Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell


Italian Tomato Salad, Pretzel-Strawberry Salad and Taco Salad

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 also 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 anytime 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 have been known to throw in a few small marshmallows and pecans to give it a little extra substance.

Italian Tomato Salad

Sliced tomatoes

Italian dressing

Chopped radishes

Chopped cucumber

Chopped green peppers

Chopped green onions

Red onion, sliced

Sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper

Arrange three to four rows of sliced tomatoes on a pretty platter. 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 have 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

3/4 cup melted butter

3 tablespoons sugar


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 cup Cool Whip

Strawberry mixture:

2 packages

strawberry jello

2 cups boiling water

2 (10 oz.) packages frozen strawberries (You must use fresh if you can. Just slice the strawberries and add plenty of sugar.)

For crust, mix the pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar. Grease a Pyrex dish and place mixture in the dish to cover the bottom. Bake for six minutes in a 400 degree oven.

For the cream, mix cream cheese, sugar and Cool Whip. Spread over cooled pretzel crust. Refrigerate until set. 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-Strawberry Salad.” In fact, this morning when I men-tioned that I was going to use some of my favorite salads this week in the column, she 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

1 package Taco seasoning

1 small can tomato sauce

1 can chili beans

1 small head lettuce

¼ cup shredded carrots

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup shredded Colby cheese

1 chopped onion

Brown and drain chuck and onion. Add taco seasoning, tomato suace and chili beans. Simmer for 30 minutes

While the meat mixture is simmering, chop lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cheese and 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 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 Bedwell

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.

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