Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cheddar potatoes and pineapple chicken...

The side for tonight's dinner wasn't anything different or exceptional, but just a simple go-to recipe that doesn't need a lot of fluff or attention. We left the peels on for these Cheddar Smashed Potatoes (lots of nutrients in those skins!), but if you don't groove on them, you can always peel the russets before you use them.

When the chunky potato pieces were tender, we drained the water away and put the potato back into the pan - this is an extra step, but the process will evaporate any of the excess liquid. Warmed milk and butter are poured into the starchy potatoes and smashed together - just be sure to not add all of the liquid at first. Start out with about half and then add more if you find that they are not moist enough. If you have the tool and want an extra creamy bowl of mashed potatoes, a ricer would be a good bet, but we wanted a heartier texture and just used a potato masher. A couple ounces of shredded white cheddar are then stirred in to give these a sharp bite - also, potatoes eat up salt like crazy, so be sure to taste and re-season before serving. I find that mashed potatoes freeze well, so you could always double or triple up on this recipe and portion them out into individual servings for a quick side-to-go on those busy nights.

If you wanted to break down a whole pineapple for tonight's sweet and savory Pineapple-Stuffed Jerk Chicken, be my guest, but we took advantage of a sale at the market and already had a can of pineapple chunks in juice in the pantry aching to get used.

Thyme, allspice, cayenne pepper and a bit of cayenne are the spices used to create a pared-down version of Jamaican jerk seasoning to coat chicken breasts. Before you get your hands all full of chicken, a combination of the pineapple chunks, tangy lime juice, granulated sugar and a couple scallions are tossed together, forming the filling. This makes a fairly generous amount, so rather than butterfly the chicken breasts to stuff them, a small slit is made that will give you just enough access to wiggle the knife inside, creating a pocket, to pack in the pineapple mixture.

Once all the chicken is stuffed, they are massaged with oil, seasoned with the jerk spices and broiled on a baking sheet lined with foil, leaving you with easy clean up! If you don't trust your oven or just want ensure it is completely cooked, you can always double check to make sure the chicken is done by sticking an instant-read thermometer into the center of the stuffing to see if it has come up to temperature. We thought the spice mixture was good on the chicken, but I have a feeling that it could have been a bit more intense. We loved the stuffing though - clean, bright and sweet enough to stand up to the heat in the spice rub. While we did quite enjoy the potatoes, next time I make this, I think I would prefer to serve it over a bed of coconut rice to round out a tropical-themed meal.


  1. Oh that chicken sounds good. We used to live by a place that had a "hawaiian chicken sandwhich" that was chicken marinated in teryaki grilled with a grilled pineapple ring on top. It was really good.

    May I as how you handle the frozen potatoes? Do you just let them thaw in the fridge over night, and then bake them, or nuke. I see this being helpful coming thanksgiving.

  2. Just wanted to say I found your blog through a search for a giant choc. chip cookie for Father's Day, and the giant cookie cake looks fabulous! You really have a great blog with awesome recipes I can't wait to try!

  3. My carb addiction kicked in big time when when I saw those potatoes!

  4. Courtney - They are very forgiving, so you could do whichever method you like! Since we just portion ours into individual servings, we just re-heat them in the microwave until hot!

    Fox - I loved that cake! It was such fun to make.

    Quinn - hee hee!