Creamy Cheesy Home Fries

So, this was supposed to be something different. I was actually going to follow a Food Network magazine and make au gratin potatoes light with a creamy cheese and poblano sauce. After working all day and grocery shopping I was like “nope, going to alter to my liking.” I’m actually glad that I did, though, because this is fantastic. I will warn you – this is not a healthy dish!!! It has a ton of oil and the boys make me crank out the salt in the potatoes – you can adjust that accordingly, though, and control the saturated fat in your dish. I hope you like!

Ingredients for home Fries:
4 tbsp oil
2 lbs of potatoes, diced (I had to take the skins off to appease picky college boys but I prefer to leave them on)
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Sauce:
2 tbsp oil
1 small or 1/2 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces.
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1/2 stick butter
4 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. half & half
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, shredded finely
salt and pepper to taste

Ok, this is simple easy peasy. First, start the potatoes. In a giant skillet heat some oil on medium high, and when it’s nice and screamin’ hot, put your onions and garlic in.

potatoes recipe

After that, I let it cook for about 3-4 minutes, until they’re close to being done. Then I add the potatoes, cook on medium high about five minutes. After that, I pat it down into the bottom of the pan, and reduce heat to medium. I let it sit for about five minutes, stir it up, pat it down again, and let it sit five minutes more. Then once more, and five more minutes.

potato recipe

While this is going on, it’s sauce time. Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat in a saucepan, and then add the peppers and garlic. Cook for about four minutes, letting the pepper get soft.

side dish recipe

Reduce the heat to medium, and melt in the butter. Stir in thyme and the salt and pepper. Add flour and stir well, coating and cooking into a roux. Once it’s all done, whisk in the water and continue whisking until all the lumps are gone and you’re left with a smooth gravy-like texture. Stir in the half & half, whisking to mix, then raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling remove from heat and stir in the cheese, adding additional salt and pepper if you like. If it’s too thick and isn’t like a creamy sauce, whisk in a little water or chicken broth to thin it up a little bit – but make sure you only whisk in a little at a time.

sauce recipe

Now, back to the fries. After the third five-minute rotation on medium, crank the heat up to high and cook for about five more minutes, stirring constantly. Then you serve the fries with the sauce on top. I actually made grilled cheese with waffles instead of bread and bacon and cheddar inside to go with these. They were pretty darn good.

southern home fries recipe

Like I said, this is definitely not -healthy- but it is delicious and most awesome comfort food. Not only that, but it’s way easy!

Steak Pizzaolia – deeeelicious!

So, while meandering around the store the other day, I happened upon a Food Network magazine. I used to be addicted to these things I mean those and Rachel Ray’s mags? Man I had them the day the things hit the stands. I have a crap-ton of them underneath the coffee table, half-cooked through and stained with food and love. I decided it was time to use a base recipe and expand on it (on a side note – I am really glad that I did get it, because its insert this month is 50 grilled cheese sandwiches. Tomorrow is going to be awesome!). I wanted to try to cook some steak in some other way than on the grill, so here is the first recipe I have decided to gut out. I want to get a ricer so I can try gnocchi in the future.

Steak Pizzaolia Ingredients:
1 1/3 lb boneless sirloin steak, about 1/2 inch thick, excess fat trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 8oz contained of sliced mushrooms
1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes (crushed or diced)
1/2 can water
pinch of red pepper flakes

First, heat the oil in a skillet on medium high heat. trim the fat off your steaks and season both sides with salt and pepper.

steak recipe

When the pan is nice and hot, drop your steaks in and sear about 2-3 minutes on each side, until it’s nice and brown. Make sure you don’t flip them too soon or you won’t get that delicious crust!

steak recipe

Once it’s done searing, remove the steaks and let it rest on a plate. Don’t touch it right now! In the same skillet put in the garlic, and when it starts to sizzle, add the rest of the vegetables.

italian steak recipe

Cook about 4 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. bring to a simmer, and nestle the steaks in.

steak italian recipe

Then serve!

italian steak dinner recipe

(side note: I served this with Tyler Florence’s foccacia bread and instead of all the toppings on it just coated it with oil, then sprinkled on thyme leaves, basil, a bit of minced garlic and onion powder, then a sprinkling of both sharp cheddar and parmesan cheese, shredded. It’s absolutely divine with this!)

Peaches and Pork – who’d have guessed?

