Monday, June 29, 2015

Southern Potato Salad

I just had a family BBQ.  My two brothers, two sisters, all the kids and my parents came over to my house.  I can't remember the last time we were all together.  It was a lot of people and a lot of fun!  In addition to the grilled meats, I wanted to make a side dish that's not only delicious, but easy to make in a large quantity.  I had a lot of mouths to feed!  Good old fashioned Southern Potato Salad was the perfect choice.  What goes better with hot barbecue than cold potato salad?  Here's the recipe:

*Note:  I doubled this recipe and it made a ton!  We fed almost 30 people and had leftovers.


5 lbs Idaho potatoes (these have the right starch content)
5 eggs, hard boiled*
1/4 of a large onion, grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TBS yellow mustard
3 TBS sweet pickle relish
2 TBS dill pickle juice
Tony Chacherre's creole seasoning
salt, pepper

Peel potatoes.  (Tip:  Have a big bowl of water ready.  After you peel each potato, put it in the bowl of water.  This will keep them from turning brown).  Cut into cubes, try to make them all relatively the same size (so they'll cook evenly).  Place potatoes in a large pot.  Cover with cold water (just enough water to cover the potatoes).  Bring to a boil, then salt the water generously.  This is where the potatoes get seasoned so be sure to add enough salt.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until a fork slides easily into the potatoes.  (I can't tell you exactly how long to boil them because it depends on how big you cut your potatoes).  Just keep checking them until they are fork tender.

When done, drain the potatoes.  I like to mix this in my stand mixer.  It makes it easier, but you can do it by hand in a big bowl.

Put the potatoes in a big bowl, then add the grated onion, mayo, mustard, sweet relish, pickle juice and mix everything together.

Season to taste with Tony's creole seasoning, salt and pepper.  Lastly, stir in chopped boiled eggs.

*How to hard boil eggs:  In case you don't know how to hard boil eggs, here's an easy way to do it.

Place eggs in a pot.  Cover with COLD water (just enough to cover the eggs).

Bring to a boil.  Then, put the lid on the pot, remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, fill a big bowl with ice and water.  When the 15 minutes is up, immediately transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice water.

This stops the cooking process and makes the eggs easier to peel.  Another tip:  Older eggs are easier to peel.  Buy your eggs about a week before you boil them and they'll peel a lot easier.  See how the shell just slides off.

So, there's the recipe for a delicious, old fashioned potato salad.  I hope you get to make it for a family BBQ like I did.  It was so nice to have everyone together again (even my semi-annoying brothers who live to aggravate me).  Enjoy your summer and enjoy your family!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Creamy Spinach Dip

It's always a good idea to have a great dip recipe in your arsenal.  You never know when you'll need it.  Whether you are bringing a dish to a pot luck, need a good snack for movie night or are having friends over for drinks, this dip fits the bill.  It's easy, but most importantly, it's delicious!  Here's the recipe:


1 (10 oz) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 package Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix (get it in the dry soup mix aisle)*

*This is just dry soup mix.  It has lots of dehydrated veggies in it.  The veggies plump up in the dip as it sits.

Thaw the spinach.  If you think ahead, you can put it in the fridge over night to thaw.  I usually don't think ahead, so I microwave it to thaw it out.  Just be sure to squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can!  You don't want watery dip, yuck.  I drain the spinach in a colander, then put it in a clean dish towel and squeeze until dry.

In a big bowl, mix sour cream, mayo and soup mix.  Stir in spinach and mix well.

Cover and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour.  This gives the veggies time to soak up moisture and lets the flavors marry.  This is a good one to make the day before you need it.  It gets better and better as it sits in the fridge!  (Not to say I haven't made it and eaten it immediately.  What can I say?  I couldn't wait!)

I serve this with a combo of chips, crackers, carrot and celery sticks.

It's always a big hit!  And you see just how easy it is.  Plus, no baking means it's perfect for summer (I avoid turning on the oven in the summer like I avoid Walmart on Black Friday).

So, print this recipe and keep it in mind this summer when you need a delicious dip for a special occasion or a not so special one!  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Father's Day "Grill" Brownies

We celebrated Father's Day a week early.  My son kept my husband busy while my daughter made a Happy Father's Day banner, readied the cards and gifts and helped me make these cute brownies.  They are little grills topped with candy pork chops and hot dogs (complete with grill marks) including the grates and red coals.  Too cute!  I saw these in a magazine and just had to make them.  My husband loves brownies so it was a no-brainer.  Here's how we did it:


1 box brownie mix (plus ingredients to make them)
white frosting (from a can or homemade- *see below)
black food coloring
red sugar crystals
Hot Tamales candies or red Mike and Ike candies

*Homemade Buttercream Frosting:  Mix 1/2 stick butter, softened, 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 TBS milk.  If too thick you can add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until spreadable.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make brownie batter according to box directions.  Line cupcake pan with liners.  Fill each 2/3 of the way with batter.  Bake 20-22 minutes.  Don't over bake or they'll be dry.  Let them cool.

Meanwhile, tint about a cup of the frosting with a little black food coloring, just enough to turn it gray.  Set aside.

Then, warm the caramels (either hold them in your hands for a while or put in microwave for 5 seconds (NOT LONG or they'll melt).  Then mold them into pork chop shapes.  Using a toothpick dipped in black food coloring, make grill marks on the pork chops and the Hot Tamales hot dogs.

Once the brownies are cool, sprinkle them with red sugar crystals.

Spoon the gray frosting into a small ziploc bag.  Snip the tip of the corner with scissors.  Draw the grates onto brownies.

Add the pork chops and hot dogs.

My husband loved the brownies!  Cute and delicious!  If you've got a Grill Master Guy in your life, make these and ensure a Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 12, 2015

I love my Ninja Blender!

I just got a new Ninja Blender and I love it!  I can't stop blending.  I have been making smoothies and salsa, even popsicles.  It's been so much fun that I thought I would share a few recipes that you can make using a blender.

Let's start with smoothies.  My kids really like this banana peach smoothie.  In fact, it was the only way I could get fruit into my Pickiest Eater Ever Son when he was little.  I would let him help me make it.  When he felt involved in making something, he was more likely to try new things.  Here's how we did it.


2 bananas
1 can sliced peaches, packed in juice
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 cups ice cubes
drizzle of honey (optional)

Throw everything into the blender (including the peach juice) and blend until smooth.

This recipe makes 3 large servings or 4 kid sized servings.

It's creamy and delicious.  Sweet but not too sweet and super good for you.

The next recipe is for Watermelon Popsicles.  These are so good and fun to make with the kids.


9 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

Place everything in the blender and puree until smooth.  Put a sieve over a big bowl (one with a pour spout if you have it) and pour the mixture through the sieve to remove any seeds and thick pulp.

Now pour the strained mixture into popsicle molds (if you don't have molds, use little paper cups, cover them with foil, then poke popsicle sticks through the foil and freeze,  Or use ice cube trays and tooth picks).

Freeze for several hours (I like to freeze overnight to be sure they are completely frozen).

When you're ready to serve them, run the bottoms under warm water for a few seconds to help them release from the mold.

These are so good!  They taste like biting into a piece of watermelon.  Perfect on a hot summer day!  You can also fill ice cube trays with this mixture.  Add these watermelon cubes to lemonade or throw in your punch bowl to keep it cool without watering it down.

So, if you have a blender, give these recipes a try.  Get the kids involved.  Make a project of it.  You may think you're just making popsicles or smoothies but your kids will be making memories.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Beer Bread

If you've never made homemade bread because you think it's too difficult, here is the recipe for you.  No kneading, no rising, no hassle!  It really is a simple recipe.  But it tastes so good!  And it will make your house smell awesome!

I used Abita Amber beer for this recipe and it was delicious!  But, you can use any beer you have on hand.


3 cups all purpose four
1 1/2 TBS baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS sugar
1 (12 oz) bottle of beer

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a loaf pan well.  I like to use margarine spread.  It works great and adds a little buttery flavor. (Shortening or cooking spray works, too)

Next, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk together well.  Add the beer.

Stir just until combined, about a minute.  You don't want to over work the dough.

Spoon the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth out the top.

Bake for 1 hour.

This bread could not be easier!  And it tastes great!  It's got a wonderful malty flavor from the beer.  It's soft and fluffy on the inside with a great crust on the outside.

So, make homemade bread!  Everyone will be super impressed (we won't tell them how easy it was).