Loaded Mashed Potatoes ala Pressure Cooker

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YES! You can make potatoes in a pressure cooker – fast and in large volumes, like this party-sized photo shows.

You vary the amounts of ingredients depending on your need and pressure cooker size, and of course this recipe is great no matter how you cook the potatoes!

6 lbs red-skinned potatoes (fork-prick tops)
6 cloves garlic (peeled & chopped)
1 cup water or stock for cooking
12 oz sour cream
1 stick butter (melted)
1/2 – 1 cup milk (or half-and-half)
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 – 1 lb bacon (cooked crispy & chopped)
6 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Pepper to taste

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Gazy Brothers Farm red-skinned potatoes at Connecticut farmers markets

Step 1: Scrub red-skinned potatoes (or other variety) and prick with fork. Half larger potatoes.

Step 2: Place in pressure cooker with 1 cup water or stock, adding salt and garlic to mixture.

Step 3: Cook potatoes on high pressure for 8 minutes (stovetop cooker) to 10 minutes (electric cooker). Carefully use quick release method to open pressure cooker, or wait until it naturally releases.

Step 4: Drain potatoes and then use a masher (or ricer) to mash the potatoes (reserving some cooking liquid to add back in if needed later). Mix in butter, sour cream, and milk in stages stirring as you go to check for consistency.

Step 5: Mix in shredded sharp cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, and chopped bacon, reserving some of all for the top.

Step 6: Check salt and pepper level – adjust according to taste.

Step 7: If serving that day, keep pressure cooker on warm and it’s ready to enjoy when you’re ready to party. Recipe also reheats well, but might want to reserve some chopped crisp bacon, cheese, and green onions for top for when you reheat.

AVOID GUMMY MASHED POTATOES: Draining potatoes before mashing, as well as using a masher or ricer instead of a food processor, electric mixer, or immersion blender to mash the potatoes helps avoid the dreaded gummy mashed potato.

Pickled Yellow and Red Onions

I love the pickled onions at Panera Bread and that inspired me to try pickling onions.

This recipe is less sweet than the pickled onions at Panera but close thanks to Bobby Flay and making them on Rachel Ray show. Add more sugar and this will be mock Panera Bread pickled onions. YUM.

1-1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar  (use more if you want a sweeter pickled onion)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

Directions: Slice onions thinly and place in a container or mason jar. Add vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a saucepan. Bring to boil. Let cool for 10 minutes off heat. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions and refrigerate for anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days before serving.

TIP: If the pickled onions are not sweet enough, sprinkle a little sugar on them on your plate and next go-around add more sugar (or try honey) in the pickling solution.

SERVING IDEA: Use as a topping for cooked chicken, or a turkey sandwich as we did recently. Also a great addition to homemade onion dip.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

My husband is not the biggest cauliflower fan but he loves this recipe so we never have any leftovers. Try it, you won’t be sorry but take your serving fast before it disappears!

Recipe is inspired by Shellery’s recipe but adapted to be lower fat and a faster cook time.

1 head fresh raw cauliflower, florets
1-3 garlic cloves, minced (~2tbsp)
1-3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: chopped fresh herbs for topping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and cut cauliflower into evenly sized florets, smaller will cook faster. Mince garlic. Toss garlic, oil, and cauliflower florets to coat and add to greased baking tray. Salt and pepper as desired.

Bake at 450 degrees for 13 minutes, then remove and stir. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs (or in our case some leftover whole wheat matzo meal).

Bake for an additional 5-6 minutes until topping is golden brown.

If your cauliflower florets are larger, then you might want to stir cauliflower at 13 minutes, return to oven for an additional five minutes and then proceed to cheese and crumb topping step.

Pickled Raw Beets Copenhagen-style

Crunchy, tangy, raw pickling with no added sugar works well with a sweet vegetable such as the sugar beet.

Eating beets raw and sliced very thin gives a crunch and nutrition boost from this My Copenhagen Kitchen inspired pickled beet recipe.

