Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mashed potatoes... turned into muffins?

We've made several sweet muffins and in fact, I'll be posting another one in the next few days (I need more time!), but for tonight's dinner, we seduced those individual goodies to the savory side of life.

I've had a little leftover plain mashed potatoes stashed away in the freezer that I needed to figure out what to do with. Rather than just reheat them as a side, we defrosted them and transformed the creamy mixture into these Mashed Potato Muffins!

Just saying the name made me think these might end up being heavy and dense, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out that this was not going to be the case! With a portion of the dry ingredients being cornmeal, these muffins were slightly reminiscent of cornbread, yet not as sweet with the texture being closer to a regular muffin than a crumbly bread. As we like to do and mention often, I used a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flour - feel free to use entirely all-purpose without worry. Besides adding dots of color to these well-risen muffins, minced green onions and finely chopped red bell peppers back up the savory nature and add another layer of flavor. I was not convinced that Jeff would like these, but he had more than his fair share and is making sure I don't let this one fall too far into the void of tried recipes - the only thing I might do next time is add a little minced jalapeƱo for a smidgen of heat.

Remember how just a few days ago we made those stuffed chicken breasts? Well, we used those skills again to make tonight's main dish, Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach.

The tangy filling for these chops starts out by warming up garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, thawed spinach (don't forget the potato ricer trick!) and a bit of thyme. When thoroughly heated through, the mixture is scooped into a bowl, followed by the additions of goat cheese and cream cheese. The heat from the spinach gently softens the two cheeses to create a lush generous filling to stuff into the pockets of lean center-cut pork chops.

The chops are then slid into a warmed layer of olive oil in the same skillet used for the filling (less dishes!) and cooked to a light golden brown. They are then placed onto a plate (cover with foil to keep warm) and a combination of broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and Dijon mustard are stirred in to extract all those delicious caramelized bits stuck on the bottom of the skillet. That bubbling action releases those bits and reduces the liquid down to concentrate the flavor and create a sauce to serve with the stuffed pork. I liked using the the sun-dried tomatoes as their intense flavor was upfront and didn't require a large amount of them to achieve that depth. Besides keeping the chops moist, the filling adds a hearty element while still keeping the dish fairly light and healthy.


  1. These muffins are beautiful! They look so tasty and they are such a unique idea!

  2. Thanks! I have leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge and this sounds like a great way to use them.

  3. Jill - Hey you! Thanks!

    Pattia - I hope you let me know what you thought of them!