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Baked Potato Soup

25 Nov

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Brrr, this cold Texas weather has gotten me making lots of soups and comfort food. I’ve been a big fan of baked potato soup but have never tried making it till now. I found this crock pot recipe that was SO simple and perfect for those days when you’re on the run but need a quick and delicious dinner that you can finish in a snap when you get home.

After the potatoes cook for hours, you only have to add the cream cheese and blend the soup a bit to get the finished product. It’s best to leave a little bit of chunkiness to the soup, and just a reminder that if you use a standard blender instead of an immersion blender, to be very very careful and hold that lid on tight!

Also, this is half of the original recipe, so if you’re cooking for a crowd or want lots of leftovers, simply double it or refer to the source below. Sadly my crockpot isn’t big enough to hold 5 pounds of potatoes and right now I’m only feeding two adults and a hungry little baby on the way!

Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients:
2.5 lbs russet potatoes, washed but NOT peeled, diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
1/2 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
32 ounces (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock or broth
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 Tbsp seasoned salt
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Optional garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, chives, etc

Yield: 5-6 servings

Directions:
Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasonings, and stock/broth to your slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

Before serving, add the softened cream cheese and puree the soup with an immersion blender until the cheese is incorporated and at least half the soup is blended. (Or you could remove half the soup and the cream cheese to an upright blender, then re-incorporate). Stir well add some extra water if the soup is too thick. Top with your choice of garnishes, and enjoy while it’s hot!

Source: Mama Loves Food

Gnocchi with Sweet Corn, Spinach, and Chicken in Cream Sauce

24 Jun

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This meal really serves up a great combination of flavors. You get a little sweetness from the corn, some hearty chicken breast, tender potato gnocchi, a bit of spinach which adds some color and extra nutrients, and a light creamy sauce to bind it all together. You could even toss in extra vegetables like mushrooms or arugula to really beef it up.

This dish is actually quite simple to make. The sauce comes together in about 10 minutes. Just boil some gnocchi and add it to the finished sauce with some frozen corn (or fresh, if you have time!), chopped or shredded chicken, and a few handfuls of fresh spinach and wait for them to wilt a bit. Dish some into a bowl, sprinkle a little parmesan on top, and you have yourself a tasty meal!

Gnocchi with Sweet Corn, Spinach, and Chicken in Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
1/2 bag frozen sweet corn (or you can use fresh corn)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 cups fresh spinach, whole leaves or chopped
1 lb package of potato gnocchi
3/4 cup half and half
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Yield: 4 servings

Directions:
In large pot, boil water and cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain the gnocchi, but make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. (Don’t rinse the gnocchi)

For the cream sauce, combine the half and half, cream cheese, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring until the cream cheese has evenly dispersed throughout sauce. Stir in the reserved pasta water. Add the corn and chicken and cook for a few more minutes.

Fold in the spinach and gnocchi until everything is evenly combined. Dish it up while it’s hot and top with shredded parmesan cheese if wanted. Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Baking with Blondie

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

26 Feb

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I thought this was a fitting post to announce that my dear husband and I are going to Italy next month! This trip started as a dream that we almost laughed off as impossible, but after looking at our vacation fund and rearranging our schedules, the dream became an unexpected reality! We’ll possibly be in Rome when the new Pope is chosen, take a side trip to Pisa, Florence, and Siena, plus we’ll be there for Holy Week and Easter! Can’t wait to share the experience with all of you. 🙂

Besides the awesome religious aspect of our trip, I’m beyond excited for all the great food we’ll get to eat. Although, I gave up coffee and Jason gave up alcohol for Lent. Go figure! We’ve been joking about how on Easter, I’ll be buzzed from espresso and he’ll be buzzed from Italian wine. 😉

Besides pasta and pizza, one of my favorite Italian foods is gnocchi. I’ve always bought it pre-made at the grocery store, but have had it on my try-to-make-at-home list for a long time. Feeling all giddy and inspired by our upcoming trip motivated me to finally give it a try!

