mom and my grandmother in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite side dishes, ok not just as a side. I could grab a spoon and a bowl full and I’d be happy with that as my main meal.

Because they are so indulgent, and yes a little more time consuming, I don’t make them as often and, well, maybe because my hubby is not a mashed potato lover. I still shake my head in wonderment as to how someone can not like mashed potatoes? That being said, with Thanksgiving behind us and the holidays nearing, he knows I have been and will be making and eating my share of these. I better get out my stretchy pants. So with spoon or fork in hand…which ever you prefer…. here is how you can make these utterly delicious mashed potatoes.

On a side note, I know when I mention pulling out the hand mixer for the potatoes, some will gasp and some might be a tad appalled. It is true, if you over mix them, they will turn rather glutenous, but I promise, if you take care these will be a winner for you as well.

*3 lb or more potatoes; I like to use russet; peeled and cut into cubes.

*1 Tbsp. salt for the cooking water + more to taste in the potatoes

*pepper to taste

*1/2 to 1 lb of good quality butter

*1 to 2 cups evaporated milk; warmed; I start out with a cup and add more if needed

*fresh or dried parsley

Place the potatoes in a large pot.

Fill with water until the potatoes are covered and add the 1 Tbsp. of salt.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.

Drain well.

I learned the hard way that if they are not drained of all the cooking water, you do not get a nice consistency in the end.

On a side note, no, there is nothing wrong with your eyes, the potatoes were still steaming when I dumped them into the colander and kept blurring up the picture.

Place the potatoes into a large, mixer proof bowl and add salt and pepper.

Add in some of the butter and with a potato masher, begin mashing the potatoes.

Slowly add in some of the milk about 1/4 of a cup and continue mashing until most of the larger chunks are broken down.

With a hand mixer set on one of the lower speeds, begin to incorporate the butter and the milk.

Start adding in more butter, salt and pepper. Slowly add in more milk until you get the texture that you want. Do not pour in all of the milk at once or you may end up with potato soup. Yes, I have done that as well. Keep tasting and adding more butter, salt and pepper until the taste is to your liking. Sprinkle in the parsley and mix just enough to blend it into the potatoes. Be careful not to over mix. Once I reach the desired texture, I bring out the wooden spoon to stir in more butter, salt or pepper if needed.

Serve warm and Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

Original Date Posted: November 13 2020

Revised Date: November 22 2021

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and most of you probably already have a plan on how you’re going to cook your turkey, but just in case you are undecided I wanted to share my oven roasted boneless turkey breast that I made 2 years ago. I will be making this again this year. I actually now prefer to cook a boneless turkey breast instead of the whole turkey because it takes less time and less fuss to cook, but is juicy and full of flavor. Let’s face it, we’ve all been thru enough this year and do not need the added stress, I mean really, raise hands if you have at one time almost dropped one of those huge, heavy turkeys while trying to get it into the roasting pan. Those suckers can be quiet slippery. I know this holiday will probably be different for a lot of us, myself included, so why not make it easier, but still a meal to remember.

Here’s what you need:

*boneless turkey breast; mine was 5 lbs.

*1 stick of softened butter; I used salted

*1Tbs olive oil

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 Tbs. lemon juice, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried rosemary, or more to taste

*1 1/2 tsp. dried sage, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried Thyme, or more to taste

*1/4 tsp. salt (optional)

*1/4 cup white wine

*3/4 cup chicken stock; I use Better than Bullion

Preheat oven to 325°

Spray a roasting rack with no stick spray.

Place the turkey, skin side up onto the roasting rack in a roasting pan.

In a bowl, mix butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice ,rosemary, sage, thyme and salt.

Rub the butter mixture all over the skin and under the skin.

Pour the wine and chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and has an internal temperature of 165. (about 20 minutes per pound) Check the turkey after 1 hour, if the skin is becoming too brown, cover loosely with foil.

Remove from the oven and cover the pan with foil and rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

Skillet Mexican Pasta

This skillet Mexican pasta is loaded with ground beef, black beans, tomatoes and pasta in a flavor packed sauce. It’s easy to put together and makes a great hearty meal. Another plus to this dish, is that everything comes together in one pan making clean up fast and easy.

I came up with this dish when I needed to use up some pasta. I’m sure you’ve been there. You buy a box, but a recipe only calls for a cup or two so you are left with half a box. It’s too much to throw out and too little to use as a whole dish so before you know it, you open up the pantry and you have several boxes of half bits of different kinds pasta. It’s a little maddening right? I used elbow macaroni noodles, but you can use any pasta that you may want to use up.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb. lean ground beef

* 2 1/2 tsp. chili powder or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 1/2 tsp. cumin or more to taste

*2 tsp. onion powder

*2 tsp. garlic powder

*2 tsp. paprika

*2 cups beef broth

*2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

*1 can diced tomatoes; undrained

*1 can black beans drained and rinsed

Drain and rinse the black beans.

Set aside.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Brown ground beef and drain off any fat. Turn the heat down to medium and add chili powder, oregano, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

Stir into the beef and continue to cook for about 1 minute.

Slowly stir in the beef broth.

then add the macaroni to the skillet

Give a quick stir then add in the tomatoes and the black beans.

