The Sideshow: Sour Cream & Onion Smashed Potatoes

Sour Cream & Onion Smashed Potatoes |

There is very likely a food blogger law prohibiting back-to-back potato recipes. And as a lawyer I should know better than to break it. But here I am bringing you the second potato recipe in as many weeks.

Last week was a cinnamon and coconut-spiked roasted sweet potato; this week is a sour cream and onion riff on mashed potatoes. It’s a favourite weeknight side around here, mostly because it couldn’t be simpler: chop up some potatoes (keep the peels), boil until soft, smush them up with some green onions, sour cream and olive oil, and voila. It more or less cooks itself while you bake some salmon (or pull some pork or roast a chicken), steam a little broccoli and toss a salad.

Sour Cream & Onion Smashed Potatoes |

You will get the “smashed” (i.e. kinda mashed/kinda chunky) consistency just by using a little elbow grease to stir in the olive oil, sour cream and green onions. The soft boiled potatoes will yield to the heft of the spoon, and some of the pieces will “smush” while others will retain a bit more shape.

The leftovers, if you find yourself with any, make great breakfast potatoes or mashed potato waffles (which I highly recommend trying, if you haven’t before).

And that’s about all there is to say about that. These are potatoes, after all.

Sour Cream & Onion Smashed Potatoes
Prep time
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This is a quick and tasty side that pairs well with just about any hearty meat or fish dish. We especially love it with saucier mains, like braised meats, pulled pork or meatballs. Keep the potato peels on for quicker preparation and more fibre and goodness.
Serves: 4
  • 1½ pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons full fat sour cream
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Put the potatoes in a medium-sized pot, add enough water to submerge them, then cover the pot and set it over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, turn the heat to low and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender (approx 20 minutes)
  2. Drain the potatoes well, then immediately stir in the olive oil, sour cream and green onions. Stir vigorously, smashing the potatoes with the back of your spoon as you go. You want a mostly-smushed-but-still-chunky consistency (this is a technical term!).
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I use at least ½ teaspoon of salt and quite a bit of freshly ground pepper.)

Sour Cream & Onion Smashed Potatoes |

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The Sideshow: Coconut Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Coconut Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes |

Global “warming” is not living up to its name right now. And I know it’s not terribly PC to make light of environmental degradation and ozone depletion, but hey, if it was going to happen anyway could it not have sent the “warming” up here where we need it the most?

In a cruel turn of events, this recent cold snap happened to coincide with our “Family Day” long weekend. Lucky are all the parents who got to spend three sub minus 40 degree days holed up with their manic children. Whichever bureaucrat dreamed up a February statutory holiday clearly has never pulled a one year old out of the pantry 47 times in one afternoon. (The Beansprout recently discovered the pantry, and is totally obsessed with opening it up, climbing in and finding the ONE bag of seeds or grains that isn’t secured by a twist tie. Ugh.)

I’m not joking that the only family excursion we made last weekend was a trip to the local dim sum joint—Kiwi pulled the family-mobile right up to the restaurant door; we piled in, carb loaded and then drove home again. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Coconut Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes |

It has been a really long while since I added anything new to my “Sideshow” collection of side dishes, so I thought I’ve move this train there for today. Talking about side dishes isn’t one of the more exciting things that I do on this blog but it’s arguably one of the most useful. If you ever blank-stared at your pantry wondering what the heck you were going to serve aside those chicken breasts (brown rice again?), then you will no doubt agree.

Coconut Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes |

Potatoes are sort of a fall-back or obvious side dish, but it’s easy to get them wrong. Or better yet it’s easy to get them sucky. And boring. Boring potatoes are not worth making. These Coconut Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes are not sucky or boring, but they are super fast and simple and just about everything else you want in a weeknight side. I’ve served them to dinner guests even, and had requests for the recipe at that, so apparently they do double duty as a dinner party dish, too.

They have the added advantage of smelling faintly dessert-like, so your kids will think you are making them pie, when really you are making them a big ol’ pile of nutrient-packed veggies. Sneaky.

Coconut Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes |

I like to serve them with a little dish of spicy sriracha mayo for dipping—the creamy and spicy nicely complement the sweet and cinnamony—but this is totally optional, of course.

Stay warm, friends. Sunnier days are not far away.

