Showing posts with label Salads

Bettye Baldwin's Broccoli Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 11, 2024

This family favorite is just the best, period!  Given to me by a neighbor twenty years ago, we have made it countless times.  The dressing is a bit labor intensive, but SO worth it.  I make the dressing ahead and toss together at the last minute.

Update Easter 2024

I always have problems with the cooked dressing lumping.  This time boiled water, vinegar and salt and then let it cool before I whisked in the egg mixture.  

And, this is what I did that really worked - I strained that egg, sugar, cornstarch and dry mustard before I added it to the pan with the vinegar in it to finish cooking.  That made it totally lump free. 

4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup GOLDEN raisins
1/2 cup red onion rings
1/2 cup sliced raw mushrooms
6 slices bacon, crumbled - I always add more bacon, I usually double it


3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons butter

Mix together broccoli, raisins, mushroom and onion rings.  Set aside.

Mix dressing ingredients ell - eggs, sugar, dry mustard and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Heat vinegar, water and salt to boil.  With whisk, add egg mixture stirring constantly.  Continue to stir and cook until thick on medium low heat.  

Remove from heat and add 3 Tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise.  DO NOT USE MIRACLE WHIP.

Cool dressing  and refrigerate in quart jar if making dressing ahead.  This make 2/3 quart of dressing and keeps for several days.

This keeps well if you toss ingredients and put in fridge overnight.  I never add bacon until I'm ready to serve it as bacon gets soft.

World's BEST Spinach Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, July 26, 2023

This is simply the best spinach salad ever.  It's not the classic recipe with hot bacon dressing, the poppyseed dressing just makes this salad. And like many dishes that are truly outstanding there is a bit of prep involved.  But it can be done in stages and the results are spectacular.  Take the time to make homemade croutons, it takes it to a whole new level. Trust me on this one.

~ Jan

Spinach Salad

2 lbs. flat leaf spinach, washed and stems trimmed
2 small red onions, peeled and sliced
8 large mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 large eggs, hard boiled, chilled and peeled
1/2 to 1 lb. crisply cooked bacon, drained and broken into small pieces

Poppy Seed Dressing


1 egg, buy pasteurized eggs as this recipe calls for an uncooked egg.  I've made it countless times with no problems with the eggs
1/4 C.sugar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2/3 C. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. grated onion and any juice from it
2 C corn oil - don't use olive oil because if you put olive oil in the fridge it will congeal
3 Tbs. poppy seeds


Use the food processor for this.

Combine egg, sugar, mustard,vinegar, salt, onion and the juice in food processor @ 1 minute.
With motor running slowly pour in the oil. When all the oil is incorporated turn off, taste and seaso to your liking.
Transfer to a bowl, stir in the poppy seeds and refrigerate, covered til ready to use. 

Homemade Croutons

You can do this in a skillet, I find it easier to just put them on a cookie sheet and bake them

1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1.5" cubes 
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 cloves of garlic, crushed

Toss together all ingredients, put on cookie sheet and bake in preheated 375 oven until crisp and brown, flipping with spatula often so that they brown uniformly.  This usually takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Drain on paper towel

When ready to serve, toss all ingredients with dressing and top with croutons and crumbled bacon

Andrea's Lemon Garlic Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 05, 2022

This salad is so good, it's very lemony, and garlicky, it's just superb.  I found it years ago on a now defunct site, Gail's Recipe Swap.  Gail's had so many wonderful people that posted daily, chefs, gourmet cooks, everybody shared their favorite recipes.   It was sponsored by Epicurious and it was a sad day when they closed it.  It's become a family favorite over the years, it's a keeper recipe for sure.  And I do have a treat for you, it's at the bottom of this post.

Homemade croutons make this amazing salad even better. They are so easy to make, just melt a stick of butter, toss in some minced garlic, cube bread, of course Italian or Artisan is best, but a loaf of bread will work, too.  Toss everything together, put on a sheet pan and bake in 375 degree oven until toasted and brown.


Mix together and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving:
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
3-5 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar


1 head of romaine
1/2-1 lb. of bacon, cooked crisp and diced
2/3 cup of toasted almonds
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup julienned Swiss cheese
2 cups of sliced plum tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes quartered
1 cup of croutons

If you are a foodie like I am, you can access all the archived recipes from Gail's Recipe Swap.  It's a really big data base, but if you have the time, it's wonderful to read the recipes and the comments.  It may take awhile for the link to open, it does for me and I have fast internet, but trust me it's worth the slow load.  Bookmark this site, it's the best of the best that will never be recreated.  Here's the link...

Gail's Recipe Swap Archives

And if you don't have a salad spinner, or yours isn't that great, this OXO one is wonderful.  I'm a big fan of America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated, and when they recommend something I listen. This has been their favorite for years, I bought one several years ago, it still performs like a champ and it's so easy to use.

It's on Amazon, everything is on Amazon... 

Here's a little background on OXO, whose products perform consistently good.

Initially OXO was invented to produce kitchenware for users who were older and who had disabilities. They chose the name because its accessibility–it could be read horizontally, vertically, or upside down. This is a spirited company whose self-named OXOnians relish in its uniqueness. And what began as a line for a neglected group, became a sensation with members of all groups who loved the fun look and easy-to-use features. 

Introducing 15 products in 1990, OXO reported an annual growth rate of 37% ten years later, with about $60 million in annual sales. Today, another ten years later, OXO continues to boast an annual growth rate in sales of more than 30%, with over 800 products in its line.With little spent on advertising, the inviting design of OXO’s products have made them the subjects of numerous print features and TV news shows.

#lemonsalad #lemon #salad #romaine

#bacon #jancooksrealfood #saladdressing #yummy #lunch

#lunchideas #croutons

Portillo's Famous Chopped Salad with Bacon and Pasta

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 28, 2022

Oh, this is the stuff that Italian dreams are made of, Portillo's Chopped Salad, creamy dressing, lots of bacon, cheese, pasta, what's not to love...

It's Monday, I was going to post a healthy salad and then I thought, no, why would I do that when I can share this knockoff Portillo's Chopped Salad with all of you.  If you're not familiar with Portillo's, it's a famous Italian restaurant in Chicago who's humble beginnings go back to 1963 when it all started as a hot dog stand.

Over the years, Portillo’s has developed a huge fan base that includes many Hollywood actors, professional athletes, and politicians – you can see many of their pictures hanging on their restaurant walls. 


1/3 cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons sugar, honey or maple
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


8 ounces (about 1 cup or so) uncooked Ditalini pasta (see note)
5 cups chopped lettuce (use what you like: romaine, spring mix, iceberg or a combo)
1 cup chopped red cabbage (see note)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/4 - 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (see note)


Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender or jar. Process or shake until well-combined. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. You can make and refrigerate the dressing a week or two in advance.

Cook the pasta according to package directions in boiling, salted water. Drain and rinse quickly with cool water so it doesn't stick together while it cools. Pour a few tablespoons of the dressing over the pasta and stir lightly. Set aside to cool to room temperature (spreading it into a flatter layer - versus mounded in a bowl - will speed up the cooling process).

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, and green onions. Add the cooled pasta, bacon, gorgonzola cheese, and chicken.

To serve, you can toss the salad with the dressing before serving - or, if you anticipate leftovers, add dressing only to the portions of salad served and then store the dressing and salad separately for fabulous leftovers.


Pasta: ditalini pasta is a tiny tube-shaped pasta. If you can't find it, you can easily substitute another small pasta shape. Even small elbow macaroni would work. You're looking for about 3 cups cooked pasta when it's all said and done. 

Lettuce: the lettuce is really customizable, the original Portillo's salad is a combination of iceberg, romaine and red cabbage. 

A rotisserie chicken works great here, as well as any other kind of leftover cooked/grilled chicken (the more flavorful, the better!). You could also leave the chicken out completely for a side dish salad.  

