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.
School has started most everywhere, and I attended the first scrimmage of the football season on Saturday night. It’s entirely too hot for football, but I’m so thrilled that cooler weather is near! We even braved the heat to tailgate before the scrimmage game. I love that time before a football game with friends, sharing laughs and tailgating food! Do you have a favorite tailgating recipe that you would like to share? If so, email me at email@example.com. I will be sharing tailgating recipes before long and I’d love to share yours too!
Believe it or not, there are Greek burgers buried under those juicy tomatoes, red onion slices, salty feta, and kalamata olives! Only a few simple ingredients will transform regular ground beef into this exceptional burger for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
These burgers may be served on buns, pitas, or lettuce wraps. Try making these burgers with ground lamb, turkey, or chicken instead of beef for a nice change.
Greek Burgers with Sour Cream Tzatziki Sauce
- 3 lb. ground chuck
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Pinch red chili flakes, optional
- Toppings: Sliced tomato, feta cheese, sliced red onion, kalamata olives, lettuce
- Gently mix ground beef with olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, and red chili flakes, if desired. Form into 6½-lb. patties. Cook patties as desired to desired doneness.
- Serve burgers on toasted buns, pita bread, or in lettuce wraps. Top with Tzatziki sauce and your favorite toppings.
Sour Cream Tzatziki Sauce
- 1½ c. sour cream
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and grated
- 2 tbsp. dried dill weed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- pinch salt
- Place grated cucumber in a large, clean dish cloth and twist tight, squeezing as much juice from the cucumber as possible.
- In a medium bowl mix the sour cream, squeezed dry cucumber, dill weed, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This is best made a couple of hours before serving.
One of my favorite things about summer is this salad!! Luckily, my father-in-law, John, gave us plenty of vegetables over the weekend. In fact, this just may be about the 5th cucumber, onion, and tomato salad that I’ve made over the last four days.
You can adjust the vegetables, using more or less of each or using purple onions or cherry, grape, Campari, or Roma tomatoes. This recipe feeds about two people at our house. I think it’s best eaten the day it is prepared. For this reason, I usually make this amount and just make it often.
Cucumber, Onion, and Tomato Salad
- 4 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch slices
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 small Vidalia onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thin
- ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Place prepared vegetables in a large bowl.
- Pour olive oil into a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour vinegar into the bowl. Add sugar, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
- Pour dressing over vegetables. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate a few hours before serving.
In Georgia we are lucky enough to enjoy all four seasons. I love the holidays that come with winter and the occasional snow, the beautiful flowers of spring and the perfect temperatures, the barefoot and beach days of summer along with the fresh garden produce, and the crisp air, apples, and beauty of fall. It never fails, when a new season starts to come around I’m more than ready for the change. In my lifetime, I have lived several places throughout Georgia and even in Florida for a few years. I love the south and there is no place I would rather be!
The warm days that we had recently have me longing for summer! I’m ready to pack up the sweaters and boots and pull out the shorts and flip-flops. Along with the clothing changes I’m also ready for the menu changes. Salad weather is just around the corner, but I couldn’t wait! I made this wonderful Greek Chickpea Salad for my family to enjoy over the weekend. It’s easy and versatile and full of wonderful flavor! This recipe is really just a guide because you can use the ingredients that you and your family enjoy. I like cucumbers in my salad but my mother-in-law prefers artichokes, so mix it up and have fun with it. This is best made a few hours before serving.
Greek Chickpea Salad
- 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or mint
- ¾ c. chopped bell pepper
- ½ pint halved grape tomatoes
- ¼ c. red onion, chopped
- ¼ c. halved kalamata olives
- ½ cucumber, seeded and chopped
- ½ c. feta, cubed or crumbled
- 15-oz. can artichokes, drained
- 3 tbsp. plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pinch of granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Combine chickpeas, parsley, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber, feta and artichokes in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl mix yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, minced garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and sugar together with a whisk. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until well incorporated.
- Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Store in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.