Sizzle Simmer Sauté – The many sides of summer

Jennifer Alexander Ruple

Summer is here and that means picnics, parties and cookouts. Next time you are headed for a little outdoor dining, pack a perfect side dish like Sour Cream and Bacon Potato Salad or Bourbon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans. Both work well with chicken, burgers and basically anything you can throw on the barbie.

Sour Cream and Bacon Potato Salad

This homemade potato salad recipe started with my grandmother, continued with my mom, and now I’ve put my spin on it. The inclusion of sour cream, bacon, fresh parsley and a generous sprinkling of paprika, make it unique. Go ahead and substitute low fat versions of sour cream and mayonnaise if you’d like. It is still delicious!

  • 5 pound bag of red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (Leave a little skin on for color)
  • 5 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Paprika

Cook potatoes in boiling water and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients then sprinkle with more parsley and paprika.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

(Recipe by Jennifer Alexander Ruple)

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Baked Beans

The party doesn’t start until someone walks in with a crockpot of baked beans. To save some valuable summer play time, I opted to cook the beans on the stovetop, making this a true, one-pot dish. Full of flavor from bacon, bourbon, brown sugar, and molasses, I suggest you head to the front of the buffet line. These beans will fly!

  • 12 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Two 28-ounce cans white beans such as navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup hot water

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the onion, bell pepper and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant and the bacon is browned, about 1 minute.

Add in the remaining ingredients, stirring to make sure everything is well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring everything to a simmer. Cover pot and reduce heat to maintain a simmer (between medium to medium-low). Cook, stirring at 30 minute intervals, for 1 1/2 hours or until the sauce is thickened and sticky.

(Recipe adapted from

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