Foodieobsessed's Blog

Potato Cakes

I usually call these “potato pancakes” because that is what my Grandmother called them. In reality they are more of a “potato cake” and not just the shredded pancakes I think of when I think “potato pancake” now.

In my house it is a rare day when we just “have” left over mashed potatoes. Generally I am pretty good at eyeballing how many potatoes to boil for just the two of us and we definitely eat them all. But when I think ahead and have some forethought I love to throw these together.

Some suggestions to zing these up: Sour cream and chive? Amazing. Add about 1TBS more flour if your “batter” is too wet. You can make these “double stuffed” with adding some bacon, cheddar, and sour cream in the mix. You can make them into mini-cakes to serve for an appetizer or full size. I like mine with ketchup. This recipe is dependent of course on what kind of potato you use and how you like your mashers.

Potato Cakes

2 cups prepared mashed potatoes (however you like them, or boil 2-4 russets and mash them)

1/4 cup mik

1 egg

1/2 cup flour

1 TSP baking soda

Your fixins’ (whatever you want to add to make them “new” and not just a left over”

1 TBS Butter (or 1/2 tablespoon butter 1/2 tablespoon oil, do not not use butter!!)

1. Mix potatoes, egg, milk thoroughly. Add flour and fixins’ and mix until just combined.

2. Add butter to a medium deep skillet over medium heat. Let melt.

3. Drop potato mixture by the spoonfull (it should be like pancake batter). Fry until golden brown (3-4 minutes per side).

These are great with anything and a sneaky way to use up some left overs if you are able to not eat all of the mashed potatoes.



Chicken and dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is comfort soul food for me. My Grandma made it in winter and I love to make it on any rainy day I can get away with. I have tried dozens of recipes for “homemade dumplings” and I have to say I keep coming back to bisquick. I don’t know if it is because it’s always how my Grandma made them or just my personal preference but I just love them!! I used the thyme and bay but also 1 tsp of Penzey’s bouquet garni herb mix. Feel free to add whatever herbs and spices you like!

If you are not worried about calories my Grandma was sinful and would top the dumplings with a few tablespoons of softened butter to make them absolutely rich and decadent!

Chicken and Dumplings
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts
2 chicken thighs (skin removed)
1 cup carrots (cut into coins)
1/2 onion (diced)
1 cup celery (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 russet potatoes (pealed and chopped)
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup flour
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
6 cups chicken stock (homemade if you gave it or 2 cans of chicken broth and 1 can water)
1 cup frozen peas
Bisquick dumplings (recipe on the back of box)
1. In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil on medium heat until hot. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs and breasts in oil and brown on both sides.
2. Remove chicken from pan and add butter and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 10-12 minute or until onions are translucent. Add chicken back to pan.
3. Dust flour over chicken and vegetables and cook 2-4 minutes. Add white wine and cook down until it is almost gone.
4. Add bay leaf, thyme, and broth and simmer 1-2 hours. Remove chicken and shred.
5. Assemble dumplings. Add chicken and frozen peas.
6. Make sure your broth is simmering (not boiling!). With a spoon drop in dumplings and cover for 10-15 minutes until dumplings are cooked.

*My picture below has some corn in it. I was out of plain peas and added a frozen veggie mix!



Zucchini Chocolate Chunk Bread

Another bread from the monster zucchini. I used my favorite chocolate bar Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar. You could easily use chocolate chips. Also, nuts would be a nice addition.

Zucchini Chocolate Chunk Bread

1 cup honey

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup plain fat free yogurt

1 cup canola oil (or 1/2 cup applesauce 1/2 cup oil or totally applesauce)

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups AP flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 cups unpeeled shredded zucchini

3.5 oz chopped dark chocolate (or 1 cup chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans.

1. Combine honey, sugar, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and oil and beat in mixer until well combined.

2. Sift flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into the wet ingredients. Mix just to combine.

3. Add in shredded zucchini and chunked chocolate.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes, turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

Carrot Zucchini Bread With Cream Cheese Swirl

My Co-worker brought me a zucchini the size of a small infant. It had hidden in the back of her plant and ‘got away from her’ and now she wanted several different kinds of zucchini bread thanks to my ever so humble bragging about my baking skillz. I was of course, happy to provide! So these are a few zucchini bread recipes I have played around with to make them to my style. I still have about ten cups of shredded zucchini to play with so we’ll see what else I come up with!

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

For Bread:

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup canola oil (you can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup oil to make it healthier or go all applesauce)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup shredded zucchini (with skin)

1 cup shredded carrots

OPTIONAL: 1 cup chopped walnuts/pecans (whatever nut you love) or 1/2 cup nuts 1/2 cup raisins to really get that carrot cake feel. I did not do this as my breads were requested to be without nuts 🙂

For Cream Cheese Swirl:

4oz room temperature cream cheese (1/2 a brick)

1 egg

1/4 cup sugar

1 TBS AP flour

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat your oven to 350. Pam spray or grease 2 loaf pans.

1. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla in your stand mixer until well combined.

2. Add next five ingredients and blend until just combined (do not over mix!). Fold in zucchini and carrot and set aside.

3. Combine cream cheese mixture until well mixed.

4. In your loaf pan place a layer of batter on the bottom (about half the batter spread between to the two pans). Divide the cream cheese mixture between the two and use a knife or your spatula to swirl into the bottom bread mixture. Top with remaining bread mixture. You can either cover the cream cheese completely or let it show at the top.

5. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes (checking at an hour). Check with a skewer and it should come out clean.

6. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, turn out onto wire rack and cool completely before serving.

*this was tasty but next time I will double the cream cheese mixture and add some more spices like more cinnamon and some nutmeg. Almost a home run!

Sweet and spicy melon salad

I made a recipe similar to this from an old Weight Watchers recipe years ago. I liked it but kind of forgot about it. I got some delicious melon and watermelon at Costco and decided to give it another try with some mint from my garden. If you wanted you could cut back on the sugar and add some salty feta and red onion and I bet it would be delicious.

I adore cantaloupe. We used to have fresh slices of it every Sunday in the summertime and my Grandma always sprinkled it with salt. This is the same idea but with even more flavor to boost the natural sweet deliciousnss of summer melon!

Sweet and spicy melon salad

1/4 sugar

1/3 cup water

1 jalapeno, diced (I used seeds and all, spicy! If you want less heat remove seeds)

6-8 mint leaves, sliced into ribbons

1 tsp salt

1/2 small watermelon, cubed

1/2 small cantaloupe, cubed

1. In a small sauce pan combine sugar, water, jalapenos, salt, and mint. Warm until everything has dissolved into the water.

2. In a mixing bowl combine melons and simple syrup. Let sit for at least one hour to combine flavors and enjoy!

Summer Lemonade Barbecue Chicken

Hello dear readers! It has been far too long since an update and I appologize. A new job, new three hour commute, and new schedule have really taken it out of my cooking! I do manage on Sundays to make a good meal and usually something sweet though!

I saw this recipe and cut it from our local paper. I made it to the directions but skipped the blending step and just crushed the garlic and ginger. I also forgot to set some aside for basting, doh! The chicken still came out juicy and delicious! I really worried that the lemonade concentrate would be too sweet or acidic but it was just right. I did marinate it for about 8 hours.

I served this with a delicious Salt and Vinegar potato salad posted by my favorite Messy Chef Amy. Enjoy!

Summer Lemonade Barbecue Chicken

Makes 4 servings

4 bone-in chicken breasts halves

1 can (6 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine lemonade concentrate with soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, paprika and black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.

Place chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag.

Reserve ½ cup of lemonade mixture to use for basting, then pour the remaining mixture over the chicken, mixing to coat the pieces.

Allow chicken to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill. Remove chicken from bag and discard the marinade.

Place chicken on hot grill. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat for 10 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Grill until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 262 calories, 8 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 30 grams protein, 0 grams fiber, 800 milligrams sodium, 82 milligrams cholesterol.

Eats from other blogs

I do a lot of eating from other food blogs. One of the first things I do when trying to make a recipe is do an internet search. My favorite websites for this are of course foodblogsearch, recipezaar, smitten kitchen, and baking bites. I thought I would start posting the recipes I eat and have success with so that if you are looking for suggestions you can find them!

Jamie Oliver’s Chili Con Carne : If you aren’t watching Food Revolution I don’t know why. It is an amazing thing that Jamie is trying to accomplish and the episodes thus far have been touching and heart wrenching. It airs on ABC Friday nights and I highly recommend it. While I don’t have a copy of the recipe for you, I highly recommend Jamie’s chili. It has tons of veggies, lots of spices, and is really delicious. I made it with the below cornbread and it was GREAT. This recipe makes a TON of food for 2 people so we have lots left for lunches. I make mine with ground turkey instead of beef and make it extra spicy with more cayenne. I picked up a copy of Food Revolution from my local library but really want to buy a copy soon!

Al Dente: Virginia Willis’s Buttermilk Cornbread : Did you know there are serious battles out there between “Yankee cornbread” which is traditionally “sweet” and true “Southern cornbread”? I had no idea. But this recipe is a true “Southern” cornbread. I have never in my life made cornbread without flour. No, really, I didn’t think it could be done. I thought it would be gritty and I seriously considered not making the recipe for the lack of flour–boy was I wrong! This was DELICIOUS. Not only did the cast iron skillet (a Christmas gift from Hubbs 2 years ago) impart a delicious crunch and amazing flavor, it also helped brown the butter in a sublime way. I did add some sugar (I am a Californian so neither Yankee nor Southern, I like sweet cornbread) about 1 TBS and it didn’t ruin the flavor at all.

Use Real Butter Cinnamon Rhubarb Mini Loaves : This week in our co-op box we got rhubarb. I have never had this strange red celery looking thing. I didn’t know what it tasted like or how to use it. Did I go the traidtional route and make a pie with strawberries? That was Hubbs vote. Instead I decided to make some muffins for my new commute. I figured that they would be easy to eat in the car and hopefully they would taste good. They DO! these muffins are delicious. The only change I made to the recipe was using low fat sour cream instead of full fat. The rhubarb is a strange tangy quality (almost like an unripe raspberry) but great with the cinnamon sugar. The only thing I would do differently last time is add more cinnamon sugar in the middle of the muffin as well as on top.

Banana Nutella Bread

Costco is a magical place. Where else can you get a years supply of toilet paper, a delicious lunch for $1.50 (hot dog and a lemonade, mmm) and enough rice to feed a family of 50?

The thing about Costco though, is that if you don’t have a family of 50 it can be difficult to get through a six pound jar of peanut butter or in this case–a double pack of amazing and delicious nutella. Now, generally I don’t let nutella in the house. It is like peanut butter but even more crack like. I can eat an entire jar in a couple of days and that is nothing compared to what Hubbs can do. Delicious thick multigrain bread and nutella? Heaven. The last time we visited Costco we made the mistake of going down the cereal aisle and Hubbs caught wind of the nutella double pack.

Of course, somehow, it ended up in the basket. I swore to myself that this time would be different. There would be no sneaking into the pantry with a spoon and eating it out of the jar. There would be no thick gobbing layers on top of pound cake, crackers, or multigrain bread. Oh no, this time I would show restraint where it’s chocolatey hazelnutty goodness was present. And, much to my stomachs surprise, I have. We’ve had the nutella in the house for about a month and still have one and a half jars of the magical stuff. I needed a way to *gasp* use it up and what better way then delicious nutella banana bread? It sounded like the perfect combination to me.

Banana Nutella Bread

Yield: 2 loaves

3/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

1/2 cup hazelnuts (or walnuts) chopped

1/2 cup nutella

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.

2. In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) cream butter and sugars together until it is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix together. Add bananas and combine.

3. Add vanilla and buttermilk. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to the banana mixture. Add walnuts and make sure everything is well combined.

4. Equally divide about 3/4 of the batter between the two loaf pans. Layer in the nutella (you can either warm it up so that it is easier, mine was rather cold so I just put in chunks of it) and top with the remainder of the batter. Nutella should be fairly covered.

5. Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes. A skewer should come out clean (aside from the nutella).