Coconut Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Prep time
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These cinnamony-sweet roasted sweet potatoes are a regularly requested side dish in my house. You should use one of those deep orange sweet potatoes (often called a "garnet yam" though they are not in fact a yam at all) and keep the skin on for extra nutrients and easy prep (no peeling!). Rinse and dry the potatoes very well before you chop them up---residual water will prevent the potatoes from browning. The sriracha mayo dip is optional but delicious.
Serves: 4
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes (garnet yams), unpeeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 1½ tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt, to taste
  • For the sriracha mayo:
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread the chopped sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mix the coconut oil and cinnamon and drizzle over top. Use your hands to combine the potatoes and cinnamon-oil until the potatoes are evenly coated.
  3. Pop the baking sheet into the oven for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender and brown. You can turn the oven up to broil for the final few minutes if you want to get them a bit crispier.
  4. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve hot.
  5. For the sriracha mayo: combine the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small dish and serve as a dip on the side.


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Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili

Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili |

Maybe you noticed that I totally played hooky on the blog last week. I had grand plans to share a really awesome waffle recipe, but after a particularly busy week of lawyering, snow shovelling, and little-nose wiping, I chose wine over writing. You get it, right?

While I was taking a break from blogging, Wiarton Willy or Punxsutawney Phil (or whichever personified groundhog in which you place your trust) apparently forecasted six more weeks of winter. Which suggests that I can expect plenty more busy weeks of shovelling and nose-wiping before we get any spring-like respite.

In the meantime I’m still on a serious soup, stew, chili rotation over here in the K&B Kitchen. And perhaps the only upside to prolonged winterdom is that I get to share even more of our one-pot favourites with you guys. Continue Reading →

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Healthier Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Healthier Slow Cooker Pulled Pork |

I have so much to say about slow cookers that I don’t know where to start.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with mine. I love the idea of it: throwing a bunch of healthy ingredients into a pot, turning it on, leaving it all day, and coming home to a nourishing stew, soup or chili. What’s not to love about that? But my attempts to execute on this idea have been met with mixed success. Mostly failure, actually.

I expect slow cookering would be relatively foolproof if I used commercial sauces and soups—powdered onion soup mix, canned cream of mushroom, or jarred barbecue sauce, for example. This is what slow cookers (or crock pots) were invented for back in the convenience-food-crazed 1970s.

But slow cooking with real food—vegetables, stocks, fresh herbs, and stuff like that—doesn’t work quite as well. You often end up, in my experience, with a dinner that is bland, soupy and cat-foodish in appearance. I once made a promising slow cooker peanut-butter chicken stew recipe that tasted and looked so terrible it went straight into the trash.

I considered giving up on the slow cooker all together, but judging by the amount of requests I get for “slow cooker recipes, puh-lease!!!!” I figured it would be something like shooting my busy-parent-cooking-blog in the foot. So I persevered. And I’m finally ready to unveil my first (hard won) Kiwi & Bean approved slow cooker recipe. Continue Reading →

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Top Kitchen Tips for Working Parents

Top Kitchen Tips for Working Parents |

The hardest part about being a working parent is the cooking. I could handle the commute and the nylons, the office politics and the food court sandwiches if it weren’t for that gargantuan task (a second job, basically) that awaits me each night in the kitchen. And yes I “love” to cook, but after a long tiring day at the office, even *I* would rather collapse in front of the TV than roast broccoli, make pasta sauce, and (the worst part) clean it all up. Are you with me?

So today, instead of sharing a recipe, I’m counting down some top kitchen tips from and for working parents. Some of these are my own tricks but many of them come from the Kiwi & Bean readers who answered my desperate Facebook call-out. If nothing else, it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one toiling in the post-workday meal-making trenches. Continue Reading →

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One Pot Chicken Adobo with Coconut Rice

One Pot Chicken Adobo with Coconut Rice |

I’ve been on a bit of a chicken quest this past month. I feel like we eat a lot of chicken around here, and I am getting bored with cooking (and eating) the usual standbys.

I do wonder if it’s maybe less of a chicken thing than a winter thing. You know how you greet October by roasting and stewing and slow-cooking and braising the heck out of everything in sight, and then by January you would be happy if you never looked at another stew for the rest of your life? Stew fatigue. It’s a thing. Continue Reading →

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Quick and Creamy Rotini with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Creamy Boursin Rotini with Broccoli & Mushrooms |

Once you try this recipe, you will never ever again take another sideways glance at that boxed mac ‘n cheese stuff.

Oh c’mon and admit that when you stroll down the pasta aisle at the grocery store, the boxed stuff calls out to you in a little teeny tiny “buy me” kinda voice. Or is that just me? I grew up on that day-glo orange un-elbowed macaroni delight (before the days of all the spelt and white cheddar and organic and cauliflower pasta blasphemy) and I am not ashamed to admit that every once in awhile I JUST WANT A BITE. To be transported back to a simpler time when Brenda dated Dylan, the Blue Jays dominated at baseball, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was totally healthy as long as you made it with margarine and fat-free milk.

But when noodle nostalgia threatens to get the better of me, I put my head down and push my grocery cart on to the chia-seed aisle, remembering that (1) powdered cheese gives me a stomachache, and (2) I can make a just-as-easy, yet healthier and more delicious version from scratch. Continue Reading →

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Top 10 Recipes from 2014

Top 10 Recipes from 2014 |

I remember long ago my mom lamenting the “stress” of the holiday season. As a kid, I could never understand how something so magical and fun and full of parties and new shiny toys could possibly be “stressful”. Of course all these years later I understand exactly how my mom felt. Creating magic and memories at Christmas is a full time job. And today I’m retiring. I’m sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, my laptop and a couple of magazines. My cooking projects are on hold (until next week) while I refuel and reflect on the year that just flew right by.

It’s trite, I realize, to talk about time flying and all that. But holy cow, where did the year go?! A year ago today I was hugely pregnant, awaiting the birth of my newborn baby. And today that newborn is greeting me with “HI” when I go into his bedroom in the morning; crawling up and down the stairs; and laughing hysterically at his big sister’s antics. In less than a year he’s become a full-blown person and a member of our family. (And I have the grocery bills to prove it!)

It was a big year in the K&B kitchen, too. We made roast chicken and gingerbread cake, pasta and more pasta, oatmeal, burgers, salmon and raspberry bars, among many other tasty treats. I was also introduced to a whole new world of “allergen-free” cooking, when my little guy was diagnosed with allergies to several staple foods (wheat, eggs and nuts among them). And while cooking “allergen free” doesn’t sound particularly sexy, it’s been eye-opening for me. I’ve discovered grains and seeds and foods that I didn’t even know existed, and in an ironic twist our diet is more varied now than it was before the food restrictions came along. Continue Reading →

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The Ultimate Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner

The Ultimate Make-Ahead Turkey Dinner | www.kiwiandbean.comT minus 6 days until my Christmas guests arrive for a big roasted turkey and all the trimmings. This is only the second time ever that I will be hosting and cooking a Christmas dinner. I am very lucky to have some highly competent Christmas dinner cookers in my family (Mom, Irene, Susan and Mary I’m talkin’ about YOU!) and for most of my adulthood I have let them do the cooking while I eat spinach dip and play charades. But this year, it’s all me.

Now here’s the thing about all this: while I’m happy to do the planning, cooking and shopping for the big meal, I still want to eat spinach dip and play charades, darn it! I want to sit by the fire with a glass of champagne and some jingle bells. I do NOT want to be madly whisking lumps out of the gravy while everyone else is kissing under the mistletoe. Continue Reading →

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20 Healthy Holiday Treats (and some news!)

20 Healthy Holiday Treats

Ok, so before I get into the cookies and stuff, can I just drop all humility for a moment and share with you some really amazing, totally overwhelming news? The 2014 Canadian Weblog Awards announced their winners last night, and…WE WON! This seems like the perfect time for a big fat OMG! That’s right, (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean took first prize in the Food & Drink category and second prize in the Family & Parenting category. Holy wow.

Guys, I started this blog a couple of years ago having no idea how to design and build a blog or take a food photo (like honestly, my photography skills were cringe-worthy at best). I started it as a creative outlet from my long lawyering days and  to spare my poor friends the daily “Guess What I Made for Dinner!!” emails. There have been (many) days when I’ve asked myself whether it’s REALLY worth the time and soul-baring embarrassment, when I’ve shed a few (or lots) of tears over 759 spam comments, hacked files, recipe fails and accidentally-deleted photos, and when I’ve considered just packing it all in and taking up stamp-collecting.

But today is definitely not one of those days. I am honoured, chuffed and totally thrilled that two years in, I can call this (mostly) happy little corner of cyberspace my *award-winning* food blog. Squee!

And now onto the stuff you actually came here to read:  Continue Reading →

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