Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are always a crowd pleaser at the Thanksgiving table or at any table for that mater (Except when they're not.)

So knowing how to make them the right way is kind of essential. And while they seem easy enough to whip up on the fly, there are a few trick you can employ to ensure your mash is fluffy and light instead of gloppy and gloopy.

 Here's how to master mashed potatoes:

1. Choose the right potato(es)

Starchy potatoes like Russets are the classic and best choice for mashed potatoes. Their high starch content guarantees a light, fluffy result that easily soaks up butter and cream. Using low-starch, waxy potatoes such as fingerlings or red-skinned potatoes will result in a mash that's gummy.
However, while Russets make for a fluffy mash, they do tend to be milder in flavor than some other varieties. Combining Russets with a flavorful potato, such as Yukon Golds (which are lower in starch than Russets, but totally big on flavor) makes for a richer, more buttery-tasting mash.

2. Cut the potatoes evenly

For classic Thanksgiving potatoes, you'll want to peel them first. Start by peeling one potato, cutting it into large, even chunks and placing the chunks directly into a bowl of cold water. Then continue with the next potato. Placing potatoes directly into the water will keep them from browning and rinse off some excess starch.

3. Boil potatoes starting with cold water

Drain the chopped potatoes and then transfer to a large pot and cover them with fresh cold water. Bringing your potatoes to a boil with the water rather than adding them to already boiling water will ensure they cook evenly—this is also why you want evenly chopped potatoes: so that a small chunk doesn't overcook while you're waiting for a larger one to be done.
Potatoes are pretty much a blank slate when it comes to flavor, so it's important to season as you go. Generously salt the water you use to boil your potatoes. "I also like boiling the potatoes with whole peeled garlic," says former Epi editor Adina Steiman. The garlic infuses into the potatoes as they cook, adding a subtle savory flavor.

Rice the potatoes

"A potato ricer is the best way to make mashed potatoes," says senior food editor Anna Stockwell: it's the best way to limits lumps, prevents you from overworking the potatoes, and makes things go along more quickly than using other methods. Want mashed potatoes that are fluffy rather than gluey? Put the potato masher aside and reach for a ricer instead.

Thanksgiving isn't the right time to put a hold on fat. Reach for high-quality unsalted butter (so you can control the salt yourself), whole milk, and real cream for the ultimate mash. Let the butter soften to room temperature—if you melt it, you'll loose the emulsion resulting in potatoes that are less creamy.
However, for maximum absorption—and so you don't cool down the potatoes too quickly—you'll want to heat up the milk and cream. Don't bring it to a boil, just heat it until it's hot to the touch or you start to see steam rising from the pot. Feel free to toss in a few fresh thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, or bay leaves to infuse the milk while it warms up—just be sure to leave them behind in the pot when you pour the milk into the potatoes. If you want to add tang, swap out some of the milk for buttermilk, sour cream, or full-fat Greek yogurt. Since they'll curdle when heated, these can be added cold.

6. Reheat the right way

Yes, you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time. The challenge is reheating them while keeping them luscious. Potatoes continue to absorb moisture as they sit, so former food editor Katherine Sacks recommends keeping some of the milk you're putting in the mash to the side to use when you reheat it. "Make the mashed potatoes a bit drier then you want them to be. When you're ready to reheat them, simmer the remaining milk in a pot, stir in the mash, cover and warm over low heat."


Friday, October 5, 2018

Beef Stroganoff With Buttered Noodles

This tasty dish originated in Russia of all places.....


3 cups beef stock
1 carrot, chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cognac
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1 (1-pound) package wide egg noodles
  1. Heat the beef stock with the carrot, 3 thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Pat the beef dry and season it with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Fry the meat in batches so that it is browned on all sides. Lower the heat to medium and return all the meat to the pot. Add the onions and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in the cognac and cook until the alcohol has burned off, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock, discarding the carrot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Cook, partially covered, over a very low flame for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and remaining 3 thyme sprigs and cook until the mushrooms are browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. When the meat is done, remove it from the heat and fold in the mushrooms, sour cream, mustard, and parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain the noodles well, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the stroganoff over the noodles; garnish with more sour cream and chopped parsley.
Ummmmm, Enjoy! Eat Well My Friends!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Crock Pot Chicken DrumSticks

See These drumsticks? These Drumsticks are the perfect game-day treat. They're super tender and packed with flavor. Broiling is an optional step, but it really takes them to a whole other level. Fall apart meat and crispy skin.


1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 c. sweet Thai chili sauce

2 tbsp. Sriracha

2 tbsp. brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

 1" fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 to 4 1/2 lb. chicken drumsticks

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, chicken broth, chili sauce, Sriracha, brown sugar, and lime juice. Stir in ginger and garlic.

Place drumsticks in a large resealable back. Pour over marinade and seal. Marinate 30 minutes up to overnight.

Pour drumsticks and marinade into slow cooker and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 5 or 6.

 When drumsticks are tender and cooked through, preheat broiler to high.

Transfer drumsticks to a large foil-lined baking sheet and broil until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

 Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve hot.

And there you have it!

Enjoy!  Eat Well My Friends!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Stuffed Rigatoni

You know I'm a lover of pasta....And this is an insanely easy recipe for a week day night...So I'm told...You know I'm always looking out for the fatigued working man and woman...Should I add fatigued, stressed out and hungry working man and woman...


3/4 lb. rigatoni
Kosher salt
1 (16-oz.) container ricotta
1/2 (10-oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed, wrung out, and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/2 c. grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
Crushed red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 lemon
1 (32-oz.) jar marinara
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or oil. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook rigatoni according to package instructions until al dente.
  2. Drain, then scatter on prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, garlic, and lemon zest. Season with salt and a big pinch of red pepper flakes. Transfer mixture to a piping bag or a large resealable plastic bag and snip one corner. 
  4. Spread a layer of sauce into bottom or large skillet or medium baking dish. Fill each rigatoni with ricotta mixture then place on top of sauce in concentric circles in an even layer. Top with more sauce and mozzarella. Place another layer of filled rigatoni on top then spread more sauce on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until top is crispy and sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Serve with a nice Red Wine!

What do you think? Easy huh? Enjoy! Eat well my friends.

Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.

1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov

Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household