Creamy Mashed Potatoes

photo 3 (7) photo 2 (9)This is my go to recipe for the creamiest mashed potatoes around. I make them a few times a year and mostly on the holidays. Occasionally I’ll whip them up for dinner . They are rich and delicious and just the way mashed potatoes ought to be. I’d like to tell you that I don’t use butter and cream but I do. These are pretty easy to make, all I would say is to buy a good potato masher they come in pretty handy for a lot of other uses as well ( great for egg salad) .  I like to work with Yukon Gold Potatoes. This recipe is for 5 lbs. and feeds about 10 – 12 people , just perfect for a holiday dinner.

* see also Mashed Potato Casserole with Sour Cream and Chives for another way to go.

Ingredients:

5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes or Russet Potatoes

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 to 3/4 cups half and half

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt ( more to taste) I used at least 1 teaspoon you’ll have to taste for yourself.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper. ( more or less to taste)

Directions:

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size.

In a large enough pot to cook all of the potatoes fill pot with cold water to cover the potatoes. I bring to a boil and cook for about 30 – 35 minutes. When potatoes are cooked through, a fork should easily slide into the potatoes without resistance, potatoes should be soft but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot back on the stove. Mash the potatoes with masher over very low heat, allowing the steam to escape, before adding the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 1/2 sticks of butter, an 8 oz. package of cream cheese and about 1/2 cup of half and half. Mash, mash and mash away.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up using at least a teaspoon of salt, and a bit more pepper.  Place a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350 degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes have warmed through.

* if making a day or two in advance–place potatoes in baking dish,  leave covered in fridge. Take it out of the fridge about 2 – 3 hours before heating up to bring to room temperature. Place your butter pats on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or so till completely warmed through.

*

Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

 

Fully Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

This recipe belongs to my sister, Pamela. She is a great cook, and this is her signature Thanksgiving Dish. We count on it every year as her contribution.  I highly suggest it if you like spicy because it is! It definitley packs some heat, be careful when you buy the chipotle peppers in adobe sauce , just make sure they don’t say Hot or you might be blowing the roof off of your Thanksgiving Dinner! Be prepared for a lot of flavor !  If your family likes spicy this is an awesome recipe, and you all know how much I like spicy by now.  This is certainly a new take on Sweet Potatoes because they aren’t sweet.  I also make a Sweet Potato dish with Marshmallows (* see recipe) and the two are always on my table, one sweet and one spicy.  Thanks Aunt Pammy.

Ingredients:

5 lbs.Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Kosher Salt ( about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Heavy Cream ( about 1 1/2 quarts)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce (canned) *look in Mexican Food Aisle in most supermarkets

Directions:

Slice Potatoes thinly and add salt. Place in baking dish you are going to use and cover with kosher salt, start with 1/4 cup and go to the 1/2 cup. Use your clean hands and toss together.

Puree Chipotles in small food processor .* you can keep pureed chipotles in fridge for up to 2 months. So you can do this step ahead.

Put approximately 1 – 2 tsp. of chipotle pepper puree in heavy cream and mix together

Pour Cream Mixture over Potatoes in an ovenproof baking dish ( earthenware is nice for this)

Place in 375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven.

Potatoes should be somewhat set and browned on top when ready.

Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving

The Stuffing that Will Be on Our Table

I made this recipe for the first time Thanksgiving 2011 and it is now the only Stuffing I make.  I found it in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, loved all of the ingredients and thought it was delicious. I know there a lot of stuffings out there and unfortunately they are not vegetarian (I am still on the lookout for a very tasty vegetarian one, so please feel free to send it to me if you have a great veggie one.) I don’t cook my stuffing in the turkey. I make it ahead of time and cook it in a buttered gratin dish the day of. This is the stuffing that won out this year.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced dried figs, stems removed

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (I used Calvados, bought the bottle last year)

2  yellow onions, diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 cup (3 stalks) celery, diced about 1/2 inch

1 lb. pork sausage (I do 1/2 sweet and 1/2 hot. Feel free to substitute any kind of sausage you would like. Try to get the butcher to take it out of casing for you. It’s one less thing to do.)

