Easy, Fancy Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes were very popular last year, so naturally I’m finally getting on the bandwagon. Easy side dishes that look fancy are always great for a holiday table, entertaining friends, potlucks or even to spice up an ordinary Wednesday night.

Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes


5 large potatoes, thinly sliced but not all the way through to the bottom.

1 clove of garlic, minced

4 Tablespoons of butter, melted

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

5 springs of thyme, removed from stem or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme

About 4 ounces of gouda, finely shredded (parmesan would also be good)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray small casserole dish or a cake pan with non-stick spray. Mix garlic, butter, salt, pepper and thyme in a cup. Place sliced potatoes in pan and then pour butter mixture over top, making sure it gets into each slice of potato. Top with shredded cheese and make sure some of it gets into each slice of potato. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes and uncovered for 25 minutes.

This can easily be made in advance and then reheated in the oven or under the broiler before serving.

I love dishes that look fancy, taste amazing and are super easy to make. This is definitely one of those dishes. What is your go to side dish? I also love making polenta or mashed potatoes and then add some green beans, acorn squash or even some decadent burrata with tomatoes and basil.

Gluten-free on the Road and a slow cooker mashed potato recipe!

Cooking in a kitchen that is not your own can be nerve wracking! Whether your home kitchen is fully gluten-free (GF) or not, cooking at a vacation rental or someone else’s house requires an extra level of preparedness to be safe.

If the house is close by, one option is to make the meal at your own house and bring it with you. When driving for a trip, I pack a Rubbermaid tub with the cooking essentials. If we are sharing the house with others, I make sure everyone knows that that box is only to be used for gluten-free cooking.

Checklist for Cooking Meals in a Non-GF Kitchen:

  1. Aluminum foil (and lots of it!) – this can cover cookie sheets, serving platters and grills and wrap around food to keep the chance of cross-contamination low. Don’t forget a sharpie to mark GF as needed.
  2. Cutting board (Bring a large wooden cutting board to double as a serving platter for you’re your Thanksgiving turkey if needed)
  3. Frying pan
  4. Pasta pot
  5. Colander
  6. Paper plates and bowls
  7. Plastic cups
  8. Plastic forks, spoons and knives
  9. Chef’s knife (transport it in a paper towel tube)
  10. Spatula
  11. Whisk (I have used a plastic fork instead of whisk many times, so bring it only if you have space)
  12. Mixing spoon that can double as a serving spoon
  13. Gallon and sandwich size Ziploc bags or containers for leftovers
  14. Chicken stock
  15. GF flour
  16. Sugar, salt and pepper, condiments and other herbs that you like to keep separate
  17. Aluminum cake pans, casserole or bread pans, if needed
  18. Crockpot or crockpot liners (When not using the crockpot, I use the bowl as my mixing bowl for other recipes)
  19. Cheese grater

To separate items in the refrigerator, either designate a separate shelf (the higher the better) and/or a drawer. If it’s a small amount put it in a small Rubbermaid bin.

This seems like a lot. I know. It’s a mobile kitchen. If you are not going to be cooking entire meals, then you will not need all these items. Everyone’s checklist will look different depending on what you are cooking. Keep your recipes simple and bring only what you need to make your recipes. If you are flying, consider buying cheap or one-use versions of what you might need at your destination.

An easy way to keep things simple while on vacation is to make a one pot meal in a crock pot. It will feed a crowd, allow you to enjoy the day and can easily be made gluten-free. This is especially important on holidays. Here is a mashed potato recipe you can make entirely in your crock pot.

Slow Cooker Mashed potatoes


About 6 medium yellow potatoes, washed and diced

1 ½ cups milk

3 Tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

4 ounces of cream cheese, optional


Add potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper to slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Add cream cheese if you like cheesier mashed potatoes. Mash or whip with handheld mixer. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed and it is ready to serve. To keep warm, pour about 1/4 cup of milk over top, cover and set on low or warm until service. Then just mix in milk and its ready for some gravy!

How do you cook gluten or allergen free when you are traveling? You can try my easy chili  or pasta with mascarpone recipe.

The Best Recipes of 2016

To celebrate the end of 2016, I’m sharing this list of your favorite recipes from Mamma’s Cooking. Thank you for reading!

