Category Archives: Side Dishes

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Mmm, the Holidays! It’s the one time of year we happily loosen our belts and indulge ourselves in the yummy food we’ve been withholding ourselves from all year! Or maybe it’s the one time a year we happily admit we eat stuff like homemade mashed potatoes?
This recipe is, of course, simple. You peel and quarter the potatoes, and put them in a pot of cold water. Add some salt and bring to a boil, cooking them until tender. Drain the water.
 The next step is the trick to creamy, practically lump-free potatoes: put them in your mixer! Use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer and beat them. Add some butter, continuing to beat. Then add some milk and beat until the potatoes are creamy and fluffy. I like to add a little salt and pepper, too. I had no idea how simple homemade mashed potatoes could be until recently. Even better, potatoes are ridiculously cheap as of late. I’ve seen sales where you can get 10 lbs. for less than a dollar in my area!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1-1/2 pounds baking potatoes (such as russet or Yukon gold), peeled and quartered
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Butter or margarine (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan cook potatoes and the ½ teaspoon salt, covered, in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain.
  2. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed.
  3. Add butter.
  4. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Gradually beat in enough milk to make mixture light and fluffy.
  6. If desired, serve with butter.

Nana’s Baked Beans

Ahh, summer.
I think I’m finally getting into the groove.

Well, despite the broken toe thing and totally freaking out on my kids last night
(who cares if it’s Good Luck, Charlie or Ned’s Declassified? It’s all crap!)

But like I said, getting into the groove. Summer school even went well today! The kids are spending a respectable time outdoors versus parked in front of the TV. In short, a happy summer. No big summer vacations planned, but even that is kind of nice. Summer trips are vacations for everyone but Mom, in my opinion.

Can you blame me when I had a mild heart attack when I saw all the back to school specials in the newspaper yesterday?
I’m not ready! Don’t make me go! I don’t wanna!
Whew, apparently I have unresolved school issues there.

Anyway, the middle of July is a time for barbeques and potlucks. {Not back to school shopping!} My go-to addition to any potluck is a recipe I got from my husband’s mom, whom the kids call Nana. My kids inhale this recipe! I’m going to throw in an extra can of beans next time. I’ve made this a lot but I have yet to have any leftovers. 

Start by frying up a pound of bacon.

While your bacon is frying, chop up an onion and a green bell pepper.

We like ours extra crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and let drain on paper towels. Oh my. My mouth is watering. When the bacon is cool, eat a few crumble them up.
Now put those veggies in the bacon fat–let’s be sure there’s no nutritive value left!
In a pot, or in the crock pot, add a large can of pork and beans (I’ve used Van Camps to Walmart brand to Bush’s Baked Beans–it’s all good), the bacon, the onions and peppers, some brown sugar, a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce, and eyeball a cup of ketchup. I almost always forget the Worcestershire sauce, so if you don’t have it on hand, just skip it. We’re cool like that here. If they’re in a pot, bring them to a boil then let them simmer… you know, till you’re good and ready to eat ’em.
If they’re in a crock pot, cook on low about 6 hours, or on high 2-3 hours. You really can’t screw this up, I swear. 

Nana's Baked Beans
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A yummy, summery baked beans recipe that cook up quickly and taste like you spent all day flavoring them "just so."
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large can pork and beans
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar
  • 2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  1. Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan, let drain on paper towels. Crumble when cool. Add chopped green bell pepper and onion to bacon fat, let cook till onions start looking clear. In large pot, add all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low till ready to eat.
  2. Crock pot directions: Follow directions above. Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low 6 hours, or on high 2-3 hours.
  3. Allergy note: depending on the brand of beans you buy, this is a dairy, egg, and nut free allergy. It is most likely also a wheat and soy free food, though I'm not sure about the Worcestershire sauce. Check your labels!

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