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If you’ve never had gnocchi, I encourage you to give it a try! (the store bought variety is so easy to make – you just boil it like pasta) Gnocchi is typically a potato based dumpling that’s light, fluffy, and delicious. With only three main ingredients – potato, egg, and flour – it’s a pretty basic dish to make. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some prep work involved in making the dough, but once you get the gnocchi shaped, the cooking process goes pretty quickly.

This Italian favorite can be paired with pesto, marinara, cream sauce, or just some simple butter and herbs. I usually add some Italian sausage, then have some salad or a vegetable on the side to make a delicious hearty meal. Enjoy!

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes, halved
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pesto sauce (or your sauce of choice)

Yield: 4-6 servings

Directions:
Place the halved potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water. Boil for about 40 minutes or until soft. Remove potatoes one by one with a slotted spoon and quickly peel them. Mash the potatoes with a with a fork or a ricer and ensure there are no lumps. Don’t over mash – they should be light and fluffy. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Shape potatoes into a mound with a well in the middle. Pour the egg into the well and sprinkle on 3/4 of the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a metal cutter, mix the flour, potato, and egg by gently chopping and scraping the ingredients together. Chop, scrape, chop, scrape until the ingredients are roughly combined. The dough should be moist but not sticky. If they are too sticky then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 of flour.

Lightly flour your work surface and then gently roll the dough several times with a very light touch. You don’t want to over mix the dough. It should feel light and airy. Place the dough on a clean surface and cut about 8 logs.

On a floured surface, gently roll each log so that it’s about 2/3 inch thick. Using the cutter, cut off 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Mark the gnocchi with a fork by lightly but quickly rolling them down the inside of the fork’s prongs. This reduces the bulk of the gnocchi and makes little grooves to catch the sauce.

Bring some salted water to the boil. Have a non-stick pan ready, on medium heat, with 1 tsp of butter next to the boiling water. Place the gnocchi in batches into the boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top and then sauté them in the butter for about 1 minute or until they brown slightly.

Place the browned gnocchi into the waiting bowl of pesto and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Source: Slightly adapted from All Things Nice

Zuppa di Gnocchi e Pesto

24 May

I know we’re past soup season, but this recipe is too tasty to set aside till fall! You know that a soup is good when it’s requested by your husband in advance for future times of sickness! This Italian soup is hearty without being heavy and the roasted onion and garlic adds some amazing flavor. When topped with diced tomatoes, it tastes like bruschetta in soup form! YUM!

PS: Happy Birthday to my mom! 🙂

Zuppa di Gnocchi e Pesto

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
8 cloves garlic, in skins
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 cartons chicken broth, 32 oz each
1/2 jar pesto sauce (8 oz jar)
1 package gnocchi, 16 oz
2 whole roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Place chicken breasts in a roasting pan. Break apart quartered onion and scatter around and on top of chicken breasts. Toss the garlic, skins and all, around the chicken. The garlic will not flavor the chicken at this point. You are merely roasting them and will add them to the broth in a bit. Drizzle olive oil on the chicken. Add some salt and pepper and roast for 35-45 minutes or until the center is white and no longer pink.

Once cooked, allow the chicken to cool so that it can be shredded. Scoop out the roasted onion and garlic to use in the broth. While the chicken is cooling, pour the chicken broth into a food processor or blender along with the onions and roasted garlic (skins removed after roasting of course) and half of the pesto. Pulse until there are no large chunks of garlic left. The roasted garlic will give the soup a velvety feel in your mouth. Definitely don’t skip this step. It’s so worth it!

After shredding the chicken, mix in the rest of the pesto. Stir well and set aside.

In a large pot, bring the broth/garlic/pesto mixture to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook according to the package directions. In soup bowls, place a pile of chicken in the center. Ladle the hot broth over the chicken and garnish with chopped tomatoes. Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from The Coupon Goddess

Creamy Red Potato Soup

11 Jan

Don’t you just love those meals that you toss together with whatever you happen to have on hand or are trying to use up? This is one of those meals and I love that it turned out so well! You can completely customize this soup with whatever herbs or vegetables you have at home. Or, add in some chicken, ground turkey, or sausage if you want to add some extra protein. If you like spicy foods, like me, you can add some sriracha sauce to give it more of a kick!

This is a hearty meal that’s perfect to eat in the winter and great to sop up with some crusty bread. It’s nice and chunky with the sliced potato…I called it creamy soup because of the cream added, not because it’s smooth, but if you want to blend it you definitely could! 🙂

Creamy Red Potato Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup celery, finely chopped
2/3 cup carrot, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14 oz) cans of vegetable stock
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
16-20 small red potatoes, washed and sliced
1 cup heavy cream
A few dashes sriracha sauce (optional)

Yield: 6-8 bowls

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic. Let it cook for at least 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the vegetable stock, herbs, salt, pepper, and potatoes and allow the soup to simmer for at least an hour. Add the cream and sriracha (optional) and simmer for at least another hour. Add more salt, pepper, and herbs to taste if desired. (or more sriracha if you like it really spicy!) Serve soup while hot and enjoy!

Source: A Beckster Original

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble

24 Dec

Merry Christmas Eve! If you’re looking for an easy, delicious, and halfway healthy dish to make for the holidays, this is a keeper! I recently made this dish for a family gathering and all the sweet potato eaters loved it. The sweet potato base is sweet but not TOO sweet. You can use regular milk instead of coconut milk, but you honestly can’t taste it. And, you can make some tasty treats with the leftover coconut milk – but more on that another day!

The crunchy pecan crumble on top adds some nice texture and flavor and is a tasty change from the usual marshmallow topped dish. But, if you’re a marshmallow enthusiast, feel free to use them instead of the crumble. Or, use both, like in the original recipe – whatever floats your sweet potato loving boat!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble

Yield: 8-12 servings

Ingredients:
For the casserole:
3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup canned light coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter

For the pecan crumble:
1 cup unsalted pecans pieces, chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
4 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions:
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into cubes. Add to a pot with cold water, then bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20-30 minutes, then drain. While sweet potatoes are cooking, add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, cook until little brown bits appear in the pan – about 4-5 minutes. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl, using a hand mixer), add sweet potatoes. Add all remaining casserole ingredients – sugar, syrup, spices, salt, vanilla extract, coconut milk and brown butter – and mix until combined and whipped. Spread the mixture in an oven-safe pan or dish. (I used a 7×11 dish)

To make the crumble, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, pecans, spices, and salt in a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Add in melted butter and use your hands or a fork to completely moisten the mixture and combine. Sprinkle the crumble evenly on top of the casserole. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crumble is golden. Serve while warm and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

9 Nov

This recipe became “spicy” sausage, potato, and kale soup simply because I had a heavy hand on the heat! I bought spicy Italian sausage to give some extra kick, and then added a little too much sriracha sauce and red pepper. Oops! It tastes great, but if you’re a whimp when it comes to spice, I suggest toning it down! (use regular sausage, don’t add the sriracha, and lessen or cut the red pepper flakes)

Apparently this is just like the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup, which I’ve never tried but definitely would like to taste. I wasn’t sure about the combo of ingredients ahead of time, but the flavors and creaminess of the soup really works well together. This is a perfect soup for heating you up during the current chilly weather – enjoy!

Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1/2 bunch kale, washed and cut into small pieces
6 red potatoes, sliced thin
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 cups half and half
Dash of sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Splash of heavy cream (optional)
Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:
Wash and cut the kale and set aside. Wash and thinly slice the potatoes. In a medium pot, boil them until tender. Drain and set aside.

Brown the italian sausage in a large pot and drain the fat. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano, sriracha sauce, broth, milk, and half and half. Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add the potatoes, heavy cream if desired, and the kale. Simmer for another 15 minutes and serve hot.

Source: Slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman