Smoky Corn & Pancetta Hash

smoky corn pancetta hash | sunsets on the side

smoky corn pancetta hash | sunsets on the side

I bought my husband a smoker for his birthday.  He’d been wanting one for such a long time, and seeing how excited he was to finally get one was truly fun to watch.  But, the food we’ve started creating in there is (selfishly) an enormous bonus.  Yum.

A couple nights ago we did a dry-rubbed chicken, and boy was it delicious.  This smoky potato hash, filled with corn and bursting with flavor from smoked paprika was the perfect complementary side dish.

I wouldn’t be shy about making this recipe first thing in the morning, though.  Some poached or fried eggs on top of this hash would make for a bold, hearty breakfast.

Smoky Corn & Pancetta Hash
 
Author:
Makes: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • 2 medium red potatoes (about ¾ lb.), small diced
  • ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 16 oz. frozen corn, defrosted and drained
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. roasted red peppers, drained patted dry, and diced
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the pieces have browned and are cooked through. With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta pieces to a paper towel-lined plate & set aside.
  2. Add the diced potatoes, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to the oil in the saute pan. Stir to coat the potatoes with oil and seasonings. Cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes until they are brown. Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to cook potatoes, stirring often, until they are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Turn the heat up to medium. Add the corn and half of the green onions to the potatoes. Cook until the corn is hot, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the roasted red peppers, pancetta pieces, and the remaining green onions. Cook 1-2 minutes longer until the red peppers are warmed through. Serve hot.

Mushroom Goat Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

Have you guys been watching as much Olympics coverage as I have?  Man, I just love the Olympics.  The competition!  The drama!  The outfits!  The network reporters making top athletes cry after medal-winning performances!

Well, not so much on the last thing.

But, the coverage has been a staple in our house for the past week and a half.  I mean, we’re DVR-ing hockey games for pete’s sake.  U-S-A!

The only thing that feels confusing is all the eating I’m doing while watching Olympics.  Is this even right?  Oh, hi…you’re cross-country skiing UP A HILL right now.  And, I’m…eating pizza.

U-S-A?

Oh well.  As it turns out, I’m not above eating twice-baked potatoes while parked on the couch in front of the men’s super-G.  I look at it as sympathy carbing for my country.

Noble.

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

Mushroom & Goat Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Makes: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 T. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 4 oz. fontina, grated
  • 1 T. minced fresh dill
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pierce potatoes with a fork multiple times. Place directly on an oven rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and the inside is soft. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat with the olive oil and let cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown and most of their liquid has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice each in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving enough of a border that the potato halves hold their shape, into a large mixing bowl. Set the potato skins on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Add the goat cheese, butter, milk, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mix with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Fold in the mushrooms, fontina, and dill. Scoop even portions of the potato mixture into the empty potato halves.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, sprinkle the tops of the potatoes evenly with parmesan cheese, and then bake an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.

Spinach & Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

spinach-artichoke-twice-baked-potatoes

spinach-artichoke-twice-baked-potatoes

Do you have a hard time answering the question, “what’s your favorite food?”  I do.  It changes by the day.  It changes by the time of day.

But, if I really had to think hard and commit to an answer, it would, most likely, be mashed potatoes.  I love mashed potatoes.

Like…I love them.

My Mom made us mashed potatoes almost every Saturday night throughout my entire childhood, and I never, ever got tired of them.  Actually, I still request them every time I’m home.

And, twice-baked potatoes were such a treat.  A baked potato and mashed potatoes all in one?  Yes, please!  For whatever reason, they tended to show themselves only on birthdays and other occasions for specially-requested foods.  So, they still feel like a treat to me.  Traditional twice-bakeds are wonderful, and I’ve started playing with different flavor combinations to ramp them up a bit.  Twice-baked potatoes meet spinach and artichoke dip…  Yes, I think so.

Spinach & Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes
 
Author:
Makes: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. fontina, grated
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 (6.5-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce clean potatoes with a fork multiple times. Place directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and the inside is soft. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat with the olive oil and let cook until spinach is wilted, about 7-8 minutes. Let cool and then push against a mesh strainer to squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice each in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh (leaving enough of a border that the potato halves hold their shape) into a large mixing bowl. Brush the inside of each emptied potato half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set on a baking sheet.
  4. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream, ¾ of the fontina, and the ¾ tsp. salt to the potatoes. Mix with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Fold in the spinach and chopped artichokes. Scoop even portions of the potato mixture into the empty potato halves. Sprinkle the tops with shredded parmesan and the remaining fontina.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Potatoes

pittsburgh-cheesy-potatoes-recipe

pittsburgh-cheesy-potatoes-recipe

When I lived in Pittsburgh, I called these “cheesy potatoes.”

It’s an unabashedly old-fashioned recipe that everyone in my family has.  We’ve enjoyed this dish at nearly every extended family gathering that I can remember.  I’m pretty sure (for us, anyway), it originally came from my Aunt LuAnn (hi, Aunt LuAnn!).  But, it wasn’t just ours.  I think every family in Pittsburgh, and probably that tri-state area, has this recipe.

When I moved to St. Pete and made these for the first time for my adopted game day crew down here, the boys couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.  “Pittsburgh potatoes!”  Although they were born in St. Pete, their dad grew up in Pittsburgh, and they still have a lot of family there.  They knew these potatoes, too, from having them at family gatherings up north.  The only difference was, they called them “Pittsburgh potatoes.”  It still makes me laugh.

Well, Pittsburgh potatoes have become our staple side dish on the first Sunday that NFL games return, and they always accompany a crock pot filled with kielbasa and sauerkraut.  If six years is long enough to declare a tradition, then this is ours.  The potatoes remind me of home, they signal that football is back (and fall is coming), and they show that our long-held traditions are continuing with our newly-defined “family” in Florida.

If the modern side of you wants to jazz these up, feel free.  I can picture fresh herbs, exotic cheese, or even a homemade béchamel sauce successfully updating this traditional casserole. But, for me, I can’t picture ever changing it.

Pittsburgh Potatoes
 
Author:
Makes: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lb. bag frozen diced potato hash browns, thawed
  • 2 (10 ¾-oz) cans cream of potato soup
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • ⅓ cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 T. cold butter, diced
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the soup, sour cream, grated cheddar, and garlic salt. Add the hash browns to the bowl and stir until completely combined. Stir in black pepper and a little bit of salt to taste. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  3. Top the potato mixture with parmesan and dot the top evenly with diced butter.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through baking time.