You Had Me at Potatoes

Valentine’s Day is the one-time Jeremiah and I stay in. We hate the crowds and waiting past your reservation time for a table. We eat out enough so we don’t feel like we need to mess with it on Valentine’s Day. Instead, it’s the one night we prepare an all-out meal and sit down at the dinner table to eat it.

This year, the plan was for spaghetti. In fact, I’ve turned Jeremiah into someone who prefers to eat my Great Grandma Reith’s spaghetti sauce over anything you can get from a jar or at a restaurant. That was the plan.

On our way home, we stopped at Sprouts to grab some bread. Unfortunately, finding bakery bread has turned into a nightmare because everything in that area seems to have barley. Since I’m allergic, it’s getting way harder to make garlic bread ourselves.

While in the store, Jeremiah spotted some lobster tails on sale for $4.90 each. That’s crazy ridiculously cheap! We know from our trip to Maine why they are so expensive. A change of dinner plans occurred. “Why don’t we have lobster tails?” said Jeremiah. I said, “We’ve never made them. Do you know how to cook them?” Jeremiah used his phone to research a recipe. It looked simple and quick enough. Then, the next question was what we would eat with them? That’s when I throughout this recipe from our wedding cookbook for cheesy potatoes. Needless to say, what should have taken less than 20 minutes to make for dinner, turned into a late-night Valentine’s Day dinner. We even grabbed something in the McDonald’s drive-thru, which we never eat, to hold us over.

Jeremiah goes way back with the Fox boys (brothers – Kelly and Travis). Kelly and Travis grew up with the Slater clan. From what I understand, I think their dads met through work and became good friends. I also learned that Jeremiah’s mom used to babysit the boys when she did home daycare. The Fox’s grandma told me at our wedding that she considers Jeremiah almost be like a grandson because he spent so much time with her when they were kids.

According to Erin, these potatoes are the reason her husband Kelly married her. Jeremiah says Kelly was smitten on her from the moment he met Erin.

This recipe is similar to my mom’s cheesy potatoes. I like Erin’s recipe through because it feels a little less rich and just the right amount of cheesy to make this side dish a little more often. My biggest pet peeve is when someone says they made cheesy potatoes and you can barely taste the cheese. Not the case with this cheesy potato dish at all.

And on a side note, we probably ate a lobster dinner complete with cheesy potatoes, garlic bread, and monster cookie cheesecake for less than $8 a serving. If you add in a glass of local vineyard wine, it probably came out to $12 a serving. In fact, that’s cheaper than we spent on a fast-casual dinner at Chipotle of nights ago. And it’s definitely cheaper than if we had gone to one of our favorite steakhouses.

fullsizerender-12Cheesy Potatoes by Erin & Kelly Fox
1 stick of butter
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 – 1lb. package of shredded hash browns
Garlic salt and black pepper to taste

Melt butter. Add cream of chicken and sour cream. Add garlic salt and pepper. In an extra-large bowl, pour mixture over hash browns. Add cheese and combine. Pour into sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes at 400 degrees.

Potato Cakes

I have to admit, I had never cooked potato cakes before. Last fall, I ran across a recipe for them which included corn and scallions plus sour cream topping. I thought it looked good. I quickly learned potato cakes can be more difficult to form than a crab cake. But if you use your spatula, you push it together once everything gets hot. I think the real success of this recipe is the sauce. I just put a light shrimorror on top and it was perfect.

Potato CakesLoaded Cheddar-Corn Potato Patties by Darlene Brenden
1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream
2 T. plus 1/3 c.  sliced green onions (scallions)
2 c. mashed potato flakes
1/3 c. cornmeal
1-3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 c. milk
1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed
1 c. (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, mix sour cream and 2 T.  scallion and refridgerate. In a large bowl, mix the potato flakes, cornmeal, garlic salt and paprika. Add the milk, corn, cheese and remaining green onions; mix until blended. Shape into patties. Heat a large nonstick pan on medium and coat with cooking spray. Cook patties in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with sauce.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and I still got about 20 corn cakes.
  • Since you aren’t cooking the sour cream, this is a situtation where you can use fat free sour cream.

Steph’s Cheese Ball

My sister isn’t much of a cook. I laugh when we cook together because she takes her time to mix and dice everything just perfectly. But when my sister comes across a recipe she really likes, she gets the recipe and makes it. I hope you enjoy this tasty cheese ball at your upcoming holiday events.

Photo courtsey of Foodphotosite.com

Photo courtsey of Foodphotosite.com

Cheese Ball by Stephanie Bourek
2 bricks of cream cheese (8 oz.)
dried beef, torn into pieces
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
shredded cheddar cheese

Soften cream cheese. Combine ingredients. Cover with shredded cheese. Chill to harden before serving. Serve with assorted crackers.

Notes:

  • I’ve used the Carl Budding Beef to make this recipe. It is way cheaper than dried beef and taste the same.
  • To reduce fat, used fat free or reduced fat cream cheese and fat free cheddar cheese. You aren’t cooking it so you don’t have to worry that.