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The Best Au Gratin Potatoes

17 Feb

This is not a health food recipe but rather one you make once or twice a year provided that you eat good the other 363-364 days of the year. It is a family holiday favorite that I made out of the blue the other day, merely because we skipped Christmas this year (more about that another day).


1 cup sour cream

1 (10.75 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup

5 cups shredded frozen potatoes (no need to thaw)

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4 sprigs of green onion (about 1/2 cup)

1-1/2 cups of corn flakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 lb. bacon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9. inch baking dish with cooking spray or lightly grease .

Cook bacon through (optional). Chop finely and set aside. Combine sour cream, and soup. Add cheese, onions, bacon (optional) and potatoes. Mix well. Pour mixture into baking dish and cover with foil for first part of baking.

Bake 50 minutes (if frozen) or 40 minutes (if fresh). Product should be slightly bubbly and soft. Mix corn flakes with melted butter and spread on top of baked product.

Bake uncovered an additional 15-20 mins.

Should be nice and bubbly when done and potatoes should appear more transparent. You can garnish with fresh parsley if you like.


Red Pepper, Basil, Cilantro Dip

30 Aug

Red Pepper, Basil, & Cilantro Dip

If you love red peppers and basil, this recipe will make its way to the top of your fave list. Its super easy and is a crowd pleaser.

1 Jar 16 oz. roasted red bell peppers packed in water, drained.

1 Cup fat-free sour cream (or full fat for richer flavor)

½ Cup Fresh Basil… I always go a little over with basil

½ tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup cilantro

Pepper and salt to taste.

Toss all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. I like to chill mine before serving. Serve with naked pita chips or with your favorite bread. I like to serve mine with roasted garlic and olive bread or with rosemary sour dough bread.

This recipe is ideal for summer outside barbeques and goes wonderfully with Italian main dishes.

Bon appetit!

Portabella Mushroom and Basil Orzo

16 Sep

This is by far the best orzo recipe that I have made using orzo – that wonderful pasta that looks much like rice. Try this as a side dish for chicken parmesan or as a main dish.

For a serving of 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups rinsed, sliced and clean portabella (use less or more as desired)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (using Kraft grated rather than deli fresh provides the best texture) 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Saute mushrooms in olive oil, add fresh garlic about 5 minutes before mushrooms are done and set aside mixture. Melt butter in non-stick deep skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned, this gives the orzo a nutty flavor. Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 – 20 minutes. Mix in Parmesan cheese, mushrooms and fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to shallow bowl. Garnish with basil sprigs if desired.

Fresh basil provides a rich flavor. I recommed adding that ingredient at the end of the instructions, however if you prefer it cooked a little more, you can add it to the mushrooms once the mushrooms have begun to reduce. I would suggest cooking the basil no more than 10 minutes for the best flavor.

I hope you love this one!

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