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.

Ingredients
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!!

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Passings and Changes

This past weekend my beloved Grandmother Carrie died.  She was a strong force for good ass kicking in my life.  She wouldnt listen to me whine and she wouldnt listen to me get upset.  She would tell me that things happen and you have to move on!  She would say “Kim, if wishes were horses we all would ride” but she knew that most of us were the foot shoulders of life and sitting here wishing for life to be different was useless.  She wanted me to get out and MAKE it different!  Wishing for life to change was futile.  With her I knew where I stood.  I knew that no matter what she supported me. 

I would call her 3-4 mornings a week on my way to work.  She would always say, gonna be late arent you.  Would it be me if I was on time?  LOL She was one of the best people in my life.  She taught me that people arent always what you expect and you have to take them as they are.  She taught me how to rule the kitchen.  Mom is the same so that lesson will continue to be learned.  She taught me to see life as something that you can not take for granted.  Gram had about 20 lives.  I think she used to steal them from the local cats.  She was larger than life and a force to be reckoned with.   I hope that there is a glimmer of her in me. 

She was so proud of me for finishing school and she is part of the reason I did.  She was sick (her and my other Gramma D) and I wanted to try to make sure that I would be there for other people who needed someone to love them while they healed.  Until today I had my heart set on working in the hospital setting.  My neighbor works at a nursing home and said she would help me try to get in where she works.  I was putting it off.. but this weekend while my grandmother was in that bed slowly dying, it was affecting the nurses on that unit.  She had been there so many times she was family.  Two of the nurses/aides/etc were there on their day off to sit the vigil.  She had about 15 people who were hospital employees stop by to check on her.  And alot of the staff were saddened greatly by her passing.  She was surrounded by love even when her family couldnt be there.  I want to repay those nurses by doing the same for someone else.  I havent heard about any of the other jobs I have applied for, this may be what I am supposed to do.

I hope Gram is up there baking and giving everyone hell.  She was a force in this life and I am sure she will be in the afterlife as well.  Miss you Gram..  and love you always..

Zucchini Bread

When I first met Rob he pretty much ate things from a can or a box or from the freezer.   He liked some of the things his mom and Grandmother made but to hear him talk, it wasnt much.  He was a hugely picky eater and it was pulling teeth to get him to try anything new.  He always complained when I would make him try things.   The boys are the opposite.  I made them try new things all the time, from when they were little all the way up until last night.  HAHA.  They have such a wide palate it is scary.

Once Rob started really trying new things though.. a whole new world opened up for him.  He will eat so many new things.. one of his favorite desserts is this.  He was always weirded out by the fact it is sweet and has a vegetable in it.  I love it.  My mom used to make it when I was a kid.  I dont have her recipe but I did find this one and I love it. 

Ingredients
Yield: 2 loaves

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 cup oil
3 1/2 cups grated zucchini with the fluid drained off

Cast of Characters

Start off by grating up the zucchini.
Measure your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.

Crack the eggs into a bowl.

Add the sugar and oil.
Mix together the egg, sugar and oil.
 
Spray the loaf pans.

Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients.

Then add the zucchini which you can squish all the excess water out of.

Mix all together.

Divide into the two pans.
Bake at 350 for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.  Take out of the pan after 10 minutes.

So yummy, and the edges get slightly crunchy!  One of my favorite sweet breads..

Done, Done, Done.. well not quite but close enough!!

So I am done the horrible part of nursing school.. the core and clinicals.  I had pinning last week and graduation was on Saturday.  I can say I am relieved.. though I still need to take the boards and find a job.. oh and take the online classes for the bachelors…. but that is all.  HEHE  SO now my life as a nurse can start.  The good days/the bad days/ the uncertainty until I find a job.. and the joy of helping people. 

I want to thank all of those that helped me get here.. from family to friend and all in between.  To the few subscribers I have who read my recipes and blog and tell me how much they like it.. You helped me deal with school.   AND i will be able to post and get going on the 10 recipes I have pics of but didnt have time to write up.  Thanks especially to my loving husband Rob and my sons Nik and Aaron.. without you three I really would have not been able to do this..  Love you!

First day……….
Pinning night

Scared, Excited and Nervous

The next 6 weeks are going to be so big for me and my family.  We are having 3 of us graduate, one of us get his license, and take our first real family “vacation” ever.   I am so scared for school to be over and the real work to start.  I will be graduating 2 short weeks from today.  The boys in just 6.  Life is changing and it is exciting.  As I have watched the kids grow and mature I have been in awe at the way they seem to try to take things in stride.  I would like to think that will serve them well! 

Rob finished radiation this week, unless they come up with something funky there are no more treatments that should come out of the woodwork for us.  LOL  He is in good spirits but still not feeling too well. 

