Mashed Potatoes

I should start off with a confession – mashed potatoes has always been one of the dishes I couldn’t make. I’d end up with lumpy, bland potato mush instead of the creamy potatoey goodness that mashed potatoes should be. Thanks to Ellie Krieger, I can now make flavorful mashed potatoes! I’ve made this recipe a couple times now, usually throwing in a little extra salt, pepper and chives to taste. In this photo, I added an extra dollop of sour cream and (accidentally) dumped a bunch of extra chives onto the potatoes. Try it – it’s good. 🙂

Mashed Potatoes

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave, also on Food Network

Serves 3-4


  • 1 1/4 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 medium), washed but unpeeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
  • 1/4 c. low-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives (I used dried chives)
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are easily skewered with a fork. Drain and put back in pot.

Add warm chicken broth and mash. Add sour cream, salt and pepper, and chives to taste. Mash/stir a bit more to desired consistency.

Serve hot, maybe with some of Ina’s Meatloaf.

Roasted Green Beans with Lemon, Pine Nuts & Parmigiano

This green bean salad was quick and easy. It’s easy enough to change up the recipe according to your taste and season – more/less lemon, different nuts or herbs, etc. My husband and I had the green beans as our only side with the Barefoot Contessa’s Indonesian Ginger Chicken, and it was perfect for the two of us. It’s definitely a recipe that I’ll be making again and again. Enjoy!

Roasted Green Beans with Lemon, Pine Nuts, & Parmigiano

Adapted from Fine Cooking 82, pp. 55



  • 1/3 lb. fresh green beans, rinsed well, stem ends trimmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (1 lemon), plus 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 c. pine nuts
  • 1/4 c. coarsely grated or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, combine green beans, garlic, and lemon zest. Sprinkle in pepper and salt to taste. Toss with olive oil until just coated (2-4 Tbs.)

Spread the beans on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the top third of the oven for 10 minutes. Stir, and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes. Green beans and garlic will be slightly browned.

While green beans are roasting, toast the pine nuts, either on a rimmed baking sheet or in a small skillet, for about 5 minutes, until slightly browned.

When green beans are done, transfer to a bowl or serving dish.

Option 1 to Finish: Toss with lemon juice and another 2 tsp. of olive oil. Sprinkle with pine nuts, Parmigiano, and parsley.

Option 2 to Finish: Skip the lemon juice and olive oil and toss with pine nuts, Parmigiano, and parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peppercorn Pork with Dijon-Cider Sauce

I’m constantly looking for quick weeknight meals that are flavorful and not boring. This Peppercorn Pork fit the bill. It took about 30 minutes to make. The meat had a bit of kick from the crushed peppercorn, but the sweet Cider Sauce balanced it out nicely. The Apple Barley Salad would be a bit bland on its own, but I really enjoyed it with the pork and sauce.

Peppercorn Pork with Dijon-Cider Sauce

and Apple Barley Salad

Adapted from Cuisine at Home (p. 15)

recipe not posted online but other Cuisine at Home recipes are found here


  • 10 oz. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 2-inch thick medallions
  • kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. whole peppercorn blend, freshly ground or crushed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
  • 1 c. apple juice (or cider)
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Season pork medallions with kosher salt. Dredge one side of the medallions in the crushed pepper. Add to the hot skillet, pepper-side down. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

Flip medallions and continue cooking until meat is cooked (about 145F at the center), about 6 more minutes. Transfer medallions to a plate, cover with foil, and let them rest.

In same skillet, add remaining olive oil, shallots, and tomato paste. Saute for 1 minute.

Add wine and deglaze pan, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer until almost evaporated.

Add apple juice and vinegar, simmering until it reduces to about 1/3 a cup, 5-7 minutes. Whisk in mustard and season with salt.

Serve with Apple Barley Salad


  • Barley*
  • 1 sweet red apple, diced
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. sugar

* Cook barley according to package. I used 1 c. uncooked barley, yielding 3-4 c. cooked.

In a small non-stick pan, melt butter. Add apples and cook until apples are just softened, a couple minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Add to barley and stir to combine.

Balsamic Sauteed Mushrooms

The mushrooms are just a little bit sweet but not overbearing. A tasty (and quick) accompaniment to steak or a burger. I’ve also served this with steamed rice as a pairing with chicken and fish. Enjoy!

Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 91, p. 47


  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic

In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and 1 Tbs. water. Set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat.

When butter is melted and butter / oil mixture is hot, add the mushrooms and 3/4 tsp. salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mushrooms have absorbed the liquid.

Cook mushrooms for another 6-8 minutes, stirring every minute, until the pan looks dry. Mushrooms will have shrunk and will be brown on some sides.

Lower heat and add the remaining butter and garlic. Stir until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add balsamic and brown sugar mixture, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan until the liquid reduces into a glaze, another 30-60 seconds.

Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm.

Barley & Avocado Salad with Clementines, Almonds & Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Yesterday, I received the latest issue of Fine Cooking, so of course, first thing this morning, I was browsing for something new to try. I decided to make a version of Quinoa & Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds & Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette, with the ingredients I had on hand – barley and fresh clementines instead of quinoa and dried fruit. I will definitely be going back to try this recipe with the quinoa and dried fruit in the future.

The “salad” was light and fresh with just a hint of lemon. It would be prefect for a summer picnic, but it is a dish I will keep around all year.

Barley & Avocado Salad with Clementines, Almonds

& Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 103, p. 47

Serves 3-4 as a side dish


  • 1 c. uncooked barley
  • 1 avocado, diced or cubed (whatever your desired size)
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, diced
  • 1 clementine, pealed & segmented
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika

Note: You can cook the barley during the day. Prepare the vinaigrette and remaining ingredients just prior to serving.

Cook the Barley: Rinse the barley. Combine 4 cups of water and 1 cup of the rinsed barley in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 30 minutes. Drain any remaining water. Rinse with cool water and drain again. Set aside.

Make the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the zest of the lemon and 1 Tbs. of lemon juice. Stir in olive oil, cumin, coriander, and paprika.

Finish by tossing barley, vinaigrette, scallions, avocado, and clementine sections.