Thursday, September 3, 2015

Week 27 - Picnic Food

I was excited about Week 27's picnic food challenge. I knew immediately that I wanted to do potato salad. I love potato salad. The toughest thing to do was to figure out what type of potato salad. I looked at recipe after recipe, but it was so hard to choose. They all looked good. Eventually I landed on this FoodieCrush recipe for loaded baked potato salad and I knew that that was the one.

I generally followed the original recipe and used the following ingredients:

- 6 large russet potatoes ($2)
- a few tbsp of olive oil to coat potatoes ($0.50)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.50)
- 1 cup mayonnaise ($0.96)
- 3/4 cup sour cream ($1)
- salt and pepper to taste ($0.08)
- 1 lb of bacon ($4)
- 1 batch of green onions ($0.75)
- 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese ($2)

The total for the potato salad came out to $11.79, mostly due to the bacon, but for the amount of potato salad that it made, that's not too bad at all.

I started making this for dinner a lot earlier than most other dinners mostly because of all the work involved (but we still ended up eating late, because I started later than I planned to). The first step was to bake the potatoes. I cleaned the 6 potatoes, put them on a baking sheet lined with foil, pierced them all over with a fork so they wouldn't explode, and then coated them with olive oil. They then baked for an hour until they were tender. Once out of the oven, they had to cool for a bit before I could take off the skins, cut them, and put them in a mixing bowl with the apple cider vinegar to rest for another half an hour. I had a pretty tough time getting the skins off all the potatoes, so some of it stayed on. It was fine.

While the potatoes sat, I mixed together the mayo and sour cream, and then added it to the potatoes. I also worked on prepping the other ingredients. I probably should have done this while the potatoes were baking, but I overestimated my prep ability (why, I don't know, considering my track record). I had to fry the bacon and then crumble it (which would have been better if I cooked some of the bacon pieces a little longer) and chop up the green onions.

Once all that was done, I added the bacon, green onions, shredded cheese, and some salt and black pepper to the big bowl of potatoes, and began the (not so easy) task of mixing them all together.  Once it was all mixed together, it was time to put it in the fridge.

To let the flavors meld, the original recipe said to refrigerate this for 3 hours up to overnight. I definitely did not have time by the time I was done to refrigerate it for 3 hours. I think it might have been refrigerated for 1 hour, possibly 90 minutes at the longest, before we ate. I combined it with a couple of baked panko chicken tenders (from a Costco bag), since (baked) fried chicken seemed kind of picnicky. 

There was a lot of potato salad, so there was plenty of it left for other meals as well. It did taste a little better once it sat overnight in the fridge, but it was still pretty good the first time we ate it. It tasted rich and decadent, but also a little refreshing because it was a cold salad with tons of scallions in it to brighten it up. We really liked this and would definitely eat it again.

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