Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave…” Have you ever heard that old song? Anyway, Utah may be having a heatwave, but there is absolutely nothing tropical about it.

When it’s hot, I find it difficult to think about cooking or eating. I turn into a nibbler and my kitchen creativity vanishes. I thought about a number of different recipes, and even made a few of them, but then something familial would take place and lickity-go-split, recipes would fly right on out of my head. Continue Reading

Orange Fluff Salad

Orange Fluff SaladYes, another salad for Easter. This one has been around since Jell-O was invented, or at least since I was invented, which makes it pretty darn old. That’s not saying that this salad didn’t exist before I was born, it’s just saying that this is nothing new.

HOWEVER, I absolutely have to make this post because I can never find the recipe when I get ready to make the salad. I am a lousy puter-backer with recipe cards. They are forever getting lost. Would you believe that I used to be enormously OCD? Then one day I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with reality and ever since that time the OCD thing began to unravel–which has had both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage is that now I lose things and my house is chaotic. One of the advantages, on the other hand, is that I can happily walk away from dirty dishes and laundry and hang out with my grandsons and not feel guilty or anxious.

Orange Fluff Salad
The other reason that I am doing this post is because of the memories that it brings back. Family recipes should do that, you know. There are variations of this orange beauty, but this is the one that my mother has always used. I’m sure that many of you have a similar recipe and will swear by the one with which you were raised.

I make no apologies for not introducing you to some brilliantly healthy new recipe. I do encourage you though, to embrace a time honored recipe for a very easy family favorite that presents a scrumptiously pastel Easter table salad.

Not Easter right now when you are reading this? Don’t be silly. Make this salad anytime. It’s a great one for picnics, family reunions, Church socials, book club…whatever!

Orange Fluff Salad

Recipe Source: Who knows for sure? This recipe has been around forever.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip
  • 1 (16 ounce) carton cottage cheese (2 cups)
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarine oranges, drained
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 (6 ounce) box orange Jell-O

Instructions

  1. Put the cottage cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the Jell-O powder over the cottage cheese and mix together well. Allow to sit for a few minutes. The Jell-O mayl not completely dissolve at this point. Don't worry about it.
  2. Add the Cool Whip, mandarine oranges, pineapple tidbits, and miniature marshmallows. Fold together.
  3. Cover and place in refrigerator until chilled and thickened. This is a soft salad and will be thick, but will not set "firm".

Notes

For reasons unknown, sometimes this salad will set more firm than at other times. Either way, it is deliciously addicting.

http://tsgcookin.com/2012/04/orange-fluff-salad/

 

Orange Fluff Salad
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Layered Salad

Layered Salad

When I was growing up, a basic tossed salad was served frequently at dinner–lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, and green peppers. It never varied except for the salad dressing. Mom always had her homemade Thousand Island dressing. We kids ate Italian. Dad ate Bleu Cheese. I would have eaten bleu cheese, but my Mom had indicated that it was nasty and that Dad’s taste in food was not to be trusted. Considering Dad’s cooking, I willingly believed my Mom. Heaven help us if Mom got sick and Dad had to cook for us. I remember actually crying a few times when Mom injured her back and couldn’t get out of bed and Dad had to cook. Absolutely indescribable. But I digress. (In Dad’s defense…I LOVE bleu cheese salad dressing. It’s my personal favorite.)

Outside of this basic vegetable salad, Holidays afforded Ambrosia or a Jell-O salad with whipped cream on top. There were also other variations on creamy salads with a box of powdered Jell-O stirred into the mix. That was pretty much the extent of salads as I knew them. Oh wait, I lied. There was also chicken salad and potato salad. The end.

When I moved away from home and came out West, I found, first of all that there were actually other types of salad dressings. I was skeptical. Then, Ranch dressing came along and took the country by storm and I was swept away into the magic of it along with everyone else. Good old basic tossed salad suddenly became amazing! I ate salad with my dressing. I would have eaten just the dressing, but that would have been uncouth. Probably.

A major turning point in my salad education came with a salad served at one of my bridal showers, a layered salad. It really rocked my world. I couldn’t stop eating it and kept circling the food table like a ravenous shark, sneaking more helpings of that salad. As I have already indicated, I was salad deprived growing up.

Layered Salad

When I first served this salad at a Holiday gathering for my side of the family, I was a little unsure about how they would take to a “different” salad than that which did not involve one of the above stated salad selections. Surprisingly, it was a giant success and for years my family would put me in charge of bringing that layered salad. I was so proud of them for being willing to expand their horizons.

One of the truly great things about this salad is that it can be made 24 hours in advance. As a matter of fact, it is best to make it a day ahead to allow time for things to settle and the dressing to become a part of the salad.

Although I have made a big to-do out of this salad, it is an extremely common salad these days, particularly for feeding a crowd. I did a Google search for photos of layered salad and got 5,800,000 hits…just on the pics. Yeah, it is common. There are variations on layered salad, but the one that I am presenting here is a slightly adapted version of the salad that I had at my wedding shower.

Layered SaladCook’s Notes: 

  1. The original salad was made in a 9- x 13-inch glass dish which provided a shallow 2 inch depth allowing the penetration of the simple mayonnaise salad dressing through the vegetables and lettuce. The only draw back is that the pretty salad layers are not really apparent through the sides of the dish.
  2. I have this salad served in deep glass bowls, but because of the depth of the bowls, such as steep sided trifle bowls, the dressing mostly ends up sitting on top of the salad ingredients. If you choose to use a steep sided bowl, it would be best to lay down a few layers of ingredients, a layer of dressing, the remainder of the layered salad ingredients, and a final layer of dressing. If serving in a deep bowl, toss the salad and dressing just prior to serving–after everyone has oooed and awwed. (Obviously I have used pics of the salad in a trifle bowl; I wanted you to ooo and awe. My preferred way to make this salad is in a 9- x 13-inch glass dish. No need to toss the salad when it is prepared in this type of a dish, just serve as is.)
  3. It is best to add the final toppings for the salad just prior to serving. The toppings do not hold up well if put on the salad too far in advance, particularly the bacon.
  4. ***Reminder–Since the salad dressing is mayonnaise based, remember to use proper temperature safety etiquette.
  5. Please note: The measurements for the salad are approximations only! This is a very flexible salad. Use whatever vegetable components that your family or guests enjoy.

Layered Salad

Recipe slightly adapted from my mother in-law, Mavis.

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 8 cups of salad greens, torn into bite-sized pieces (I used arugala, Romaine, and iceberg)
  • 1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced celery
  • ½ of a yellow pepper, diced
  • ½ of an orange pepper, diced
  • 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4-6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (I prefer petite peas. Do not cook the peas. I put them in a small colander and hold them under warm running water to defrost them.)
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (*not* Miracle Whip)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • For the Topping
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Provolone, Gouda, or smoked Gouda work well)
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Instructions

  1. For the Salad: In a 9”x13” dish or a steep-sided salad bowl layer the salad greens, cabbage, celery, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and frozen peas.
  2. For the Dressing: Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and sugar. Spread on top of above salad.
  3. Cover and refrigerate salad for 8-24 hours then, just prior to serving sprinkle the shredded cheese and crumbled bacon on top of the dressing.
  4. If salad has been made in a shallow dish, simply serve as is. If the salad is in a steep-sided bowl, toss ingredients just prior to serving to distribute dressing.

Notes

The original salad was made in a 9- x 13-inch glass dish which provided a shallow 2 inch depth allowing the penetration of the simple mayonnaise salad dressing through the vegetables and lettuce. The only draw back is that the pretty salad layers are not really apparent through the sides of the dish. I have this salad served in deep glass bowls, but because of the depth of the bowls, such as steep sided trifle bowls, the dressing mostly ends up sitting on top of the salad ingredients. If you choose to use a steep sided bowl, it would be best to lay down a few layers of ingredients, a layer of dressing, the remainder of the layered salad ingredients, and a final layer of dressing. If serving in a deep bowl, toss the salad and dressing just prior to serving. My preferred way to make this salad is in a 9- x 13-inch glass dish. No need to toss the salad when it is prepared in this type of a dish, just serve as is. It is best to add the final toppings for the salad just prior to serving. The toppings do not hold up well if put on the salad too far in advance, particularly the bacon. ***Reminder--Since the salad dressing is mayonnaise based, remember to use proper temperature safety etiquette. Please note: The measurements for the salad are approximations only! This is a very flexible salad. Use whatever vegetable components that your family or guests enjoy.

http://tsgcookin.com/2012/04/layered-salad/

 

Layered Salad

You may also like:

Orange Fluff Salad
Orange Fluff Salad
Broccoli Salad
Broccoli Salad
Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Salad
Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Salad
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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Salad

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Salad

11/25/15 — The recipe for the crust portion has been updated in order to achieve more satisfactory results.

This is another of those “everyone-has-it-except-me” recipes.  I have eaten this ‘salad’ lots of times, but have never made it for myself mainly because I didn’t have the recipe.  Soooooo…one day recently I stumbled across the recipe on someone else’s blog.  And then a couple of days after that I found it on yet another person’s blog.  And then I found it all over the place on blogs and foodie websites.  And now my own version of this umm…charming…recipe is on my blog so that I can find the recipe whenever I want it and won’t have to go snooping around the web for someone else’s recipe.

As I think about it, in that twisted contorted way that my mind works, wouldn’t that make for a really embarrassing nightmare?  Getting caught snooping in someone’s house for a recipe?  There you are in the middle of the night with one of those little mini-mag flashlights quietly rifling through your neighbor’s recipe stash with curlers in your hair. (Don’t ask me why you are wearing curlers; it just seems like the right thing to do in a dream for some reason.)

You get really absorbed in the great recipes you are finding and then suddenly the kitchen lights go on and your neighbor is standing there poised with his or her trusty baseball bat or fly swatter and a seriously shocked look on his or her face.  You, of course, are sitting cross-legged on the floor with recipes all around you stammering an apology and trying to explain that all you really needed was that recipe for the raspberry cream cheese pretzel salad that your neighbor made for the last block party and that you wanted it really badly at 2:00 in the morning and you didn’t want to wake up your neighbor to ask for the recipe at that time of the morning and would they please not call the cops because it isn’t really a break-in considering that you aren’t there to take any of their valuables and after all, they know you…sort of…but not really, because the real you wouldn’t be as ridiculous as to come into their home uninvited to get a recipe in the wee hours of the morning.

Your neighbors are dumbfounded by your behavior and stand there gawking as you make a hasty retreat out of their back door and over the fence clutching the cherished recipe.  We won’t mention that it would have been far easier to leave by the front door with no fence to climb, but after all, this is a dream so you take the hard way out through the back door and over the fence where there is now a barking dog chasing you trying to eat both you and your recipe.  Where did the dog come from?  You don’t have a dog and neither does your neighbor, but there it is chasing you and snarling and now your neighbors are standing on their back porch cheering on the dog.

You are just about to become dog fodder when you suddenly wake up, gripping the covers of your bed, being outrageously grateful to be in your own room and saying, “Holy crap, where in blazes did that insane dream come from?  What is wrong with me that my psyche could come up with such a ludicrous situation?  Oh no! …was I dressed or naked in that dream?”

You try to avoid your neighbors for the next few days just in case they somehow know that you dreamed about breaking into their house for a recipe.

Would you believe that I was stone cold sober when I wrote that bit of dream quirkiness?  I am always stone cold sober.  Never been drunk in my life except once back when I was 18 and Nyquil used to be 25% alcohol and I had a cold and my friend introduced me to the miracle of NyQuil, then sort of snickered to himself as he assured me that I would be feeling great soon.  “Drink it fast,” said my soon to be not friend, “It burns at first, but I promise that you will feel a lot better.”  My tongue went numb and I couldn’t speak clearly, but within a few minutes I sort of didn’t care that I was sick and had a fever and that all of my joints and muscles were achy.  I kind of liked getting colds after that.

True story, that one.  Now, of course, NyQuil has taken all of the fun out of getting a cold.  You just take the NyQuil (alcohol-free) and for 4 hours your aches and pains magically leave, but you no longer get the buzz that was really kind of nice back in the 70’s.  No more holding hands with strangers and slurring Kumbaya with a stuffy nose kind of sound.

Well…didn’t I go far astray on those two adventures that have absolutely nothing to do with this recipe.  But, I suspect that you don’t always drop by here just for the food, right?

I ought to tell you that I had intended to post this recipe just prior to Easter because it is my understanding that this is often a favorite ‘salad’ served with the Easter meal, as well as an often used ‘salad’ for pot lucks.  Surprise!  I didn’t get this done for Easter, however I did rush out on the Monday morning after Easter to get the ingredients because I really, really, really had a craving for this wonderful creation.  Would you believe that my nearby grocery store was ought of stock of frozen raspberries?  I’m thinking that everyone except me must have made this salad for Easter and the stores didn’t plan ahead for the day after Easter, when of course, I wanted to make this salad/dessert.

It really doesn’t make sense to call this a salad because it is quite rich, but it doesn’t make sense to call it a dessert either because…well…I don’t know why.  In some parts of the country anything with Jell-O in it is considered a salad whereas in other parts of the country anything with Jell-O falls into the dessert category.  So,  I guess it’s a dessert salad…a sassert…a dessal…a deslad…a ladsert.  (How many nonsense word combinations can you make from ‘dessert salad’?)

As you can see I don’t need to be drunk on NyQuil or having a kooky dream to get all tangled up in nonsense.  I am amazing at nonsense.