Now the job hunt starts.  I have already had one HR director elude that I shouldnt bother to apply at her facility since they dont take new grads.. no experience, no job..   Keep your fingers crossed!  I will be a great nurse.. just need to get in the door.

Thanks to all that have supported me.  It means the world..

Happy Changes!!!

Loaf of the Meat

OR as my husband wanted to name this.. Meatloaf Robbie Will Actually Eat!  HAHA  it took me three or four tries to get him to even try it.  But then he was hooked.   Now he asks for it 4-5 times a month.  I dont let him have it that often but that is how often he asks for it.. LOL  Keep them wanting more! 

I found the origins of this recipe in some magazine about 6-7 years ago.  For many years my meatloaf was kind of a big meatball in loaf shape.   So in true Kim form I took a recipe and kicked out what I didnt like and put in what I did.  It has been a very popular recipe among my friends and I am  happy to say is actually pretty low fat.  This recipe makes atleast a 9 x 13 pan (I tripled it and get four bread loaf pans) and it only works out to 5 points on WW for a pretty large serving.  

My mom always looks at me weird when I make this because it is different than the one I was raised on but the added veggies and odd spices make for a flavorful and healthy addition to my menu.  And Robbie will actually eat it.  Nik and Aaron dont eat it, they devour it!!  Sometimes 2-3 helpings.  My favorite way to serve is with my garlic mashed potatoes which i will be posting in a couple days, and with corn!  SOOOOOOO Yummy!

Ingredients
1 9 x 13 pan makes 9 servings  (the pictures are of a tripled recipe)  WW Points~5

1 1/2 lbs ground meat, I do half and half 93% beef and 93% turkey 
1/2 lb (3-4 links)  sweet sausage, optional but it adds depth 
1 1/2 cup bread tore up into small pieces (6-7 slices)
1 egg
1 medium sized onion
3/4 cup carrot** (these are not exact measurements, I just take some carrots)
3/4 cup broccoli ** (again, just enough broccoli to be about 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp sage
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg (or the equivalent fresh grated)
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 tbsp hot sauce or brown sugar (depends on if you want it hot or sweet)

** I have also used red and green pepper, celery is good too, hell even pea pods would be good, but carrot is always in it.  I cannot eat much celery and Rob doesnt like peppers.

Cast of Characters

With a food processor (or this handy little food grinder thingie I got) grind up the veggies. 

Put your meat and veggies in a large bowl and break up the bread into little bits.

Lightly beat the eggs and add to the bowl.

Mix the spices up and sprinkle evenly over the stuff in the bowl.

MMMMMMMMMM doesnt that look tasty!

Since I always use fresh nutmeg I always do this at the end so I can judge how much to put in.

Then add 1/2 cup of ketchup.

And mix.
Plop (and yes it does plop) it into the pans you are using.  You can use 9X13, loaf pans, even deep dish large muffin pans.

Bake at 350 total for about 45-60 minutes for loaf and 9×13, about 25-35 for muffins.  They will release alot of fluid from the veggies and the fat and that grosses me out to have my food sitting in that so once or twice I will drain off the yucky stuff into the meat container or a can or something so that I can discard it later.

When done cooking you take the other 1/2 cup of ketchup and the hot sauce/brown sugar (or both for a sweet hot mix), combine and put on top of the hot meatloaf and broil on high for 4-5 minutes until it is done to your likings!!

Here it is served with garlic mashed potatoes (which I will post in a couple days) and some of the leftover broccoli.  I didnt have any corn in the house.   😦

Meatloaf has always been one of my faves and while I do still love my moms, this is more healthy for you and tastes damn yummy.  I make large batches like this because it freezes so well.  Simply wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil. You take out the night before and put in the fridge.  About 45-50 minutes before serving put it in the oven still in the foil and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  I do eliminate the glaze/broil part for ones I will be freezing and do that the evening I heat it up!   OR you can just cut off pieces and heat up individually in the microwave.  YUM!

Happy Cooking!!

Flipping Pizza

My husband is a many talented man.  Not the least of which is that he can flip a pizza.  I will have to take a picture someday of him with pizza dough sailing through the air.  Alas to that happening anytime soon, as he hates the post chemo pallor to his skin and his almost balding appearance.  He was not happy with his picture in the Cheese Its post, so I am just going to be mean to you all here and post a picture of one of his homemade pizzas.  We still buy the crust, and he stretches and flings it in the air until it is perfect, but the rest is our own thing, homemade sauce, hand grated 4 cheeses……  soon I will post a recipe and pictures but for now….. this is all I can offer.  Maybe if I get enough comments he will take pity on everyone and let me take a picture or two..


Maybe I can even get him to do a guest blogger and write up a tutorial about flipping pizza… 

Happy Flippin!!

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