About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Easy Potato Salad

My last post focused on making pasta salad. As you can see, I am not ready to give up the warm days of summer yet. In fact, it is "Indian Summer" in the South, so it's still perfectly acceptable to eat different forms of cold salads. We don't ban salad after Labor Day like we ban wearing white shoes.

I want to share my recipe for potato salad. Like the pasta salad in the last post, it only tastes better with a little time in the refrigerator. It's tasty with pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, or hamburgers.

Easy Potato Salad

5-7 potatoes or 3-4 baking potatoes (I like to use red potatoes and sometimes skip the peeling)
mayonnaise (I use a combination of whole-fat Duke's mayonnaise and Kraft reduced fat with olive oil)
real bacon bits or 2 strips of bacon cooked crisp and diced
Potato Topping flavoring packet (found in the produce section of the grocery store)
sea salt
diced onion (optional)

Peel, cut into medium-sized cubes or chunks, and boil the potatoes in enough water to cover them until just tender. As they are boiling, add some sea salt. Be sure not to overcook or they will become mushy when you try to stir in the seasonings.

Drain the potatoes and rinse with cool water. Put them in a large bowl and add a few squirts of mustard and about 3/4 cup mayonnaise. You will have to stir and see if that makes the right consistency, adding mustard or mayonnaise as needed. The end result will not be soupy in any way, but each potato cube should be covered with mayo and mustard. Next sprinkle on Potato Topping, bacon bits, sea salt and pepper to taste, and diced onion (optional). It's hard to guess how much you'll need - like a good cook, you'll need to taste test along the way to get it just right for your family.

Store in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to 48 hours. What a great side dish to make ahead of the other meal preparation events.

Viva la Indian Summer!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anytime Pasta Salad

When I think of pasta salad, I often label it in my mind as a summer side dish, but that really isn't true. Since my summer tomatoes are gone for the year (I stripped the vines last week and I'm silently crying inside), I use cans of diced tomatoes to add flavor to pasta dishes.

I want to share a delicious pasta side dish I made this summer as an accompaniment to grilled chicken and hamburgers. It's tasty with a long list of main dishes, so that's why I call it...(drum roll)...

Anytime Pasta Salad

bag of tri-colored pasta spirals
can of diced tomatoes
can of Ro-tel
fat-free Zesty Italian dressing
crumbled goat cheese or crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta with the cans of tomatoes and Ro-tel, both undrained. Pour in enough Italian dressing to coat all of the pasta. I like to add enough so it's a little "soupy"; it will soak in overnight in the refrigerator and make the pasta extra delicious. Mix all well. Add crumbled goat cheese (my top pick) or crumbled feta cheese (great, too) to suit your taste. Personally, the more cheese the merrier. Mix in and store the entire dish in the refrigerator. If you have time to allow it to set in the refrigerator overnight, it is more flavorful.

This dish keeps in the refrigerator for a week. Take it from a Mama who knows - it makes just as good of a lunch you can eat standing up (especially with added pepperoni slices), as it does as a supper side dish. I can eat this pasta and teach a math lesson simultaneously like nobody's business!