Monthly Archives: May 2013

No-Knead Bread

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Making bread was always a frustration for me, until this last year. My Mother was an excellent bread maker. I remember going home on vacation, and the minute I walked in the front door the aroma of fresh bread would hit me. And when I got to the kitchen, I would find the kitchen table hidden beneath loaves of fresh bread, dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls. There would be 8-10 loaves of bread on the table.

Whenever Marlys’s Step Mother Margaret visited us, she would start making dough, and keep it in the refrigerator. Then, each evening she would take out some of it, and form a pan of dinner rolls. She also would at times make cinnamon rolls. She knew how to slow the rise by using refrigeration. But even more important, both of these women knew how to knead the dough and could determine the amount of flour to add to make the dough. I felt that making bread was a skill that could only be learned with much mentoring by someone who already had the skill, and I didn’t seem to have the time to acquire that skill.

Mom had one bread recipe that I really liked, and so I asked her for it and tried to make it; it was a failure! My notes from that attempt say that the mixture seemed dry, and I didn’t get the rise I thought I should; maybe I added too much flour.

A few years ago, recipes for No-Knead bread became popular, and a recipe by Leslie Cole, an Oregonian reporter, was printed in the Oregonian newspaper. I thought I had found the answer to my lack of skill in making yeast breads! So I tried the recipe. It is a crusty bread, with a rustic texture. It is the type of bread you would be served in a restaurant before the meal, with butter or maybe olive oil and salt for dipping. It is a good crunchy bread to enjoy with a meal. I would make it again just for these qualities.
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Here is the pointer to Leslie Cole’s recipe for No-Knead bread. She said in the original newspaper article that it was adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. For copyright reasons, I can not duplicate the recipe here, but must give you pointers to the publication of the recipes.

So, we continued to buy our bread for toast and sandwiches rather than try to make it.

Then, last year I learned about the “dough hook” for the stand-mixer. It has opened the world of flavored yeast breads for me. And I will be introducing those recipes to you. But for now, I want you to see the simple, no-knead bread. I use Leslie Cole’s recipe. I find it messy in that the dough seems especially moist and sticky; it might need more flour than indicated in the recipe. So, when working with the dough, I would not be afraid to use flour quite heavily to get the dough to hold together and not stick to fingers or work surface.
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If you, too, have trouble kneading yeast breads, then try the no-knead style. And maybe as Leslie suggests, add herbs or olives to suit your own taste.

Mulligatawny Soup

I received this recipe from my sister Rachael after telling her about the Mexican Soup I make and we use to have almost every lunch. I found this soup quite different from most Mulligatawny, and asked Corbin’s Grille for permission to publish the recipe on the WidowerRecipes web site. If you are in the northern Utah area, you might stop in at the Corbin’s Grille and try their cooking.

The notes in the recipe are by Rachael.

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This recipe is published here with the permission of Jake Garn, Owner/Operator of Corbin’s Grille.


  • © 2007 Corbin’s Grille, LLC
  • All Rights Reserved. Copies and all other uses besides private in-home use strictly prohibited.
  • Corbin’s Grille
  • 748 W. Heritage Park Blvd.
  • Layton, Utah 84041
  • Corbin’s Grille’s web site


  • 4 oz Carrots 3/8″ diced
  • 4 oz Celery 3/8″ diced
  • 4 oz Onions 3/8″ diced
  • 4 oz Leeks sliced 1/4″
  • 3 Tablespoons Bacon Grease
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoons Curry powder (note: Madras)
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 oz White wine
  • 5 Cups Chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy cream
  • 1/2 Cup Cooked rice (note: risotto also very good- drain & rinse)
  • 1/2 Cup Diced ham
  • 1/2 Cup Diced cooked chicken
  • 1/2 Cup Corn (note: frozen)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Hot sauce (note: Cholula)


Cook carrots, celery, onions and leeks in bacon grease and butter over medium heat until soft. Add curry powder and cook for an additional minute. Stir in flour and cook slowly for 3-4 minutes.

Add white wine and chicken stock. Reduce heat to simmer and whisk continuously until thick. Add rice, ham, chicken, corn and hot sauce. Stir in heavy cream and adjust seasonings and thickness.

I have reviewed several other recipes for Mulligatawny and find they are missing ingredients that are in this recipe. The most obvious examples are the leek, the bacon grease, the wine, the ham, the corn and the hot sauce. While these make a more complex recipe, I liked the results and think you will, too.

At first pass, I thought the soup would be difficult to bring together because of all the ingredients. The hard places for me would be the meats, and the bacon grease; my chicken and ham are frozen in 8 ounce pieces and so I would have to defrost pieces and cut them, and then determine how to use the rest. And, I separate my bacon into packages of 4 pieces each as soon as I get it home, and then cook it in the microwave on paper towels, so I don’t have bacon grease in the freezer. My sister suggested buying the meat at the deli section of the grocery store and asking for them to cut 4 ounces as a thick slab. For the bacon grease, I fried a package of bacon and used that grease; it was probably 2-3 Tablespoons. I used the bacon elsewhere, but I wonder if maybe I could have just crumbled it right into the soup.

If you have not worked with Leek before, then the rule is to separate the leaves and wash them several times to get all the sand and mud off them. Swish them around in a sink of water, changing the water two or three times as the mud settles out.

My other area of desiring to experiment is with the rice; the recipe calls for cooked rice, but we see in the Mexican Soup recipe that the rice is put into the soup and cooks as the soup simmers for an hour. I wonder if something similar could be done here; for example, cook the rice in some of the chicken stock on the side. Most white rices (Arborio, white) cook up at a ratio of 1 to 3; i.e., 1 cup of rice grains makes 3 cups of prepared rice. (For brown rice, the ratio is 1 to 2.5.) So, using white rice, you would need ½ cup / 3 or 1/6 cup of rice grain as a starting point. If my math is correct, this is 2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of rice grain. I need to test this idea. Rachael says that she always has a pot of cooked rice in her refrigerator, but I don’t and am looking for a way to not make extra cooked rice. If I learn something, I may update these comments at some future date.

Risotto rice is different in that it is cooked with flavorings, but I would think most of those are lost in the soup, so I don’t know if that makes a difference.

According to Rachael, the amount of hot sauce to add also seems to be very personal. Her friend only uses ½ teaspoon, while Rachael uses 2 teaspoons; I feel it could even use more and would probably try a full Tablespoon next time. And, I bought the Cholula hot sauce just for the soup, but I think you could use your own favorite brand. I did find the Madras curry to be hotter than what I had been buying as a curry powder; it seems to be more true to the tastes of India.

I think with these hints and suggestions, you should be ready to try this wonderful, hearty soup.

Kentucky Chocolate Cake

What’s is not to like about a chocolate cake? And this one is especially chocolate; it has a whole can of Hershey’s Syrup in the batter, then chocolate chips in the frosting!
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Catharine Fujii is my sister and at one time, her family lived in Kentucky. It was back then that she gave Marlys this recipe.

Kentucky Chocolate Cake

(Catharine Fujii, 1970s)


  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) at room temperature.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 oz. can Hershey chocolate syrup

Grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Add one at a time eggs, beating well after each. Add flour, baking powder and vanilla. Fold in Hershey syrup.

Bake for 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then pour icing over the top while still in pan. Serve from the pan.


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2/3 cup carnation evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz. package chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Mix sugar, butter and milk in medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla and chocolate chips.

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A 9×13 pan of this rich cake is more than a single person should try to eat, and so in late 2012, I decided to try making a smaller version of the cake, and I had success. I had a 6×9 inch pan which is 54 sq. in. versus 117 sq. in. for the 9×13; that comes close to being 50%. So I cut the cake recipe in half- half a stick of butter, half a cup of sugar, 2 eggs, half a cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 8 oz. Hershey’s chocolate syrup. I got the chocolate syrup by measuring 8 oz. by weight from one of the 24 oz. plastic bottles of chocolate syrup. The only other change I made was to reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes to just 30 minutes and the cake came out perfectly.

In November of 2013, I made the half-recipe into 12 cupcakes; the measure is perfect for making 12 cupcakes. The only change I had to make was in the cooking time; I reduced the cooking time to 20 minutes. This was when I made the turtle pull-apart cake.

One thing I don’t like about this cake is the icing; I feel it has too much of a crystallized sugar taste. It may be something I am not doing well when making the icing. But I decided to try something different for the frosting. I made a chocolate glaze that I have from a different recipe:

Alternate Chocolate Glaze


  • 3 Tablespoons 1/2 & 1/2
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (this can be chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar


Below, the directions say to microwave until the mixture just begins to steam; this is very important. Otherwise the mixture will burn; 20 seconds can make the difference. So keep checking the plastic wrap; as soon as it shows any moisture and isn’t perfectly clear- stop! You have heated it enough.

To make the glaze, place the 1/2 & 1/2 and semi-sweet chocolate in a medium, microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, until the mixture just begins to steam. Whisk together thoroughly and add the sugar and whisk until completely smooth.

The glaze ingredients seem just enough for the half size cake. I have not tried to double the recipe to use on the full size cake, but it should work okay. I suspect the finer confectioners’ sugar makes a difference.


If you like lasagna, you will like this recipe. Actually, it is the Italian Sauce that is the key, and you can even use it on spaghetti as a sauce. But, this is about the lasagna. It is good. This is one recipe Marlys collected that has been requested the most by others.
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One of the good things about lasagna is that it is a good leftover meal. Recently, when I was visiting my daughter, I made the recipe and took the lasagna with me. Then, each night, we would cut ourselves pieces, heat them in the microwave, and enjoy our supper. One friend that makes this recipe complains that she never has leftovers.

Jackie worked with Marlys in San Diego, and was her matron-of-honor at our wedding.
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(Jackie Bataitis 1963

  • 1 recipe Italian Sauce -see below
  • 9 lasagne noodles, cooked as package directs and rinsed with cold water
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese

In a deep 9 x 13″ pan, layer the ingredients as follows:

  • 1/4 the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • 1/2 the mozzarella
  • 1/2 the ricotta
  • 1/2 the parmesan
  • 1/4 the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • 1/2 the mozzarella
  • 1/2 the ricotta
  • 1/2 the parmesan
  • 1/4 the sauce
  • 3 noodles
  • rest of sauce
  • extra parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes
(1 hour if it has been made ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
Remove from oven. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Italian Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb. ground beef (or 1/2 lb. pork sausage + 1 1/2 lb. ground beef)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 18 oz. tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 bay leaves or sweet basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoons chopped parsley, fresh or dried

Brown meat in hot oil. Add rest of ingredients, stirring well to blend.

Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 2 hours (3 hours if doubling recipe).

Remove bay leaves before using or freezing.

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Marlys bought a special pan in which to make the lasagna; it is deeper than most 9×13 pans.

The problem I have when I make the lasagna is that I never can determine when I have used 1/4 of the sauce, and I always feel I run out of sauce before I finish the top layer. I was told to not worry, the whole package comes together and cooks – bubbling up through the noodles. All I can say is to put a minimum of sauce on the bottom of the pan, and don’t be too generous when you sauce the layers.

One of the tricks I remember from watching Marlys make the recipe is in getting the cheese into the lasagna. You can’t spread riccota in the pan; it just doesn’t work. So, what you do instead is to butter the mozzarella slices, and let the cooking move the cheeses around. Slice the mozzarella thin; you will probably need 18 to 20 slices.

And for the parmesan cheese, we just use the everyday type like in plastic bottles put out by Kraft.
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Some of my nerdiness shows up in the noodles; 9 noodles means you have 3 noodles per layer, and they fit fairly nicely. but they are just a hair short, so I cook a 10th noodle, and cut it to fill the small space at the end of the whole noodle. Again, everyone tells me that care isn’t necessary.

Potato Salad

This salad came to us from a visit one summer day to my brother John. He fixed a feed for us, and his roommate, whose name is forgotten, made a Potato Salad that was simple, yet very taste. It is a cold potato salad.
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This salad has very few ingredients. It has no mustard or pickles or any other explicit spices, but presents a clean taste of the potatoes and hard cooked eggs. I think you will enjoy it.

Potato Salad

(Brother John’s roommate)

  • 3 lb. small red potatoes, cooked.
  • 1 cruet Good Seasons Italian or Caesar dressing
  • 6-8 hard cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream to cover.

While still warm, dice and pour dressing over them. When cool, add eggs, salt, pepper and sour cream. Best served at room temperature.

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I am assuming that hard cooked eggs are not a problem; if you need help in that area, please send me a comment and I will reply. Likewise, if cooking the potatoes is a problem. I guess I do these often enough that I am assuming all my audience knows how to do these boiling operations.