Vinegar: white balsamic vinegar works really well, but regular dark balsamic will work, too, just keep in mind that the darker dressing will add color to the salad.. I think you could easily use red or white wine vinegar, too. 

Leftovers: this salad makes the best leftovers. If you aren't going to eat the entire salad, just don't add the dressing until you serve it so it doesn't get soggy.

#salad #choppedsalad #jancooksrealfood #portillos #bacon #tomatoes #healthyeating #healthyfood 

Paula Deen's Famous Dill Tuna Salad...with a twist

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 23, 2022


I was watching Paula Deen live one day on Facebook and she had Michael in the kitchen making her dill tuna salad.  Talk about a duck out of water 😂  It looked so good, so I found the recipe and it was a must try for me.  It didn't disappoint, the infusion of dill was wonderful.

I did add a few ingredients to intensify the flavors, as I love dill in tuna, so here's the recipe, with my tweaks.

2 cans (6-ounces each) solid white tuna, packed in water, drained
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
⅓ cup mayonnaise
juice of ½ a lemon
lemon zest
1 tsp. dried dill weed
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives (I substitute scallions when I don't have chives in the garden)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
mixed salad greens, optional
toasted sourdough or whole-wheat bread (optional)


In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, celery, relish, and onion. Season the salad with a big pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve on a bed of salad greens or on toasted bread, if you like. 

Healthy Options:

Low fat mayo is obvious choice but I''m a big fan of 20 calorie Miracle Whip Light - don't judge 😁 
Yogurt works,  but it's too sour for me.  Or you could just take a walk on the wild side and just mix it with yellow mustard.

Egg whites instead of whole eggs, or one egg yolk and two egg whites.  It's little things, but those darn calories add up really quickly 😖

I've had one of these handy tuna strainers for years.  I see so many people open a can of tuna, and drain it with the lid partially on, not a good idea, who knows what's on that lid.  With this, you just take the lid completely off and push to strain.  So easy.

Tuna Strainer

I've also had a vegetable chopper similar to this one, and it's one of my most used kitchen gadgets.  I use it multiple times weekly and I use it for my tuna salad because I never seem to have dill pickle relish.  I just substitute dill pickles using the smallest dice with this gadget and it works great.  I'm sure many of you have this, it's been around for years, just posting in case you don't.   I really like this one, it has more blades than mine, and then there's the color.  Love the color! 

Vegetable Chopper


#tuna #tunasalad #pauladeen #saladlover #whatsforlunch #jancooksrealfood #yummy #healthyfood #tunasandwich #pauladeen #pauladeensfamilykitchen #pioneerwoman

Vintage Taco Salad, sometimes you just don't mess with perfection...

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 18, 2022

Do y'all make Taco Salad, the one that's been around forever that's made with Doritos and Catalina Dressing?  If you haven't made it, You've probably had it at your mom's house or at a potluck or picnic. Maybe you've eaten it and forgotten just how good it is.   I've been making this salad since the 80's, and it's still one of my most requested recipes.  Hubby would happily eat this multiple times a week, he enjoys it that much. 

A lot of people add taco seasoned ground beef to their Taco Salad, we never do, but we do serve it with grilled burgers.  It's just soul soothing, yummy goodness, period!

This is so easy, it goes together in no time.  Here's how you do it.

1 can of light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 chopped onion, green onion is awesome in this salad
iceberg lettuce, shredded
sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
Handfuls of grated cheddar cheese
Handfuls of Nacho Doritos that you crush lightly with your hands.
Catalina Dressing

Put everything in a large salad bowl, ending with the Doritos, toss at last minute with the chips and serve.

Now wasn't that easy?  It's not really a recipe, you just throw in what you like.  You can use any kind of  chip with this, Mexican corn chips, Fritos, etc. but the Doritos really are the best, because they have that great tangy, cheesy taste.

If you want to add seasoned and cooked ground beef, go for it and top it with a big dollop of sour cream.  You want corn in it?  That works, too.

So many possibilities with this, and you just can't go wrong, it's so good.

Note:  I put the beans in the fridge overnight, and then drain and rinse at the last minute so they are cold.


#tacotuesday #taco #tacosalad #salad #yummy #jancooksrealfood tacoseveryday  #tacolover #foodporn #foodie #tacosarelife #tacosfordays #mexicanfood # #tacotime #taconight #tacolife #tacotruck #tacoshop #yummy #tacolove #food #dinner #tacobar 

Meridee's Breadbasket Swedish Coleslaw

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 16, 2021

 If you're in the Nashville area, Meridee's Breadbasket in Franklin is definitely something you won't want to miss.  Our family loves Meridee's, it's my favorite restaurant, wonderful food, fresh baked pies (the key lime is ahh-mazing and you can never go wrong with the cherry)  homemade bread, what's not to love.

Mandarin Almond Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 02, 2020

 This recipe dates back to the 70's, when I was a young mother.  It was given to me by my next door neighbor, she was a really special lady, and a great cook.  This is so simple, but it's excellent.

Barb's Noodle Ramen Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 29, 2018


What a great salad this is.  My friend Barb gave me this recipe and she thinks it’s far superior to any other Ramen Noodle Salad she’s ever had.  I agree, this is absolutely wonderful!

1 package Chicken Ramen Noodles

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 tsp. sesame oil

1/3 cup sugar (can substitute Splenda)

salt and pepper to taste

1 large head cabbage, chopped - I use a package of coleslaw mix

6 green onions, chopped

Melt butter, add seasoning mix from noodles.  Break up dry noodles and mix with sesame seeds and sliced almonds in skillet and brown.

Let cool.

Mix together soy sauce, oil, white vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper in pint Ball jar and shake to emulsify.  Stir crunchy mixture and sauce into chopped cabbage and onion 20-30 minutes before serving.  Let set at room temperature.


I only stir the crunchy topping into the portion of the salad I’m using.  This coleslaw keeps well in the fridge and I store the crunchy topping separately in a sealed baggie with paper towel to absorb the moisture.  Then I pour the amount I need to serve.  If you mix it all together it gets soggy in the fridge.  

Hot Potato Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 10, 2018


I made this so often when the boys were little, lost the recipe and thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I just found it again.

We called it Hot Potato Salad, and made it exactly like this using Velveeta.  It was just SO good.

I was thrilled to find this recipe again and to add it here so I will always have it….


9 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced

1 cup mayonnaise

1 lb Velveeta cheese, diced

1 small onion, chopped



1⁄2 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1⁄2 cup green olives, sliced


Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine potatoes, mayonnaise, cheese, and onion, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Put into greased 9x13 baking dish.

Top with bacon and olives.

Bake 1 hour.


Bring Back the Jiggle...

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, March 01, 2014


Everything that goes around comes around.  Congealed salads are the latest darling of the food world, they were always on Mother’s table in the 50’s a nd 60’s and now they’re back in a big way.

My all time favorite is Perfection Salad, made the way mother did with pineapple, carrots and cabbage in lime or lemon Jello, it’s a oldie but goodie.

Lucy’s Perfection Salad

2 (3 oz.) pkgs. lemon or lime Jello

1/4 head cabbage, chopped

2 carrots, chopped or grated

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple

Dissolve Jello in 2 cups boiling water; stir well. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water. Add vegetables and pineapple with juice.

Put in jello mold and chill several hours.


The BEST Horseradish Coleslaw

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, January 21, 2014

Horseradish coleslaw lg


A friend of mine had horseradish coleslaw in a restaurant and loved it, so I decided to make it at home.  It turned out so good, it’s very forgiving, you can just add or subtract the amount of horseradish to taste.  You could even try just adding horseradish to your own creamy coleslaw recipe ~ Jan


1 large bag of coleslaw mix

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 lemon, juice of

1 tablespoon horseradish ( or to taste)

1-2 tablespoons Splenda or sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

salt and pepper to taste


Shred cabbage, and soak in cold salted water for one hour.To prepare dressing, combine all remaining ingredients together.When ready to prepare salad, drain cabbage well and toss with dressing.

