As you know, my column each week is written for homemakers and food lovers living in Clinton and surrounding counties. But at least once a week, I run into someone who tells me that my recipes sound so good but they just don’t like to cook.
Well, in the next two weeks I will be offering you some food ideas that only require a few minutes in the kitchen. Even though I prepare one full meal every day, there are times when I am busy or just not in the mood to “stir the pot”.
When this happens I head for the freezer or my cold storage drawer where I always keep an entrée or two for times like this.
Today I am going to tell you about some potato products that are almost an “instant fix” side dish.
QUICK AND EASY POTATOES
I am not a lover of mashed potatoes, so taking time to prepare them is not one of my favorite things to do. For several years you have been able to buy boxed mashed potatoes, but that are gummy and horrible.
If it is boxed hash browns you’re looking for, they are right next to the “potato paste.”
In my opinion, they should be banned from the store shelf. Well, now you can buy “real potato products” in the refrigerated and dairy case. If you’re looking for mashed potatoes, try Simply Potatoes, Home-style Mashed or my favorite Bob Evans White Cheddar. They are fabulous.
As for hash browns, Simply Potatoes offers both cubed and shredded style refrigerated hash browns. They can be fried or made into a potato casserole. They also work great if you are making “potato pancakes.”
A variety of potato products (mashed and hash brown) is also available in the freezer section. Personally, I prefer the ones in the dairy section because of their “fresh” flavor and the fact that the mashed potatoes cook in the microwave (in their own plastic container) in 4-5 minutes.
If you’re like me and love fried potatoes, try the Simply Potatoes Red Potato Wedges. Just heat a heavy skillet of oil, pour in potatoes, add salt, pepper and onion if you like, and they are ready in minutes. No peeling or slicing is needed. HINT: Let them brown totally on the bottom before turning for a really crunchy texture.
MASHED POTATO SOUFFLE
A great side dish for any meal and it can be mixed in minutes with no potatoes to peel or mash!
1-3 oz pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg. fresh dairy mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon minced chives
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg, mixing well and then add 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Mix in potatoes and seasonings. Pour into greased 8” square or round glass baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese on top and cook until potatoes are puffy and cheese is golden brown (about 15-20 min.). Serve immediately for best results. NOTE: Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9×13” baking dish. Increase cooking time to 30-35 min. and then an additional 15-20 min after cheese is added.
SOUTHWESTERN HASH BROWN QUICHE
Use refrigerated potatoes and deli ham to make this delicious quiche. It can be served with muffins for breakfast or a salad for dinner and no one will believe that you haven’t spent hours preparing this dish!
1 pkg. Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup diced fully cooked ham *
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup diced green pepper
2 teaspoon chopped onion
2 eggs (beaten)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
*HINT: Ask deli to slice 2 slices (1/4” thick) of your favorite ham. Then cut ham into small diced pieces.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press hash browns between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Press into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9“ pie plate. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes. While crust is baking, combine ham, cheese, green pepper and onion. In small bowl mix beaten eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Remove potatoes from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spoon ham mixture over crust and then carefully pour egg mixture over top of ham layer. Return to oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife inserted 2” from the crust comes out clean (center should still be a little soft.) Allow to stand 10-15 min. before cutting.
See you next week with some more recipes for those readers who hate to cook. — Sheryl
Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column “Welcome to My Kitchen” out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.