Potatoes, Recipes, Sides

Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

Thanks for coming back for another edition of Thanksgiving week! On Monday I shared my recipe for Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls. On Tuesday, it was Mixed Vegetables Mornay [my fave side ever!!]. And today, it’s mashed potatoes.

Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes | thepajamachef.com

I know, I know. Mashed potatoes are super classic… and you probably don’t even need a recipe to make them. BUT hear me out! These mashed potatoes are something extra special, because they’ve got a Southwestern flair to them! Chipotle peppers and cilantro are an awesome flavor combo, so why not add ’em to mashed potatoes??!

Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes | thepajamachef.com

I seriously couldn’t get enough of these potatoes. And I’m not a mashed potatoes girl. I prefer baked potatoes or fries, anything really besides mashed potatoes. These potatoes are different though. They’re interesting and spicy, but not hot or anything out of control. I thought about adding some cheddar cheese–and I’m sure that would be awesome, but before you add a bunch of cheese… just try ’em! The cilantro adds SO much flavor. I know these mashed potatoes are far from traditional but you should definitely give them a try! Feel free to add more butter or use cream instead of milk if you like, but since I was making these for two, I decided to be a little less liberal with the indulgent stuff. And truthfully, I think these potatoes were creamy and flavorful enough without tons of cream and butter. They’re amazing, and I think I’ll go have a bowl now! Be sure to come back tomorrow for some turkey, and Friday for pear crisp! Yum yum and YUM!

Thanksgiving Meal | thepajamachef.com

two years ago: KC’s Dilled Carrots
three years ago: Layered Taco Dip

Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes [flavor combo idea adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2011]
click to print


  • 2 pounds potatoes [Yukon Gold or Russet]
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced [loosely packed]
  • Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Wash and dry potatoes, then cut into quarters and place in a pan.  Cover with cold water by an inch or two, then add 1 tablespoon Kosher salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat. Cook, uncovered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel potatoes and transfer to a bowl.

Add butter and milk, then mash with a fork or potato masher. Stir in chipotle pepper and cilantro, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Time: 60 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings.

Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Mixed Vegetables Mornay

Thanksgiving week continues with one of my favorite side dishes of all times… Mixed Vegetables Mornay! I know vegetables aren’t on most list of crave-worthy, holiday-table-worthy comfort foods, but after you try these Mixed Vegetables Mornay, I bet they will be on yours! At first glance, frozen mixed vegetables aren’t that exciting. But when you taste this fabulously cheesy, buttery mornay sauce, you’ll know why they should be–and why this dish tops my list of veggie comfort.

Mixed Vegetables Mornay | thepajamachef.com

In my family, this side dish is the equivalent of the quintessential holiday green bean casserole. I like to think it’s a little bit better than that though–a little healthier, a little more flavorful, and a lot more awesome. I love green beans and mushrooms, but out of a can? No thanks. I like to opt for this dish instead. And it’s cheesy, so what more can you ask for? 🙂

Mixed Vegetables Mornay | thepajamachef.com

Mixed Vegetables Mornay is super simple to put together, so don’t be afraid of the fancy-sounding sauce. It’s basically a Béchamel sauce with Parmesan cheese. If you can make a roux, you can make mornay sauce. And when you do, try really hard to save some for the vegetables. Fresh mornay sauce is great, but it’s excellent when it bubbles up around all the veggies….and paired with some toasted and buttered bread crumbs? Oh my goodness. I could eat these veggies for BREAKFAST they are so tasty! Be sure to come back tomorrow for another dose of Thanksgiving week, and if you missed my Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls from yesterday, check them out too! 🙂

Thanksgiving Meal | thepajamachef.com

two years ago: Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
three years ago: Lime-Soy Chicken

Mixed Vegetables Mornay
click to print


  • 32 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • up to 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch thyme
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted [or olive oil]


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch casserole dish and set aside.

Cook vegetables with 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes in the microwave until crisp-tender. Drain well, reserving cooking liquid for mornay sauce. Place vegetables in prepared dish with 1 tablespoon butter and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, stirring to combine.

