Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Maybe it's the Irish in me (my Mama's ancestors are from Ireland), but I just love potatoes.  Fried, mashed, boiled, baked, smothered, it doesn't matter how you fix 'em, I'll eat 'em!  So, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite potato recipes.  Here they are:

This first recipe uses potatoes, but it's not entirely Irish.  It's Cajun, too and not only because of the spices used.  It was created using two standard Cajun guidelines:  Don't waste anything and make something delicious out of something meager.  Irish or Cajun?  It's kind of like me, a mixture of the two.


2 links smoked sausage, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
6 medium-size Idaho potatoes, cut into small cubes (clean and dried)
1 cup chicken broth added to 1 cup water (you may not need all of this liquid)
Cajun seasoning (I like Tony Chachere's)
fresh parsley or sliced green onions for garnish

Brown sausage in a large pot (with a tight fitting lid).  Make sure some sticks to the bottom of the pot.  This is called "gratin".  It gives the dish great flavor!  Remove sausage and set aside.

Here's what the "gratin" on the bottom of the pot should look like:

Add a little oil and saute the onion, celery and bell pepper until cooked down and brown like this:

Add a little of the broth/water mixture to the pot and quickly put the lid on to steam for a few minutes.  Remove the lid and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom the the pot.  This will help lift the "gratin".  Remove the sauteed vegetables and set aside.  Add a little more oil and turn up the heat to medium-high.  Fry the potatoes (make sure they are dry!) until a little brown on the edges like this:

Season well with salt/pepper/Cajun seasoning.  Add sausage and sauteed vegetables back to the pot.  Stir well.  Add some more of the broth/water mixture, then quickly put the lid back on to smother the potatoes.  Let smother for a few minutes, then remove the lid and stir.  Repeat this process until the potatoes are soft and cooked through.  You may not use all of the broth/water.  Check for seasoning, adding more if desired.  Garnish with fresh parsley or sliced green onions.

Here's what the finished dish looks like:


The next recipe is one I saw on a t.v. show and had to try.  I love potatoes au gratin, but I used to make it with a boxed mix (for shame!).  Not anymore!  I thought it was such a hard thing to make, but it's so not!  It's super easy, but it does takes time in the oven.  If you've got the time, make this!  It's so yummy!


1 TBS butter, softened
4 large Idaho potatoes, clean and dry
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (you can use all milk, but the cream makes it incredibly good)
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Butter a 9x13 baking dish with the softened butter.  Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch slices or dice them, whichever you prefer.  I sliced them.  Place potatoes in the buttered dish.  In a bowl, combine cream, milk, flour, salt, and pepper(as much as you like).  Whisk together well.  Pour this over the potatoes.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese on top.  It will melt from the heat of the dish.  Then sprinkle the green onions on top.  Done!  See, I told ya it was easy.  Pretty, too.

So, there are a couple of my favorite potato recipes.  Embrace your inner Irish (or Cajun/Irish) and eat some potatoes!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Classic Lemon Squares

I love anything made with lemon!  It's so bright and tart.  Yum!  I must get it from my Mama because she loves all things lemon, too.  When she came over the other day we decided to bake something together.  So, of course, it had to be something made with lemons.  We chose the old-fashioned favorite, Classic Lemon Squares.  These are great because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.  No special trip to the grocery store required.   They go great with a cup of tea, too!  Maybe you could make these for your Mama on Mother's Day this Sunday, along with a nice cup of tea?  Here's how my Mama and I did it:


1 cup + 2 TBS flour, divided
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 TBS lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 1 cup of the flour and powdered sugar together.  Cut in the butter.  Mix until it resembles pie dough.

Press the dough into an 8 inch square baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Beat together eggs, granulated sugar, 2 TBS flour, lemon juice and lemon zest for at least 1 minute (use an electric mixer).  Pour the mixture over the baked crust (it will be thin, that's ok).

Bake another 20-25 minutes, or until the lemon topping has set.

Let it cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Cut into small squares.

These are sweet and tart, so good!  Keep leftover squares in the refrigerator.

*Tip about zesting a lemon:  Use a small grater and only take off the yellow part of the rind.  The white part is bitter, you don't want that.

*Tip about juicing a lemon:  Roll the lemon on the counter before you cut it and juice it.  That will brake up the juice sacks and you'll get more lemon juice when you squeeze it.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!  Enjoy your day (and maybe a lemon square or two)!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Won Ton Wrapper Cups!

This is such a cute idea!  I saw it on a cooking show and had to try it.  You use won ton wrappers to make little crispy cups that you can fill with almost anything.  Chicken salad, tuna salad, taco fixings, fried rice, etc.  They are perfect for party appetizers because you can make them ahead of time then just fill them at the last minute.  Plus, they are really easy to make.  Here's how you do it:


won ton wrappers
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.  Place one won ton wrapper into each cup of the mini muffin tin.  Push down to form a cup.  Spritz a little cooking spray on top of the cups.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 5 minutes or until light brown and crispy.  Be careful not to burn them!

Fill them with whatever you like.  I used them for taco shells and made little taco appetizers.  I filled half with seasoned ground beef and half with seasoned black beans (I just added a little taco seasoning to a can of black beans).  Then, I sprinkled on shredded cheese, tomatoes, green onions, etc.  My kids loved these!

You could also season the cups.  After you spritz them with cooking spray (before you bake them) just season them with salt and pepper or taco seasoning or Italian seasoning, etc.  Use whatever compliments your filling.

For a sweet variation:  Sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar before baking.  When done, fill them with warmed apple pie filling and whipped cream!

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  That's why I love this idea.  Hope you do, too!

*Note:  If you have trouble finding won ton wrappers, try the produce section of the grocery store.  They have to stay refrigerated so a lot of stores keep them there.