Bitsy is a fan of boxes but she deemed this one too small.It’s really too soon for B(E)LTs but I was in a hurry and they make quick lunches. I made do with a Kroger tomato. They can leave the vine on, connecting a half dozen tomatoes, and call them vine ripened but that doesn’t lean for a minute that they taste good.We have puppies too! A trio of picnic side salads. A bog standard potato salad on the left, a copy-cat slaw on the right, and a mish mash of a bean salad in the middle. My usual recipe calls for chick peas but I was out of them and subbed in great northern and black beans. I though it needed more color so I sent Mrs J to the freezer for corn. She said it was white corn but it might do, so we tossed those in as well. It didn’t hurt it.Beans! I made a double batch because I figure we are heading into peak container garden planting season and they would go well with the other stuff. Kittehs! A brand new batch.A sloppy dog, now with extra slop.
We had enough chicken and sauce left over from those sour cream enchiladas for another go. The side dish is a black bean and corn salad with onions, peppers, and diced celery in a cumin vinaigrette.Here’s that chihuahua mix before she got after the chicken in that bag before her. Cute as a button!Roast/BBQ chicken quarter with rosemary garlic potato wedges and an ear of grilled corn. The local Kroger has been offering seasoned leg quarters off and on for a while now and pricing them decently. I generally buy some to cook right away and extra to freeze for later.This is Spots, we’ve put up her picture here before – she’s about 2 years old and is a sweetheart. Mrs J reminds me that St Francis has lowered their adoption fees during “Happy Cat Month” to $25 and that includes vaccinations, chipping, and spaying/neutering. They also test for FeLV/FIV.That new toaster oven has slo-cook settings that work pretty much like on a dedicated crock-pot style cooker. I have it set on low, it is showing the default time setting of 6 hours. I had a brisket in the smoker overnight and I’m finishing it here. It’s wrapped in foil inside the pan.Moar Gabe! Here he is, studiously ignoring Bea Kitteh. We’ve since ripped out everything in the garden except for the figs. Still waiting for them to ripen. Here’s Bea again, luxuriating in catnip that Mrs J was cleaning up in the front from under the little dogwood tree.I’ll wind this up with this sammich. It has deli sliced ham, roast chicken, and cheddar under all that salad. That green salad in the back is one of Kroger’s frequent forays into artisinal salads, this one is predominately kale and was pretty bad. Baby spinach maybe would work but the kale really needed cooking.
Cookout season is in full swing. And with it, cold salads, a personal favorite. There are so many varieties out there, from coleslaw, to macaroni, to cold bean salads I thought it would be a good place to start the summer cookout season.
The featured recipe tonight is from a neighborhood cookout we had last week. I was very busy, so I had to throw together something quick. I went with a basic macaroni salad, but with a few tricks to keep it fresh and flavorful, instead of soggy and bland as some can be.
Before that, here are a few other cold salads:
JeffreyW has a traditional coleslaw recipe (and slideshow) here.
I’ve made a Caribbean Orange-Mango Coleslaw for several summer cookouts. Recipe here.
I adapted a Giada De Laurentiis, recipe for Italian Lentil Salad here.
That’s just a start. I’ll probably follow-up in a while with some veggie cold salads. But until then, what’s on your summer plate this weekend? What are some of your favorite cold salads? What’s your go-to dish when you’re invited to a cookout? Hit the comments and share your ideas.
And finally, the featured recipe (pictured above).
Quick and Easy Macaroni Salad
- 1/2 cup creamy Italian dressing (I like Newman’s Own)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
Blend together well and refrigerate until ready to mix in.
- 16 oz box favorite pasta
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp crushed dried basil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz shredded carrots
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz cubed mild cheese (I used a marbled colby/jack)
Bring water to a boil, add 1 tsp salt and pasta. Cook until al dente (firm to tooth). Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not drain well, allow macaroni to stay wet, remove to bowl. Immediately add garlic, spices, celery seed, and let sit for 5 minutes. As the pasta absorbs the remaining water, it absorbs all the flavors. Next stir in carrots, celery, cheese and tomatoes. Save tossing with the dressing until 5-10 minutes before serving. This keeps the pasta from absorbing all of it and becoming mushy and flavorless, but still gives it enough time to meld the flavors together.
We lunched on leftovers, warmed up the refried beans and chorizo and had burritos again. A few nacho chips and the guacamole was wiped out. Mrs J spent the morning at the shelter and then came home and dragged poor Jack off to the vet after lunch. He’s been gimping around as bad as I have been. They’ll run some more xrays and start him on some serious antibiotics in case the problem is the Rocky Mountain fever flaring up in his ankle. I go in next week for a procedure on my knee that I’m hoping will allow me to walk again without looking like Chester on the old Gunsmoke.
Where’s this salad I was talking about? Well, it’s gone now, but I have some pictures: