Tag Archives: mashed potatoes

#1 of 2011

 Tonight’s dinner ranks as #1 dinner of 2011 thus far.

Yep, #1.

And it took me by total surprise!

Seriously, from the looks of it you would never believe it either… but boy oh boy, looks can be deceiving!  Trust me, you’ll see.

In an attempt to clean out the goods we have in our kitchen, I came up with yet another 5 ingredient recipe.

Albeit a little less conventional than the coconut curry chicken from this weekend, if that even makes sense?

Leftover from Christmas Eve dinner was a lonely can of sauerkraut…

What to do, what to do?

Well, I decided to throw together this blend of flavors and see how it turned out!

  • (1) 1 onion, sliced thin
  • (2) 1 lb. boneless pork ribs
  • (3) 1 apple, thinly sliced & chopped
  • (4) 1 can Bavarian style sauerkraut, drained
  • (5) 1 bottle Yuengling Lager
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tblsp sugar
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Sometimes you just have to go for it and hope for the best 😛

I had never cooked with boneless pork ribs before a few weeks ago, but I’ll tell you that they are a great cut of meat for cooking low and slow and also very economical even from Whole Foods.

Good food on a budget 🙂

Sliced onion.

Boneless pork ribs, chopped into 1″ cubes.

Cooked over medium high heat in 1 tblsp olive oil for about 10 minutes or until the onions turn glossy & golden.

Season with sea salt & black pepper too.

In goes the apple, unpeeled and sliced into thin & small pieces.

Then the can of sauerkraut – drained.

This is actually Bavarian style sauerkraut which has been seasoned with caraway seeds and (yikes!) corn syrup.  Ooops 😉

Can’t win ’em all.  And can’t say this doesn’t taste good!

If you don’t have Bavarian style sauerkraut then you’ll need to add more sugar plus caraway seeds to this dish.

Then a bottle of beer.  Lager to be exact.  Plus the sugar.

Drunken ‘kraut.

Those words just sing to me.

Perhaps it’s the Polish in me 😛

After a good stir, cover and let simmer over low for another hour and a half.  Stir every half hour or so to make sure the liquid doesn’t get too low.

It may seem like a long time, but if you throw this on the stove right after work it will be the easiest thing ever.  And who doesn’t have time for a few minutes of stirring?

After the time is up you will have a pretty colorless pot of food.  Don’t let that deter you however, please don’t at all.

In such a short period of time the pork becomes fall apart tender, I’m talking no knife required.

Perhaps it’s the acidity of the sauerkraut or maybe the apple, or perhaps even the beer, but something(s) worked it’s magic – hey, I’m no scientist 😉

The flavor of this dish was spot on – not like anything I’ve ever tasted but SO very delicious.

Served atop some cheesy mashed potatoes I had stashed in the freezer (these were actually leftover pierogi filling from this adventure, I mean, do I think I’m living during the Great Depression? I swear I don’t throw anything away haha).

Yum. Yum. Yum.

The cheesy potatoes soaked up all the glorious beer infused sauce – I can’t even explain how good this was!

And with temperatures well below freezing here in Virginia (not for long though!) this meal definitely warmed me up from the inside out.

Like I said, we’re not talking pretty, colorful food here (hey, a garden salad on the side will fix that real quick!) but we are talking major MAJOR flavor.

Tangy onions & ‘kraut, sweet sugar & apples, fall apart tender pork plus a light hint of beer.  Oh-em-gee.

I may or may not have called Fanatic Mom while I was eating it to tell her how surprised I was with this dish and talked about it for 5 minutes straight, why does she put up with me? – she can attest to that.

And by the way, I’ve already decided that this will be the dinner to celebrate my belated birthday when my Uncle comes in town (if you’re reading Uncle Donnie, here’s a sneak peak!)…

I have problems – who plans meals 2 weeks in advance?


Oh yea, what birthday?

This girl’s last birthday in her 20’s falls the day after tomorrow *gasp* can’t even believe it! 

And Fanatic Dad’s birthday is tomorrow 🙂

We have a lil’ something up our sleeves to celebrate later this week too — so stay tuned!

Okay I better stop talking/thinking about/eating this ‘kraut dish and go watch The Bachelor already, have a great night!


Sunday Dinner with the Fam

What better way to get over the Sunday blues than to have some of your favorite people over for a lovely Sunday dinner!

And spend some quality time in the kitchen with said people Smiley

Our dinner guests:  Fanatic Mom & Dad!

I picked up mom later in the afternoon so we could go shop for our dinner ingredients.  Not having a set plan until last minute (love spontaneous meals!) we finally decided upon a classic meat, vegetable (green) & potato “MVP?” meal.

