Today the sound of locusts chattering from tree to tree took me back to sweet, remembered days of … screen doors slapping shut and nipping at the back of my heels … sitting and playing jacks on cement porches that felt cool against my short clad legs … lovely, rackety sounds that came from our bicycle tires after we clothes-pinned playing cards to the spokes of our wheels … taking turns drinking warm, musty water out of the hose … and days of playing “Red Light, Green Light” “Freeze Tag” and “Mother May I” until the lightening bugs came out.
Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.Henry James
Summer days at the lake served with lemonade …
… and a side of Tiger Lilies.
Breakfast enjoyed on the deck is hearty and befitting lake days and outdoor appetite’s. Look, the first Smoothie (Blueberry & Banana) our grand daughter made without Grandma’s help. (:
Darling, dimpled, smoothie-maker takes her turn on the Gladiator.
Two of Grandma’s heart throbs. ❤
This picture makes my heart brim as I look at these sweet faces … one jubilant, the other, a little timid, but a great sport! ❤
A beautiful early-rising full moon over the evening lake.
A parting gift from the setting sun.
The loveliest moonlit path led us home.
Such stuff as dreams are made on …William Shakespeare
Now, the recipe I’m sharing with you today is “Smashed & Loaded Skillet Potatoes.“ If you cook your potatoes in a cast iron skillet, you can prepare it alongside whatever is cooking on the grill … or toss a quick salad and stuff your potatoes full of all kinds of goodness and this side dish transforms into a delicious and hearty meal.
However, before we begin on the recipe for Smashed and Loaded Skillet Potatoes, I want to share another cooking gem with you … my favorite way to make baked potatoes, using a crock pot! Whenever I make baked potatoes I fix a whole batch in my crock pot so I have extra’s ready in the refrigerator for making potato salad, dicing and adding to a pot of green beans, or for making this easy recipe. Crock Pot baked potatoes have a delicious “in-depth flavor” and because they’re cooked slowly, they have a dense and perfect baked potato texture.
*CROCK POT BAKED POTATOES
- Clean and scrub the number of potatoes you want to prepare and lay them on paper towels to dry.
- Prick the skins of the potatoes with the tines of a fork to prevent the skin from splitting, then rub the skin of each potato with butter. Butter softens the potato skins and makes them more flavorful.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on each potato and wrap them individually in aluminum foil (dull side of the foil, out) and place them in your crock pot, no more than 2/3’s full. For easier clean up, place the wrapped potatoes into the bottom of your crock pot with “folded seam” of the aluminum foil up.
- Place lid on crock pot and cook on high power, for 6 hours (I always use medium sized potatoes.) Cook time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes. To see if potatoes are done, use a sharp knife and pierce your potato through the foil. If the knife does not go through the potato easily, additional baking time is needed.
SMASHED AND LOADED SKILLET POTATOES
Ingredients for 6 servings:
- 6 potatoes, already baked
- 3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 1/2 cup diced mild, sweet onions
- 1/4 cup chopped red & green bell pepper
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- baked potato toppings (butter, cheese, sour cream, finely chopped green onions)
- Cook and stir bacon in a large skillet, until almost crisp. Add onions and bell peppers to the same skillet and saute until vegetables are tender and bacon is to desired crispness
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet and melt to cover pan and add to bacon and vegetable mixture
- With a spatula, push the bacon and vegetable mixture to one side of the skillet leaving room to place the baked potatoes in the same skillet.
- Add baked potatoes to the skillet to heat
- Smash or flatten each potato by using a heavy spatula or a small bowl. Do not smash the potato so much that it breaks apart or looses it’s shape!
- Sprinkle outside of potatoes with salt and pepper, if desired
- Cook your potatoes until they are heated throughout, turning over to heat both sides.
- Spoon some of the bacon and bell pepper mixture into each potato, add salt and pepper to taste. Add butter and sprinkle cheese into each potato
- Cover skillet with a lid and cook 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
- Remove lid and add a dollop of sour cream to each potato and chopped green onions before serving.
For a heartier meal, these potatoes would be delicious stuffed with broccoli and covered with cheese … or for winter meals, top them with Chili con Carne. I hope you’ll try them, I think they’ll become a family favorite!
Yesterday for lunch, Richard and I had our first “Sugar Kissed Melon.” Before even tasting it, I loved it because of it’s name! (: According to the tag, the Sugar Kissed Melon is the sweetest of the melon family. The Sugar Kissed Melon looks like a cantaloupe, though it is a little smaller … the outside skin wasn’t as deeply textured and veined as the cantaloupe … the pulp and seeds in the center of the melon looked the same as a cantaloupe. I cut it into pieces and served the Sugar Kissed Melon the same way I do a cantaloupe. It was sweet and delicious, a new favorite that lived up to it’s name.❤
It’s the little things that add enjoyment to each day. Plan a picnic in your own backyard, work a puzzle, read a good book or magazine while enjoying a glass of iced tea, burn the favorite candle you’ve been saving, get a drippy snow cone, lay in the hammock and take a nap, sit outside and look at the stars, and relish this last half of summer!
Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.Claire Cook
I hope that reading my blog and about the things that go on here at Cottage Green on the Lake brighten your day. I know these are uncertain and troubling times, but read this wonderful reminder that Jesus said, telling us not to worry.
Whatever may be, it is such a blessing knowing that God is in control. Jesus said these comforting words in the Bible, in John 14:1 … “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and in 1 Peter 5:7, Jesus says for us to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” What wonderful words of reassurance during these stressful times! If you don’t have that peace and blessed assurance that comes from having a relationship with the Lord, please don’t leave this page before writing me so I can pray with you and answer any questions you may have … or go to my “About Me” page and read “My Faith in Jesus Christ.” Don’t let another day go by without knowing that Jesus is your Savior and your Friend. ❤
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
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