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Potatoes hearty enough for a picnic

"Ranch Potatoes" are hot and hearty enough to go with your July 4th picnic!
"Ranch Potatoes" are hot and hearty enough to go with your July 4th picnic!
photo: http://sweetteaandcornbread.blogspot.com

Yesterday, I began a series this week on recipes that would fit in with a July 4th picnic or gathering. I shared a recipe for "Fire and Ice Tomatoes", which is a special salad that would be something new and different to serve as part of the meal. In case you missed it, here's the link to get the article so you can have it:

http://www.examiner.com/article/preparing-for-july-4th-with-a-different-...

Sometimes, though we don't see them often at picnics, a potato dish is something new and different to have when we grill out. Have you ever tried roasting potatoes over a grill? It's a great way to utilize the grill's heat as you use it for cooking the main course. How about something besides just a plain potato? Let's look at a recipe for "Ranch Potatoes", which is a hot and hearty potato recipe to serve along with the grilled meats you may be preparing for the holiday weekend.

This recipe uses regular potatoes, which are partially cooked in the microwave. The recipe calls for the peeling to be left on the potatoes, but if you prefer your potatoes without them, feel free to peel them. They are cut into fourths and placed in a casserole dish. They are topped with some great seasonings, including lemon pepper. You'll see in the recipe that it calls for 4 heaping tablespoons of the lemon-pepper seasoning. Surprisingly, this is a correct amount! Once this goes over the potatoes, salt and garlic powder go over the potatoes, too. Onions are sauteed in butter and this goes over the dish, followed by cooked, crumbled bacon. Butter is dotted over the top and some water is drizzled over all. It goes into the oven and is baked until the potatoes are soft. And there you have some good and different potatoes!

Here's a hint about cooking bacon in the microwave: lay the strips on a microwave-safe plate which has been lined with paper towels. Top the desired number of bacon strips and place in the oven. Cook on high power 1-1/2 minutes for each strip that you're cooking. Of course, microwave ovens vary so check the bacon after 1 minute to gauge the cooking, since some microwave ovens have more wattage than others.

If you really want to make it easy, you can use the pre-packaged bacon bits, which are equally as good as preparing the bacon yourself and it'll save you some time. These can be found in the salad section or the meat section of the grocery. This will also save on clean-up after cooking the bacon, too!

If you plan to serve potatoes as part of your holiday meal, let this be something new and different to grace your table!

RANCH POTATOES

  • 4 large baking potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 4 heaping tablespoons lemon-pepper seasoning (tablespoons is correct!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup water

Partially cook potatoes in the microwave oven until they begin to get soft, checking after about 5 minutes. Saute onion in 1/2 stick of the butter until tender, but not brown. Cut the potatoes into fourths (peeling is optional) and place into a shallow 4-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Top with the sauteed onions and bacon bits. Cut the remaining stick of butter into pats and dot over the potatoes. Drizzle the water over all. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Yield: 6-8 servings.