Cook's Corner: Last minute potato dishes
Published 8:19 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I hope that you have everything pretty much ready for tomorrow's big meal. I've been preparing for about two weeks, and I've got the sinking feeling that I've forgotten something.
My menu consists of turkey, cornbread dressing, dumplings, turnips, butter beans, glazed carrots, cranberry sauce (from a can, of course), and crescent rolls. Of course there will be plenty of sweet tea and the “must-have” pumpkin pie for dessert. I'm also including a pecan pie that I made from the pecans I picked up in my own back yard. It's the first year I've ever done that so I'm mighty proud. If my husband is really sweet, I may take out the frozen cheesecake that I have hidden in the back of the freezer.
At any rate, if you're looking for some last minute quick-fix recipes, then you've hit the jackpot today. The first recipe is for a potato salad that uses instant potatoes. Even if you forgot to purchase potatoes, you can still prepare something using the spud on a moment's notice. This may also be a good recipe to keep on hand in case you have last-minute drop in company and need to stretch the food you have on hand.
Instant Potato Salad
4 cups warm water
2 cups instant potato flakes
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 tsps. dill pickle relish
2 tsps. prepared yellow mustard
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour 2 cups of warm water into a bowl. Stir in the instant potato flakes until well blended. Mix in the mayonnaise, milk, relish, mustard and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well, and refrigerate until needed.
If you're looking for a little different version of the favorite mashed potatoes, try this one out. Sounds great!
Dutch Mashed Potatoes
One-fourth cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
One-fourth cup sour cream
One-fourth teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons snipped chives
In a small skillet, saute onion in butter for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain. In a small mixing bowl, mash potatoes and carrots. Beat in onion, sour cream and salt. Sprinkle with chives.
Here's another good alternative to the regular mashed potato dish. If you're really rushed for time, you can always make instant potatoes and simply add in the other ingredients. This method will usually work well if the ingredients you're adding are of the creamy variety. In this recipe, simply prepare eight portions of instant potatoes. Then add in the cheese, butter, dressing mix and milk.
Cheesy Ranch Potatoes
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons water
1 pound processed cheese food
One-half cup butter
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
One-fourth cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Place potatoes and water in baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven 1 hour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together processed cheese food and butter. Stir in dry ranch-style dressing mix and milk. Pour the processed cheese food mixture over potatoes. Return to oven, reseal and continue cooking 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender and processed cheese food mixture is bubbly.
I've found that a recipe, for many cooks, is just a guide. Of course you can change ingredients in recipes to suit the taste of your family. I do it all the time with little problems.
Finally, here's one last potato recipe that I'm sure will become a family favorite and is so good you may want to use it year ‘round. It's quick and easy and oh, so tasty!
Potatoes Au Gratin
1 (2 pound) package frozen hash browns
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 small finely diced onion
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 and one-half cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Spread frozen hash browns into the bottom of the prepared pan. Mix together potato soup, celery soup, onion, green bell pepper and sour cream; pour the mixture over the potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle with cheese, and bake another 30 minutes or until the cheese melts.
I hope that you enjoy tomorrow with your family and friends. There's no better holiday than Thanksgiving to allow ourselves an opportunity to count our blessings. If you've only got hot dogs for dinner tomorrow, be thankful you have something. There are so many people who won't have the opportunity to eat on Thanksgiving day. There are those that won't have the luxury of relaxing and enjoy a good day with family or friends.
If you are one of those people who have to work on Thanksgving, don't be upset. It's OK to be a little sad about not being with your family for a big meal, but unlike millions of other people, you do have a job and be thankful for that.
I hope that your day is a good one and that you remember to be thankful just to be alive.
Until next week, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Cooking!