St. Phillips Church Social Coleslaw

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, September 08, 2013
Photo  9

Old fashioned church socials have the best food.  Every summer we go to a local Parish for their wonderful summer social, and this year was no exception.  My son and his wife were visiting, and he just loved the coleslaw.  And because church ladies are so congenial, they shared the recipe with me.  This is a keeper, it's different because it's vinegar and sugar based, but has no oil.  If you use Splenda instead of sugar, you don't lose any of the taste, but it takes away the calories.  It keeps well in the fridge, too, in fact, it's better after it sits for a few hours.  I jar mine up in a Ball wide mouth quart jar, I do love those Ball jars... ~ Jan

I tweaked the original recipe a bit, I used pre bagged coleslaw mix, so I had to adjust the liquids.

1 bag coleslaw mix
1/2 green pepper, chopped (I used food processor)
2 carrots, chopped (food processor again, let the machine do the work :-)
4 chopped green onions (food processor)
1/4 cup chopped celery (food processor)
Mix together:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 heaping teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon salt

Stir all together until sugar or Splenda dissolves and pour over coleslaw mixture.  It wilts down after a few minutes, this is enough dressing for the entire bag of coleslaw mix.

Tuna and tomato but easy...

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 15, 2013


I love tuna stuffed tomatoes, it's my go to summer lunch.  I've always laboriously cut the tomato into petals, scooped the tuna inside, a great presentation, but a bit of a pain in the patootie to eat.

But with age comes wisdom, and today when I  made my tuna salad, I precut the tomato into small bits, and it was so much easier.

My recipe is simple - 

a pouch of albacore tuna
diced scallions
diced celery
dill weed
celery salt
mustard seed
a scoop of Hellman's Mayo

And today for a change I added some shredded lettuce.  Lunch in a bowl. Works for me ;o) 

Andrea's Garlic Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, December 18, 2012


This salad is so good,  very lemony, and garlicky, it is just superb.  I found it years ago on a now defunct site, Gail's Recipe Swap.  Gail's had so many wonderful people that posted daily, chefs, gourmet cooks, everybody shared their favorite recipes.   It was sponsored by Epicurious and it was a sad day when they closed it.

This Salad is from Gail's Swap, it's so good, another keeper recipe...

Andrea's Garlic Salad

Mix together and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving:
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
3-5 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

1 head of Romaine
1/2-1 lb. of bacon, cooked crisp and diced
2/3 cup of toasted almonds
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup julienned Swiss cheese
2 cups of sliced plum tomatoes, or cherry
tomatoes quartered
1 cup of croutons

Killer Cranberry Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 15, 2012


Sometimes a recipe comes along that is just really special.  And since Thanksgiving is just a week away, I wanted you all to see this.  It’s sooooo good, everybody that makes it loves it.  It’s my daughter-in-law Lindsay’s family recipe, I just want you all to know about it in case you’re looking for something really yummy this Thanksgiving. 

You can click the picture to enlarge, or here is the direct link.

I don’t use a mold, I just make it in a 9x9 pan because we like it thick.  A 9x13 works, too, whatever floats your boat.

Enjoy ~ Jan

The BEST Cucumbers and Onions

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 19, 2012


This is a great twist on an old favorite.  My friend, Barb, gave me this recipe this summer, and it’s a keeper.  I normally peel the cucumbers, but I used English cucumbers in the photo above, so I left the peeling on.  This is such a good recipe, the herbs give it a fresh taste.  I think you will all enjoy it.

~ Jan

1 cup vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp ground mustard

Close lid on small bowl and shake until well mixed.

Pour over 6 cucumbers peeled and diced and 1 medium onion sliced

Fantastic Broccoli Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, July 28, 2012

This is Midwestern fare at it’s finest.  The kind of recipe you would eat at a potluck dinner or a church social, it’s just wonderful and so easy.  This is a keeper, a recipe you will make again and again.

