My Dad’s Potato Salad

When it comes to potato salads, I am extremely picky. This potato salad is the main reason I am so picky. My Dad has been making this potato salad for years and my whole family loves it. He always makes a big batch when we visit and we will eat it with dinners and lunches for days after (though, it usually doesn’t last for too long in our house :)). I think the reason I like my Dad’s potato salad so much is because it has big chunks of potatoes and not a ton of mayonnaise. I really hate it when potato salads have tiny pieces of potatoes that are drowning in mayo! This potato salad is very easy to make and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients. The celery and green pepper add color and a nice crunch. You can use regular mayo, reduced fat mayo, and even the reduced fat made with olive oil kind and it still tastes great!

My Dad’s Potato Salad

Ingredients:

Serves 8-10

– 3 1/2 lbs. peeled Idaho potatoes
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1 cup diced green pepper
– 1 cup diced celery
– 1/2 cup mayonnaise
– 4 hard-boiled eggs
– 1/2 tsp. paprika

Directions:

1. Dice peeled potatoes into bite-sized cubes. Put into large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes* on medium heat. Drain cooked potatoes in a colander and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, add potatoes, celery, green pepper, salt and pepper, and mayonnaise. Mix together.

3. Slice hard-boiled eggs and place over the top of salad. Sprinkle with paprika. (This is really for presentation-sake. You can mix the eggs and paprika in with the rest of the potato salad if you would rather! That is usually what happens once we all dig in anyway!).

4. Refrigerate potato salad for at least 2 hours before serving.

*Notes: To this day, I still have a hard time with over-cooking my potatoes. You want them to be fork tender, but you don’t want to overcook them to the point where they fall apart when you put a fork in them.

Beer Burgers


Well, the air conditioner in our apartment is broke AGAIN! So grilling these beer burgers last night was a little difficult :). The picture does not do these beer burgers justice. I don’t make burgers very often because they never come out right, but my brother gave me this recipe so I thought I would give it a try since we were in the mood for some BBQ for Memorial Day. My brother recommends using an ale or lager beer for this recipe so I used Sam Adams Summer Ale (also his recommendation) and the burgers had great flavor! The only thing my husband didn’t like was the diced onion, so the next time I make these, I am going to try adding onion powder instead.

Beer Burgers

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. ground round
– 1 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. black pepper
– 1/2 c. diced onion (or 2 tsp. onion powder)
– 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– *1/2 cup beer
– 4 slices of cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine meat, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onions, and beer. Combine and form into 4 patties.

2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat (Brush pan with olive oil to prevent sticking). Once grill is hot, cook burgers for approximately 3-4 minutes and turn over. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add cheese and cook until melted or until meat is cooked to your desired taste.

Notes: The original recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of beer, however, my brother recommended using 1/2 cup to get more flavor. If you use 1/2 cup, the meat mixture will seem a little watery, but most of it will cook off on the grill!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

My husband loves buffalo chicken and this is his favorite pizza that I make. I am not usually a fan of buffalo sauce, but I will say that this buffalo chicken pizza is pretty tasty and very easy to make. Unless I already have cooked chicken handy in my fridge, I like to buy a rotisserie chicken from our grocery store so that I can just shred up the meat. I make my own buffalo sauce for this one, but you can certainly just use a bottled buffalo sauce. The trick with this pizza is that since you are already using cooked chicken and you want to avoid drying it out, you have to cook the dough about halfway on its own before adding chicken and the cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. chilled pizza dough
– 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
– 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. Tabasco sauce
– 1 Tbs. garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizza stone or pizza pan by brushing a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil onto the stone or pan.

2. Coat dough and hands in the flour so that the dough does not stick to your hands. Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/2 inch thick.

3. Using a pastry brush, brush the extra virgin olive oil all over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for approximately 5-7 minutes or until a very light golden brown. Remove dough from oven.

4. While dough is baking, melt butter in a bowl and mix in Tabasco sauce (by the way, if you don’t like a lot of hot flavor, you might want to do less of the Tabasco sauce), reserve 2 tablespoons of the sauce, toss chicken into the bowl and coat chicken evenly with remaining buffalo sauce.

5. Brush the 2 tbs. of buffalo sauce onto the precooked dough, spread cheese and chicken mixture evenly and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese is fully melted.

Broccoli and Feta Pizza

My mom started the tradition of making homemade pizzas every weekend back when I was in high school. Instead of eating at the dinner table, we put a big tablecloth on the coffee table in the family room and eat in there while watching a movie together. Now as an adult, I still enjoy making homemade pizzas on the weekend. This broccoli and feta pizza is one of my favorites! My husband and I very rarely order pizza because we much prefer the taste of our own pizzas compared to the popular pizza chains out there and because we can control the ingredients (and the grease!)!

When it comes to the dough, I don’t usually make my own. My grocery store (Publix) carries raw pizza dough in their bakery and it is much easier (especially on a Friday night!) to just buy it ready-made. It tastes the same as if I would have made it myself without all the fuss! But, if you want to make your own, I love the Olive Oil Pizza Dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I originally found it through another food blog that I like to read, My Baking Addiction. You can get the recipe here.

Broccoli and Feta Pizza

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. chilled pizza dough
– 1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
– 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese (crumbled)
– 1 Tbs. garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizza stone or pizza pan by brushing a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil onto the stone or pan.

2. Coat dough and hands in the flour so that the dough does not stick to your hands. Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/2 inch thick.

3.Using a pastry brush, brush the extra virgin olive oil all over the rolled out dough. Brush garlic evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly. Spread cheese evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle broccoli* and feta cheese.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the crust and the bottom . Once the top is a light golden brown, I like to slide the pizza off the stone or pan directly onto the oven grate so that the bottom of the pizza can get nice and brown.

5. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Cut it up, pour yourself a glass of wine, pop in a movie, and you have yourself a perfect Friday night!

*Notes: In order to cook my broccoli, I usually steam it over the stove or in the microwave in a bowl of water. Before you put the broccoli onto your pizza, make sure that it has been drained, otherwise your pizza might be watery. I like to squeeze out the water by putting the broccoli onto a paper towel.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

I know what some of you are thinking, “What the heck is Pasta Aglio e Olio?!”. Pasta Aglio e Olio is a traditional Italian dish that means pasta with garlic and olive oil (two of an Italian’s favorite things!). My Grandma taught me this recipe many years ago. On its own, it can be kind of plain, so I typically make it as a side dish with chicken or fish. I like this pasta dish because it is simple and not too heavy. To give it extra flavor, I sometimes add lemon juice and/or a splash of white wine!

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Ingredients:

Serves 4

– 1 lb. pasta (I recommend using spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine for this. Also, if you can get fresh pasta, this will taste even better!)
– 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 Tbs. salted butter
– 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
– 2 1/2 Tbs. garlic, minced
– 1 Tbs. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1/4 c. chopped parsley
– Parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper to taste
– Optional: 1/4 c. white wine

Directions:

1. Bring about 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add in 1 tbs. of salt. Add pasta. Cook until tender (approximately 10-15 minutes) and drain pasta.

2. Heat non-stick pan to medium heat. Add butter, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice (and wine, if using it) and simmer. Gradually add in pasta, making sure to coat all of it in the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Remove pasta from pan into a serving bowl. Toss parsley and Parmesan cheese into pasta.

4. Manga! (Eat!) :).

Chicken Piccata

I’m excited to finally get an Italian dish posted! Since I am Italian, you can all expect a number of Italian recipes on my blog. Many of these recipes have been passed down through my family for many years! Most of my Italian dishes have been taught to me by my grandma and mother. This Chicken Piccata is a recipe my mom taught me to make a few years back. I love this recipe because of the amazing lemon, wine, and butter sauce that covers the chicken. It gives it such a bold flavor (and in case you haven’t noticed, anything covered in lemon makes me a happy girl!) I often make a little extra of the sauce so that I can drizzle it over whatever side dishes I make along with it.

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients:

Serves 2-3*

– 1 lb. chicken breast, cut in half and butterflied
– 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
– 3 Tbs. salted butter
– 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
– 1 c. all-purpose flour
– 1/4 c. white wine
– 3 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. black pepper
– 1 Tbs. capers

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized bowl, add flour, salt and pepper and mix well.

2. Heat non-stick pan to medium heat. Add 2 Tbs. of the butter. Once butter is melted, dredge chicken in the flour mixture and put into pan. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, then turn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

3. While chicken is cooking, mince garlic and measure wine and lemon juice. Set aside until chicken is done.

4. Once chicken is done, place each piece onto a serving dish and set aside. Without cleaning the pan (you want the pan drippings!), add remaining tbs. of butter, garlic, wine and lemon juice. Let sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5. Remove sauce from heat and carefully drizzle over chicken until each piece is covered in the sauce. Set any remaining sauce aside. Top chicken with capers and serve!

Suggested sides: I typically make this dish with rosemary roasted potatoes or with my Pasta Aglio e Olio. I love to drizzle any remaining sauce onto these great sides!

*Note: I used this exact recipe tonight for my just my husband and I and we had plenty of leftovers. It definitely could have served a 3rd person, but a 4th might be questionable. If you want to make this for 4 people, I would use 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast.