Help! My boyfriend and I have recently move in together and I want to get better... In the kitchen ;-) i need some easy and simple recipes ideas for dinner!
Hi my little fudge muffin! Well first I’d like to say congratulations on the big move. I’m super excited for you and jealous of the interior decorating you get to do. And also that you have your very own kitchen to cook and bake in! I can’t wait to come see it, and I owe you a “family dinner” as requested (and promised via Twitter).
So. We know Marc’s a “meat and potatoes” guy, you’re a healthy gal, and that you have some basic pantry staples and condiments. That’s a great start! And with a little of the basics and not a lot of time, I hope to offer some simple suggestions to help you spice it up in the kitchen.
Today I’m going to give you my spin on spuds. And you’ll see none of my recipes are mashed. Mashed is a no-fail, go-to option. (Though I prefer smashed over mashed any day). Quick, simple, creamy. But to me, a potato provides great texture without getting a high-speed hand mixer involved. The spice and seasoning combos below are similar, but the different cooking techniques promise great flavor and variety.
- Quick and clean: Bake potato (Idaho/Red) in the microwave. Cut in half and mist inside with olive oil spray. Top with crushed black pepper. (I use lots of pepper, and omit salt). Optional seasonings: dill or parsley. (I prefer dill, but try either! Fresh is best). If you have more time, you can dice and par boil* potatoes. Sauté onions in olive oil, then add the potatoes, s&p, and fresh parsley. My grandma’s favorite!
- Oven Roasted Red Potatoes: (My personal favorite). Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set aside a large, disposable aluminum baking pan. Par boil whole red potatoes with the skin on. Drain and cut the potatoes into decent size chunks (think thick—potato salad) and place them in the pan. On the stove, sauté onions in a frying pan with olive oil, s&p, oregano, and paprika. Add sautéed mixture to the pan of potatoes and toss to coat. Bake in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp on the outside. This can also be prepared a day ahead, so all you have to do is bake them come dinner-time. For Marc: Leave the ketchup on the table.
(My mom always buys yams, so I often refer to them as such).
- Simple and sweet: Bake potato (yam/sweet) in the microwave. Cut in half and top lightly with a drop of sugar-free maple syrup and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
- Yam Sticks: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut 1-2 yams in half; lay flat-side down and cut length-wise into < 1/2 inch thick slices; then cut again into smaller sticks, like french fries. Throw the “sticks” into a ziplock bag; add < 1 tbsp. olive oil (enough to lightly coat them—I’d say 1 tsp/potato), a pinch of salt (optional), and crushed black pepper. Shake and mix them all up in the bag; spread the sticks out onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes depending on amount of potatoes and desired texture. I like them softer on the inside (they’ll be that pretty orange inside like when you microwave ‘em) but a little crispy on the edges (like this). Optional seasonings: Add chopped, fresh rosemary or thyme to your s&p and olive oil mixture for some extra spice. For Marc: Leave the ketchup on the table for his healthy fries.
- Candied Yams: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set aside a large, disposable aluminum baking pan. Par boil yams. Peel off the skin after boiling, and cut into thick, 1/2 inch slices. Place sliced yams in pan with a little bit of water. Sprinkle with brown sugar and a few tbsp. of unsalted butter; use your hands to pinch apart the butter and spread pieces evenly across the top of the yams. (If you fill up a whole pan with about 6 large yams, you’d use about 4 tbsp. of butter). Bake about 45 minutes, until sugar and butter caramelize.
*Par boil: Almost cooked all the way through; you should be able to stick a fork in the potato without having it fall apart.