May 28, 2009

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I love a good simple mashed potato, but sometimes I want to jazz it up a little more. This is a simple recipe that can be altered to whatever your liking.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Peel and chop 4 potatoes into uniform pieces (the smaller you cut, the faster the cooking time). Place in lots of cold water and boil until just done.
If you put the potatoes in a small amount of water or hot water, the starch from the potatoes - making them a little gluey. Some people think "Oh I will just let them go as long as I can, they can't overcook - they are mashed potatoes" Wrong! They will become water-logged.
Meanwhile prepare your "toppings." Whatever you would put on a baked potato would be great in the mashers.
I like bacon but don't want to have to worry about watching it, flipping it, draining the fat, and having hot grease jump at me. So I put them on a backing sheet, put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until really crispy.

It is nice because they stay flat and the grease is well contained.
I really like this trick for BLTs - the flat bacon is easier to put in between bread.

Heat about a cup of milk with a few tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Then mash your potatoes slightly, adding a little of the milk mixture at a time. Add slowly - too much makes for soggy potatoes.
I like to put it right back into the hot pot that I boiled my potatoes.

Add your favorite toppings. This is what I used. Other great options would be blue cheese, green onions, horseradish, jalapenos, sour cream (reduce the amount of milk mixture), hot sauce, whatever you would like.

Eat before someone else does!

This serves about 4.

May 25, 2009

Friends and Family Cookbook

This is one of my favorite cookbooks. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas a couple years ago and I have enjoyed it ever since. I love the idea of the book, "The Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook is a collection of recipes from Nordstrom's popular restaurants, as well as contributions from employees and friends, making this a time-tested collection of favorite meals." These recipes are what my friends and I call, "Tried-and-True."
Each recipe I have tried is delicious. The difficulty ranges from simple to slightly challenging but have easy to follow instructions and all have turned out fabulous. The pictures are beautiful and mouthwatering. If you see it atNordstrom or other bookstores - pick it up!

May 22, 2009

Microplane Grater

This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. The Microplane Grater/Zester is the best. Sure you could use the plain-old box cheese grater but this gives you a much better end product - finer zest, no pith, no large unwanted chunks. My favorite uses are zesting citrus, grating whole nutmeg (cheaper and better tasting than the pre-ground stuff), grating garlic, and grating parmessan cheese. Best for hard cheeses, does not work well with the semi-hard or softer cheeses.

What gadgets can't you live without?

May 21, 2009

Caramel Cheescake Flan

I am worried about starting my blog with this post seeing how I did falter a little on it. It is a tried and true recipe, although I was trying new techniques. While I do get a little self-conscious when something doesn't turn out just right, I thought the recipe is worth sharing.

This recipe was made by my a good friend, Gayle. She is amazing - award winning!
My husband doesn't really like the texture of flan (too jello-y) but he loves this - the flavor of flan with the texture of cheesecake. This recipe is copied directly from her. The green are my tips - learn from my mistakes!

Caramel Cheesecake Flan

1 cup sugar
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Over medium-high heat, cook some sugar in a small skillet, stirring occasionally, until melted and golden in color. Pour into ungreased, deep, 2-quart mold, tilting to coat bottom and sides. (Be so careful!) (I used smaller individual molds because I didn't have bigger ones. Make sure you get high enough on the sides so that the flan falls out - I didn't do this... oops.)

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat. Gradually add milk and mix until smooth. Add eggs and beat at least 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients slowly and beat until well combined. Pour mixture into caramel coated pan.
Place flan in larger baking pan and fill pan halfway up sides with hot water. (easier to do this with a pot in the oven already...)
Bake approximately 1 1/2 hours or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. (I did mine a little too long... they probably shouldn't get this dark... but they still taste good)
Remove from hot water and place on rack to cool.
Chill overnight. To remove, run a thin knife around the mold to loosen flan. Place serving platter on top of mold and invert. Scrape additional sauce from mold and spoon over top if desired. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted almonds.

May 20, 2009

Recipe Index

Feel free to request me to make something or try out a new recipe - I am always looking for something new!