3-4 beets
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup filtered water
1 tsp salt
(add 1 tbsp sugar or honey for a sweeter recipe)

Peel and slice the beets as thin as possible – a mandolin makes this easier.  Combine vinegar, water and salt in a jar, stir or shake to combine. Add thinly sliced beets and marinate for several days before eating.

We vacuum sealed in mason jars and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to enjoy when we wanted. The vacuum-sealing process also speeds the marinating process by drawing the liquid through the veggie in the vacuum seal process but this is not shelf-stable – it must be refrigerated!

Stuffed Peppers with Rice


This is one of my favorite go to make ahead meal recipes.  It’s easy, versatile, and delicious. You can make with the ground meat blend of your choice.  I’ve made it as a vegetarian dish by adding sauteed chard and spinach instead of meat.  You can use this stuffing with other vegetables like tomatoes or zucchini instead of peppers.  It’s fantastic as a family meal or dinner for one.  Best of all the stuffing freezes well and can easily be packed up in serving containers of your choice for an easy mid-week, healthy meal.

1-4 bell peppers
1 minced jalapeno                          IMG_3601
1 chopped banana pepper
1 chopped onion
Calabrian or cherry peppers in oil – to taste
2 cups cooked rice or 1 package ready rice
2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1 pound of ground beef, pork or turkey – any combo

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Saute onions and peppers in oil from the hot peppers 5 minutes – till light golden brown. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes.  Turn off heat and add cooked rice along with 1 cup tomato sauce to pan. Stir together and let mixture cool.


Mix ground meat, beaten egg, and rice mixture and combine.  Add Parmesan cheese and stir till blended.



IMG_3617Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, discard seeds membranes and stem.   Cover the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish with sauce.  Fill each pepper half with 1/2 cup of the meat mixture and place in dish. Cover each pepper with sauce.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes.




While peppers are baking portion out any remaining meat mixture into freezable containers.  I usually make batches of about 1 cup of meat mix (enough for 1 pepper). Pack, label and freeze.




Uncover baking dish and add small pieces of mozzarella to the top of each pepper half.


Bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Serve and enjoy!


Roasted Grilled Corn on the Cob

Summer is for BBQ and easy. Soaking corn on the cob and placing directly on the grill is easy prep and delicious. There are many ways to make this but simple brings out the natural corn flavor.

Soak the corn in the cob in cold water for 30 minutes. Place on the preheated grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Remove corn from heat and peel back and enjoy. The silks peel back very easily and the corn is moist.  Add butter, salt or nothing at all. The corn is nice and sweet and tender.

If you want a variation, you can add melted butter, minced herbs and other seasonings to the husks before cooking, but in this case you are opening the corn and removing the silk in advance of cooking. This works well if you wish to cook corn in a packet or on indirect heat.  You would close up the husks as tightly as possible also.

Chopped Summer Salad (Tomato, Cucumber, Radish, Basil, Pink Beans)

Nothing says fresh flavor better than a quick summer chopped salad using farm-fresh ingredients picked that morning.

We were heading to an afternoon BBQ and wanted to bring something easy but delicious … and so this salad was born.

Variations of this could include adding some feta cheese, or using cilantro/lime combo instead of basil/lemon combo for more of a salsa feel. Anyway you chop it you will be so happy you did. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, refrigerate and enjoy over several days with the flavors intensifying in a very pleasing way.

Ingredients (party-sized to fit half a watermelon shell, adjust as needed – this is a very forgiving recipe):

4-5 large Ripe Tomato
5-6 Pickling Cucumbers
10 Small Radishes
Basil bunch
Can of Pink Beans (or kidney beans, chickpeas)
Olive oil (quarter-cup or more to taste)
White balsamic vinegar (quarter-cup or more to taste)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste (we used 1/4 teaspoon of both as a starting point)
Watermelon shell (for easy serving at a party)

Step 1:
Wash veggies well including the basil (which you can blot or spin dry).

Step 2:
Chop, chop, chop … tomatoes, cucumbers into chunky bite sized pieces. Trim and slice thin pieces of radish.  Combine in a big bowl using care to not lose the tomato liquid from chopping (so much flavor there).

