Crack Potatoes

Thanks to Dan Quayle, does anyone else have a fear of misspelling potato/potatoes every time they write it? Maybe it’s just me since I was in elementary school when that infamous news story broke. I also spent way more time watching news at as a kid than most children. I remember how exciting it was to go to journalism school and find a bunch of other media geeks.

This is another one of my Pinterest recipe finds. Although these potatoes are quite tasty, I don’t know that they are as addictive as the author named them. I think my mother’s recipe for cheesy hashbrown potatoes are better. But it was nice to try something a little different.

Crack PotatoesCrack Potatoes
2 (16 oz.) containers of sour cream 
2 c. cheddar cheese
2 (3 oz. bags) of bacon bits
2 packages of powder ranch dressing mix
1 large (30 oz.) bag of hash browns, shredded

Combine the first four ingredients. Add hash browns. Pour into a 13 x 9 pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees.


  • I used one light and one fat free sour cream containers.
  • I used half 2% cheddar cheese and half fat free cheese.
  • I bake three slices of low sodium bacon for this recipe. That’s less than the recipe calls for.
  • I halved the recipe and baked it in my bubble and brown casserole dish. It still took 60 minutes to cook.

Four Ingredient Rolls

I love dinner rolls but I never bake them from scrath because I don’t like using quick rising yeast or a rolling pin. When I saw this recipe, it seemed simple enough to give it a try. Who know you could use 7-Up for making biscuits and keeping fruit fresh?

BiscuitsFour Ingredient Rolls on Pinterest
2 c. Bisquick
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. 7-Up
1/4 c. melted butter (a half stick)

Mix together sour cream and Bisquick. Add 7-Up. Sprinkle a cutting board and your hands with Bisquick. Pull apart and roll dough into nine pieces. Melt butter in a 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Place dough balls in dish. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.


  • I used light sour cream and unsalted butter. I think it turned out fine. You could probably use Diet 7-Up as well.
  • I would suggest maybe adding some seasoning to the recipe like rosemary or garlic powder.
  • I also used the biscuit this morning to make an egg white breast sandwich.

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.


  • 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.

Top 10

I was thinking about a recipe the other day that was one of my best. I thought I would share with all of you – the best of the best. Below are my top 10 in no particular order.

spaghetti1. Grandma Reith’s Spaghetti Sauce – I lied, this is probably my favorite recipe.
2. Mom’s Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes – This is the best cheesy potato recipe and I’ve sampled quiet a few.
3. Concord Lutheran Church Cookbook Meatballs – These go great with the potato recipe.
4. Chicken Penne Pasta with Salsa Con Queso – This recipe has a nice little kick.
5. Chocolate Crinkles – My mother made these when I was a kid but I love my recipe even more. These are probably my signature item.
6. Grilled Shrimp & Basil Orzo Pasta – Fresh basil and feta cheese nicely accent this dish.
7. Canyon Chicken – Chicken, ranch, cheese, and bacon. You can’t go wrong this recipe.
8. Lasagna Twist Around – Reminds me of my Grandma Reith Spaghetti Sauce.
9. Aunt Linda’s Slushies – I’ve made and drank a number of drinks over the years. This is my absolute favorite.
10. Cheesy Potato Soup – It’s as close as you can get to the O’Charley’s soup. I miss that restaurant so much.

From Scratch

When I was a kid, my dad had a very limited list of things he could cook. Potato Buds were one of those items. For that reason, I’ve never really felt the need to cook mashed potatoes from scratch.

While looking for a potato recipe to use up some spuds starting to spout, I ran across this recipe from Kraft Food and Family 2009. It seemed like the perfect dish because I had just made a few other recipes with the ingredients needed. I hope you enjoy this lower fat version of mashed potatoes.

Tracy’s Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
4 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 10 potatoes pealed and cubed)
1 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. (4 oz.) cream cheese 1/3 less fat version
2 tsp. onion powder
1 slice cooked bacon, crumbled
2 green onions

Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain water. Place potatoes back in pot and use a mixer on low until creamy. Add sour cream, cream cheese, and onion powder. Blend until mixed and smooth. Pour into 2 quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with bacon and scallions and return to over for another 15 minutes.

Nutritional Facts(make 16 servings –  1/2 c. each): 120 calories, 3 g. fat (2 g. saturated fat), 10 mg. cholesterol, 60 mg. sodium, 20 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, 6% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 0% iron.


  • I made this with reduced sodium bacon.
  • I didn’t have scalions so I added fat free cheese. For future reference, I think it does need the green onions to add flavor.
  • I halved the recipe and baked for 30 minutes, added cheese and bacon before cooking an additional 12 minutes.
  • According the author of original recipe, you can make this ahead (without onions and bacon) and refridgerate for up to 2 days. Just let it sit out about 30 minutes before you make. You can also freeze it for up to one month before baking.

Beefy Cheese Soup

My mother hated potato soup as a child. It is my understanding that she was forced to sit at the dinner table until bedtime on the nights my grandma made it for dinner because she refused to eat it. One of the reasons my mother said she didn’t like it was because she hated warm milk. That said, she will drink hot chocolate made with dried milk.