1.  Appetizer Ideas for Thanksgiving

2. Rainbow Pizza

3. Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey

4. Spoon Roast

5. Gingerbread Cookies

6. Gluten-Free Holiday Treats

7. Holiday Mashed Potatoes

8. School Snack and Lunch Ideas

9. Apple or Pear Crisp Recipe

10. What to do with Leftover Cod

This completes my 31 days of posts! I challenged myself with a post a day in December and I did it! Best wishes to you all for a great celebration tonight and an even better 2017. Look tomorrow for my 2017 Cooking Bucket list.


Potato Leek Soup

Soup is the perfect warm and comforting lunch for a blustery winter day. Great  with a grilled cheese sandwich for when you come in from a walk in the cold, or skiing or sledding.

I love to make potato leek soup around this time of year. It is so velvety and delicious. You can even make it for an elegant New Years Eve dinner with mussels and a nice loaf of gluten-free bread 🙂

Potato Leek Soup


2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large leeks, cleaned and diced

8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves taken off stem

2 teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/8 cup of white balsamic vinegar

About 2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced

4 ½ cups of stock (I like to use chicken, but vegetable will work too)

¼ cup of milk or heavy cream, optional


Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, leeks, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes and stir. Pour in stock and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.  Either blend with an immersion blender or allow to cool and pour carefully into a blender. Add more stock or some milk or heavy cream if too thick for your liking. Serve.

You can make this ahead of time and pour it into a crock pot on warm or low to keep it warm until you are ready to serve.

If you are in the mood for another type of soup, check out these other ideas:

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup





Potato Waffles

My kids have been asking me for latkes for the last couple weeks, so I decided to make my version last night, potato waffles. They went very nicely with our leftover slow cooked pork with gravy and acorn squash. Waffles seemed easier so that I wouldn’t have to stand over a pan and could just put the potato mixture in the waffle maker and go about with the other 5 things I was trying to do at the same time.

Potato Waffles


6 to 8 small potatoes (I used a mixture of white and yukon gold potatoes)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 Tablespoons of shredded parmesan

1 Tablespoon GF flour


Plug in waffle maker and allow it to heat up.  Heat oven to 200 degrees. After you shred potatoes spread them out on towels to dry and wring out all the liquid you can.  In a large bowl mix the potatoes with the remaining ingredients. Scoop about 1/3 of a cup of the mixture for each waffle. Makes about 8 waffles. When the waffle is cooked, place on a baking rack over a sheet pan and place in the 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve. I served it with sour cream and apple sauce.

I had 2 waffle makers going last night. One, my regular 4 square waffle maker and two, the Frozen waffle maker my daughter got for her birthday. So some of our waffles looked like snowflakes 🙂 This is a fun breakfast idea or good way to use up potatoes if you buy too many over the holidays.

Raspberry Lemon and Thyme Tiramisu recipe coming soon…Amazing and simple. Stay tuned!


Twice Baked Potatoes, a perfect holiday side dish

Comforting, cheesy and delicious. Holidays often involve spending lots of time with family and even more time eating lots of food. Nostalgic comfort food is definitely more welcome at the table than talking about politics, religion or what Aunt Sylvia is wearing.

I have fond memories of my mom making twice baked potatoes and realized recently that I had never made them for my kids. They were even better than I remember.

Twice Baked Potato



8 small baked potatoes

2 cups + 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar

4 ounces of cream cheese

1/2 cup of milk

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash your potatoes and make 2 to 3 fork pricks into each and wrap each potato with foil. Place foil wrapped potatoes in oven directly on rack for 45 minutes, flipping over half way through. While potatoes are baking, place 2 cups of cheddar, cream cheese, milk, butter and spices in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are cool enough to touch, cut each in half and scoop out the insides and add to the bowl. Mash the ingredients in the bowl together using a teaspoon to fill the potato shells. Top with the rest of the shredded cheese. Put back in the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.


TIP: You can prep this ahead of time and then reheat at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until heated through.

More holiday side dishes to come next week! Tomorrow, look out for more holiday treat ideas! And as always gluten free, but no one can tell 😉

Holiday side ideas from past posts:

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish: My favorite! Acorn Squash

I guess Thanksgiving is coming soon?!

Cooking your Thanksgiving Turkey

I decided to post a bonus blog today, since Thanksgiving is next week and I have barely even mentioned the star of the show: the turkey! Everyone has their opinions on the best way to cook a turkey, so here is mine 🙂 First of all, if you are buying a frozen turkey, get it today or tomorrow, so that it has time to defrost safely or buy a fresh one on Monday. I started brining my turkey a few years ago and it makes such a huge difference in flavor. Don’t be scared, its easy!

Step One: Buy Turkey

Can turkeys have gluten? Yes they can. Many times poultry is injected with broth before you buy it. Make sure the brand you are buying or have ordered is gluten free. Butterball and Shady Brook Farms both say on their website that they are gluten free. Most of the time when you order a fresh one from a farm, they have not been injected with anything, just ask.

If frozen, let it thaw for 2 -3 days in a refrigerator or keep on ice in a cooler where the temperature doesn’t go above about 40 degrees.

Step Two: Butcher the Turkey (optional – you can still follow the other steps if you keep the turkey whole)


I have been doing this for years, after listening to some professional chefs talk about making the turkey this way. I separate the dark meat from the light meat but keep all the bones in. There are many YouTube videos on how to do this. If you do not want to do this, buy a fresh turkey and ask if the butcher will do it. Whole Foods has done it for me in the past, when I’ve asked ahead of time. My Dad did the honors last year as I was so sick I could barely stand! (I cooked the rest of the meal the next day with a surgical mask on).

Save the giblets, the stuff inside the bag! Keep reading and you see how it helps make the most delicious gravy.

Step Three: Brine the Turkey


Get a large bucket. I use a bright orange one from Home Depot that serves as my brining bucket. I have found that using a oven bag designed for turkeys in the bucket, makes clean up easier.

Basic Brine Recipe (inspired by this one from Our Best Bites)


2 cups of salt

2 cups of brown sugar

1 cup of peppercorns

3 Tablespoons of coriander seeds

12 small sage leaves, roughly torn

8 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 stems of fresh rosemary

4 Tablespoons of onion powder

2 Tablespoons of cumin

8 cloves of garlic, smashed

20 cups of water (may need more water to cover turkey)


Mix all ingredients in a large stock pot. I use a lobster pot. Cook on medium high until it boils. Take off the heat and let it cool.

Once the brine is cool, you can pour it over the turkey inside the bag in the bucket. Add more water or even ice to the brine if the 12 cups do not completely immerse your turkey. If your garage is cool enough or you have a refrigerator that can fit the bucket great. If not keep ice and ice packs around it and change every few hours so that the temperature stays under 40 degrees.

Brining for a couple of days or even one day will help enhance the flavor and juiciness of your turkey. I am also building in an extra day for the turkey to “dry” in my refrigerator outside the brine, as I heard that it will allow the skin to crisp up more. I’ll let you know if that works.

Step Four: Cooking the Turkey


If you did not butcher your turkey, put the whole turkey into an oven bag on top of a bed of onions, garlic, chopped carrots, celery and fresh herbs. I even throw in a couple of sliced lemons for the bed of the turkey. Remember to shake gluten free flour or cornstarch around inside the bag first!

Stuff some of the bed into the cavity of the turkey or if you did butcher it, you’ll have just the turkey breasts still on the bone. Rub butter or olive oil all over the turkey. I often make a compound butter (fancy name for mixing some of the herbs, salt, pepper and lemon zest in with some softened butter) and spread that all over. Close up the bag and cook accordingly with how many pounds of turkey you have. The breasts alone will cook faster. I roast it at 375 until the breast registers about 170 degrees. The dark meat (wings, etc should register about 180 degrees).


If you braved the butchering, the dark meat is braised on the stove. A large heavy bottomed pot is what you will need. First brown the meat and then add onions, garlic, chopped carrots and celery with fresh sage, thyme and rosemary. Pour chicken or turkey stock about 1/2 up the meat. Add the giblets and make sure they are covered with stock. Braise for about 1.5 to 2 hours until the meat registers 180 degrees. Save the braising liquid to make the gravy!

Let the turkey rest for 30 to 45 minutes before carving!