Step 3:
Remove basil leaves from stems then using a scissors to cut the basil into strips and add to veggies in the bowl.

Step 4:
Rinse canned beans to reduce starch, drain and add to chopped veggies. Mix well to distribute.

Step 5:
Make the dressing by mixing oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  We started with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and adjusted after 10 minutes to taste adding more as needed.  If you need more vinegar or oil add it but as this salad sits more juice is released from the tomatoes.

Step 6:
Transfer veggie salad to hollowed watermelon half (and if you are adventurous you can even add some of the watermelon to the salad)

Panzanella with Sun-dried Tomato Dressing


When I think of summer I think of tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh Gazy Brothers Farm veggies.   Panzanella is a great way to use leftover veggies and bread.  It’s also a wonderful salad to bring to picnics and outdoor events.

For this particular recipe I started with a basic panzanella recipe from Ina Garten.  Instead of a simple oil and vinegar dressing  I made a sun-dried tomato  vinaigrette .  I really love the flavor and intensity that sun-dried tomato brings to any basic vinaigrette recipe.   Sun-dried tomato vinaigrettes can be used thru the summer as a way to add a depth of flavor into any summer salad; like this panzanella.

Panzanella Ingredients:                                                                                                 010755235d3c80e24995c66dc19c79f908ac68f84e

1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped


Ingredients for the vinaigrette:

01a613086b73990d0e39ad4521e15e7c92670ba2293-4 heaping tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Drizzle bread cubes with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place on sheet pan and toast in 325 degree oven until golden brown. It usually takes 10-20 minutes.  Make sure to keep your eye on it doesn’t burn.01b7077b9f2532dcbe13d0a4a578dee59b6876a931

Make the vinaigrette by adding sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, and garlic in food processor blender.  Pulse to combine.  Add cherry tomatoes and olive oil – blend till smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.


In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, and basil.


Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette.  Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.




Broccoli Packets with Garlic Lemon and Cheese

Easiest summer cooking method IMO is packet cooking, so why not fresh broccoli with garlic and lemon cooked on your grill or in your oven.

Recipe inspired by Pillsbury which would work also nicely for several vegetables such as cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini and squash.

1 head broccoli (fresh, cut into large florets, and slice stem and include)
1/2-1 lemon, juiced over broccoli (roll the lemon to release the juices before cutting/squeezing)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shreaded or grated)
1-2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic)
Oil spray (or 1 tsp olive oil, drizzled)
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)

This is easy-peazy to do. Wash broccoli, cut into large florets and be sure to slice the stems and include. Place broccoli on a large piece of oil-sprayed aluminum foil. Squeeze lemon over broccoli, sprinkle with garlic, pepper, Parmesan cheese and for extra heat sprinkle some red pepper flakes.

Close foil packet by folding top and slides together, leaving some space for expansion as it cooks. Place in indirect heat on the grill for 15 to 25 minutes depending on heat of grill and how crispy or soft you like the broccoli.

Serve immediately but any leftovers are delicious cold, so cook a double batch if you can.




Slow-Cooked Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions
Caramelized Onions are sweet and delicious and easy to make in a slow cooker overnight or all day long.

Once you peel and slice the onions they slowly sweat in the slow cooker releasing fluid (since they are about 75% water), then they caramelize and brown. The final step is important when the cooking continues with the slow cooker uncovered. Outcome is simply heavenly.

1 lb Yellow Onions (sliced 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch)
1 lb Spanish Onions (sliced 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch)
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tbsp Salt (or to taste)

You have a lot of onions at home – what do you do?

Step 1: Peel and slice onions, toss with oil and salt.

Sliced onions in crockpot
Step 2: Cook on low in covered slow cooker for 8-10 hours (or at 190F in the oven), then cook for an additional 1-3 hours uncovered to reduce the liquid released by the onions. If you want it more like Onion Jam cook longer.

caramelizing onions in crockpot
TIP: You can create a quick caramelized onions by sauteing sliced onions with a little baking soda. This does work but creates a softer, mushier texture which is good to mix into dips.