Meanwhile, prepare mornay sauce. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute. Fill measuring cup with cooking liquid and top off with enough milk to equal 2 cups. Then sloooowly add milk, stirring constantly. Cook until thick [about 3 minutes] then stir in garlic powder, nutmeg, thyme, and parmesan cheese. Simmer for 5 minutes, then pour over seasoned vegetables. Top with bread crumbs and drizzle with melted butter or oil.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy!

Time: 50 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings.

Breads, Recipes

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls

Last week, I texted Ben randomly during the day at work and asked if he wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner a little bit early. As I expected, he was ALL in. So this weekend, we got to cookin’, and had ourselves a delicious feast on Sunday afternoon. Turkey, chipotle-cilantro mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, mixed vegetables mornay, pumpkin cloverleaf rolls, and harvest pear crisp with candied ginger. It was GLORIOUS! For my dream meal I would have had stuffing too–but Ben doesn’t like it, and I couldn’t find the kind of bread I wanted, so that didn’t happen, but everything else was divine and I can’t wait to share the recipes with you this week! So, I officially declare this to be THANKSGIVING WEEK on the blog and I will do my absolute best to post all five new recipes this week. I’ve already shared my cranberry sauce before so I won’t repeat that… but just because it is old doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying! 🙂

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

I had a hard time deciding what to share first, so I just picked my absolute favorite thing… bread. Ahh, delicious carbs! 🙂 With pumpkin too! Doubly good, huh? I seriously am not sure if there is anything I could love more than soft, pillowy rolls, warm out of the oven with just a touch of butter.

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

I made the dough for these rolls in my bread maker. If you don’t have a bread maker, definitely consider investing in one if you have the space. I bought mine from a Craigslist post for $20. It was a wedding gift that had never been used, so that couple’s loss was our gain! I am not a huge fan of how bread bakes in it, but it is super convenient for preparing dough while you are doing other things, like pulling together a huge meal for two people just for the heck of it.

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

Please don’t judge how these Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls were shaped. It takes a time or two [or four] to get the hang of shaping the balls, and I will warn you–the dough is really sticky, so use flour and/or cooking spray liberally. I read too late that cooking spray is better for shaping rolls than flour is because it won’t dry the dough out… so I will try that next time. Regardless of how the rolls are shaped, the taste will be out of this world!

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls | thepajamachef.com

The rolls are slightly sweet, with a delightful orange flavor. The flavor is really strong at first, but after a day it tones down a bit. But if orange isn’t your thing, feel free to leave that out and add a little bit of warm spice like cinnamon or nutmeg, some vanilla, or even something a little more savory like garlic powder.

Thanksgiving Meal | thepajamachef.com

Ben and I absolutely adored these rolls! I’m sure you didn’t need clarification on that, but for what it’s worth–they were great! I can’t wait to enjoy one for breakfast with some jam. Yum! As much as I would love to say that they were so amazing because they included pumpkin [aka my favorite thing about fall], I really don’t think that was it. They are just super soft, melt-in-your-mouth rolls. Even if you are scared of baking with yeast, try these rolls! In a bread maker, they are so simple and easy–almost foolproof. Since the dough is so sticky, I think it would be hard to knead this dough by hand, but you could try it in a stand mixer–just use these tips on converting the recipe. I hope you give these rolls a try for your Thanksgiving table! They’re so appropriate for the season. I know they will be my go-to for many years to come! Enjoy, and be sure to come back all week long for more Thanksgiving recipes. 🙂

one year ago: Pork, Apple, & Ginger Stir Fry
two years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
three years ago: Balsamic Roasted Chickpeas

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls

  • Servings: 16
  • Print

from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour [562 grams]
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast [1 package]


Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. For me, it is: liquids and salt, dry ingredients, and yeast in a well.

Set bread machine on dough cycle. Grease two muffin tins with cooking spray.

When finished, turn dough out onto a floured surface. With floured hands, divide dough in half, then divide each piece in half again. You should have four pieces. Then divide each of those pieces in half again–making eight. Finally, divide in half again so you have 16 pieces.