But not just any MVP meal, oh no.  This one was kicked up a few notches and turned out fabulous!

  • Bacon wrapped sweet & sour pork tenderloin
  • Homemade mashed potatoes
  • Spicy green beans & tomatoes w/ jalapeno & garlic

We marinated the pork tenderloin in a mixture of the following (measurements are approximate) for about an hour before cooking:

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tblsp honey
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tblsp chili powder
  • salt
  • black pepper

Then wrapped each tenderloin in three slices of bacon, securing with toothpicks, before placing into a scorching hot skillet to sear the meat & cook the bacon a bit (remove toothpicks as it cooks, while you turn the meat) — probably about 5-7 minutes total at medium-high heat.

The meat was then transferred to a foil lined baking pan and put into a 400F oven to cook until done.  This took about 25-35 minutes.

The next dish on the menu came from an idea from one of our favorite farm stands at the farmer’s market.  The farm is owned by a Mexican family and I have been dying to ask for some fresh recipe ideas (we all know my fascination/obsession with Mexican cuisine!)

Well this past week Fanatic mom asked how they like to prepare their fresh green beans, and we were given this recipe, which surpassed all expectations in the flavor department Smiley

  • fresh green beans
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed & chopped
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper

We simply added the olive oil to a hot pan along with the green beans.  A few splashes of water while they cooked over medium-high until partially steamed through (still firm but slightly tender).

Once the water had cooked off (or you can drain off) we added the tomato, garlic, jalapeno, salt & pepper… allowing the mixture to cook through over medium for just a couple minutes until the tomatoes softened and the jalapeno & garlic cooked a bit.

This was easily one of the best ways I’ve ever had green beans and it was definitely a hit with the dinner table!

The sweet, warm tomatoes paired with the crunchy fresh green bean and the spicy jalapeno was a party in the mouth Smiley

Of course the meal wouldn’t have been complete without some homemade mashed potatoes, using the Fanatic ladies’ favorite way of preparing!

Simply peel 5 large baking potatoes and chop into large chunks.  Boil for about 10-15 minutes until tender.  Then combine about 1/2 cup 1% milk with a tblsp of butter and microwave until melted/warm.  Using an electric mixer, mix the liquid mixture (adding a bit at a time) with the potatoes until smooth & creamy.  Add some S&P to season too:)

Of course there was some vino action as well, and this Horton sweet wine from our good friends Tammy and Louis was so ridiculously tasty!

Tasted like red wine + chocolate.  Ridiculous.

So there you have it, beating a case of the Sunday blues can always be done with good friends/family/food…

Am I right or am I right? Smiley

Happy Monday all!

Life is good :)

Hey friends! 

First off, thanks for all your sweet comments on my hair do yesterday, you sure know how to make a gal feel special 😉

It’s been a rainy, relaxing Sunday here at casa de Fanatic!

Let’s see, it all began with a wakeup call from Verizon at 7:57am (aka 6:57am pre-clock-setback).  Oh yes, thanks for that Verizon, the one time you are early for a 4 hour visit window.  Sunday morning.  Lovely.

Anywho, hopefully we got all that taken care of…

Since we were both up at the buttcrack of dawn so early we got started on some things around the house… and actually by around lunch time I was glad we had all our “chores” done and were free for the day!

Lil’ laundry, dishes, cleaning…

Then a visit with this homegirl 😉

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown (2010)

(loved it once again, made my muskles shake and I felt so strong afterwards!)

Also prepped up the slow cooker dinner for tonight too!  More to come on that in a minute 😛

Lunch was some yumminess leftover from last night, to which I added some avocado for my homegirl Brit 😉

  • spinach
  • romaine
  • corn
  • black beans
  • avocado
  • cooked onion
  • mango salsa
  • fresh lime juice

Along with another one of these bad boys, which I have a major crush on 😛

Paired with some ketchup & mustard and life was good 😀

There were, of course, some other unmentioned snacks goin’ on too, it’s a snacky day for some reason?!  Coconut sorbet, chocolate, almond buuter…. yea yea yea.

After the munchage I headed down the street and hit up Ann Taylor and Target.  My bank account will thank me later… got some super cute summery clothes and other “necessities” haha.

After 3 hours (?!) out shopping I got home and was in great need of a cocktail hour with my handsomest and some How I Met Your Mother/Rules of Engagement reruns that we missed last week.  It was a perfect way to end off a great afternoon if you ask me 😀 (take that rain!)

Okay okay okay, so let’s take a flashback in time to the start of the slowcooker dinner earlier this morning…

I bought a chuck roast that I froze a couple weeks back, so thought today would be a great day to give it a whirl.  I’ve never made this cut of meat before, but hey, I’m always up for a kitchen challenge!

