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The Housewife Diary http://thehousewifediary.com Family, Cooking & Happiness Thu, 26 May 2011 15:05:59 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.1 Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms http://thehousewifediary.com/bacon-spinach-stuffed-mushrooms/ http://thehousewifediary.com/bacon-spinach-stuffed-mushrooms/#comments Thu, 26 May 2011 15:05:18 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=762 Continue Reading]]> Have a party coming up? These Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms make for a great finger food at a party.  Plus you can make them ahead of time and bake right before serving or bake early in the day and serve room temperature. Either way they are pretty easy to make and taste delicious.

6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
6 mushrooms (white or portobello)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Italian style bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400° F.  Rinse spinach and place in a pan with only the water clinging to the leaves.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted.  Drain, squeezing out ans much liquid as possible, and chop finely.  Cut the stalks form the mushroom and chop finely, reserving the whole caps.

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add the mushrooms caps, rounded side down and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the skillet and arrange, rounded-side down, in a large oven proof dish.

Add the chopped mushroom stalks, bacon, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the spinach, bread crumbs, basil, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and divide the stuffing between the mushroom caps.

Drizzle the remaining oil over the top and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.

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Pineapple Non-Upside-Down Cupcakes http://thehousewifediary.com/pineapple-non-upside-down-cupcakes/ http://thehousewifediary.com/pineapple-non-upside-down-cupcakes/#comments Wed, 16 Feb 2011 15:49:51 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=655 Continue Reading]]> Although most pineapple is probably consumed in the summer I still decided to go ahead with the pineapple upside-down cupcakes.  I envisioned a cupcake that would be baked just like the cake but instead poured in a cupcake pan.  Then I decided that I really wanted frosting on the Pineapple upside-down cupcakes.   Frosting is the best part of a cupcake and I couldn’t go without.  Then the search began for the perfect Pineapple frosting for my Non-upside-down Pineapple upside-down cupcakes.  I didn’t have to search too hard when I found Annie’s Eats recipe.  I knew her recipe wouldn’t let me down and I was right, it couldn’t have turned out more perfect!  Thank you Annie!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcake:
4 eggs
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Separate the eggs into two bowls. In a large bowl, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Beat until stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. Gently fold egg yolks and flour mixture into egg whites until blended. Fold in 1 tablespoon melted butter and almond extract. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Annie’s Pineapple Frosting Ingredients:
2/3 cup fresh pineapple chunks
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions: Puree the pineapple chunks in food processor or blender until smooth.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Mix in powdered sugar until well combined.  Add pineapple puree to achieve desired pineapple flavor (approximately ½ cup).  If frosting is too runny, refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow to set up a bit.

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Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies http://thehousewifediary.com/valentine%e2%80%99s-day-sugar-cookies/ http://thehousewifediary.com/valentine%e2%80%99s-day-sugar-cookies/#comments Fri, 11 Feb 2011 16:00:49 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=843 Continue Reading]]> I have been patiently waiting for an opportunity to make sugar cookies decorated with royal frosting. I’ve had dreams of how they would turn out! Please tell me that I’m not alone. After a trip to Syracuse to visit family I bought a few New York City themed cookies at JFK while waiting for my connecting flight. One was a taxi cab, another the Statue of Liberty and the last a blue airplane for my son Leif. I can definitely tell you that these cookies looked so much better than they tasted. Not to mention they were hard as a rock. So in my wave of disappointment I decided that although my first attempt of decorated sugar cookies wouldn’t look the best; I was determined to make them at least edible. When I arrived home I searched many recipes and finally decided that I liked Glorious Eats recipe the best but made a few slight modifications.

The story of the royal frosting was a little more complicated, making it was the easy part. However, learning how to properly decorate cookies using the royal frosting took reading an entire tutorial written by Sweetopia to have a standing chance of succeeding. Then I worked with pencil and paper to decide how I was going to decorate the cookies. I traced my heart shaped cookie cutter then drew what I thought would be fairly easy design to accomplish. I was very wrong about the easy part but at least I thought a head. Before tackling the decoration process I took pictures of the iced cookies so in the event of decorating failure I would still have a product that I was confident enough to share with you. As you can see there are only plain red and pink iced cookies. That’s because I failed at the decorating part. Actually, the 5th cookie wasn’t so bad but I used my best judgment and didn’t bother taking pictures. So although I was partly defeated I wouldn’t say I completely lost the battle. There will definitely be more attempts in the future.

