Tag Archives: potatoes

Roasted Pepper Mashed Potatoes #OreIdaDinner

Roasted Pepper Mashed Potatoes and Steak

Even though I love mashed potatoes – who doesn’t? – I don’t make them often since they’re time and labor intensive. First, you have to peel the potatoes. Then you have to boil them until they can be mashed. (Cutting the potatoes in chunks helps speed up the process.) I inevitably have a boil over and potato peels go everywhere, which means a big clean up, too.

There’s got to be a better way, which is why I gave Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Cut Russet Potatoes a try. You just steam the peeled potatoes in your microwave for 10 minutes, and then mash them like you normally do. It takes the peeling, chopping, boiling and clean up out of the equation, thus giving you more time to enjoy dinner with your family.

I especially like Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Cut Russet Potatoes because it’s pretty much just potatoes and salt. (Keep the already added salt in mind when seasoning your mashed potatoes. Also, Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Cut Russet Potatoes contain disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, which is used in frozen potato products to keep the potatoes from darkening and acts as a preservative.) Also, unlike prepared mashed potatoes, you’re in charge of adding whatever ingredients you want to your mashed potatoes to make them as healthy – or as decadent – as you want.

Since the drudge work was taken out of making mashed potatoes, I decided to experiment and come up with a healthy, flavored mashed potato dish that takes 20 minutes (including 10 minutes to cook the potatoes) to make. This was a big hit with my family, even the kids. It had a spicy taste, which went really well with the grilled steak.

Roasted Pepper Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 bag Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Cut Russet Potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons buttery spread
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 12 ounce jar red and/or yellow roasted peppers, drained
  • 2/3 cup non-fat milk – unflavored soy or lite coconut milk is fine or you can use vegetable stock instead
  • leaves from 4 sprigs lemon thyme, with more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Cut Russet Potatoes per directions.
  2. In a medium to large pot, melt buttery spread over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Lower heat.
  4. Empty microwaved potatoes into pot. Add roasted peppers, milk, and thyme.
  5. Using an immersion blender, mash ingredients until creamy. (You can also use a food processor or blender.) If mixture seems to thick, add a splash or two of milk or broth.
  6. Season to taste, then stir ingredients one more time.
  7. Serve and garish with extra sprigs of lemon thyme.

Ore-Ida Logo
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Ore-Ida via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ore-Ida.

Marsala Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Marsala Whipped Sweet Potatoes at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Holland House is holding a Holiday Sweepstakes Bash on Facebook where you can win $500 for your holiday party. You’ll also get advice from an expert blogger party planner to help you plan your holiday bash. All you need to do is “like” the Holland House Facebook page and then enter the contest here. The sweepstakes ends on December 7, 2011 at 11:59:59 pm CT.

To help you on your way to a wonderful Thanksgiving, check out this Holland House recipe for sweet potatoes featuring their Marsala Cooking Wine.

This Mama’s tips

  • To make this dish dairy free and vegan, use a buttery spread instead of butter. Instead of whipping cream, use coconut cream (not coconut milk).
  • Whipped sweet potatoes may be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat in microwave, covered, on medium power. Stir occasionally.
Marsala Whipped Sweet Potatoes at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Marsala Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Recipe courtesy of Holland House


  • 3 pounds orange-flesh sweet potatoes (red garnets)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream (optional)


  1. Fill a 6-quart pot halfway with water. Peel each potato and place in pot to prevent browning. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes and return to pot. Drain water so there is enough just to cover potatoes. Stir in salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  2. In a small microwaveable bowl or 1-cup glass measuring cup, heat marsala cooking wine in microwave 1 minute on medium power or until very hot. Stir in butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel.
  3. When potatoes are cooked, drain water from pot. Add marsala cooking wine mixture to pot. Whip with electric beater until smooth. Stir in cream, if desired. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 2 Hours
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of Holland House, provided compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Pan-Fried Sweet Potatoes with Gremolata

pan fried sweet potato with gremolata I still don’t know what we’re doing for Thanksgiving. Either we’re going to a friend’s or staying home. Then it’s just me and the kids (and maybe my mother in law) as my husband has already headed to Boston to start work.