Roll each piece into three equal sized balls. Gently place in a muffin cup, and repeat with remaining dough.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and then bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mystery Dish: Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote

Good morning, everyone! I’ve got a wonderful pie to share with you today! But not just any old pie–Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote!

sweet potato pie with cranberry compote | thepajamachef.comRegular readers know that I don’t usually post on Tuesdays [I’m on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule] but this month our Mystery Dish posting happened to fall on a Tuesday. So here I am! 🙂 As a refresher, Mystery Dish is a fun new blogging group that I’m a part of– the premise is this: each month, one blogger will create a mystery box of ingredients. Ingredients can be themed related to a cuisine, a meal, a season, a specific ingredient, or anything else creative. Then, the other eleven bloggers have to create a recipe using some of the ingredients. SO FUN! This month it was Nora’s turn to come up with our assigned ingredients. Nora blogs at Buttercream Fanatic [yummmm] and she chose:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Kale
  • Squash (any kind, including pumpkin)
  • Nutmeg
  • Venison
  • Turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Caramel
  • Candy Corn

Since I made a pie for the first edition of Mystery Dish, I didn’t intend to make another one for this go-round. It just happened. I saw a picture on instagram of a sweet potato pie and inspiration struck! I have always wanted to try sweet potatoes in a pie and here was my chance. Oh, and Ben nixed the idea of anything else butternut squash, pumpkin, or kale. I guess he’s tired of those ingredients. I don’t understand… But I digress.

sweet potato pie with cranberry compote | thepajamachef.comI’ve typically shied away from making sweet potato pie because it seems so close to pumpkin… but YOU GUYS! It’s not! It’s pumpkin pie’s savorier cousin. It has a subtle sweetness, and when paired with tangy sweet cranberries, each bite is like Thanksgiving. Seriously. So I hope you make this pie and can look past the photos I took at 7 am in the morning because central time and fall and having a full time job are [gratefully] messing with my photography/blogging rhythm. The pie is great with coffee for breakfast, great for a late night snack, and just great all around. Try it out!

So there you have it. Mystery Dish is fun and Sweet Potato Pie is just as amazing as I dreamed it was… but don’t just check out my recipe. There are eleven permanent members in the group, and one guest each month who have each made something utterly fabulous! This month, our guest is Cate of Chez Catey Lou. She’s super sweet so be sure to check out her site! For a look at what everyone else made, check out the collage and links below. Enjoy my pie, and enjoy your day! 🙂

Mystery Dish Collage

1. Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
2. Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberries, Almonds, and Brown Sugar
3. Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
4. Pumpkin Magic Bars
5. Pumpkin Pie Cake
6. Sweet Potato, Smoked Turkey, and Cranberry Croque Madame
7. Caramel Candy Corn Poke Cake
8. Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Kale and Ricotta
9. Sweet Potato Cranberry Quick Bread
10. Venison with Sweet Potato Hash & Fried Egg
11. Orange Cranberry Bread
12. Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote

Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote [pie recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen]
click to print


for sweet potato pie

  • 2 large sweet potatoes [~1.25 lb]
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 9 inch pie shell, unbaked – I used the recipe and method here

for cranberry compote

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in a microwave safe dish and add about 1/2 cup water before microwaving for 10 minutes, checking halfway through for doneness. When potatoes are very soft, add butter and mash until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until combined, then pour in milk and mix again. After potatoes have cooled, add to sugar and milk mixture and beat on low for 2-3 minutes until very smooth.

Pour into unbaked pie crust, and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the crust starts browning too much during cooking, cover with aluminum foil.

To make cranberry compote, stir together sugar, water, and orange juice in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then add cranberries. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook until berries begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Cool completely then store in the refrigerator.

Cool pie completely before cutting.

To serve, cut pie and top each slice with a generous serving of cranberry compote.

Time: 75 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mystery Dish: Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping

This month I’m participating in a new, fun challenge with twelve new and old blogging friends [well, this month it’s eleven but still!] It’s called Mystery Dish, and the premise is this: each month, one blogger will create a mystery box of ingredients. Ingredients can be themed related to a cuisine, a meal, a season, a specific ingredient, or anything else creative. Then, the other eleven bloggers have to create a recipe using some of the ingredients. SO FUN!

mystery dish collage

This month, the ingredients we had to work with included the following:

Cheddar Cheese
Maple Syrup
Peanut Butter

Thanks to Dani and JT at See Hubby Cook for brainstorming this challenge and the first month’s ingredients!

Of course, I like to make things difficult for myself and even though I knew this post would be live right around the date of our move [yes, we are in NASHVILLE now!], I wanted to include as many ingredients as possible, and managed to make a delicious dessert utilizing all ingredients but one. Peanut butter sadly was excluded, but all the others make an appearance in this fabulous pie-crisp!

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping | thepajamachef.com

What is a pie-crisp, you may ask? Well, it’s something that was intended to be a pie but fell apart and as such, resembled more of a crisp than anything. No matter what you call it, Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping should be called delicious because that is exactly what it is.

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping | thepajamachef.com

Let’s go through this fabulous dessert, shall we? It starts with a crust studded with shredded cheddar cheese. For appearance, I’d recommend using white cheddar, but since I wanted to use things up before the move, I just used a basic sharp cheddar. The filling is apples [Gala + Macintosh, but tart would be good next time too] sweetened with maple syrup and warm cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and vanilla. Simple, perfect, wonderful. I think I’m in love with maple apples now, and might try that in my next batch of applesauce.

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping | thepajamachef.com

Lastly, this pie-crisp is finished off with an oat-based crumb topping. Ben’s addition to the recipe [I say addition, but he actually made the crust himself while I lay miserable on the couch with a cold–go Ben!] was to cook up some bacon rubbed with brown sugar which he then crumbled on the pie as it cooled. The salty-sweet bacon was the perfect, surprising finishing effect to each bite of warm apple pie-crisp. This is a dessert I can’t wait to make again and again!

Be sure to check out the other recipes for this month’s Mystery Dish at the links below. Have a great Monday!

Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic: Soft Baked Maple Bacon Cookies
Allie @ Baking a Moment: Apple Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes
Dani and JT @ See Hubby Cook: Apple Bacon Cheddar Soup
Kat @ I Want Crazy: Brie, Apple, Bacon Grilled Cheese  
Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats: Apple Cinnamon Crepes with Maple Mascarpone Topping
Amanda @ The Taste Tester: A Fall Inspired Apple Chicken Salad
Sherri @ The Well Floured Kitchen: Cheesy Bacon Monkey Bread
Christine @ I Dig Pinterest: Peanut Butter Apple Crisp
Meriem @ Culinary Couture: Apple Peanut Butter Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze
Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy: Apple Muffins with Nut Crumble Topping

two years ago… Butternut Squash Apple Soup
three years ago… A Different Kind of Meatloaf

Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust & Bacon Crumb Topping [crust from Martha Stewart]
click to print


for Cheddar Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

for Maple Apple Pie Filling

  • 8 cups apples, thinly sliced [peel or not–your choice]
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

for Bacon Crumb Topping

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar + more for bacon
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 tablespoons butter


First, prepare pie crust. Pulse together flour and salt in a food processor several times, then gradually add butter, pulsing in between additions. Pour in water tablespoon by tablespoon until mixture begins to hold together–it shouldn’t be wet/sticky. Add cheese, pulse until combined. Add more water if dough is dry, then turn out onto clean countertop. Shape into a disk, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour or better, overnight.

When ready to make pie, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pie dough from refrigerator and rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

To make filling, toss together apple slices, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Set aside.

Roll out pie crust on floured surface, then press into a 10 inch pie pan. Fill with maple apple filling, then prepare crumb topping.

Toss together oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Cut in butter with pastry blender, then sprinkle evenly on top of pie.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

After temperature is reduced, place bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and rub with brown sugar. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove and degrease, then crumbled over pie before serving.

Time: 3 hours or more [including time to chill dough].

Yield: 8 servings.