Light Fare for Summer Evenings, Part II

Fantastic salads are a great addition to the menu rotation during the summer heat. They are lighter than so many dishes, don’t tend to heat up the kitchen, and can often be made ahead so they are ready to serve whenever needed.

Here are 3 more great salads culled and adapted from the Brand Name Light & Natural Cookbook I picked up recently at a garage sale. Quick, light and easy – that’s my plan for August meals!

Primavera Pasta Salad

1  1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1  1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1  1/2 cups broccoli florets

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

3/4 cup julienned zucchini

1/2 cup julienned carrot

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

1  1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

3 3/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

6 ounces linquine or fettuccine noodles, cooked

Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and garlic and stir fry 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add tomatoes, zucchini, carrot, honey, lemon juice, lemon peel and seasonings. Simmer and 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring gently. Toss with noodles. Cool. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 6.

Spicy Cucumber-Orange Salad

1 cucumber, sliced thin

1 large orange, peeled, sliced thin and cut into quarters

1/2 red onion, sliced thin and separated into rings

1 large Anaheim chile, seeded and chopped

1 cup white vinegar

1/3 cup salad oil

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon ground dried sage

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a deep glass bowl toss together the cucumber slices, orange pieces, onion and chile.

In a covered container place the vinegar, oil and remaining ingredients; shake together until blended. Pour over salad mixture, stirring occasionally. Serve wiht a slotted spoon as a side-dish salad or relish. Marinade can be saved and used for salad dressing. Yields 3 cups salad, serves 3.

Chilled Dilled Carrot Salad

2 cups carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup diced shallots or red onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Parboil carrots until tender yet crips, about 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain. Combine carrots and onions. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Pour over carrot mixture and toss well. Refrigerate at least 3 hours to blend flavors. Serves 4.

For more great fast, delicious dinner recipes and ideas, try 25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes, available online for only 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony or Smashwords.

Vintage Recipe: Ring-Around-the Tuna

Ring-Around-the-TunaToday’s crazy vintage recipe comes from a little book called Joys of Jell-O. I picked this little beauty up at an estate sale recently. I just love these old cookbooks, and some of them have  great vintage recipes in them. Others, less so.

This book was produced by General Foods Kitchens. When I opened the book, it fell open to this recipe. I have to wonder, is it possible that whoever owned this book before me loved to make this dish? Seems so unlikely.

Ring-Around-the-Tuna

A beautiful jewel-like entree salad for your luncheon or buffet table.

1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lime or Lemon Gelatin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cold water

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons grated onion

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1/2 cup diced celery

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

2 tablespoons sliced stuffed olives

1 can (7 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked.

Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin and sat in boiling water. Add cold water, vinegar, and onion. Chill until very thick. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into individual ring molds or a 1-quart ring mold. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp salad greens. If desired, serve with additional tuna and top salads with mayonnaise.Makes 3 2/3 cups, o about 4 entree servings.

That’s the recipe, unaltered. The picture in the book looks a green and see-through, but I swear that the directions tell you to mix the tuna in the Jell-O. Seems like that would make it filmy. Yech.

In the picture, all I can see in the center of the ring is salad greens. Perhaps they are hiding the tuna?

Regardless, I find it unsettling that whoever compiled this cookbook felt that this was a great recipe worthy of a photograph. Only a few recipes have a photo, and only a few of the photos are color. Ring-Around-the-Tuna scored big with a 1/2 page color photo! Yikes.

Jell-O’s Story

The cookbook includes a little history of Jell-O. While I am poking fun at one particular recipe, I would never poke fun at Jell-O. Jell-O is weird comfort food and therefore deserves more respect than that. Also, when I had my children, all I craved in this world was Lime Jell-O.

According to the General Foods Kitchens, “Jell-O Gelatin fist grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897.” That’s 115 years ago! This cookbook is only 50 years old, because it was created to celebrate Jell-O’s 65th birthday.

“The bounty of Jell-O doesn’t end with its lightness, good taste, convenience, and versatility. Jell-O Gelatin is nutritious and low in calories, just 83 calories per half-cup serving. It sits as lightly on your conscience as it does on top of any meal. You can add fresh vegetables or fruit, or even a marshmallow or two, and eat and eat.”

Guilty Pleasure

Jell-O salads are truly one of my favorite things to check out at any buffet or pot-luck function. You never know what’s gonna be in there. Some are delicious, some are repulsive. And some, like this Tuna ring insanity, are just wrong. But they’re never boring.

Here are a couple of quick & easy recipes that sound cool and delicious. Thanks Jell-O!

Orange-Mallow Ring

For year ‘round refreshment, mold fresh or canned oranges in gelatin.

1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Orange or Orange-Pineapple Gelatin

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cold ginger ale or water

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup diced fresh orange sections, drained (or 11 oz. can mandarin orange sections, drained)
Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add ginger ale. Chill until very thick. Stir in marshmallows and orange sections. Pour into a 1-quart ring mold or individual ring molds. Chill until firm. Unmold. Makes 3 cups, or 6 servings.

Strawberry-Banana Ring: Prepare Orange-Mallow Ring, substituting Strawberry-Banana gelatin for the Oange gelatin and 2 medium bananas, sliced, for the oranges.