Potatoes a smashing success


Smashed potatoes have been on my radar for a while. I’ve come across recipes for them several times online, in magazines, and in cookbooks, and have always been interested, but never took the time to make them.

I decided to make my first roasted chicken yesterday, and when deciding what to make alongside it, I remembered the smashed potatoes. They were fantastic. Though they take longer than just boiling or baking, the combination made for these tender potatoes with a slightly crisp exterior. The salt was enough seasoning on them, too. I topped mine with a bit of sour cream, which is also what I do with baked potatoes. They were so good. I’ll definitely be making them again.

15-20 small red potatoes
Olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Sour cream
Green onions, chopped

Boil the red potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place potatoes an inch or two apart on the baking sheet. Place a sheet of parchment paper or foil on top of the potatoes. Smash them by placing another baking sheet on top and pressing down until you feel the potatoes give. If you don’t have another similar baking sheet or other flat surface to use, you can smash the potatoes with the base of your palm.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of each potato. Sprinkle potatoes with salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly browned around the edges. Serve with sour cream.

Surprisingly delicous sweet-and-sour meatballs


When I went to movie night at my friend’s place a couple weeks ago, one of the things I took was Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs. I got the recipe from AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch’s cookbook “High Flavor, Low Labor.” Though I’ve had the cookbook for a few years, I had never made these before, but I had tried his hummus meatballs and they were pretty good.

These were great right out of the oven. However, by the time I reheated them at my friend’s place, I found myself wanting some kind of dipping sauce for them. I’d recommend making or buying a teriyaki or sweet-and-sour sauce to go with these.

1/2 small yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons jarred jalapeño slices
1/2 cup apple jelly
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup panko
1 1/2 pounds ground beef

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, then spritz them with cooking spray.

In a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, and peppers. Process until finely diced, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the apple jelly, cider vinegar, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and ginger. Pulse until well mixed, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs and ground beef, then use your hands to mix them thoroughly with the onion and apple jelly mixture.

Form the mixture into about 30 meatballs, arranging them on the prepared baking sheets. Spritz the meatballs with cooking spray, then bake for 20 minutes.

Appetizer as easy as 1-2-3


I don’t often have an excuse to make appetizers. I don’t entertain, and usually when I contribute to a potluck or other event, I bake.

A couple of my friends and I got together for a movie night. We each agreed ahead of time to bring a couple food contributions. I made stuffed grapes, meatballs, and strawberry shortcake—because dessert is what I’m good at.

The stuffed grapes are something I learned to assemble last year as an easy appetizer. And really, when I say easy, I mean it. It requires three ingredients and a bit of patience. The funny thing is that, of the three things I took for movie night, these were the favorite. Sometimes simple really is best.

1 bunch red grapes
7-ounce log of goat cheese
1/3 cup pistachios, finely chopped

Remove grapes from stems. Cut the curved edge off the bottom of the grape so it can sit up when placed on a plate. Carve a cone-shaped space into the top. Repeat this step with all grapes.

Take a pinch of goat cheese and stuff it into each grape. Top with chopped pistachios.

Peanut butter is the icing on the cake


One of my coworkers had a birthday last week, which means I did some baking. This coworker requested chocolate cupcakes, so I knew I’d turn to the Joy of Cooking for the cupcake recipe. But the frosting was where I wanted to have some fun.

My mom always made buttercream frosting for cupcakes, but I’ve always found most frosting to be too sweet for my taste. I remembered this coworker being fond of peanut butter, so I looked around for a recipe online for peanut butter frosting and came across this one.

The original recipe called for creamy peanut butter, but I only ever buy crunchy, so I used that. The frosting held up well and complemented the cupcakes nicely. It’s definitely a nice alternative to the more common options.

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Layered egg casserole for a lazy Sunday


Happy Easter. When I was growing up, days like this were spent as lazy days with the family, eating a couple hard-boiled eggs and toast before diving into the Easter candy. I still like to have an easy breakfast on Easter. This year, I decided to put together a make-ahead egg casserole. It was surprisingly simple, though I’d use smaller dishes next time so the portions are smaller.

I have a set of baking dishes that were branded as ramekins, but are actually quite huge. I used two of those for this recipe, but you can use a muffin tin and divide the layers accordingly. This would likely make four or five muffin-size casseroles.

1 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage, crumbled
1 head of broccoli, chopped
8 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
Beecher’s Smoked Flagship Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray ramekins with cooking spray, or grease with butter.

Put 1/4 of the crumbled sausage at the bottom of each ramekin. Put half of the broccoli on top of the sausage. Pour half of the eggs in each ramekin. Top with the remainder of the sausage. Bake for 30 minutes, or until eggs are cooked.

Once the casseroles are done, use a knife to separate the casseroles from the sides of the ramekins. Overturn onto a plate and grate some cheese on top. Serve warm.