Garlicky Smashed Potatoes

I love potatoes.  I love them any way you can have them.  NO i mean it.  Hash browns, home fries, mashed, baked, fried, salad, any way…  I have about 10 different ways that we make them.  This is my favorite way mashed!  Cause garlic is amazing with potatoes!  They compliment each other well.  Rob doesnt care for mashed potatoes as much as the boys and I do but if he is going to have them, this is the way he wants them!

This recipe came about when I was making salsa one time and had peeled about 4 bulbs of garlic to make my roasted garlic salsa.  I had 20 or so cloves left over and I didnt want them to smell up the fridge so I threw them into the water with the potatoes.  YUMMMMMMMM  yeah those were good!    So now the kiddos ask for them quite often!  They can be a bit time consuming cause of the amount of garlic to peel but they are uber good!   You can also use roasted garlic as well, just throw it up at the end when mashing. 

A note about potato types.  There are russets, white, idaho, red, yukon gold, etc.  I know that different ones have different textures and that makes for a different final product.  To be honest, I am cheap and I buy whatever is on sale.  My favorite to cook with is russets or yukon gold but that being said I never been able to really afford to be picky.  My fave for baking are idaho or russets and for mashed would have be russets or yukon gold.  Here is a great article about types and what is best served for cooking styles.

Some russet/yukon potatoes (I’m feeding three grown men, so I make a 5 lb bag)
2 bulbs of garlic
2 tbsp salt (yes 2 tbsp, its for the boil water, relax)
1/2 cup milk ( I used to use half and half, then started weight watchers haha)
1/2 stick butter (not in picture, I was slacking)
S & P

Cast of Ingredients

First step is the one I hate the most, peeling the garlic.  I hate how my hands get all sticky, but I much prefer the flavor of fresh peeled to the already peeled stuff. 
Then throw them into the pot after you half them.

Peel the potatoes.

Then after you slice/quarter/cube them (which ever works for you… I do thick slices) throw them in the pot with the garlic and cover with hot water.    Add the salt.  ** see disclaimer on salt below…  

Boil until fork tender.

Drain off  but do so over another bowl.   Potato water has many uses but I use it as a thickener in chowders etc.  Just let it boil down at bit more and it concentrates the starches and I put it into soups that have potato in it, like corn or potato chowder. 
You are left with yummy potatoes, with chunks of garlic. YUM

Put in a serving bowl and add the butter.

Then add some pepper and a tiny bit more salt (like 1/2 tsp).

Add the milk.   This isnt an exact amount (well neither is the butter) it depends on how creamy you want them.  I like them a bit more scultpable.. hehe  I usually try to go a bit on the low side.  You can always add more but cant take away.  Making potatoes is like so much else in life.. start off in moderation.  You can cut down on the milk and use some of the potato water as well.  This is good too.

Then beat the hell out of them.  I do like a bit of lump in my potato from time to time but pretty smooth for the most part.

Then serve them up.. trying hard to not eat them by the spoonful as you go.  

These are my favorite with my meatloaf, and a side of peas or corn.  Simple homecooked, comfort food.  These are easy peasy flavorful yumminess.   And now the disclaimer on salt……
**Salt water is what helps you cut down on the amount of salt needed.  When you cook starches (pasta, rice and potatoes) you need the salt to get pulled in while it is cooking.  If you wait and just do salt when finishing, it sits on the starches and you need more to get the same flavor.  SOOOOOOOOO salt the water.  Start off with one tablespoon the first time you do it.  Then you can add more the next time you do them.

Hope you enjoy…

Happy Cooking!!


Meaty Twice Baked Potatoes

About 3 years ago Rob and I went on this ridiculously radical diet.  I was eating just turkey burgers and salads.  I lost a ton of weight in a couple weeks but I was miserable.  No dairy, no beef, no sweets, no carbs.  I mean it was absolutely structured.  My life doesnt function with that much structure.   BUT we did get a few recipes out of it.  Anyone that knows us knows that we can find recipes or meal ideas anywhere.   We took this basic idea from the terrible diet, and made it better.  HAHA  We added some diary and alot of garlic.

