Salads

Recipe—Potato Salad

The weather is warming up which means one thing—BBQs! No BBQ is complete without a big bowl of potato salad. It’s just un-American! Whenever we have a BBQ and my friend Casey asks what she can bring I say potato salad.  I don’t know what it is that she does, but it is amazing! By far the best ever! While I don’t have her recipe I have tried endlessly to recreate it. I think this batch is my closest ever! It turned out so good. I ended up using equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise and it was just the right balance of creaminess, not overly oily like some of the store bought ones. And I added bacon. Bacon makes everything good. Next time you are looking for a classic American side dish give this recipe a try.

Note: This salad can be made 24 hours in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. 

INGREDIENTS
5–6 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2” pieces (I like to leave the skin on a couple of potatoes)
3/4 c mayonnaise
3/4 c sour cream
2 tbsp mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
4 hardboiled eggs, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2.25 oz can sliced black olives
paprika

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  • Add the diced potatoes and cook for 7–10 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are boiling mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt, pepper, and celery seed.
  • When the potatoes are done cooking drain them in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the hardboiled eggs, bell pepper, celery, green onions, bacon, and olives. (I like to save some of the green onions, bacon, and olives to add to the top of the salad for garnish.)
  • Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with some paprika and garnish with the green onions, bacon, and olives if you saved any.
  • Cover with a lid or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
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Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!

There is something truly wonderful about a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich. Eating a grilled cheese takes me back to my childhood days. I have always been a lover of the ooey gooey cheesy sandwich. There is something absolutely perfect about the simplicity of cheese toasted between a couple of slices of buttered bread.

Today is a day to celebrate the all American sandwich enjoyed by people of all ages. Toasted bread with cheese has been around for ages. The classic version we know in the U.S. originated in the 1920s when sliced bread and American cheese was cheap and easily available. It was one of the more popular meals during the Great Depression for this very reason. Until the 1960s it was served as an open faced sandwich, a single slice of bread with cheese melted on top.

Grilled cheese sandwiches have come a long way with gourmet versions growing in popularity over the last several years. You can use a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables to make the ordinary grilled cheese, extraordinary.

Here are a couple of grownup versions of the American classic for you to try:

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

Fancy Man Grilled Cheese

Whether you prefer a classic or a modern day version, today is still a day about grilled cheese. Wonderful, fabulous, grilled cheese.

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut and butter jelly sandwiches are an American classic. I love PB & Js! And by love I mean I REAAAALLLLLLY love them! I ate more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during my pregnancy than the typical American child does in their first 10 years of life. There is just something so nostalgic about smooth peanut butter squished together with a layer of sweet sticky jelly. It is one of those items that takes me back to being a little girl on the playground. When I saw this recipe for peanut butter and jelly bars I knew they had to be mine! My son’s school had a bake sale coming up and I knew it was the perfect occasion to make these. Come on? Toddlers… peanut butter and jelly… they belong together! These bars turned out fabulous! The cookie layer is almost brownie like, the moistest peanut butter cookie you have ever had and then of course you have the layer of jelly and then just the right amount of crunch from the honey roasted peanuts on top. Superb when served with a big cold glass of milk. I may have a new addiction.

Note: These can be tricky to cut when still warm so be sure to allow for adequate chilling time. Otherwise you may find that the bars sort of crumble.

INGREDIENTS
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 c of your favorite jelly (I used Strawberry)
1 c honey roasted peanuts, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes making sure it’s completely combined.
  • In another bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and fold in using a rubber spatula until completely combined.
  • Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with parchment paper going both directions and spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
  • Transfer 2/3 of your dough to the prepared baking dish and spread the dough out evenly.
  • Press the dough down firmly in the bottom of the entire baking dish making sure it’s even thickness all over.
  • Place the jelly in a small microwave safe bowl and warm it in the microwave for 1 minute and stir using a fork (this really seems to help in spreading it out).
  • Using a rubber spatula spread the warmed jelly over the top of the cookie dough making sure the dough is completely covered.
  • Using your hands, crumble the remaining dough over the top of the jelly.
  • Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the top.
  • Bake until golden, about 50–60 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and set on a trivet to cool for 30minutes.
  • Holding onto the parchment paper, carefully lift the entire contents of the dish and transfer to a large cutting board.
  • Refrigerate the whole dish for 1–2 hours making sure it is completely cool before trying to cut into bars.
  • After bars have cooled cut into squares using a sharp knife or even a pizza wheel.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.