Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Cooking for a holiday meal can be overwhelming for some, especially when you haven't done it before! I've been cooking dinner for all of the major holidays since my kids were little, not because I have to, but because I WANT to. Even though we don't have family in the area, it's a tradition that I want my kids to grow up with. Even for me, it can sometimes get a little overwhelming!

That's why I love recipes that you can make a day in advance, and still have them taste fresh and delicious the day of the big event. The recipe that I'm sharing with you today is one that often makes an appearance on our holiday table. My kids love them!

These are like a loaded twice-baked potato casserole. They go great with ham (which is why I made them to go with our Easter ham a few weeks ago), as well as a nice grilled steak. Leftovers of these in our house never go to waste.

<<Printable Recipe>>
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

4 lbs. russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
6 oz. of bacon
6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack or colby - whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup chopped green onion

  1. Place potatoes in a large pan and add enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until the poatoes are fork tender.
  2. In the meantime, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay bacon strips on sheet pan, place into oven and bake until bacon is just starting to crisp (about 10-12 minutes). Remove from oven and place bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain the grease. Crumble into small pieces when cool. Set aside.
  3. Drain potatoes and place back into the pot that you cooked them in. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the hot potatoes.
  4. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes until there are no lumps, incorporating all of the ingredients into the potatoes as you mash. Stir in 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese.
  5. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 13" x 9" glass pan. Pour the potatoes into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with the remaining cheese, the crumbled bacon and the chopped green onions.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. 
  8. Remove potatoes from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake potatoes, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
Adapted from Taste of Home

I'd love to hear some of your make-ahead recipes to make holidays stress free! Leave me a comment and a link! I'd love to give some of them a try!

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Asparagus, Avocado and Roasted Tomato Salad

This month as part of the Allrecipes Ambassador program, I get to work with fresh Avocados from Mexico. While blogging about it is NOT an assignment this month - I love it when an assignment recipe become a new favorite, and too good NOT to share! This is one of those recipes.

I made this for dinner last night, and served it along side steamed artichokes for a light, fresh, meat-less dinner. My husband and I gobbled this up, and I'm already craving it again!

Asparagus, Avocado and Roasted Tomato Salad
from www.kimscookingnow.blogspot.com
Serves 2 as a main dish salad
Serves 4 as a side dish

6 Roma Tomatoes
4 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbls fresh garlic (chopped)
1-1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp salt (divided)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper (divided)
10 Asparagus spears (trimmed)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (green part only)
1 ripe avocado (halved and pitted)
1 Tbls cooking sherry
1 Tbls white vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, thyme, 1/8 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper.
  3. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters. Remove core and seeds. Add the tomatoes to the olive oil, garlic, thyme mixture and toss lightly to coat all of the tomatoes.
  4. Place tomatoes cut side up on the prepared baking sheet, scraping any remaining olive oil, garlic, thyme mixture from the bowl onto the tomatoes.
  5. Place in the oven and roast for 25 - 30 minutes until soft and slightly shriveled. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, cut the asparagus spears in half. Cook the asparagus in 1" of salted water (3 - 4 minutes) until bright green and crisp-tender. Remove with a tongs and place into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well, and dry with paper towel.
  7. Place asparagus and sliced green onion in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss lightly to coat. Set aside.
  8. To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sherry, vinegar and remaining 1/8 tsp of salt and pepper.
  9. With a large spoon, scoop avocado from shell and slice each half into eight slices, lengthwise. Arrange asparagus, roasted tomatoes and avocado slices on serving plate, scraping any green onions from the bowl on sprinkling on top. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
Adapted from allrecipes

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Buon Appetito!