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A different version of a potato salad that I enjoy is a recipe I got from Food Network Giada De Laurentiis called Warm Vegetable Salad. I am giving you a pointer to the salad.
It is surprising how many hits a google search for “Giada Warm Vegetable Salad” returns. It must be growing in popularity.

Giada starts with having you roast your red peppers, and then clean and skin them. Having made this salad a few times, I decided that it was easier to buy a jar of Roasted Red Peppers than to do the job myself. A jar contains about 4 peppers, so I use half the jar, and then freeze the other half; I don’t want it to go bad in the refrigerator. I still have to go over the peppers to check for skin and veins, so maybe I am kidding myself about the work.
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Giada says that putting the potatoes into boiling water will cook them in 10-12 minutes; I feel that is misleading – it depends on the size of the potatoes. Generally, when I go shopping, the potatoes are fairly large, and I test them with the tip of the knife for tenderness when I cook them. Sometimes it takes more like 30 minutes to get them tender.

As a result, I have started cutting the potatoes to their final size before putting them in the boiling water; now they tend to be done in the 10 – 12 minute range.

The biggest problem with the salad is that it needs to be made at the last minute, and served immediately. That is hard to do for a larger group, and besides, you want to be talking with your guests and not out in the kitchen.

However, if you decide to take this salad on, believe me the taste is well worth the effort. The lemon brings a bright note to the flavor, and the green beans and roasted pepper add color.

Barcardi Rum Cake

This is a terrific tasting cake but there are some issues in making it. Again, it is a tube pan cake when I have made it; I don’t have a Bundt pan, and most of my problems have to do with removing the cake from the tube pan. Maybe I did not let the cake cool enough before trying to move it from the pan to the cake plate.
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Whereas the Pound Cake is very neutral, and invites sauces, the Rum Cake is just the opposite; it has its flavor built in and the only sauce that would make sense is the Rum Sauce. The last couple times I made it, we ate it without additional sauce.

Bacardi Rum Cake

  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnut
  • 1 (18.5 oz.) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.75 oz.) vanilla instant pudding mix*
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup dark rum (80 proof)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ tube or 12 cup bundt pan. Sprinkle over the bottom of the pan the chopped nuts.

Mix together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water oil and rum.

(*if using cake mix with pudding already in the mix, omit pudding mix and use 3 eggs instead of 4 and 1/3 cup oil instead of 1/2 cup).

Pour the batter over the nuts. Bake 1 hour. Cool. Invert onto serving plate. Prick top, and spoon and brush Glaze** evenly over top and sides.

  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum (80 proof)

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

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When I was shopping, I found three brands of yellow cake mix, and only one of them had the pudding already in it. I chose to use one of the other brands and a package of vanilla pudding.
And as always, we find inflation has hit these products; the cake mixes are now packaged at 16.5 ounces instead of the 18.5 called out in the recipe. I found the instant vanilla pudding mix was getting more difficult to find, and so it might pay to use the cake mix with the pudding already added and use fewer eggs and less oil.
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I mentioned that I had a problem removing the cake from the tube pan and getting it on the cake plate. The cake was too soft to hold while moving down the length of the tube, and broke. On the second attempt at making the cake to solve this problem, I created a false bottom for the tube pan; I cut a piece of heavy cardboard to size, and covered it with foil. This time, I could keep the cake upright while moving it off the tube, then place the cake plate on the top of the cake and rotate the sandwich so the cake plate was on the bottom, and the cake was now upside down so the nuts would show when I lifted the false bottom off the cake.

8 Layer Dip

This dip has a Mexican taste; it starts with Beans, contains Avocado, and ends with with Salsa, and we suggest serving it with Corn Chips. It is big in size, and your problem might be finding a dish on which to assemble it. I would suggest a 12 inch platter as a starting point. And it is bold, with lots of opportunity for spicing it up.
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I purposely built my version of the dip in a pyramid so that the different layers would show; that is not necessary, and you should bring each layer out to the edge of the serving platter. A lot goes into the dip, and you need all the surface you can use for each layer.
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8 Layer Dip

  • 3 Avacados
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cans bean dip or 16 oz refried beans
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (4-6 oz.) can sliced ripe olives
  • Salsa

Mash avacados with lemon juice, salt and pepper
(You may use commercial guacomole instead.)

Assemble in layers on a large round or oblong dish:

  • spread bean dip
  • Avocado mixture
  • sour cream
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • olives
  • cheese
  • salsa

Serve with corn chips for dipping

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I made my version of the dip with the bean dip that is usually in the aisle with the chips; I feel the dip could use a little more spice at that level, and might try one of the refried beans that are sauced up to medium instead of mild. You could also add a little spice in the guacamole (Avocado mixture) with a couple shakes of hot sauce. The sour cream acts to cool the hot tastes down, but if your crowd isn’t into spicy food, you can do just as well with the recipe as given. The only heat I detected in my version was in the salsa.

Monkey Salad

This salad got its name from a couple of boys who had lived at one time in Panama, and were visiting us. They said it was what they fed the monkeys in Panama. Maybe the name and an explanation of from where the name came will be enough to get the kids to like this salad. I think you will like the freshness it has with the fruit added to the crisp lettuce.
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Monkey Salad


  • 1 head Iceberg Lettuce
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Navel Orange
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper


Core the lettuce, and then chop it into bite-size pieces. Peel the orange and slice the segments in smaller pieces- I use 3rds. Peel the banana and slice into rounds.

Pour the oil and vinegar over the salad, sprinkle the salt and pepper on the salad, and toss to mix all leaves with the dressing and spice.

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Pistachio Salad

This salad seems like a rich kin to the Dump Salad; it has a wider variety of textures and flavors, but is still based on cottage cheese and Cool Whip. And of course, you have to work harder to get all the ingredients mixed together. There is even some chopping to do.
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Pistachio Salad

  • 4 oz Coolwhip
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese, small curd
  • 16 oz. canned fruit cocktail, drained
  • 3.5 oz. pistachio instant pudding, dry
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/4 package miniature marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix together in the order listed. Chill well before serving.

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Luckily, Pistachio Jello is one of the flavors that still is in favor, and you should have no problem finding it.

The coconut I use is the Angel Flakes; I have it available for other recipes I cook. I am not certain why the salad has to be mixed in the order the ingredients are given, but it does stiffen up substantially by the time you add the coconut.

Dump Salad

Dump Salad is really a framework in which several different tasting salads can be made. These salads are based on cottage cheese and Cool Whip. There are only two more ingredients; a jello flavor, and a fruit to go with the jello. Once you have the ingredients, they mix up in just a matter of minutes, and then go into the refrigerator to cool.
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I have made three versions of the Dump Salad, and so the pictures below will reflect those three choices of flavor that I made. The recipe comes from Marlys’s Step Mother. And I do have some suggestions following the recipe.
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I think that if you are going with Dump Salad on your menu, then you might need to plan on another dish. If you are having hamburgers on buns with all the fixings, then you probably have enough flavors and textures in your menu. But if you are cooking steaks, I would also plan on a vegetable in your menu- maybe a baked potato with the fixings, or asparagus, beans, peas, sliced tomatoes or even succotash – something to add a different flavor and texture.
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Dump Salad

Margaret W. McBryde 1976

  • 3 1/2 oz. package jello, dry (see flavor in table below).
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese, small curd
  • 4 oz. Coolwhip
  • 8 to 10 oz. drained canned fruit (see type in table below).

Mix ingredients together, chill well before serving.

Suggested combinations:

Jello Flavor Fruit
pineapple/orange &nbsp&nbsp crushed pineapple
orange mandarin oranges
strawberry frozen strawberries
peach canned peaches
lime canned pears
blackberry frozen blackberries

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I have discovered that Jello is no longer available in all the flavors it once was. For that reason, I suggest that you NOT lock in a flavor for your menu until after you have shopped. For example, I could not find peach Jello in any of the three stores where I looked, and I found the strawberry Jello only in the third store. Today’s tastes seem to include the lime and orange flavors; there are also a lot of new flavors such as mango. It would be interesting to hear back from someone who is brave and tries to make a new combination of Jello flavor and fruit.
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The three combinations I have made and are shown here are Strawberry with frozen strawberries, Orange with mandarin oranges and Lime with pears. I bought the mandarin oranges and pears in those little 4 ounce serving packages, and used 3 packages each for the salads. I cheated and did not stir all of the fruit into the salad, but saved a few pieces out to put on top of the salad; I think that gives the salad a nicer look to show what is hidden below the surface.
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