5 Tips for Easy Entertaining on Game Day and Spectacular Idaho® Potatoes Salad Bar Recipe
It’s time for the big game and that means one thing: a Big Game Party! But, don’t stress out about party planning and preparations because I’m sharing with you five tips from my winning playbook for easy entertaining on game day.
Plus, I’m excited for you to try my Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato Salad Bar, featuring Idaho® Potaotes, perfect for the big game. This recipe was inspired by our #Hashed competition winning dish during the “Idaho® Potato Cuts Class” event in Tampa, Florida. My team and I created the “Sexy Cuban Pulled Pork Potato Salad” – a flavorful little number that captivated the judges’ hearts and taste buds!
We drew inspiration from the traditional Cuban sandwich and the ever-popular staple of every Cuban household, garlic mojo sauce. After many years living in Miami, Florida, I became addicted to this garlicky-citrus sauce which is used as a marinade and dipping sauce with everything from pulled pork, rotisserie chicken, fried plantains, steamed yucca and more. Trust me, once you try it you will be hooked. The original version of mojo sauce uses sour orange juice but since this is not easy to get fresh, I used a combination of fresh orange, grapefruit and lime juice. Fresh and dry oregano and a pinch of cumin give it a nice boost. Go easy on the cumin as we learned during our cooking competition. It packs lots of flavor! I also added a touch of raw honey to give a bit of sweetness to contrast the acidity. I found the combination to be a winner and one I’m certain you will love!
The garlic mojo used as the dressing for the roasted Idaho® potatoes in this recipe makes the salad light and versatile. I had never tasted a potato salad with a vinaigrette style dressing instead of the typical mayo based kind I grew up with until the Idaho® Potatoes event and now I have been converted. It’s a much healthier option which fits in with my foodie fit lifestyle. It’s a dish that can be enjoyed as a hearty meal topped with pulled pork, rotisserie chicken and a variety of garnishes, or simply on its own as a side dish. On game day, serve the Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato Salad as part of your potato bar for guests to make their own winning creation.
5 Tips for Easy Entertaining on Game Day
1. Please Help Yourself.
The game lasts on average 3 hours plus pre-game festivities so you need to be prepared for a long evening. It’s best to allow guests to graze and help themselves to food and drinks as they wish throughout the night. Easy entertaining is all about ease of planning and preparation so you can enjoy yourself with your friends. Also, allowing guests to help themselves means everyone can eat what they like and accommodate any allergies and dietary restrictions easier.
^ Arrange snacks, such as various types of chips and dips, nuts and other finger foods on your coffee table and side tables around the TV viewing area. This allows your guests to snack while watching the game.
^ Set up a more substantial buffet and beverage station in a separate area such as your dining room and kitchen. Your guests can serve themselves when they feel like eating and socialize without interrupting the viewing action.
2. Safety Zone.
During the “Idaho® Potato Cuts Class” event we learned all about knife skills and food safety, because no one wants to get hurt or sick in the kitchen. When serving buffet foods, always keep hot dishes warm in a crock-pot/slow cooker, chafing dish or warming plate and cold dishes nested in bowls on ice, especially when the party will last several hours. Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature, or 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F (32.2 ºC) according to the USDA.
^ Serve cream based dips in smaller containers and replace throughout the evening, rather than serving in a large container and leaving out all night. To make it easier, pre-portion 2 or 3 small bowls of each dip and wrap in plastic before the party starts. Then all you have to do is replace as needed.
^ Selecting foods that can be served at room temperature is ideal. My Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato salad is perfect for this because it does not include mayo or cream. It can be served warm and allow to sit at room temperature.
3.You Won’t Go Hungry Here.
Offer a hearty and filling menu selection. Beer drinking and adult imbibing in general is often involved with the Big Game and you want to balance that out with foods that won’t leave your guests hungry and tipsy. Plus, it’s a long evening, people are seated close together and you don’t want embarrassing stomachs grumbling, right?
^ Potatoes are hearty, delicious and ultra versatile ingredients, which can easily be the MVP of your table. There are so many Idaho® potato recipes (I’m offering an awesome selection below from the Sunday Supper Tastemakers) which you can make for game day, whether at home or if you’re bringing a dish to a potluck party.
^ A “Potato Bar” with various types of potatoes and toppings is loads of fun for everyone, kids and kids at heart, to enjoy. Think potato salad (like my Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato Salad recipe below), fries and tots, baked potato skins, or mashed potatoes act as a great base topped with pulled pork, shredded chicken, chili, cheese, scallions, sautéed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, crisp bacon, and more. The possibilities are endless!
^ Potato casseroles with cheese and bacon are always an easy winner. Veggie-centric potato based bowls which can be loaded with proteins are also super popular now.
4.It’s a Team Effort.
Easy entertaining is about having everyone pitch in so the party does not become a chore that leaves you exhausted. Team effort is required for the big game. Unless you really want to do all the work, then who am I to stop you?
^ Ask guests to bring snack foods, appetizers and desserts. These can easily be picked up at the store for those who are not home cooks. Then, all you have to do is focus on the main event, a spectacular Idaho® potato bar with various toppings.
^ BYOB for beverages is always a good idea since everyone has different tastes in beverages. You can prepare a signature cocktail in honor of each team (or your favorite team) to make it fun. Beer and wine based cocktails are all the rage and easy to make a big batch.
^ Don’t forget non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers and non-drinkers. Have a variety and a signature mock-tail so they don’t feel left out.
5.Let’s Watch The Big Game (and the commercials too!)
Last, but certainly not least, the main draw for this event is the Big Game (and the commercials, if you’re like me). It’s imperative your TV viewing area is comfortable, has plenty of seating and most of all that your TV is working properly. There’s nothing worse than having technical difficulties in the middle of a big play. Based on the size of your house and the number of guests invited, you can set up viewing areas in different parts of the house. Have large throw pillows and blankets for floor seating and enough chairs for everyone.
Why use Idaho® potatoes for the best game day recipes?
Not all potatoes are created equal. Idaho Russet potatoes consistently average high solids, year after year. Their high solids and low moisture content make Idaho’s Russet potatoes superior to those produced in other states. What does this mean? Even if you over-mix them, your mashed Idaho® potatoes will have a consistent texture and a taste that’s unequaled. Your fries will be crispier and fuller, plus they absorb less oil. Your baked potatoes will be fluffier, with bright interior and more potato flavor.
While the russet is the most well-known potato grown in Idaho, more than 25 other potato varieties are also grown there including Yukon Golds, Reds and Fingerlings. In this salad I am using red potatoes with the skin on because I love the color and texture it provides. The recipe works equally as well with any potato variety of your choice. Mix them up for a fun combination of flavor, textures and colors.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans say they associate potatoes with Idaho more than any other state in the nation? I certainly do! And unlike other states, Idaho potatoes are available almost year round. Always look for the “Grown In Idaho” seal, which features a silhouette of the state of Idaho, and for the registered certification mark, ” Idaho® Potatoes” when you buy potatoes in your grocery store.
Potatoes have received a bad wrap over the years as being one of those “white foods” to avoid. Here’s the thing. Potatoes are not the culprit – it’s everything else you put on them that has the potential to derail your diet. This time of year, we are all looking for healthy options and this Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato Salad is a great one to keep your resolutions intact since calories are low since it does not have cream or mayo. Did you know one potato provides 45% of your daily vitamin C needs, has 2 grams of fiber, has more potassium than a banana, are fat free, cholesterol free and gluten free? Now, that is something to be excited about! You can lead a “foodie fit life” with Idaho® potatoes.
Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato Salad Recipe
Roasted Potatoes Salad
^ 3 lbs red Idaho® potatoes, sliced into cubes
^ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
^ sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Wash potatoes and pat dry.
3. Keep skin on potatoes. Slice into cubes and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and generous pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Spread potatoes out onto a greased roasting pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly golden and fork tender. Stir potatoes about halfway point, at 15 minutes. When cooked through, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
5. Toss potatoes with 2/3 of garlic mojo dressing (recipe below) until all coated and serve warm or room temperature. No need to chill.
6. Arrange various toppings and garnishes for guests to create their own potato salad as described below.
Garlic Mojo Dressing
^ 5 garlic cloves, minced
^ 1 tsp salt
^ 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (1 lime)
^ 3 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice (1/2 grapefruit)
^ 5 tbsp fresh orange juice
^ ¼ cup olive oil
^ 1 tsp onion powder
^ ½ tsp fresh oregano, chopped
^ ½ tsp dry oregano
^ ¼ tsp cumin powder
^ ½ tsp raw honey
1. Crush garlic cloves and salt with mortar and pestle, or with the flat side of a chef’s knife. Place in medium bowl.
2. Combine juices, olive oil and honey and whisk until well blended.
3. Add oregano, cumin, salt and garlic and stir to combine.
4. You may adjust quantity of honey and spices to taste, remember to start with a bit and taste as you go. You can always add more if needed.
Salad Toppings & Garnishes
Be creative and add any toppings of your choosing. Idaho® potatoes are so versatile, they are the perfect canvas to add a variety of flavors. Anything goes. Here are some ideas to keep with the Cuban Latin flair.
^ 1 whole rotisserie chicken (purchase cooked from grocery store)
^ 1 lb pulled pork carnitas (purchase cooked from Latin deli/grocery)
^ Black Forest Ham, julienne
^ medium/sharp white cheddar, shredded
^ red onion, small dice
^ cornichon dill pickles, sliced
^ green olives stuffed with red pimento, sliced
^ green onions, chopped
^ bacon crumbles
^ fresh cilantro
^ avocado, diced
^ red pepper, diced
^ tomatoes, diced
^ hard boiled egg, chopped
1. Debone and shred the meat from the rotisserie chicken using a fork and place in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of the garlic mojo sauce and toss to combine. Just enough to give the chicken a bit more of that garlicky good flavor.
2. You may purchase pork carnitas or pork shoulder from your grocery store or Latin deli to use as a topping, or make your own in a crock-pot. Add 2 tbsp of the garlic mojo sauce and toss to combine.
3. Arrange all toppings in separate bowls and serve with the Cuban garlic mojo potato salad.
Great Idaho® Potato Recipes from Sunday Supper Tastemakers
Regardless of which type of Idaho Potato you choose, here are some fantastic recipes from the Sunday Supper Tastemakers.
- Cajun Taters & Sausage by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Cheesy Bacon Potato Bite-Sized Snacks by Life Tastes Good
- Fingerling Potato Bacon Flatbread by Family Foodie
- Potato Football Candy by Shockingly Delicious
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Potato “Wings” by Food Done Light
- Healthier Mashed Potato Bowls by Cooking Chat
- Persian Lamb Stuffed Potato Cakes by Caroline’s Cooking
- Potato Salad Tortilla Bowls by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Pulled Pork Potato Skins by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Steak and Potato Pizza by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Buffalo Smashed Potatoes by A Mind “Full” Mom
- Cheesy Sausage Stuffed Red Potatoes by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Cuban Garlic Mojo Potato Salad by Go Epicurista
- Tempura Cheesy Potato Balls by Cricket’s Confections
- Best Potato Wedges by Moore or Less Cooking
- Buffalo Blue Cheese Potato Bites by Dizzy Busy and Hungry
- Loaded Curly Fries with Gouda Cheese Sauce by Casa de Crews
- Potato and Chive Mini Waffles by My Life Cookbook
- Potato Blue Cheese Tartlets by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Potato Nacho Stacks by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Bacon Parmesan Potato Pavé Squares by Sunday Supper Movement
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Sunday Supper and Idaho® Potatoes Giveaway
How would you like to win 10 pounds of Idaho Potatoes and a copy of the Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked – Fried Too! Cookbook “A celebration of potatoes in 75 irresistible recipes”? All you have to do is watch Facebook Live on Sunday 1/29/17 at 4pm as Family Foodie prepares her delicious Potato Chorizo Bites. The winner will be selected from the comments! Click here to join.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Idaho® potatoes in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own. As always, I only share with you experiences worth celebrating and products I love, to help you #MakeSomedayHappen
I would love to hear from you. Do you have any entertaining tips for game day that are easy, healthy and delicious? Please comment below. Let’s live a foodie fit life together and #MakeSomedayHappen