Inspiring you with how to set up a potato bar for a summer dinner party is my jam! Or should I just say potatoes are my jam?
I have loved potatoes for as long as I can remember ;). It even dates back BEFORE the years I lived in Idaho (i.e. 1979-1987)! And for those of you that know me well – I am a very picky eater. As in VERY.
So you know if I am sharing a potato bar here on the blog – it is going to be a hit with all your friends including the difficult to please ones ;).
Actually, I say that and my oldest daughter refuses to eat baked potatoes 😂. So I will be including items in this potato bar menu post that your non-potato eating guests can also fill up on!!
I am also joining a group of fellow bloggers to share all sorts of outdoor summer dining inspiration so be sure to keep scrolling to see what else is in store for you! If you are coming here from my sweet friend Rachel at the Pond’s Farmhouse – hi there! I hope you loved her fun alfresco table ideas ;).
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But to describe myself in one sentence for you: I have been accused of being slightly OCD with my attention to details and my passion for planning absolutely everything I can get away with (and that includes parties, home decor & projects, and TRAVEL!). So I sure hope you are loving what you see and decide to sign up to my email list (which I swear will not be flooding your inbox 😂).
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Ideas to Set Up a Potato Bar for Your Summer Dinner Party
- But First – How to Bake Potatoes
- Yummy Potato Bar Toppings
- Delicious Side Dishes and Dessert
- Set Up the Potato Bar in a Buffet Line Fashion
- Enjoy the Potatoes at a Perfect Summer Outdoor Tablescape
But First – How to Bake Potatoes
In my opinion – baked potatoes are one of the easiest things in the world to make.
In fact, I don’t even think it registered to me that it is a perfect meal until I was a newlywed living in New York. My husband was in graduate school and often wasn’t able to come home for dinner. So one day when I was on the phone with my mom wondering what to do for dinner on nights I was home alone – she said – “you know Pasha – a baked potato or a bowl of popcorn is a perfectly acceptable dinner option”.
I was sold. And I cannot tell you how many nights I have now had either a bowl of popcorn or a baked potato for dinner :).
So thank you mom for steering me in that direction! Also – you can find my FAVORITE popcorn recipe here!!!
Now as far as how to bake a potato goes, it really is quite simple:
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Thoroughly wash potatoes with cold water – making sure to remove all dirt remnants. I use my hands and scrub those taters pretty hard…
- Dry potatoes with paper towel
- Rub potatoes with a small amount of olive oil (I used about 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon per potato)
- Prick potatoes with a fork in multiple areas all around (this step is IMPORTANT!!) – otherwise the potatoes will literally explode all over your oven and let me tell you what a mess that is to clean up!!! I usually prick my potatoes about ten times each ;).
- Place in oven straight on rack
- Bake for 60 minutes more or less depending on size of potatoes. You will know they are fully cooked when you can easily pierce with a fork. If there is any resistence – start adding time in 5 minute increments. Two of my above six potatoes needed an additional 10 minutes so I took the four out that were perfectly cooked and continued to bake the remaining two.
- Serve warm right out of the oven for best taste!
Yummy Potato Bar Toppings
Now on to the good stuff!
There are a multitude of options as far as what to add to a potato bar but here are my favorites:
I cook my bacon in the oven at 400° for 10 minutes. Then using tongs, I flip them over to make sure none of the slices are sticking together while cooking. I then cook them for another 5-8 minutes until crispy.
The crispier the better when baking bacon for a potato bar because you will be crumbling the slices into little pieces and that is much easier with crunchy bacon slices than chewy ones ;).
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
I found the best recipe for roasted broccoli and cauliflower a few weeks ago!! It is so good – I could seriously eat it every day!!
Put simply – you will need the following:
- 2 pounds bite sized broccoli and cauliflower florets
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
Bake at 425° for about 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Here is the website link for multiple recipe variations, tips, and suggestions that are worth looking into!
The above cookie sheet quantity is enough to feed 4-6 guests so if you are having more than that amount of guests – make a second sheet of veggies. Do not overfill the cookie sheet as then your florets will not brown and crisp as well…
On the stovetop, I browned one pound of ground beef and one white onion. Then I added a packet of Sprouts taco mix, about one tablespoon of lime juice, and half a cup of shredded carrots.
Shredded Cheddar and Parmesan Cheeses
Chopped Chives and Green Onions
Butter, Sour Cream, Salt and Pepper
Delicious Side Dishes and Dessert
This is where I think about what guests similar to my oldest daughter would eat…
And I know she will always fill up on bread and arugula salad ;).
I have a favorite Parker House roll recipe that I have been perfecting for years now!
Honey Buttered Parker House Rolls
I buy the frozen Parkerhouse style rolls from my local grocery store (my favorite brand is Bridgford). After I take them out to defrost in the morning, I brush a honey, melted butter, sea salt, and thyme mixture onto them. Then once they are defrosted and ready to be put in the oven – I brush another layer of this mixture on them.
I wish I could tell you I have a recipe for this topping but honestly- it is literally just thrown together. And truthfully – you really cannot mess up the ratio of butter to honey because both will taste AMAZING on your rolls! I promise!!
The last time I made them, I discovered putting no space in between the rolls while cooking makes them come out much softer. I even put very little space in between while they are defrosting so that the work is done for me before putting them in the oven ;).
Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese
Literally my all time favorite salad!
Topped with either a balsamic or champagne vinaigrette – it is always a hit at my gatherings!
When my friend Meeghan from Cali Girl in a Southern World put this recipe on her Instagram stories a little over a year ago, my mouth immediately started watering.
I was coincidentally hosting book club that same week and was so excited to make her recipe for my bc friends ;).
I have since made it a handful of times and each time leaves me craving it week after week ;).
Here is the link to Meeghan’s delicious peach dessert recipe!
Set Up the Potato Bar in a Buffet Line Fashion
Think about how your guests will be lining up to make their own baked potatoes. I like to use my entire island for all the food items.
Place your plates and the potatoes at the beginning of the line. I used a vintage bread board for the potatoes with a napkin placed on top of them to keep them warm.
Then leave enough space in front of all the toppings so that your guests can slide their plate along the island or table while adding their choices of toppings.
Use an assortment of cake stands, two tiered stands, and pretty bowls to make your setup look festive and classy ;).
Put silverware and napkins at the end of the line if you do not plan on having them already on the table.
Enjoy the Potatoes at a Perfect Summer Outdoor Tablescape
I recently hosted book club again (July is always my hosting month) and we enjoyed our potatoes on a beautiful summer night outside by candlelight and twinkle lights.
BTW – if you are thinking of starting a book club – start here with my post on how to start one! I started mine about ten years ago and still look forward to our monthly meetings!!
You can also read about my summer outdoor tablescape ideas in this post I published a few weeks ago. I have surprisingly already changed it up AGAIN because I wanted the entire table to be filled with candleholders and no vases or flowers for my latest book club dinner party.
My summer tablescape for my book club night in 2021 can be found here as well!
Thank you for reading this post describing one of my favorite summertime party meals!
I hope you found inspiration in how to set up a potato bar for a summer dinner party for your own gathering. Everything comes together quite quickly with minimal mess (the best part!!).
Be sure to keep scrolling to the bottom to see what my sweet blogger friends are sharing today as well. My talented friend Kristin from White Arrows Home is sharing some great inspiration for summer dining on the porch. You definitely do not want to miss!
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