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (please don’t leave this out)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (put in oven at 400 for about 5 minutes and watch them!)

3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (I use Pepperidge Farm)

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 extra large egg, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and celery and saute until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent (don’t burn them.) Add the sausage, crumbling it as you go. Continue to saute, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage. Keep cooking for about 10 minutes, until cooked and browned up. Add the figs and cranberries with their liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook until all ingredients come together, for a couple of minutes. Scrape up and remove all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, beaten egg, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well. (This can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight, which is what I do. It’s just too much to do the day of.)

I put the stuffing in a well-sprayed, slightly buttered (optional), baking (gratin) dish. If you put this in the preheated over, you will likely cook it for at least 45 minutes and probably more like an hour to two hours if it’s doubled.  I also stir frequently while it is cooking, and then let it go for the last 15 minutes and it browns up. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

obviously if you are doubling this recipe you will need to use a large (very) frying pan. Or you can just do it in batches. You will need a very large pan to cook it up in though. You need to spread it out while it cooks so it cooks through. Once it is cooked you can always put it in a pretty baking dish and as it heats up just mix it through every once in a while so top doesn’t burn and bottom won’t be soggy.

I know everyone thinks that their stuffing is the best, but if made properly this one is absolutely amazing!

*This will probably serve at least 8 as one of many sides, but feel free to double.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Karyn’s Cranberry Crisp- Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving would never be complete without this wonderful recipe. It can be dessert or a delicious sweet side dish. We eat it with the meal and it’s always on our table! Happy Thanksgiving!

Cooking with Candi

Fully Cooked Cranberry Crisp

This recipe has been around pretty much my whole married life. If there is a turkey on the table, there is cranberry crisp next to it.  It originated from my friend Karyn, and we even make it for Passover with matzoh farfel.  It’s so sweet and delicious that it could really be a dessert. We love it with our meal; love the sweet and savory thing. You can’t eat too much of it, it is so rich. It is also very dangerous to have in the fridge the next day, so try to give it to everyone who wants to take home leftovers. This tastes good either hot out of the oven or at room temperature. Some people may even want to make it as dessert and serve with vanilla ice cream, but the Kolens don’t. We always serve it as a side dish, but it is awesome…

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Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

These nuts are plain old amazing and are a lovely addition to any appetizer table. I will be making these and serving these for Thanksgiving!

Cooking with Candi

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My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. I make these and keep them in a baggie or a container. Awesome, thanks Ina. These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these.

ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil plus more for sheet pan

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons…

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Pumpkin Penne Bake

IMG_9874IMG_9875I love pumpkin as you all well know by now. That’s why it’s odd that I only make it in the fall and mostly only on Thanksgiving. I suppose that’s what keeps the ingredient so special plus it’s hard to find at the supermarket after Thanksgiving. I always buy a few extra cans of pumpkin so when that pumpkin urge hits I am ready.

I like to have a pasta dish every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I make my cremini mushroom and pumpkin lasagna. This year I am making this delicious baked pumpkin penne. I am going to make it Monday prior to Thanksgiving and cook and freeze. I will take out of freezer Wednesday night and Thursday will pop in oven just to re-heat. I will keep aluminum foil on it to re-heat and take off foil for last 10 minutes. To re-heat it will probably be 1/2 hour with aluminum foil on for the first 20 minutes. It should start bubbling and put a fork right in the middle to test for readiness. If it needs more time and is getting too browned put foil back on and continue heating it up. You will cook it at 350 degrees as directions state.

One of the best things about baked pasta dishes is that they freeze so well. Making them some of the easiest dishes to prepare ahead. This whole thing including chopping up sage took maybe 1/2 hour to prep. My kind of dish!

as a side dish it will serve about 10-12, as a main dish figure about 8.

Ingredients:

1 lb. box of penne pasta, cooked and drained well

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling

3 – 4  cups shredded mozzarella, divided , I used about 3 cups in pasta and another 1 cup on top. ( 2 packages 8 oz. shredded cheese) you’ll have a little left over

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, pumpkin,  2  cup- 3 cups mozzarella, heavy cream, sage, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Taste for salt.