Plus this is something that I knew The Man would totally appreciate, and even though I was not in a huge mood for meat yet again tonight since I have been trying to cut down on my meat consumption, it was happenin’ anyway 😉

I found a recipe idea on one of my favorite sites that we both decided sounded really good, so that’s what I based the dish on…

Got things started with these friends:

  • chuck roast (unpictured, about 1.5lbs? small one)
  • 2 onions, peeled & quartered
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled & chopped in half
  • generous cup red wine
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • dried thyme
  • S&P
  • 1-2 tblsp olive oil (unpictured)

First thing I did was to boil the wine for a few to get out alcohol since it doesn’t cook off in slow cooker – and didn’t really want to get drunk off dinner lunch at work with leftovers tomorrow LOL.

Then I seasoned up the chuck roast with the dried herbs, S&P.  A few sprinklings of each to make sort of a “crust” was how it went down.

I heated up my stainless steel skillet with some olive oil (ahhh it’s been forever, if you want to sear a good crust on anything, use this guy holy yum!) and added the seasoned roast at med-high for about 3 minutes each side.  All I wanted was a nice brown sear 🙂


Then I added the onion & garlic to the slow cooker, topping them off with the red wine.

Layered the seared roast on top and set if for 8 hours on low!

Then went about my day, laaa teee dahhh….

And after that time was up, voila!  Oh wait, I wasn’t done yet 😉  I added some peeled, chopped carrot pieces and continued to cook for another hour or so until they were soft & flavorful.

The smells were insane!

Smokin’ hot & freaking delicious!  This meat literally fell apart with a fork, holy tender!

To go alongside I whipped up some mashed potatoes using Fanatic Mom’s tricks of the trade 🙂

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped in half
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tblsp half n’ half
  • 1 tblsp Iceland buttah (loveeeeeeeee)
  • S&P

Boiled up the potatoes for about 25 minutes

then used the electric hand mixer to blend w/ rest of ingredients until creamy.

The trick is to microwave the broth/cream/butter combo (we usually use just milk/butter combo – but I work with what I got on hand!) so that it’s warm & thoroughly combines w/ the taters all smooth-like, perfection 🙂

Genius.  And really not that bad for you either, yayahhhh 🙂

And of course a side salad to round things out.

Ahhhh life is good 🙂  

A fabulous weekend topped off with such a delicious Sunday evening meal… I seriously feel so grateful for it all. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, my date awaits me on the couch for a viewing of The Hurt Locker (pumped?!)

I hope that all of you friends enjoyed your weekend as much as we did and I’ll see ya on the flip side (the “Monday” flip side that is 😉 )


Birthday Dinner w/ The Fam!

Hello friends!  Well the birthday dinner tonight with fanatic fam was a complete success… after what was a pretty rough day for this gal it was the best way I could have thought to spend a Monday night 🙂 

So a few weeks ago I got an intense craving for roasted chicken, and no one makes a better roasted chicken than my Mom, so I knew just what I was requesting for birthday dinner!  Fanatic Mom vs. Barefoot Contessa, I’d like to see that match 😉

When we arrived the house smelled amazing, I knew this was gonna be a good night!

There were some appetizers to start, including crackers & hummus plus some unpictured fresh veggies

And some delicious wine to enjoy too, both the Chardonnay and the Sauv Blanc were fantastic… hey, “it’s my birthday and I’ll drink both wines if I want toooooooo” 😉

Then came the real star of the show.  I don’t know how she does it, but this is seriously the most moist and flavorful chicken that you’ll ever have.  Stuffed with lemon, onions, a perfect blend of herbs and coated with olive oil then cooked to absolute perfection!

This delicious bird was served with homemade mashed potatoes — and p.s. my mom has the best trick for making the most fluffy mashers on the block, lady always has tricks up her sleeve I tell ya! 😛

Topped with some gravy and black pepper of course (we are all pepper addicts… forget salt!)

And don’t forget the salad – oh the salad – fresh pear, blue cheese, dried cherries and toasted walnuts holyyyyy yummmm 🙂

Even this lil’ lady had her fair share of table scraps, but who could resist such a polite request haha 😉

And yes, that would be the “paws crossed” position… she’s such a “lady” right?!

This dinner was seriously the perfect home cooked meal, and on a Monday night after a long day I couldn’t have asked for more…  oh but there was def more, did someone say dessert?! 😛

Oh yes, your eyes have not deceived you 😉  That would be Ghirardelli chocolate brownies topped with cookie dough ice cream, fudge sauce AND whipped cream… ahhhh my mouth was-a-soooo-happy! 

