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Make-Ahead Bacon-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ahh… Sunday Dinners. Do any of you get together with family for a Sunday dinner? Or perhaps maybe Saturday works out better?  It doesn’t matter what the day, but I find it very important to have a nice sit down dinner with family that involves a bit more than the usual rushed weeknight fare, and also involves more than just my household family. We extend the invitation to family close by, like my in-laws. We enjoy being able to sit down and catch up with each other after a long week. Unfortunately my family live on the other end of the United States, in Washington state, but fortunately, I like my in-laws.  😂 The kids enjoy it too. It’s important to include the young kids into the conversation at the dinner table. Even Joe has a good time and brightens the room with his smiles.

Speaking of smiles, I got a lot of smiles for these mashed potatoes I made for just such a meal occasion. For Sunday dinner, I made The Best Chicken Marinade, which is a recipe I found over on Mom on Timeout, and absolutely delicious! I highly recommend it, and I also made Slow Cooker Barbecued Green Beans I found over on Spicy Southern Kitchen. By the way, another recipe you should definitely check out after you’re done here.

Right away, I’m sure you can see how easy this special Sunday dinner came together. I got chicken marinating, plus my own personal Grill Master, so make ahead #1. Then my potatoes, which are make ahead #2, and green beans done in the slow cooker make ahead #3. I had pretty much everything done and my feet up by 1 pm! All that was needed to do was pop those potatoes in the oven and dinner was served! Folks will think you slaved all day over this meal, and that’s ok. Let them think so, and take the credit! I do! 😆

So here we go! As usual, just peel your potatoes and cut them into little chunks. I used russet potatoes, so I peeled them. I have not used any other kind of potato with skins, I just didn’t want skins for this recipe. No other reason really. So cover those with water, and set on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil them until they are fork tender. Then drain them and return them to the pot.

Oh yea, and did I tell you I cut out a lot of fat but left all the flavor and richness? You bet! Less fat, no sacrifice! So add in your light sour cream, your neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese), and salt and pepper.

Grab your hand mixer and whip those potatoes until smooth, and cream cheese has melted. Now stir in your chives, reduced-fat cheese, and your real bacon bits. Combine that real well, then spread into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Drizzle the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some paprika. Here’s the part where you can decide to go ahead and finish it off and pop in the oven, OR if you’re preparing this ahead of time,  you can cover it and refrigerate until you’re ready.

30 minutes before you are ready, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temp. Then shove it in the oven, covered, for about 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake about 20 minutes more.

All that’s left is to serve it up, and enjoy! Don’t forget the wine! 😉

Print Recipe
Make-Ahead Bacon-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Salt the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat; partially cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain potatoes and place in a bowl. Add sour cream, neufchatel cheese, salt & pepper.
  4. Beat with hand mixer until smooth and cream cheese has melted.
  5. Stir in fresh chives, cheddar cheese and real bacon bits until combined.
  6. Spread in a greased 13x9 backing dish.
  7. Melt the butter and drizzle over the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
  8. At this point you can choose to cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or bake right away.
  9. When ready to bake, if you've refrigerated your potatoes, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 20 minutes longer.
  11. Enjoy!
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Delicious Ranch Potato Salad

The weather here is just perfect. A beautiful 78 degrees which is perfect for me! Not too hot, not too cold. It’s wonderful, and it’s got me wanting to gather up the clan, and go to a park for a picnic. I don’t know about you, but I love picnics. Ever since I was a kid, my favorite picnic food was potato salad. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t have a picnic without potato salad! It just wouldn’t be right. It also wouldn’t be right to make the same old potato salad over and over again either. I don’t know about you folks, but I like variety. I get bored with the same ol’ thing.

So lets switch it up! I’ve created this Delicious Ranch Potato Salad, and I served it at a potluck cookout very recently. It was a huge hit with my family and friends, and I know it will be with you and your family too. Like most potato salads, this one is super easy. You can even make it a day ahead of time.

First you want to get your potatoes cut up and into the pot of salted water, get that boiling. While those are cooking, take the rest of your ingredients and combine them in a large bowl. I like to use my giant Pyrex glass bowl for almost all of my salads. I like the extra tossing room.

Once your potatoes have cooked and are fork tender, which will only take about 8-12 minutes, you’ll want to drain them well. Then add them to your dressing mixture in your giant bowl. Toss it all together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. I use red potatoes in this recipe. I prefer to use a waxy potato in potato salads like red potatoes, fingerling potatoes are new potatoes. The waxy potatoes hold up much better, where as starchy ones like russet potatoes tend to fall apart too easily, and turn your salad into mush. Ew…

 

Print Recipe
Delicious Ranch Potato Salad Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Clean and cut potatoes into chunks, then place in a large pot with salted water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep it at a gentle boil and let cook until potatoes are fork tender,, about 8-12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Once potatoes are done, drain well, and add to the dressing mixture and toss to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let flavors mingle and chill.
Recipe Notes

You can make this salad a day ahead of time, just keep covered in the refrigerator. Light ranch dressing may be substituted for regular to save a few calories.

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Chicken, Veggie & Rice Casserole

After this long weekend and returning to every day life, you’re probably going to be looking for an easy weeknight meal. Well, surprise surprise, I have what you are looking for! Today I’m sharing with you my Chicken, Veggie and Rice casserole. It’s so simple, and just perfect for busy weeknights, or for when you’re just tired and don’t want to spend forever in the kitchen. I mean, you need time to put your feet up and have a glass of wine. I’m just saying.

This recipe calls for cooked chicken, which increases the ease of it. If you already have cooked chicken in your freezer (which I like to keep stocked up on), or if you have leftovers from the night before, great! If you don’t have any already cooked chicken, to keep this recipe simple, you can grab a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store deli. That will do just fine.

All you need to round out this meal is a tossed salad. So lets just jump right in so you can get to relaxing!

A few of my favorite things I used in this recipe:

  • Pyrex 4 qt. glass mixing bowl – I love this giant bowl. I use it to mix casseroles together before putting them in the casserole dish, and I also love it because I can make a huge batch of salads to take to potlucks or to have at any party. Lots of space in this one. Plus Pyrex is non-porous so it won’t absorb food odors, flavors or stains, and it’s oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher safe.
  • Paula Deen Cookware – I absolutely love my cookware set. Paula Deen has many different sets, but this is the one I have and I love it. Always cooks evenly, washes easily, never stains.
  • Pioneer Woman Ceramic Bakeware Set – I just got this set and I adore them! They’re so pretty, not to mention easy to wash.


Print Recipe
Chicken, Veggie & Rice Casserole Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare your rice according to the package directions.
  3. In a very large bowl, combine rice, chicken, soup, milk, carrots, green beans, and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Spoon into a 2 1/2 - 3 qt. casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until heated through.
  5. Flip on the broiler, and broil for a minute or two, just to brown the bread crumbs. Watch closely so you don't burn it.
  6. Serve & enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Del Monte.

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