The Cooking Widow brings you Twice baked Potatoes….Yum.

I get bored making the same old stuff sometimes, so I decided to try my hand at twice baked potatoes. I was presently surprised to find out they were way better than the store bought and were super easy to make. Here is what you need:

3 Potatoes – I prefer the larger baking potatoes, but you can see form my photo, that is not what I used (just had plain old odd sized potatoes)

1 package Idahoan Baby Reds mashed potatoes (or whatever flavor you prefer) – I know sometimes people want it be all homemade potatoes, but I have tried it both ways and this is the best. Try it.

¼ c Butter (1/2 stick)

Garlic to taste – I usually use the chopped (in a jar because I always have it). I use about 1 Tablespoon.

1C. Cheddar cheese (or whatever you like)

Sprinkle of Paprika

Poke your potatoes with something sharp and microwave for about 8-9 minutes. You want them done but not smushy.

Place in the fridge until they are cool enough to handle.

Make your Potatoes as directed, but shorten the amount of water needed by ¼ cup and add the garlic to the water (I sometimes use milk instead of water for richer potatoes).

Once they are complete, stir in about ¾ c cheddar cheese and set aside.

Take your potatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside and put it in with the prepared mashed potatoes. I use a grapefruit spoon to scoop them out, since it is a spoon and serrated. Makes it very easy if you have one.

Arrange the potato shells in a baking dish.

Put the butter in the potatoes and get out your mixer. Once the potatoes are all mashed to a consistency you like, gently scoop the mixture back into the potato shells.

Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and then paprika.

When you are ready to bake these, place in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. I sometimes make them a day before or the morning of and leave them in the fridge until I am ready.

Happy Cooking.
Happy Eating.

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The Secret to the Best Sausage Gravy……

So, Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I like everything about it. One of my favorites is sausage gravy. I can’t eat sausage gravy in the restaurant because it all tasted awful to me now that I figured out how to make it. Mine is way better (Sorry Bob Evans) I am not a measurer, because I like to make the amount that I need. But I will give you the best approximations. Sausage gravy is not exact. Some like more pepper, some like it thicker or thinner. It just depends what you like.

1 lb. breakfast sausage (if it is just my daughter and I, I use ½ lb.)
3 + cups of milk. Depends if you like thinner or thicker and how far you want to stretch your sausage
Pepper to taste – I use a lot of fresh cracked pepper
3 heaping Tablespoons of cornstarch
Beef Bullion to taste (at least one teaspoon to start with. It also depends on brand, some is stronger than others)

1.) Brown your sausage until there is no pink.
2.) Add milk – medium to high heat. Remember to stir, milk can scorch
3.) Add Pepper
4.) Add Beef bouillon. Use Beef. Using pork or ham flavor, tastes weird. I know it sounds weird to add beef flavor, but try it.
5.) As it heats, taste and add additional pepper and bullion to taste.
6.) Mix corn starch and about ¼ C milk in small bowl or cup. Stir til incorporated
7.) Once mixture begins to boil, add corn starch mixture and continue stirring. It should thicken quickly. You can add milk to thin or more cornstarch/milk mixture to thicken if need be. Up to you.

Dump over biscuits or hash browns… Enjoy

Happy Cooking.

The Frugal, Tasty and Quick Widow gives you Super Fast Sloppy Joe

So, growing up as a kid, my Mom made Sloppy Joe. I did not like it. I don’t know why. I am pretty sure she made it from scratch, no Manwich. It has been so long since I have had her Sloppy Joes. I can’t remember what I didn’t like about it. Ahhhh,,If only she could make it for me again, I would most certainly love it because she made it.

Having a career, being a kid Mom, A dog Mom and a significant other to my manfriend (too old for a “Boy” friend), I sometimes don’t have the time or desire to cook. I love to cook, just don’t always have enough time.
So, tonight I broke down and made Sloppy Joe. I didn’t do everything from scratch like Mom did, but I did manage to cook an entire meal in 15 minutes for under $10.00. So, I feel good about that.

I browned some ground beef (s little over a pound) and put a Lipton Rice side on to cook. Once the Ground beef was done, I drained the fat and put the ground meat in back in the pan. Then, I dumped in McCormick’s Sweet and Smokey Sloppy Joe Sauce ( http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Main-Dishes/Sweet-and-Smoky-Sloppy-Joes) and heated it a couple of minutes. Done, unless you are like me and added in a teaspoon of crushed pepper. We like a little spice. You could taste the smokiness, but it wasn’t overly sweet. Good food in a hurry. Inexpensive enough to give it a try. Happy Cooking.