Sizzle Burger Suddenly Salad

or…unusually good dinner. My mother is raving about the pasta salad I made this week. Actually two nights in a row I managed to make a dinner that everyone enjoyed. One night veggie burgers with avocado, chopped cherry tomatoes, and onion on them, sweet potato fries, and leftover pasta salad.

The night before that…the somehow “Unusually good pasta salad.” Vast amusement from Denise and me on the unusually good pasta salad. It’s a pasta salad I make…a lot. It is also a pasta salad…MY MOTHER made. Of course, she made it in the dawning time of Suddenly Salad. She giggled for years over taking this to potlucks and parties and all the people who LOVED it. Now, she’s that person.

In any case…if you are clueless as to how to make the most awesome (tongue in cheek) pasta salad EVER, here are directions.

Take one box of Suddenly Salad Classic.
While the pasta/veggies of suspicious dehydratedness cook–
chop up:
1 cucumber (peel first)
1 small yellow onion

1/2 a box of cherry tomatoes (slice in half)
1/2 a box of fresh mushrooms (slice)

Throw into bowl. Dump the powder stuff on them. Peer at box and try to figure out the oil/water amounts. Hint: they are at the top in pictogram form. Just where I don’t look.

Add oil and water. Stir. Grab a fork and taste the cucumber and other vegetables. Add a box of crumbled feta. Stir. Look at timer for pasta. Taste vegetables again now that cheese is added. Repeat. Drain the pasta and rinse in cold water. Wonder if all the nutrition left in pasta and magic veggies is being rinsed down the drain. Decide yes. Taste vegetable mixture again. Ponder whether you should add more vegetables. Shrug. Add pasta. Stir. Put in refrigerator until dinner time.

Now for the optional sizzle burger steak part:
There’s a tv game show that I saw one time where the contestants get a mystery ingredient and have to cook with it. I don’t know what this show is called. I don’t watch tv much and food tv rarely.

Our house is sort of like that. This week the mystery ingredient: a small package of strips of beef marked “great for beef stroganoff.”

Several things about this: 1. Denise won’t touch beef stroganoff and often makes gagging noises if I suggest I will cook such for others. 2. This was an extremely small package of beef. At the very fewest there are three people to feed (*if I actually cook) 3. I didn’t know this was going to be the mystery ingredient this week until I saw it while loading the groceries into the car. Oh and one other thing: I really don’t do well cooking beef.

Denise had said “I don’t know. Grill it and throw it on a salad. It was free with the purchase of the Kikkoman” Hmm. I don’t have an indoor grill currently. Someone broke it and I miss it. Last year my attempt to make the outdoor grill work failed and it went back into storage without repair. Besides-who grills 8 oz of meat outside?

So, I threw some olive oil and the beef pieces in the now empty pasta pot. I pondered marinade because I thought the meat would be tough or something. I failed to consider anything long enough to do it before actually starting to cook. I opened the fridge. Worcestershire sauce! Sizzle burgers (sorry, I grew up in the age of sizzle burgers and yes, I know, it isn’t automatically a sizzle burger if you just use Worcestershire sauce but that is what I always think of so there.) I dumped some on the cooking beef. Cooked for a few minutes. 5? 6? Then doled it out onto the top of the pasta salad as I served.

There you go. The most amazing (yes, still laughing) pasta salad ever.

Bird of Paradise Salad

I have actually made this for a MOPS luncheon. It is impressive and adorable. I make it using my mother’s curried chicken salad recipe.

Bird of Paradise Salad

“This exotic Hawaiian hybrid makes a festive appearance at a luncheon. ”

Split a fresh pineapple in two lengthwise. Scoop out the centers, discarding the core. Chop the remainder, keeping enough to form a bird’s head. Fill with mixed fruits or fruited chicken salad.

Mama’s Curried Chicken Salad

1 cup diced cooked chicken
2 diced apples
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup halved grapes (green and red look nice)

Mix together all ingredients except grapes.

Fill the hollow in the bird’s back with the chicken mixture. Attach the pineapple head with a countersunk toothpick. Use grapes to “feather” the back of the bird. Use cloves, pomegranate seeds, or grape pieces as eyes.

Canadian Salad

I have to admit that the adventure of trying this recipe is not going to happen here. There’s just too much to object to from many members of the household-cottage cheese, tomato puree, gelatin, green beans, peas, whipped cream– all in a gelatin mold won’t go over.

I am however intrigued by the “Canadian” part of the name. You just don’t see Canadian as a descriptor in many of my cookbooks. At least, I’ve not noticed it before. I am counting on my Canadian audience to tell me just what might be Canadian about the recipe.

(Another one from Entirely Entertaining, Junior League of Montclair, NJ 1968)

 

Canadian Salad

1 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Few drops onion juice
1/2 cup cooked green beans, cut up
1/2 cup cooked peas
1 cup stuffed olives
2 tablespoons gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup hot water

Force cottage cheese through a ricer or sieve. Soak gelatin in cold water and dissolve in hot water. Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Pour into a well oiled mold. Chill until set. This may be served with homemade mayonaise.

Chilled Cinnamon Apple Salad

My “big” kids grew up expecting a fruit salad or “fluff” for the holidays. Their grandmother on their father’s side served this I hear. But, my “little” kids grew up eating Red Hot Jello and expecting that for holidays. After a few years, this seems to have won out and I won over the big kids. It helps that I am the cook around here and red hot Jello is amazing.

I do feel some guilt about subverting their tradition sometimes. That’s the sort of woman I am.

Then I just saw this in Atlanta Cooks for Company, (1968) It combines some of the elements of Red Hot Jello with some of the elements of fluff. I suspect it could be a hit. Now, that doesn’t mean I am going to try it–but I might. You should though if you live in a fluff family but want more taste or a twist on the old favorite. With the cored apple presentation, you have the added bonus of a beautiful presentation.

Chilled Cinnamon Apple Salad

6 Tart Apples
1 cup red cinnamon candies (“cinnamon imperials” or “red hots”)
2 cups water
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup dark seedless raisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Pare and core apples. Cook candies in water, add apples and simmer until tender, turning frequently. While apples are cooking, blend Miracle Whip with other ingredients. After apples have cooked until tender, drain and fill centers with Miracle Whip mixture.

From Mrs. Jack Pipkin (Atlanta Cooks for Company, 1968)