Thursday, August 29, 2013


So mom is coming to dinner! She misses me and wants to hang out, cue the awwws. What can I say I was a pretty great kid. :-P Anyways what to make the woman who brought you into this world, who suffered through your rebellious teenage years of being a complete brat without killing you, and has simply been there to talk you through your most stressful times when she herself had dealt with so much worse but never letting onto the fact that your problems were any less devastating??

A fantastic meal made with love and kindness that is. This had me thinking comfort food, I couldn't get creamy whipped potatoes out of my head. Sometimes for me when I fixate on a certain item I simply have to make it. Or it won't go away. So we knew this meal would be mashed potatoes. Then what? Well what goes better with mashed potatoes than steak? Nothing I could think of at the time. Also we are transitioning into my FAVORITE season of the year. Fall. Nothing is better than Fall. That being said I thought of roasted squash and then the mashed potatoes turned into mashed SWEET potatoes a concoction that would surely have my roommate drooling at just the thought and wham bam we had a meal on our hands.

(Disclaimer Here: I just moved and am getting used to the grocery stores in the area, the selection of steaks at the local store was not up to par and I will be searching around more next time, but time being a factor I went with what was available.)

Anyways on to how I did it.

The first thing I wanted to do was get the steaks in a marinade, the longer they sit the better the flavor, but a good fifteen to twenty minutes will do ya just fine!

2 steaks of your choosing ( I used the NY Strip steaks here)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 c. worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. canola and olive oil blend ( you can simply use olive oil or canola oil, whatever you have on hand)
salt and pepper to season

First I seasoned the steaks with salt and pepper on each side. Then in a gallon sized bag I added the rest of the ingredients and threw the steaks in with it. Mixing it all together by giving the bag a good shake. Then I put it in a bowl and in the fridge to break down the flavors.

After they have marinated and your grill is nice and hot pull them out of the fridge and cook to your desired doneness. If you are making this meal like me in your kitchen, because after many years of dorm life and now apartment living you don't actually own an outside grill/ are kind of scared to use one by yourself but you are craving a steak or grilled item, don't you worry let me introduce you to my friend George.

George Foreman that is. This little counter friendly device is probably my second highest used piece of equipment. I use it for everything. It even comes with a little booklet on cooking temps that I visit often. It is fast to heat up and easy to clean. The teflon coating doesn't require you to use any extra oils or fats to keep from sticking and all the excess fats drain off into the drip pan at the bottom! Okay enough with the advertising. Simply put if you don't have one of these it is the best 50 or so bucks you will spend!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes (I.E. Heaven):
3 raw sweet potatoes
1/2 stick of butter ( I used unsalted but salted will work as well)
2 T. of honey
1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice ( or 1/2 tsp. each of cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream ( I just happened to have this in my fridge but I usually use whatever kind of milk I have on hand, you can substitute for convenience or even for nutrition purposes)

First you want to wash the potatoes thoroughly. I like to leave the skin on for the nutrients and also because I like my mashed potatoes to have a little chunk in them. (Also secretly I LOATHE peeling potatoes.) Next you want to chop them into bite sized chunks like so: 
If you have never dealt with sweet potatoes in their raw form note that they are much denser and harder to cut than regular potatoes. Just use a sharp heavy knife and caution when working with them. Remember slow and steady wins the race. 
After you have them chopped up transfer them into a pot big enough so that you can cover them with water leaving a good third or fourth of the pot unfilled. If you don't have a pot big enough that is fine you will just have to stay close during the cooking process so that they don't boil over and when they get close simple stir them to calm them down or reduce the temperature.
I covered the potatoes and had them at a medium high heat until they boiled. Then I removed the lid and let them cook for about 15 minutes until they were fork tender. (Total cooking process 25 minutes) Depending on how many you use this could take longer. Just remember fork tender and you are golden.
Next I strained them in the sink like so:
(If you aren't familiar with what I mean by fork tender, I mean that you can easily poke your fork into any potato and it would be soft enough to eat. I usually check a couple just to make sure)
Next I transfer them into my kitchen aid ( probably the best kitchen gift I have ever received (THANKS MOM)) and I add in the rest of the ingredients. The butter first I usually forget to pull it out and it is cold and solid so I let it melt a little over the hot potatoes before I begin mixing. Then I add in the honey and the spices and start the mixer at a low speed as I pour in the cream slowly as it is blending. Whip to your desired chunkiness or smoothness consistency and dip a spoon in to taste test! 
(That last step is the most crucial to me!)

Roasted Squash:
2 yellow squash washed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 c. italian style breadcrumbs
1 1/2 T.- 2 T. oil

Okay this part couldn't be easier. You wash the squash (because again you are leaving on the skin.) Cut into bite sized chunks. Put into a baking dish season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the oil evenly on top. (You can use your desired oil amount here, you could even roast them without if you are using a nicely teflon coated pan, to make them healthier, but to avoid sticking I add a little oil.) Top with the breadcrumbs. Progresso makes a good italian blend. 
Bake at 450 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Again fork tender but with a little crunch left in them.

Now all you have to do is sit back and ENJOY your meal with your mom, dad, friend, sibling, whoever!