Sugar Cookie Recipe:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon almond extract

Instructions: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat another minute or so. Add the flour mixture slowly. Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Place dough on plastic wrap form in a disc shape, wrap dough and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

When the dough has chilled and is firm preheat oven to 350°F. Because I didn’t want to add excess flour to dough I rolled dough out while it was sandwiched between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Then I transferred dough with plastic wrap still attached to the back side of a cookie sheet and placed it in freezer for a couple minutes. Then I used cookie cutters and transferred chilled shapes to cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

Royal Frosting Recipe:
3/4 cup of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

*Note: if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.

Instructions: In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened for about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more. Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer. Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying. Tint with food coloring or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

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Spinach & Artichoke Fillo Cups http://thehousewifediary.com/spinach-artichoke-fillo-cups/ http://thehousewifediary.com/spinach-artichoke-fillo-cups/#comments Tue, 08 Feb 2011 15:53:48 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=743 Continue Reading]]> I love appetizers, I love Spinach Artichoke dip and I also love Fillo dough. As I mentioned before I would rather have a variety of appetizers than commit to one entree.  It was just one of those days that I wanted to nibble on a few things.  When I went shopping for groceries to get us through the next few days I had Fillo Dough on my list.  I have made a few things with fillo and I have discovered you can have a good-fillo-day or a bad-fillo-day.  It’s super fragile and I found that rushing is not an option.  So I had myself all psyched up to tackle my little fillo cups. Then when searching for the fillo dough I found these pre-made and pre-baked cups.  I had never noticed them before so I caved and bought them.  I was half excited that the work was already done for me but I also felt a little defeated.  So I decided that since I took a short cut this time next time I will opt for the long drawn-out process.

4 packages fillo dough cups
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¼  cup mayonnaise
¼  cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼  cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼  teaspoon garlic salt
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½  cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
¼  cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt & fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts, spinach and bell pepper.

Fill the Fillo cups with mixture and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350°F for approximately 6-10 minutes until cheese is melted and they are warmed through.

Left over mixture can be spread into a greased baking dish, topped with mozzarella and baked at 350°F for approximately 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and warmed through.

Orange Curd Fillo Cups:

With all the left over fillo cups I had from making Spinach and Artichoke Fillo cups I decided to make something sweet.  Who doesn’t enjoy eating something sweet after eating something salty?

3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

In a saucepan whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Whisk in the sugar. Then whisk in the citrus juices and zests. Add the butter and whisk constantly over ow heat until the mixture thickens, for approximately 8 minutes. Do not let mixture boil. Immediately strain the curd into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and cut 6 small vents in the plastic. Refrigerate the curd overnight.

Fill the fillo cups and top with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream:

2 cups heavy cream
½ cup confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a cold metal bowl beat together cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

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Poppy Seed Breakfast Sandwich http://thehousewifediary.com/poppy-seed-breakfast-sandwich/ http://thehousewifediary.com/poppy-seed-breakfast-sandwich/#comments Mon, 31 Jan 2011 16:23:15 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=809 Continue Reading]]> McDonald’s doesn’t have anything on my breakfast sandwich. There’s nothing really fancy about this breakfast sandwich; I just couldn’t resist taking a photo and posting it.   I figured there has to be room for the simple things that I make too.  While making these sandwiches I was telling my husband that consuming poppy seeds can trigger a positive result on a drug test.  He didn’t believe me.  So we looked up the myth and indeed it is true.  It would have been much more entertaining had we of executed an episode of “Myth Busters” in our very home.  Perhaps next time!

Poppy Seed Bagel
Egg, over easy
cream cheese
American cheese
salt and fresh ground pepper

Instructions: Toast bagel, melt pad of butter in skillet and cook egg lightly on each side to insure the yolk isn’t cooked through.  Top egg with a slice of American cheese.  Spread a layer of cream cheese on bagel and assemble sandwich.

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Chocolate Velvet Torte http://thehousewifediary.com/chocolate-velvet-torte/ http://thehousewifediary.com/chocolate-velvet-torte/#comments Thu, 20 Jan 2011 16:16:40 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=784 Continue Reading]]> This is a choco-holics dream. If you’re not a choco-holic then this will be too rich and too chocolaty for you. I loved this Chocolate Torte and my 1 year old son also loved it.  My husband, on the other hand, took one bite and said it was too rich. That is precisely the reason why I love it so much. To break it down it is basically a tart crust filled with chocolate ganache. As long as you use a good quality semi-sweet chocolate, you’re in business.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

Instructions: Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and mash with dough kneader. In separate bowl whisk egg just enough to combine egg yolk and egg white together. Stir in the egg a little at a time. Knead the dough just enough to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Form into disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours before rolling.

Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Place chilled dough on a floured sheet of plastic wrap. Lightly flour the top of dough and add another sheet to cover dough and roll out to a 12-inch round. Carefully peel top layer of plastic wrap off dough. Carefully lift rolled dough and place on tart pan. Gently press dough into the bottom and sides of the tart pan and carefully remove plastic wrap. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang and use excess to patch in areas that may seem thinned out. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust with the buttered side down. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Cover just the crust edges with foil to prevent over cooking and bake the crust for an additional 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown. Cool crust to room temperature.

The tart shell was adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Chocolate Filling:
16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
fresh fruit to garnish

Instructions: Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add in the cream and stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir some chocolate mixture into the egg yolk. Return the egg mixture to the remaining chocolate mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry crust. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Top the torte with fruit of your choice.

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Lasagna Roll Ups http://thehousewifediary.com/lasagna-roll-ups/ http://thehousewifediary.com/lasagna-roll-ups/#comments Mon, 17 Jan 2011 16:25:22 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=793 Continue Reading]]> There’s a funny story as to where I got the idea to make Lasagna Roll Ups.  My dear friend Bonnie made a lasagna recently and experienced a kitchen disaster.  A lasagna that overflowed from her pan and all over the bottom of her oven.  Did I mention that Bonnie is a beautiful 100% Irish girl that doesn’t really cook?  Anyways, I felt bad for her knowing that she simply over filled her pan with 1-2 many layers. But the more I thought about it she probably didn’t have any type of liner on the bottom of her oven so I am sure there was a ridiculous mess to clean up.  So another friend, Jen, recommended Bonnie to make Lasagna Roll Ups next time because they were super easy to make and you don’t have to worry about spillage.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large Spanish onion, chopped finely
¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
28 ounce can crushed tomato
14 ounce can diced tomato
10 ounce can pureed tomato
2 lbs. Ricotta cheese, drained
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 ½ lbs spicy Italian Sausage, casing removed
1 package lasagna pasta noodles

In a large pot heat olive oil and saute garlic and onion.  Once onion has turned transparent and tender add in crushed tomato, diced tomato, pureed tomato, bay leaves and ½ cup of parsley.   Cook on medium for approximately 30 minutes stirring frequently.  Taste and add salt if desired.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 4-hours.

Ricotta filling:

In a large bowl mix strained ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup parsley and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Cover and set aside in refrigerator.

Italian Sausage:
Remove casing from sausage.  Break up sausage into pieces and cook in large skillet until cooked through.  Once cooled cut sausage into small pieces.  Set a side.

Lasagna Pasta Noodles:
In large pot bring 1 tablespoon of salt and 5 quarts of water to rolling boil. Slowly add in noodles 3-4 at a time.  Boil noodles for approximately 10 minutes until tender, stir frequently to be sure they do not stick together or to the bottom of your pot.  Strain noodles and lay them each flat on parchment paper.

Assembly Instructions:
In a parchment lined baking tray sheet or an oven safe casserole dish apply a generous layer of sauce.  One-by-one scoop a layer of ricotta cheese filling onto laid out lasagna noodle, spoon generous layer of sausage, top with mozzarella and carefully roll up lasagna noodle.  Lay seam side down into sauce and repeat.  Top each roll up with tomato sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350° F for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through.  Serve on a fresh layer of tomato sauce.

Tips: Be sure not to buy the no-boil lasagna noodles.  I actually bought them on mistake and had to go back to the store to get the right ones.  Also, since my husband and I prefer a sauce with a little kick I added 1 tablespoon of chili flakes to our tomato sauce and a little extra dash of chili flakes to our sausage.

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Grilled Chicken Alfredo Pasta http://thehousewifediary.com/grilled-chicken-alfredo-pasta/ http://thehousewifediary.com/grilled-chicken-alfredo-pasta/#comments Fri, 14 Jan 2011 16:21:09 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=780 Continue Reading]]> This is one of those recipes that I just make and have never followed a recipe or written the recipe down, until now.  So last night when I busted out the Grilled Chicken Alfredo I paid very close attention to the measurements so I could share them with you.   Whatever I did different this time pleased my husband.  Have I ever mentioned how picky and critical he is about food?  He usually has something to say when he tastes something.  He usually add his “it needs more of this” or “you used too much of this”  or “this is overcooked”.  Very seldom does he say “this tastes great!”  I’ve learned to take his criticism with a grain salt because he does the same criticizing to his mother who is a chef.

1 pound linguine pasta, cooked
4 chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, chopped finely
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: In bowl marinade chicken in cilantro, parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper for at least 1 hour.  Grill chicken until cooked through.

In skillet heat butter and saute scallion over high heat. Reduce heat to medium/low and add in cream and Parmesan and stir continuously. Season with salt and pepper and continue to stir until thickened.  If sauce becomes too thick add more cream to thin it to desired consistency.

Top cooked pasta with Alfredo sauce then place cooked chicken on top.

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Heavenly Sirloin Burger http://thehousewifediary.com/heavenly-sirloin-burger/ http://thehousewifediary.com/heavenly-sirloin-burger/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 16:26:57 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=766 Continue Reading]]> After a few weeks hiatus from burger making my husband and I are back to add to the burger repertoire. Hopefully soon we will have enough unique burgers to create a whole sections featuring a simple American fare with our own little twist.  If only you could see the passion in my husband, Amine, while he is creating his master pieces.  He is normally a very laid back person but when it comes to creating a burger he is strictly business, it really is quite entertaining.  Now if only he could create the level of mess that is created in the process.

Beef Patty:
1 lb 90/10 ground sirloin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika

Burger Toppings:
Andalouse (4 tablespoons of Mayonnaise, 8 to 10 leaves of basil, chopped finely, 1 garlic clove, 1 table spoon of crushed ground cayenne pepper, 1 pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper)
Spring Mix Lettuce
Fresh tomato slices
Smoked Applewood Bacon, Grilled
Grilled Onion
Grilled Green Pepper

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Lobster Tail with Scallion Potatoes http://thehousewifediary.com/lobster-tail-with-scallion-potatoes/ http://thehousewifediary.com/lobster-tail-with-scallion-potatoes/#comments Mon, 10 Jan 2011 15:06:51 +0000 Sarah http://thehousewifediary.com/?p=746 Continue Reading]]> I can not believe that I hadn’t posted this recipe yet.  It must have been lost in the chaos of the holidays.  But this is one of those better late than never recipes.

It is tradition in my family to have a lobster dinner on Christmas Eve.  Last year our traditional Christmas was put on the back seat because I had given birth to my son a few days before the holiday and wasn’t able to travel to my family. The year prior my past employer wouldn’t give me the time off for the holiday so I couldn’t travel to see my family;  I sure wasn’t in the mood to cook up lobster for myself that year.  Needless to say I was counting down the days to this past holiday and couldn’t wait to get back to tradition.  Even with all the hype I created for myself I was definitely not disappointed.  The lobster tails that my mother bought where huge.  My husband and I were shocked when she started pulling them out of the refrigerator.  However, since bigger isn’t always better in terms of the flavor of lobster I kept my excitement to a minimum.  The tails were seasoned to perfection, the lobster was tender and full of sweet flavor and the company of family was fabulous.  Well minus my sister and nephew not making it from Dallas because of canceled flights.  I prefer seasoned lobster tails over whole lobster but I will never turn down either.

6 lobster tails
8 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: In a bowl mix scallion, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cut through the back of the lobster tail slightly cut into the lobster meat.  Apply a generous amount of marinade to the lobster making sure to spread some between the meat and the shell sides.
Wrap tails loosely with foil to be sure not to burn or overcook. Place on cooking tray and Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Check progress and cook longer depending on the size of your lobster tails.  Once lobster meat turns to an opaque white unwrap from foil and cook under broiler for 2-3 minutes.

Scallion Mashed Potatoes:

This is the mashed potato recipe used by my Irish grandmother and is a family favorite.  Since I’ve been preparing these potatoes for so many years I don’t use proper measurements but when making them this time I tried to keep track so I could share them with you.  What’s great about mashed potatoes is that you can use your creativity and customize them to your preference.  These potatoes were topped with sauteed scallions.


5 lb. bag white potatoes, peeled & quartered
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons salted butter
½ cup milk
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Potato Topping:

6 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions: Boil potatoes in large covered pot until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, drain immediately and return potatoes to pot.  Using electric mixer mix potatoes and butter. Quarter cream cheese and mix in one quarter at a time.  Mix in milk gradually until potatoes reach your preferred consistency.  Mix in garlic, salt and pepper to your preference.

For topping heat butter in a skillet and saute scallion, garlic and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Tips: When potatoes are finished cooking do not let them sit in hot water.  Drain immediately.  I place my pot of drained potatoes into the sink to insure potatoes don’t splatter all over my kitchen while mixing.  Add in milk a little at a time and mix to insure your mashed potatoes don’t become soup.  To save time you can peel, cut and rinse potatoes the night before.  Just be sure to place potatoes in ice cold water and refrigerate.  Prior to cooking drain and rinse potatoes then add fresh water.

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