Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scalloped and Mashed Potato Gratin

The Captain and I have been into comfort food since we have been a bit under the weather.  As I was checking out Sandra Lee's website since I was looking for something quick and easy to cook, this semi-homemade potato casserole jumped out at me.

What I really like is the addition of onion soup mix for flavor.  I've used it in dips and slow cooking meat with great results.

As usual, I would use the recipe as a guide since I don't usually like frozen potato products (except for tater tots) and I would use real bacon.  Of course, the convenience foods are what make it semi-homemade, but I'd rather make it more economical and tasty.

Start to Finish: 35 minutes
Cook: 6 servings


Nonstick cooking spray, Pam®

1 bag (24-ounce) frozen cut red potatoes, Ore-Ida® Steam n’ Mash®

1⁄3 cup evaporated milk, Carnation®

1 tablespoon onion soup mix, Lipton®

3 tablespoons butter

11⁄2 cups shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend, Sargento®

1⁄2 cup frozen chopped onions, Ore-Ida®

1⁄4 cup real bacon pieces, Hormel®

1 cup heavy cream

Dash ground nutmeg, McCormick®

Salt and ground black pepper

1⁄4 cup bread crumbs, Progresso®

1⁄2 teaspoon paprika, McCormick®


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray a 11⁄2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.

Microwave potatoes according to package directions. In a bowl, mash half the potatoes with the milk, soup mix, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Spread mashed potatoes evenly into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle1⁄2 cup of the cheese, half the onions, and half the bacon on the mashed potatoes. Add half the remaining unmashed potatoes to the dish in an even layer. Repeat layering cheese, onions, and bacon. Top with remaining unmashed potatoes.

In a small saucepan, heat the cream, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste over medium heat to just under a boil; pour over potatoes. Sprinkle remaining 1⁄2 cup of cheese on top. In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs and paprika. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter; stir into the bread crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of casserole.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbling and browned.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chicken and Vegetable Alfredo Casserole

Great variety of vegetables and lots of room for variation is what this recipe offers.

The crunchy topping has grabbed by attention for use in other recipes.

There are some variation suggestions at the end of the recipe, one is to experiment with alfredo sauce flavors, which I high recommend!  

My favorite is roasted red pepper alfredo sauce that is so flavorful and delicious, it does not taste like it came out of a jar . . . and it really does not matter what brand you use.  Another thing I like to do with the roasted red pepper sauce is include some cut roasted red pepper, either fresh or the ones that come in a jar (which is a great item to keep in the pantry to perk up many dishes).

As with all recipes, this semi-homemade recipe can be adapted to fresh vegetables or the combination of vegetables that you prefer.  Recipes are just a guide!


bag (19 oz) Green Giant® frozen broccoli & carrots with garlic & herbs
cup all-purpose flour
cup grated Parmesan cheese
cup cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2
cups cubed cooked chicken
jar (16 oz) four-cheese Alfredo pasta sauce
can (15.25 oz) Green Giant® whole kernel sweet corn, drained

  • Heat oven to 375°F. In large microwavable bowl, microwave broccoli & carrot mixture as directed on package, using minimum cook time.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix flour, Parmesan cheese, butter and egg with pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Set aside.
  • To hot vegetables in large bowl, add chicken, pasta sauce and corn. Stir gently to combine. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole or 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate. Sprinkle with crumbly mixture.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
Two cans (5 oz each) tuna in water, drained and flaked, can be used in place of the chicken.
Alfredo sauce comes in different flavor varieties. Experiment to find your favorite.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Can't get enough strawberries!!

When you live in strawberry country, you can buy tons of strawberries for a ridiculously inexpensive price. Especially if you go to the farm and pick them yourself.

My favorite way to have strawberries is cooked on the stove with simple syrup poured over hot biscuits topped with whipped cream.  I haven't been very adventurous since it is one of my favorite things.

The Captain loves to bake some puff pastry and top it with the same strawberry syrup, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with more syrup over the ice cream.  Yeah, it is over the top!

How about this Vanilla Cake with
 Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting?

Talk about some strawberry love!!
Click here for the recipe.

Love the article from chocolatechocolateandmore with enough recipes to keep me experimenting for a long time! A treat for strawberry lovers!

Click here to go to the article

Click here to go to other strawberry articles

Creamy Cheesy Ham Chowder

This creamy and cheesy chowder is great for giving leftover ham new life on the dinner table.

It also makes use of leftover vegetables . . . don't be confined to the vegetables listed on the recipe, use what you have on hand!

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 20 min.
MAKES 10 servings


10 bacon strips, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup diced carrots

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1-1/2 cups water

2-1/2 cups cubed potatoes

1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules

Pepper to taste

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups cubed fully cooked ham


In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. In the drippings, saute onion and carrots until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add milk and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Add the potatoes, corn, bouillon and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add cheese and ham; heat until cheese is melted. Stir in bacon. 

Originally published as Cheesy Ham Chowder in 
Quick Cooking September/October 2000, p7

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