When I asked the kids what they wanted to eat for Thanksgiving, they said, “Mashed potatoes and gravy!”

“That’s it?” I asked.

“Oh maybe some turkey, too,” they replied. “And pie! Or cheesecake! And sweet potatoes and stuffing if you want that, mommy.”

Well, that’s a big help, so I’ve asked my book publisher and food contacts for some recipe ideas. Let’s start with the potatoes first.

300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook’s Guide

This recipe is excerpted from 300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook's Guide by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission.

300 Best Potato Recipes also has recipes for dishes like Gnocchi-roni and Cheese, Saffron Potato Cakes, Sweet Potato-Crusted shrimp , and even Potato Fudge! If you’re a lover of all things potato, put this cookbook on your holiday present list.

Pan-Fried Sweet Potatoes with Gremolata

Makes 4 servings

Gremolata is a fragrant mixture of lemon zest, parsley and garlic, sometimes with added bread crumbs. This is a lovely dish to serve alongside turkey or pork.


  • 4 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound) peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1⁄4 cup butter
  • 1⁄3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems trimmed, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, combine pancetta and oil. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Toss sweet potato into pancetta. Cook, without stirring, for about 10 minutes or until sweet potato pieces are golden brown on the bottom. Using tongs, turn and cook for 6 to 10 minutes more or until tender and browned on the other side. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In another skillet, melt butter over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp (don't let them burn). Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt (remember, the bacon may be salty) and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Scrape bread crumb mixture over sweet potato mixture and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

This Mama’s tips

  • Substitute orange zest for the lemon zest.
  • For a nice color contrast, add a few handfuls of baby spinach to the sweet potato mixture for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • If you can’t find pancetta, substitute bacon. Turkey bacon will work.
  • Instead of butter, use your favorite buttery spread.
  • If you’re gluten free, make GF bread crumbs by toasting your favorite GF bread. Put bread into a blender or food processor and process until turned into bread crumbs. You can also do this with frozen bread slices.
  • If you have vegetarians coming to Thanksgiving, use tofu bacon. It’s actually pretty good and people will like it until you tell them it’s tofu.

Photo credit: Colin Erricson

Sweet Potato Margarita Fries #alexiafoods

Sweet Potato Margarita Fries

After struggling with the mandoline to create waffle fries for my Alexia Foods “Reinvent a Classic” French fry creation, I went with crinkle cut fries. My Pampered Chef mandoline isn’t set up to make them without a lot of hassle. Plus I was having a tough time getting a consistent cut.

Instead, I used my Pampered Chef crinkle cutter. It’s so easy to cut sweet potato French fries with it that a child could use it. (With some supervision, of course.) What’s nice about the crinkle cutter is that you can make fat fries, skinny fries, long fries or short fries. It’s also great to use on other veggies for salads or stir fries.

crinkle cutter Sweet potato fries
Anne-Marie making sweet potato fries Anne-Marie making sweet potato fries

Pictures of me courtesy of my kids, Nathan and Lucie.

Baked Sweet Potato Margarita Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Margarita FriesThis sweet potato fry recipe is based on the flavors of a margarita – lime, salt and agave nectar instead of sugar syrup. (The agave plant is also used to make tequila.) The baked sweet potato fries were a big hit with my kids and they were disappointed that I didn’t make a double batch.

Serves 6


  • 2 to 3 large sweet potatoes (6 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons amber agave nectar (I used Madhava Amber Agave Nectar)
  • 1 lime for juice, zest and slices
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice (the juice from half a lime)
    • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest (zest from the whole lime)
    • slices of lime for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes.
  3. Using a crinkle cutter, cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices. (Thickness is up to you. Just try to be consistent with thickness so fries cook up evenly.)
  4. Take each round disk and cut into fries, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
  5. In a bowl, mix the minced garlic, olive oil, salt, agave nectar, lime juice and lime zest together.
  6. Add sweet potato fries to bowl and toss to evenly coat.
  7. Place coated sweet potato fries in a baking dish or on a baking sheet.
  8. Place on the upper rack of your oven and set timer for 10 minutes.
  9. When 10 minutes is up, take an oven save spoon and carefully stir sweet potato fries.
  10. Close door, set timer for 10 minutes, and repeat until fries are done. They should be firm, not mushy, and should start to caramelize on the edges.
  11. Serve with salt and lime slices so everyone can add more salt and lime flavor if they wish!

