Sunday, March 27, 2016

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

These potatoes are actually the inspiration for one of my more popular posts on this blog: Twice Baked Potatoes...Sort Of. My mom has been making these potatoes for years, and she probably got it from someone at church or something. They are FABULOUS--salty, rich, cheesy, creamy, bacony. The perfect side dish for beef or pork. At first my mom made them with fresh potatoes, but eventually changed over to using instant mashed potatoes. I'll put that version at the end. The recipe she sent me also calls for twice the cream cheese, sour cream, and milk. I'm not sure if that's just because the instant mashed potatoes produce a greater volume, but my version filled up a 9 x 13 inch pan perfectly.

Besides tasting out of this world, these potatoes are awesome because you can make them the day/night before and refrigerate. The next day you just pop it into a 350 degree oven to heat through and then add the cheese and bacon. Super easy and great for taking to dinner elsewhere.
So if you're looking for a delicious and convenient potato side dish, look no further. This is it. If you're looking for something light on calories, though, you may need to move on.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

  • 4 pounds red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup jarred bacon bits (or a half-pound of bacon, fried and chopped into pieces, or chopped into pieces and fried)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, dry, pierce, and bake potatoes for about 1 hour, or until potatoes yield when squeezed with an oven-mitted hand.
  • When potatoes are done, carefully remove them from the oven and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you're going to be using a hand mixer).
  • Break up potatoes with a potato masher or other tool that will break them up into rough chunks.
  • Heat the milk a little bit in the microwave and then pour into the bowl with the potatoes. Add the butter and salt. With the paddle attachment on the mixer, turn the mixer on low speed and mix until milk is basically incorporated. 
  • Add the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix on low at first and then turn up to high and beat until creamy. Scrape the bottom and the Add green onions and mix to incorporate.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the potatoes into the pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil. At this point you can do one of two things: 1. put the potatoes in the refrigerator until the next day, and then bake them in a 350 degree oven for 60-75 minutes; or 2. place back in the oven, reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are piping hot.
  • When potatoes are heated through, remove the foil and sprinkle top with the shredded cheese and then top with the bacon bits. Return to oven for 5 minutes.
  • Serve.
  • Refrigerate leftovers, if you have any.
  • Makes about 12-16 servings
Twice Baked Potato Casserole under the cheese


  • 6 Cups water
  • 1/4 lb butter (I sometimes omit this fat)
  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (16 oz) container of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup green onions sliced thin
  • 1 (15.3 oz) Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes (flakes: any brand will do)
  • 3 cups of grated yellow cheese
  • 1 lb cooked bacon (cut into 1/4" pieces and refrigerate until next day)
1. Heat water, butter, salt, to boiling in a 6 quart Dutch oven. Remove from heat. Add cream
cheese, milk, and sour cream, stirring until cream cheese melts.
2. Stir in potato flakes and green onions, mixing until all ingredients are well combined. Spread mashed potato mixture into 13 x 9-inch glass pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Make ahead: refrigerate until next day. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour covered or until bubbling around the edges. (It takes longer to bake when refrigerated) Allow another 20-30 minutes. I sometimes microwave potatoes to bring up the heat before putting in the oven
4. Cheese and bacon topping: when fully cooked, sprinkle cheese and bacon over potatoes and cover to melt. If potatoes are ready too early, reheat in microwave.

This recipe has 47 gazillion calories and is absolutely a crowd pleaser

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mr. Yoshida's Style Sauce

Tasty Mr. Yoshida's style teriyaki sauce

Mr. Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce is what I would call a classic teriyaki sauce--sweet and salty and delicious. It's widely available on the West Coast, but I've only found it once here in Iowa--at SAMs Club when it had accidentally been shipped to our local store. I can order it from Amazon, but since even with two-day shipping I can't get it here in time for my husband's birthday dinner, which I just found out will be Teriyaki Brisket
At first I made this without all the water, and only 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, but it was way too strong. Adding the cup of water and two more tablespoons of cornstarch mellowed it out perfectly. This isn't exactly like Mr. Yoshida's, but it's close enough for me. I'm excited to try it on the brisket and will share those pics later. If I can remember.

Mr. Yoshida's Style Sauce
     --adapted from

  • 6 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger
  • 6 green onions, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 bottle (15 oz.) Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Mirin
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • Mix the corn starch and water in a bowl or liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  • In a medium to large size heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add all of the ingredients except for the corn starch and water. Stir occasionally as it comes to a boil. When it boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir the corn starch and water mixture and then stir it into the sauce. Simmer for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Allow sauce to cool in the pot for an hour or so, then strain into a jar or bottle for storage. Refrigerate.
Makes 4 cups


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hawaiian Bread Rolls

Hawaiian Bread Rolls

Spring break means sleeping in and doing what I want. And what I wanted to do today is bake something new and blog about it. I've toyed with the idea of making Hawaiian style rolls since my husband LOVES King's Hawaiian Bread, but today is the first time I've done it. They turned out awesome too. Not exactly like King's Hawaiian, but awesome nonetheless. They're so soft and tender in the middle, and just slightly sweet. I may even add a little more sugar next time. They'll be great for little sandwiches and for breakfast and just to enjoy with dinner. 
I'm glad I've finally made these. Now I'll just have to make some more and freeze them because, honestly, they take a little bit longer than the usual rolls I make. Perhaps I'll have to invest in the King Arthur Flour's recommended SAF Gold Instant Yeast. You can stop reading now. I'm just rambling. Go try these rolls.

Hawaiian Bread Rolls
    Adapted from

  • 1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 3/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons instant mashed potato flakes (or 2 tablespoons potato flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup pineapple or pineapple/orange juice
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten (keep egg white in fridge for brushing dough later)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the 1/4 cup flour, instant yeast, and water. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes to rest. (Please note that the next time I do this I am going to skip this step and add the yeast to the dry ingredients, and then cut in the butter. Then I will stir the wet ingredients into the dry. This is all because I don't think my sponge worked smoothly into the dough through my hand kneading.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 3/4 cup flour, potato flakes, and salt.
  • Add the butter, juice, eggs, sugar, and vanilla to the "sponge" that's been resting. Try to mix those ingredients as well as you can. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until a sticky dough forms.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth, adding only enough flour so the dough doesn't stick to the work surface. When dough is smooth and springy, return it to the large mixing bowl. Cover and allow to rise for about 2 hours.
  • Spray a 9x13 inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Turn risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pulling up around the edges, form the dough into a nice purse. Gently press the purse down into a circle about an inch or inch and a half thick. Cut into 16 equal pieces. 
  • Form each of the pieces into a little purse and set aside. When all of the pieces are purses, go back to the first and form into a nice tight little ball. (Click here for a short video of how I do this. You'll need to scroll down a little to get to the video clip.)
  • Place dough balls in a 4 x 4 array in the greased pan. Cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap that's been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • While rolls rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Mix the egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush tops and sides of rolls with egg wash.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190 degrees on a digital thermometer.
  • Remove rolls from oven and allow to cool about 3 minutes before turning them out onto a cooking rack to finish cooling.
Makes 16 rolls

I'm not a fan of the "sponge" in this recipe and won't be doing it next time.
Risen dough
Dough balls set to rise
Risen dough balls
Browned, glossy, and fabulous baked rolls

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