Irish Potato Casserole is a favorite recipe shared with me by my sister-in-law, Betty, many years ago. I have served it often as a side with Prime Rib or with Baked Ham with many compliments. This is a wonderful potato dish that you can prepare the day before and have ready for the oven before your guests arrive. Over the years, I’ve substituted low-fat cream cheese and sour cream with equally good results. It’s a winner, winner chicken dinner kind of recipe!
I’ve shared a photo of the casserole before baking. Every time I make this, I am in such a hurry to serve the meal, that I forget to take a picture after. The after picture would be very similar but with a browned top….never said I was a professional blogger!
This Christmas we will again, have the Irish Potato Casserole with Prime Rib and other family favorites!
IRISH POTATO CASSEROLE
8 to 10 medium potatoes, peeled
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt paprika
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add potatoes and all other ingredients (except paprika) and beat until well combined.
Spoon into lightly buttered casserole and sprinkle with paprika.
Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Eggplant = favorite food. My friend, Jan, shared this delicious recipe with me. I love how simple it is and it’s not as rich as many Moussaka recipes. I only had cheddar cheese on hand when I made it, but it would be great with Feta or other mild cheeses.
I made this dish without rice or yogurt, but enjoyed it with a nice class of red wine from my favorite winery, InVINtions.
2 globe eggplants, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound ground beef (or omit if Vegan/Vegetarian)
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced/diced
2-3 green or sweet peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 petite tomatoes, diced (I used Compari tomatoes)
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil for eggplant and another 1/4 cup for sauce
salt and black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1-2 tablespoons dried parsley)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish.
Place cubed eggplant in a bowl. Add salt and 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Toss and mix well to assure the cubes are covered in olive oil.
Spread the eggplant over a baking sheet, layered with parchment paper. Bake until brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly until it is dry. While cooking, crush the ground beef with the back of a spoon.
Add onion and peppers and cook on medium heat until soft, but not browned.
Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
When the tomatoes are cooked (turning darker red), add one cup boiling water.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Place eggplant cubes in baking dish. Top with sauce and mix. (Optional: add sliced tomatoes on top). If using dried parley, sprinkle on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to serve without cheese, sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve.
If using cheese, sprinkle on top, and put back in oven until cheese in melted.
Serve as is or serve hot with rice and Greek yogurt.
Fresh local sweet corn, zucchini from the garden and delicious mushrooms are a wonderful combination for this savory pie. My daughters do not like mushrooms, but another vegetable (roasted peppers, additional corn, etc.) would be just as good. I have served the pie warm and cold and enjoyed them both. This pie is so versatile it could be served for brunch or a light summer supper with a salad or with juicy garden tomatoes.
Sweet Corn & Zucchini Pie
4 tablespoons butter
half of a yellow onion, diced
2 ears sweet corn
2 large zucchini, sliced very thinly (about 4 cups)
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces shredded cheese (I used both Mozzarella)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. While the veggies saute, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to the pan and continue to saute until the veggies are soft, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Once the mixture has cooled for a few minutes, stir in the basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and the beaten eggs. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or just grease a pan with nonstick spray. Transfer the mixture to the pan. Arrange the top so the zucchini slices lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese for looks, cover with greased foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the top. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices.
Beef Macaroni Skillet, a one skillet meal, was a regular menu item when my children were young. It was a quick meal that I could put together after work. I haven’t made it in over 20 years and it was a fun walk down memory lane.
My older daughter, Megan, and her girls were here to experience it. Megan didn’t remember it but liked it as did her two year old daughter. The five year old didn’t care for it, but then again, she’s in a phase of only liking what she knows.
The original recipe card is in my handwriting, probably around the age of 11 or 12, when I started my recipe box. It’s funny to look back at it and find humor in the reference to ‘this main dish’.
BEEF MACARONI SKILLET
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups tomato juice (add more if it becomes too dry)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
Brown beef and onion in a skillet. Drain fat.
Add remaining ingredients and cook, covered, until the macaroni is cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally while cooking to prevent from sticking.
Scalloped Potatoes with Ham in comfort food for the soul. My Mother often made a version of Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and I have made in in the crock pot for years. I wanted a new version, and loved this recipe.
While perusing the reviews, several people added additional seasoning to the sauce, parboiled the potatoes, added broccoli, etc. This is a solid base recipe that you can use to get creative. In the photos below, I did not cover the dish while baking and it took a solid hour to cook. It is delicious ad comforting…just what we all need!
