Tag Archives: comfort food

Easy cheesy potatoes

I hope you guys have had an amazing weekend. Like me, you should be sitting back, relaxing, patting yourself on the back for getting those few pesky chores done and smiling on all the fun you just had. Because like me, you just had the perfect summer weekend. That totally happened for you too, right?

This gal got to go to Duluth and see her indomitable brother not only complete Grandma’s Marathon, but do it with a smile on his face. In a word. Amazing. Oh and one more. Inspiring.
It was great to see him and our friends push themselves past their limits. Also super fun was cheering on all those runners, friends or not.

Grandmas Marathon-1

Then today on a foray for breakfast, we met a couple of amazing small farmers, selling produce fresh from their greenhouse. They had everything we were looking to do (albeit on a much larger scale). They were certainly the nicest couple, and willing to share some pointers and fantastic produce. Brekkie was quickly followed by a nap in the hammock and now I’m re-energized for more.

Now, fill in the gap in time (and space) between those two paragraphs and fill it with talking, laughter, and foodie love. Yeah that was my very perfect weekend. And now to top it off with the easiest side dish in all the lands. Now keep in mind, I live in the frozen tundra so even in June, it’s no big to have my oven on for 30, but if you live in warmer climes, pop these into a well oiled foil packet and toss ‘em on your grill. Easy, cheesy, comfort food, and the simplest side dish imaginable.

Enjoy!

Easy cheesy potatoes from thePenandthePan

Easy cheesy potatoes

2 lbs potatoes
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
¾ – 1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Clean, trim, and peel potatoes (if desired). Slice potatoes into ¼ inch pieces and place in 9×13” pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Top with onions and green pepper. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and potatoes are pierced easily with a fork.

Comfort quesadillas

So here I have the easiest of recipes for you. So easy the ingredient list consists of you opening your fridge and taking a gander at just what is hiding (and perhaps languishing) in there. These are my go-to comfort food, especially when it’s a solo dinner, and they are so crammed full of all those favorite veg that I always, always over buy. In my mind everything can go into a quesadilla fresh mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes – heck yeah. Maybe you found that jar of banana peppers you’ve been meaning to use up, or those green chilies looking for a vehicle to your tum, or maybe its those last two delish olives taking up all that space. Yup, they all belong in there too. And I suppose, you could even throw some meat in there. You know, if you had to.

As a comfort food, they can’t be beat. Easy, delish, and the avocado on top will melt away the worst of days. And I’m putting that to the test. Someone made a rather large mistake, certainly not the end of the world, but I am a pretty harsh critic when it comes to this gal. But you know, I did find out I’ve got an audience. A big one. So there’s that, right?

That said, at least I have tons of fun to distract myself from all of that (and before you start gnashing your teeth wondering, “what the heck did you do, Jess?!” It was a typo. A small typo. But on a big stage). But yeah, fun! Next week marks the start of my summer hours. Yeah, you read that right, summer hours! So that’s pretty rad. But even more immediate is getting to watch my brother cross the finish line at Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday and then another trip to the bear bar! Yeah, bears. In real life.

In the meantime, let’s go comfort ourselves with quesadillas. Quesadillas oozing with cheese and dripping with salsa. Yeah. That.

Enjoy!

Comfort quesadillas from thePenandthePan

Comfort quesadillas

per quesadilla
1 tortilla (the size is up to you, how much comfort are you feeling?)
¼ cup or less shredded cheese
assorted vegetables, raw or cooked
butter for tortilla

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Butter one side of your tortilla and place in pan. Add vegetables to one side of tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over entire tortilla.

Just as cheese starts to melt, fold tortilla in half. Continue to cook, flipping frequently, until both sides are lightly browned.

Smashed potatoes from Closet Cooking

You know what’s amazing and awesome and about to happen to this very gal?! Getting to see your favorite band, in your favorite venue, with your favorite sibling! I’ll be real honest here, I can’t focus on a whole lot else right now. Tomorrow immediately after work, I’m hopping in the car for a solo camera venture across the state, landing in Minneapolis just in time for dinner with friends and then a night full of ROCK! All that excitement to be followed on Saturday by lunching with some favorite ladies, a little retail therapy, and another scenic route home. Just me, visits with rad people, and exactly zero pressure.

