Classic Potato Salad

With Labor Day right around the corner, this potato salad it the best addition to any holiday weekend BBQ or gathering!

For as long as I can remember, it was always served at family get togethers. I knew no different. As a child, to be honest, it was not my favorite. But as I grew into an adult, I learned the deliciousness of my Mom’s potato salad.

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I hate celery. I do not like the taste, I do not like the texture, I do not like it raw, I do not like it cooked, I do not like it Sam I am. Pretty much all store bought potato salads have celery in them, so that is a definite no for me.

That means homemade is always the way I go when wanting to add it to a menu. I also think that when you can, it is always a special touch to bring something homemade to a potluck or party.

This has always been a crowd pleaser and I get many requests for this recipe. I made a few adaptions from my Mom’s potato salad to make it my own and hope you will find it just as delicious.

Ingredients

  • 4 Medium Potatoes
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup White Onion-Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Dill Pickles-Chopped
  • 1 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 t Salt
  • 1/4 t (heaping) Black Pepper

Potatoes and Eggs

The first step is to cook the potatoes and eggs ahead of time. They will need to cool completely, so I like to do this the day before and they have plenty of time to cook in the refrigerator.

For the potatoes, I start with putting them in a pot covered with water. I bring the pot to a boil and try to keep it somewhere between a full boil and simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I pull a potato out using some kitchen tongs and pierce it with a skewer. If the skewers has any resistance in the middle, I cook them a little longer. If they split, they are done cooking and should be pulled out.

When all the potatoes are done cooking, I pull them out of the water. I like to put mine into a colander because I think that it allows air to circulate around them and cool faster.

The eggs are cooked in a similar manner as the potatoes. Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cool water. I like to cook hard boiled eggs using a modified version of what Julia Child did. That is, I bring the water to a boil, and cover the eggs. I like to turn the heat to low and leave them for 13 minutes. After the 13 minutes, I used a slotted spoon to put them into a bowl of ice water to cool. Once they have cooled for a while, I crack them a little in the water. This makes them easier to peel.

Pro tip: Don’t try to make hard boiled eggs with fresh eggs. They will not peel well. It is best to use eggs that are at least a week old, which is most store bought eggs.

Once you have cooked and cooled potatoes and eggs, the potato salad is ready to be assembled.

Assembly

Peel and chop the potatoes. add them to a large bowl.

Use an egg slicer to slice the eggs, then turn the eggs 90 degrees and slice them again. Add them to the bowl with the potatoes.

Add the chopped onion and pickles to the bowl. Before I chop the pickles, I do place them between paper towels and try to remove as much liquid as I can so the potato salad is not watery.

Once all those ingredients are in the bowl, give them a light stir. You will stir more after the next step, so it does not need to be perfect.

I add the mayonnaise in a very particular way. This is how my mom did it, so this is how I do it. I believe that it distributes the mayonnaise evenly.

I try to make the ingredients level in the bowl. Using a spatula, I add the mayonnaise a little at a time and spread the mayonnaise completely even over the top of the other ingredients, kind of like you are frosting a cake.

Then use a spoon and fold the mayonnaise into the other ingredients. Once it is about half way mixed in, I add the salt and pepper and continue to stir until the mayonnaise is evenly distributed.

I then taste a little and add a little more salt or pepper if I feel it is needed.

I try not to make the potato salad right before eating it. Personally, I think it tastes better when it can sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and have the flavors marinate a little.

I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Classic Potato Salad

This Potato Salad is so simple, but so good. Bring it to any potluck or party and you are sure to get lots of compliments.
Cook Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup white onion chopped
  • 1/3 cup dill pickles patted dry and chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place the potatoes on a large pot and cover with cool water. Bring the pot to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 30 minutes or until cooked throughout.
  • Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cool water. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and turn the heat to low. Allow to cook for 13 minutes. Remove the cooked eggs from the pot and place into a bowl with ice water to complete cool.
  • Peel and chop the cooked and cooled potatoes, add to a large bowl
  • Peel the eggs. Using a egg slicer, cut each egg twice and add to the same bowl at the potatoes.
  • Add the onions and pickles to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together.
  • Level ingredients in the bowl. Add the mayonnaise a little at a time and spread it across the top of the other ingredients covering it completely.
  • Fold the mayonnaise into the other ingredients. Add the salt and pepper and continue to stir until the mayonnaise is evenly distributed.
  • Taste and add salt or pepper to taste.
  • Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara

Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara

My all-time favorite Food Network show is Good Eats. With the whole show revival theme happening recently, I am crossing my fingers that they bring it back. Until then, I have found America’s Test Kitchen on my local PBS.

