1. Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Place 2 lbs unpeeled, Yukon gold potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes).Drain and let cool slightly. Peel and mash potatoes.Place back in pot and cook over medium heat for 2 more minutes. Stir in ½ stick softened butter and ½ cup warmed milk until completely absorbed.Season with kosher salt and serve. Serves 6.
2. Spinach Salad with Roasted Pistachios
Combine ¼ cup red pepper jelly, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper.Toss with 8 cups of baby spinach, ¼ cup gorgonzola cheese, and ½ cup roasted pistachios. Serves 8.
3. Sweet Potato Soup
Peel 2 lbs sweet potatoes and cut into ½-inch chunks.Place in large sauté pan and cover with 4 cups chicken broth. Add 1½ tsp curry powder. Bring to a boil and let simmer until tender (6 to 8 minutes). Use a hand blender or food processor to purée potatoes and broth. Slowly stir in 1 cup coconut milk and heat. Season with cayenne pepper and a little salt to taste. Serves 4.
4. Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
Heat oven to 400°F. Microwave acorn squash for 1 to 2 minutes to soften. Slice a thin piece off both ends of squash, including the stem. Cut the squash in half (perpendicular to the ribs).Scoop out the seeds. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set squash halves on the baking sheet and smear the flesh with 1 tbsp unsalted butter. Sprinkle with kosher salt and then 1 tbsp maple syrup. Roast squash halves until nicely browned and very tender (45 minutes to an hour). During the last 10 minutes, add chopped pecans. Serve warm as first course with a spoon. Serves 2.
5. Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots
Boil water in a saucepan. Add 1 lb trimmed green beans and let simmer for 5 minutes (until crisp-tender). Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut 2 slices of bacon into pieces with scissors and cook in a pan until crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Leave about 1 tbsp of drippings in pan. Add ¼ lb chopped shallots to pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans and a squirt of lemon juice and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon bits and serve. Serves 6.