Mashed Potato Casserole

A cheesy, creamy, baked mashed potato casserole that’s perfect for ANY holiday or just a special meal with family and friends. :)

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Sometimes it’s the simplest recipes that are the best, aren’t they? My family has long tried to find the best cheesy potato recipe because everyone loves them. My sister is pretty much the biggest cheesy potato fan I know, and my husband is pretty much the biggest mashed potato fan I know, so this is a dish to please them both!

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Regular ‘ole mashed potatoes aren’t my favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all time, but add in a bunch of cheddar and parmesan, and you make this girl veryyy happy! All that cheese + some sour cream or greek yogurt jazz up plain mashed potatoes, but it’s the baking of them that take this dish over the edge! I don’t know what it is about baking dishes but that just adds an extra layer of deliciousness to the final product… especially when there’s cheese involved. Think about stovetop mac & cheese vs. baked mac & cheese. I’m right, aren’t I? There’s just no competition! Baked wins every single day. :)

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

I’ll admit that some may take issues with this dish because it’s not traditional enough… and there isn’t even any butter in it [gasp!]. But all the cheese and sour cream sure makes up for it. One of the best parts about this creamy ‘n cheesy side dish is that you can make it ahead AND it reheats beautifully in the microwave. Regular mashed potatoes can get kinda weird after the microwave but these absolutely do not! Have I convinced you to make them yet?!? I sure hope so, because they’re pretty much the tastiest version of mashed potatoes I’ve ever enjoyed and I bet you will too!

one year ago: Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups
two years ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
four years ago: Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
five years ago: Layered Taco Dip

Mashed Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from The Kitchn


  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 ounces sour cream or plain yogurt [regular or greek]
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large shallots, minced – about 1/2 cup
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, when a fork easily pierces through. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Off heat, add sour cream and half and half to potatoes, then stir to combine. Use a potato masher to smash until desired texture is achieved. Stir in cheddar, shallots, and pepper. [If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften.]

Transfer potatoes to a medium baking dish – a 10 inch round, 8×8 square, or the like, at least 2.5 quarts. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with Parmesan and extra freshly ground black pepper, and broil for about 2 minutes until golden brown.


Dish can be prepared up until the baking step up to 24 hours in advance. Let dish come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.

If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften before adding to the potatoes. The flavor was fine when raw, but even though they were minced small, we found them a little crunchy, especially the ones that were left on the top of the dish.


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Easy and healthy, this perfectly spiced pumpkin quick bread is made with fresh cranberries! It is the best fall treat. :)

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comAs deep as my love for pumpkin is, my love for cranberries–FRESH cranberries–is almost just as great. There’s just something about that tartness that is super appealing to me! Every fall, you can find me raiding the produce section at my grocery store, filling my freezer with bags of fresh cranberries just in case a craving for fresh cranberry relish strikes in mid-March, when nary a bag of cranberries can be found. The fact that most of those bags get used up the following fall is something that I hope my husband doesn’t notice… but truthfully, he probably does [especially since we moved this year and had to empty our fridge/freezer entirely in the process. But that’s a subject for another day, right?!]. I was a Girl Scout back in the day and fully believe in being prepared.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comBeing prepared is always a good thing when it leads you to the kitchen where a slice of this lovely pumpkin cranberry bread is waiting! This bread is everything that fall should be–filled with warm spices, a little indulgence, and a hint of crisp tartness. Mmm, my mouth is just watering at the thought of this bread… even though it’s long gone. #mustmakeanotherloafsoon

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comI always go back and forth between whether butter or oil makes the best quick bread or muffins. It really just depends, I think. I have favorite recipes in each category, but usually they call for quite a bit. Not this recipe! The three tablespoons of oil below is definitely not a typo–that oil, combined with yogurt, eggs, and pumpkin provides the perfect base for this quick bread. If fresh cranberries aren’t your thing [tear!], stirring in some dried cranberries or even chopped apples would be divine! For the chocaholics, try this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins–you won’t regret it! Enjoy!

one year ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
two years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
three years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro [Roasted Chicken]
four years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
five years ago: Pumpkin Soup & Homemade Croutons

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • Servings: 12 slices
  • Time: 75 minutes
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from The Sweets Life


  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour [or 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup all-purpose]
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 1/2 ounces pumpkin puree [half of a 15 ounce can, about 1 cup]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt [applesauce could probably work too]
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Stir together flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

With a mixer, beat together sugar, pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, yogurt, and milk. Fold in flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in cranberries.

Transfer batter to the prepared pan, then bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake! Cool completely before cutting–you can let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before loosening with a knife and inverting on a wire rack. Store covered at room temperature for up to three days. This bread also freezes great!

SRC: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

Panfried falafel served up with lots of creamy tzatziki [cucumber sauce] and a tangy Greek rice. No one said vegetarian food had to be boring!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | #SRC #vegetarian

I’m so glad it’s a Secret Recipe Club [SRC] day! What’s SRC? Basically a fun blogging group where you’re secretly paired up with another blogger. Everyone makes a recipe from their assigned blog and posts on the same day. The club has grown over the years and now has four groups. Since I first joined a few years[!] ago, I’ve been in group A. But when I had the chance to switch groups, I got SO excited because–hello!–new blogs to explore! :) So now I’m in group C and loving it! This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits. Jamie lives in Canada and like any food blogger, loves food. She says on her about page: “Eating is a big part of my life, so I make sure everything that goes into my mouth is tasty.” A sentiment I agree with! [And that is EXACTLY why I bought jalapeno cheetos on Saturday at the grocery store. Those are SO good. Anyway…] Jamie loves cooking and baking for her family and has an impressive number of recipes on her blog. It was so fun to browse her recipes! I was tempted to make these red velvet M&M cake mix bars for Valentine’s Day, and will make this Butterscotch Confetti at Christmastime this year! I was all set to make those red velvet bars when I saw that Jamie had a falafel recipe…and I was sold!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | #SRC #vegetarian

Though I love falafel, sometimes I’m hesitant to order it at restaurants because it’s easy to make it too dry since it’s basically deep-fried chickpea balls/patties. Chickpeas are a drier bean anyway, so it makes sense. That’s why I’ve been excited to see so many pan-fried recipes for falafel lately. This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s so flavorful and moist [sorry!]. I changed the recipe a little from Jamie’s version, using lime juice instead of lemon, and adding the zest in for a little something special. Jamie used an egg as a binder and I decided to exclude it just so I didn’t have to worry about not cooking the falafel enough. I compensated for the lack of egg by using more chickpeas and less bread crumbs. Served up with some creamy tzatziki, chopped tomatoes and red onion, on a pita or lettuce-wrap style, this is an awesome meal! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this tasty vegetarian meal. Jamie added mayo to her tzatziki sauce and I thought that was genius! The mayo made the sauce a little creamier and added a little extra zip, but it also tasted good without.

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | #SRC #vegetarian

As a side, I made a super easy lemon rice. It has just four ingredients: jasmine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice and is SO addictive. The bright, fresh flavor was perfect alongside the falafel. This is not a meal to be missed! Hope you try it today. :) Thanks, Jamie, for a great recipe!

one year ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
two years ago: Go-To Pancakes
three years ago: Sunrise Muffins
four years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 50 minutes
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Falafel and Tzatziki from Our Eating Habits; Greek Lemon Rice from Thank Your Body


for falafel

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas [15 ounces each]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • oil for cooking

for Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill [or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped]
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for Greek Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for serving

  • pita bread
  • chopped red onions
  • chopped tomato
  • romaine lettuce


Begin by making the tzatziki. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, cucumber, dill, and mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while cooking falafel and rice.

Next, mix up the falafel. In a food processor, pulse together onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime zest, and lime juice. Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 can chickpeas and pulse together, being careful to not completely pulverize the chickpeas. Check to see if mixture holds together, then add additional bread crumbs and/or chickpeas, pulsing gently, until mixture can be shaped into patties. I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cans chickpeas [approximately 2 1/4 cups chickpeas]. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Shape into small patties–I used about 1/4 cup for each. Place on a plate or baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill while starting the rice.

In a small saucepan set over high heat, combine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with pepper and salt to taste.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, cook falafel patties, about 3-4 minutes per side until heated through and browned on each side.

Serve falafel in a pita or with lettuce, topping with onions, tomato, and tzatziki. Rice is great on the side or in the pita too!

Be sure to see what other SRC members made this week:

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins

Fresh ginger, yogurt, and coconut oil make for a healthy tropical banana muffin that you won’t be able to resist! 

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins |

Banana muffins… can you ever have enough recipes? I think not. These banana muffins aren’t your basic cinnamon/nut laced version. These banana muffins are tropical and healthy. Perfect for a dreary January morning, methinks. And the shredded coconut on top is just the start of the amazingness!