2 heads of raw broccoli
1 onion, diced
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese (I grate my own from a block, it’s fresher tasting)
1/2 lb. cooked, crispy diced bacon (I use more, sometimes a pound of cooked bacon)


1 cup Mayonnaise
scant 1/2 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Cut the broccoli into florets, using only a little bit of the stem, you don’t want the woody stalk.  I separate mine into small, bite size pieces.  Then stir in the onion, cheese and cooled, cooked bacon.
Whisk the mayonnaise, Splenda and vinegar until smooth and pour over the salad ingredients.  The salad softens as it marinades, this is plenty of dressing.  Don’t add salt or pepper, it doesn’t need it, the bacon gives it the salty flavor.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, overnight if possible.  You will love this recipe, it’s so good.

~ Jan


Maxine’s Sweet Potato Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, July 03, 2012


There is a little deli lunch place in Indiana, Maxine’s, and they have the most wonderful sweet potato salad.  It is so unusual, it’s so yummy, and great for fall.

I don’t have their recipe, however, this was in the local newspaper, and it’s “supposedly” a good copycat.

Definitely a “must try” at my house.

Baked Sweet-Potato Salad with Vanilla-Maple Vinaigrette

4 large sweet potatoes
8 slices of double-smoked bacon
1 medium bell pepper, diced
2/3 cup celery,diced
4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup beer nuts, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Vanilla-Maple Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons champgne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat gill to medium high

Place sweet potatoes on the upper shelf of preheated grill and close lid. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or longer, depending on size, until just cooked and tender but not mushy when pierced with a wooden skewer. Let cool slightly too handle, peel, and cut into bite-sized pieces, 1 to 11/2-inch chunks. Cool Completely.

Grill bacon slices until crispy, remove from the grill and dice in 1/2 to 3/4-inches

In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, red pepper, celery, green onions,beer nuts, parley, rosemary and thyme. Toss well and set aside.


Place vanilla bean and seeds in a bowl with hot water. Let sit 10 to 20 minutes.

Whisk together the syrup, vinegar, shallot and mustard. While continually whisking, drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion. Whisk in the vanilla mixture.

Pour the vinaigrette over te sweet potato salad and mix well to coat. Serve immediately.

Portillo’s Chopped Salad, an AMAZING recipe…

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 01, 2012


My friend Barb, told me about how awesome Portillo’s Chopped Salad is.  Portillo’s is a Chicago institution, a hot dog stand that was started in 1963 by Dick Portillo’s in a small trailer with no running water, and has now grown to 47 locations.  Their chopped salad is famous, and rightly so.  Oh, what a great summer recipe this is for all of you…  The recipe is widely available online, this is how Barb makes hers…

Portillo’s Chopped Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce
1 – 2 heads Romaine lettuce, depending on size
1 small head red cabbage, minced or 1 bag sliced red cabbage, chopped
1 small red onion, finely minced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2  c. ditalini pasta, cooked and cooled
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (Amish Blue Cheese from Sam’s is awesome)

Vinaigrette dressing, bottled or homemade

Wash and dry the lettuces. Finely chop until the lettuce is in small pieces, this is the secret, you want this to be finely chopped, not large chunks.

Put in large salad bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except dressing, and toss to combine well.

Serve dressing along side the salad or pour on and combine just before serving.


Barb uses a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, I’ve also read that Marzetti’s Sweet Italian Dressing is a dead ringer, Commenters also say that Aldi’s Grandesse House Salad Dressing tastes really similar.  I also found a homemade recipe with positive reviews  if you would like to try it.

This Italian Dressing is from  the Chicago Sun-Times. It is similar to the dressing found on salads at Portillo's and Maggiano's restaurants.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Place vinegar, garlic, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor.

While the machine is running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the blender top or feed tube until dressing is combined and emulsified.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks