Archive for the 'Potatoes' Category

Recipe: Fries with some zing!

|October 23, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

I wasn't raised on hot and spicy foods so I am not a really big fan of them.  But occasionally, I like some ZING to something.

After opening and closing the fridge a dozen times, wanting to have something to pick on (you know how that goes – nothing seems to look good at the time) I decided instead to head to the potato basket.  (I know – a far cry from the fridge!)

I scrubbed and sliced some new potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.  I was in the mood for fries.  And who said they had to be cut into fingers anyway?

I tossed them in olive oil and placed on my baking sheet – once again – too lazy too pull out the deep fryer.  By the time the fat got hot enough to cook anything in my oven fries would be done.

Baked at 350 – 375* F., turning half-way through cooking time.  I like them with that nice golden color and a bit "crusty".

Meanwhile, I wanted a different flavor and a bit of zing so I combined about 1/4 cup Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, and 1 tablespoon garlic powder, and a few grinds of fresh large ground black pepper (once again I eye-balled everything).  Once they were done I sprinkled with my mixture – both sides, then I sprinkled some fresh grated Cheddar over the tops and placed in the oven for a minute – just long enough to slightly melt the cheese (I prefer my cheese on my taters and not my baking sheet.)

Served with a mixture of ketchup with some prepared mustard for a quick dipping sauce.

Yeah I know – but it was good and satisfied my craving.  And I didn't miss any of my movie!

Jalepeno monterey would haver been good on this as well!


Happy munchin'!!!



Recipe: Roasted Chicken = Chicken Soup

|October 9, 2011|read comments (4)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It's been a rough couple weeks – and with no time for anything and I've not shared dinners and baking with you. Shame on me!

It's the fall of the year – I've been busy replenishing the pantry and making fresh spice mixes and baking mixes, etc., stocking up on canned goods slowly for the winter months which are fast approaching, writing more recipes that I've come up with (which I will share when I get them perfected to where I want) and I'm crocheting blankets and bedspreads – which I am always doing anyway. With this summer being so hot, I did no crocheting or knitting. But I enjoy making blankets and bedspreads and giving them to others. And I need to finish up several so I can start new ones.

It's a beautiful fall day today – and I roasted a chicken. Cut off the butt, cleaned out all the yuck and gave it a nice salt bath – drizzled with a bit of olive oil and seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, parsley, onion powder, garlic, paprika, and I placed fresh celery (with the leaves) and a carrot inside the cavity after seasoning that as well. Covered, 350* F. and done in 2 hours, turning him over to brown his back. I uncovered him for some time to brown his front too.

I whipped up a quickie gravy.

Served with Louisiana yams which I boiled in their skin (until tender), peeled and topped with pats of butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and peas in butter with salt and pepper. Biscuits finished off the meal for us.

While the chicken was just about done, I peeled my carrots, washed my celery and celery leaves, and quartered an onion. Added 4 chicken bouillon cubes. Once the bird was done, I immediately stripped the skin off him while steaming hot, removed the meat to a serving platter and placed the skin, back, and wings in the soup pot. Added cold water and my bowl of veggies – soups on the stove now.

Then I will strain that and transfer the clear broth to a clean pot, add my veggies and noodles, some of the cooked, diced chicken and make a pot of soup. I'll adjust my seasonings then. I'll have soup for tomorrow to enjoy with homemade bread for soppin'!

Recipe: Baked Fish, Tater Wedges, Slaw, My Bistro Tart

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Of course, it's Friday. A no meat day in our home. We still carry out this tradition.

It's also damp and cold – a perfect day to put the oven on – and – it's healthier to bake fish than to always have it deep-fried.

I've made my coleslaw early today –

Creamy Coleslaw

2 pounds of cabbage
2 large carrots
Minced red and green bell pepper for color and presentation (not quite half of each)
1 small onion
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 cup milk – I use whole milk in all my cooking and baking
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled is fine)

Shred cabbage and carrots with a grater or food processor.
Finely chop onion, or process in food processor. Combine cabbage, carrots, belln pepper and onion in a LARGE bowl.

Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage mixture and stir well. Refrigerate 2 hours, over night is even better, stir before serving.

My "fish butter" is made and in the refrigerator ready to go:

4 teaspoons butter (not margarine)
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A grind of black pepper from the pepper grinder

And the lemon is cut into slices; covered and in the refrigerator.

I've also made my coating for my fish and it's in a shallow dish covered with plastic wrap until I'm ready to bake the fish which is basically homemade bread crumbs combined with My Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning:

1/2 cup fresh ground black pepper
1 cup Kosher salt
1/3 cup dried lemon peel (you know I make my own)
1/4 cup dried minced onion (I make my own)
1/4 cup dried minced garlic (I make my own)
1/4 cup dried parsley leaves (I make my own)

Stir all the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

All I need to do for the fish is to rinse it off (I wash everything!) and pat dry, dredge in a flour mixture of flour, some Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper then press into coating and place on lightly oiled baking sheet – 350* F. 10 to 15 minutes (depending ont he thickenss of the fish).

I'll scrub my taters and leave the peels on and cut into wedges. I'll toss them in a bowl with melted butter, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh minced parsley, a bit of dried basil. Place skin-side down on lightly oiled baking sheet – and since these take longer I'll have them on at least 45 minutes or more before the fish goes in the oven.

My "bistro apple tart" sounds good as well –

I just roll my crust out and place on a large baking sheet; place my cut apples (using My Apple Spice Mix – posted in my blog here) in the center and pull the edges up, folding over about 2 inches coming up the apples. Center apples are not covered. Bake at 350* F. until a beautiful light golden brown and the apples are tender.

I use a double crust recipe (I don't like thin crusts) and if you want you can place the tart on parchment paper to make it easy to remove from the baking sheet to wire rack to cool. Try serving with warmed caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream; top with chopped walnuts, if desired.

And don't be afraid to add craisins, raisins, or nuts to your apple filling.

I've got rye bread which I'll slice thick and heat in the oven while the fish is baking. It's much better than toasting the bread – takes longer – but it's really good with a good bread – try it!

Recipe: Pork, Yams, Potato Dressing –

|August 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen


From 11/2010 –

The Sunday before Thanksgiving is a day I make sure I make a nice dinner for us because the rest of the week, with all the preparations being done, I will be cheating in the kitchen until the big meal on Thanksgiving.

I spend this time of the year really scrubbing everything in the house in preparation for the upcoming holidays. It's been like that in my family forever – everything has to be cleaned. But then again – I am cleaning every day of the year anyway – and I can thank my "Antiseptic Annie" mom for making me OCG! LOL –

Most of my family is anyway – I swear it.

I have very few things to pick up at the grocery store before Thanksgiving. I absolutely HATE shopping with crowds of idiots that do not know what they are doing and have no patience or manners. The roads are loaded with demolition derby drivers. Everyone is parked in handicapped parking – even those that are not handicapped; and parking lots are jammed with people, kids lagging behind, and the demolition derby drivers are driving faster than Nascar drivers! And if you think that is bad – give these same people shopping carts and turn them loose in the stores and it is total hell!

NEVER and I mean NEVER take a purse/handbag in the stores shopping! NEVER! Invest in one of those little purses you can hang on your neck and it holds your money, credit cards, license, and cell phone. Clip your keys to it using those clips that mountain climbers use.

My frozen turkey is in the refrigerator – thawing.

I'll start my baking Tuesday night. Wednesday I still take my babies to school and pick them up – and once I get home from there – I am in total hibernation until Saturday! No – I do not do the Black Friday routine. I do not appreciate pushing, shoving, ignorance, road rage, and drunks on the road. I have enough to take care of at home to keep me busy.

If I need to get any milk or eggs or fresh produce – I can do it Saturday or Sunday. Until then I'll have it all.

Our "last supper" is usually on the Sunday before. Then I cheat until Thanksgiving.

Skillet-Fried Pork Steaks, Steamed Yams, Potato Dressing, Applesauce and Creamed-Style Corn – with fruited gelatin for dessert with whipped cream on top.

First I drained a can of fruit cocktail, reserving the juice while I boiled my water. I measured the reserved juice into a measuring cup and it was about 3/4 cup – added cold water to make 1 cup and counted that as 1 cup of the cold water needed. I used 2 boxes of gelatin so I needed 2 cups of boiling water and 2 cups cold "liquid".

Heat my heavy skillet, then add my olive oil and heat that. While that was heating, I washed my pork steaks and patted them dry. Added to hot oil and seasoned with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, parsley, and a bit of onion powder.

I placed my Louisiana yams in my steamer basket over boiling water until tender.

Meanwhile, I made my Potato Dressing

I began my potato dressing by melting butter in my sauce pan in milk with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and parsley. Since this was a "last minute" idea – I cheated and used instant potato flakes instead of cooked and mashed potatoes; combined and removed from heat.

Using my wok-shaped skillet, I melted butter and added chopped onion; sauteed until tender.

While the onions were softening, I diced a couple slices of seeded rye bread; added to onion saute; mix well; add to cooked potatoes.

Transferred to small pie plate covered with foil and placed in a 350* F. oven for 15 minutes – just enough to heat through.

Added milk to my canned creamed corn – heated through adding a bit of Kosher salt and pepper.

Stripped my sweet potatoes from their skins with a fork, added a tub of applesauce and my meal was complete.

Stirred my drained fruit into my strawberry-flavored gelatin that was partially set. Served with whipped cream.

Recipe: Chicken, Roasted Veggies, Cream Sauce, Cole Slaw, Cheese Salad

|August 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

From February 2011 –

I don’t think it could be any colder than it is today and yet it is going to get worse. I’m tired of shoveling and I thought it was too cold to snow – but of course – I should not have even thought of that. I should know better. My driveway is calling me now – but it will just have to wait until later.

Yesterday the roads were atrocious and I had to drive into the city to watch the babies, get them ready for school and take them to the bus stop and then pick them up after school. The morning commute was a nightmare – took me 3 times longer to get there and had to park in a parking lot and walk the rest of the way to get to their house. No city plows.

After school was better – arctic cold – but the roads were in better shape and the snow subsided. So I drove through the drive thru at BK and got 3 hot chocolates before I picked them up from the bus. Believe me – they were really appreciated! I know I needed it because their bus was late and I freeze in the car waiting for them.

On my way home in the morning – even with it storming, I stopped at the market and picked up a package of chicken thighs to make for today’s dinner. Once I got home and shoveled again – I got to start making dinner for today. I have an abundance of various block cheeses and we absolutely love cheese salads. You can see that recipe and the pictures at my post – A day to spend in the kitchen –

This morning I decided to make my coleslaw for today. Using a simple hand grater I shredded my cabbage and carrot and grated a bit of sweet onion to add to it. For the dressing – (eye balling it all)

In a small bowl, combine:
About 2 T. sugar
2 – 3 T. white vinegar – whisk to dissolve

Whisk in:
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
A drizzle of vegetable oil (about 2 T.)
About 1/3 cup mayo (salad dressing is fine – but I had mayo opened already in the fridge)

Whisk well, pour over cabbage mixture, mix well; cover and refrigerate until dinner time.

As far as the cabbage mix –
3 – 4 heaping cups cabbage, shredded
½ large carrot, shredded
A few tablespoons grated onion

I didn’t want to make too much.

Moving on to the “chicken department” – which I will post another continuing saga with Tyson at the end –

You just have to love buying packages of Tyson chicken thighs – I swear it. You never know just how much of what is tucked under the perfect looking thighs. I know I cut off more than a pound of fat and excess skin from them – and I only purchased eight of them. You grab a thigh out of the package and there is enough skin on them to wrap around them twice! But I trimmed them of excess skin and fat, thoroughly washed in cold water with salt – twice, and rinsed well; pat dry.

Placed in my roasting pan and drizzled with olive oil, turning to coat. Seasoning:

Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Just a bit of onion powder

I seasoned the inside first, turned and seasoned the skin side; covered with foil and roasted at 350* F. for about 1 3/4 hours or so until done.

Meanwhile, I prepared my veggies for roasting:

Russet potatoes, cut into chunks (** see AFTER my Tyson “report”)
Cauliflower, cut into florets
Carrots, cut into chunks
Cooking onions, cut into wedges

Just toss with olive oil and season with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, and parsley – transfer to baking dish and cover with foil – placed on the top rack about an hour into cooking the chicken and the veggies were done in 45 – 50 minutes.

Instead of making pan gravy, I decided to make a cream sauce –
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup whole milk
About ½ cup sour cream

Heat through without boiling.

Chicken thighs, roasted veggies, cream sauce, cheese salad and coleslaw:

Made a delicious hot meal for us today!

