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Potato side dishes are one of my favorite things in the whole world to eat.  Mashed, baked, scalloped, au-gratin, latkes, hash browns, salads, you name it.  I’ll eat it.

In honor of a recent request, I’ve written the following diary about potato side dishes to quench the thirst of the DKos community to read a diary about something other than He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.  Please feel free to share your own potato side dish experiences, stories and favorites in the comments.  Let’s bring some community back to this community!  

As a kid, my mom made homemade mashed potatoes with cream gravy any time we had fried chicken.  Making fried chicken was such a mess, we only did it once a year, usually in the springtime.  I remember after Oven Bake came out, Mom adapted the recipe to suit her tastes, and we had oven-fried chicken more often.  Always with the mashed potatoes.  In the summertime, she’d make mashed potato salad- just like a regular potato salad, except the potatoes are mashed.  She liked it that way, because she always fussed about how the potato cubes would fall apart or become grainy in other salads.  Then she discovered using red potatoes in cubed potato salad, and all was well with the world.  Except I miss the mashed variety.  

In my opinion, if you’re going to do a potato side dish right, then do it with the real thing all the way.  No fake butter, no "light" or "no fat" sour cream.  No leaving out the onions or garlic.  No Mrs. Dash in place of decent, if judicious use of salt.  Potatoes need salt, folks.  They just do.

At my house, I don’t do cold potato salads very often, even though the ones at the store are truly horrible.  They’re always too sweet for my tastes.  Although, I love a good tart German potato salad, particularly the warm variety.

My favorite traditional cold potato salad:

MamaBigDog’s Potato Salad
   *  2 1/2 pounds small boiling potatoes (white, red, or fingerling)
   * 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
   * 5 hard-boiled large eggs
   * 1/8 cup mayonnaise
   * 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
   * 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (regular yellow onion is OK too)
   * 3 large celery ribs
   * Chopped dill pickle to taste
   * Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Boil potatoes:
In a large saucepan cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch and simmer, covered, until just tender, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. In a colander drain potatoes and cool to warm.

With a sharp knife peel warm potatoes and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices. In a bowl immediately toss potatoes with vinegar. In a bowl mash yolks and stir in mayonnaise, mustard, and onion. Chop whites and celery and gently toss together with potatoes, mayonnaise mixture, and pickles, salt and pepper to taste. Serve potato salad sprinkled with paprika chilled or at room temperature.


My real love is hot potato side dishes.  If I have a chance to spy a hot potato side dish at a dinner or potluck, stay out of my way!  My Aunt makes this great hashbrown casserole that has become tradition for much of our winter holidays. It’s also great warmed up the next day for breakfast.  

MamaBigDogAuntie’s Hashbrown Casserole (can be easily doubled)

   *   1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes (cubed, not shredded), thawed
   * 1/2 cup butter, softened
   * 1 teaspoon salt
   * 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
   * 1 cup chopped onion
   * 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
   * 1 (16 oz.) tub of sour cream
   * 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I usually use more)

  1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray one 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, onions, soup, sour cream and cheese. Gently mix and pour into prepared pan or dish. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.  (I usually bake this longer, to get those nice crispy edges)


Baked potatoes are a standby for lots of folks.  PapaBigDog and I have perfected our method, banishing foil wrapped potatoes from the BigDog household forever!  For something different, try using sour cream onion dip in place of regular sour cream sometime- it’s really good!  

PapaBigDog’s Baked Potatoes

Scrub your chosen baking potatoes well (Yukon Golds are our fave, Idaho Russets next), and prick them all over with a fork.  Microwave potatoes for about 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.  Cook until soft to your touch.  Then, pour some vegetable oil in a dish, and kosher salt with fresh ground pepper in another dish.  Coat the potatoes in oil, then dust with salt and pepper mixture.  Place directly on oven rack, with a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes to get the skins nice and crisp.  You’ll never go back to foil-wrapped potatoes and their wimpy skins again.  


This last one isn’t really an all-potato side dish, per se, but with both regular and sweet potatoes, it’s a winner!

MamaBigDog’s Roasted Root Vegetables

   *  Nonstick vegetable oil spray
   * 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch pieces
   * 1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
   * 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
   * 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
   * 1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
   * 2 onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
   * 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
   * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
   * 1/2 cup olive oil
   * 10 garlic cloves, peeled

Position 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Spray 2 heavy large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Combine all remaining ingredients except garlic in very large bowl; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Divide vegetable mixture between prepared sheets. Place 1 sheet on each oven rack. Roast 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reverse positions of baking sheets. Add 5 garlic cloves to each baking sheet.

Continue to roast until all vegetables are tender and brown in spots, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 45 minutes longer. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheets at room temperature. Rewarm in 450°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.) Transfer roasted vegetables to large bowl and then serve.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this break from all things political here.  I’d love to have been able to post a good latke recipe in honor of the Jewish part of our Chrismukkah/Hanamas celebration, but I have yet to perfect latkes and I tend to order them from our local Jewish deli-restaurant here in Portland, Kenny and Zuke’s.  If you’re ever in town, stop by for the pastrami.  They call it meat candy for a reason!  Feel free to tell us about your favorite Potatoes Anna, German Potato Salad, Au-Gratin/Scalloped/Slow Cooker potato dishes.  We’d love to hear them!

Originally posted to MamaBigDog Speaks- Listen to your mama! on Tue Dec 23, 2008 at 06:01 PM PST.


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