**Note: My bread stuck on the bottom of my pan. I believe it is because some of the nutella touched the bottom so make sure not to push the nutella down too far in the batter as well as spray your pan well!!

Favorite baked ziti

This is my go to dish when it comes to helping out neighbors, friends, etc. It is easily vegetarian or with meat. It freezes well, reheats well, and can be given in it’s “raw” state or already baked. If you need something delicious for a pot luck or for someone who just had a new baby this is IT! This recipe is simple to double or even triple and makes a ton of food (if you don’t live in my house, Hubbs can eat half a pan in a sitting!).

This recipe is EASILY converted to your favorite kind of baked pasta. Do you like italian sausage and peas? Go for it! Do you like tons of fresh vegetables (spinach, zucchini, peas, etc) are great. You could make this into a “pizza” ziti by adding pepperoni, olives, and peppers. You will notice that I use a lot of sauce in this recipe–I am a big fan of “saucy” baked pasta. Also because you do not cook the pasta all the way before you add it to the dish it will absorb a lot of the sauce.

Favorite Baked Ziti


1lb ziti (or penne) pasta

4 cups simple marinara sauce (or two jars of your favorite sauce)

1 small container part skim ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)

1 egg

1 TBS italian herb seasoning (I use Penzeys, you can use your favorite herbs including oregano, basil, fennel, etc).

1/4 cup chopped parsley (you can add fresh basil or oregano to this as well)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided in half

2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided in half

salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large sauce pan cook pasta for about 8-10 minutes. It should still have a lot of bite to it. It will continue to cook in the oven.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1 cup mozarella cheese, italian herb seasoning, fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Add about 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce to flavor the sauce.

3. Spray a large lasagna pan (I use a 9×13 baking dish) and add 1 cup of sauce on the bottom.

4. After draining the pasta, combine with the cheese and sauce mixture (if you are not baking this right away let the pasta come to room temperature so that the egg doesn’t cook from the heat of the pasta). Layer on top of the sauce in the pan. Top with remainder of sauce (about 2 cups), Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

5. Bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on your oven, check after 45) until cheese is brown and bubbly. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Simple red sauce to feed a crowd

When I make red sauce, I make A LOT of red sauce. I make enough generally to freeze to dinners worth, make at least a pan of lasagna or ziti (or two), and some for pizza sauce. Because I cook my sauce for along period of time it just makes sense for me to do it this way–but other then the AMOUNT of sauce this is a VERY simple recipe. You can mix up the spices how you like but I keep it simple with just oregano (my favorite) and then season differently for each dish I use it in. This sauce freezes beautifully.

We have what’s called Grocery Outlet where I live in Northern California. I can generally get a great deal on whole canned tomatoes there and that is what I usually do and squish the tomatoes between my fingers. For this particular batch I only had a 10 can of diced tomatoes which works just fine.
Red sauce is a deeply personal thing to you and your family. Feel free to add, take away, and generally make this basic recipe your own. Sometimes I will immersion blend half of it to get a smoother sauce depending on how much the tomatoes break down through the long cooking process.

Simple red sauce

(1) 10 can of diced or whole tomatoes (make sure that they have no added spices, oil, etc. They should be in puree or juice only. Read the ingredients!)

(2) 24 oz cans of diced tomatoes

1 large (softball sized) onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 TBS olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tsp red pepper flake

1 TBS kosher salt

1/2 tbs black pepper

1 TBS dried oregano

1. Heat a large *large!* sauce pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sautee for five to ten minutes or until onions are translucent. Add red pepper flakes and stir well to let the heat release into the onions.

2. Add vinegar and let cook for 2-3 minues or until it reduces down by half. Add tomatoes slowly (they splatter!). Fill both of the smaller cans with water and add to the mixture.

3. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Go easy on it as you can always add more but can’t take it out!

4. Let cook with the lid on for at least two hours. Stir often. I usually cook my sauce for 4-6 hours and generally taste it for acidity. Depending on your tomatoes you may need to add up to 1TBS of sugar to make it less acidic.

5. Portion out sauce to how you would like to use it. I generally freeze it in four cup batches for use later on.