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Category Archives: Tips

Twice Cooked Potatoes

I love potatoes.  I love potatoes pretty much any way they can possibly be prepared.  For the last dinner party, I made twice cooked potatoes.  It gave them a little different texture than just oven roasting.  Potatoes served in any manner is also a really easy and economical dish to serve for a group.  Also, using baby potatoes cuts down the prep work for you, which is always a plus!

Baby red potatoes (figure on 2-4 per person depending on the size of the potato, and the guest I suppose!)

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Garlic Garlic seasoning from Tastefully Simple

Parmesan Cheese

Chives

Wash the skins of the potatoes and place in a large pot.  Cover the potatoes with water, about 1 or 2 inches above the potatoes.  Salt the water.  Bring the water to a boil and let cook until the potatoes are just before they are fork tender.  You don’t want them to be completely tender, because they will continue to cook.  Once they get to that stage, drain them.  Line 1 or 2 jelly roll pans with foil.  Place the potatoes in a single layer on the pan and lightly crush and flatten.  It doesn’t have to be pancake flat, just enough so it’s not rolling around.  Drizzle with olive oil to help them crisp and brown.  Season the potatoes.  Place in the oven (at 400 degrees) to get nice and crispy, about 15 more minutes.  I topped the potatoes with Parmesan cheese and chives before serving.

Your options are really unlimited with how you want to season or “dress” the potatoes.  You could sprinkle them with cheddar, bacon and chives or parmesan cheese or sour cream or caramelized onions once they are cooked (see really offers variety!).

I’d love your feedback!  What toppings have you/ will you be trying on these potatoes?

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Table Setting

One of my favorite parts of cooking is making the meal an enjoyable experience for my guests.  A big part of that to me is spending a little extra time on the details of the table setting.  I have been acquiring little pretty pretties over the past several years and now have lots of options for making a pretty table.  I recently found a really beautiful green and white table runner at Marshalls for $10 or $15!  I added 2 silver candles sticks from a Pier 1 that I got from a store closing, 3 glass cylinder vases and little clear tea light holders that I got at Ikea for $3 (for 12 holders).  I added fresh lemons and limes to the cylinders to tie in the table runner.  I spent about $1o or $12 on the lemons and limes.  I plan on using the lemons for another batch of fresh mint lemonade (recipe to follow soon!) and will juice the remaining lemons and limes and freeze the juice in the ice cube trays for other recipes.  I love how it looks so much that I will probably buy fake ones to get the same effect and avoid spending a future in fresh fruit, having a freezer full of citrus juice or letting it go to waste.  The glasses on the table were garnished with a bamboo skewer that was threaded with a lemon slice and a piece of mint.

I picked up resealable glass bottles at Ikea ($3.99 each) for the fresh lemonade.  They added a pretty touch and function to the table.  I found nice green and white linen napkins on clearance at Macy’s recently that added a perfect touch of elegance to the table.  I also made napkin rings out of old spoons!  There will be a how to soon for them (they are beyond easy to make!).

I was really please with how pretty, fresh and light the table looked!

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Buttermilk

You don’t have to rush out or spend extra money buying buttermilk when a recipe calls for it.  You can easily make your own in 5 minutes.

Pour 1 TBS lemon juice into a measuring cup (1 cup) and fill the remaining cup with milk.  Let sit for about 5 minutes and voila!  Buttermilk  🙂  Use whatever amount you need.  You can make more or less, just keep that ratio.

Banana Rama

I found the best deal in town last week at the grocery store.  Giant Eagle had bags of ripe, ready to eat or bake, bananas.  Since banana bread works best with bananas just past their prime, it was perfect.  And only .99 cents for about 3 pounds of bananas!

And I found out from my domestic goddess mum that you can mash bananas up and freeze them if you don’t have enough time to bake the bread!