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pretzel Salad

Recipe @ that's some good cookin; original source unknown

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups well crushed pretzels -- can be crushed with a rolling pin or in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks or 10 tablespoons), melted
  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese (low fat is fine)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip (low fat version works great)
  • 1 (6 ounce) box raspberry Jell-O
  • 1 10-12 ounce package frozen, unsweetened raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix crushed pretzels and white sugar. Pour melted butter over the pretzel crumb/sugar mixture. Stir until well combined.
  3. Pour the pretzel crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish. Spread evenly and then press firmly to form crust.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. If using an electric hand mixer, use the same process.
  6. Add the 1 cup of sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes until smooth (most of the sugar ought to have dissolved). Fold in the Cool Whip by hand.
  7. Pour cream cheese mixture onto the pretzel crust. Spread evenly all the way to the edges, making sure that there are no breaks between the cream cheese mixture and the edges of the dish. Cover the baking dish and put into the refrigerator to allow the cream cheese mixture to chill.
  8. While cream mixture is chilling, prepare the Jell-O. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. This can be done in the microwave by heating for 2-4 minutes on high. Pour the Jell-O into the hot water and stir until Jell-O is completely dissolved. Stir in the frozen raspberries briefly. Set aside to cool or put into refrigerator to cool more quickly. If cooling in the refrigerator, watch carefully and do not allow Jell-O to set.
  9. Pour Jell-O mixture over cream cheese mixture. Cover and return to refrigerator. Salad is ready to serve when Jell-O has set. Salad can be cut into serving sized squares or served family style with each person spooning out desired amount.
http://tsgcookin.com/2011/05/raspberry-cream-cheese-pretzel-salad/

 

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

One of my nieces, Emily, had a wedding shower last week.  I needed to make a salad for the shower, but I didn’t want to make any of the salads for which I already had recipes.  Go figure.  I wanted something with an Asian flare and so I scoured the internet for the perfect salad.  Found it, too, over at Our Best Bites.

The dressing for the salad is genius.  Yep, I said genius and I sincerely mean it.  The salad, itself, is flexible and can accommodate a variety of mix and match vegetables.  Just think Asian and crispy and you’ll get it right.

In my most humble opinion the chicken can be optional, depending on whether you want this to be a main dish salad or a side salad.  For the shower I chose to leave out the chicken because we were also having chicken croissants.  For dinner or for a luncheon, the addition of chicken is great.

I made this salad again yesterday for dinner with a couple of minor changes.  Instead of using linguine, I used a package of Japanese noodles.  I must confess that I really liked them better than the linguine.  They can be found at many grocery stores next to the fresh, packaged Chinese soba-style noodles, usually somewhere in the fresh vegetable refrigerated section.  (Really bad sentence, sorry.)  One piece of advice about using the Japanese noodles.  They are really looooooooong, so cut them into maybe fourths before you cook them.  Just leave them all neatly folded as they come from the package and cut them once lengthwise then once crosswise.  Cook them according to package directions.

In addition to the noodle change, I used dry roasted peanuts instead of honey roasted peanuts.  I also increased the amount of napa cabbage and romaine lettuce, using four cups of each.  As regards the purple onion, I prefer green onions.  I like the milder green onion flavor.

One last change…I served the dressing on the side instead of mixing it into the whole bowl of salad.  The dressing does have a tendency to separate as it sits, but give it a quick stir or shake and you are good to go.

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

Recipe very slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

Ingredients

    For the Salad:
  • 1 (9 ounce) package Japanese noodles cooked according to package directions (Our Best Bites used 8 oz Linguine Fini, or regular linguine)
  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage or romaine lettuce (I used 4 cups of each)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned (I used prepackaged shredded carrots--the shred was thick enough to be a julienne cut)
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced (I like to use green onions)
  • 3 cups diced grilled chicken (I used chicken tenderloin strips. I brushed them olive oil and sprinkled them with seasoning salt prior to cooking them for a few minutes on each side in a grill pan.)
  • honey roasted peanuts (about 1/2 cup) (I prefer dry roasted peanuts)
  • For the Thai Peanut Salad Dressing:
  • 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (stems and all)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce (Start with the smaller amount, taste the dressing, then add more if you want it hotter.)
  • 2-4 tablespoons water (The water is used to thin the dressing, if needed. It all depends on how thick or thin you like your dressing.)

Instructions

    For the Salad:
  1. Prepare your choice of noodles according to package directions.
  2. Drain, then rinse well with cool water to stop the cooking process and to cool down the noodles for the salad. Drain well. To help keep the noodles from clumping, drizzle a little salad oil over them and mix to coat the noodles. Cold noodle clumps are seriously unappetizing.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the prepped vegetables and the chicken.
  4. Add the noodles and toss everything together.
  5. Add the Thai Peanut Salad Dressing (recipe follows) just prior to serving or serve it on the side.
  6. Serve the peanuts as a garnish.
  7. For the Salad Dressing:
  8. Put all of the dressing ingredients into the blender and process until smooth. Check for flavor and thickness, adjust ingredients as desired.
http://tsgcookin.com/2011/04/thai-peanut-noodle-salad/