The Best Potato Salad Recipe- PERIOD!

There are literally hundreds of ways to make Potato Salad. However, none of them should involve raisins (That’s an internet thing, I’ve never actually seen it in person).

This is my great grandmother Tootie’s Potato Salad Recipe, and I think it’s the best. Luckily for me, we’ve gotten all of the veggie ingredients in this week’s Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box.  And because they sell eggs too as an add-on, you can get most everything you need without leaving home.

This recipe is pretty simple.

Tootie’s Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled, cut-up potatoes (bite-size pieces)
  • 3 ribs of green celery, cut into bite-size pieces- I slice each rib in half and into small pieces.
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing- I like Wishbone
  • 1/2 cup Full Fat Mayo. I like Best Foods/Hellmans, but Dukes is good too
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives or parsley to garnish- optional

Directions

  1. Boil potatoes in water until they are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes, do not rinse.
  3. Chill potatoes in the fridge (30 minutes to 1 hour-ish).
  4. In a bowl, combine the salad dressing and mayo, pour over cooled potatoes, and stir. You want to coat the potatoes in the mixture.
  5. Add in the celery and eggs. The egg yolks will break down and combine with the dressing/mayo mixture, turning light to medium yellow.
  6. Chill in the fridge at least overnight. If the salad is too dry, add a few more tablespoons of mayo and dressing (a 2-parts mayo to 1-part dressing mixture).
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Prior to serving top with chives or parsley if desired.

If you like green onions (my mom doesn’t like raw onions so she doesn’t add them), you can add 1-2 sliced green onions to the salad during step 5.  I grew up without it, but they are really good in this salad.

This salad is good in the fridge for up to a week and is perfect for the 4th of July or other summer celebrations.

Dietary options: It’s already vegetarian, but I’m not sure it could be made vegan unless you use veganaise and omit the eggs (in my opinion it needs).

Recipe: Meaty Baked Pasta!

We eat a lot of veggies in this house, but recently I picked up a few pounds of bulk hot Italian sausage and I was jonesing for a meaty baked pasta dish. We don’t eat a lot of meat, so 1 pound for this recipe is a lot for us. If you are a big meat eater, you can add up to an extra pound of sausage to make it extra meaty.

This recipe makes a lot, but, it keeps well for leftovers and you can freeze leftovers as well.

Meaty Baked Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 box pasta (whatever variety you like best), cooked per package directions
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 T. butter or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 32 oz of your favorite red pasta sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup parmesan/romano blend cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook pasta per directions, drain off the water, reserving 2-3 Tablespoons.
  3. In a large pan, cook and crumble Italian sausage. After it is cooked, drain it on a paper towel.
  4. Using the same pan, saute onion and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are clear and have started to caramelize.
  5. Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add in zucchini, sauce, and tomato paste- cook until sauce comes to a simmer.
  7. Add meat back in, and stir to combine.
  8. Add reserved pasta water to the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  9. In a baking dish layer sauce, pasta, cheese, and sauce. Repeat until the baking dish is full and top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Cover the baking dish with a lid or tented foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the lid/foil and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  12. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread!

This recipe made a 9×13 baking dish, which will serve 6-8 people a hearty portion.

If you need more veggies in your life, add carrots, drained diced petite tomatoes, more peppers, and even a few handfuls of spinach!

This meal was so satisfying. I’ve had leftovers for lunch twice now.

I ended up with extra sauce, and I plan on making calzones with it.

Recipe: Chicken Corn Chowder

This is a super easy recipe! I made this on Saturday night to be served this week (and some went into the freezer for future meals).

We had a rotisserie chicken, so I made the stock from scratch and used some of the rotisserie chicken meat, but that’s optional. You could use canned broth/stock and canned chicken if you wanted.

You may have most of these ingredients on hand!

Chicken Corn Chowder

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cups corn (I used corn from a past CSA box that I had roasted, removed from the cob, and froze for later use), canned or frozen corn is great. If using canned, rinse the corn before using
  • 1.5 cups chicken, cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces (You can use canned chicken, drained and rinsed, or rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cup whole milk (or 1 can evaporated milk)
  • 4 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup mashed potato flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1t. Poultry seasoning

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, melt butter and saute onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add corn to the pot, stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low for 10-15 minutes, allowing the soup to thicken and heat throughout.
  4. Remove the bay leaf prior to serving.

Serve with green salad and popovers.

Dietary options:

  • For dairy free, use your favorite cooking oil/spread and non-dairy milk.
  • For vegetarian options, omit chicken (or use your favorite meat-free chick’n alternative), and use veggie broth in place of chicken broth.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free.

 

Recipe: Parm Crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

I posted this pic on IG and Facebook the other day, and tons of people messaged me for the recipe. It’s super EASY. And tasty. And slightly addictive.

Here’s the recipe. And you’re welcome.

Parm Crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. softened butter
  • 2 T. Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese (make sure your parm is 100% cheese. Some cheaper brands have cellulose filler)
  • 2 pieces of bread (I used Oasis Rosemary Sourdough bread)
  • 2-4 slices of cheese- I used sharp cheddar, but provolone is good too.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix butter and parm.
  2. Spread the butter mixture on 1 side of each piece of bread.
  3. Assemble sandwich in griddle/frying pan: bread (butter side out), cheese, remaining bread.
  4. cook on medium heat for 2-4 minutes, until the parm and the butter have formed a crust. Flip the sandwich and cook on the other side.

This sandwich is good on its own or good with soup. I recommend Roasted Onion and Caramelized Onion Bisque.

Cinco De Mayo Recipe Round-Up!

It’s Cinco De Mayo! Let’s celebrate the Mexican victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. Wanna learn more about the holiday’s origins? Here is the Wikipedia article.

If you are looking for some tasty recipes with a Mexican/South American flare, here are a few of mine:

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Easy Cheesy Enchiladas

Beefy Taco Skillet
Black Bean Veggie Soup
Beef Machacas (Slowcooker recipe)
Corn and Avocado Salsa!
Homemade Pico De Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

None of these are authentic, as they were created in my kitchen here in San Diego.

Talk Back: What are your favorite Cinco De Mayo favorites?
 

Family Recipe: Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

This recipe is easy to make, and amazing. It uses Red Pesto, which has a tomato base. It’s warm, filling, and comforting.

The first thing you need to do is roast some veggies. Check my recipe here. I roast 5-ish lbs of veggies each week, so we usually have some in the fridge.

 

Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil salted water and cook pasta per package directions. As you drain, reserve some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup).
  3. In a large baking dish (11×13) mix roasted veggies, pasta, red pesto, and add pasta water a little bit at a time, until all the pasta is coated. You may not need all 1/2 cup.
  4. Mix in 1/2 of the cheese.
  5. Smooth the mixture down into the baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes covered.
  6. After 20 minutes, top with the remaining cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 10-ish minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8. This re-heats well, if there are any leftovers.

Notes:

  • This dish is vegetarian, but not vegan. This is a vegan red pesto, but I’ve not tried it. To make it vegan, use a vegan red pesto and vegan Italian Cheese blend.
  • Pesto is not a nut-free product! If you have a nut allergy, be careful!
  • Feel free to use your favorite pasta (high protein, gluten-free, made from soy, etc). I do not recommend shirataki noodles- They have a weird texture and smell (seriously).

 

Veggie Loaded Zuppa Toscana Recipe!

I’ve posted my copycat Zuppa Toscana recipe before and it’s good, but this recipe is better! Heartier, more filling, and best yet- Loaded with Veggies. We got all of the veggies from our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. To learn more about these awesome produce boxes, check out my post here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of Italian Sausage (hot or mild, your choice)
  • 3 T. crumbled cooked bacon (I like the kind from Costco)
  • 2 T. Butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces (I left the skin on- it’s up to you)
  • 1-quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bag triple-washed spinach
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (or 12 oz milk of your choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, cook and crumble Italian Sausage
  2. Add in bacon and heat  until sizzling
  3. Add butter, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add garlic, and herbs/bay leaf- cook until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, and scrape brown cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add Potatoes, cook on medium with the lid on the pot until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).
  7. Remove lid, turn the stove up to high, add spinach. Stir and incorporate the spinach until wilted.
  8. Turn the stove down to low, add milk, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove Bay leaf prior to serving.

This makes 10-12 servings. Serve with bread of your choice. I like to top with a little parmesan cheese.

Notes/Substitutions:

  • If you prefer Kale, substitute for the spinach and add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  • This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and it freezes well.
  • If you are a vegetarian, substitute 2 cans of rinsed/drained cannellini beans in place of the Italian sausage (or meat-free Italian sausage), and use crumbled vegetarian/vegan bacon. Use Vegetable broth, and 12 oz. alternative milk (I like almond or hazelnut for this recipe). Add in 1/2 t. Fennel Seed, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (to mimic the flavor of Italian sausage) when using beans.

 

Family Recipe: Bread Bowl Cheese Dip

This recipe is perfect for potlucks, parties, basically any time you want to eat cheesy dip from a bread boule.

It’s been in the family for years. At least 25.

 

It is not healthy. It is not low sodium. This is a sometimes food for sure.

Bread Bowl

Serves 10-12 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz jar Cheese Whiz (It has to be cheez whiz)
  • 10 slices Hormel Dried Beef
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 bread boule (I like sourdough, but whatever you enjoy)

Directions:

  1. To prepare the bread bowl, cut a shallow square at the top of the bread. Pull it off in one piece, reserve. Pull out the soft interior of the bread until there is a decent-sized cavity. Tear the “guts” of the bread that you pulled out into bite-size pieces. Do the same with the under/soft side of the square piece that was cut off. This is now the “lid” to the bowl.
  2. On a foil-lined baking tray, scatter your little bread “guts”. these will be heated up and used to scoop the dip up.
  3. Rinse the dried beef very well. It is very salty. Once it has been rinsed and patted dry (I use a paper towel), cut into bite-sized pieces. I prefer mine to be smaller than a penny.
  4. Rinse the green onions and slice. I usually use the bottom 1/4-1/2 of each, discarding the very white end part with the roots (ick).
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, cheez whiz. Fold in the dried beef and green onions.
  6. Pour mixture into the bread bowl cavity, top with the bread lid. Wrap in tin foil, place on a baking tray, and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
  7. After the initial baking time, unwrap, remove the lid of the bowl and bake for another 15 minutes.
  8. During the last 5 minutes of baking, place the tray of small torn bread pieces in the oven to crisp up.
  9. Serve bread bowl HOT with torn bread pieces, crackers, cocktail bread, crudities, whatever appeals to you.

For my family, the best part is tearing off pieces of the bowl to eat once most of the interior dip has been eaten.

Bread Bowl makes a great dish for THE BIG GAME, which is this coming Sunday.

Trying to Add Veggies to Your Meals?

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to eat better or increase your intake of fruits and veggies?

Since we have been getting CSA boxes from Yasukochi Family Farms we’ve been adding tons of fresh fruit and veg to our diet. It’s fun to get the kids involved in preparing and tasting new and different fruits and veggies.

I’ve made a round-up with some of my favorite fruit and veggie recipes to inspire you to add a little more “green” to your family’s meals!

New Recipe: Italian Pot Roast

I got a roast the other day because I really wanted something beefy and comforting, but I didn’t want to make Moosie’s Pot Roast, because while it’s so good, it’s a tad heavy.

I wanted to make something beefy, flavorful, and rich, but not heavy. I pulled out a few cookbooks, looked through the cupboard and the cooler where the veggies are chilling (pun intended), and came up with this. It’s like Oso Bucco, Bolognese sauce, and beef stew had a complicated tryst. All of the fresh vegetables came from our Yasukochi CSA Box.

 

 

 

 

Italian Pot Roast

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chuck Roast (2-3 lbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced (I used Red, but use whatever you’ve got)
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled and diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 6-8 fresh tomatoes, chopped (You can substitute 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Italian Seasoning

Directions:

  1. Salt and pepper the roast and set aside. I recommend allowing the roast to warm up to room temp before searing it.
  2. In a large pan, heat 2 T. olive oil, and saute onions, peppers for about 10-15 minutes, until soft and browned.
  3. Add in carrots and garlic, and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes. Garlic will be slightly browned and fragrant.
  4. While veggies are cooking, chop up tomatoes and add to slow cooker.
  5. Add tomato paste to slow cooker.
  6. Add cooked veggies, bay leaf, and Italian Seasoning to the slow cooker.
  7. Add remaining 2 T. olive oil to the previously used large pan, and allow to warm.
  8. Sear the roast on all sides.
  9. Add roast to slow cooker.
  10. Pour wine into the large pan and turn heat to medium-high. Scrape all browned meat and veggie bits with a wooden spoon. One wine comes to a brief boil and all browned bits are scraped off the pan, pour liquid into the slow cooker.
  11. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  12. Put roast beef from the slow cooker, and shred with forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir. Cook for an additional hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes or pasta/noodles of your choice.