Potato Skins

SUPERBOWL LI.  PATRIOTS CHAMPIONS!  WHAT A GAME!!!  While I am not huge on football, I am SO glad I was able to watch last night’s game that certainly made history.  Incredible win!

Honestly, my favorite part about the Super Bowl is the snacks. 🙂  I can’t help it!  It is a great excuse to eat all the junk food you usually wouldn’t eat.  Like potato skins.  I LOVE potato skins, but I don’t eat them on a regular basis.  They are the perfect snack for the Super Bowl.  Deep fried and full of melted cheese and bacon, then topped with sour cream?  Mmmm…

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Potato Skins

Active Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 15 minutes
TOTAL: ~30 min

Ingredients:

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 c shredded cheese (I prefer a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack)
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • Sour cream, scallions, other toppings (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Pierce potatoes with a fork several times on each side.  Microwave for 10-12 minutes on High until soft.
  2. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the middles of the potatoes, leaving about ¼” of potato around the skin.  (Hint: save the insides to make mashed potatoes!)
  3. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375 °F.  Deep fry potato skins in a single layer for 5 minutes until they start to brown.  Remove and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  4. Top potatoes with cheese and bacon crumbles. Place on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Top with sour cream or toppings of your choice if desired.

Spicy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Potatoes are one of life’s greatest side dishes.  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a potato that I didn’t like.  Fried… baked… roasted… mashed… I am salivating just thinking about all the delicious ways I could eat them!  John and I don’t eat potatoes often enough – mainly because we are too impatient to wait for them to cook. 😉  But I always try to have a potato as part of Wednesday Night Dinner with my mom (along with a vegetable and a meat) so we have a nice rounded meal.

These potatoes are sliced thin and tossed with oil, salt, and pepper – then seasoned with paprika and just a pinch of cayenne pepper to give them a little kick!  They are roasted in the oven for about 45 minutes (or longer, if you want them nice and crispy).

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Spicy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Active Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: ~45 minutes
TOTAL: 55-65 minutes

YIELDS: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium red potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 °F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large zip-tight bag, add potatoes and olive oil. Seal bag and toss to coat.
  3. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Seal bag and mix well until potatoes are uniformly coated with seasonings.
  4. Place potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast in oven for 45 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through.  Serve immediately.  Yields about 4 servings.  (NOTE: Increase baking time by 10-15 minutes for a crisper potato!)

Protein-Packed Macaroni Salad

 

The after-Christmas blues leave us longing for beaches, summer picnics, and the shining sun… I’m about over winter and ready to spend my days in the warm outdoors!  Nothing beats the smell of freshly cut grass and hamburgers on the grill.  Today I decided to make a summertime-bbq essential – macaroni salad.  I think we eat some type of pasta salad with every barbeque we have!  I decided to play with the recipe and pack it with protein so I could take it as my lunch this week… maybe that way summer will arrive faster!  Hard-boiled eggs and chickpeas are tossed into a basic macaroni salad recipe to make it a more filling – and even tastier! – dish.  I will certainly look forward to eating lunch this week!  Enjoy!

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Protein-Packed Macaroni Salad

Cook/prep time: 15 mins

Yields about 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

Directions:

  1. In a medium stockpot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients including macaroni. Mix well.  Let sit for 15 minutes to allow noodles to absorb excess moisture.  Mix again and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

Anytime I eat Chinese food – whether it’s take-out or homemade – egg rolls are a MUST.  In fact, egg rolls are so important to me, that I will only go to a Chinese food establishment if their egg rolls are Elyse- (and John) approved.  This homemade (slightly healthier) baked egg roll is definitely approved!  They are crunchy and full of flavor.  Add extra cayenne pepper if you want some additional kick.  Just don’t overdo it on the soy sauce – I’ve done that before and the filling ends up way too salty, masking the egg roll’s scrumptious flavor.

You can find egg roll wrappers in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store.  I go to Market Basket, and they are with the tofu and vegan items (next to the lettuce and mushrooms).

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

NOTE: I have been making these for many years, and I have since lost the original source of this recipe. If you recognize it as yours, please let me know so I may give you credit!  Thank you!

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Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

Active Prep: 20 min
Bake time: 15 min
TOTAL: 35 min

Makes 12-16 egg rolls

Ingredients:

  • 5 c shredded cabbage/carrot mixture
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ c diced scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 c finely diced cooked chicken
  • 5 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 12-16 egg roll wrappers

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Coat a large skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat. Add cabbage mixture, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic.  Stir and cook until vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken and mix well to combine.
  3. Whisk corn starch, water, soy sauce, oil, and cayenne pepper together in small bowl. Stir into chicken mixture, coating chicken and vegetables.  Cook for 2 minutes until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.
  4. Spoon ¼ cup mixture into egg roll wrapper. Fold sides into center and roll tightly.  Place seam side down on baking sheet.
  5. Lightly spray tops of egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake at 425 °F for 15 minutes or until egg rolls are golden brown.  Serve with duck sauce or other favorite dipping sauce.  Makes 12-16 egg rolls.

Quick Crusty Artisan Bread


John surprised me yesterday with a Dutch oven for Christmas!  I’ve never had one before, so today I was eager to use it.  Since I am rather impatient, I decided to try a quick artisan bread recipe.  This recipe is adapted from blogger Larissa at Larissa Another Day.  Again, I was SO eager to make this bread that I ended up using out-of-date yeast (oops), so my loaf came out a bit flatter than it should have, but it was still SO TASTY.  For a quick artisan bread, the flavor and texture are just shy of perfection!  Definitely satisfied my craving and desire to use my new Dutch oven!

If you need delicious crusty bread NOW, this recipe is for you.  Enjoy!

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Quick Crusty Artisan Bread

Active Prep: 20 mins
Rising: 30 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
TOTAL: 1 hr 35 mins

Ingredients:

-2 Tbsp sugar
-2 Tbsp active dry yeast
-2 cups warm water (105-110 °F)
-4 ½ c all-purpose flour, divided
-½ Tbsp salt
-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
-Extra flour

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and sugar. Add water and whisk until combined.  Allow yeast to proof for 7-10 minutes until mixture is bubbly.
  2. Whisk together 3 cups flour and salt in a medium bowl. Turn mixer on lowest setting.  Slowly add flour mixture until combined.
  3. Add remaining 1 ½ cups flour a half cup at a time until dough comes together in a ball. Continue kneading dough on lowest setting for 5 minutes.
  4. Coat bottom and sides of a 6-quart Dutch oven with vegetable oil. Sprinkle flour over bottom and sides.  When dough is finished kneading, carefully add dough ball to Dutch oven.  Cover with a moist paper towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. When dough has risen, cut 3-4 slits on top of dough. Avoid squishing down.  Cover pot with lid and place in cool oven.  Once Dutch oven is in the oven, turn on to preheat to 400 °F.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes covered. Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes until bread turns golden brown.  Remove from Dutch oven and let cool on a wire rack ~5-10 minutes.