Loaded Potato Salad

With our busy schedules I don't get the opportunity to do much entertaining, but I always make an exception for the 4th of July. The weather this time of year is beautiful so we invite our family up from Missouri and host a huge BBQ. My husband picks up brats, which are made fresh at the local deli, while I take care of the side dishes and dessert. This year I set about making a double batch of the Creamy Summer Coleslaw I posted last week and went to work on finally perfecting the perfect potato salad. 

Coming up with a potato salad that will please everyone is much harder than you would think. Every person I know has a very firm opinion about what makes potato salad great and don't even get me started on the mustard vs mayo debate. This is one of the few dishes I know that manages to spark an argument every time it hits the table. While my version is mayonnaise based the sour cream gives it a tang that mustard lovers will appreciate. It also doesn't hurt that I've loaded it with shredded cheese, bacon, and chives. My guests managed to tuck away over 3lbs of potato salad in under 20 minutes. It's the first time I've ever run out of a dish halfway through a meal since I tend to make enough food to feed a small army. My Loaded Potato Salad is the perfect summertime side dish so make sure you whip up a batch for your next picnic or BBQ, it's sure to be a hit.

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Loaded Potato Salad
makes approximately 6 - 8 servings 

Ingredients

2.5lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 ounces apple wood smoked bacon ends and pieces
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
3 fresh chives, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 

Directions

  • Place potatoes in a stockpot, cover with warm water, and boil for 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Keep in mind that larger potatoes can take as long as 40 minutes to cook. Transfer cooked potatoes to a bowl of ice water and once cool enough to handle remove the skins. Dice potatoes and set aside.
  • Add bacon to a cold skillet, then set heat on medium. Allow to cook until crispy, periodically flipping so it browns evenly. When cooked to desired level remove and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Once cool cut or crumble the bacon and add to diced potatoes. 
  • In a mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix well, then add to diced potatoes. 
  • Refrigerate at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. Before serving add shredded cheese and stir to combine. Top with additional shredded cheese, bacon, and chives if desired.

Notes:

I like to use bacon ends and pieces because they contain more salt than standard bacon. If you can't find them use an equal amount of sliced bacon and add more kosher salt if you feel it is necessary. 

Honey Glazed Carrots

Easter will be here in a few short days. I don't know about you, but I'm still working on the menu for our holiday meal. This year I've decided to keep things simple, which is why these honey glazed carrots are absolutely perfect. With only a small handful of ingredients needed for the recipe they come together in no time at all, which means I can spend less time in the kitchen cooking and more time enjoying the day with my family. If you're still looking for an easy side dish to round out your holiday feast, then give these delicious carrots a try.

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Honey Glazed Carrots
serves 4 - 6

Ingredients:

½ Cup water
1 pound baby carrots
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ginger, ground
½ teaspoon dried parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat melt butter, add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots and cook for 6 - 8 minutes.
  • Add honey, sea salt, dried parsley and ginger then continue to cook for an additional 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the carrots in glaze. Once carrots are fork tender remove from heat and serve immediately.

Notes:

These carrots are best when served immediately, but you can make them several hours in advance then reheat them just before serving.

Southern-Style Creamed Corn

Before you tell me that you don't like creamed corn I want you to consider something. Have you ever had creamed corn that didn't originate in a can? If not, stop complaining about how you don't like creamed corn, you've never had the real thing. The real thing tastes absolutely nothing like its canned counterpart.

Ok, I'm done with my mini-rant now.

But seriously, creamed corn really is an under appreciated dish because many people do associate it with the high fructose corn syrup laden canned variety they were served as a child. That stuff is just gross (please tell me I didn't just insult your favorite side-dish or childhood memory, or both.) The real thing will make you realize you've been missing out all along, so don't be afraid to give this recipe a try, I promise it really does taste wonderful.

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Southern Style Creamed Corn
makes approximately 12 servings

Ingredients

2 (16oz) bags of frozen sweet corn
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
2 Tablespoons salted butter
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons all-purpose white flour 

Optional:

If you are planning on making this dish for the holidays a little something red and green will really make this dish festive. Try dicing up a little red and green bell pepper, sauté it in the bacon drippings, then add it to the corn before cooking.

½ cup diced green bell pepper
½ cup diced red bell pepper

Directions

  • In a skillet melt bacon drippings over medium heat and add bell pepper. Sauté and set aside for later.
  • In a separate bowl combine cream, sugar, and flour then add to skillet. Stir in black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Continue to stir and let mixture thicken.
  • Add both bags of corn, butter, and bell pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk to thin as needed, then serve immediately or put in a crock-pot to keep warm.