Step Five: The Gravy

Pour the braising liquid through a strainer and then pour it into a sauce pot on medium heat. Let it reduce a little and then taste it. Add 1 Tablespoon of corn starch and whisk.  Repeat adding 1/2 teaspoon at a time until it is the consistency you would like. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Just before serving, add a tablespoon of butter and whisk it in.

I serve gravy in insulated coffee mugs. That way it doesn’t get cold! Not fancy, but practical. I think everyone has come to expect the old Westlaw mug at the table 🙂

Ok. Breathe. That seems like a lot of work, but it is so worth it!  This is the star of the show. The actual cooking time is shorter when you cook the dark and light meat separate.

Please let me know if you have questions. There are buttons all over this page now that will put you in touch with me or make a comment and I’ll respond!

If you have missed any of my recent Thanksgiving posts, here are some easy gluten-free side dish ideas:

My Favorite! Acorn Squash

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

I guess Thanksgiving is coming soon?!

Yes. It is true. Now that Halloween is over Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Hard to believe. Hosting or visiting family and friends over the holidays can send anyone into a tailspin. Don’t let it get you down this year. Keep it simple!

The stress can be increased when you, a family member or a guest have an allergy or celiac disease. I tend to host. That is because I like to and also because it is the only way to completely take the stress out and guarantee that my son is safe. We don’t have to worry about whether something was prepared safely for him at someone else’s house, even if they very kindly and thoughtfully try.

I’m going to be sharing recipes that are versatile. They can be brought with you or served to a crowd in your home. The best thing…no one will even know that its gluten free! Don’t tell them until after they rave about it.


Holiday Mashed Potatoes


5 pounds of Yukon Gold (or any potatoes you like), chopped

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 Tablespoons of salt

½ cup of whole milk or cream (a little more or a little less depending on how smooth you like your potatoes)

¼ cup of butter

8 ounces of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper



Wash and chop your potatoes. (I don’t peel mine, but you can if you want to take the time). Drop the potatoes and garlic into a large soup pot. Pour enough water to cover the potatoes. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes can easily be mashed with a fork. Drain water, return potatoes to pot and add remaining ingredients and mash. Add more salt or pepper to your taste.

TIP: After you finish the potatoes in the pot, put them into slow cooker and cover with a thin layer of milk, put on warm or low until ready to serve! This can be made early in the morning and kept warm in a slow cooker, so it is easy to serve and/or travel with.


When you are making your holiday meal, take some help from the store for items you do not want to cook. There are great gluten-free (GF) items that will make your holiday meal simpler. If you don’t have time or energy to make mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, Wegman’s has great pre-made options that are GF in the refrigerator section near the butter.

I love Aleia’s GF stuffing mix  and have found it at the Big Y and Roche Brothers locally. It is also available on Amazon. I’m also testing recipes for my own stuffing, so I’ll keep you posted if I find a good one! If you have one, please share!

I freely admit that I do not make my own cranberry sauce. Ocean Spray’s canned cranberry sauce is one of my favorite parts of the feast. I don’t know if it is nostalgia, but Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without it.


Cooking the turkey in pieces rather than whole, is also great time saver on the day of. Buying turkey in pieces is not necessarily cheaper if you are cooking for a large crowd, so find a butcher who will separate the pieces for you for free or do it yourself! I learned by watching YouTube videos 🙂

Enjoy the holidays, bring your GF holiday meal with you or enjoy watching people eat your delicious creations without even knowing its GF! Please let me know if you have any requests for recipes or have a non-GF recipe you want adapted. Comment below or send a message to mammascooking@gmail.com. More holiday tips coming up in the next few weeks as well as some ideas for some simple 10 minute dinners. Stay tuned!!

Links to past holiday meal posts (again with the disclaimer: All of these posts are from before our family started eating gluten free):

Thanksgiving Links

Lessons Learned from Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving Menu

Pre and Post Thanksgiving Ideas 

Happy Thanksgiving

Pre and Post Thanksgiving ideas (with a potluck recipe thrown in)

Clearing out your fridge and freezer to make room for all the Thanksgiving goodies while saving your cooking energy for the big day can be challenging, but is doable. You will be happy that you have room in your freezer for some of the Thanksgiving foods that you don’t feel like eating or cooking with any more.

On Sunday I made a potato and kale soup to use up some onions and potatoes that I didn’t think would make it to Thursday and a 1/4 of a bag of frozen kale that I had left in the freezer.

Potato and Kale soup

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, diced (use whatever kind you have on hand or you could use leeks or shallots)
6-8 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced (use whatever kind you have on hand)

1- 2 teaspoons salt (add more to your taste)
1 Tbsp lemon pepper
2 Tbsp coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder (you can use fresh, just add it a couple minutes after the onions)
6-8 cups of chicken stock (use veggie stock if you want to make this vegetarian)
2 handfuls of frozen kale (use a little more if using fresh kale)

 Heat soup pot on medium high. Pour in olive oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add potatoes and more olive oil if it looks like things are sticking. Add salt, lemon pepper, coriander and garlic powder. Stir until potatoes and coated. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add enough stock to cover the potatoes and reserve extra for later.  Cook for about 15 -20 minutes or until you can easily smash a potato with a fork against the side. Stir in kale and cook for a couple of more minutes. Then puree using your favorite method. I use a handheld immersion blender and blend until potatoes are smooth. There will be pieces of kale throughout. If you use a blender or food processor, let the soup cool before pureeing.

TIP: This can also be done in a slow cooker by dumping everything but the kale in and cooking on low for 6-8 hours. Then add the kale and let it cook for about 20 minutes and then puree.

Keep it simple this week, make some pasta with jarred sauce or use baby food for extra veggies, do a make your own pizza night like we did last night or make some quesadillas.

Easy Flatbread pizzas

Flatbreads (store bought pizza dough or tortillas will work just a well)
jar of pasta or pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella (or whatever cheese you like)
Whatever toppings you have. Be creative! I used some leftover spaghetti squash (mix in with the cheese), leftover pesto and some sun dried tomatoes on mine. Husband had pineapple on his. Kids just had spaghetti squash.

Follow instructions on package as to how long to cook.

This is also the time of the year for potlucks at your kids school or at friends houses. Here is an easy pasta salad recipe (that does not have to be heated!!) that I recently brought to a family luncheon at my daughter’s pre school.

Caprese and Roasted Squash Pasta Salad

2 boxes of tri colored rotini
1 pint of cherry tomatoes chopped in half
about 6 oz of fresh mozzarella diced
about 10 leaves of fresh basic cut in a chiffonade (fancy word for rolling them up together and slicing)
1 Acorn squash, peeled and cubed (you can use whatever fall/winter squash you like)
Lemon Pepper
White Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Grated parmesan (I used the stuff that comes in the green can and it was great! but use fresh if you have it)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and put in a large bowl that you would use to transport the pasta salad. While the water is boiling for the pasta, prepare the squash and place it on a sheet pan tossed with olive oil, salt and lemon pepper. Roast in oven for about 20- 25 minutes or until edges start to brown. Take out and let cool. Put tomatoes, mozzarella and basil in a small mixing bowl. In another bowl add 1 part olive oil to about 1/2 part vinegar (depending on how much vinegar flavor you like add more or less). Mix in salt, lemon pepper and grated parmesan to your taste.  Add some of the vinaigrette to your tomato and mozzarella mixture and let sit. Add about 3/4 of vinaigrette to the hot pasta and mix. Cover both bowls and keep in fridge over night. Also cover vinaigrette and put in fridge. In the morning mix the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil with the pasta and taste. If needs more vinaigrette add more of the remaining until it tastes like you want it to.

Lastly today, here are some links for leftover ideas!

Scallion pancakes and crispy turkey from Sandra Lee. Here is the video. I’m definitely trying this one!
Turkey enchiladas
Other ideas

Pick up some of the groceries for these easy leftover meals when you do your thanksgiving shopping. That way you do not have to go back to the store!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Eating Meals Together

We all finally shared a meal together!!! Very exciting! We grilled some steak. I cut some sweet potatoes up into pieces like steak fries and baked them with a little olive oil. When they were done, I separated Karina’s and then doused ours with salt, pepper and fresh rosemary. Then I cut up a cantaloupe. We sat down and put the food on her tray and let her at it! It was great!