Tag Archives: potato salad recipes

Doctoring Store-Bought Food: Tailgating Recipes Edition

Gentle Readers, sometimes one has all the time in the world to create a culinary masterpiece, and sometimes one must PUNT! In the spirit of football season and tailgating parties, here are two recipes devised to save time and save face.

Speaking of saving face, looks like the crowd approves the side dishes. Or you took selfies with my phone.

Speaking of saving face, looks like the crowd approves the side dishes. Or you took selfies with my phone.

If you have to feed a crowd in a hurry, what better choices than baked beans and potato salad? But on a busy weekend during the school year, however much I may like to start from scratch, I will compromise and doctor store-bought. I even signed my name to one of them.

Mildly doctored blondies: wasn't blown away by this mix, better from scratch. But they are pretty.

Mildly doctored blondies: wasn’t blown away by this mix, better from scratch. But they are pretty.

Doctored Potato Salad Recipe

I bought this beauty from SuperTarget, selected for quantity, price, and not being overly mayo-filled or celery seed laced. I have evolved in my acceptance of celery over the years, but I am unyielding on those celery seeds. They are not delicious to me. I digress.

Specially doctored by The Practical Cook: SuperTarget Potato Salad!

Specially doctored by The Practical Cook: SuperTarget Potato Salad!

1 container of potato salad that meets your personal needs (size and flavor profile)
yellow mustard
sweet or dill relish, or  a combination
chopped parsley (optional)
dash of hot sauce
sliced cherry tomatoes

Now you have a decision to make–is the container large enough to stir in your add-ins, or do you need to mix in a separate bowl? I’ll wait while you sort this out. Now you also must decide whether you own the doctoring or go full out and pass it as your own in a nice bowl.

Regardless, stir in the yellow mustard (a healthy dose if you want to offset mayo), relish, parsley (will make it taste fresh, don’t overdo it), and a dash of hot sauce (like Tabasco, and I mean just a dash) until fully blended. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes. Serve with a smile on your face.

Beer and Bacon Baked Beans Recipe

I adapted this recipe from Beer-Can Chicken, an amazing little cookbook that I worked on promoting many years ago. It calls for ribs and a grill, but bacon and an over work just fine, too.

Beer and Bacon Baked Beans before the oven!

Beer and Bacon Baked Beans before the oven!

1 large can of pork-n-beans (yes, the ones with the fatback and tomato sauce that are crazy cheap and taste bad by themselves)
1 can each: black beans, pinto beans, dark red kidney beans–rinsed thoroughly
smoky meat: can be leftover ribs, a bit of ham, or my favorite, cooked bacon
1 small onion, diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup diced mixed peppers (the sweet kind, I use the frozen mixed ones)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup barbecue sauce (doesn’t have to be fancy, I use Kraft because it’s cheap)
2 healthy teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 of a beer, the rest is for the cook
Ground black pepper to taste
a shot of your favorite hot sauce, to taste

Mix it all up in a 9 by 13 glass dish (or aluminum one if you’re wanting to toss it later), heat in a grill or in a 375-400 degree oven until bubbling and reduced. Thank me later, but feel free to invite me to your tailgate party now.

Beer and Bacon Baked Beans Completed!

Beer and Bacon Baked Beans Completed!

What are your favorite things to buy and make better? Post a comment here or Tweet my way! Special thanks to #vGingerBeard and family for the invitation and the unsolicited thumbs up.

Send your good ideas, lucrative offers, and free chocolate samples to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Bacony Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Gentle readers, though the Practical Cook adores a vinaigrette, she misspells it in a new way each and every time. Thankfully, it is far easier to make than to spell. The recipe goes out to the mayo-haters and to the hash brown fans.

Bacony Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

This dish was created to go with the Easy Trout from yesterday, completing the classic trinity of trout, bacon, and potatoes.

Bacony Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Bacony Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon bacon grease (or some other full-flavored fat, like a strong olive oil, or a combo of olive oil and butter)
1 quart Yukon Gold potatoes (courtesy of our CSA from Brinkley Farms), scrubbed clean, peeled, and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley

1. In a large skillet, melt or heat the fat of your dreams over a strong medium heat.

Yukon Golds in the Skillet

Yukon Golds in the Skillet

2. When hot but not smoking, add potatoes. Fry, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until nicely browned, cooked through, but not super mushy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The Mixing of the Vinaigrette

The Mixing of the Vinaigrette

3. Meanwhile, mix mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil in a medium-sized serving bowl till thoroughly combined. Taste. Adjust the mix according to your personal “tang” preference. If it’s too sharp, add a little more oil. If you want more bite, up the lemon juice.

4. Add the warm, cooked potatoes to the vinaigrette. Toss to coat potatoes. Add the parsley, toss, serve.

**Note: this dish reheats fairly well, and the leftovers taste good. Would be fine to make ahead and reheat, just add the parsley later.

Where do you stand in the great mayo debate? Pro or con, share with us here.

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Potato Edition

This past weekend, when called upon to make something for the family’s Easter dinner, the Practical Cook had a little panic attack. Perhaps it is best described as a potato spasm. In charge of the spuds, my sacred duty was to show up with something that both tasted good and was no-fuss. Ever traveled with potato salad?

Tower of Yukon Golds

Tower of Yukon Golds

Part of the aforementioned potato spasm was simply deciding what to do, and with what type of potato. So many options. Mashed potatoes were out, too fussy to travel with. Twice-baked potatoes rock and travel well, but it was very hot this weekend. Ham’s natural companion is potato salad, but what kind?

Flat Italian Parsley!

Flat Italian Parsley!

Confession time, the Practical Cook loves most potato salads (**minus the ones with too much celery seed), but hates to make potato salad, particularly in quantity. Perhaps it’s a flashback to my short stint in a commercial setting, peeling 50 pounds of potatoes to fill a catering order.

But my potato woes are not the point here. The point is that potatoes are flexible to the point of being too flexible. One must maintain focus or get trapped in a sea of potato ideas.

Here are 3 ways to use potatoes.

1. Mashed Potatoes

As discussed last week in the Comfort Me with Sushi post, a good go-to mashed potato recipe is invaluable. This one is delicious and simple. I made them yesterday in less than 30 minutes, flavored with a bit of green garlic that I let bloom in the warm potato pot, sitting in the butter, before adding the potatoes back. Added a splash of buttermilk and chopped parsley. Light, bright, clean flavors, nice work Yukon Golds.

Herbed Mashed Potatoes: Great as a Side or as an Ingredient

Herbed Mashed Potatoes: Great as a Side or as an Ingredient

2. Secret Ingredient

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, which often happens in small quantities, freeze them. The next time you need a binder for something like salmon cakes or meatballs, there you go. You can make a cake or croquette from most anything with a protein, some mashed potatoes, an egg, and seasonings of your choice. Form it and fry it. If you have more leftover mashed potatoes, you can add an egg and seasonings (if needed), roll in bread crumbs and fry into potato cakes.

Yukon Golds in the Buff

Yukon Golds in the Buff

3. Springtime Potato Salad

Though I have no problem with mayo-based potato salad, I don’t like to bring salmonella to any potluck. I opted for a lighter version, based on Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything. This makes enough for a crowd. Peel, dice, and boil ~pounds of potatoes (Yukon Golds and fingerlings will be less starchy). While that’s happening, mix 1/3 cup olive oil, several Tablespoons of white wine or rice wine vinegar, and a healthy dose of mustard (I went with Dijon). Add a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Wisk away! When potatoes are done (~12 to 15 minutes), drain, rinse with cold water briefly, and then toss with vinaigrette. Add scallions (CSA), green garlic (CSA), parsley, whatever you’ve got on hand. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Springtime Potato Salad

Springtime Potato Salad

Do you love, hate, or fear potato salad? Do tell, the Practical Cook’s virtual door is always open: practical cook at gmail dot com

Coming up tomorrow, the first viewer question of the week, What is Greek Yogurt, and why do I care? As always, please feel free to submit questions here, via email, or via Twitter. No promises that I’ll answer my cell phone in the middle of the night West Coasters.

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