Tater Tot Potato Skins

Anita declared these as “the only way we will cook tater tots from now on”. And I am in total agreement with her too. Just like potato skins they have a crunchy side and a soft side and taste, well, potato-y. Topped with our favorite potato skin toppings, cheese, green onion and sour cream, these tater tot potato skins can be served as appetizers at your next party or as a side at your next grill-out. Make sure you make lots of them, though, because they are crazy addicting.
You can actually skip the thawing of the tater tots and squash the tots after they have been in the oven for 10 minutes. I found this works fine, but not quite as well as when you fully thaw the tater tots first. They don’t squash out quite as flat, but they still get super duper crispy crunchy, which is the goal.

I spoon sour cream into a squirt bottle to top these tater tot potato skins nice and evenly. You can of course spoon the sour cream directly on top, but I usually end up with a little too much in one spot and not enough in another. The squirt bottle solves that problem.

Also try my tater tot nachos.

Tater Tot Potato Skins
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (2 pound) bag Ore-Ida Crispy Tater Tots, thawed completely
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F..
  2. Spray two large baking sheets with non-stick spray (I found that a Silpat mat works best)
  3. Use the back of a large spoon to flatten the tots. Don't press too hard if they don't flatten immediately.
  4. Place into the oven for 10 minutes. Check if any of the tots need a bit more flattening.
  5. Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the tots are turning golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until crispy.
  7. Remove from the oven.
  8. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the sour cream and sprinkle with the green onions and bacon.

Awesome Green Beans

Anita said that I must make these green beans again, and soon. She proclaimed them as ‘awesome’, and I definitely agree. This is not a complicated recipe, but it gives green beans fantastic flavor. They need help, let’s face it. No one has ever sat down with a bucket of cooked beans with nothing else on them and said “dang, these are awesome!”. Sit down with a bucket of these beans you will say “dang, these are awesome!”.

Do not skimp on the chicken broth. I (almost) always use my homemade broth, but you can use a good quality store-bought broth or stock instead. For something totally different, substitute smoked turkey broth.

Awesome Green Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped (I use Merzetta's roasted pepper deli strips)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onions and cook for one minute.
  3. Add the green beans and cook until bright green, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
  5. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover but leave the cover slightly ajar and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates and the beans are crisp-tender, 20-30 minutes. Add more broth if needed.
  6. Check the seasoning and serve.

Parmesan Broccoli Potatoes

Anita proclaimed that the broccoli in these Parmesan broccoli potatoes was the best she’s ever had. I guess I could’ve left out the potatoes but they were my favorite! It’s a win-win dish for us! I made them on the grill, cooking them over indirect heat, but you can cook them in the oven just as easily. They really are fantastic!

After about 10 minutes I checked the potatoes and broccoli and gave them a little stir. If they’re looking a little dry don’t be afraid to add a bit (1/4 cup!) of water and stir. Depending on how big your potatoes and broccoli florets are you might need a bit longer than the 15 minute cooking time.

Parmesan Broccoli Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 ounces broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. If cooking in the oven, preheat to 400 F. If cooking a grill fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
  3. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle with oil and toss gently to coat.
  5. Fold in the broccoli.
  6. Transfer to a baking dish (oven) or disposable aluminum pan (grill). Add the water and cover with foil.
  7. Bake or grill about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  8. Serve topped with Parmesan and garnished with parsley.

Tangy Bean Salad

One thing is guaranteed. Put a bean salad in front of me, and it’s going to disappear. For me, it doesn’t get any better or easier. The perfect contrast in textures and flavors. A little sweet. A little tang. There are hundreds of variations on bean salad, and I am pretty sure I’ve made and enjoyed them all. This tangy bean salad is no exception. Made in no time, but better after it gets happy in the fridge for a few hours first.
Like with any good ole bean salad you can change this tangy bean salad up to suit your tastes. I little slices fresh jalapeno is great if you like a little kick. Roasted red bell pepper instead of green bell pepper is also a nice change.

Tangy Bean Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans green and wax bean blend
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and oil.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper and mix.
  3. Rinse and drain the beans. Add to the bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Corn Salad

Corn is in season and that’s a happy time for me. And as much as I love grilled corn-on-the-cob, corn in salads is tied for my favorite way to get some good fresh corn into my belly. Like this jalapeno popper grilled corn salad. Creamy dressing. Crunchy bacon. Deliciously sweet corn. And a little heat. This is the perfect side dish for a grill-out or picnic.
We’re getting our corn from the southern US now, but soon they’ll be harvesting corn here in Indiana. Almost time for my yearly ritual of putting up corn for the winter. I race on down to our local farmer’s market, Binford Farmer’s Market, and load up on corn as soon as it’s available. And I do mean load up. My favorite? My Dad’s Sweet Corn from Tipton, Indiana. Hand-picked and incredibly sweet, they always have great corn.

