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VOL. 37 | NO. 36 | Friday, September 06, 2013

Looking, cooking: Meals after moving

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We have been moving this week. And last week. And it seems like the week before that, but that is probably just my exhaustion taking over.

However, it has been two weeks now that we have been attempting to settle into our new home.

I hope that this will be the last move we make – ever. We had a larger house that accommodated kids and most all other friends and family members who wanted to spend the night. It was a wonderful home with lots of space to spread out and roam around, but the older Don and I got, the harder it was to maintain something that large and spacious. So we cut our living space in half. And we are loving it.

There was a learning curve, though. Used to be that when I arose in the morning I would have to walk more than a few steps to the closet to get my robe, and then out the door. I would have to walk down the long hallway, through the den and then into the kitchen, all in an effort to get my first cup of coffee. Now I walk into the master bath to get my robe, back to the bedroom, open the door and turn a quick corner. Viola! I am in the family room/kitchen area. Cuts at least five minutes off my “pre-coffee” time!

You know most of the above is all exaggeration. But it does prove one point – I do like the smaller home. We both do. And although we have found it’s not as quiet as what we had, I’m sure we’ll get used to that just as quickly. There’s a price you pay for everything, large or small.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1-1/2 cup shredded of cheddar cheese, divided
8 slices of cooked bacon, chopped and divided
1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped and divided

Boil the potatoes in salted water. Preheat the oven to 375. Mash the potatoes; add the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Mash until smooth. Stir in one cup of the cheese, half of the chopped bacon and half of the chopped green onions. Spoon the mixture into a lightly oiled three-quart casserole dish. Use a spatula or fork to make an irregular surface. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with the remaining bacon, cheese and green onions and bake until the cheese is melted.

Our yard, while not as lush and beautiful as living on the fourth fairway of a golf course, is much more maintainable for us. It’s pretty now, but when this fall comes around, it will be prettier because then we’ll be able to do some new landscaping. I’m anxious to see that happen. We had one of the prettiest yards on the street, and I want that to be the case here, too.

And it will be. One of our sons works for Arkansas Greenscapes, the lawn and landscaping company that maintained and landscaped our yard at the other house, and they’re anxious to re-landscape this one. They do a wonderful job.

I haven’t cooked much yet in our new home. The kitchen has been somewhat discombobulated, but I have been pulling out my trusty ol’ portable kitchen grill. I love that thing! It was one of the first things I brought over here and sat in its own little spot on the large back patio.

I’ve grilled a few things out –chicken breasts and salmon – and both were delicious. With every dinner I make, somewhere during the meal, Don says it’s the best he’s ever had, or his favorite ever. Really. He’s so complimentary. He’s my biggest cooking fan.

Today’s recipe has been donated by my sister. It’s one she or my brother-in-law found on Facebook. She emailed it to me and said they have made it twice, and everyone loves it. I haven’t made it, but I take all recommendations from her and her family seriously because they’re all good cooks.

Kathy said she doubled the recipe each time she made it, and it fits perfectly in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. The one below is not doubled, so I would think it would do nicely in a 9-by-9 baking dish if you’re wanting a smaller casserole.

She also said it went great as a side with steak and pork tenderloin.

When I make it, I might cut back the calorie and fat contents by using low-fat or fat-free products and maybe just six slices of bacon instead of eight. But I cook for a heart patient, so I have to be a little more careful with that kind of stuff. It sounds wonderful, and I’m going to have to try it myself. Now, where did I store my casserole dishes?