Saturday, April 19, 2014

Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw. All American Picnic Salads .

There are three salads that remind me of my Grandmother: Potato Salad, Cole Slaw and Macaroni Salad.
I've posted my Grandmother's recipe for Potato Salad and I still make it the way she did. I have my favorite Cole Slaw  and Macaroni Salad Recipe here too. I wanted to share this recipe so that everyone can see that all three of these salads are very personal and probably evoke a memory of your childhood. My recommendation is to continue your family traditions when it comes to all of these salads but be open to trying something new. And for those that didn't have a Grandmother that made delicious salads...... and I know there are some of you out there, start a family tradition with these recipes.

Here are my favorites!

Macaroni Salad is one of my favorite Summer Salads. I believe my Grandmother made the best Macaroni Salad. Here's my recipe that I've been making for years.
It's very basic, sometimes that's the best recipe!

Macaroni Salad:

Whisk together in a small bowl and set aside.
1/2 C Mayonnaise
2 TBS Dill Pickle Juice
1 TBS Sugar
1 TBS Yellow Mustard
1/2 tsp Salt


2 C uncooked Elbow Macaroni ( cook according to package directions, drain)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 C diced Onion
1/4 C chopped Celery
3 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
1 (2oz. jar) Pimentos, drained
1/8 C Dill Pickle Relish
1/4 C Dill Pickle Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place cooked pasta in a large serving bowl.
Drizzle with the Olive Oil and stir to combine.
Pickle Juice
Toss until well combined

Add the dressing and mix well
Season to taste with Salt and Pepper
Refrigerate overnight
Toss again
Add additional Mayonnaise if needed

Peace in the Kitchen!

Potato Salad:

I had to include my recipe for Potato Salad in my Best of the Best reposts.

Summer in Michigan meant picnics at my Grandparent's house, at Aunt Faye's , in the back yard and during our summer vacations with relatives at Higgins Lake.

I want to do a segment here on traditional American Picnic recipes.
Summer is coming and so are the picnics.

We have a portable picnic table that we keep in the trunk of our car in the summer so we can enjoy picnics on the side of the road as we travel. We took this idea from our friends in the South of France.

The most popular Picnic dish would have to be Potato Salad.
I believe that my Grandmother made the best!

She never had a recipe for it, nor do I.
We knew it had to have Potatoes, Hard Boiled Eggs, Onion, Celery, Pickle Relish, Mustard Mayonnaise, Paprika, Salt and Pepper.
She would boil peeled potatoes, cool them completely, hold one in her hand and begin randomly cutting them with a paring knife over a large crock bowl.

One rule was that for as many boiled potatoes she made, she made an equal number of hard boiled eggs She always mixed the "dressing" separately and added it at the end. The amount of ingredients depended on how many people there were for lunch and that determined how many potatoes and eggs.

I also know that she would refrigerate the large bowl of prepared salad before she served it because it would soak up the dressing in the refrigerator and then she would have to add additional mayonnaise.

Here's my attempt to create my Best of the Best recipe for Potato Salad.

8 Potatoes that are peeled, boiled and then randomly cut with a paring knife over the bowl.
8 Hard Boiled Eggs cut with a paring knife, into the Potatoes.

The Sauce or Dressing consists of ( these amounts are approximate)
In a separate bowl, combine:
1 C of diced Celery
1 C of diced Onion
1/2 C of Pickle Relish
2 or more TBS of Yellow Mustard ( we always refer to this as Kid Mustard) , nothing fancy like Dijon
2 C of real Mayonnaise, additional as need at the end

Fold the Sauce into the bowl with the Potatoes and Eggs
Add Additional Mayonnaise as desired
Sprinkle with Paprika just before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cole Slaw, 2 recipes:

Cole Slaw is another dish that has a million recipes.
Everyone has a favorite.

There are as many Dressing recipes as there are Slaw recipes.
The list is endless.

Here's my favorite Slaw and Dressing recipe.
There's another recipe at the end of this one.....

1 head of Green Cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
1 Onion, chopped
2 large Carrots, shredded
Prepare and mix together in a large serving bowl.


I use a homemade Ranch Dressing.
You can double or triple the recipe , store it in a jar in the refrigerator for other salads.

1 C Mayonnaise
1/2 C Sour Cream
1/2 tsp Vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 C Parsley, minced
2 TBS fresh Dill, minced
1 TBS fresh Chives, minced
1/2 C Buttermilk ( add at the end)

Combine all ingredients .
Add the Buttermilk at the end to desired consistency.
Place in a jar, store in the refrigerator until chilled.

I wanted to talk about the difference between Shredded and Grated.
Many people are confused by these two processes.

Shredding and Grating are two completely different processes that create different results.
There are many types of Graters and Shredders available, but having one that gives you both surfaces is the best.
I've posted a picture of a Box Shredder/Grater.
The front is for Shredding, the back is for Grating.
You can see that the end result will be completely different.

Shredded food results in a thread like shape, grated creates  smaller, finer pieces.
Think about grated Parmesan Cheese that has a powder like texture.

Shredded Carrots are fine for Cole Slaw where Grated Carrots would not create the desired texture.

Here's another recipe.....
who can have just one recipe for Cole Slaw?

1/2 C Mayonnaise
1/3 C Sugar
1/4 C Milk
1/4 C Buttermilk
2 1/2 TBS Lemon Juice
1 1/2 TBS White Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
8 C finely chopped Cabbage (approx. 1 medium head)
1/4 C shredded Carrot (approx. 1 medium Carrot)
2 TBS minced Onion

In a large Mixing Bowl:
Lemon Juice
Black Pepper
Whisk well.

Mix until well combined.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Mix well just before serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Rotini and Cheese Salad.

This is an iconic American Picnic Salad.

1 pound of Rotini Pasta (cooked, drained according to package directions) Refrigerate until completely cooled.
1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced
3 Ribs of Celery, chopped
8 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cubed into bite sized pieces
1/4 C Diced Sweet Onion
1 C Mayonnaise
1/4 C Granulated Sugar
2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp dried Parsley

In a large mixing bowl:
Whisk well.
Add Pasta and mix well to combine.
Fold in:
Bell Pepper
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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