Summer is season for salad, lighter fare

<strong>Penny’s Pantry</strong> Penny Case

Penny’s Pantry Penny Case

The sun is finally shining and there’s no sign of rain. I believe we’ve had enough for a while. I know my lawn needs mowed more often; it’s greener and thicker than usual.

Now it’s time for cookouts and refreshing meals like grilled chicken steaks, pork chops, hamburgers, and hot dogs, lettuce salads, fruit salads, and macaroni and potato salads.

One of my favorites is a pasta salad made with ranch dressing. It has the shell pasta, cube cheese, chicken, cauliflower, broccoli, green pepper, and onion, black olives, celery, and cucumber. You can use Italian dressing instead but I like mine with ranch the best.

I’ve been wanting pickled eggs along with beets and onions. I also love pickled beef heart and tongue. My mom always made these for my dad.

People will be planting their gardens now. My grandsons said they did at their house and their cantaloupes are sprouting already. Next time they come here, we’ll plant a little garden in the back, plus a peach tree that Kaiden wants and maybe an apple tree.

I’ll put some summer dishes in this column for you to try. Until next time, please enjoy these recipes.

Ham, Cheese, and Green Peppers Slices

• 1 cup finely chopped cooked ham

• 1 cup finely chopped celery

• 6 oz. cream cheese

• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

• Salt and pepper

• 3 medium green peppers

Mix ham, celery, softened cream cheese, and parsley thoroughly. Add salt and pepper. Cut tops off peppers, take out insides, but leave whole. Pack ham mixture into peppers and chill. Slice and serve on lettuce with French dressing. Note: I would chop up the green pepper tops and put them in the ham mixture (but not the stem).

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

• 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken cut into 1/2 inch squares

• 2 cups pineapple chunks

• 1 cup celery cut into 1/2 inch pieces

• 3 tbsp. cooking oil

• 2 tbsp. lemon juice

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/3 cup mayonnaise

• 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Combine chicken, pineapple, and celery. Mix oil, lemon juice, and salt and marinate salad one hour. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Serve on lettuce leaves or other greens. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Dandelion Salad

• 4 cups dandelion greens

• 3 slices bacon

• 2 tbsp. sugar

• 1 1/2 tbsp. flour

• 1 tsp. salt

• 2 cups water

• 1/4 cup vinegar

• 1 egg

• 1/4 cup finely chopped onions

• 3 hard boiled eggs

Wash and chop dandelion. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from drippings, saving drippings to make the dressing. Combine sugar, flour, and salt. Beat egg in water and vinegar and add to dry ingredients. Pour into drippings and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool dressing slightly.

Toss dandelion with bacon, onions, and chopped eggs. Pour dressing over all and mix lightly. Note: My mom would fry the bacon and drain and crumble it. Then in the bacon grease, she’d add sugar and vinegar and bring it to a boil. In a bowl along with the dandelion greens, onions, bacon, and chopped eggs she’d pour the hot mixture over everything. You can also do this dressing over garden lettuce you grow. It’s called wilted lettuce.

Oriental Chicken Salad

• 1 medium head lettuce, chopped

• 2 cups chopped grilled chicken breast

• 1 cup salted cashews

• 1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts

• 2 cups chow mein noodles

• 1 small onion, chopped; or 1 tbsp. dried minced onion

In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Dressing: 1/2 cup ketchup, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp. salad dressing spread, 2 tbsp. minced dried onion, 1 tsp. salt. In another bowl, beat dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss just before serving.

Penny Case is a lifelong resident of Wellington who loves to cook and share recipes. Send recipes to her at 22 Johns St. or at

Penny’s Pantry Penny Case’s Pantry Penny Case