Posts Tagged ‘potluck food’

3-step (or so) Spicy Potato Salad

Spicy Potato Salad

Like many in our area, we had stocked up on food to survive a few days without power, anticipating Hurricane Joaquin would make landfall just down the street. And just last week, the US models had the center line of the hurricane’s path pushing right into the Chesapeake Bay, towards Baltimore and DC. So yes, that line was less than 8 miles down the road.

Thankfully, Joaquin moved east and is somewhere out in the Atlantic. That said, we still are dealing with a Nor’easter (fancy colloquialism for a massive rain and wind storm blowing in from the northeast.) Our problem now? It’s Saturday night, the grocery store is closing, and the church pot luck is tomorrow.

But we stocked up on food, right? There must be something…different…tasty…with a little zip, right?

[Cue light bulb over head]

Of course! Here’s a nice side dish you can whip up without too much trouble. And you probably have many of the ingredients siting inside your refrigerator right now! Bonus: it only takes three steps to make – four if you count baking the potatoes, which I didn’t. Well, yes. I baked the potatoes. But no, I did not count that as one of the steps. If I did, I’d have to change the name at the top. Okay fine, here you go:

4-step Spicy Potato Salad

Ingredients

10 – 12 baked potatoes, peeled and cubed (I baked these in advance, thinking they would go bad if we lost power)

2 celery stalks, ends trimmed, diced

3/4 cup bread and butter pickles, rough chopped

3/ 4 cup mayonnaise

4 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard

4 Tablespoons yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons cracked black pepper (use more if you want extra tang-ee-ness!)

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Step 1: bake the potatoes. There. Everyone should be happy!

Step 2: Once the potatoes have baked, let them thoroughly cool, then peel and cube.

Step 2 and a half: Place the cubed potatoes in your serving container to make sure you have enough. Or to make sure you don’t have too much. Take your pick. If you have extra potatoes, fry them in some butter with a few chopped onions and serve with a fried egg on top. But let’s get back to the recipe, shall we?

Step 3: In a separate large bowl, mix all of the other ingredients.

Step 4: Add the cubed potatoes to the mustard mixture and gently fold using a spatula or wooden spoon until all of the potatoes are coated.

Step 4 and a half: Return the spicy potato salad to the serving bowl.

Step 4 and three quarters: Cover with clear wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day – serve with your entree of choice and a fine Merlot. For some of us , the Merlot “is” an entree of choice, but then again – this is a church potluck. No wine to be had, but let’s not talk about that now. Time to hit the rack so I don’t oversleep and miss the dang pot luck!

Enjoy the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese

The secret ingredient!

The secret ingredient!

Spoilers: this recipe contains a secret ingredient. Of course, trained chef’s are reluctant to tell their secrets, but I’m not a chef. I’m just a decent cook. Says so on my business card. But this dish has received too many great comments from taste-testers to keep the recipe under wraps. It’s easy to assemble, cooks in the slow-cooker so you don’t have to watch it much, and is a great twist on what might be the world’s most popular comfort food.

Did I sell you on it?

I hope so.

Next time you need something new for a potluck, try this version of Mac ‘n Pimento Cheese!

Equipment

  • A 4.5 quart crock pot, or the equivalent-sized oven-safe casserole dish or pot.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. cooked macaroni (I use spirals, but the traditional elbow style will be fine)
    • Helpful hint: cook the macaroni the day before and keep refrigerated until needed. Saves time the next day when you are worried about the guests coming early. And they always come early.
  • 10 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz. Pimento Cheese
    • Spoiler: I use Palmetto Cheese with Jalapeno as my secret ingredient. This South Carolina low country specialty food is thankfully available in most higher quality grocery stores, or online here.
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (any version that works for you. Except chocolate milk. That would be a bad choice.)
  • 12 oz. Evaporated Milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Directions

I use a “layer” approach to building this mac ‘n cheese.

  • Place enough cooked macaroni in the bottom of the crock pot to cover the bottom.
  • Sprinkle a handful of shredded Colby Jack cheese on top of the cooked macaroni.
  • Using a small spoon, or a melon baller, place 4 – 5 small scoops of pimento cheese evenly on top of the Colby Jack cheese. I do four corners and a center.
    • Helpful hint: use the spoon to spread the pimento cheese into a thin layer across the entire pot.
  • Repeat the layering of macaroni, Colby Jack cheese, and pimento cheese. Make the top layer one of the cheeses.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
  • Pour the liquid mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese. Try to drizzle it around the entire top surface so liquid will seep down throughout the crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours. If using the oven, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • Now check the inside of the crock pot wall. Using a plastic spatula, scrape the macaroni away to keep the cheese from forming a burnt crust.
  • If your mac ‘n cheese has thickened to the point a large spoonful will maintain its shape, you are done!
    • If still soggy, then cover and continue to cook for 30 additional minutes.
    • Check again. The dish should be done.
      • The longest I have let this cook is 4 hours, but I ended up with a thick inedible crust which wasted probably three servings.

This dish has won rave reviews from both office-mates and church ladies. I don’t which group has the more discriminating palate, but on both occasions I returned home with zero leftovers.

Enjoy!