Perfect Potato Salads for Summer Entertaining

party size Italian potato salad

Way back in 2007 when I started this blog I posted an Italian potato salad, fast forward almost twelve years later ( still can’t believe it’s been that long!) and  I still continue to make it.

Italian potato salad is such a classic dish, it’s the perfect side so it’s great for parties, picnic’s and celebrations. There’s no mayo involved so no need to worry about anything spoiling as it sits out at your party.

The photo above is a crowd size amount that I made for a family cookout that I was having. Don’t get caught up on amounts and exact measurements when making this, it’s a simple process it’s all about visual balance and your taste preference as far as seasonings go.

I used those teeny red, white and blue potatoes, I like the different colors, but you can certainly use all red which is more a traditional Italian potato salad.

roasted potatoes and beans

Since 2007 I’ve changed up my recipe a bit. I always use to boil my potatoes but now I roast them. Don’t get me wrong, boiling is fine but I much prefer the taste of a roasted potato, plus I don’t like the texture of a some what mushy potato, but again, that’s just my preference, but I would encourage you to try it this way by roasting the potatoes, plus I think the presentation looks much nicer.

1. The ingredients in my Italian potato salad are: Roasted potatoes, some sliced, some whole depending on how big they are, roasted at 425F until fork tender.

2. Steamed green beans, I prefer haricort verts, red onion rings, kalamata olives and sliced cherry tomatoes.

3. Place everything into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, granulated garlic and oregano, taste as you go to your liking.

4. The dressing is: 3 parts olive oil, 1 part red wine vinegar, 1 t. dijon, 1 garlic clove, 1 t.oregano, salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Whisk it up, drizzle and toss. Place the salad onto a nice platter.


red white and blue potato salad

Next is my Red, White and Blue potato salad, perfect for the 4th of July! Again I used those teeny colored potatoes and when you cut them in half the vibrant color really shows through.

forth of July potato salad

1.These are roasted as well in a 425F oven, drizzled with olive oil along with chunks of sweet red bell pepper, finished when fork tender.

2.  When they become fork tender, which doesn’t take long, toss them into a bowl and add chopped red onion or shallots, snipped chives, sliced scallions, fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste with lots of grated strands of lemon 
3.Whisk up fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil for your dressing and pour it all over and toss, as it sits it just gets better and better as all the flavors start to absorb.

sweet potato salad

Next up is this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad, If you never grilled sweet a potato you’re missing out. Cooking sweet potatoes this way gives them a crisp charred edge and a slight smokiness that contrasts well with the sweetness of the potatoes, it’s delicious and a nice change.

  1. Preheat grill to medium. Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place on a grill that has been sprayed with olive oil spray.
  2. Also on the grill add some colored mini peppers and a couple of ears of corn because these will all be added to the salad along with the sweet potatoes. Remove when tender and slightly charred.
  3. When everything cools down, shuck the corn, slice the mini peppers and toss them into a large bowl with some chopped parsley, green onion and arugula.
  4. Arrange everything onto a pretty platter and drizzle with the dressing.
  5. Honey Mustard Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 T. apple cider vinegar, 2 T. Dijon, 1 T. honey, 1 garlic clove, whisk all together. Feel free to double or triple the recipe.  

All of these potato salads are a nice addition to your summer buffet table, they can sit out safely and they all taste delicious at room temperature, so enjoy!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.



Wine Infused "Beer Can" Chicken

Plopping a whole chicken on top of an open can of beer and then roasting it on a grill might sound odd but once you try it you’ll be hooked!

Beer can chicken is something I’ve been making for years, and with very little effort it always seems to come out perfect. Usually I’ll make a dry rub of several different spices like cumin, paprika, garlic, cayenne, dry mustard and brown sugar and rub that all over my bird.

But this time I wanted to try something different and use wine instead of beer, and replace the dry spice rub I with a fresh herb mixture consisting of lemon peel, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and a drizzling of olive oil which made a nice thick paste. I rubbed the paste all over my rinsed and patted dry chicken, making sure to get it underneath the skin as much as possible, then I let it sit for a good 30 minutes.
In the meantime I opened up a bottle of wine that was room temperature, rinsed out some empty tin cans and then proceeded to pour the wine into the cans, making sure to leave a little room at the top. I used an inexpensive chardonnay which had some citrus notes, a good choice for the chicken.
You can find beer can chicken holders in many different stores and on line. There’s double and single holders, some are very fancy and some very basic, they all work well. You really don’t even need to use a holder because the chicken usually balances perfectly just right on the can, but a holder makes it easier for you to pick up and move the chicken.

Lower your chicken over the can until the can is inside the body cavity, this will insure that all the wine will infuse throughout the bird, then to make sure that the steam doesn’t escape just place a sliced onion wedge on top where the neck cavity hole is.

Having a gas grill makes it easy to regulate the heat, make sure your cooking temperature stays between 350 and 375 degrees. Depending on the size of your chicken times may vary, mine took 1 1/2 hours to reach the internal temperature of 180.
Never place the chicken on direct heat, I have 3 burners I shut the middle one off and that is where I place my chicken, the other 2 burners are on.
For charcoal grills read manufacturers suggestions for indirect heating.

Make sure you let your chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into it.
The result from using wine instead of beer was fantastic, the herbs infused the chicken with so much flavor, the wine made the meat so tender and moist and the skin was super crunchy, a win win situation!

For one of my sides I made Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes. Plum tomatoes stuffed with grated cheese and basil, it went excellent with the chicken.

I got this recipe from my friend Stacey’s blog, I’ve been making them over and over, they’re that good!

I also made some Italian Potato Salad. Green beans, tomatoes, olives, red onion and potatoes all dressed with olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.
A nice alternative to a mayo based potato salad.

I have to give a shout out to my hubby who always keeps our yard looking so good with all the flowers he plants. Next week the forecast is finally looking warm, the tomatoes and other veggies are ready to go into the ground. Stay tuned for updates!

Buon Appetito!




* Red Potatoes (cooked)

*Steamed Fresh Green Beans

*Vine Ripened tomatoes

*Red Onion

*Calamata Olives

* Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Wine Vinegar


Toss together and taste, till it’s nice and seasoned