Nutritional Information

  • Calories 218
  • Calories from Fat 43
  • Total Fat 4.8g
  • Saturated Fat 0.7g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 92mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 42.2g
  • Dietary Fiber 6.2g
  • Sugars 0.8g
  • Protein 2.3g
  • Vitamin A 4%
  • Vitamin C 44%
  • Calcium 3%
  • Iron 5%

Nutrition Grade A- from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = 4 

Fried Sweet Potato Margarita Fries

fried sweet potato fries

I also tried the same recipe, minus the olive oil, and cooked the sweet potato fries in canola oil on the stove top. The result was chewy, but just as delicious. However, frying is messier and not as healthy, so my advice is to stick with the baked method instead.

More about Alexia Foods

You can learn more about Alexia Foods and their products on their website. You can also print out a $1 off coupon and find Alexia Foods products using their store locator. Also, you can find Alexia Foods on Facebook.

You can also follow the competing bloggers on Twitter via the #AlexiaFoods hashtag, too.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time in working with Alexia Foods on this project. All opinions are my own

Wordless Wednesday: not waffle cut sweet potatoes #wordlesswednesday #alexiafoods

not waffle cut sweet potatoes

Damn mandoline.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time in working with
Alexia Foods on this project. All opinions are my own.

Mandoline blues and reinventing the classic French fry #alexiafoods

Anne-Marie peeling sweet potatoesAccording to Wikipedia, a mandolin is a musical instrument in the lute family that’s plucked, or strummed. This is not to be confused with a mandoline, which according to Wikipedia is a cooking utensil used for slicing and for cutting juliennes and with suitable attachments can make crinkle-cuts.

I know I can’t play a mandolin, though I used to play cello back in the day. And I’m not so sure about “playing” the Pampered Chef mandoline I have. Thus I have the madoline blues while I prepare my recipe for the Alexia Foods “Reinvent a Classic” French fry contest.

I found out that my mandoline has so many safety features, it’s a complete hassle to do a cross cut. I think I’ve figured out how to do it, but need to practice a bit more.

However, my first few tries at making waffle cut fries weren’t very well done. They were too thin on one end, OK in the middle, and a little thick on the end.I guess it’s all about practicing with the mandoline, and figuring out how much pressure I put on the sweet potato as I slice it.

Flavoring my sweet potato fries

I don’t know if you can see my apron, but it’s from Mexico and features Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) images. There’s a reason I chose to wear it for the photos my son, Nathan, took of me peeling the sweet potatoes and using the mandoline. That’s because it gives some clues about what flavors I’ll be using for my entry into the Alexia Foods “Reinvent a Classic” French fry contest.

No, I won’t be making Mexican taco flavored French fries. Or using spicy Mexican ingredients, since Alexia already makes Spicy Sweet Potato Julienne Fries with chipotle seasonings. Like I mentioned in my first post about the contest, I’m basing my recipe on a cocktail.

Mexican cocktail = MARGARITA!

No, I will not be using tequila, but another food product from the agave plant – agave nectar. There will be salt and lime, too. And maybe some olive oil, garlic, and oregano. And just for fun, maybe some mint.

I’ll be revealing the final recipe by the contest deadline on July 20. Stay tuned!

More about Alexia Foods

You can learn more about Alexia Foods and their products on their website. You can also print out a $1 off coupon and find Alexia Foods products using their store locator. Also, you can find Alexia Foods on Facebook.

You can also follow the competing bloggers on Twitter via the #AlexiaFoods hashtag, too.


Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time in working with Alexia Foods on this project. All opinions are my own.

In praise of sweet potatoes #alexiafoods

sweet potatoesI’m here today to praise the sweet potato. No only is it delicious, easy to prepare, and pretty, it’s also good for you. According to the folks at the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission:

  • One cup of cooked sweet potatoes provides 1,922 mcg_RAE of beta carotene (Vitamin A).It would take 16 cups of broccoli to provide the same amount!
  • Sweet potatoes have four times the US Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for beta-carotene when eaten with the skin on.
  • Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin E, but are virtually fat-free. Most Vitamin E rich foods, such as vegetable oils, nuts and avocados, contain a hefty dose of fat. Two thirds of a cup of sweet potatoes provides 100% of the USRDA for Vitamin E.
  • Sweet potatoes provide many other essential nutrients including Vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, which helps to promote a healthy digestive tract. Bet you didn’t know that sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal!
  • Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate.
  • Sweet potatoes are virtually fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. One cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potatoes has 180 calories.

The Sweet Potato Council of California has a sweet potato nutritional comparison chart on their website. Check it out to see how sweet potatoes compare to other vegetables.

The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission says the folate in sweet potatoes helps reduce homocysteine levels, a chemical capable of destroying the circulatory system and causing heart attacks! Also, potassium in sweet potatoes helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body cells, as well as normal heart function, nerve function and blood pressure.

Alexia Foods Reinvent a Classic French Fry contest

With all this in mind, how could I not choose sweet potatoes for my Alexia Foods “Reinvent a Classic” French fry creation?

Now I need to figure out if I want to use a traditional French fry julienne cut, a crinkle cut, or maybe should I get out my mandoline and make some waffle fries? Alexia Foods makes sweet potato fries in all three cuts. Plus, they make bite-sized sweet potato puffs!

I’m leaning towards a waffle cut just because it looks like fun. Here’s how you make waffle fries using a mandoline:

I’m a little intimidated by my Pampered Chef Mandoline, so I could end up using my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter instead to make crinkle cut sweet potato fries. Thank goodness I bought a lot of sweet potatoes to practice on!

Once I get the cutting down, I’ll be working on the flavors. So stay tuned!

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time in working with Alexia Foods on this project. All opinions are my own

I’m helping Alexia Foods “Reinvent a Classic” French fry #alexiafoods

French friesI’m thrilled to have been invited to contribute to Alexia Foods’ “Reinvent a Classic” French Fry recipe contest along with about 25 other food bloggers.

To create my very own special “This Mama Cooks!” Alexia French fry recipe, I’ll be choosing from a combination of potato type, fry cut and flavors. I already have some ideas, but I’d love to see what you’d create if you were in my shoes! (Just comment below on your choices.)

Here are your options:

Type of potato: russet potato or sweet potato?

Fry cut: julienne (like above), crinkle cut, waffle or wedge (russet potato only)?

Flavors: Here’s where your creativity can shine! Do you like sweet, salty, and or cheesy? Do you like to add herbs or maybe a little spice? What about other flavors like juices or vinegars would you use?

Want a hint to what flavors I’m using? All I can tell you is that I’m basing my recipe on a cocktail! (Yes, a chocolate bacon martini, how did you guess? Kidding!)

How will the winning Alexia Foods French fry be chosen?

Alexia Food’s R&D folks will determine the top four French fry choices from all the bloggers’ creations. The top four French fry selections will be showcased on Alexia’s Facebook page so people across the country can vote on their favorite.

Also, the top four finalist will be flown out to the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco this fall so conference attendees can try them out as well. (I went to the Foodbuzz Festival in 2009 and it was so much fun. If you’re in the area, buy a ticket and bring your appetite.)

The winning flavor determined by popular vote on Facebook will be produced and sold nationwide in fall of 2012!

More about Alexia Foods

You can learn more about Alexia Foods and their products on their website. You can also print out a $1 off coupon and find Alexia Foods products using their store locator. (They’re available everywhere I shop like King Soopers (Krogers), Safeway, Super WalMart, Super Target and Natural Grocers. Cool!)

You can also follow the competing bloggers on Twitter via the #AlexiaFoods hashtag, too.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my time in working with Alexia Foods on this project. All opinions are my own.