And as if it couldn’t get any better…  I got a sweet new kitchen gadget from the parents for my birthday — can’t wait to show you friends when I make up my first dish with it!!!

I think fanatic father liked his gifts too, we shall see once he gives them a taste (hint hint:  beer and chocolate 🙂 )

What a great night, erased all the Monday woes from earlier in the day 🙂  There’s no place like home as they say, “they” are definitely right….

Time to sign off for an early bedtime – goodnight from the fanatic household and when I see you tomorrow I’ll be the ripe age of 28!

Lucy Dog says woof woof to that!

We’ll see if I agree come morning 😉  G’night friends!

Best mashed potatoes EVER!!

Sunday sunday sunday night bluesssssss 😉 ??

Haha, jk folks, I had a fantastic day and am starting to feel better! Thnx for your sweet comments today too 🙂

So after I saw you last since I had started feeling a bit better (stubborn sick person) I decided to do some light yogaMaura Barclay YogaSculpt.  It actually really hit the spot though, I definitely didn’t feel as strong as normal but I felt good enough to complete the full session.

After yoga + shower, I figured I’d use my morning time wisely and prep some of the stuff for dinner since I knew by the time I got home from my afternoon events I wasn’t going to want to have to do a lotta work 🙂  Planning ahead is key!

I got started by making some mashed potatoes that I knew I wanted to put a twist on that would go nicely with dinner…. so here’s how it went down!

Peeled the potatoes


Boiled the potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes).


Then got ready for “mashing” the potatoes with an electric mixer, here were the add-ins.


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tblsp butter
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing (surprise!)
  • salt & pepper

Here’s a great trick friends (thank my Mom, she is the master of mashed taters!), microwave your milk and butter until melted before adding into the potato mixture!  Blends so much better 🙂


Add the liquid in gradually as you mix on medium with the electric mixer, and after a few quick minutes you are dunzo!


I put this guy into a casserole dish & popped it into the fridge so it would be ready for tonight!!

My lunch today included my first experience with Oikos


The folks over @Stonyfield were kind enough to send over some fabulous coupons 🙂  This yogurt was really thick & yummy, I liked it alot!

After lunch I headed to The Jefferson to a makeup demo with my fave Fan homegirl Tammy.  It was superfun, I learned SO MUCH about makeup that I never knew and I am seeing a trip to MAC in my very near future 😉

Once I got home it was time for some dinner cookin’!  First off, if you’re wondering why I am making so much food it’s bc I am planning ahead for tomorrow’s dinner too. I’ll let you know why tomorrow!!

First I started by making some chicken wings, don’t ask but I was just really in the mood to make these even though I have never even tried to attempt them before haha… hey, I like to make my man happy, what can I say  😉

I got them ready for The Man to snack on while he was watchin’ the Packers game!


This was a cinch, $3 worth of good chicken from Tom Leonards (I got the quarters, so split into wing + leg parts), coated in 1 tblsp melted butter then dipped in a flour/salt/pepper/cayanne mixture.  Baked at 400F for about 30 minutes, flipping midway thru…


Don’t be scared of a bit of butter is what I have learned friends, seriously 2tblsp total in this recipe makes a world of difference!

Then got the sauce prepared with these guys (note that these are not exact measurements, I just dumped the stuff in a bowl so approximated)


  • 1/4 cup Frank’s
  • 1/8 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tblsp butter (melted)

Brushed the wings with the sauce and baked another 10 minutes at 375F-400F (I went back & forth btw temps)


And then they were ready for some bleu cheese dunkage!


Yes friends, not the healthiest but definitely healthier than eating them out!  The Man said “these smell like a restaurant, & taste even better!” 

Score! I think I won that football game of chicken wing lurve 😉  No?

Then I heatedup the taters, topping with breadcrumbs and baked up until warmed through (no lie, I microwaved first for 5 minutes before using a 350F oven to speed up the process)


Ummm this is pretty crazy to say, but I think that these were some of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had!!!  I don’t know if it was the bleu cheese, or baking them for a bit to make kind of a crust w/ the bread crumbs or what but holy yum!!!!!!!!!!!

And thanks to my morning prep, they were a ready in no time….

I also made some barbecue chicken, remember this guy?


I had let them marinate all day while I got my purty face on… put them in an oven safe dish, baked for about 25 minutes at 350F, covered/uncovered half/half

And voila!


Dinner was rounded out with a salad, gotta get my veg on 😉


  • Romaine
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Black pepper/Oregano

One of our best Sunday dinners was served!! 🙂



Happy happy girl 🙂

Alright friends, off to some googlereader to see what you lovelies were up to today, then sleep time 🙂  Tomorrow is going to be full of fun (aside from work haha) so stay tuned…..!