Zesty Italian Potato Salad

My mom flew into town during the Fourth of July weekend, so my younger sister texted me (instead of her) for her potato salad recipe—the one we enjoyed so much growing up. I found it, snapped a picture, and sent it to her by text. The incident made me remember my own version of potato salad, however—one that I had made for JJ and me a number of times when we were first married.

 I hadn’t made it for a couple of years, but I had potatoes and some other ingredients on hand, so I bought the few remaining ingredients needed and went about making this delightful, tangy dish.

This potato salad is different than others in that it doesn’t use mayonnaise as its base. It uses zesty Italian dressing instead, which is why I gave it its name. That’s not the only ingredient that makes it different, however. This mouth-watering summer side dish is a delightful combination of soft potatoes and carrots with chewy hard-boiled egg, crunchy celery bits, tangy banana peppers, and salty green olives (or black olives, if preferred). Add a hint of spice with jalapeño peppers, if desired, and some sunflowers seeds for an extra bit of crunch. It’s a dish that is bursting with flavor in every bite and sure to impress a crowd. Want to take things up a notch? Turn this side into a potato salad bar, leaving the zesty Italian-seasoned potatoes and carrots in a large serving bowl with all the other ingredients in smaller serving bowls so that each individual can personalize his or her serving. It will be a sure crowd-pleaser at the next summer party for all ages to enjoy.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe for this festive potato salad. And as always, let me know if you make this dish and what you think!

ZESTY ITALIAN POTATO SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes (about 6 potatoes)
  • 5 medium carrots (about 1 ½ c)
  • 1 ½ c zesty Italian dressing
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (about ½ c)
  • ½ c green olives, cut in half
  • ½ c banana peppers
  • ¼ c to ½ c pickled jalapeños (optional)
  • Sunflower seeds (optional)

Instructions:

Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a pot of lightly salted water and boil for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Strain the carrots and potatoes and set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly. Once cooled, pour the dressing over the potatoes and carrots and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then add the eggs, celery, olives, banana peppers, and jalapeños (if using). Sprinkle a teaspoon of sunflower seeds over each individual serving, if desired, and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.

Cinnamon Strawberry Compote

Tangy and sweet with a hint of spicy warmth, this strawberry sauce makes for a special, winter treat.

In need of a special, last-minute Valentine’s Day dessert? This cinnamon strawberry compote would make an elegant addition to any store-bought cheesecake, ice cream, or angel food cake. Or make an extra special breakfast that day by topping waffles, pancakes, or toast with this rich, red sauce.

This compote combines the fresh and tangy taste of strawberries and freshly squeezed lemon juice with the sweetness of sugar and a hint of spice and warmth from cinnamon and cloves, making this sauce a special winter treat. The ingredients blend beautifully over the stove in a matter of minutes and can be served hot, or can be placed in the fridge for a few hours to be served chilled. It’s entirely up to you. Either way, this compote is good, and you’ll find yourself wanting to make it over and over again!

So, if you need a quick recipe, here you go! And as Valentine’s Day approaches, let us remember to love well and to love deeply, just as God loves us.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

CINNAMON STRAWBERRY COMPOTE

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz strawberries, diced
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice of (divided)
  • 1 ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t cloves (scant teaspoon)
  • 2 T cornstarch

Directions:

Mix the diced strawberries, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice together and simmer over medium heat for five to seven minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cinnamon and cloves and place on low heat for one more minute. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch into the remaining lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time, until combined. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the strawberry sauce while stirring constantly. Once combined, remove from heat and serve or let chill. Enjoy!