Stir to combine. Turn the heat back up to medium high heat. When the liquid starts to bubble, cover and turn down the heat. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Serve and enjoy!

Classic Cheese Burger with a Special Sauce

I have a weakness for a good cheeseburger. Most of the time my go to is a bacon cheeseburger, but there are times that I crave just a simple, tasty cheeseburger. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s really all about the patty, the cheese and the bun right? This classic cheeseburger definitely satisfies those cravings.

The secret to a great hamburger is the most important item…the beef. I like to use ground beef that is 80% lean and 20% fat ratio. The fat in the beef is what makes the flavor. I wanted to keep it simple and just used salt and pepper, then patties are cooked in a cast iron pan until the edges are a little crispy, but that sweet spot in the middle is still nice and juicy. Then there is the melted provolone and cheddar cheese, pickles and then it’s topped with a special burger sauce. This sauce combines the usual condiments… mayo, ketchup, mustard and a few other tasty ingredients that make this mouthwatering burger complete. All of this on a nice sesame seed bun. Now I really want a cheeseburger.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

For the Burger

*1 to 1 1/2 lb ground beef

*sliced provolone and cheddar cheese or any other cheese that you prefer

*salt and pepper to taste

*sesame seed hamburger buns

For the Special Sauce:

*1/4 cup mayonnaise

*2 TBS ketchup

* 2 tsp mustard

*1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

* 1 tsp onion powder

*1 tsp garlic powder

*1/2 tsp dried dill weed

In a small bowl mix all of the ingredients together for the special burger sauce.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Form the ground beef into 4 patties. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a cast iron pan to medium high heat. When the pan is very hot add in the patties.

cook for about 3 minutes then flip them over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes more.

Top with the cheese and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for another minute or until the cheese is melted.

Place on the hamburger buns and top with the special sauce.

Serve and enjoy!

Shaved Steak Sandwiches with Sautéed Whiskey Onions and A Special Sauce

This steak sandwich is going to be your new go to. It’s piled high with tender, flavorful shaved steak, caramelized onions with a hint of whiskey, melted provolone and topped with a special sauce that has just the right amount of kick to it, all nestled between a lightly toasted sesame seed bun. Another high score for this amazing sandwich is that you wont spend a long time in the kitchen to put this baby together.

Hubby loves to get steak subs when we go out to sandwich places. I really don’t get them as much as he does, but I really wanted to try to make my own and jazz them up a bit. They can get a bit boring. I know, some of you cheesesteak lovers out there just gasped and felt a little wronged, but you have to admit there are a lot of great ones out there and there are a lot of the same run of the mill ones also. For this I used pre shaved steak to save time, but not the taste of course. If you can’t find good quality shaved steak, you can ask your butcher or meat department at your local grocery store to shave some nice ribeye or sirloin steaks for you. You can also cut the steak yourself. Wrap the steaks in plastic wrap and freeze 1 to 2 hours before preparing. This really helps in getting that thin cut of meat. Also, be sure to cut against the grain to insure tender meat. You will not get the same texture as the shaved steak, but the flavors will still be there.

Here’s what you need to make your own shaved steak sandwich:

For The Steak

*1 to 1 1/2 lbs shaved steak

*salt and pepper to taste

*2 tsp. or more to taste Penzey’s Beef Roast Seasoning

This is a seasoning I use a lot for roasts, beef tips and even meatballs. But you do not have to use this instead you can use:

*1tsp. onion powder + 1 tsp. garlic powder

*1 TBS canola oil

*sturdy sesame sandwich buns

*softened butter

*sliced provolone cheese

For The onions

*1 medium onion chopped

*1 TBS butter

*1 tsp. brown sugar

*1 1/2 TBS whiskey

*1/4 tsp dried Thyme or more to taste

*Pinch of salt

For The Special Sauce

*1/4 cup mayonnaise

*1 TBS Dijon mustard

*1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder or more to taste

*1/2 tsp onion powder

*1/2 tsp garlic powder

*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*salt to taste

Take shaved steak out of the refrigerator and dry with paper towels if needed and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt, pepper and beef roast seasoning (or onion powder and garlic powder). Toss well until the steak is lightly coated in the seasonings. Let it sit out for 20 minutes before cooking so the beef will come to room temperature.

For the Whiskey Onions:

In a small sauce pot add the butter and heat to medium high heat. When the butter is melted add in the onions, brown sugar, whiskey, Thyme and salt. Stir to combine and turn the heat to medium.

Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions start to turn a golden caramel color.

For the Special Sauce:

Combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, chipotle chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Spread a thin layer of the softened butter on each slice of the sandwich buns.

Toast in the oven or in a toaster oven; set aside

In a cast iron pan add the canola oil and heat to medium high. When the pan is searing hot add in the beef in a single layer. It’s ok if some of the steak overlaps.

cook for about 3 minutes then flip the beef over and cook for another 2 minutes.

The beef does not take long to cook so be sure not to over cook or it will not be as tender.

Spoon the steak on the bottom half of each sandwich bun and place a slice or two of the cheese. Next add some of those delicious whiskey sautéed onions over the cheese, then top with the special sauce. Place the top half of the sandwich bun over the sauce and serve.