SCALLOPED POTATOES WITH HAM
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
12 ounces 1/4 inch sliced baked ham, cubed
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. When sauce has thickened remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a skillet, cook onions in melted butter until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread 1/3 of the white sauce in bottom of baking dish and top with half of the potatoes. Spread out half of the onions, ham, cheese and another third of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Continue layering ingredients, ending with the remaining cheese on top. Bake, covered, for 45 mintues. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Quinoa with roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, pine nuts and feta…what’s not to like! I often try new recipes to share with others so my Book Club buddies were once again Guinea Pigs. This recipe takes a while to prepare but well worth the effort!
QUINOA WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PINE NUTS & FETA
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large onions, sliced
2 pounds cubed butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
salt French Vinaigrette salad dressing (add generous amounts of dressing to individual portions)
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Peel the squash and slice it into 3/4 inch cubes, about 2 pounds. Toss the squash cubes in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt.
Put butternut squash on the greased baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. Flip the squash cubes over midway through baking. Cool slightly before adding to the salad.
Caramelize the Onions:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in a large skillet. When oil is heated, add onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly string with wooden spoon. The onions will start to brown, but not brown.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes, continuing to stir as onions brown even more. Add a pinch of salt over the onions.
Continue cooking the onions for 10 more minutes on medium to low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions don’t stick to the pan. Add a bit of water if the onions begin o stick. Total cooking time is 30 minutes.
Remove the onions from the heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using the wooden spoon, mix the onions scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
Assembling the salad:
In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, and mix with the dressing. Add the dressing only before the serving, and add as much as you want to individual portions, as both quinoa and butternut squash tend to be on a dry side, and this dressing (when generously applied) fixes this beautifully!
Top each individual serving with Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.
Note: This salad keeps very well refrigerated for up to a week, but only without dressing. Add the dressing before serving.
Baked Avocado…a new adventure for me and I loved it. The idea of using avocado as the binding ingredient for quinoa, tomato, cheese was great and included all ingredients I love. This recipe is worth experimenting with and can easily be adapted for a vegan or vegetarian diet.
BAKED STUFFED AVOCADOS
2 large ripe avocados
2 cups cooked quinoa (I used a mix of plain and Tri-Colored Quinoa from Trader Joe’s)
1 medium-sized tomato, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice avocados lengthwise and remove the pit by gently tapping it with a large sturdy knife.
Scoop the avocado from the shell with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl. Add quinoa, tomatoes, feta, salt and pepper. Mix to combine, but leaving hunks of avocado.
Place the hollow avocado shells on a baking sheet and carefully fill each with the mixture. (I found that I had more filling that the shells would hold and baked the remainder in a small greased casserole dish).
Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is sufficiently melted.
Grits and Cathy did not have the opportunity to meet until about 8 years ago when I tasted a Grits Breakfast dish at a party. They actually tasted good and weren’t just a mushy, bland bowl of nothing like I expected. Of course, what doesn’t taste good when mixed with cheese and sausage?
A few weeks ago I bought a bag of grits at Sprouts before I found a recipe for this yummy dish for my annual Mother’s Coffee/Tea. Every recipe I came across called for ‘instant grits’ not just plain old grits. After much searching, I found this recipe. As one Southern friend told me, instant grits aren’t as good so don’t even bother!
Grits are now like a dear, old friend (at least when cheese is involved). I plan to make this again, without the sausage, as a side dish for BBQ. MMMM, MMMM, good!
CHEESY SAUSAGE GRITS
1 cup grits (uncooked)
1 lb. breakfast sausage (bulk, if you need to use links, finely dice the cooked links)
1 cup onion (diced)
9 oz. green chiles (drained and chopped)
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
10 drops Tabasco
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cook the grits in 4 cups of salted water until done (follow package directions). (I whisked the grits into boiled water and it only took me about 5-10 minutes to cook the grits)
Saute the sausage and onions, breaking the sausage into small pieces.
Drain the grease from the sausage and onions.
Add the chilies, butter, eggs, cheese and Tabasco to the cooked grits.
Combine the sausage and onions with the grits mixture.
Pour everything into a 9″x 13″ casserole and garnish with the paprika and parsley.
The mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days before baking (bring to room temperature before baking to use the same bake time).
Bake at 325°F for one (1) hour.
(The recipe states that this freezes well but I didn’t have any left to freeze!)