The older I get, the more that I realize that all of those times that Mama said: “don’t spend your money on me,” she meant it. She wanted then what she still wants, time spent together. Time is something we can never get back, and the older my mama gets, time becomes more precious to me.
In comparison to many families today, my mother’s family was a big one. She had six brothers and sisters. Today, my mother and her sister are the only siblings that remain. I decided that my mama would like nothing better than a little family time for Mother’s Day. So on a recent visit, I invited my aunt and a couple of cousins to a luncheon at mama’s house. I kept the menu simple with homemade chicken salad, pasta salad made with fresh vegetables and purchased Italian dressing, cucumber sandwiches, purchased cheese straws, and I bought a fruit tray, cut up and ready to eat and made a poppy seed vinaigrette dressing. The table was elegantly set with mama’s best china and crystal and the memories we made are priceless.
As you struggle to come up with a gift for mom this Sunday, keep in mind that time spent with you is something she will always treasure!
Simple Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. pasta
- 2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ¾ c. sliced black olives
- sliced red onion
- crumbled feta cheese
- chopped bell pepper
- 1 to 1½ c. Italian dressing
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Toss pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, feta cheese, and bell pepper with Italian dressing.
- Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
You may need to add a little more Italian dressing to salad just before serving.
Fruit Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4 cups fresh fruit
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- Wash and cut up fruit, set aside. In a small bowl whisk vinegar, oil, sugar and poppy seeds. Pour over fruit an gently toss. Serve immediately.
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cucumber, peeled & seeds removed
- 1 medium onion
- dash salt
- dash hot sauce
- mayonnaise on bread, if desired
- Grate cucumber and onion and squeeze dry. (I do this using a clean dish towel. Put in the center of a towel then roll towel and twist.) Set aside.
- Blend cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Store in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- If using mayonnaise, spread on desired bread. Top with cucumber spread and another slice of bread.
Perfect Chicken Salad
- 4 lg. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1 to 2 c. mayonnaise, depending on how you like it
- ½ to ¾ c. chopped celery
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- ½ tsp. salt
- Mix shredded chicken, mayonnaise, celery, mustard, poppy seeds, and salt in a large bowl and refrigerate.
I have been on an Asian kick lately. We had little Asian Sliders for dinner over the weekend. They were amazing, but my family was starving, and I didn’t get pictures. It’s a constant struggle of a blogger and their family. Getting the picture before anyone can touch the plate! That just means the sliders will be on the menu again very soon, and that’s a good thing!
This Asian pasta salad is another new recipe. I found the recipe in an old Fresh Market cookbook that I bought on a recent thrift store/treasure hunt. I’m not much of a yard sale person, but I do love finding a good thrift store! It seems that Savannah has started to enjoy it too so it’s possible that we could get into some trouble together!
Okay, I got a little off subject…back to the salad. This pasta salad is full of fresh, crisp vegetables and with the addition of beef, this salad is a complete meal! You could leave out the meat completely if you prefer or substitute shrimp, chicken, or even pork for the beef.
This salad is a simple, prepare ahead meal, that would be perfect for a weeknight dinner. Toss the pasta mix with the dressing just before serving. If you are feeding less than about ten people, toss a portion of the pasta mix with a portion of the dressing because you don’t want to store the mixed salad for very long. The vegetables will become limp, and you will loose the fresh, clean taste of the salad.
Asian Beef and Broccoli Pasta Salad
- Soy Ginger Dressing:
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
- ⅛ c. sweet chili sauce
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced thin
- ¼ c. vegetable oil
- Pasta Salad:
- 2 lb. sirloin steak
- 1 (10-oz.) bottle teriyaki sauce or marinade
- 1 gallon water
- 2 tbsp. salt
- 1 (16-oz.) pkg. rotini pasta
- ½ lb. broccoli florets
- 3 medium carrots, julienned
- 1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
- 2 c. bean sprouts
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ c. cilantro, chopped
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic cloves, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, sweet chili sauce, mayonnaise, and lemongrass. Blend into a paste. With the food processor running, drizzle the vegetable oil in a slow stream until well mixed and vegetable oil has been incorporated. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Marinate sirloin steaks in teriyaki sauce or marinade for 6 hours or overnight. Preheat grill to medium-high and oil the grates. Grill 5 to 6 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Remove and leg stand 5 minutes, the slice into think 2-inch strips and set aside.
- In a large pot, bring 1 gallon water and 2 tbsp. salt to a boil over high heat; add pasta and boil according to package directions, stirring frequently. Add broccoli during the last minute of cooking and remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
- In a large serving bowl, combine pasta and broccoli with beef, carrots, red pepper, bean sprouts, green onions, and cilantro; chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, pour Soy Ginger Dressing over salad and toss to evenly coat.
I was a fan of avocados from the moment I tried them! Never did I consider the health benefits until about a year ago. There is much in my daily diet that really shouldn’t be. So, adding something to my diet that is delicious and good for me is a no brainer.
The list of health benefits is more than I could ever cover here. They are high in good fats, low in cholesterol, have more potassium than a banana, and they may help prevent cancer. They are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Of course, guacamole is always good, but you can also add them to smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and salads. I eat avocado toast several times a week.
This recipe for BLT Stuffed Avocados is amazingly easy and delicious! I typically don’t stuff the avocados but serve the salad from a bowl. However, if you want to serve this salad to guests, the stuffed avocado shells makes a lovely platter.
BLT Stuffed Avocado
- 2 avocados, pitted
- ¼ c. cubed toasted bread
- ½ c. chopped tomatoes
- ½ c. chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Scoop out avocados, leaving a small border. Dice Avocado and place in a medium bowl. Add toasted and cubed bread, tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide salad among the 3 avocado halves.
It has been years since I have been in a restaurant that serves a salad plate. I can remember when they were on the menu of many southern restaurants, and they were a lunch item favorite of mine. Most salad plates included a scoop of either tuna or chicken salad, a scoop of cottage cheese, with fresh fruit all served on a lovely lettuce-lined plate. Always served with crackers and occasionally served with a zucchini or bran muffin too.
I received several vintage cookbooks as gifts after my recent surgery. I spent hours looking through them and have a long list of recipes that I can’t wait to try. I found this one in an old North Carolina cookbook given to me by my friend Loretta and her daughter Katy.
This yummy Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad would be perfect served on the old Southern salad plate. It makes a perfect summertime lunch but would also be delicious served as a side dish. This recipe is very versatile; you can add most any vegetable that you like, or omit some of the vegetables listed if you prefer. You can add a splash of Worchestershire sauce or tabasco sauce, sprinkle in some dry Ranch dressing mix or dry Italian dressing mix if desired.
With the fresh vegetables, this salad is only good for about 24 hours. At that point, it starts to get a little too watery.
Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad
- 1 pint low fat cottage cheese
- ½ chopped bell pepper
- ½ to 1 bunch chopped green onions
- 1 cucumber peeled,seeded, and chopped
- 2 radishes, chopped
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, bell pepper, green onions, cucumber, and tomatoes. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate at least a hour before serving. Serve with crackers.
Dry Ranch dressing mix, dry Italian dressing mix, splash of Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, or try different vegetables.