Irish Potato Pie

I admit that when I got out of bed this morning, I had no plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at all, but something about the tantrums my kids threw over not having and/or not wanting to wear and/or not having the right color green got me in the spirit.

This meal was at first much lamented by kids who didn’t even want to try a bite and then praised, second-helping-ed, and requested to be our St. Patrick’s Day tradition for all the years to come. I’ll take that as a win.

Now in case you can’t tell by the fact that the recipe starts out with frying bacon in butter and ends with heavy cream, this is comfort food. We ate it tonight with Irish Soda Bread and a Guinness for the adults. In the future I might try to add a vegetable (maybe in the dish, but on the side at least) just to lighten things up a bit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 7 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped
  • 5 potatoes (4 large), peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (I left this out, per family preference)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chives for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the thawed puff pastry in a 8-9 inch tart pan and crimp the edges. Remove the excess dough and piece it along the rim if needed to make the rim even in some places. Refrigerate the crust until ready to fill. (I don’t have a tart pan; it worked just fine in my 7×9 rectangle pan, and I’m sure it would be delicious in a regular pie plate too.)
  2. Place the butter and bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute until the bacon is crispy then toss in the onions, followed by the potatoes and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir 3-5 minutes,to mix the onions and potatoes and coat in fat. The potatoes don’t need to be cooked through. Then spoon the mixture into the crust and drizzle with heavy cream.
  3. Bake on the low rack for 35-45 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the crust is golden. Rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped chive and cut.

Perfect Potatoes au Gratin (with Ham)

I had potatoes and I had ham, so that settled it—time to make Potatoes au Gratin. I selected The Pioneer Woman’s recipe, tweaked it a little and doubled it for our small group dinner last night. It was crazy good; as in, two helpings good. Which is saying a lot for me because I usually choose to eat two helpings of dessert, not potatoes. Eat! And enjoy.

8 whole russet potatoes, peeled
2-3 T butter, softened
1 pint heavy cream
2 cup whole milk
4 T flour
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 t salt
pepper, to taste (don’t skimp!)
3 C ham, cubed
2 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish.

Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths (thicker slices will take longer to cook). In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish, then place approximately 1 C of ham over it. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving by the spoonful.

**This modified recipe serves 8 adults easily and allows leftovers for lunch the next day. To make a nice side dish you could omit the ham and reduce quantities of ingredients by half.

Lazy Day Lasagne

This recipe is from the (old) Zion Cookbook. I think Brook has a similar recipe from her mom. It’s on the menu at our house this week.

1 12-ounce carton cottage cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 eggs

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 pound ground beef or sausage, browned

9 lasagna noodles, uncooked

1/4 cup water

Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large bowl, mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, parsley, onion powder, basil, and pepper; set aside. In medium bowl, mix spaghetti sauce and ground beef; set aside. In a 9 x 13 pan, spread 3/4 cup meat mixture in bottom. Layer with 3 uncooked noodles. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture and 1 1/2 cup meat sauce. Layer with 3 more uncooked noodles. Spread remaining cottage cheese mixture over noodles. Top with remaining noodles and meat sauce. Pour water around edges. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 additional minutes or until golden brown. Just before serving, sprinkle top of lasagna with Parmesan cheese.

Italiaroni

This is one of the meals I made for the freezer meal exchange. It comes originally from Jana Ghormley in the NZC. As a bonus, I made my version this time for just under $5, which makes this meal about $0.62/serving. Not bad.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) package rotini pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (32-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (6-ounce) package sliced pepperoni
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet; drain.
  3. Season to taste with onion, salt, garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, and pepper.
  4. Add spaghetti sauce and mushrooms to beef mixture.
  5. Drain cooked pasta and combine with ground beef mixture in skillet.
  6. Pour in a 9×13 pan.
  7. Layer pepperoni on top, then cover with the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Note: I use spaghetti sauce that already has garlic and herbs and just skip the spices (step 3).


Sweet Potato Souffle

It’s not Thanksgiving if we don’t eat sweet potato casserole! I’ll be preparing this dish today and baking it tomorrow. It tends to get thrown in with other sides and I now wonder if it’s ever been baked at the right temp for the proper length of time. Clearly, it’s a forgiving dish. And it tastes amazing. Credit to Diane Downing via the old Zion Cookbook (the green one).

Ingredients (Casserole)

  • 3 C sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 t vanilla

Ingredients (Topping)

  • 1 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1 C coconut
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 C nuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Butter 9×13 casserole dish.
  3. Mix casserole ingredients together.
  4. Spoon ingredients into buttered casserole dish.
  5. Mix topping ingredients together until crumbly.
  6. Spread over sweet potato mixture.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.

Notes

  • I reduce the sugar in the potatoes (probably to one cup) and omit coconut from the topping.

Potato Casserole

I love potatoes more than makes rational sense. This isn’t a lowfat menu option, but I think you could cut some corners and make it a bit healthier. I paired it with meatloaf and wasn’t worried about calories at the time. A few days later I reheated some casserole alongside scrambled eggs… oh my goodness, delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 (30 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups crushed corn flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Pour the hash browns into a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cheese, sour cream and soup.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion with 1 stick butter and saute for 5 minutes. Add this to the soup mixture and spread this over the potatoes in the dish.
  5. Next, arrange the crushed corn flakes over all in the dish.
  6. Melt the remaining stick of butter and pour this evenly over the corn flakes.
  7. Bake for 1 hour.

Sunday Brunch Casserole

I’m always game for a new breakfast casserole. This one comes by way of the Taste of Home Cookbook from home chef Patricia Throlson of Hawick, Minnesota.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb sliced bacon
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1/2 C green pepper
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 C milk
  • 1-16oz pkg frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1 C (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/4 t dill weed

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside. In same skillet, saute onion and green pepper in drippings until tender; remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Stir in the hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, dill, onion mixture and reserved bacon.
  3. Transfer to a greased 9×13 dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.