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins |

It’s honestly been a few months since I made these delicious muffins, so I don’t have one in front of me right now. Sad day! But I do remember just how wonderful these tasted. It’s only been recently that I’ve started to buy fresh ginger, and let me tell you… fresh ginger is just SO wonderful. It’s fragrant as you’re grating it, and then it adds a little extra burst of flavor with the bananas, coconut oil, and warm spices. These muffins are a nice way to escape on a lil vacation at breakfast or snacktime, even if it’s just an average winter weekday back at home. Enjoy!

one year ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
two years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
three years ago: Lasagna Soup
four years ago: Whole Wheat Cornbread

Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Time: 20 minutes
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adapted from A Hint of Honey


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour [could use all white whole wheat/all all-purpose]
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour [could use all white whole wheat/all all-purpose]
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt [or plain yogurt/sour cream]
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar [may want to increase to 1/4 cup if using plain yogurt or sour cream]
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed [about 1 cup]
  • shredded coconut, for topping


Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, stir together yogurt, brown sugar, oil, eggs, ginger, vanilla, and bananas. Fold wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full, then top with shredded coconut. Bake until golden, approximately 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Leftovers can be frozen for a later time.

Mystery Dish: Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

Fudgy chocolate cookies made with greek yogurt! They’re strangely amazing! :)

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies |

Happy Mystery Dish Day! I know it’s Black Friday, but I refuse to brave the crowds and face American consumerism head-on. No material item is worth that craziness. Ugh, I’m not a crowds person at all. Just give me a good book, some tea, and a yummy snack like popcorn or cookies and I’m happy. And these cookies are AWESOME. They’re the perfect book-reading, movie-watching, game-playing companion. Super rich and chocolately with lots of tart cranberries and mini chocolate chips mixed in.

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies |

These Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies were a fun way to use up some ingredients that were selected by our hostess, Rebecca from Living Better Together. She asked us to make something amazing with at least three of the following ingredients: Hazelnuts, Pork Belly, Dark Chocolate, Cranberries, Bourbon, Red Potatoes, Pimento Cheese, Ginger, Yogurt, French Bread, Buckwheat, and Rice Krispies. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with the idea of making greek yogurt cookies, but a little googling later I realized they were actually a thing!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies |

One fun element about them besides how awesome they taste is that they’re also made with no butter or oil… perfect for those times when you don’t have any on hand but want a cookie or when you’re trying to eat a lil healthier. Like after Thanksgiving, haha. I hope you had a great day celebrating with family and friends, btw!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies |

I’m not going to lie–these cookies don’t have that soft and chewy texture of most addictive cookies. These cookies are soft and puffy, not quite muffin tops but close. What they lack in chewiness they make up for in flavor. I used both dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate in them [dark chocolate cocoa powder and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips], but you could certainly mix and match based on your tastes. I hope you enjoy them, and be sure to check out what my friends made for you too!

one year ago: Harvest Pear Crisp with Crystallized Ginger
two years ago: Teriyaki Meatball Bowls
three years ago: Thai Peanut Ginger Wings
four years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce 

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Give Recipe

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8-12 ounces plain greek yogurt [I used nonfat but 2% or whole milk yogurt is also great]
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder [like Hershey’s Special Dark]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 8 ounces plain greek yogurt together. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, adding up to another 4 ounces of greek yogurt if necessary if it’s too thick to stir. I used another 2 ounces but 4 seemed like too much. Fold in almost all of the chocolate chips and cranberries, reserving a few tablespoons to press on the top before baking.

Scoop cookie dough out [it will be thick] with a cookie dough scoop or two spoons. Place about 1-2 inches apart on baking sheets. They don’t spread so you can put them fairly close together. Since dough is so thick, it’s easiest to use multiple pans and scoop it all out at once. Afterwards, press down on tops of dough balls gently with a spoon, then dot with a few cranberries or chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on baking sheets a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt while hot if desired.


See what other Mystery Dish gals made this month:

Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Hazelnut Cake from Living Better Together

Turtle Krispies Treats from I Dig Pinterest

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies from The Pajama Chef

Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bars from I Want Crazy

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut English Toffee from Flavor the Moments

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Buttercrunch from Inspiration Kitchen

Skinny Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Hazelnut Fudge from Joyful Healthy Eats

Cranberry Hazelnut Crepe Cake from Blahnik Baker

Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats from The Smart Cookie Cook

Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes with Hazelnut Cookie Crust from The Well Floured Kitchen

Salted Hazelnut Scotcheroos from Yummy Healthy Easy