Saturday, September 26, 2015

Light and Lemony Fruit Salad


1 (3 1/2 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding
1 (10 ounce) bottles maraschino cherries, halved,drained...
1 (8 ounce) containers Cool Whip, thawed
1 (21 ounce) cans chunk pineapple, do not drain
1 (12 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 cups mini marshmallows


In serving bowl, dump can of undrained pineapple.
Pour pudding mix over and mix into juices.
Set aside for 5 minutes to slightly set.
Meanwhile drain oranges and cherries, patting dry if necessary.
Mix into pineapple mixture along with marshmallows.
Gently fold in cool whip.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cracker Barrel Meatloaf


2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
32 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard


Preheat oven to 350.
Beat eggs. Add milk and crackers. Stir in onion and cheese. Add ground beef. Mix well. Shape into a loaf.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard to make topping.
Spoon half of the topping over the meatloaf after 30 mins of baking.
Return loaf to oven for 10 more mins of baking.
Spoon the rest of the topping over meatloaf, return to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more.

Hamburger Potato Cheese Casserole


5 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
2 -3 tablespoons chopped onions
1 lb ground beef ( really lean is preferable)
salt and pepper
Cheese sauce (the same one I use for macaroni and cheese)
2 cups milk ( I use skim)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
ketchup ( optional condiment) 


1. Use 2 1/2 quart covered casserole dish for this. This will stick unless you have a great non-stick baking dish.
2.Preheat oven to 350.
3.Brown hamburger and onion.
4.Place a layer of sliced potatoes in casserole dish, top with half of hamburger/onion mixture. Salt and pepper to taste (kind of depends on how salty your cheese sauce is - you can always salt it later if it needs it).
5.Repeat layering of potato slices and hamburger mixture (and salt and pepper if desired).
6.Make Cheese sauce:.
7.Melt 3 T butter in saucepan over med-high heat.
8.Add 3 T flour, and the salt and pepper. Stir quickly to blend.
9.Add 2 cups milk; stir with whisk to incorporate butter/flour mixture.
10.Reduce heat, stir till thickened and bubbly.
11.Remove from heat and add shredded cheddar. Stir until cheese melts.
12.Pour cheese sauce over hamburger and potatoes in baking dish. Push potatoes around to let cheese sauce into all of the crevices so it's well coated.
13.Cover and place in oven. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, till potatoes are tender and top is browned. I like to take off the lid for the last 20 minutes or so to brown the top a bit.
14.Even with the leanest ground beef, this can get little pools of grease on top - Spoon these off. It doesn't mean the whole thing is greasy - just cheesy.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bulk Mashed Potatoes

Freezable, Holdable Mashed Potatoes for 25
with Garlic variation


25 servings
No extra butter, yet great flavor and good texture. Use Yukon Gold potatoes for best flavor. Use Russets if you must; I never try to mash or freeze red potatoes. If potatoes look watery before freezing, don't worry; the liquid will be absorbed as the dish reheats. 
Preheat 3 gallons water (20-40 minutes).
12 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes 
1 tablespoon oil added to cooking water to reduce foaming 
24 ounces neufchatel or cream cheese* 
4 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, parsley flakes or dried chives, salt and pepper to taste


Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks. Remove any gray spots; they may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) fungus. Likewise any green just under the peel; it's mildly toxic. 
Place in 8 to 12 quart pan; add preheated water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to a steady simmer. 

Cover and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well, you need warm, dry potatoes to avoid lumps. 
If you are not going to mash immediately, you have to keep them hot and dry. Place colander into the cooking pan to keep draining, and place pan lid on top the colander to help keep in the warmth. If it will have to set a few minutes, place a paper towel in between the lid and the potatoes, to absorb steam. 

Return potatoes to the pan. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until light and dry. Add no liquid until the potatoes are as smooth as you like! 
Stir in cream cheese and milk, mash until smooth. 
* garlic-flavor Boursin or Rondele brands soft cheese or other herbal soft cheese,is delicious, or 4 tablespoons crushed roasted garlic, or 1 tablespoon garlic salt adds even more flavor. 
Add parsley flake or chives, salt, pepper to taste.

Cool potatoes to room temperature. Divide potatoes into 2 oiled 9x13" pans or 3-4 9" to10" pie pans oven safe casserole dishes. Cover with foil; freeze. Or, place prepared mashed potatoes in freezer bags in meal sized portions, squeeze out all the air and seal.
May be heated frozen or thawed overnight in the refrigerator. For the oven, reheat covered at 375 degrees, 40 minutes for thawed potatoes, 90 minutes straight from freezer.
Heat thawed mashed potatoes in the microwave,covered, stirring every 2 minutes.As the potatoes get hot, they will thicken and return to their original texture.

Higher protein variation. You can also use these in place of the cream cheese and buttermilk: substitute 4 cups of cottage cheese beaten smooth with 1 dozen eggs. Slightly grainier texture, but high enough in protein to act as an entree by itself. I often use this for non-vegan vegetarians.