My mama is my favorite cook in the world.
And if you should happen to be at her house when she’s cooking a summertime dinner (we call lunch “dinner” in the South. I have no explanation for this. But I find that when Southern food-related traditions are in question, it’s better just to smile real big, help yourself to seconds, say something along the lines of “laws-a-mercy, this is tasty,” and roll with it), you will rise up from the table and call her blessed.
You might even call her “Mama” in the hopes that she’ll claim you as her own and then cook you a big ole supper on your birthday.
And if you’re lucky, that birthday supper will include squash casserole, fresh butterbeans, and some form of made-from-scratch cake, NOT THAT I HAVE DISTINCT MAMA-MENU PREFERENCES OR ANYTHING.
But since it’s summertime and cranking up the oven ranks right up there with gluing the tips of your fingers to the inside of a door frame and then slamming the accompanying door repeatedly, I asked Mama to pick a couple of her favorite summertime recipes to share with y’all. They’d be perfect dishes to serve if you have your friends and family over for “dinner” or supper.
They’d also be great to serve to your Bible study buddies. Because it’s always nice to fortify yourself with a little Southern sustenance before you dig into the Word.
Oh, I kid.
And I’ll go ahead and tell you: Mama’s chicken salad is a huge family favorite. I’ve actually seen my brother eat it straight out of the bowl WITH A WOODEN SERVING SPOON.
And after you eat it? You’ll want to offer up a handclap of praise. Oh yes you will.
Mama’s Chicken Salad
4 whole chicken breasts cooked with salt, pepper and celery sticks
Juice of 2 lemons
2 small jars of sweet pickle relish
2 small cans of crushed pineapple
2 stalks of fresh celery, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups of walnuts or pecans
1 cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise (I use a little bit more because I’m a fan of mayonnaise. And I also use Blue Plate instead of Hellman’s because I prefer it, but please don’t tell Mama, SHE WILL THINK I HAVE RURNT IT ALL)
1 tablespoon of powdered curry (stirred into mayonnaise)
Chop cooled chicken into small pieces and pour lemon juice over all. Add all ingredients, stir until mixed well, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Serve on lettuce leaf or with assorted crackers.
Believe you me: there is not a cracker in this world that wouldn’t consider it an honor to be paired with Mama’s chicken salad.
Best Pasta Ever
1 pound rotini pasta
1 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 cups sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup red onion
2 small cans of sliced ripe olives
1 8 oz. bottle of Kraft Caesar salad dressing
1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cover tomatoes with water and boil for about 12 minutes or until tender. Drain, chop into small pieces, and set aside.
Cook rotini according to package directions, then drain and let cool.
Mix all ingredients together (GENTLY!), then chill in refrigerator overnight. This is even more yummy the second and third days – if you can keep it around that long.
So what about you? Are there any summertime food favorites in your family?
We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
And if you wanted to share a link to a recipe, we wouldn’t mind that, either.
Not one little bit.
Because we’re selfless like that.