A Milton mom may soon be packing her bags and heading to Las Vegas to compete in a live showdown of the top five recipe contenders in Reser's Fine Foods national potato salad recipe contest. Online voting ended at midnight Aug. 31, and the results will be announced Sept. 17. Karie Houghton's bruschetta sausage salad recipe has been in and out of the top five, but she is no stranger to recipe contests. Her aunt and grandmother regularly enter – and win – recipe contests, and keep her in the contest loop, as well.
"I love to cook, and I have to make dinner anyway, so I might as well have some fun with it," she laughed.
Houghton's strategy is to take tried-and-true-flavor combinations and change them up slightly. Her recipe in consideration for the contest features bruschetta ingredients such as tomato, basil, olive oil and garlic, combined with brie cheese – in a potato salad. "It's always my goal to take a standard recipe and elevate it," she said. "I had previously made pasta with a similar flavor combination, and thought it could go well with potatoes. I tried it, and people loved it."
Her ultimate goal is to write a cookbook eventually, focused on the importance of cooking with your children. "I have a practice of having my boys on the chair next to me while I'm cooking," she said, adding that sons Liam, 6, and Cole, 2, love when their mom competes in a cooking contest. "Cooking with the boys is one of the most special things we do together. Cooking can be time consuming and having them by my side obviously takes more work, but involving them allows us to have quality time together."
Every time Houghton enters a cooking contest, the boys are involved from the trip to the grocery store to staging a photo of the final product. "Every time we enter a cooking contest, we do it as a team."
Contest results will be announced on resers.com on Sept. 17. To try Houghton's recipe for yourself, see the recipe below.
Bruschetta Sausage Salad
6 medium red potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t. freshly ground pepper
4 mild Italian chicken sausages
1/3 C. olive oil
10 oz. spreadable brie
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. fresh basil, chopped
½ C. plain yogurt
Leaving the skin on, cut potatoes into bite sized square chunks and boil in a large pot until cooked through and very soft – do not undercook. Chop mild Italian chicken sausages into small chunks, heat and lightly brown sausage in a medium frying pan. Place heated sausage in a large bowl. Spoon brie on top of sausage and let it melt over warm sausage. When potatoes are cooked, drain water and place warm potatoes on top of brie and sausage. Mix until brie is spread evenly throughout. Finely chop basil and mix with olive oil and minced garlic in a medium bowl. Chop tomatoes into small chunks and add to basil mix. Add tomato basil bruschetta to potatoes and sausage. Add plain yogurt and pepper. Mix all ingredients and serve warm or cold.