CHEW THIS! Family Secret Potato Casserole

Family Secret Potato Casserole 

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 19th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Sharing Family Secret Recipes
Blaise Doubman

I am sharing family secret…recipes! Ha! I try to check my email messages at least once a day that are filtered through from my website, http://trailblaise.com and lately most of the messages have been wondering if I have any “secret family recipes” that I would be willing to share. Well, I have written two cookbooks, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” and “Blaise the Baker Celebrates” that share quite a few “secret family recipes” but there are a few that I just cannot, for whatever reason, to get myself to share! Mocha brownies, my brown sugar and ketchup glaze for meatloaf, cinnamon toast with vanilla drizzle, butterscotch pie, chocolate pudding pie and cheesy potato casserole are just some of the few recipes that have made an appearance nowhere in my recipe collections. I figure, what is the joy in having “secret” recipes if I am not going to share them? So, I am going to start sharing them with everyone so that everyone can enjoy the “secret” recipes and wonderful flavors the recipes bring!

The first “secret” recipe I want to share with everyone is a recipe that I am positive everyone has tried at their family reunion at one time or another and wondered what it was and more than likely tried the recipe themselves and failed. Most of the time people forget that one essential ingredient that makes this dish work on a flavor profile level. Now, do not get me wrong, there are a few people out there who know what I am talking about and do add it to their dish and if you are one of them, good for you! What am I talking about? Dijon mustard! Yes! Dijon mustard must be added to this cheesy, party, fabulous potato casserole! Why? The secret here is the Dijon mustard makes the cheese taste more like cheese! True story. Same thing goes for coffee bringing out the flavors of chocolate. Add the Dijon mustard to this dish and be prepared to be blown away and be prepared to share with others this “secret” recipe.

Family Secret Potato Casserole

This can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for reheating later. The best thing about this dish is that it can be served hot, room temperature or even chilled. It lasts for days and reheats wonderfully!

32 ounces southern-style hash browns
2 cans condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, diced fine
Grated parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the hash browns, cream of potato soups, sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, finely chopped onion, Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle top with diced butter. Sprinkle top with grated parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and remove aluminum foil. Place back into the oven and continue to bake, at the same temperature, for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve hot. Can also be served room temperature or chilled.

Ask and Answer: Lots of people wonder what my favorite cookbook is, and I usually tell them that would be like picking a favorite child! Ha! I do have a few favorite cookbooks though that I always recommend. Anything by Ina Garten is a must! Her “Barefoot Contessa” cookbooks are by far my most used cookbooks of any other collection. Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart are also some of my favorite and often used cookbooks. “Butter and Chocolate” by Shelia Maines and any of the cookie cookbooks written by Elinor Klivans are also fabulous.

Grandma Barbra’s Drop Dumplings

I love homemade chicken and dumplings. I have recipes for the rolled variety and the drop version. Both are delicious. This drop version is a staple in my Grandma Barbra’s kitchen and a personal, and easy, favorite.

Grandma Barbra’s Drop Dumplings

2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
64 oz chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Start by combining the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and melted unsalted butter until a dough forms.

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the diced cooked chicken, chicken broth, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil.

Once at a boil, drop tablespoon size amounts of the dough into the boiling broth. Continuously stir, gently, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked throughout, which will take about 25 minutes.

Taste for additional seasonings.

Serve hot and enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Penny of Love Homemade Treats

Penny of Love Homemade Treats

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 5th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Penny of Love
Blaise Doubman

I would love to introduce everyone to my fur baby, Penny. She will be a year old this coming May 18th and she is such a sweet little baby. I have always loved Shelties and I honestly can not remember my life without one. When I was really young, Chloe was my first fur baby. She had a personality unique to her that is for sure! She was a little bit of a loner, did not really want to be held or petted much and just kept to herself. She had short legs and a broad bottom. She was so sweet and so shy. After she passed away, Macy entered our lives. She was total opposite of Chloe! Macy was larger, 49 pounds exactly, louder and required a lot more attention. She did not want to be left alone and always wanted to be the center of attention! Ha! She was a handful at times, but we would not have had it any other way. She passed away when she was 12 years old and there was a span of about 3 months where I did not have a fur baby. Time passed and I kept waiting for the pain to subside, but it only got worse. Things were bad.

After awhile I agreed to go with my family to see a new litter of Sheltie puppies. I told myself I would let one of them pick me, if it was meant to be. If not, I would just return home and wait for another sign that I should have another fur baby. Well, none of the Sheltie puppies wanted anything to do with me, except one! It was a little baby girl Sheltie that had, what looked like, 2 black eyes. I held her and she licked and licked and licked my fingers, my face and just simply did not want me to put her back down. When I would put her down, she would cry and cry. I held her the entire time my family and I were there looking at the puppies. She would look me in my eyes, lick my nose and want me to hold her against my chest, which she still does to this day. I knew immediately that this was a sign, this puppy had picked me! A few weeks later we went back, picked up our little girl and named her Penny. Penny also has a personality of her own! Spoiled rotten is how most people describe her! Ha! Has a mind of her own, does what she wants, when she wants, loves being held and loves being center of attention. I dedicate this newest recipe to Penny and to your fur babies! These treats are fabulous and delicious!

Penny of Love Homemade Treats

Dogs love these perfectly delicious homemade treats! For a crunchier treat, microwave 4 biscuits at a time on a microwave safe plate for about 60-90 seconds. Let cool before feeding to your fur baby. You can also microwave all the treats, allow them to cool and store them crispy in an airtight container.

1 cup beef broth
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup cornmeal

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl mix together the beef broth, smooth peanut butter and olive oil.

Add in the white all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ and cornmeal. Be sure to mix everything until very well combined. Use clean hands for this if necessary.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, until the dough is about ½-inch thick. Using a lightly floured cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out desired number of treats. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: A lot of people have been wondering about my favorite recipe for a strawberry pie. Personally, I keep it simple by making a homemade pie crust and then filling it with a mix of cleaned whole strawberries that have been tossed with strawberry glaze. You can find recipes for my homemade pie crust as well as homemade strawberry glaze on my website at http://trailblaise.com Keeping it simple is generally best with this type of summer pie.