One of the first episodes I remember watching had a recipe for “Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara.” I don’t think I had ever had Spaghetti Carbonara, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it. After I did, it instantly became one of my favorite recipes. It is pretty simple and a crown pleaser with ingredients like pasta, bacon and cheese.

I have adapted the America’s Test Kitchen Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara to be made in an Instant Pot. This has sped up the cooking process, and reduced the amount of dishes I need to clean after. Win and win.

Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara
Ingredients used in Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara. Spaghetti, Bacon, Garlic, Eggs, Pecorino Romano Cheese, Pepper

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 lb dry spaghetti
  • 8 strips high quality bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 3/4 t black pepper
  • Instant Pot (I have an 8 quart DUO Plus Instant Pot)

You will start by selecting Sauté on your Instant Pot, on normal if you have that option. It is very important that you let the Instant Pot pre-heat before adding any oil or fat. Because the insert is stainless steel and not non-stick, the metal needs to warm up. Stainless Steel has natural “pores” that will close when the metal is heated and create a natural non-stick surface. If you add the oil before the “pores” close, the oil will fall into the “pores” and prevent them from closing. The pre-heating should only take about 5 minutes.

Hot Instant Pot
Make sure your Instant Pot says “HOT” before adding bacon.

While your Instant Pot is pre-heating, cut your bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and separate the pieces. Once it says HOT, add the bacon and stir every couple of minutes.

Bacon cooking in Instant Pot
Add Bacon to Instant Pot once the display says HOT.

Once the bacon has cooked for about 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup of water to the Instant Pot. I know this seems odd, but it allows the bacon to cook a little slower and allows it to be be both crispy and chewy. Don’t ask me how, but it does. Continue to stir every couple of minutes, and allow the water to cook off and the bacon to finish cooking. The bacon should take about 14 minutes total to cook. Once the bacon is almost done browning, you will add your garlic in the last minute. Stir it in, and cook for about 1 minutes until it is fragrant.

Add Garlic to Instant Pot
Add garlic in the last minute of cooking the bacon.

Select Cancel on the Instant Pot to stop the heating. Use a slotted spoon to remove as much of the bacon and garlic as you can from the Instant Pot and put in onto a plate lined with a paper towel.

Bacon and Garlic on Paper Towel
Drain the bacon and garlic on a paper towel lined plate.

Use a ladle to remove as much of the bacon grease from the Instant Pot as you can. Save the grease for the next steps. About 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease will remain in the bottom of the Instant Pot.

Working in about 3 or 4 batches, break the spaghetti in half and add it to the Instant Pot, trying to spread it out and cross the noodles as much as possible so they don’t clump together during cooking. Once all of the spaghetti is in the Instant Pot, drizzle in about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Make sure you have at least 1 tablespoon saved for the egg-cheese mixture. Try and stir the dry pasta around a little bit to coat the spaghetti with the oil. This will also help prevent the noddles from sticking during the cooking process.

Spaghetti in Instant Pot
Break the spaghetti in half and add to the Instant Pot trying to spread out as much as possible, so the noodles don’t stick together in large clumps.

Add 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Cover and lock into position, making sure the valve is in the sealed position. Set Pressure Cook on High for 6 minutes.

Instant Pot Timer
Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes.

While the Instant Pot comes up to pressure and the pasta cooks, make the sauce mixture. In a small mixing bowl add 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, 3 eggs plus one egg yolk, 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Whisk together until smooth.

Make sure you use Pecorino Romano. Parmesan will not work in this dish. I find mine at my local “poor-man’s Whole Foods,” if you know what I mean.

Eggs, Cheese and Pepper
Add bacon grease, eggs, cheese and pepper to a small mixing bowl.

Once the pasta is done cooking, manually release the pressure and carefully lift the lid off (as you should always do). There will still be some water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. You want it there, leave it be.