Also try my chili cheese Frito salad.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Corn Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ears fresh corn, husks NOT removed
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for medium heat grilling.
  2. Peel back the husks from the corn but do not remove them. Remove all silks.
  3. Lightly brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pull the husks back around the corn and tightly wrap in foil.
  5. Place on the grill and cook 20 minutes, rotating often.
  6. Open the foil and continue cooking until the corn is tender.
  7. Remove the corn from the grill and let cool until you can cut the kernels from the ears.
  8. Combine the corn with all remaining ingredients.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Stir before serving.

Creamy Dill Broccoli Slaw

This creamy dill broccoli slaw is a wonderful spin on my favorite salad, creamy cucumber salad. Loaded with dill and a hint of lime, it has a great summer flavor with plenty of crunch to it. I added a few sliced fresh chili peppers and chives from our garden for garnish. Cilantro would also make a great addition to this slaw.
Creamy Dill Broccoli SlawYou can substitute ‘normal’ shredded cabbage for the broccoli if you wish. Broccoli slaw tends to stay crunchier longer than cabbage, which can get soggy in no time. If you do make this creamy dill broccoli slaw with cabbage instead, sauce only the amount of slaw you plan on serving. That way the leftovers won’t get drenched in sauce and become soggy.

Creamy Dill Broccoli Slaw
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bag (4 cups) broccoli slaw
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (I used slightly less)
  • Hot pepper, sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • Chives, sliced, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the slaw mix in a medium resealable container.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the garnish. Add to the slaw. Cover and shake gently to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with sliced pepper and chives, if desired.

 

Roasted Spiral Potatoes

My oh my oh my these roasted spiral potatoes were good. And kinda pretty, too. But definitely delicious. The potatoes get cooked up perfectly, mixed with smoky bacon, garlic and seasonings. As the potatoes near their journey to doneness they are then topped with butter and cheese. Oh yeah! Garnished with sour cream and green onions, this is one mighty fine side dish.
Assembling the potatoes in the pan is the key to having them cook perfectly (and look cool). It’s easier than it looks. Just cut all of your potatoes the same thickness (it’s up to you if you want to leave the skin on or not). Then for each circular layer select pieces that are roughly the same size. You then just lay them into a lightly oiled cast iron skillet at a slight angle, overlapping by about half. You’ll need one hand to hold them in place and one hand to add potatoes. Once you’ve made the full circle they’ll stay in place.
When the roasted spiral potatoes come out of the oven they are tender, covered in ooey gooey melted cheese. They look and smell out of this world. You’ll never want to cook potatoes any other way.

Make sure you add a good bit of paprika to the spice mixture. It adds great color.

These potatoes go great with a grilled steak. The perfect meat-and-potatoes dinner!

Roasted Spiral Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
You'll need a cast iron skillet to make these roasted spiral potatoes. The larger the skillet, the more potatoes you will need. I used a 10" Lodge.
Ingredients
  • 4-5 Russet potatoes, sliced (try to select potatoes that are all roughly the same sizes)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus a little more
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion and paprika, all to taste
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream and chopped green onions, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Lightly oil your skillet.
  3. Lightly toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil and the minced garlic
  4. Layer potatoes around the edge of the skillet. You'll want to select pieces that are roughly the same size. Over lap the potatoes by about half, using one hand to add potatoes while the other hand keeps the potatoes in place. You'll want them to be at about a 60 degree angle, slightly angled back, following the contour of the skillet.
  5. Once your first layer is done, add two more, each inside of the other. You might need four total layers depending on the size of your skillet and potatoes.
  6. When you get to the end you'll have a little round 'hole' in the middle. Place a potato end (point-side up) in that spot to complete the arrangement.
  7. Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over the tops of the potatoes. Don't be shy.
  8. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the top and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  9. Drizzle with the butter, raise the temperature to 425 F, and cook another 15 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with the cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
  11. Serve garnished with sour cream and green onions.

Cherry Tomato Salad

This cherry tomato salad is crazy good. Tomato season is our favorite time of the year, and this dish definitely satisfied our quest for tomato yumminess. The combination of balsamic vinegar and pesto sauce really makes for a wonderful dressing and marinade. The red onions add a nice bite. The original recipe calls for half an onion, but I thought the onions were so great that I’ll definitely use the entire onion the next time I make this salad.
This cherry tomato salad can also be made with whole tomatoes (heirloom would be amazing!) cut into wedges. Of course, it wouldn’t be a cherry tomato salad then but it’d still be great!

If you’re looking for a tomato salad more suitable for kids, try my hot dog tomato salad. It was a childhood favorite of mine.

Cherry Tomato Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved if desired (I used a mix of yellow, purple and red tomatoes)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin (I wouldn't hesitate to use the entire onion)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into chunks or shredded (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the tomatoes and onions in a large resealable container.
  2. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, parsley, pesto, sugar and garlic.
  3. Add to the tomato mixture and stir.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
  5. Serve over lettuce, if using, or just serve in bowls.