Plated + Served: Red Potato Horseradish Cake


This is weird, I know, but I’m so into food, I love reading menus from big events.

Last meal on the Titanic. Kate and Will’s wedding breakfast. Today’s inauguration luncheon in Washington.

I found a website that not only tells you what they’re going to be serving, but the recipes for the various dishes. You can check out those recipes here.

The inauguration theme is “Faith in America’s Future.” Regardless of which side of the aisle you stand on, you have to appreciate that the menu spotlights artisanal and sustainably produced food from farms around the country. They’ve also tried to make the recipes as healthy as possible:

  • First course: Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder (less cream and more fish broth in the clam chowder).
  • Second Course: Hickory Grilled Bison with a Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction (bison is lower in fat and calories than chicken).
  • Third Course: Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey (less sugar and butter).

What the President Will Be Served
Image by Design Cuisine

Didn’t feel like spending the moola for lobster or bison, but I knew my crowd would love the Red Potato Horseradish Cake… and they did.

I followed the recipe, but I did cut back even more on the butter, heavy cream  and salt that was called for in the original recipe. I had leftovers and they were perfect the next morning with poached eggs.

Democrat or Republican… we can all appreciate good food prepared in a healthy way. Now, if we can just get Congress to be as agreeable, we might make some progress over the next four years!

Mama’s Red Potato Horseradish Cake


Extra Helpings: What To Do With Leftover Baked Potatoes


Had a big shindig the other night and we had a few leftover baked potatoes.

Which got me to thinking… there’s a lot you can do with a leftover baked potato, besides reheat it and eat it as is.

Here are 7 ideas: 

1. Sautéed Skillet Potatoes: Cut into pieces and sauté in olive oil with garlic and chopped onion. Sprinkle cheese on top just before serving (great anytime of the day!).

2. Twice-Baked Potatoes: Halve, spoon out the inside, mash and mix with shredded cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper. Re-fill and bake until hot.

3. Make an Omelet: Remove potato skin and dice the potato, add ham/bacon (or not) cheese and any other leftover deliciousness you find in the fridge.

4. Top a Meatloaf: Remove the skin, mash; add some herbs, butter and cheese and heat. Spread on top of the meatloaf (like frosting) just before serving.

5. Use in a Salad: Cube peeled potatoes and use in a traditional potato salad, salad Niçoise, or chopped vegetable salad with Dijon vinaigrette.

6. Fill an Empanada: A little cooked chorizo, queso fresco and chopped potatoes. Make it easier and use won ton wrappers to make low-fat mini-empanadas.

7. Burritos or Tacos: Mix diced potatoes with seasoned and cooked ground beef , chopped chicken, or chorizo.

What do YOU do with leftover baked potatoes?


How to Pick The Perfect Potato For A Recipe


Shelly asks: I used regular baking potatoes for my potato salad and they basically turned into mush. Are certain potatoes better for certain recipes?

Most of us learn the hard way (or I should say the mush way?) that you can’t use the same type of potato for every recipe. But you should still use the same criteria when you go about selecting potatoes for whatever you’re making:

1. Potatoes should be smooth and they should all be about the same shape and size so they’ll cook evenly.
2. Pass up potatoes that have bad spots, wrinkled skins, cuts, bruises or green coloring.
3. Store fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place… NOT the refrigerator.

Each variety of potato has a “best way” to cook it. Here’s some guidance on how to pick the perfect potato for your particular recipe:

Bake, mash, French fry, roast

Boil, steam, roast, sauté, soups, salads, scalloped and au gratin 

Boil, steam mash, French fry, roast, soups, salads, au gratin

Mash, steam, bake, boil, roast, French Fry 

Boil, steam, bake 

 Boil, bake, steam

We tend to think of potatoes as villains when it comes to healthy eating. Potatoes aren’t the bad guys, it’s the oil they’re fried in or the sour cream and cheese that they’re topped with… and that has less to do with the potato and more to do with the person eating it!

Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and potassium and loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber (which keeps the digestive tract working and slows down digestion so you feel full longer). A medium baked potato only has 161 calories!

Tomorrow, a yummy delish recipe for your next picnic: All-American Potato Salad (hey, summer’s not over yet!)

(A big shout out to my pals at the United States Potato Board and the Washington State Potato Commission!)

Plated + Served: Grilled Potato Planks


Want to make a potato side dish that’ll be faster than baked, healthier than fried… and a heckovalot easier to pull together than a potato salad?

Grilled Potato Planks.

Hey, you’re already grilling the rest of the meal, so why not throw on these babies and liven up dinner?

I like them with just a drizzle of good olive oil and a blast of coarse sea salt, but the kids load them with grated cheese. Heck, now that I’m thinking about it, give them a schmear of sour cream or chopped herbs just before serving.

Oh, and IF  you have any leftover, heat ‘em in the microwave the next morning and top with a poached egg.

And you thought it was just a potato….




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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: