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Summer sides

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

I love this time of year when kids are running in and out of the house doing what active kids do best. Sometimes I recognize most of the kids and sometimes I might need to stop one or two and introduce myself. Somewhere along the way a few of my kids grew up and are a bit too old for the running about. Their running is mostly from jobs to activities. You know my role in all of this is to feed them, keep the washer running non-stop and manage the calendar so we’re all in the right spot and with the right equipment at the right time.

Summer side salads are such a time saver during these busy months. They can really add the finishing touch to a quick meal like a grilled chicken breast or provide a light dessert, like the fudge-striped cookie salad, to finish the night with.

The fruit salad with vanilla pudding is portable, and I like to pack it in individual resealable bags or small plastic cups that fit easily in a cooler.


Fudge-Striped Cookie Salad

This is too unreal to be considered a side salad but it’s my go-to, no-fail dish for potlucks. I rarely bring leftovers home!

2 pkgs. (3.4 oz. each) instant coconut cream pudding
1 1/2 c. half and half
1 pkg. fudge-striped cookies
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (10 oz.) contained whipped topping

Beat the pudding with the half and half for 2 minutes. Fold whipped topping into the pudding mixture. Gently stir in fruit. Break cookies into small pieces and gently stir into mixture, reserving 5 whole cookies. Dump into a serving bowl. Break the remaining 5 cookies into larger pieces and arrange on top as a garnish. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Fantastic Tomato Salad

1/2 lb. bacon, crisply fried, crumbled
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 lbs. Roma tomatoes, cut to bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, torn

In a bowl, combine olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and pour mixture over the top and toss to coat. Sprinkle bacon, blue cheese and basil over the top.


Vermicelli Salad

1 10-oz. pkg. vermicelli pasta
1 Tbsp. Accent seasoning
1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. canola oil
1 4-oz. jar chopped pimiento
1 c. green pepper, chopped
3/4 c. sweet onion, chopped
2 c. celery, chopped
1 4-oz. contained chopped black olives, drained
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise

Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain. All remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Refrigerate overnight.


Mastaccioli Cucumber Salad

1 pkg. (8 oz.) mostaccioli
1 small red onion, sliced
2 cucumbers, sliced
1 c. tap water
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. Accent seasoning
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt

Prepare mastaccioli according to package directions, drain. Combine cooled pasta, red onion and cucumbers in a bowl. In another bowl, combine water, vinegar, sugar, mustard, Accent, pepper, garlic salt, parsley and salt. Pour the seasoning mix over the pasta and fold to coat. Refrigerate overnight.


Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. miniature chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 box graham cracker sticks

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla, beat until fluffy. Gradually mix in sugars until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll into a ball and then roll in chopped pecans to coat. Serve with graham cracker sticks.


Scalloped Pineapple

Source: Megan Zierlein

1/2 lb. butter
1 2/3 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 cans crushed pineapple, drained
4 c. bread crumbs

Melt butter. Add sugar and eggs. Remove from heat. Stir in pineapple and bread crumbs. Bake in greased casserole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Mediterranean Orzo Salad

1/4 c. olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
12 oz. orzo pasta
1 c. red grape tomatoes
>1 c. yellow grape tomatoes
1 c. Kalamata olives, halved
1 c. Feta cheese, crumbled
1 c. chickpeas, drained
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

Cook the orzo according to package directions, drain and cool. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined. Place the orzo and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Stir to combine. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or more. Garnish with feta and parsley.


Fruit Salad with Vanilla Pudding

This recipe has been around for years. You can alter it based on what your tastes are but beware, some fruits just don’t taste quite right!

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges
1 package (3 oz. ) cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
1 to 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced

Drain pineapple and oranges, reserving juices in a 2 cup measuring cup; set fruit aside. Add enough water to juices to measure 1 1/2 cups. In a saucepan, whisk the juices and pudding mix. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Fold in the strawberries, cherries and reserved pineapple and oranges. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, fold in bananas.


Fruit Salad with Instant Vanilla Pudding

Another easy version of this recipe but with instant pudding.

1 (29 oz.) can peach slices, undrained
1 (20 oz.) can pinapple chunks, undrained
1 (3 1/8 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 lb. strawberries, stemmed and cut into quarters
1 banana, sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
1 bunch red grapes
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

In a large bowl, combine peaches, pineapple and vanilla pudding mix. Mix well, about 2 minutes, until pudding is dissolved. Stir in strawberries, banana, blueberries, grapes and sugar. Chill for several hours before serving.

NOTE: I like to pour just the peach and pineapple juice into a bowl with the pudding mix to mix it and then gently fold in the fruit before moving to the next step.

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