Transfer mixture to a greased or well sprayed 3 quart baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted. Since I was freezing I pulled it out after 20 minutes, cooled it down and wrapped it tightly and put in freezer.

What I made for Dinner – Turkey Bolognese

It is finally cold out and it’s the time of year I break out my Le Creuset and make some heartwarming Bolognese sauce. It’s November so let’s make Turkey Bolognese!!!  This is one of our most favorite meals and I will have enough sauce for 2 meals because one 1/2 will get frozen for another day when I don’t have the time to cook. Perfect Sunday night meal. I must say Pasta is probably my most favorite food to eat. Bolognese sauce is one of my most favorites. Today I decided not to go to my usual Bolognese which is delicious but very heavy and rich. I went with a lighter approach today using Turkey and Chicken Sausage because I couldn’t find italian turkey sausage and didn’t feel like hunting it down, and the chicken sausage worked just fine. I did use dark meat turkey because it is much more flavorful, it is ideal but if you really don’t want to use the dark meat use 1/2 white and 1/2 dark or all white meat . The only negative to this sauce is that it really needs 3- 4 hours for the sauce to cook down. The longer the sauce cooks the more flavorful it will be.  This sauce would probably serve 4 nicely with 1 lb. of pasta. You can easily double it and freeze the leftover sauce. So nice to have it in the freezer and just have to make the pasta and you have a wonderful homemade meal. I have now started serving the sauce over shredded zucchini and spaghetti squash.  It is so delicious and you may feel a little bit better eating it over zucchini or spaghetti squash than noodles.  Pasta or Vegetable it’s pretty awesome. Look on my blog for Zucchini Bolognese Recipe for how to recipe, posted 12/20/2012.

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, plus more if necessary

1 lb. Italian style Turkey or Chicken Sausage, removed from casings. You can also mix in hot or sweet Italian pork sausage if you don’t mind using the pork.

1 pound ground Turkey ( I used dark meat )

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced ( app. 2 cups)

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 box. Rigatoni ( or any other macaroni you like ) or spaghetti or if you like use *shredded zucchini or *spaghetti squash ( see notes)

Grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

Directions:

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat. ( I use my Le Creuset ) Add the sausage meat and break it up as it cooks, turning now and then, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, add the ground turkey to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and a few fresh grind of pepper. Cook the meat stirring here and there, for 10 minutes as well, till meat is nicely browned. I remove and put in bowl with the sausage which was set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook until onion breaks down and gets soft, another good 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice along with 1/2 cup of water. ( You may need more water as you go) Add the sausage and ground turkey, stir the sauce well. Bring the sauce to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover almost completely with a lid (allowing a little steam to escape) and gently simmer for 4 hours. You may want to add splashes of water if sauce is drying out. After 2 hours I added the 1/3 cup of Tomato Paste, and replace lid and continue simmering for 2 more hours. I added water as it cooked, you’ll have to judge for yourself how much water you add. I added 1/4 cup at a time.

When the sauce is ready for serving, bring a large pot of water and prepare pasta according to package directions.

serve with sauce over the rigatoni ( or any pasta you like) with a nice grating of Parmesan.

Yum!

*so many stores now sell zucchini already shredded and it’s dry and ready to go. The only problem with doing it yourself is that you must get the extra moisture out.

*Spaghetti Squash – just have the store cut it in half because it’s a tough one to cut at home. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and scoop out the seeds. Spray a rimmed baking sheet and turn squash open side down on baking sheet and cook till soft, probably 45 minutes or so. Remove from oven and with a fork remove the inside of the squash into a bowl, it comes out like very thin spaghetti.

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

Here we go — bring on the recipes for Thanksgiving! Starting with one of the all time favorites and best recipes for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Cooking with Candi

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in the Kolen household. Can be doubled easily.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite ok but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

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Thanksgiving 2017

It’s hard to believe it’s November already and nearing Thanksgiving and then before we know it, it’s Christmas and then 2018! Is it just me or does time just seem to fly by? Here we are in November and it’s time to think about our Thanksgiving menus and that’s what I am doing now . I always set out to make some new recipes but my family is pretty fussy about expecting the same dishes on our table. It’s tradition and why screw with tradition.

