This restaurant favorite gets a home-style makeover for a crowd in my Baked Potato Salad with bacon and cheese.
Sometimes you just have to break out of the norm. Make a break from Groundhog day and do something a little different, change things up and give them a little twist.
Like 99.95% of every single person I know, I can get into a rut. A funk. A little too much of doing things the same way just because that’s the way I do it.
Last week I was totally uninspired. I had just returned home after a week of visiting my sister where I had dutifully assigned deadlines to my calendar and outlined my to-do list with tasks at hand. And yet I could not for the life of me not get up the gumption or enthusiasm to tackle them and cross those pesky running agenda items that kept racing through my mind off of the quickly becoming redundant list. I moved from one task to the next, never fully realizing my goals. I needed a change up in the old routine, and with several out of town trips looming on the horizon, I had to get a new ‘tude quick.
Over the years I’ve learned something about myself and that’s if I can get myself on a roll, I usually move into full speed. So instead of being overwhelmed by the biggest agenda items on my plate, I started with the small stuff, the mundane and not scary things I could get done quick and dirty that would put me in that familiar tackling tasks groove and set me to thinking, “Hey! Look at how easy that was. I’m a superstar.” And you know what? It started to work. Things slowly got stricken from the record and I actually began to feel as if I was accomplishing something.
I know this isn’t any sort of amazing revelation to many of you and I’m certainly no Tony Robbins or this get off your but and get things going from Leo Babauta. But it is a reminder that its good to kick the tires every once in a while and give the everyday a jumpstart.
This post you’re reading now is where I found my jumpstart. By starting with the easy and repetitive task of editing the photos for this post, I got my groove back with a simple dinner that broke with routine.
A few weeks ago the weather was beginning to warm and winter was finally bid goodbye. A few text messages and in-passing chats of, “We should get together before school gets out and have dinner” could have matured into the usual meal at our place or theirs. But instead, we shook it up, broke out of the norm, and took advantage of the often under appreciated landscape around us with a plan to meet up for a canyon cookout.
Sure, it would have been easier to light up the gas grill on the deck rather than hauling charcoal to a camp grill with no grate. Or pull up a seat to the dining room table instead of eating from paper plates in our camp chair plopped laps.
Oh crap, we forgot pepper and did you bring a knife? Where is the corkscrew, who brought bug spray and, SCORE! Someone did remember toilet paper.
With a rolling river to throw rocks into and new trails to divide and conquer, the kids didn’t even think about their iPods loaded with Mindcraft. They didn’t miss whatever Nickelodeon show could have been on TV next. A dose of outdoor inspiration gave them plenty of ambition to fire up their own dinners and make their own desserts while us adults took charge of keeping the troops in line and out of the fire.
Another bit of jumping out of the norm came by way of this Loaded Baked Potato recipe.
We’d already decided Nicole would bring the burgers and dogs and Angie volunteered her world famous baked beans. It was a Friday and I’d been FoodieCrushing all day but was craving potato salad to share. Problem was, I only had russet potatoes on hand instead of my usual potato salad stand by yukon golds.
Boiling russets wouldn’t produce the potato consistency I was looking for but a baked potato would give me a lightened base to soak up the creamy mayo and sour cream.
And since this is a loaded baked potato salad, it simply wouldn’t be complete without a dump of bacon, a smattering of cheese and a kiss of onion.
Just a few favorite added ingredients to break the regular potato salad out of its own sort of rut.
A few notes about the recipe:
Allow at least 15 minutes up to a half hour for the cider vinegar to soak into the cooled potatoes. The warmer the potato, the more quickly the vinegar will absorb. Don’t skip this step, it adds a great pop to the salad.
Don’t want the whole house to smell like bacon? Cook yours in the oven instead. Once the potatoes have finished cooking, place the bacon on a lined baking tray and cook at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until your desired crispness.
Feel free to substitute chives for the green onions if you’re going for that true, steakhouse baked potato taste.
I use full fat sour cream in this recipe, but if you’re looking to cut calories, substitute non-fat Greek yogurt for that added tang.
- 4 pounds russet potatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I use olive oil flavor)
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound bacon, cooked, cooled and chopped
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 1½ cups medium cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the cleaned potatoes on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and pierce 4-5 times with a fork. Lightly coat with olive oil and cook for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the skins and cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the apple cider vinegar and let rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet, drain and let cool. Crumble into bite-size pieces.
- Mix the mayonnaise and sour cream in a small bowl and season with the kosher salt and pepper and then add to the potatoes. Stir in the bacon, green onion and cheddar cheese and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight before serving.