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In planning a meal, most of us  start with the meat (learned that in Home Ec!). Generally we know what “goes with what” or what side dishes the family likes. But the “side” dishes are the most challenging because we don’t want the same ol’ thing all the time and we want to try “new” dishes. This month, I’m offering a couple of new dishes that perhaps you haven’t tried before. Instead of the same old  mashed potatoes, try our Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Twice Baked Potatoes.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes


4 medium size russet potatoes

6 cloves of fresh garlic or 1½ tsp. minced garlic, (in a jar.

   ¼ tsp.=1 clove fresh)

6 Tbsp. butter (1½ sticks), cut up

½ cup heavy cream

Scant ¾ tsp. salt

Scant ¼ tsp. black pepper


Peel potatoes, leaving some peeling on the potato. (I use a potato peeler and peel it looking like “stripes”) Quarter the potatoes. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil and add the potatoes and garlic, making sure all the potatoes are covered. When the potatoes are tender, drain, making sure not to lose the garlic.  If using a big tea strainer like I do, the garlic will stay in the strainer. Put the potatoes back in the empty boiler, along with the garlic and mash with a potato masher until you have the consistency of “mashed potatoes”. Add the butter, salt, black and just enough of the cream to make the consistency you like. Reheat over low heat just to warm.  Delicious! Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Twice Baked Potatoes


4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed

2 Tbsp. cream or canned milk

¼ cup butter, softened

Salt & black pepper, to taste

 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

4 slices bacon, cooked till crispy and crumbled

(op) Chopped chives


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake potatoes for 1 hour, till they are soft. Slice each one in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out centers, leaving the shell in tact. Beat potatoes with hand mixer, adding cream, butter and salt & pepper to taste, till fluffy. Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese and half of the bacon pieces. Divide this mixture evenly between the 8 potato shells. Top with more cheese, rest of bacon and if desired, chopped chives. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake filled potato halves till cheese is melted, about 15 more minutes.  See our “tips” for baking potatoes. Makes 8 servings.

Do not wrap baking potatoes in foil and do not rub oil on potatoes. And baking them in a very hot oven 450 degrees, makes perfect, fluffy baked potatoes. If you wrap them in foil, you are “steaming” them.   Mrs. Dorrance told me this many years ago and it has always worked and resulted in perfect baked potatoes.

I use a small ( 1-inch)  paint brush for brushing  the coffee mixture on Lady fingers. I also use it for brushing softened butter on tops of hot biscuits and hot baked cornbread , when I take them out of the oven. It’s much sturdier than a pastry brush. I put it in the dishwasher to wash it.

Need something “extra” to round out a meal? How about: deviled eggs or purchased chunky apple sauce, cranberry sauce, jars of chilled mixed fruit can be found in the produce department. And of course there’s always our recipe for 7-up biscuits.

Check out our Archives for a variety of side dishes that you might not have tried. All of our recipes are family tested!




  egg yolks

¾  cup granulated sugar

¾  cup mascarpone cheese

7/8 cup whipping cream

       (fill 1 cup & remove 2 Tbsp.)

2   pkgs. Lady Fingers

¼  cup coffee liqueur (Kahlua)

 Sweetened whipped cream (see bottom)

Grated sweet chocolate


Combine egg yolks and granulated sugar, beating with a whisk until thick & lemon colored, about 1 minute.  Place in top of a double boiler, over boiling water; reduce heat to low and cook about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add mascarpone cheese, beating well with whisk. Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form and fold into egg yolk mixture; set aside.


Place lady finger halves, cut side up, in a 9-inch square serving dish. “Dab” liberally, using a pastry brush, with Kahlua. (or liqueur of your choice).   Spoon half of the egg/cream mixture over the lady finger layer.

Repeat layer with lady finger halves, making a 2nd layer. Sprinkle grated sweet chocolate over top. Cover tightly and refrigerate several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, top with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkle with grated sweet chocolate. (or a stemmed maraschino cherry).


Sweetened Whipped Cream:

½ cup whipping cream

1 Tbsp. unsifted confectioner’s sugar

¼ tsp. vanilla

Whip till stiff peaks form

Note: You’ll have 6 lady finger halves left…spread one with peanut butter, top with another and have a snack!!!!

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March, 2013
Then, who doesn’t love Tiramisu,  It’s delicious and a great “company” dessert!!  And, if a meal needs just a little something else to round it out, we suggest a few little extras in our “tips” !

Bon Appetite, Y’all!