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Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin

So here we go again with my Thanksgiving recipes –for those of you who have tried them and love them please let me know and if anyone out there has some new great recipes I would love to hear about them.

Enjoy the prep and enjoy the holidays and mostly enjoy your families. Holidays can be tough on all of us but relax and enjoy! I am all for cooking some side dishes ahead and using hot trays to keep my food warm. Since it’s virtually impossible to cook everything and serve it hot you have to employ the use of a few tricks of the trade here. When possible serve some side dishes at room temperature. Use hot trays available on amazon and bed and bath. Make your life easier not more difficult. Cranberry can and should be made ahead as well as sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. Stuffing can be made a day or two ahead and you can re-heat it later, uncovered , and drizzled with a little turkey stock or actual drippings from the turkey pan ( my Grandmother used this trick all the time).Make your salad dressing a day or two ahead as well as any roasted nuts etc. Just get as much together as you possibly can to make your life easier. That’s what it’s all about. I always set my table the day or night before and get out all your serving pieces , platters etc.

Also don’t let guests bring food that has to be prepared at your house, they have to bring food that is ready to go. That means it’s not ice cold , that means no whipping cream at my house , that means ready to go–on the hot tray but not in my oven!!!! I am all for help with the side dishes but not at the expense of having to use my kitchen! This is my golden rule.

Keep in touch with me –I love to hear your feedback and recommendations etc.

Wishing you happy cooking and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours. Remember be grateful not hateful and Gratitude not Attitude!

These are some of the recipes you may want to look at: I will be posting them one at a time.

Corn Bread Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup 

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Kale and Brussels Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Pumpkin Walnut Bread and Hurricane Sandy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna or Pumpkin Penne Bake

Stuffing that will be on our Table or Cranberry Walnut Stuffing

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yam Souffle–Easy Peasy Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes and Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp and Joy’s Cranberry Sauce

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Crisp

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Pumpkin Penne Bake

 

 

 

Pure Wow Dump Cake aka Chocolate Bundt Cake

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pre glaze

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Heavier Type Glaze–same glaze just waited till cake was completely cooled down for a few hours. Yum!

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post glaze but most of the glaze will disappear into the cake unless you make a heavier frosting type glaze.

IMG_5875 I love a great bundt cake and I love that they are now calling Bundt Cakes Dump Cakes. You really just throw it all together and bake it! It’s so easy anyone can do it and look good doing so. I got this particular Dump Cake from a blog I love to follow–Pure Wow. If you haven’t gone on this site please do so and subscribe, it’s for all of us, something for everybody. I got this recipe and I have to say all of their recipes look so good and exciting! I made a change in that I added my vanilla glaze because I love a good chocolate cake infused with a glaze. It’s not really a frosting and it sinks into the cake which just gives it a little more “pure wow ” factor.  I included recipe for my Vanilla Glaze. Thanks Pure Wow for the Pure Wow of this recipe.

Just go out and buy a really good Bundt Pan, it’s a worthwhile investment. You’ll also need a cooling rack while you’re at it.

http://www.purewow.com

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup brewed coffee

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 stick unsalted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk ( I do buy low-fat buttermilk, if you can find it)

2 eggs — room temperature for baking always (unless otherwise specified)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze Ingredients:this is totally optional

2/3 cup of confectioners sugar

4 teaspoons whole milk ( and maybe a touch more)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a Bundt Pan with non-stick spray ( I love Baker’s Joy)

In a medium size heat safe bowl, combine the sugar with the coffee, chocolate, cocoa powder and butter. You can heat in the microwave or on the stove top over a pot of simmering water ( about 5 minutes) that’s what I do. I mix occasionally until the butter and the chocolate are fully melted and the sugar dissolves.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. I let the chocolate mixture cool just a touch first.

Now add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and mix with a spoon until the batter is smooth and fully combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40- 50 minutes. I let the cake sit for at least 15 minutes and while it’s still warm I inverted it onto a cooling rack ( which is essential to baking , so if you don’t own one get one)

I let the cake cool completely before glazing it. The glaze will melt right into the cake. This cake was super light and super moist. I served with strawberries and it would be awesome with some home-made whipped cream.