And now for the continuing saga – Tyson chicken –
I’ve been cooking chicken for decades – I know my chicken. Granted, chickens were better years ago – let’s face it – what wasn’t? Well last week I purchased a Tyson Roasting chicken. Looked good. It wasn’t frozen (just a note here.) I remove it from the bag, drain all the yucky liquids out of it, cut off it’s ass – yeah, you know me – asses off first! Then I proceeded to rip out all the fat and innards they didn’t clean out, cut off all the excess fat and skin and clean in cold salted water – TWICE. Rinse well, pat dry, and place in my roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season, shove a cleaned carrot stick and celery stalk with the leaves in the cavity, tie the legs, pour in some chicken broth, cover, and into a 350* F. oven. Looks good. Smells good. I wanted to use the carcass to make homemade soup.

Mind you – my chickens, just like my turkeys – fall apart. Always tender, juicy and good.

I basted several times. And when I removed it from the oven – I had met up with an armored chicken from the Twilight Zone. A sharp knife would not penetrate the skin. It was rock hard.


Something is wrong – really, really wrong here. So I pull out my weapons of mass destruction (heavy duty knives) and I start to SAW this bird apart. Sure didn’t get too far with it. The sound of sawing the skin was scary alone.

Needless to say – it was a meatless – or should I say – chicken-less meal that day. A real disappointment.

No we didn’t starve – I have meat in the fridge and some turkey leftover from a previous meal that I was able to quickly cook for us to eat.

But as far as that chicken goes – I don’t know where the hell it came from! The thighs I made today were good – but that bird – scary thought of what it would have done to us if we ingested it. Although I don’t think we would have been able to bite into it. Never in my life did I ever encounter anything like that! Even the turkey cooked for Christmas in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was more tender than this thing.

**And – now to start on the Jolly Green Giant and his ho-ho-ho valley of veggies. I purchased a 10 pound bag of Russets – and I have only found 3 potatoes so far in the bag that were not rotten inside. They look good on the outside – and I was going to make baked potatoes the other day when I bought the bag (on Thursday) but something told me to cut them open and check them out. Yucky brown!

Oh well – is it just me or do you have problems with lousy produce as well?

And I won’t even ASK if anyone has ever encountered a chicken that could not be cooked and cut!

Recipe: July 4th – crockpot BBQ Western Pork Ribs

|July 3, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Well – it's the July 4th weekend and what is better than a nice BBQ?

Since I am spending the holiday alone this year, I've decided to have a little BBQ for myself.

I had wanted to BBQ some beef short ribs, but of course, the meat manager was all out and said they won't be in till Tuesday.  So much for that – I'll have to make them after Tuesday.  So I "settled" for Western Style Pork Ribs.

And with this heat and humidity that came in all at once – the crockpot was my friend today.  And I didn't have to stand over it as it cooked.  Gave me some "personal time" that I appreciated.

After washing and patting my pork dry (I wash everything), I lightly coated with oil, and coated with a bit of a dry rub (both sides):

Kosher salt

cracked black pepper



onion powder


chili powder


As I get older, I don't want a lot of heat and spice so I went light on the chili powder and paprika.  Covered and let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour.

I was in the mood for a baked tater – but no way with this heat was I turning on the oven!  So I settled for a potato fan.

After scrubbing my tater, I sliced 1/4-inch slices about 3/4 of the way through the potato – being careful not to go all the way through and ending up with  slices.  Normally, I like these done in the oven.  I melt butter and swirl the tater in it, and I drizzle melted butter between the slices and season.  Bake in the oven until done.

For today, I buttered the tater, slathering it on top and seasoning with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, and parsley.  The butter will melt into the slices.

I made a foil/parchment "boat" to use in the crockpot along side the pork.  This way the butter stayed around the tater.

Making the sauce was easy today – I used a bottled sauce that I cut with ketchup.  Like I said – sometimes you need to tone down the spices.

I set the crockpot on HIGH, and it was done in 4 hours.  During the last hour of cooking, I basted the pork with the BBQ sauce.

Add some corn on the cob – and I had a nice meal.


Recipe: Country-Style Pork Ribs, Tater Casserole, Bean Salad

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Things are getting better – the tranny is fixed and I was able to go to the market – FINALLY! I hated being without a car for 5 days! Made it tough cooking for a bit too!

But this morning, after I took the babies to school, I stopped at the market for a few things. I was in the mood for country-style ribs, taters, and I wanted a bean salad!

Bean Salad

Begin by making your dressing.

In a bowl, combine:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar (cider vinegar is good too)

Whisk well to dissolve sugar.

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon (eyeballed) dried parsley

Stir in ¼ cup olive oil – whisk well to combine; set aside.

In large bowl, combine:
1 can (28 oz.) green beans (today I used French cut), drained well
1 can (15 oz.) light red kidney beans, drain, rinse, drain well
1 can (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drain, rinse, drain well
1 can (15 oz.) Great Northern beans, drain, rinse, drain well

Wash, slice and add:
2 ribs celery

Slice 1/3 large onion (today I used Vidalia)

Pour prepared dressing over; mix well; cover and refrigerate for a couple hours for the flavors to meld.

Country-Style Ribs

Drizzled olive oil in pan; added ribs (washed and pat dry). Season to taste with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, parsley, garlic, and onion powder. Skillet fry (covering as needed – you don’t want any water that has been injected to be released and boil your ribs!)

Meanwhile – start potatoes.

Mama’s Tater Casserole
This casserole is something I came up with years ago. I didn’t have enough white potatoes for dinner (of course – it was during a wicked winter blizzard and not only were we buried, but there was a driving ban on – like we could have gotten out!) and I had one long sweet potato. I was down to 2 small onions at the time so I put this together and it has been a popular dish around here since. Goes with anything!

Preheat oven to 350* F.

Begin by buttering a casserole dish; set aside. Today I placed pats of butter in the bottom.

Peel white and sweet potatoes. Place in cold water while making this. Pat taters dry as you remove them to slice.

I started by slicing my sweet potato into 1/8-inch thick slices. (It’s hot and I don’t want the oven on any longer than I need to day – usually I cut them into ¼-inch slices!) And you can make as many layers as you want.

Layer sweet potato slices in bottom; overlapping a bit; season with a bit of Kosher salt, pepper, and parsley.

Top with a layer of sliced white taters and sliced onions; season as above and dot with butter.

Top with remaining sliced sweet potatoes; season and dot with butter. Cover with foil – 30 minutes and it’s done! (if slicing thicker it may take longer – stick a fork in the taters to test for doneness)

I get fancy with this and I line up the potatoes by color for a striped effect, etc. but it’s too hot to play today.

Served pork ribs with applesauce, tater casserole, and bean salad.


|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

One of the most popular vegetables in the United States is the potato. There are over 100 different varieties – but about six varieties make up the commercial market.

RED POTATOES – A good quality red potato will be firm, the skin will be smooth, and it will have a bright-red coloring. They should have a few shallow eyes. Stay away from the soft, wrinkled ones, any that have cut skins or are green-tinted.

Red potatoes are available year-round.

Great for baking, roasting, frying, boiling and steaming; make a good potato salad.

RUSSET POTATOES – A good quality Russett potato should be firm with a net-like texture to the skin with Russett brown coloring; they should have very few shallow eyes. Do not buy any that are soft, wrinkled or is sprouting, or if the skin is cut or are green-tinted. Most likely the most popular of the potatoes consumed.

Russett potatoes are available year-round.

Great for baking, frying, mashing, roasting, boiling, steaming, and they make excellent French fries – a great all-purpose potato.

PURPLE/BLUE POTATOES – Purple and blue-skinned potatoes have a nutty flavor; with some varieties having the same color flesh as their skin. Others have a white flesh with just the skin being color.

Great microwaving, steaming or baking and deep frying; making great salads and side dishes; and can be used in soups or for making French fries. The colors make a wonderful presentation with their color.

WHITE POTATOES – A good quality white potato is firm, with smooth skin and has a brilliant-white-to-cream coloring. They should have very few shallow eyes.

White potatoes are available year-round.

Good for baking, frying, boiling, mashing, and they make a great potato salad. White potatoes are less starchy than russett potatoes with a white interior and beige skin. Another great al-purpose potato.

YELLOW-FLESH POTATOES – these are the Yukon Gold. A good quality Yukon Gold will be firm with a smooth skin – cream to light brown in color with a few shallow eyes. They have a dense, creamy texture that is light and fluffy. Avoid those that are soft, wrinkled, with cut skins or are green-tinted.

Yukon Golds are available year-round.

These can be baked, mashed, fried, whipped or roasted and make excellent potato pancakes. These also make excellent scalloped potatoes, au gratin potato dishes, great in soups and chowder.

FINGERLING POTATOES – These cute little potatoes cook up fast because of their small size having a very rich flavor. Being so thin-skinned they should be cooked whole with their skins on.

Fingerling potatoes are 1 to 2-inches in diameter and 2 to 3-inches in length.

These compliment any meal and should be steamed, boiled or baked.


New potatoes are potatoes (any variety) that hasn’t been stored.

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark/damp place with good air circulation for best keeping. A good temperature to store them is 38 to 46 * F. Even when stored under the best conditions, potatoes will lose some of their quality the longer they are stored.

Never refrigerate potatoes. Cold temperatures convert starch to sugar which will give the potatoes a sweet taste. The sugar will caramelize during the cooking process producing a brown potato with an off-flavor.

Storing for a week or two at a temperature of 65 to 70* F. is about as long as you can store them at that temperature.

If your potatoes begin to sprout, they can still be eaten. Remove and discard the sprouts and if the potato is still firm, it is a good one to eat. If it is wrinkled, shriveled and sprouting – do not eat it.

A potato that has a green tint to it has been exposed to too much light and a toxic alkaloid (solanin) forms in the skin. You can peel it off and the rest of the potato is good to eat, but it won’t be at its best – it may have a bitter taste. This exposure to light could be from the potato growing out of the soil, or it can be caused by fluorescent light or sunlight during storage.

Never store potatoes near your onions – they will rot.

It’s best to purchase potato varieties based on the recipe you are using.

New potatoes are moist and waxy; best if they are steamed, boiled and used in salads.

Mature white potatoes are somewhat dry and starchy. Great for making French fries, baked or for mashing.

Round, red potatoes can be rather waxy; great for boiling and mashing.

Thin-skinned round, white potatoes hold their shape in salads as well as when roasted or boiled.

Yellow-fleshed potatoes steam, roast and mash well.


If making mashed potatoes:
Russett potatoes will make fluffier potatoes.
Yellow, white and red potatoes can become gummy – they need a little extra TLC when preparing.
If you leave the skins on you will add flavor and save nutrients from getting lost. Wash well using a vegetable brush.
Cut the potatoes in uniform pieces before cooking so that they cook evenly.
Potatoes can be pre-cut and stored in cold water (to prevent darkening) for up to 2 hours before cooking.
When potatoes are fork-tender, drain immediately and return to same pan over low heat for a minute to remove any excess water by evaporation (you want the potatoes dry). Shake the pan frequently to prevent scorching.
If you pre-heat the milk you are adding you will prevent your potatoes from getting sticky. Never boil milk – heat until hot.
Beat the potatoes only until light and fluffy. If you over-beat them they will be gummy. This can easily happen if you are using an electric mixer.

And some miscellaneous thoughts:

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the

Cutting Hassleback Potatoes
Step 1
Place the potato on a cutting board and lay a wooden spoon against the potato.
Step 2
Using the heel of the knife cut the potato into 5mm sections, slicing down to the wooden spoon.

Dicing Potatoes
Step 1
Square off the potato, cutting off the sides and ends.
Step 2
Slice the potato into three sections and then cut into three sections lengthways.
Step 3
Cut the potato into cubes.

Flipping Potato Patties
Step 1
To get the ideal patty shape, use a frying pan that is similar to the size of the patty you want to make. A non-stick omelet pan would be ideal.
Step 2
To flip the patty over, place a plate over the top of the pan.
Step 3
Flip the pan over so the patty falls onto the plate. Slide back into the pan to cook the other side of the patty.
Step 4
Once the patty is cooked, repeat the process to remove from the pan.

To make lighter and fluffier mashed potatoes, add a pinch or two
of baking powder to the potatoes before whipping.

A ranch dressing seasoning packet, horseradish, garlic or other fresh herbs can give your mashed potatoes a boost. Try mashing them with evaporated milk or skim milk.

Cooking sweet potatoes in orange juice adds a natural sweetness and great flavor. Look for red yams or dark orange sweet potatoes because they have more flavor, color and moisture. Add small amounts of vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg for flavoring.

Let raw potatoes stand in cold water for at least half an hour
before frying to improve the crispness of french-fried potatoes.

