Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Labor Day 2013 Recap

I realize summer is over and everyone has moved on to pumpkin spice lattes and apple picking, but I have a couple posts still to go covering summery things, so please bear with me. Plus, it is supposed to by 90 degrees in NJ today so it definitely still feels like summer here! 

The week before Labor Day Joe and I decided to throw a last minute, impromptu BBQ. We knew a lot of people would probably already have plans, but we wound up with a decent crowd. I decided to give a couple new recipes a spin.

First up was this Loaded Baked Potato Salad I have had pinned for over year:
Source: Dishing With Leslie
I attempted to double Leslie's recipe, but probably did a little more than double with the potatoes. As a result, I am not sure I had the right ratio of potato versus dressing.

Clearly Leslie is also a much better food photographer than me.
The Verdict: It was ok. I think I threw off the ratio since I only doubled the wet ingredients. I also undercooked the potatoes a little bit. I am just not that good at making a good potato salad. I would say I would try it again because I think its a great recipe, but I would probably be better off just buying it next time.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad
recipe by Dishing With Leslie
4 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly chopped chives, divided
8 strips of bacon (6 for the salad and 2 for topping) cooked and crumbled
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
Serves 4 - 6 (Simply double list of ingredients if you need a larger serving)

In a small bowl, mix together your mayonnaise, and sour cream. Make sure the two are completely combined and then add half of the chives, cheese, and pepper. Taste mixture to see if you prefer some salt. (I usually add a dash or two.) Let chill in fridge for a bit. Meanwhile, peel and cube your potatoes in to bite size pieces. Put in a large pot, cover with water, and boil until fork tender. About 20 minutes. *You need to keep an eye on them. If they cook too long you'll end up with more of a mashed potato consistency when you mix them with the sauce.

When potatoes are ready, drain and let cool just a bit. *Let them cool a lot if you plan to serve chilled. Put potatoes in a large bowl or dish and combine with sour cream mixture. Fold in most of your crumbled bacon. Top with remaining half of chives and remaining crumbled bacon.
*See Leslie's post for some helpful notes.

Next up was this delicious looking Caprese Pasta Salad:
Source: Simple Scratch
Laurie grows her own basil, but I just picked some up from the foodstore. I can barely keep my flowers alive - I would hate to see what I could do to herbs! I couldn't find orecchiette pasta, so I settled on small shells.
Again, my food photos are crap, but it was night so it was dark and this is the best I could do.
The Verdict: I thought it was delicious. I am a sucker for anything with balsamic vinegar though so I may be biased.

Things to Consider: I used a whole pound of pasta and just tried to balance out the right amount of everything else. I probably could have used a little more dressing, cut the mozzarella a little smaller and added more tomatoes (I used only one package). Next time I would try just using less pasta as we had more than enough. I will definitely be making this again though - it was so easy and delicious! 

Caprese Pasta Salad
recipe by Simply Scratch

2 cups dried Orecchiette Pasta, cooked as directed on the package
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 container Fresh Mozzarella Pearls {or 1 ball fresh mozzarella, cubed small}
1 cup Fresh Basil, sliced into ribbons
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
2 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, squeezed through a garlic press
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

In a small bowl squeeze two cloves of garlic through a garlic press. Pour in balsamic vinegar and whisk. Continue to whisk while slowly, pouring in the three tablespoons of olive oil in steady stream.

Cook orecchiette pasta according to package directions. Drain and then rinse with cold water. Add the cold pasta to a bowl along with the quartered tomatoes, fresh mozzarella pearls and basil ribbons.

Season with kosher salt and black pepper and drizzle with desired amount of the balsamic vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste preference before serving!

I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day weekend and is settling into their fall routines. JJ had his first day of "school" (which is really just mom's day out type program my aunt is taking him to twice a week) this week. He loved it and I am so excited for him to meet some new little friends and work on his social skills.
I promise I will get to some pumpkin recipes soon! 

1 comment:

  1. you should try this!


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