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Jazz up common food staples

By on December 24, 2009

red potatoes
photo by Brisbane falling

Rice and potatoes are a mainstay in many kitchens, so it’s easy to get into the rut of preparing them the same way. Next time you want to make them, try one of the following recipes. Three are easy side dishes, and one is a main dish.

Cream-Cheese Potatoes

10 medium red potatoes (skins on or off)
1/2 cup butter
salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1 cup scalded milk
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

Boil and whip the potatoes. Add the other ingredients. Put into a greased pan, and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven. — Kathy, Texas

Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

3 pounds medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cream-of-mushroom soup
1/2 cup water

Combine the potatoes, cheese, ham and onion in a slow cooker. Stir together the soup and water in a small bowl until well mixed; pour over the potato mixture. Cover and cook on high four hours or low eight hours. Stir just before serving. — Heather, New York

Broccoli-and-Cheese Rice

1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 tablespoons margarine
1 can cream-of-chicken soup
1 can milk
8 ounces processed cheese-food loaf, such as Velveeta
3 cups rice, cooked and set aside
1 pound broccoli cut into small florets, set aside

Saute the onion and celery in 3 tablespoons margarine. Add the cream-of-chicken soup and one can of milk. Add the Velveeta, and melt. Mix in the rice and broccoli, and pour all into a greased 7-by-11-inch shallow casserole. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 30 minutes. — Darlene, New York


1/2 pound cooked chicken meat
1/2 pound cooked ham
1 pound cooked andouille or smoked sausages
1 small green bell pepper
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
5 scallions
3 large tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock, or as needed

Chop the chicken and the ham into bite-sized pieces; you should have about 1-1/2 cups of each. Cut the sausages into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Seed the bell pepper, then chop the bell pepper, yellow onion, garlic and scallions, including the tender green tops. Chop the tomatoes. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the ham and sausage, and saute until well browned, seven to 10 minutes. Add the flour, stir well, and add the bell pepper, yellow onion, garlic and scallions, and saute until softened, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, cumin, allspice, bay leaves, salt, black and cayenne peppers and chicken, and mix well. Stir in the rice, and pour in the stock. The liquid should just cover the contents of the skillet. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. To serve, remove and discard the bay leaf. Spoon the rice and meats onto a platter. — Hope S., North Carolina

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