Tag Archives: potatoes

Savory Sausage and Kraut Skillet


Sometimes, real life and blogging do not mesh well. In today’s case, I made this recipe for dinner, and it was so delicious that we ate all of it before I realized I’d forgotten to take a “finished” picture :) As problems go, this is one I’m happy to have.

This recipe is not dissimilar to the Apple and Sauerkraut Sausage recipe I posted a while back, but I think I prefer this one: today’s recipe has potatoes, and uses less sugar. In addition, the apple in this recipe is grated, rather than sliced, so it “vanishes” into the kraut, leaving behind only a gentle sweetness. I enjoy the tart taste of sauerkraut, and it’s nice when the recipe doesn’t mask it too much. Definitely a good skillet dinner for those busy weeknights!


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 12 small red potatoes, washed and sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained, rinsed, and packed
  • 1 pound smoked beef sausage or kielbasa, sliced into 2-inch pieces



In a large skillet, sauté the onion and green pepper in the butter over medium heat until tender.


Add the apple, brown sugar, caraway seed, potatoes, and sauerkraut, and mix well.


Place the sausage on top of the sauerkraut mixture.


Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

Serves 4-6.

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Creamy Dill Potato Salad


Looks like the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company streak is holding true: their recipes are yummy! The “Peggy’s Pantry” recipes from the same source, however, are nowhere near as reliable. I wonder if something changed in their recipe writing and publication department? Note to self: check dates on recipes, see if there is a pattern.

This is one of the most unique potato salads I have run across. Generally speaking, potato salads tend to come in two varieties: mustard with optional hard-boiled egg added, and mayonnaise with optional bacon. Today’s salad is completely different. It features red potatoes, green peas, fresh dill, green onions, and (of all things) horseradish! The texture is fairly crunchy, due to the celery, and the flavor has a great “bite”. Now that the weather is warming up, I may make this again for a weekend picnic!


  • 8 small red potatoes, boiled and diced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
  • 3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons horseradish
  • Salt and pepper to taste



In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the lemon juice.


Stir in the celery and green onion.


Rinse the peas in cold water, drain thoroughly, and fold into the potato mixture.


Add the sour cream, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

For best results, refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to mingle.


Serves 6.

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Spiced Potatoes


Ah, to be young again. The lack of responsibility! The freedom from having to pay bills! Being able to run around all day and climb trees! And, of course, the liberty to be absolutely illegible in one’s personal notes. I wrote down today’s recipe when I was about 8 years old, and my handwriting was completely atrocious.

There are two keys to this recipe. The first is slicing the potatoes into small cubes: this helps them to become crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside without burning. The second is adding the onion near the end of cooking. If you add it at the beginning, it will crisp and burn. Cook wisely, cook well, and enjoy the potatoes!


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste



In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.


Add the potatoes and cayenne pepper, and fry until crisp, stirring occasionally.


Add the onion, and cook for 1 more minute.

Serve hot and salted.


Serves 2-4.

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Potato Gratin


Sometimes, I will do a little background research to see if I can identify a recipe author. I found this recipe syndicated in a few newspapers, but no source was ever given. To the anonymous chef, whoever he or she may have been: well done! This is a wonderfully put together side dish, and easier to make than I had ever anticipated. My previous experience with any sort of potato gratin was limited to Betty Crocker box potatoes. This was a venture into uncharted territory.

I was very pleased with the result. The potatoes were very tender, and thoroughly infused with delicious cream. I chose to add the optional Gruyere cheese in between the potato layers and on top, because cheese is one of those good things that one cannot ever have too much of. Omitting the Gruyere would certainly lower the calorie count, but as regular readers of this blog will know, I am less concerned with calories and more concerned with flavor. Go ahead – add the cheese. :)


  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Use the garlic to thoroughly rub the inside of a 13” x 9” baking dish, and butter the dish.


In a medium cooking pot, cover the sliced potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil.

Cook the potatoes for 1 minute, and drain.


In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with salt and pepper.


In a small bowl, mix together the half-and-half and milk.


Layer half of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish.


Cover the potatoes with half of the liquid.


Layer half of the grated cheese on top of the potatoes.

Repeat with the remaining potatoes, liquid, and cheese.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden on top.


Serves 8.

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Peg’s Shepherd’s Pie


This recipe was clipped from a newspaper, and that is as far as I can document the source. The clipping is clearly quite old and weathered. I can definitely see why it was put into the collection, though: this is a very good shepherd’s pie recipe! The Cheddar cheese on top adds an additional flavor component, and makes the meal a little more special.

The original directions call for instant mashed potatoes. I have a somewhat rational prejudice against this ingredient, and have thus made a minor alteration to the recipe; instant potatoes are, to me, desperation food. Unless I am holed up in an underground bunker, I refuse to do anything with instant mashed potatoes. I am a grown adult who is perfectly capable of peeling potatoes, boiling them, and mashing them. It just isn’t that hard. That said, I left the rest of the recipe unchanged: it is delicious as is, and does not require any modification.


  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, prepared according to package directions
  • 4 to 6 servings mashed potatoes, made from scratch or instant
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat with the thyme, marjoram, oregano, salt, and pepper.


Stir in the mixed vegetables.


Place this mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish.


Cover the mixture with the mashed potatoes.


Sprinkle the casserole with the Cheddar cheese and paprika.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until warmed through and cheese melts.


Serves 4-6.

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Sausage, Peppers, and Potatoes

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I have two versions of this recipe in my collection: one is the original clipping from “Lipton Recipe Secrets”, and the other is a transcription written in my grandmother’s handwriting. I think that it is a good sign when I find multiple copies of a recipe: this tells me that someone else thought it was worth keeping around!

This is one of the easiest skillet dinners I have made.  If you can chop vegetables and turn on the stove, you can make this meal. I do have one alteration that I would make in the future, however; the original recipe does not include a thickening agent, so the vegetables and meat end up simply simmering in soup. I would whisk in a tablespoon or so of cornstarch near the end of the cooking time, in order to create more of a gravy-like sauce.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 large red and/or green bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 1/2 cups water



In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the sausage.


Remove the sausage, and add the peppers to the remaining drippings.

Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.


Add the potatoes, onion soup mix, and water to the skillet.


Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.


Return the sausage to the skillet and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes or until the sausage is done and potatoes are tender.


Serves 4.

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Burt Reynolds’ Beef Stew


Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve had a wonderful holiday break, and I’m ready to get back to writing and cooking. Today’s recipe was trimmed from a newspaper, and lists an actual source: the Evening Shade Cookbook. The show was a little before my time, but the food… Mr. Reynolds can really cook! This is an excellent stew, and particularly appropriate for the winter months. Charlotte Larson of the Lewiston Tribune has a nice article about the Evening Shade cookbook here, and the cookbook is available for sale (used, of course) on Amazon.

I have adjusted the ingredients list slightly to reflect my actual cooking. I did add the small amount of recommended vegetable oil when browning the meat, and I increased the amount of mushrooms used slightly. After all, you can never have too many mushrooms.


  • 3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds lean beef, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced



In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned.


In a small bowl, combine the flour and pepper.


Toss the beef chunks in the flour mixture until well coated.


Add the vegetable oil to the bacon, and brown the beef chunks in this mixture.


Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are clear.


Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, red wine, bay leaf, and thyme.


Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.


Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, and mushrooms.

Cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.


Serves 6.

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Potato Dumplings


Sometimes I’m not as attentive as I should be. I’m tired or distracted, and for some reason I am not really “seeing” what is in front of me. When I was making this recipe, I read the direction to boil unpeeled potatoes, and my brain interpreted it as “cut up potatoes, do not peel, then boil”. Despite this lapse of concentration, however, I can say that these dumplings turned out great! They have a nice texture, not too tough or tender, and a pleasant flavor. The nutmeg adds a note of depth to the experience.

This recipe is definitely worth making. I do, however, have a few notes to make.

While it is commendable to follow the original directions and use a ricer to create an evenly textured potato mush, I realize that not everyone has one of these obscure kitchen implements. My mother had one, but I do not. From my experience with this recipe, a potato masher will work just fine, as long as you are thorough with the mashing.

I also found that the “drying” step in the original recipe is unnecessary. While a firmer texture would probably be obtained by allowing the riced (or mashed) potatoes to dry out before mixing them into a dough, this is time-consuming and unnecessary. The hydrated potatoes make a perfectly fine dumpling.

Finally, the original recipe states that the yield should be approximately 18 “egg-sized” dumplings from the mixture. Not so! I ended up with not 18… not 20… but 28 generously sized dumplings! While I was pleased with the unexpected bounty, I was making this recipe as a side dish, and I’m still not quite sure what to do with the excess. Perhaps I’ll put them into a chicken soup.


  • 3 pounds medium potatoes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley



In a large pot, boil the potatoes until they are tender, about 30 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, and allow them to cool slightly before peeling.


Place the peeled potatoes in a large bowl and mash thoroughly, or put them through a ricer if you possess such a device.

Toss the potatoes with the salt and pepper.


Make a well in the center of the mashed potato mixture, and break the eggs into it.


Sift 3/4 cup of the flour over the eggs.


Add the bread crumbs, nutmeg, and parsley.


Using your hands, mix the dough until it is smooth and holds together.


Shape the dough into egg-sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to coat.


Here is a picture of the dumplings, post-rolling.

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil, and reduce the heat.


Drop in approximately 8-10 dumplings at one time, or enough to fit in the pot comfortably.


After the dumplings rise to the surface, boil gently for 2 minutes.

Remove the dumplings from the boiling water, and allow to drain on paper towels.

Serve as a side dish or in a soup.


Makes 28 dumplings.

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Potato Onion Soup


Scent is one of the most essential senses that humans have. It is perceived through the olfactory bulbs, which are a part of the limbic system — a deeply buried part of the brain which also houses instinctive response and emotional memories. As many people know, a particular odor can trigger powerful nostalgia. It can “take you back” to a time, a place, or a situation. The memories may be so clear that they are almost overwhelming. In the mind, the walls of another place arise, the years turn, and one relives a gestalt experience.

What does this have to do with soup?

When I was a child, my grandmother would care for me when my mother was busy. She lived alone in a little house, which was exactly the way that she wanted it. I remember small things – the collection of colored glass in the china cabinet, her copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the sullen black cat. The larger picture sometimes slips away from my mind. I do remember that my grandmother would often make this particular soup for our lunch. She grew up during the Great Depression, and some of her habits reflected that fact. When making potato onion soup, she wouldn’t use milk – she would use 6 to 8 of the single-sized containers of half-and-half that she had carefully collected from fast food restaurants. My grandmother would serve the soup with crackers and sliced cheese, and we would eat in silence.

Until recently, I had not made this soup for years. Life passes me by sometimes, and I forget about old recipes and old memories. A few days ago, the weather was cold, and I decided that potato onion soup sounded like just the thing. As the onions were simmering in the pot, I leaned over to enjoy the aromatic steam, and without warning the years fell away around me like paper-thin leaves. I could see everything just as it was, from the Campbell’s soup timer to the rhinestone-studded Kit-Kat clock hanging in the piano room. I was nine years old again, and my grandmother was in the kitchen making soup for lunch. For the first time in nearly ten years, I missed her.

Sometimes, simple food is the best food. This soup is one of the easiest to make that I have ever encountered, and it is wonderfully warming. I hope that it may bring you comfort and enjoyment, as it has done for my family over the years.


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter



In a large pot, cover the onions with a generous amount of water.


Bring the onions to a boil over high heat, and cook until clear.


Add the potatoes and salt, and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.


Add the milk and butter, and reduce the heat to low.


Using a potato masher, mash approximately half of the potatoes. The goal is to thicken the texture of the soup, not to make it completely creamy.

Simmer over low heat until the soup is thickened, and serve.


Serves 4.

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Ham and Potato Au Gratin


I believe that this recipe originated from the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, as the reverse of the clipping shows part of a sample gas bill. It is also twenty years old, judging by the printed date of December 1993. I am curious about who the “Oklahoma Natural Home Economist” was who tested this recipe… the world may never know. Regardless, she or he did good work: the recipe is delicious!

I made a few alterations of my own to this recipe. Firstly, I substituted fresh mushrooms for canned mushrooms. I do not like canned mushrooms; I feel that their flavor is diminished and that the texture is, frankly, boring. Fresh mushrooms are much more enjoyable. I also replaced the margarine with butter, and the American cheese with Cheddar, both to improve the flavor and reduce the number of processed ingredients. The result is a savory and economical casserole, suitable for children and adults alike.


  • 4 cups peeled diced potatoes
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup white flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, and drain.


In a 2-quart casserole dish, layer the potatoes, ham, and mushrooms.


In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.


Stir the flour into the melted butter, blending thoroughly.


Slowly add the milk and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.


Turn off the heat, and fold in the cheese and sour cream.


Pour the sauce mixture over the casserole.


In a small bowl, microwave the remaining tablespoon of butter until melted. Add the bread crumbs, and stir until well mixed.


Spread the bread crumb mixture over the casserole.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the casserole is hot and bubbly.


Serves 6.

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