Nana’s Potato Salad

Over the weekend, we celebrated my dad’s birthday. We tend to spend our family occasions at home and cook a nice meal. On the odd occasion, we order take out Chinese food (which was always my birthday request growing up). I’ve learned to plan the meal ahead. I’ve got better at timing the things I’m cooking. Each time, the meal seems to come out a little bit better.

Dad’s birthday request was for steak. I got to choose the side dishes. So, I picked up some gorgeous sirloin steaks from The Bauer Butcher, fresh Ontario asparagus from Vincenzo’s (asparagus season is coming to an end soon, so I’m eating as much of this delicious vegetable as possible), and some potatoes for a potato salad. To top it all off, Nana made an amazing confetti cake (dad’s favourite).

BBQ Sirloin Steaks

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Now, would you be surprised if I told you that the highlight of the meal is the potato salad?

You see, it’s my nana’s recipe and a family favourite. Nana has made her family-famous potato salad ever since I can remember… and ever since dad can remember. I have fond memories of spending weekends with Nana as a child and there always being an amazing array of delicious home cooked food. And her potato salad is among my favourites (also check out some of her other recipes that I’ve deconstructed and posted, including Macaroni and Cheese Casserole and Asparagus Soup). As a child I flat out refused to eat potato salad. I claimed I didn’t like it. I especially didn’t like the pre-made potato salads from the grocery store and fast food restaurants (I still don’t really like most of them). However, Nana’s potato salad was the exception. Not only did I eat it, I would go back for seconds.

Steamed Asparagus

The “recipe” is another one that I’ve had to watch time after time to document. The vague directions call for potatoes (it doesn’t say how many), the oil and vinegar dressing is the only thing that is really precise. And that’s as long as you know that the recipe is for 5 servings.

This weekend, I made the salad under Nana’s supervision. The salad was very well received by my family! No complaints. No comparisons. No suggestions for next time. It was just like Nana’s. Hooray! Now I need to make it again without supervision to really put my take on the potato salad to the test.

What makes her salad so much better? So one, she serves it warm. I don’t know why, but this makes a difference in the flavour. Her salad is good as leftovers but is definitely best served and consumed fresh. Like, within an hour of making the salad. It has great sweet and sour flavours in the dressing. It’s smooth with delicious crunch pieces of fresh vegetables. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to make. It just tastes better. (And I don’t think it’s nostalgia making me say this!)

Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Nana’s Potato Salad

Adapted from her sister’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 large potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups when cubed) – approximate cost $1.75
  • 2 teaspoons sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil (canola or olive oil works well) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, diced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced thinly – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 (slightly heaping) cup mayonnaise – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Boil and drain the potatoes.
  2. Allow them to cool until they can be handled.
  3. Peel the potato skin.
    1. If you like the potato skins, skip this step. For my own salad, I would leave the potato skin on. Nana prefers the potato skins removed.
  4. Cut potato into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Combine sugar and vinegar, stirring constantly until dissolved.
  6. Add salad oil to the vinegar and sugar mix.
  7. Pour oil and vinegar mix over hot potatoes.
  8. Allow the potatoes to cool until lukewarm, about room temperature.
  9. Add celery, green pepper, and green onion pieces.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add pepper and mayonnaise.
  12. Mix thoroughly.
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $0.80 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

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White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

The Appetizer: Deviled Eggs

For the appetizer, I stuck to something simple: Deviled Eggs! I remember this being one of my favourite snacks at holiday parties but hadn’t made them myself since I was a child. Even then, I don’t recall how much mom allowed me to “help.” I decided to make them based off of what I remembered of mom’s recipe and adding anything that seemed like it might go well.

In retrospect, I should have made a test batch. I really didn’t know what I was doing (despite this being a quick and easy appetizer). I got lucky that the appetizer turned out well. It probably could have been a bit prettier with a bit more practice. But all in all, it turned out well.

Bryan and I loved it. Our guest, as I found out, is not a fan of deviled eggs. I had sent out an email ahead of time asking about allergies, but had forgot to address preferences. Oops! I felt a bit bad that W could not partake in the appetizer, but knew there was plenty of food coming and worked as quickly as possible to get the rest of dinner ready. He was very polite about the situation and we were happy to keep the leftovers as snacks over the next few days.

Have you ever hosted a party where you accidentally make a dish your guests don’t like? How did you handle the situation?

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs – approximate cost $3.00
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 green onions, sliced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon paprika – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add vinegar.
  3. Add eggs, gently, one at a time.
  4. Boil eggs until cooked through (about 12-15 minutes).
  5. Remove eggs from water and allow to cool.
  6. Crack and peel the egg shells, discard.
  7. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise.
  8. Scoop out the yolk and place in a mixing bowl.
  9. Add dijon mustard, mayonnaise, green onion slices, and sea salt to the mixing bowl.
  10. Use a fork to mix the ingredients until smooth.
  11. Move yolk mixture to a plastic zip-bag.
  12. Cut a small piece from the corner of the bag.
  13. Pipe the yolk mixture into the hallow egg white pieces.
  14. Arrange on a platter.
  15. Sprinkle with paprika.
  16. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 24 servings (approximate cost: $0.17 per serving).

Monday Link Parties

mop it up mondays

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

These burgers are from a few weeks ago. I delayed posting them because I didn’t want all of my posts to be about burgers. I didn’t want you to get bored… and I didn’t want to get bored of writing about burgers. I’ve been making a lot of burgers in the last few months. I make burgers at work and then come home and make more burgers (mind you, mine are a bit more fun because I can put all kinds of ingredients in them).

These burgers in particular were not planned. They were a last minute “you’re leaving at what time and need burgers!?” creation. I was going to roast some Anaheim peppers and add them to the mixture, but there just wasn’t enough time. I hadn’t panned on adding bacon or onion for that matter. I wasn’t very happy with the burger mixture because I had to make last minute changes. Despite that, they were very good. Bryan took two over to a friend’s place to cook for dinner… he tells me everyone else thought they looked and smelled amazing.

I kept two at home for us. I was much less disappointed with the burgers once they were cooked and served for dinner.

Have you ever had to make an unplanned meal in a hurry? How did it turn out?

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 slices of bacon – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 slices of old cheddar cheese (about 200 grams) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cheese buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I baked it in the oven).
  2. Grate the red onion.
  3. Crumble the bacon.
  4. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, bacon, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  6. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  7. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  8. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  9. Serve on cheese buns with two slices of old cheddar cheese and your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Spanish onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Dill relish

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.79 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Monday Link Parties

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mop it up mondays

Mouthwatering Mondays

Beef Burgers with Asian-Inspired Flavours

One of my blogging goals I set for myself is to post three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), except on those really busy weeks when I can’t meet those goals. To help me continue motivating myself and working towards my blogging goals, I’ve decided to start participating in What’s Cooking Wednesday – a weekly blog hop/link party hosted by The King’s Court IVTurning The Clock Back, and Confessions of an Overworked Mom. I’m excited to be participating!


As you can probably tell, I’ve been making a lot of burgers lately. Earlier this week, I shared the chicken burgers with smoked paprika and rosemary that my brother and I prepared for mom’s birthday.

Bryan visits a friend on weekends who owns a barbecue. The get-together is of the ‘bring your own food to throw on the grill’ sort. So, I’ve used this as an opportunity to play with adding various seasonings to burgers. This burger with Asian-inspired flavours is his favourite so far.

I kept a few at home to try myself and it is quite tasty! I especially like it topped with avocado mayo. I would have preferred avocado slices, but none of the avocados at the grocery store were ripe and I didn’t have time to wait for them to ripen.

Bryan has asked me to make this again (even though he ate them just the other week). While I enjoyed these as well, I declined so I can experiment with a few more types of burgers. Surprisingly, he is ok with this (I was half expecting that he would be disappointed). Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when he complimented my saying he loves when I experiment while dreaming up what we will have for dinner.

What are your favourite flavours to add to (beef) burger patties?

Beef Burgers with Asian-Inspired Flavours

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (or white wine) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (more if you’d like it spicy) – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 4 hamburger buns – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, dark soy sauce, mirin (or white wine), lemon juice, chili flakes, sesame oil and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  3. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  5. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns with your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Green onions
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Mayo
  • Japanese mayo
  • Avocado mayo
  • Ketchup

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.85 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Chicken Burgers with Smoked Paprika and Rosemary

One of my blogging goals I set for myself is to post three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), except on those really busy weeks when I can’t meet those goals. To help me continue motivating myself and working towards my blogging goals, I’ve decided to start participating in Mangia Mondays – a weekly blog hop/link party hosted by Delightfully Dowling & Shine Your Light. I’m excited to be participating!


June is a busy month for occasions in my family with both mom and dad’s birthdays and father’s day (not to mention it can be a bit expensive). Yes, yes, I know July is mostly over, but I want to share the chicken burgers that we made for mom’s birthday a few weeks back and I’m just now getting around to sharing the recipe.

This year, my brother and I set out to celebrate on a budget. For each occasion, we made a home-cooked meal (instead of eating out) and took care of the clean-up. This way, we treated out parents to a delicious, healthy meal and they didn’t have to do any work. We’re pretty sure they appreciated it as well as enjoyed the visit.

I didn’t get any photos from dad’s dinner, there were no leftovers for me to bring home and share with you, so I will only be posting about mom’s dinner.

When I shared the recipe for Chicken Roasted with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika, I mentioned that I might have been adding smoked paprika to just about everything I’m cooking. When coming up with the seasoning for these burgers, I insisted on using smoked paprika and consulted with my brother about what else we might use, what toppings we should buy, and what condiments would go best with the burger.

I topped my burger with mayo, lettuce, and a slice of tomato. The one in the photo is one of two that were leftover at the end of the meal, and it was surprisingly delicious the next day (I was worried it would be dry).

What do you cook for your parents on their birthday?

Chicken Burgers with Smoked Paprika and Rosemary

Recipe co-created by me and my brother

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground chicken – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 8 hamburger buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Combine the ground chicken, egg, smoked paprika, rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  3. Divide the chicken mixture into 8 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  5. Cook the chicken burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns with your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Mayo
  • Avocado mayo
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.66 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Check out the other posts for Mangia Monday!

Also linking to Makin’ You Crave Monday and Made by you Monday!

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