Salads make easy meals on hot days

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Our family reunion weekend is over once again, and it was a fantastic weekend. We had 93 people from about 13 different states attend the weekend-long event. Our family is the host family, so we do the work on this end. We served more than 350 meals, and I do believe everyone enjoyed them very much. It is a lot of work and planning, but is very much worth the effort when we are right in the middle of it all. We are making notes already about what we want to do differently next time. As fast as days go, it will roll around in no time at all.

Summertime is the right time not only for family reunions, but for cool salads on hot days. Here are a few recipes that a Jackson reader has sent in to share with you. Each one of them sounds great to me, and I have a particular affection for seafood, so those recipes calling for seafood really grabbed my attention. I hope you enjoy them as well.

Summer Pasta Salad

8 ounces dry pasta, cooked and cooled

8 ounces fiesta grand salad mix veggies, cooked and cooled

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons Italian salad dressing

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

In a large bowl, combine pasta and fiesta grand salad mix veggies; set aside. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, vinegar, olive oil and Italian salad dressing. Pour dressing over pasta mixture tossing to coat well.

Sprinkle feta cheese. Chill until serving time.

Crab Salad

1 pound cooked crab meat, cut into chunks

1 small red onion, diced

1 small can black olives, each one cut in half

1 or 2 spring onions, diced

1 or 2 ribs of celery, diced

Mayonnaise, to taste

Combine all ingredients in medium-size bowl and mix well with mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving. You could add pasta to this, and fresh dill if available. Imitation crab meat may also be adequately substituted.

Seafood Salad

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup water

1 pound sea scallops

1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined

1 pound crab meat, picked over

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Bon Appetit seasoning

1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried chives

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon tarragon leaves

4 avocados

Combine wine and water in 4-quart saucepan. Heat to boil and reduce heat to low. Add scallops and shrimp. Stir gently and simmer just until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Place scallops, shrimp, crab meat and cucumber in large bowl and toss gently. Place remaining ingredients except avocados in small bowl and mix well. Spoon over seafood and toss lightly. Cover and refrigerate to chill. When ready to serve, cut avocados in half lengthwise and remove pits. Spoon seafood salad into each avocado half. This recipe yields 8 servings, 1/2 filled avocado each.

Apricot Gelatin Salad

1 large package apricot gelatin

1/2 cup sugar

2 jars junior size baby-food apricots

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 (16-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 (8-ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix gelatin, sugar and 2 cups boiling water, then beat in softened cream cheese; add baby apricots and pineapple, juice included. Let sit in refrigerator for 1 hour, then add whipped topping, folding it into the mixture. It is best to make this a day in advance. A regular can of apricots may be used in place of baby-food apricots, but use only 1/2 cup juice, blend in blender.

Honeyed Fruit Salad

2 cups pineapple chunks

4 cups strawberries, hulled and cut in half

4 bananas, cut into 1 inch slices

4 oranges, peeled, with pith cut away and thinly sliced

2 cups red seedless grapes

1 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup honey

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Let stand 15-20 minutes before serving.

Gum Drop Salad

1 pound gumdrops candy

1 pound red grapes, seeded, cut into halves

1 package miniature marshmallows

1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup chopped nuts

Juice of one lemon

3/4 cup pineapple juice

2/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 cup flour

Mix first five ingredients. Measure lemon juice; add equal amount of water. Blend with pineapple juice, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Stir in flour. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly; cool. Pour over gumdrop mixture; mix well.

Carrot Salad

1/2 pound carrots, grated

3/4 cups chopped black walnuts

3/4 cup chopped raisins

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix carrots, walnuts and raisins. Blend mayonnaise, sugar and lemon juice. Add to carrot mixture stirring to coat. Yields: 6 servings.

Papaya Salsa

2 large papayas, diced

4 medium kiwifruit, chopped

1/2 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1 medium scallion, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Place ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.

I am out of room for this week. I hope you enjoy using some of these cool salad recipes during these hot summer days. Until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699; Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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