This potato soup recipe has meat and cheese. You can’t go wrong with that. I’m pretty sure I got this recipe from Misty’s Facebook Recipe group a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy this hearty soup as much as I do.

Beefy Cheese Soup
1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
3 T. butter
3 c. chicken broth
4 c. cubed potatoes
1/4 c. flour
2 c. cubed cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream

In a large pot, cook beef and onion until over a medium heat. Stir in basil and parsley. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Melt butter and flour into soup. Add milk stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Notes: To make it a little healthier, I used low fat sour cream, 2 percent cheese, low sodium broth, and skim milk.

Raspberry Soup

I saw this recipe in one of my mom’s Taste of Home holiday cookbooks. I copied it because it looked super cute in tall shot glasses. When raspberries were on sale, I decided to give it try this summer. To my surprise, it tastes very similar to my recipe for strawberry soup. If you want to save some money because you don’t have access to a garden full of raspberries like my aunt Irene, try my Strawberry Soup recipe.

Chilled Raspberry Soup by Amy Wenger (Severance, CO)
1/3 c. cranberry juice
1/3 c. sugar
5 1/3 c. plus 12 fresh raspberries, divided
1 1/3 c. plus 2 T. sour cream, divided

In a blender, combine cranberry juice, sugar, 5 – 1/3 c. raspberries. Strain and discard seeds. Stir in 1-1/3 c. sour cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. To serve, pour 1/4 c. of soup into 12 cordial glasses. Top each with a raspberry and 1/2 tsp. sour cream.

Nutrition Facts (based on original recipe): 1 serving equals 111 calories, 5 g. fat (3 g. saturated fat), 19 mg. cholesterol, 10 mg. sodium, 14 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber, and 2 g. protein.


  • I used diet cranberry juice and fat free sour cream.
  • You could use sugar substitute or replace the sour cream with plain fat-free/Greek yogurt.

Chocolate for Breakfast

My nephew Brock and I share a love of chocolate chip muffins. We even eat those cheap $.99 Betty Crocker packets that you just water too. This recipe is a little more sophicated and very delicious anytime of day.

Toll House Crumbcake

1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. flour
2 T. butter softened
1/2 c. chopped nuts
2 c. mini chocolate chips, divided

1 and 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 c. sour cream

Preheat over to 350 degrees and greaze 13 x 9 pan. Combine brown sugar, flour, and butter. Crumble with two forks. Add 1/2 c. of chocolate chips and nuts.

For cake – combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time while still beating. Gradually add flour flour mixture alternating with sour cream. Fold in remain chocolate chips. Spread into baking pan and sprinkling with topping.

Bake for 25-35 minutes.

Notes: I make it without the nuts.


For my friend and co-worker Denise’s baby shower, our Executive Director made some great Mexican food. I asked her for the recipe for her tortilla bites because I couldn’t stop munching on them. I hope you also enjoy these fun little snacks.

Pinwheels by Lori Maris
5 – 10″ flour tortillas
parsley to garnish
1 (8 oz.) sour cream
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 (4 oz.) chopped olives
1 (4 oz.) diced green chilies
1 c. fine grated cheddar
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix togther by hand, divide filling over totillas – spread to edges. Roll-up. Cover with Saran Wrap. Refridgerate for two hours. Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Make 50 slices.

Classic Potato Casserole

I have seen a lot of recipes for cheesy hash brown potatoes – even baked a few. But my mom’s recipe is still the best.

I’ll never forgot the time my Grandma Fletcher tried to modify this recipe. My Grandpa Fletcher doesn’t eat chicken or turkey. He grew up on a farm with chickens…and you get the idea. My grandfather had enjoyed this recipe when mom brought it to a family gathering. My grandma asked for the recipe because she also enjoyed it. Grandma thought my grandpa wouldn’t eat it again if he knew it had cream of chicken soup so she swapped it out for cream of mushroom. She also didn’t have any corn flakes so she decided to top it with Frosted Flakes. (I’m laughing just writing this.) Anyway, she bake the casserole and tried to serve it to my cousins Becky, Dan, and Marilyn when she was babysitting them one-time. Needless to say, no one would eat it after just one bite. The lesson, you can’t always modify recipe with what you want or have in your pantry.

I think this dish makes an excellent side dish for a baked ham. Perhaps you can cook this dish for your Easter dinner.

Mom’s Hash Brown Casserole by Kathy Bourek

 2 lbs. frozen hash browns
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 c. milk
1 c. sour cream (8 oz.)
10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

 Combine all ingredients in baking dish. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.


  • I use a Tupperware That-A-Bowl to mix this.
  • I also let my hash browns sit out for about 30 minutes because it is easier to mix them.
  • Don’t use fat free sour cream and cream soup. It won’t set up properly if you do. You can us light sour cream , healthy request soup, and skim milk though.
  • You can top this with corn flakes if you want a crunch.