Easy Potato Salad

Summertime always brings with it parties and barbecue’s.  The most important dish is the creamy and ever so satisfying potato salad.  The all american easy basic potato salad.  Always a family favorite.
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We almost always have the ingredients in the house and takes minimal time to whip up.
It doesn’t matter what type of potato you use, I prefer red, gold or white but it’s because you don’t have to peel them.  You can use russet potatoes but make sure to peel them, the skin is too tough.
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Ingredients:
3 lbs potatoes, red, gold, white, etc.
10 eggs
1 can olives
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 large dill pickles
2-3 tbsp fresh dill
3/4 – 1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mustard or a little less if you prefer

First step is to boil the potatoes, I really try to do this the night before I need the salad, get a big deep pan and fill 1/2 way with water.  Pick potatoes just a little bigger than an egg. Wash the potatoes and drop into the water before you turn on the burner.  Add the eggs on top.  The water should be just covering both the potatoes and the eggs. Gently boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Pour out into a colander, strain.  Put them into a big bowl and put into the refrigerator to cool.  If you waited until the last minute to decide to make the salad-I have done this a lot- then you can run cool water over them for a few minutes until cool enough to start to cut them.
Cut the potatoes into about 1″ cubes,  peel the eggs and slice in half, separate the yolks and put into a small bowl.  Chop the egg whites into small pieces.
Chop the celery, pickles, olives into small pieces.  Chop the dill finely.
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Now take the yolks and mash, add the mayo, mustard, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and add 1-2 tbsp of pickle juice from the jar.  Mix this all up and pour into the bowl with all the other ingredients that you finished chopping.
You can stir this up with a spoon or do what I do and mix with my hands.  This way doesn’t seem to mash the potatoes up and the salad looks better.
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Cover and chill until the barbecue is ready.  Remember to keep this salad cool during the summer.
Here are a few other options to add:

Onions
green olives
parsley
bacon

Spinach Dill Pasta Salad

Summertime means pasta salad to me.  Its quick, easy and uses all the great vegetables you get from the garden or the farmers markets.   The most important reason I love this dish is you only need to use one burner.  No oven needed!  Where I live that is very important on those 100+ degree days of summer.
Some of my favorites to pick  up at the farmers market are spinach, fresh dill, celery, baby yellow crookneck squash and zucchini.  I always have pasta, olives and pickles in the cabinet.
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These are the ingredients I begin with:
1 box -16 oz pasta
1 can 6.5 oz sliced olives
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt- or to taste
1 tsp pepper-or to taste
2-3 stalks of celery- diced
2-3 large dill pickles-diced
2 tbsp fresh dill- chopped
small handful of carrots- these you can grate or chopped
Then I start adding any other vegetables I have that day:
1/4 lb of fresh spinach, chopped
1 medium zucchini -chopped
1-2 baby yellow crookneck squash-chopped
Green onions
Tomatoes

Boil the pasta, depending on what type you want to use -read the box on how long to boil it.  I will usually cook it 1-2 minutes less than it says, but I like it firm but not crunchy. Cook the pasta how you like it best.
While the pasta is boiling, just start chopping and dumping in a big bowl.  Chop-dump, chop-dump………..
About half way through chopping the pasta should be done- drain and let cool while you finish chopping.
When you are done chopping all the other ingredients, dump the  cooled pasta into the bowl with everything else.
Add the mayonnaise and all the spices.  If the pasta doesn’t look moist you can add either more mayo or a little pickle juice.
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This dish works well if you are going to a BBQ.  I just put the chopped veggies in a big, take a big bowl, put the wet ingredients and the spices in plastic bowl with a lid and put it all together when I get to the event.

Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Garlic risotto

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

Warm and Satisfying

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms.
This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

Ingredients:
roast a bunch of garlic-I will usually roast 20-30 cloves of garlic at a time and use a bit at a time. My bit is most likely more than most normal people.
You can use freshly grated garlic if you don’t have time to roast any before you start cooking.
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 and 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms-what ever type you prefer- I use crimini mushrooms-they seem meatier to me.
1 cup risotto
4 cups of warm broth-any kind you like- on this recipe I use whatever was already open and in the refrigerator.
( if you don’t quite have 4 cups of broth you can add water to equal the 4 cups.)
2 tblsp butter ( do not use margarine)
1/2 -3/4 cup shaved parmesan- and more for the top.

Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Start with a deep fry pan, heat the olive oil on a slightly higher than medium heat. (my electric is at 6ish)
2. Add the celery and mushrooms and saute for about 6-7 minutes. (I add a little salt and pepper now-but not too much)
3. Add the risotto and stir together to make sure the olive oil coats the risotto, add the garlic now.
4. The risotto will begin to cook and you can smell a slightly nutty aroma.
5. While that is cooking, heat the broth to more than warm but not quite hot. ( I use a microwave to do this as it takes all of 3 minutes)
6. So now its time to start adding the warm broth to the risotto, (look at the clock- it will be just about 18 minutes from the time you start to add the liquid) add about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir it, let it bubble, stir, add more liquid, stir, bubble, stir, add, ya get the picture.

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

7. Let the liquid absorb between adding and the stirring.
8. The risotto will begin to swell, at about 16 minutes in I will pull a piece out and check the tenderness.
(I add a little more salt and pepper now…)

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

9. If its almost tender, let the rest of the broth be absorbed, but don’t let it get dry.
10. This is about the time to add the butter.

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

11. Keep stirring gently. After the butter is melted and incorporated it will look begin to be thicker and creamier.
12. Add the Parmesan….

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

You can turn off the burner and stir in the cheese.  Let sit for a couple minutes and its ready.

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

Serves about 4-6 people

Time: 5 minute to prep.  25 minutes to cook

Total time: 30 minutes