Potatoes will absorb more dressing if you dress them hot then

Potatoes are a favorite thickener. Combine cooked potatoes with a little liquid, puree, then stir into the mixture being thickened. Cook a potato quickly by quartering it and putting it in a steamer with a little water. Cover and cook until the potato is done. Mash the potato with a fork, then scoop it out of the skin directly into the mixture being thickened. You can also freeze leftover mashed potatoes in 1/2-cup blobs and stir into a sauce or gravy. Or save the flesh of leftover baked potatoes, mash with a little liquid and use the same way. And, though I don’t recommend them for general consumption, instant mashed potatoes also work. Add a tablespoon or two, then wait a minute to check the thickening action before adding more.

If storing peeled and cut raw potatoes before cooking, submerge them in vinegar water (1 tablespoon of white vinegar per 2 cups water). The vinegar will keep the potatoes white and helps prevent them from turning mushy after they're cooked.

Place spuds in the fridge a day before peeling, cutting and baking fries (for oven fries) to make them caramelize and crisp.

Keep peeled potatoes white when boiling by adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the water.

Sprinkle a spoonful or two of instant mashed potatoes into thin gravy as it simmers to thicken it up and add flavor.

Recipe: Sweet Potatoes and Yams

|June 1, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Would someone please explain this to the supermarkets, their produce managers and employees, to their produce buyers and their “heads” that get paid the big bucks but don’t know anything about food products?

Consumers have questions on products and they can’t even ask produce workers in the supermarkets because they do not know the difference. I blame it on the bigwigs that make the big bucks – they do not train, nor do they care to train, employees so that they can be knowledgeable and help the consumer when questions arise.

First of all, they do not know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam!

Yams are so hard to find! I would love a true yam – but I have to settle for sweet potatoes. And I go for the “oranger” ones.

Wherever these supermarkets can get a good deal, that’s the way to go. They don’t care if it is what we want; they feel we will buy it anyway.

Not this gal – I buy what I want – not what they want me to buy.

To begin with, a sweet potato is not a potato. It is a tuber.

A sweet potato is a storage root (like a carrot is). A yam is a tuber.

A sweet potato is part of the Morning Glory family. A yam is from the yam family and are tubers like potatoes.

A sweet potato has a smooth, thin skin. They are yellow to orange-colored with an elongated shape, with ends that taper to a point. The yellow-skinned sweet potato has a yellow flesh that is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture (similar to a white baking potato). The dark orange or redder skinned sweet potato has an orange flesh that is sweet and moist. Depending on the type of sweet potato, the flesh can be from white to purple.

A yam’s skin is rough and scaly. They are shape long and cylindrical; sometimes with a split bottom resembling “toes”. There are several varieties and have a brown or black skin with a flesh ranging from white-off-white, purple or red (depending on the variety) and has a higher sugar content than a sweet potato making it much sweeter and yams have a higher moisture content.

A sweet potato tastes sweet. A yam can be more starchy.

Sweet potatoes are usually the size of regular white potatoes. Yams can grow as high as 7 feet tall and weigh up to 150 pounds! (Would I love to dive into that one!)

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A. Yams contain no vitamin A.

A sweet potato is grown in the USA (North Carolina, Louisiana, California, Georgia – mainly), China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Uganda. A yam is imported from the Caribbean and Africa. Yams need a longer growing season which the tropics has.

The truth is – there is a 99% chance that your supermarket is selling sweet potatoes and trying to pass them off as yams.

Recipe: just wishing for the warmer weather to come –

|April 8, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

When April 1st finally came I thought for sure the weather would have gotten a bit better.  But then again – it was April Fool's Day!  And with it came SNOW – it was so cold – it's still cold – although the warmth is trying to squeeze in there.  And of course, it's Lent and it was Friday – a no-meat day around here.


So homemade cream of potato soup sounded good for the day.

So I chopped my celery, celery leaves, sweet onion, and grated my carrots and placed in my pot with some butter to saute until tender.  I lightly seasoned with Kosher salt because I was using chicken bouillon granules.  Added my cracked black pepper, garlic and parsley with 2 quarts (roughly) cold water and brought that to a simmer.  Added my chicken bouillon.

Meanwhile I diced my taters and added to the pot.  When my taters were half-cooked; added a handful or so of instant potato flakes for thickening and continued to simmer until my taters were tender I added my whole milk to heat through.  BTW – I don't know where the color went!  I would never make it as a photographer.  You could give me the most expensive camera in the world and I'd still flub it up!

Add some crusty bread for soppin' and you're all set!