Garlic Mashed Potatoes Soufflé

3 pounds Idaho potatoes
1-2 T minced garlic, or to taste (The original recipe called for a whole bulb!)
1/2 C half and half
1 C butter (1 stick), room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
1 block cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C sour cream
Optional for a cheese flavor too: 2 T blue cheese crumbles and 2 T Gruyere cheese, shaved
Salt and pepper

Peel potatoes and cut them into 2 inch pieces. Don't make them too small. Small potato pieces will absorb more water and make your mashed potatoes watery. Put the cut potatoes into a pot of cold water (not warm) with enough water to cover all the potatoes by an inch. Add about 2 t salt to the water and turn stove to high heat until the water boils. Then turn the heat down to medium and let the potatoes simmer until they are done. To test them, pierce then with a fork. If they are cooked, they will be tender. It will take about 20 minutes to cook. Drain the potatoes and put them back on low heat so even more water evaporates. Leave them for about a minute or two, just don't burn them. Let them cool for about 15-30 minutes. You don't want to mix your hot potatoes with the cold milk mixture because it will make them gluey.

In the meantime mix half and half milk, garlic, butter, cream cheese, eggs and sour cream with a hand mixer until well combined. This is when you'd add the optional cheeses and salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes to your mixer bowl and use a hand held electric mixer to beat them smooth. If you want, you can put them through a ricer as you add them. Move potatoes into a greased pan and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes. 

Coffee Toffee Bars

This will be my new go to bar cookie. It was easy and delicious! It cuts nicely too, so it would be a good cookie to pick up for a shower or other gathering.

1 C (2 sticks) softened butter
1 C brown sugar
1 t almond extract
2 T instant coffee (dry)
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2-2 1/2 C sifted flour
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped almonds

Almond glaze:
1 T softened butter
3/4 C sifted powdered sugar
1/8 t almond extract
1-2 T milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and brown sugar with electric mixer. Blend in almond extract, instant coffee, baking powder and salt. Add sifted flour to form a stiff dough. Stir in chocolate morsels and almonds. Press dough into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. While dough is baking, make glaze. Mix butter, powdered sugar and almond extract together by hand in medium bowl. Add milk until glaze is spreading consistency. Glaze cooked warm dough before cutting into bars. Makes 3 dozen.
Note: I used 1/4 t almond extract in the glaze because I love the flavor.

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini


Carrots and zucchini to serve your desired number
Olive oil
Seasonings of choice (I like Mrs. Dash's Garlic and Herb Seasoning Blend)
Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 425. Cut your veggies into 3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness. Place veggies in a boil and drizzle with olive oil (not too much) and add seasoning, including salt and pepper, lightly toss. Spread veggies over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

Seasoning suggestions: Go with the usual salt and pepper and branch out to one or two of the following : paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once.

Pea Salad

Yield: 4 servings

4 slices bacon
1 quart water
1 16oz. package of frozen peas
1/3 C chopped red onion
1/2 C or less ranch dressing
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon, cool and crumble. Bring water to a boil and add peas to water for 1 minute, until just tender, then drain. Cool peas under cold running water and drain again. In a bowl, toss together bacon, peas, ranch dressing, onion and cheese. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until chilled before serving.

Reuben Sandwiches

Yield: 4 sandwiches

1 lb. saurekraut, drained (not rinsed!)
2 T thousand island dressing
8 slices rye or pumpernickel bread
1 lb. corned beef, sliced thin
4 slices Swiss cheese
softened butter

Spread thousand island dressing on bread and top with sauerkraut, followed by corned beef and cheese. Close sandwich and spread butter on outsides of sandwiches. Grill on both sides until warmed through and cheese melts. Serve hot!