Category Archives: Salad

Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad

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This year, for our Thanksgiving pot luck, I made two dishes. The first was a repeat of the Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows. I made a couple changes to the recipe to try to fix the problems I noted last year. I added a note to the recipe to say what I did, and so would direct you there if you are interested. (It should be Yams and Marshmallows).

Then, while I was considering different vegetable side dishes, it occurred to me that the meat was to be Kalua Pork; our theme was Hawaiian! So I decided that with the pork we should have sticky rice and macaroni salad. After trying to understand what sticky rice was, I decided to do the salad, and that is the recipe I am giving you here.

This salad has a slightly acidic taste from the vinegar rinse. The sauce keeps the macaroni loose; it doesn’t clump up badly. And it has plenty of vegetables.

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Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin (5-7 scallions)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups minced celery

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the macaroni and cook until soft; about 10 minutes. Drain, and immediately return the macaroni to the cooking pot and toss with the vinegar. Let cool ten minutes.
  2. In a very large bowl, whisk together half the mayonnaise (1 cup) 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the cooled macaroni with the mixed sauce and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Whisk together the remaining mayonnaise (1 cup), milk (1/2 cup).
  5. Once the macaroni and sauce has cooled, fold in the scallions, carrots and celery. Pour the whisked mayo / milk over the salad; toss to coat. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.


First, when I say to make the sauce in a very large bowl, I mean more than a 4 quart bowl. I started with my 4 quart mixer bowl and it was full when I added the cooked macaroni. I luckily have a 10 quart bowl and so I switched to that to finish the salad. If the macaroni and sauce fill a 4 quart bowl, you still have to add over a quart of vegetables and thicker sauce.

I decided to let the food processor grate my carrots; I don’t like to use the hand grater and spoil my fingers. Anyway, as I got ready, I chopped the carrots so that I could place them in a 1 cup and a 1/2 cup dry measuring cups; they stuck out the top. But the interesting thing is, (and I have found this to be true with other ingredients that need chopping, etc) is that the processed / grated carrots take up almost the same amount of space as the chopped carrots. And because I had the food processor out, I decided to “mince” the celery using the same grater blade and technique of chopping the stalks to fill the cups. It works! The scallions I did do by hand.

I looked at more traditional macaroni salads, and they all seem similar with just a different cast of vegetables. Some use roasted peppers, or ripe olives. Most seem to use scallions. But not many seem to use carrots or celery, things that might be in your vegetable crisper and not need a special trip to the grocery store. I hope you try this version of a macaroni salad and enjoy.

Antipasto Salad

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I had the opportunity to visit Italy several years ago, and one thing I remember is that they made eating an event. There are potentially more courses in a menu than I could even begin to need, but the main eating seems to be the Antipasto course, followed by the Primo course- which is pasta, and then the Secundo course, which is meat based. It is easy to see where Antipasto got its name, coming before the pasta course.

Antipasto is typically cold dishes, and features meats, cheeses and vegetables. In the United States, we will typically have small plates of Salami or Pepperoni, Boconcini or Mozzarella, marinated Artichoke hearts, Olives, and Pepperoncini.

Rather than having multiple small dishes of different foods, this recipe suggests mixing the foods together in a salad. Let me be clear- this recipe is not a fixed specification like most recipes, but is just a starting point for ideas of what to include in an Antipasto Salad. You should add and subtract to make the salad your idea of what gives you the taste of Italy.

Antipasto Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 small head Romaine
  • 6 oz. roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
  • 8 oz. Pepperoncini, drained, and stemmed
  • 8 oz. marinated boconcini or mozzarella, cut into small chunks
  • 6 oz. sliced pepperoni or salami
  • 6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved (if whole)
  • 1 cup oil-cured black olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

  • Combine the Basil leaves and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth
  • Cut the Romaine into 1 inch pieces
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • Best when served with a crusty bread


Just a suggestion: If you are going to include the pepperoncini, I would suggest cutting them into rings rather than leaving them whole. They are easier to eat as part of the salad, rather than picking them up by themselves.
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Again, the above is just a suggestion and a hint of what you might like from the small antipasto dishes to go into your salad. Or you might even want to leave something out, like the pepperoncini if you don’t like the heat.

Alice’s Salmon Salad

This recipe was sent to me by my sister Ann. I made it a couple times; the first time I felt was a disaster, but the second time I really thought it was excellent, and very tasty. So, please read all my hints and suggestions before trying to do this recipe; I will guarantee it will make the recipe clearer, and you will like the results.

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Ann says “Sorry but the recipe is a zillion years old and I have no recollection of who Alice might be. Probably I picked up the recipe from some friend and Alice is a friend of a friend or such”.

Ann likes to buy a salmon filet, check it for pin bones and then either steam or poach it and after it cools, flake it for the salad. I found that Grotons now has grilled salmon in the freezer aisle which you can microwave, and then I flaked it with a couple forks. The Grotons grilled salmon comes in 6.3 ounce packages, so I bought two for 3/4 of a pound. This turned out to be plenty of salmon even though the recipe says 1 pound of salmon. I suspect that the 1 pound shrinks to more like the 12 ounces when the skin and bones are removed. Whatever you do, skip the canned salmon; it is a disaster! In fact, I eliminated the mention of canned salmon from the recipe.

Update June 2015

I have made this salad several times now, and think I should update my experiences with making it. This last time, I put the shredded cabbage in the ice bath, and I feel that is more work than necessary. I was cleaning up cabbage all over the place after getting it back into the bowl. There were several problems; I had to find the ice cubes that hadn’t melted and remove them, I had a towel that had cabbage flakes all over it, and of course, I had cabbage flakes on the counter and floor from all the extra manipulation. So, just refrigerate the shredded cabbage for a couple hours before spicing it and adding the salmon mixture.

I am also certain now that the salad does not need a full pound of salmon- especially if you are using a fillet of salmon. Remove any pin bones, and cook it, and then flake it. While Ann says she steams or poaches the fillet, I found that it is quite easy to pan-fry. I put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the fry pan, place the fillet skin-side down in the pan and turn the heat to medium high. Then cover the pan and cook on the skin-side for about 5 minutes. Turn the fillet over and cook on the meat side, covered, for 3 minutes. Take it out of the pan to stop the cooking and let it cool on a plate. Once you can touch it, you can flake it into a bowl where you will combine it with the other ingredients as per the recipe.

Alice’s Salmon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • Ice water and ice cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound red salmon, minced
  • 3 small sweet gherkins, minced
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or enough to hold mixture together
  • 1 Tablespoon catsup
  • 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 small shallots or green onions, minced
  • Dash cayenne or hot sauce
  • Lettuce
  • Whole sweet gherkins

Directions:

Twenty (20) minutes before serving, soak the cabbage in ice water and ice cubes to crispen. Drain and pat dry on a towel. Dump into a bowl, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar; add vinegar and oil. Mix and drain excess juice from bowl.

To prepare the salmon, flake salmon with forefingers or forks. Add the next 8 ingredients (salmon thru cayenne) and combine with seasoned slaw, then mix with 2 forks. Pile it into a bowl and garnish with lettuce and whole gherkins.


I think the directions can be simplified. I found I could slaw the cabbage and it was plenty crisp if I just put it in the refrigerator. I am assuming that the cabbage was kept in the refrigerator before it was sliced. so that eliminates the need for the ice water and ice cube bath, and the draining and patting dry. Just mix the dressing into the cabbage when you put it back into the refrigerator- salt, pepper, sugar, oil and vinegar. I didn’t have enough excess liquid that there was anything to drain when I took the cabbage back out of the refrigerator; I suspect the ice water doesn’t all get drained the first time if you use the water bath method.

The first time I tried to make the salad, I ran the cabbage through a shredding blade on the food processor; I ended up with cabbage pulp- not cabbage slaw. So while the recipe says shredded cabbage, don’t shred it. Slice it into pieces that are very narrow (3/16 inch) and about 1 1/2 inches long.

I also think the 1/2 cup of mayonnaise is overkill; I used only about a Tablespoon and felt it was plenty. An advantage with using less mayo is that if you have leftover salad, you can refrigerate it and have it a second day and there is not a lot of extra “juice” that you need to drain off. Mayo separates when it is in a salad that then gets refrigerated.

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I served my salad on the lettuce leaf on a dinner plate with three gerkins on the side. I got three very healthy servings from the salad. Healthy in both size, and nutritional value- Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fat.

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.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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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Mexican Salad

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Here is a salad that is a meal in itself! It has good tastes of Mexico, with avocado, tomato, ripe olives, and corn chips. You will need to add nothing in order to have a full meal, either for the gang, or for the solo self.

The first time I made this salad was for a pot-luck lunch; I finished adding the corn chips and dressing and tossing the salad to get the flavors all the way through it. I left for a few minutes, and when I came back, it was all gone- however most of the casseroles that had been brought still were available. That demonstrates how good the salad is, and how well-liked it is as a meal.

You will want a large bowl in which to combine all the ingredients. I use a container that is about 50 cups- and it is over half full when I start tossing the ingredients to get them all mixed. The large size of the container ensures that pieces of the salad are not escaping when I toss it with extra vigor.

Mexican Salad

( Evelyn Sheehan, 1975)

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 avacado
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can (16 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup black ripe olives, sliced
  • 1 bag Fritos (11 oz) broken up
  • 1 bottle Kraft Catalina salad dressing

Brown and drain the beef.

Cut up and put in large bowl the lettuce, tomatoes, avacado and onion. Add beans, cheese, olives, the drained meat and Fritos. Toss all with Kraft Catalina dressing. Serve with hot salsa if desired.


When processing the tomatoes, I seed and juice them before chopping them for the salad.

If you plan to have some of the salad left over for another time, then I recommend NOT putting the corn chips and dressing on the salad when you make it, but instead, adding the chips and dressing after the salad is plated. The salad is good for a couple days, but the dressing will speed the welting process, and the chips will get soggy and not provide their crunch.

It seems as if nothing stays the same in the marketplace; there once was only one type of Frito corn chips- now there are multiple variations. I get what is known as the Original. And inflation has reduced the size of the package from the 11 ounces it once was to 10 ¼ ounces. I forgot to check, but I suspect the 16 oz. can of beans is now less than that amount, too.

Likewise, the single kind of Kraft Catalina dressing has expanded into multiple varieties; I get what is now known as Kraft Catalina Classic Anything Dressing.

Caesar Salad

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Caesar Salad was created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur in Tijuana, Mexico. Cardini was running low on food and he put together a salad for his guests from what was left over in the kitchen. Originally, the romaine leaves were coated with the dressing and placed on the plate stem end out so they could be picked up and eaten with the fingers. It wasn’t until years later that the romaine was cut into bite-size pieces.

There seem to be a lot of Caesar Salad recipes- many even claiming to be the original. I have used this one since back in the 1960s. And since becoming solo, I have worked on a way to make the recipe one serving at a time. But first the recipe:

Errol’s Caesar Salad

1 clove garlic, minced
2 oz. tin of anchovies, broken up
1/3 cup olive oil
1 raw egg
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
2 cups croutons

In the bottom of a large salad bowl, mix together the garlic, anchovies, olive oil, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the romaine. Toss well to coat every leaf of romaine. Add the cheese and toss again to ensure all leaves get some cheese. Sprinkle the top with the croutons.

When we first started making Caesar Salad, it was partly as entertainment; I would make it at the table in front of our seated guests while Marlys finished up in the kitchen. In that case, you want all the ingredients measured out in small dishes that you can toss into the salad bowl and then using the salad tongs, toss the salad to make certain every leaf of romaine is coated. When we were entertaining, rather than use a minced garlic clove, I would cut a clove in half, and then rub the bottom of the salad bowl to squeeze the garlic oil out before adding the oil. I would lift the anchovies out of their tin, and using a dinner fork, break them up in the bottom of the salad bowl. I also broke the egg at the table and using the dinner fork, whip it into the oil. The lemon was cut in half and placed in a cloth napkin to be squeezed so that any seeds would not go into the salad.

Many people don’t like the idea that the salad has anchovies in it; if the anchovies are broken up into small enough pieces, they seem to disappear. Mix them in well with the dressing components before adding the romaine. This might also be where the use of Worcestershire sauce in the dressing became popular; it contains anchovies but also has a lot of other flavors like molasses and cloves. Personally, I like the anchovies, and they really are not noticeable after they are chopped.

For my single serving version, I make the full recipe of dressing except for the cheese. Then, I buy a package of romaine hearts; one heart will make two servings for me. I cut the heart vertically so that both servings will have the green end of the leaves and some stem end. I then chop the serving crosswise into bite-size pieces. I pour some of the dressing on the serving, sprinkle on the missing cheese, and some croutons.
Keep the extra dressing in the refrigerator- I like to keep mine in one of those dressing bottles so I can pour out what I need.

I make my own croutons. For a single serving, I toast a couple slices of bread. I butter the toast, and sprinkle it with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese and let them cool for a couple minutes. Then, I cut the crust off the toast and slice it into 9 to 12 square pieces. The croutons thus reflect the basic garlic and Parmesan flavors of the salad dressing.

I hope you find this version of Caesar Salad both simple to make, and enjoyable.

Errol