Well recently I joined Weight Watchers and Rob will too once we get the okay from the oncologist.  I know that they worry about people on chemo losing weight but for Rob the chemo diet didnt work.  He has not lost anything and he is about 100 lbs over weight, as am I.  So this was a great move for me/us. 

Which brings me back to this recipe.  I made it the way I always have and decided to plug it into the Points Plus converter.  I didnt fudge on the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is only 9 points per serving.  Yeah for yummy and not too bad a value.

Ingredients8 large baking potatoes
1/2 lb lean ground beef/ turkey  ( I used 93% lean)
10 cloves of garlic
1/2 large red onion
1/4 cup half and half  ( or milk, i was out and used the half and half to finish it off)
2 tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper

Thoroughly wash and clean up/remove blemishes of your potatoes.

With a piece of aluminum foil, take your unpeeled garlic and a couple drops of water and make a pouch to roast your garlic in.   Throw that and the potatoes into the oven.   Please do not look at how dirty the oven is!!  It needs to be turned on to clean tonight.

Chop your onion fine.  You want the flavors to meld.

Brown your burger.  I used beef (and that is what i used in the WW recipe thingie) but this is soooo very good with turkeyburg too.

When the garlic is soft and the house smells great, take it out of the oven and put aside until the potatoses come out.  Then have your son take the garlic and start the messy job of removing the paper peels.

Put the garlic into a large bowl.

And add the onions to the browned and drained beef.  Stir until the onions have softened up.

Slice the potatoes in half  lengthwise and remove the meat of the potato and put it in the bowl with your garlic.  Put the potato skins on the baking sheet and put in the oven for about 10 minutes to crisp them up.

Add the half and half/milk and the butter along with some salt and pepper.  And mash!!!

Add the browned meat and onion and mix again.

this isnt really pretty looking.  I can be honest, it looks kinda ucky.. but it is good.   Stuff each half with enough to fill it.  You dont want to go to far over the top or you are going to have to get rid of some of the skins. 

And Rob took this “perspective shot”  not sure what it is a perspective of but he likes to take pics and be involved so this one is for you honey!

Top with cheese.

And bake for about 30 minutes..  but dont have the kids be the ones in charge of the timer.. or they will be a bit dark like this.  HAHA

I served this with some corn for the kids and a small salad for myself.   I mean a small salad!  I was too full.  I think in the future I might just start off with one.   Which is half a serving.   

As with all my recipes, they are open to playing around with.  YOu can change the flavor by adding spices, different cheeses and or trying different potatoes.  I have made these with Yukon Gold potatoes and they were very good.  The fun thing about cooking is the mixing it up!!

Happy Cooking!

Oven Baked Spicy Fries

Since Robs third chemo treatment he has been craving fries, and chicken.  But right now it is fries.  And more fries.  And did i mention fries.  So last night we made the Parchment Chicken packets and these babies since they cook at the same temp.  So yum.  I love baked fries.  I dont do greasy very well anymore so these just tickle my fancy.   You can use whatever seasoning you want but these are so good.

3 lbs potatoes, washed and wedged, I used reds and left the skin on them
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Adobo
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 and lightly spray or oil a cookie sheet.  Pat down the potatoes with a towel or papertowel to dry them a bit.   Mix the seasoning with the oil in a large bowl, add the potatoes and toss to coat.  Put on the cookie sheet and place in the oven.

Bake for about 40 minutes turning every 10 minutes or so.   When done, test for saltiness as adobo is a bit salty and add more if needed.  Serve immediately.

This is a great recipe for making the Parchment chicken with.  You get the potatoes in the oven and then get your chicken wrapped and ready in the parchment and when there is 20 minutes left on your fries, pop the chicken into the oven at the same time.   SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!

The fries are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a nice spice on the crust.  A perfect oven fry!! 

Happy Cooking!