It did cross my mind to stay for a second day, but on the way into work this week, I looked around at all the peeps coming to vacation in this town, and I thought, “Huh, do I really want to miss out on a fine weekend afternoon in what will surely be the shortest of summers?” The answer was an emphatic no. That coupled with the fact that the ever talented Himself is willing to work on my car on Sunday, and it’s a def no-brainer, not a single moment wasted away from my north woods paradise.

That said, I’m crazy excited to go, and have exactly zero interest in planning elaborate meals this week. So, because I’m a grown up, it’s appetizers for dinner! Boom! Cause I can. I love this recipe because you can fancy it up for your friends, or do what I did and use leftover bits and pieces languishing in my sad fridge. Intentional ingredients, happy accidents with leftovers, either way, these little bites are so yummy. Think a potato skin with more potato and less grease and guilt.

I’ve copied over the original recipe from Closet Cooking in case you’re ready to wow your friends, but if you just want a little comfort snack, you’ll get the gist of it and adapt away.

Enjoy!

Smashed potatoes from thePenandthePan

Smashed potatoes from Closet Cooking

1 pound new potatoes (about 1-1 1/2 inches across), washed
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 strips bacon (optional)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions, sliced

Bring the potatoes and enough water to cover them by an inch to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until a fork can easily be pushed into them, about 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, before draining them.

Place the potatoes on a greased baking sheet and ‘smash’ them by pressing down on them with something like a potato masher, the bottom of a glass or bowl, etc.

Brush the potatoes with oil, season with salt and pepper and bake them on the top shelf of a preheated 450F oven until golden brown and crispy on top, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook and crumble the bacon.

Sprinkle the cheddar onto the potatoes and optionally broil for a minute to melt the cheese.

Top with the sour cream, bacon and green onions and enjoy as a side or as an appetizer!

Option: You can cook and smash the potatoes a day ahead of time.

Layered leftover nachos

Uhhhh, what do you mean it’s only Thursday. You can’t be for reals. Nope, I refuse to believe that. Surely it’s been well over a week since we visited last. I mean, just look at everything that’s happened. Well, ok, I mean just look at everything I accomplished. Uhh, I mean, I’m sleepy, go ‘way.

It’s not so much that I’ve actually gotten that much dones, as it is feeling stretched in too many directions. You know the feeling. But this is no space for whining, right, I mean you definitely prefer me when I’m wine-ing (yeah that’s a thing that will definitely happen this weekend). Bonus points, my weekend started about thirty minutes ago. Winning! Comp time is the best time.

I feel like I’m nattering on saying much the same I’ve said in weeks past. So instead, let’s look at pretty pictures. Yayyyy! Pictures! Of nature!

Eagle take off

Pretty rad, huh? As much as I’d like to take credit for that shot, it was all Himself. Don’t mind me as I’m over here drumming my fingers, trying to contain my jealousy. He’s the better photographer. Though I did get this one in the yard.

Deer in yard

Sigh, I know it doesn’t compare. But really now, I can’t have *all* the talent. I mean just looky here at what I’ve done with your leftovers. It’s like magic up in here. So, the name may not be the most glamorous, but the taste will knock your socks off. I made this with my leftover crockpot pork tacos with beer. And it was glorious! This is more of a technique, since your nachos are going to depend on how much meat and veggies you have left over. Get creative here, it doesn’t have to be taco meat on these nachos. Have some leftover chicken breast? Shred it up and toss with some salsa. Have some black beans and sweet potatoes in the fridge? Oh yes, my friend, super tasty! Think way outside the box here. What’ve you got to lose?

The recipe makes a huge plate of nachos. Think of those over the top restaurant nachos. We’re talking more than enough to share in a group. But not to worry, everyone will inhale them.

Enjoy!

Layered leftover nachos

Layered leftover nachos

2 cups leftover meat, shredded or chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups cheese
Tortilla chips
Assorted veggies – green pepper, green top onions, tomatoes, etc
Cilantro cream sauce and guacamole to serve

Preheat oven to 350º. In a small baking dish, place a layer of tortilla chips. Top with ½ meat, 1 cup of cheese, and half the veggies (except tomatoes if using). Place another layer of chips on top. Repeat meat, cheese, and vegetable layers. Top with tomatoes.

Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Serve with cilantro cream sauce and guacamole.

Crockpot pork tacos with beer

I am having another amazing week. Getting tired of hearing that yet? I really can’t believe how much happier I am in the woods. It’s like the decision to pack in city life and just move on is reaffirmed every day. In fact, I can hardly believe that we’ve only been here eight months!

Not to be all sunshine and giggles, this week was a little tough. After all having two jobs is time consuming, and though I remember May being crazy busy when I was a student, turns out I had no idea just what that meant for grown-ups. Not that I’m laying claim to that title, mind you. But for every tough thing that happened, something amazing happened.

Culminating in yesterday’s wildlife “adventure.” I love having birds around. Always have. In fact one of the first things I did when we moved up here was request a bird book (Himself’s mother to the rescue again!). Now, you’ll find that and my inherited binoculars paired together on the porch on the reg. So naturally, I have a ton of bird feeders. We’ve got one outside the bedroom window. And since we put it up, I’ve been fascinated by how fearless those agile, little chickadees are. But I had no idea just how fearless until I went to change out the feeders yesterday. I just sauntered up, new feeder in hand, and I realized these birds weren’t going anywhere. I slowly grabbed my phone and started taking a few shots. And those birds just went on pigging out, swooping in short flights all around me. It was amazing. I dropped off the new feeder, and grabbed the big camera. Still showing no fear, these birds tried to figure out just what I was doing. And that’s when this happened.

Chickadees

You can bet I’m going to try to repeat that scene again today. Especially since Mr. Blue Jay found the new feeder sturdy enough to hold both him and his raucous cries. All signs that spring has finally arrived, I mean it is May already.

In fact, it’s almost Cinco de Mayo! You might be inundated with fiesta flavored recipes, but I bet you won’t find one as easy (and delish, I dare say) as this one. As if pork tacos aren’t tasty enough, I went and put beer in there. Yeah, I said beer. In your tacos. Soon to be in your FACE. Cause you’ll be busy stuffing it. Amirite?!

Ok, all hyperbole aside, these tacos are super, amazingly, unbelievably tasty! The assembly couldn’t be easier either. Mix it all up, walk away, come back and stuff your face. Keep in mind though, 3 lbs of pork is a lot. This is the recipe that you serve to a crowd and then sit back and relish the accolades.

Enjoy!

Crockpot pork tacos with beer

Crockpot pork tacos with beer

Adapted from Crock Pot Cheddar Beer Chicken Tacos at How Sweet It Is

1 medium sweet onion
2.5 – 3 pound pork roast
10 ounce can of tomatoes (I used Rotel’s tomatoes with green chilies)
1 green pepper
1-12 ounce bottle of beer
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dried cilantro (optional if you’re not the cilantro freak I am)
Taco shells or tortillas
Favorite toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, more green pepper, and of course cilantro cream sauce

Roughly chop onions and place in the bottom of a crock pot. If necessary, remove butcher twine from pork roast, and place on top of onions. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice, and place on top of pork. Roughly chop green pepper and add on top of tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix together beer, reserved tomato juice, and taco seasonings. Carefully pour over and around pork roast. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Just before serving, shred pork with two forks. Assemble tacos. Stuff your face.

Sausage stuffed baked apples

I would guess it’s pretty obvious, but I seriously love cooking. I mean, I go though those periods where I’m ready to throw in the dish towel and swear we’re only eating out from now on. Himself does try to help, but I imagine it’s about the same as me offering to build us a bookshelf. Not gonna happen.

Really though, what can be more magical than looking at disparate ingredients in your fridge and creating something amazing. Especially when it comes together with exactly no effort. Though not for the blog, that’s exactly what happened yesterday – some olives, a little (brand name) olive marinade, chicken breasts, leftover flatbread, all topped with tzatziki sauce. Put those ingredients together and we had a Greek feast.

I’ve still had that weirdo relationship with food ever since that plague-like episode with the stomach virus, so getting excited about a dish is a pretty fantastic occurrence here. And then to have not one, but two dishes I want to devour (besides bread and cheese that is), well then, that’s really saying something about those dishes.