So, I was looking for something new to try. I was watching Rachel Ray and she was doing this chicken and peaches thing. Immediately, my brain started to turn. The boy does not like chicken one little bit. Sorry I don’t have step by step photos for this one. It was super late and I was in a bit of a rush to get dinner done so the boy can go to sleep. I also feel compelled to say that he did not like the sauce. I did, though, so I decided to still publish the recipe.

The Pork Chops
6 medium sized pork chops
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cajun seasoning

The Sauce
1 can peach slices, sauce reserved
1 cup beef broth
4 tbsp flower
1/2 stick butter
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2/3 c. apple juice
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix bread crumbs and all the pork chop seasonings into a bowl. Dredge the pork chops on both sides in the mixture and place on a greased baking sheet. bake the pork chops for approximately 25 minutes or until done (internal temp should be around 165).

Meanwhile, we’ll work on the sauce. Over medium high heat melt the butter, then add the flour. Whisk around until the flower is all buttery and coated, then add in the peach juice and beef broth. Whisk until there are no lumps. When it starts to thicken, whisk in the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for about five minutes.

With the peach slices, I put about a tablespoon of brown sugar on them and warmed them in the microwave and served alongside the pork chops. I also served mine with some easy mac and cheese. (I normally don’t cook pre-made mac and cheese but we were out late).

pork recipes

Sorry the peaches are gone. They were so good!

Muddy Buddy Remix

All over Pinterest I have seen pins for muddy buddies made with Chex everywhere. While I like Chex okay, we had other sorts of cereal here and some assorted goods, and I decided to try to make my own version. I did two, and while I liked the white version better, my boyfriend adored the chocolate, so I’m going to showcase that one.

Muddy Buddy Remix
4 c. cereal (I used Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Experiment with ones you like!)
2/3 c. chocolate chips
1 tbsp shortening
1/4 c. dry chocolate cake mix
handful of marshmallows
handful of pecans (if desired)

chocolate treat recipe

First, you put the chocolate chips and the shortening into a microwave safe bowl, then put it on for about a minute and a half, until it’s melty and awesome. You stir it together (you can omit the shortening if you want thicker chocolate, but I felt it made it into a coating way better with it in there.

Then put the cereal into a very large bowl, and pour the chocolate mix over top of it – stir until it’s all coated and looks something like this:

chocolate chex mix recipe

Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes to take the chill off. After it’s cooled, stir in the cake mix, the marshmallows, and the nuts. Then store in an air-tight container. It should look like this when you’re done:

chocolate marshmallow candy

The white version is easy as well – substitute the chocolate chips with four squares of white almond bark (or white chocolate chips), and use white cake mix (I used funfetti and it was awesome) instead. For the cereal I used the new Krave, and it was great. I also did not add nuts into the white. This is what that end result looked like:

white chocolate chex mix

Loaded Sweet Potato bites

Ever since Sonic started their sweet potato bites, I’ve been obsessed with sweet potatoes. I’m not going to lie, the tots are pretty good and I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe their being almost twice as expensive as regular tater tots). However, when I was browsing pinterest (and what a time sink that site is) I found a recipe for loaded potato bites. And since I’m all about the sweet potato, I started thinking … how can I have this in sweet potato form? The answer was right in front of me. Everyone loves loaded baked potatoes and that’s what this recipe was for. But everyone also loves sweet potato casserole, unless you know, you’re a communist. So, an idea was born. A trip to the grocery store, and I had this.

sweet potato recipe

ignore the paints in the background, I was crafting earlier. It’s a safe distance from food prep!)

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I used one big can and drained it and smashed it up with a fork, so it’s approximate).
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
mini marshmallows

Basically. you mix everything but the marshmallows into a bowl. You want the consistency to be almost dough-ish, something you can easily form around marshmallows, so you might want to add some more bread crumbs if it is still too gooey or sticky. If you end up adding too much, just a smidge of water should be fine. You could also use melted butter for a more creamy effect.

Once you have the dough right, get about a ping pong ball size amount and smash a mini marshmallow or two in the center (it really just depends on how big you want them. Form the “dough” around it and set aside on a lined pan until you’ve got them all done (there are no pictures of this because it takes two hands and well, yeah there’s one of me).

Put some oil in a pan (I used vegetable) and turn it on high, letting it heat up. Then fry those babies up.

sweet potato tots recipe

They turned out gorgeous, small and round and just the little hint of a surprise inside.

sweet potato casserole alternative

I served these with some parmesan shake and bake porkchops, fried okra, and biscuits. It’s truly southern and a new take on a side dish classic.