By Angie Sutton
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
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
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.
1 10-oz. pkg. vermicelli pasta
Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain. All remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Refrigerate overnight.
Mastaccioli Cucumber Salad
1 pkg. (8 oz.) mostaccioli
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
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.
Source: Megan Zierlein
1/2 lb. butter
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
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
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
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.