The second of those dishes is these sausage stuffed apples. I know, they’re really more of a fall dish, but it’s cold enough up her this week, that I don’t feel a bit bad about sharing this. And before you say something silly about sausage and apples not going together, I bet you’d eat a sweet, nutty acorn squash stuffed with sausage, so there.

You can make this with any kind of sausage, but I was busy turning what was already in my fridge into awesome, and so I used hot and spicy pork sausage links. And we are talking serious heat here, my friends. Put that with the bite of the ginger and you have something I want to put in my mouth. Mmmmm. You should totally put this in your mouth too!

Enjoy!

Sausage stuffed apples

Sausage stuffed baked apples

(adapted from Morning Food: Breakfast, Brunches and More for Savoring the Best Part of the Day)

4 tart apples
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
4 ounces cooked sausage, crumbled or chopped (4 oz = appx 6 links)
¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Chopped green onions to garnish

Preheat oven to 275º. Wash and core the apples. Using a paring knife, enlarge the cored hole, until the remainder of the apple is about ½-¾ inches thick. Fold a 6-inch square of aluminum foil around the bottom of the apple. This will hold filling mixture in place.

Finely chop the insides of the apple you just removed. In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add apple and ginger and cook 3 minutes.

Add sausage to apple and ginger mixture. Place cored apples in 8×8 pan and fill with sausage mixture. Cover pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and top each apple with cheese and onions. Return to oven uncovered until cheese melts. Let cool slightly before serving.

Apple & lime cake

Oooof. Yup, that about sums up my week thus far. But today marks a rad turning point. This week has been filled with so much awesome (and one less than awesome), but I have a deep, dark secret. Someone might have a wee little (hah!) issue with anxiety.

Who knows what the turning point was, but after feeling like I needed to hide in a hole all week, suddenly today, there was just this sudden moment where I felt GREAT! It surely doesn’t hurt that all week people have been telling me how awesome I am, and admiring my skillz.

All the skillz except walking, that is. Someone may have ended up first on her behind and then secondly in the ER. I’m fine, but I took a tumble and landed on my wrist. Having broken the same wrist almost two years ago to the day (!!!), when it started to swell and bruise in that old familiar way, I hightailed it to the ER. A couple of x-rays and a few tears later, I just have a nasty sprain.

And not to get all gushy on you guys here, but Himself is pretty much the best ever. Despite being one-handed, my to-do list has been long enough for two people. He’s stepped up to the plate and helped with nearly each and every one. So here’s his reward. A delicious apple & lime cake. Made in adorable bundt pans.

Who doesn’t heart things in a miniature shape? I swear it totally makes it taste better. There’s no other excuse for why Himself and I both inhaled our respective pieces. Oh, it could also be the amazing flavor combination of apple and lime. So, if you’re not in possession of adorable, miniature bundt pans, you can still savor the deliciousness.

Enjoy!

Apple lime cake

Apple & lime cake

Adapted from the Perfect Baking cookbook

Cake:
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
5 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
⅔ cup applesauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 egg, lightly beaten

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 – 2 tablespoons lime juice
½ – ¾ teaspoon lime rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a deep 7-inch round cake pan or two 6-cup bundt pans.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add applesauce, lime juice, and egg, and mix thoroughly. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Spoon batter into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool slightly before turning out onto baking rack to cool completely.

When cake has cooled completely, prepare glaze. Adjust lime juice and rind to your preferred intensity of lime flavor. Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over top of cake.

Fromage Homage

A British Isles Cheese Odyssey

My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts

Wholesome family living, simple recipes and crafts

Urban Nettle

Rooted in Nature…A Commitment to Ourselves

Swirls and Spice

Kissing Dairy Goodbye Never Tasted So Good!

Shivaay Delights

Sharing my passion for cooking and baking ♡

Simple Life Mom

Natural Beauty and Homemade Everything

grapefriend

grapefriend. wine. fun.

Andie Duncan : Motherload VO

Where smart, silly and serious play extremely well together.

KITCHEN CICI

Food Innovator, Clean Eater, Recipe Sharer. My kitchen is small but mighty.

My Favourite Pastime

Food, Travel and Eating Out