By Rod Cohenour
Time for Cool Cooking – Salads on the Menu
The temperature is beginning to rise and no one wants to be working over a hot stove. So, let’s set some of my Sweet Mate’s excellent salad dinners on the table. Here’s a collection of her salad inspirations that are easy to prepare, pretty to serve, and delicious to eat!
First of all, let’s do a flashback to a recipe previously presented in this column, but timely for the season – M’s Waldorf Chicken Salad.
- 4 cooked, cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you can boil, grill, or bake the chicken)
- 1 cup seedless green grapes, sliced in half
- 1 cup peeled or unpeeled (your choice) Red Delicious apples, cut in small bits
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 6 pecan halves for garnish
- 3 crisp celery stalks, with strings removed before cutting into small pieces
- ½ cup Miracle Whip, low fat (you can substitute Greek Yogurt if you so choose)
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice
- Cinnamon, a dash
- Apple Pie spice, a dash
- In medium bowl, toss together chicken cubes, grape halves, apple
bits, chopped pecans and celery. In a separate bowl, whisk together
the Miracle Whip (or Greek Yogurt) with the spices and a squeeze of
lemon. Add to chicken mixture and toss gently, making sure not to shred
the chicken cubes.
- Cover and chill well. Just before serving, use pecan halves to decorate the top of the salad.
- This goes so well with an old family favorite, updated by my
Sweet M, the English Pea Salad dish served fresh from the garden back
when MomMay and DaddyJack created a garden that was the envy of all –
including the County Extension Agent who could never believe his eyes
when he spied over the back hedge to see what they’d managed to grow in
the desert THIS time!
- 2 cans green peas, drained thoroughly
- ½ jar (about ¾ cup) Roasted Red Peppers (pimiento peppers, but sold as Roasted Red Peppers you get more for much less money), drained and chopped (Retain the juice. We will use it later)
- 4 eggs hard-boiled and minced
- 4 stalks celery, de-stringed and diced in small pieces about the size of the peas
- ½ medium Red Onion, diced about the size of the peas
- ½ cup Miracle Whip (use mayo if you wish, we prefer this)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Cheddar cheese, cubed to just larger than the peas
- Juice retained from Roasted Red Pepper jar
- (Select a pretty bowl for serving, but I like to prepare in a
separate bowl then place in the serving bowl.) Place peas, pimiento
peppers, eggs, celery, and onion in the bowl. Whisk Miracle Whip with
Juice from the pimiento peppers and black pepper. Add to bowl and gently
fold into the pea mixture.
- 3 ripe (not overripe) bananas
- 3 apples (Red Delicious or other sweet and crisp apple, not tart)
- 2 cups seedless grapes, red or green or both
- 2 16 oz. cans or 1 32 oz. can fruit salad, thoroughly drained
- ½ to 1 cup pecans, broken into small pieces
- 1 cup Vanilla Yogurt
- Dash cinnamon
- Whipping cream, prepared, or use the canned variety
- Cut all fruit into bite size pieces, leave the peel on the apple
for its color and texture. Fold in the drained fruit cocktail. Add
pecan pieces. Mix well.
- Add yogurt and fold the fruit mixture, keeping it light and
fluffy. Use cinnamon sparingly so as to merely entice the palate, not
* * * * *
These salad selections provide the protein, vegetable, and fruit dessert needs for any Spring or Summer meal. Provide a nice crisp baguette to complement the Waldorf Chicken Salad and offer a pitcher each of fresh brewed tea and a lovely lemonade to keep it brisk and cool.
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