Add the egg-cheese mixture and bacon to the Instant Pot. And stir it all together making sure to stir in the starchy water in the bottom. The heat of the pasta, pasta water and Instant Pot will cook the eggs.

Cooked Noodles, Bacon, Egg-cheese Mixture
Add the bacon and egg-cheese mixture to the Instant Pot and stir it all together.

Plate the pasta and enjoy!

Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara
Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara
Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara

Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara

Salt to Taste Blog
This is adapted from America's Test Kitchen to be made in an Instant Pot. This creamy, cheesy pasta dish is a savory crowd pleaser.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 8 slices bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 eggs -3 whole and 1 yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb spaghetti pasta

Instructions
 

  • Set Instant Pot to sauté, on normal if an option. Allow Instant Pot to heat up, then add the bacon. Stir the bacon every couple of minutes. After about 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup water to the Instant Pot. Continue to cook the bacon, stirring every couple of minutes allowing the water to cook off and the bacon to brown. In the last minute of the bacon cooking, add the garlic, stir until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Using a slotted spoon, removed the bacon and garlic onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Use a ladle to remove as much of the bacon grease from the Instant Pot to save for later. Leaving a little bit of grease in the bottom of the Instant Pot is ok.
  • Break the spaghetti in half and add to the Instant Pot spreading it out and criss-crossing it so the pasta does not clump together. Drizzle in 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon grease over the pasta, making sure to reserve 1 tablespoon for later. Stir the pasta as much as possible, trying to coat the pasta in the grease. Add 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Cover and lock into place, sealing the release valve. Set to Pressure Cook on high for 6 minutes.
  • While the pasta cooks, add 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease to a small mixing bowl. Add 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk, the pepper and cheese to the bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, release the pressure from the Instant Pot. When pressure is fully released, open the Instant Pot and stir in the egg-cheese mixture, bacon and garlic. Make sure to stir from the bottom to incorporate remaining starchy water.
Keyword Bacon, Cheese, Egg, Instant Pot, Pasta, Spaghetti

Saucey Kielbasa Over Rice

As a Mom, who also work 40 plus hours a week in an office, the time I spend making dinner is precious. By that, I mean I want to spend as little of my time doing it, but make the meal healthy, balanced and filling.

This is one of my go-to’s. My Mom made this growing up and it is pure comfort food for me. One of the best parts is it is seven ingredients, and can be made in about 30 minutes.

When you have a toddler who’s love language is quality time and is at your feet trying to get you to play with them, a quick dinner is gold.

So here we go, here is what you are going to need:

  • 12 oz Polish Beef Kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch coins
  • 1-15oz can of cut green beans, drained
  • 1-15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1-15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup white rice

Start by getting 2 cups of water boiling in a sauce pan.

While your water is heating to a boil, heat a large skillet on medium-high and add the kielbasa.

While your kielbasa is cooking, your water should have come to a boil. Once it is boiling add the rice. Bring it back up to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 18 minutes.

Try and spread the kielbasa out so that each piece is touching the pan. Cook the kielbasa, stirring occasionally until it is browned on both sides.

The kielbasa will have released its fat in the form of oil, but leave it in the pan. Add the whole tomatoes, green beans, tomato sauce, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce.

Stir it all together and bring it to a simmer. Use your spoon to break-up the the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Allow it to simmer while your rice continues to cook.

When your rice it done, spoon some on your plate and top with the saucey kielbasa. Salt to taste and enjoy!

Saucey Kielbasa Over Rice

Salt to Taste
This warm comfort meal will leave you full and satisfied. Even better, it uses 7 ingredients and takes about 30 minutes!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Drinks, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Soup
Cuisine French, Indian, Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oz polish kielbasa cut into 1/4 inch coins
  • 1 can cut green beans drained
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup white rice

Instructions
 

  • Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a sauce pan.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the kielbasa trying to make sure as many of the pieces are touching the bottom of the pan. 
  • Once the water is boiling add the rice. Bring back to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 18 minutes. 
  • Stir the kielbasa occasionally making sure both sides are browned. 
  • Once the kielbasa is browned, add in the whole tomatoes, green beans, tomato sauce, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir together, use your spoon to break the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Bring to a simmer. 
  • Once rice is done cooking, plate rice and top with saucey kielbasa. Salt to taste and enjoy!

Let me know if you have tried this out and comment below what you think! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do!