Jalapeno Poppers


Blueberry Pancakes
Broiled Grapefruit
Cinnamon Rolls
Cranberry Orange Muffins
German Pancakes
Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Simplified Eggs Benedict
Steel Cut Oats

Main Dishes

Barbecue Meatballs
Barbecue Ribs
Beef Goulash
Beef Vegetable Soup
Cuban Braised Beef
Steak and Shrimp (aka Surf and Turf)
Teriyaki Burgers

Asian Chicken Salad
Asian Glazed Drumsticks
Bruschetta Burgers
Chicken Piccata
Chicken Sausage Sandwich
Hawaiian Haystacks
Mini Chicken Parmesan
Oven "Fried" Chicken
Popcorn Chicken
Salsa Chicken
South of the Border Turkey Burgers
Sticky Chicken
Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf
Yellow Thai Curry

Apricot Pork Tenderloin
Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
Easy Pulled Pork
Honey Baked Ham
Mustard Pork Chops
Mustard Pork Tenderloin
Pork with Mango Salsa
Pork with Sweet Balsamic Onion Sauce

Spicy Tomato Sauce
Vegetable Marinara
Whole Wheat Penne with Swiss Chard
Zucchini Bolognese

Balsamic Lime Shrimp
Coconut Shrimp
Cranberry Salmon
Panko-Crusted Salmon  
Steak and Shrimp (aka Surf and Turf)
Sweet and Spicy Shrimp
Sweet Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

Butternut Squash Risotto with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Hawaiian Haystacks
Homemade Pizza
Spanish Tortilla
Ultimate Nachos


Baked Beans
Brown Sugar Carrots
Caramelized Onions
Celery Root Fries
Couscous Salad
Green Beans with Apple and Onion sauce
Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Potato Salad
Roasted Asparagus
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Spaghetti Squash
Stuffed Zucchini
Sweet Potato Fries
Zucchini Fritters


Asian Chicken Salad
Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad
Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Roasted Beet Salad
Tex Mex Salad


Barley and Kale Soup
Beef Vegetable Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Posole
Corn Chowder
Minestrone Soup
Tom Yum Soup


Banana Bread
Dinner Rolls
Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread 2
Pizza Dough
Rosette Dinner Rolls
Mom's 50/50 Wheat Bread


Apple Crisp
Buttercream Frosting
Caramel Cake
Caramel Cheesecake Flan
Caramel Popcorn
Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate Souffle
Chocolate Truffle Cake
Cinnamon Rolls
Creme Brulee
Fish Tank Cake
Ginger Cookies
Grandma's Chocolate Treats (aka "Nuts and Twigs")
Lemon Bars
Limeade Popsicles
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Mint Chocolate Swirl Cookies
Mint Ice Cream "Cake"
Muddy Buddies
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pecan Shortbread
Pecan Toffee
Peppermint Bark
Pie Crust 
Pink Grapefruit and Basil Sorbet
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Pumpkin Pie
S'more Pie
White (Pink) Chocolate Mousse 

Sauces/Salad Dressings

Apple Butter
Barbecue Sauce
Basil Pesto
Caramelized Onions
Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise
Cranberry Sauce
Mango Salsa I
Mango Salsa II
Maple Cream
Pico de Gallo
Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Red Wine Vinaigrette
Rice Wine Vinaigrette
Salsa Verde
Spicy Tomato Sauce
Sweet Balsamic Onion Sauce
Zucchini Bolognese


Brazilian Limeade


Baby Food
Creole Seasoning
Taco Seasoning

Frequently Asked Questions

I will be compiling a list of frequently asked questions that people have emailed me or left as comments. If you have any questions you would like me to answer feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Q: I was wondering...are all of your recipes originally yours?
A: I take a lot of inspiration from other recipes, mix them up, and make my own. So yes, they are mostly mine. If they are not, I will credit the person just below the title of the recipe.

Contact Me

Contact me with questions, comments, or anything else!
redhead recipes (at) gmail (dot) com

About Me

I come from a long line of great cooks. I gained a passion for baking and cooking at a young age watching my mom. When I was a young teenager I decided I wanted to become a chef. I practiced making whatever recipe I could find. When I realized that being a chef meant always working when others were playing–nights, weekends, and holidays–I changed my path. So I headed to health care and am now a labor and delivery nurse-working nights, weekends and holidays. Go figure. Most recently, I am a mom of a little girl who is the apple of my pie.
Although I didn't end up in culinary school, food has remained a passion. I love adapting new and old recipes, experimenting on my husband (who doesn't mind at all).