Italian Tomato Salad, Pretzel-Strawberry Salad and Taco Salad

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By Andy Bedwell

I can remember when salad was a wedge of lettuce and a cruet of dressing that set directly on the table. Now, a salad can include a cold congealed salad with marshmallows and cherries or a side of creamy potato salad. Salads have come a long way since I sat in my grandmother’s kitchen. With all of the fresh vegetables available today, we can easily create healthy salads any time of the year. I also love a fruit salad. My favorite is to combine fresh cantaloupe and fresh strawberries together with a “big” sprinkling of fruit fresh and Sweet n’ Low. I’ve been known to throw in a few small marshmallows and pecans to give it a little extra substance.

Italian Tomato Salad

Arrange on a pretty platter three to four rows of sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with Italian dressing. On top of this add chopped radishes, chopped cucumbers, chopped green peppers and chopped green onions. Sprinkle with a little more Italian dressing. Garnish with red onion slices and sunflower seeds. Salt and pepper to taste.

Andy’s Note: This salad is delicious, easy and beautiful. Sometimes I ‘ve added a layer of sliced boiled eggs and grated Parmesan cheese. This is so convenient to have for a buffet meal. You must try when all of the fresh vegetables arrive in a few weeks.

Pretzel-Strawberry Salad

2 cups pretzels,

crushed into crumbs

¾ cup melted butter

3 tablespoons sugar

Grease a Pyrex dish and place mixture in the dish to cover the bottom. Bake for 6 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Cream

1 (8-ounce) package

cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 cup Cool Whip

Spread over cooled pretzel crust. Refrigerate until set.

2 packages strawberry jello

2 cups boiling water

2 (10 oz.) packages

frozen strawberries

You must use fresh strawberries if you can.

Slice the strawberries and add plenty of sugar. Prepare Jell-O according to package directions. Stir in strawberries and let set in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Then spread on cheese mixture and refrigerate.

Andy’s Note: I should have titled this recipe “Mary Fielder’s Pretzel-Straw-berry Salad.” In fact, this morning when I mentioned that I was going to use some of my favorite salads this week in the column, Mary immediately said, “I love that Pretzel-Strawberry Salad.” It is a wonderful salad and also a great dessert.

Taco Salad

2 pounds ground chuck

1 medium onion

Brown and drain

Add:

1 package Taco seasoning

1 small can tomato sauce

1 can chili beans

Simmer for 30 minutes. While simmering, chop

1 small head lettuce

¼ cup shredded carrots

2 medium

tomatoes, chopped

1 cup shredded

Colby cheese

1 chopped onion

Mix salad ingredients well and add meat mixture and pour over salad. Mix well and serve immediately with tortilla chips or corn chips. Have a lot of good mild salsa to pour over each individual plate. This also makes good tacos. Just spoon into taco shells.

Andy’s Note: My family loves this salad, and it is so easy. Sometimes, especially in the cold winter months, I pour hot chili over it before I serve it.

Next week, I want to share with you a new peanut butter pie recipe that I have just discovered.

You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments that stand out are the moments when you have done things for others.

Happy Salad Cooking, Andy

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” may be purchased at The Messenger newspaper located at 1957 Rainbow Drive in Gadsden.

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