Entertaining


Italian mini baked potatoes – San Francisco style

mini baked potatoes

Looking for an easy side dish to pair with a main course? Here it is! I tweaked my Mother’s Italian mini baked potato recipe in order to ensure my kids would love them; and it worked! Since my kids love it, I wanted to share it with you in the hopes that you love it too!

This is a really easy recipe, which tastes amazing. At Whole Foods, you can buy a bag of mini potatoes; they come in two colors! My kids thought the multi-color potatoes were fun 🙂 If you don’t live near a Whole Foods, or don’t shop there, you can find these mini potatoes at any supermarket. You can buy one color, or mix two together like I do. It’s up to you! Here are the ingredients:

  • 3 lbs mini potatoes
  • 1 pat butter
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt, basil, oregano, paprika (or black pepper)

My Mom uses ground black pepper, but my kids don’t really like pepper, so I switched the pepper out for paprika. If you prefer pepper, you can make it like my Mom and switch the paprika for pepper. If you really want a crazy kick, use both!

How to cook mini baked potatoes

It’s really easy to cook mini baked potatoes. Before you start, pre-heat your oven to 350.

The first step will be to slice the mini potatoes in half, and spread them out in your casserole dish.

Then, slice up the pat of butter and place the parts apart from each other in the casserole. After you spread out the butter, add the olive oil, and season to taste with oregano, basil, salt, and paprika (or ground pepper). My basil and oregano are dried because we are currently under a shelter-in-place order and I am trying to limit my trips to the grocery store. You can use fresh or dried-it will taste yummy either way! I just spread the seasonings out so that they cover the potatoes; like in the photo above.

When the oven hits 350, put the casserole dish, uncovered, in the oven for 50 minutes. This will give you plenty of time to cook your main course, and vegetables.

Yummy! When the potatoes are done, they should be slightly brown on the edges. The potatoes will be soft inside, and very warm. Be sure to let them cool off for five minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite main course, and a vegetable!

Voila! Instant yummy side dish!

Things you need to cook Italian mini baked potatoes San Francisco style:

I hope you enjoy these Italian mini baked potatoes as much as my family does!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Pasta with bolognese sauce

pasta bolognese sauce

Raise your hand if you love pasta. I see your hand way up there! I love pasta too!

OK, a family favorite recipe of ours is pasta with bolognese sauce. Normally I would make it with fresh tomatoes, but as you can see in these photos, I made it with tomato paste. The reason I made it with tomato paste is because during the lock-down we are trying to limit our trips outside of the house to the grocery store. We eat our fresh vegetables rights away, and then we rely on cans and frozen vegetables until our next trip to the store. The wonderful thing about Pasta with bolognese sauce is that you can freeze the ground beef when you buy it, and save it for a later date while substituting fresh tomatoes for tomato paste. This makes a meal which is delicious, and a treat, for days when supplies start to run low. This is a versatile dish!

We are a family of five who loves to eat pasta, so at some point I doubled the recipe to make loads of pasta. My kids always want leftovers of my pasta with bolognese sauce, so this recipe will serve a hungry family of five for both dinner, and lunch the next day. You may even get lucky with a few servings of leftovers after that. it warms up well in the microwave as a leftover, so indulge!

The ingredients are listed with both fresh and pantry options depending on what you have stored during the lock-down. Also, after the lock-down lifts, the pantry items are great in case you are missing a fresh ingredient, or were so busy you didn’t make it to the store. I am always switching it up depending on my schedule!

Pasta with bolognese sauce ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of Barilla Mezzi Rigatoni pasta, equivalent to 2 lbs. of pasta. (This is our favorite shape for bolognese, but you can use your favorite if you have one)
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can of tomato paste or  six fresh tomatoes chopped.
  • 2 cups chicken broth or one can of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil.
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves or 2 teaspoons chopped garlic from a jar such as Christopher Ranch
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika from your spice rack
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano from your spice rack
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions or 1 tablespoon dried chopped onions from the spice rack
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for use when serving

Now onto directions! Without further ado, here are the simple steps to making a yummy meal of pasta with bolognese sauce! Oh, and just in case you were wondering about my pasta credentials, I have 100% Italian heritage as my ancestors came to the United States from Genoa and Udine starting in the 1800’s. So I had plenty of pasta cooking education, and I have eaten my share of pasta throughout my life.

How to cook pasta with bolognese sauce

  1. Fry the ground beef until it is well done
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together beef, tomatoes, chicken broth, basil, garlic, onions, oregano, paprika, and olive oil
  3. Place sauce mixture in a large pot or saucepan and simmer on medium, covered.
  4. Using a large pot, fill with water and bring water to a boil
  5. Place pasta in boiling water, add a dab of olive oil to help keep pasta from sticking
  6. When pasta is al dente, drain water and return to the post
  7. Throw a dab of olive oil in the pot and stir to make sure pasta doesn’t stick.
  8. Turn off your cook-top and throw the sauce in the pot with the pasta
  9. Stir sauce and pasta together until all the pasta is covered
  10. The sauce should stick to the pasta
  11. Serve on dishes
  12. Garnish with Parmesan cheese to taste
  13. Eat and enjoy!

Want to enhance this meal? Serve with garlic bread, crustini, or sliced french bread. Yum!

When everyone is done getting seconds and thirds, store leftover pasta with bolognese sauce in the refrigerator to enjoy later.

Things you might need to make this recipe at home:

There you have it! My easy pasta with bolognese sauce recipe, you can make at home. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy

pasta bolognese sauce easy at home recipe


Five books to read while shelter in place

5 books to read while sheltering in place

Do you always want to read a book, but find yourself complaining about not having the time to read one? Well guess what! Now you do! Since we are all staying home, social distancing, and sheltering-in-place, we have an increased amount of free time on our hands. Unless you are one of our community heroes at a grocery store, hospital, or other essential service. If you are an essential service employee, I salute you and I thank you for your dedication to the community. You are truly helping all of us get through this!

If you are like me, and are hunkered down at home, then you have time to read. After all, wouldn’t you like a reason to get off your screens? I would!

I am currently reading “Season of the Witch,” which is about how San Francisco shaped into the city it is today. As someone whose family has been in San Francisco since the gold rush, this is very interesting to me to read. While it’s opinion differs from those in my family who lived through it, it is an interesting read and perspective.

Another good read is “Modern Etiquette Made Easy.” This is a great book for seeing how etiquette plays out in our modern era. Many of us learned older versions of etiquette growing up, so this is a great way to see what’s new, and what’s still relevant. My teen girls really enjoy reading this book too. So if you have a teen, this is a great time to teach your teen modern etiquette through this book. even if you don’t have a teen, this is a fabulous read for any age. I believe it was written for adults like us. Love it!

Shop my favorite books to read while sheltering in place:

What are some of your favorite books to read right now?

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy