“Hey Erica! Can you make…”

Erica BoltonPosted on by

You’ve probably experienced the same thing I do this time each year. Requests by loving family members or friends to make that dish you make every year that tastes sooo good. The compliments go something like, “The party won’t be the same without it!” For me, it’s the potato salad.

I think it’s the same for my mom too. Every Christmas, family reunion, Easter… the requests roll in for her creamy potato salad that the masses can’t live without. Maybe that’s why it’s my signature dish now that I’ve moved away and I’m living on my own.

And while I love getting it right, and making something everyone loves, what I like so much more is experimenting with recipes. New flavors, cooking techniques and ingredients are exciting to me. I’m even getting pretty good at picking recipes everyone loves.

Case-in-point: This year’s Thanksgiving. When my in-laws didn’t request my redskin potato salad to be my +1 to dinner, I immediately signed up to bring the appetizers. My search led me to a dip and fried pickles. I had a blast making it, and even better, the whole family loved the rich and cheesy dip. Best part of the new recipe: turns out fried pickles are my mother-in-law’s favorite (go me!).

So as you start planning your menus for the days ahead (potlucks, Christmas and Hanukah parties, the football game, and New Years), don’t be afraid to try making something new. If you have to, make something old and new. You never know, you might bring something to a party that you’ll have to make for the next five years.

Here for you now, I’ve compiled two new recipes for you try making this season. The one I HAVE to make and the one I made that got great results, even when it wasn’t QUITE what they expected from me.

Erica Bolton’s Potato Salad

(Original Recipe: My Mom. Modified after making at least 100 times.)

Original recipe makes 16 servings


1 (1-ounce) package ranch dressing mix

1-1/2 cups mayonnaise

1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped

5 pounds unpeeled red potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes

1 Tbsp. garlic powder


  • Bring a large pot of water with salt and garlic powder to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Drain and run under cold water to cool. Move to a large serving bowl, and refrigerate until chilled. (If you’re anything like me, you’ll wait to make the potato salad until it’s too late to let the potatoes cool completely before mixing—that’s okay too).
  • Stir together the ranch dressing mix and mayonnaise (I also add a Tbsp. of bacon grease, but I’ll leave that up to you and how gluttonous you’re feeling). Cover, and refrigerate to blend flavors.
  • Before the mixing of mayonnaise and potatoes, add the bacon to the mayo mixture. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the bowl of potatoes and stir to distribute.
  • Serve and prepare to make again 100 times.

Erica Bolton’s Club Sandwich Dip (with Fried Pickles for Dipping)

(Original Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens: www.bhg.com. Modified because everything is better with lots of bacon.)

Dip Ingredients

1 pound smoked turkey, chopped

1 pound cooked ham, chopped

1 pound Swiss or American cheese, chopped

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut up

1 ½ cups light mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard

1 pound bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled

Dip Directions

  • In a big slow cooker, combine turkey, ham, cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard. Cover and cook on high setting for 1–2 hours, until cheeses are melted, stirring every half-hour or so. Before serving, stir in the bacon.
  • Serve with Deep-Fried Dill Pickles and/or crackers. Keep warm, covered, on warm setting, stirring occasionally to keep it mixed well.

Fried Pickle Ingredients

1 16-ounce jar dill pickle burger slices

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. ground black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup milk


Fried Pickle Directions

  • Pat dill pickle burger slices, dry with paper towels. Wash your hands forever to get the smell off.
  • In a small bowl, combine cornmeal; flour; garlic powder; and pepper. In another small bowl, combine eggs, lightly beaten, and milk. Dip pickle slices into egg mixture, then into cornmeal mixture, turning to coat.
  • Repeat dipping pickle slices into egg mixture, then into cornmeal mixture. I would do this for all your pickles so you don’t have to go back and forth from the pickles to the fryer to the sink.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat. Fry pickle slices, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, turning once. Remove pickle slices and drain on paper towels.

Feel free to reply with any questions—my favorite part about online recipes is the reviews and feedback from real-life people making recipes in their kitchens.

Happy Holidays!

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Erica Bolton

About Erica Bolton

All things purple and black and born to be a Ravens fan! Erica started cheerleading for football at the ripe old age of 8. It helped her learn the game, so when she moved to Baltimore from Delaware, she jumped on board with the passionate purple ladies she worked with. Her first game was in 2008, and since then she’s become a tailgating, game-watching, fantasy-football-loving obsessed Ravens fan (and she’s never looked back). Erica works for a marketing agency in Columbia as a Social Media Coordinator, so you can find her all over the web.