Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes have been around for years, specially in the Midwestern states.  They’ve gained popularity in recent years as many of us have discovered what the Swedes and Midwesterners have known since the 1950’s!

What are Hasselback Potatoes and where did they get their name you may wonder.  They were first served at a Swedish restaurant named Hasselbacken in 1953.  They are a type of baked potato that is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.  They’re sort of like thin potato chips attached together at the potato base.  The sliced potatoes are baked to a crispy outer shell then stuffed with cheese and topped with sour cream, chives, or whatever your favorite toppings are.

They are really easy to make, almost like making baked potatoes!  The hardest part may just be the slicing.  The potatoes are thinly sliced almost to the base of the potato leaving the bottom portion still attached.  I found that the best way to cut them is to place the potato on top of a large spoon then using a sharp knife slice the potato until the knife touches the spoon, this leaves the bottom parts of each slice still attached.

For Hasselback Potatoes I prefer to use medium sized Russet Potatoes.  (I use the large sized Russets for regular baked potatoes.)  You can also use Yukon Gold Potatoes, but I find that the russets hold up better than the Yukoons.

When I make Hasselback Potatoes I stuff cheese between slices but leave the toppings on the side so each person can add their own.  I usually offer sour cream, shredded cheeses, chopped chives, and green onions.  But you can offer bacon bits and other toppings you like.

So without further delay here’s my recipe for Hasselback Potatoes!

Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients:

4 – 6 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes

1 Stick Butter, melted

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

1 Tbs.  Chopped Fresh Parsley

Salt & Pepper

Cheddar Cheese slices – enough to fill potatoes between slices

1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Sour Cream

Chopped Chives and/or Green Onions

Bacon Bits

Other favorite toppings

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 450° F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrub each potato very well.  Make sure it’s clean and has no dust or dirt on it.  I use a green scotch pad to make sure each potato is very clean.  Pat dry with paper towels.

Place potato on a large spoon.  Slice potato from the top to when the knife touches the spoon edge.  Make slices as thin as possible, about 9-10 slices. Slice all the potatoes this way.

Mix melted butter, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt & pepper together.

Brush butter mixture all over each potatoes making sure you have it in between each slice and around the entire potato including the bottom.

Place potatoes on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes.

Insert a slice of cheese between slices and sprinkle parmesan cheese in between as well.

Bake in the oven until the cheese melts.

Move to serving dishes and top with desired toppings.

I usually sprinkle chopped green onions or chives over the potatoes and serve with a variety of toppings and invite everyone to top as they please.

 

Hasselback Potatoes
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4 - 6 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes 1 Stick Butter, melted 1/3 Cup Olive Oil 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced  1 Tbs.  Chopped Fresh Parsley Salt & Pepper Cheddar Cheese slices - enough to fill potatoes between slices 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated Sour Cream Chopped Chives and/or Green Onions Bacon Bits Other favorite toppings
Hasselback Potatoes
Print Recipe
4 - 6 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes 1 Stick Butter, melted 1/3 Cup Olive Oil 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced  1 Tbs.  Chopped Fresh Parsley Salt & Pepper Cheddar Cheese slices - enough to fill potatoes between slices 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated Sour Cream Chopped Chives and/or Green Onions Bacon Bits Other favorite toppings
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450° F. 
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Scrub each potato very well.  Make sure it's clean and has no dust or dirt on it.  I use a green scotch pad to make sure each potato is very clean.  Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place potato on a large spoon.  Slice potato from the top to when the knife touches the spoon edge.  Make slices as thin as possible, about 9-10 slices. Slice all the potatoes this way.
  5. Mix melted butter, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt & pepper together.
  6. Brush butter mixture all over each potatoes making sure you have it in between each slice and around the entire potato including the bottom.
  7. Place potatoes on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes. 
  8. Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes. 
  9. Insert a slice of cheese between slices and sprinkle parmesan cheese in between as well. 
  10. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts. 
  11. Move to serving dishes and top with desired toppings.  
Recipe Notes

I usually sprinkle chopped green onions or chives over the potatoes and serve with a variety of toppings and invite everyone to top as they please.

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Hunter’s Beef Stew

Hunter’s Beef Stew

If I’ve learned anything from the recent recent lock downs due to the deadly virus it’s to make family meals using whatever is on hand.

For many of us lock downs are soon to be a thing of the past if your state hasn’t reopened already.  But the treat of more lock downs may still loom in our future.  Such is our new normal, at least until a vaccine or a cure can be found.  In my opinion that’s a big reason to not forget the lessons we learned thus far.

I’m fortunate enough to live in Hawaii, a state which hasn’t seen the devastation COVID-19 has wielded across the other 48 states that we refer to as the mainland.  I’m not sure if it was our politicians’ prompt stay at home order which began on March 23, our health department’s mandatory 14 day quarantine of incoming travelers, our small population with less high density areas, or our isolated location which kept us from the widespread suffering experienced by the other states.  I’m prone to think it was a combination of all these factors.  But whatever the case maybe the virus was no more real or frightening for us on the islands as it was for our fellow citizens on the mainland.

Our fears heightened by 24/7 news reports and social media posts spurred many citizens to stand in long lines in search of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants just like our mainland counter parts.  Fortunately for our family we didn’t wait in long lines searching for basic necessities.  My daughter whose family lives in Northern Italy had been in lock down since February, she had urged us to stock up on food and other necessities weeks before US cases and deaths piled up.  She had warned that it was only a matter of time before we faced the same issues they faced in Europe.  Luckily we listened.  We had shopped in early March, doubling and sometimes tripling what we normally purchased.  Another plus was having an extra freezer and pantry.

Before the lock down began and we were stocking up our homes and kitchens we had decided that the plan was to have enough of everything so that during the lock down we just had to replenish a few things such as fresh fruits and veggies. During the lock down we’d have lists of what we ran out of which made our grocery trips faster and more efficient; we’d also wait until the list was pretty long before heading to the store.

Because we shopped less frequently and when we did shop not everything on the list was always available, we did run short of a few things.  Which is why some of our favorite dishes had to be altered to make use of what we had on hand.

One of the easiest dishes to adapt to ingredients you have on hand is stew.  I never really had to plan on making stew, I’ve pretty much use ingredients I found in my fridge and pantry.  And in a pandemic stews are one of the best comfort foods to serve.

So during the lock down I made Hunters’ Stew.  I call it that because I basically “hunt” for ingredients in my kitchen and toss them together to make my stew.  So here’s my hunters’ stew “recipe”, feel free to substitute ingredients based on your tastes and what’s on hand.

Ingredients:

Meat – beef, chicken, lamb, or no meat at all – cut meat into large chunks

Veggies – any combination of veggies such as potatoes, carrots, celery, okra, etc.

Flour for dredging

Salt & Pepper

2 Tbs. Oil

Garlic – fresh or powder

Oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaf, or Italian seasoning

Stock or broth – use the same broth as your meat – if you’re making beef stew then use beef broth, etc.

2 Cans tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes (you can even use tomato paste if that’s all you have – if you use paste you may have to use more liquid)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot.

Mix salt, pepper, flour together.

Coat meat in flour mixture, shake off excess flour and place in pot.

Cook until all sides of meat are browned.

Add garlic and other spices.

Add broth and veggies and stir well.

Lower heat to simmer.

Cook covered until potatoes are cooked.

Add tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.

Cover and simmer until meat is tender.

Serve hot.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Reheated left over stew is usually tastier than fresh stew!


Hunter's Beef Stew
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Hunter's Beef Stew
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Chicken & Spinach in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Chicken & Spinach in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Looking for something easy and delicious to make for dinner tonight?  How about this one skillet Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce?

It’s very simple to make using ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.  It has meat, veggies, and dairy and when served with a whole wheat pasta your grains are covered too!

I use fresh Basil leaves from my Kitchen Garden and I use chicken thighs because I believe the thighs tend to be juicier, but if you want less fat then use chicken breasts, but pound them into thin pieces so they will cook faster and not get dry.  I can whip this up in less than a half hour and my family loves it.

Chicken & Spinach in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Ingredients:

2 Lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

1 Cup Tomato Sauce

1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic, minced

1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Cup Fresh Spinach Leaves

5-6 Fresh Sweet Basil Leaves (try to use Sweet Basil, Thai Basil has a stronger flavor)

Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese for Topping

Pasta or your preferred starch

Directions:

Pat chicken dry with paper towel and sprinkle both sides with salt & pepper

Heat Olive Oil in a large skillet

When oil is hot add chicken and cook until both sides are seared about 5 minutes per side

Remove chicken to a plate and set aside

In your now empty skillet add tomato sauce, garlic, and cream

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low to simmer sauce

Stir in Spinach and cook until wilted

Stir in Basil leaves

Return chicken to skillet and raise heat to medium

Cook chicken in the sauce until it is fully cooked, make sure there is no more pink in the thickest part of the thigh

Remove from heat and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.  Serve with a side of pasta or your starch of choice.

I goes great with Poor Man’s Pasta – that’s a simple dish of spaghetti or any type of pasta that’s tossed in butter and garlic.  Sprinkled with parmesan it’s very tasty!


Chicken & Spinach in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce
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Chicken & Spinach in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce
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Asian Garlic Fried Chicken

Asian Garlic Fried Chicken

garlic fried chickenHave you ever tried an Asian style fried chicken?  It’s got many names including Korean Fried Chicken, Garlic Fried Chicken, and Mochiko Chicken, just to name a few.

But whatever you call it the taste is very similar and the recipes are pretty much the same.  And of course it’s delicious!  It’s slightly sweet, slightly salty garlicy chicken pieces that are delicately battered and fried to a crisp chicken that’s tender and juicy on the inside.  In short it’s perfect!

Serve it hot over a bed of hot steamed rice or a stack of noodles.   A crisp fresh salad of greens makes a great addition.  Or serve it as a nice lunch on a bed of mixed greens and drizzle with the homemade garlic sauce.

For the tastiest Asian Garlic Fried Chicken make the sauce ahead of time and marinate your chicken pieces in some of the sauce overnight in the fridge.  Also this recipe uses boneless skinless chicken thighs not breasts which tend to be less tasty and dry.

My family loves this delicious chicken dish I’m sure yours will too!

garlic fried chicken
Asian Garlic Fried Chicken
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garlic fried chicken
Asian Garlic Fried Chicken
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Ingredients
Garlic Sauce/Marinade
Fried Chicken
Servings:
Instructions
Sauce/Marinade
  1. Combine sauce/marinade ingredients in a sauce pan remember to reserve 1/2 of the green onions and sesame seeds.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat.
  3. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and sauce thickens slightly, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Chicken
  1. Marinate cubed chicken in about 1/4 of the cooled marinade/sauce overnight in the fridge.
  2. When ready to cook combine flour, corn starch, salt & pepper.
  3. Shake excess marinade off chicken cubes and dredge in flour mixture.
  4. Deep Fry and drain on paper towel.
  5. Place fried chicken in a bowl and toss in the remaining sauce.
  6. Garnish with remaining chopped green onion and sesame seeds and serve.
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Mansaf – Middle Eastern Lamb Dish

Mansaf – Middle Eastern Lamb Dish

mensaf Mansaf, Fatiyeh, or Fatihah this traditional middle eastern lamb stew in yogurt sauce is a big part of Arabic cuisine.  It is a favorite dish for large gatherings including weddings and engagement parties.  In short it plays a large part in Middle Eastern hospitality.

In my experience folks in the Arab world are very hospitable and generous. Rolling out a huge tray of Mansaf is a sign of respect and welcome to anyone visiting an Arab home whether it be in Jordan, Dubai, Europe, or America.

But of course this traditional dish has several names depending on the country or even city one is in.  In most countries like Jordan and Lebanon it’s called Mansaf; it’s the same dish Palestinians from the West Bank call Fatiyeh or Fatihah and those who hail closer to the larger cities call Mensaf.  Whatever it’s called it’s basically the same dish with a few regional additions to the toppings.

So what is Mansaf?  It’s a dish typically made with Lamb that’s simmered in a yogurt sauce made from reconstituted “Chisitch/Kishk/Jameed” (fermented or dried sheeps’ milk yogurt.)  Then the meat and sauce are served on a bed of torn unleavened bread like Shrak or pita and rice.  The whole dish can be topped with fresh parsley and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts; or as I’ve been taught by some of my Palestinian husband’s friends a ring of fried onions and tomatoes.

Really the secret ingredient, or not so secret, is the Chisitch.  Okay it’s not the easiest thing to get your hands on.  I usually get the dried balls of Chisitch from my husband’s relatives who travel to and from the Middle East or my sister-in-law who actually makes it!  I’ve also been able to buy it from a market in Oman during one of my trips there.  But you might be able to find it at a middle eastern market where it’s usually called Kishk or Jameed.  It’s available in liquid or powder form.  Or you can believe it or not order it from Amazon by clicking this affiliate link!   

If all else fails and you simply can not get a hold of Chisitch/Kishk/Jameed then use Buttermilk!  Yes the carton you find in your grocer’s diary section.  Good old fashioned buttermilk, the stuff you can use to make Buttermilk pancakes and biscuits!

If you’re using balls of chisitch from where ever you must reconstitute it – meaning soak the balls in water overnight, then place all of it in your blender until it is liquified.  You might need to add water to the blender to get the liquid you need.

If you’re using powdered kishk or jameed then dissolve it in water.  Obviously the easiest one to use would be liquid jameed or buttermilk.

Whichever one you use the real secret is to keep the jameed or kishk liquid from curdling when you add it to your meat.  To do that you must temper it by slowly stirring the liquid into a little bit of lamb broth.  This brings the temperature of the jameed up to the temperature of the stewed meat.

To season this dish I use my Lebanese 7 Spices Mix Click here for that recipe!

So if you want to try this yummy dish at home scroll down for my recipe.  It’s pretty fussy, it takes me a whole afternoon too make it!  This recipe is for a fairly small tray, you can double or triple it if you need to make a large tray for more people.

By the way Mansaf or Fatihah is traditionally eaten with one’s fingers right off the serving tray.  The polite and proper way to eat this dish is to use your fingers to take bite-sized portions from the tray and pop it in your mouth.  You take portions only from the meat and rice that is directly in front of you; respect other diner’s tray space.  That’s how it’s traditionally eaten; at our house it’s served family style with a serving spoon used to spoon a portion on to each person’s plate and we uses forks and knives.

 

Mansaf
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Mansaf
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place meat in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
  2. While meat boils fat will come to the surface. Skim off fat and discard. Continue this process until fat stops forming on the surface.
  3. Strain meat and set aside while you thoroughly wash out the pot. Dry pot before proceeding.
  4. Heat 1 Tbs. Olive Oil in pot and add 1 portion of chopped onions. Cook onions until they start to soften.
  5. Add meat and Lebanese 7 Spices Mix and stir well. Cook until onions become translucent.
  6. Add beef broth to cover meat. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 2 hours.
  8. Meanwhile you can prepare other parts of the dish.
  9. Heat remaining Olive Oil in frying pan and add remaining chopped onions. Cook until onions start to soften.
  10. Add garlic to pan and cook about 1 minute stirring constantly.
  11. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft and juices start to come out. Salt & Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
  12. Melt 2 Tbs. Butter in saute pan and toast pine nuts until they start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  13. About 30 minutes before stew is cooked prepare rice by first melting remaining butter in pot.
  14. Add Vermecelli and saute until pasta starts to turn golden brown.
  15. Add dry rice and saute another minute.
  16. Stir in about 4 cups of water to cover the rice. Cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Let rest at least 5 minutes to absorb any remaining water.
  17. Check you meat. It should be tender and falling off the bone.
  18. If meat is cooked turn down heat very low.
  19. Remove about 1 cup of broth from pot to temper your jameed or buttermilk.
  20. Slowly pour liquid jameed or buttermilk into that broth. Stirring only in one direction as you add the jameed. This is tempering the jameed. It is very important that you stir as you combine the liquids and stir only in one direction to keep the jameed from curdling.
  21. Once the jameed is tempered using the same procedure slowly add the tempered jameed into the pot of stew.
  22. Simmer on low heat for about 20 Minutes.
  23. Meanwhile prepare your serving tray. Break up the bread into pieces and place pieces on to the tray.
  24. Cover bread with rice.
  25. Place meat on the rice. Pour yogurt sauce (liquid you cooked meat in) over the meat and rice.
  26. Spoon tomato mixture around the meat.
  27. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.
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