Our family loves to gather together for a meal, especially when members of our extended family are in town. And the gathering place is usually at our house. Many times I have more people than will fit around the table, so I like to do buffets. I have found that salads work great for buffets and I’m always looking for new recipes to try. I usually like to have one green salad and a couple of different salads that I can make ahead of time.
Mix together in a bowl:
2 large bunches broccoli crowns — washed, dried, and cut into bite-size flowerettes
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Mix all together and pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. Can be made the day before.
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The first time I had Grape Salad was at a salad lunch. I loved it. It is more like a dessert than a salad but I love to include it on my buffet. It is very pretty served in a glass bowl or a stemmed trifle bowl. Use red or green grapes, or both.
3-4 pounds whole seedless grapes, washed and dried
1-8 ounce package cream cheese
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fold grapes into mixture. Pour into bowl. Mix together:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
Sprinkle over top. Chill several hours.
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Mike’s mother always made the best salads. She made her own salad dressing and it has become my favorite dressing as well. She used new young lettuce if she had it. It was one of her favorite things to grow. And she would frequently sprinkle Grape Nuts on top for a little crunch. Even our kids love it and make it today. Many times I use the spring mix salad from the grocery store. You can omit the herbs, or use fresh herbs, or use a different kind of vinegar. I especially like raspberry vinegar. Here is her recipe. I think the honey is what makes it really good!
Mama’s Basic Salad Dressing
1 cup olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons salt
2-4 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
Finely chop the garlic. Add to the olive oil and warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour over salad of tender leaf lettuce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Toss.
Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and guest columnist. Her next cookbook, Fran DeWine and Tina Husted’s Family Favorites will come out this summer.