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.
Sort of.
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.

Comments

  1. Love those recipes! In the South, food brings us all together. Whether it’s for the newborn or the funeral, a great home cooked meal says it all. Never heard of crushed pineapple in the chicken salad, but if it’s your Mama’s recipe, it must be yummy.

  2. Recipes sound wonderful! Now …. I’m a stickler for sizes in recipes or otherwise I have a way of messin’ ‘em up! I can assume …. BUT … the cans of crushed pineapple in the chicken salad? … they would be the little short ones that resemble a tuna fish can … correct? See, I always have the big tall ones on hand and so … I just have to ask :) Thanks!

  3. Yes, Vicky – that’s exactly right! I edited the recipe to clarify. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for the deliciousness! I have to make something for a little get-to-gether tomorrow night, I think that Chicken Salad is just the thing! I can’t wait to tell everyone that it’s BOO MAMA’S MAMA’S RECIPE! Oh they will be excited!

  5. Oh, with the YUM!

  6. Summer seems to be the only time that I can get away with Angel Food Cake with Strawberries and (Homemade) Whipped Cream. If I try to serve it any other time of the year, it gets balked. I have no idea is wrong with my people.
    It’s also the time that we look forward to lots of yummy cantaloupe and fresh-picked corn on the cob slathered in butter.

  7. Seconds before reading this post I started cooking my chicken for chicken salad. Your mama’s recipe looks wonderful. I wish I had pineapple in my cupboard. Sounds delicious that way.

  8. Sophie, Those recipes sound yummy and right up my Southern alley.
    There’s only one thing I can thing of to compliment them: Sweet Tea.
    Here’s how I make it, Southern Style:
    http://www.wearethatfamily.com/2008/05/it-has-come-to-my-attention-from-some.html

  9. Sophie, I think it’s best if you make this for me. :) H

  10. I love my own chicken salad, but am intrigued enough to try your Mama’s, ’cause we all know, “Mama always knows best”! ;-)

  11. The chicken salad recipe sounds great, but I’m not exactly good at cooking so I have no clue how to cook the chicken. Can anyone tell me what is the best way to cook chicken breasts so that they taste good, aren’t rubbery, and are cooked all the way through?

  12. I served up some chicken salad and pimento cheese at Bunco last night and do you know they left some chix salad but they LICKED that pimento cheese bowl CLEAN? I was shocked. Midwesterners are a myserious lot.

  13. Hands down it’s got to be homemade ice-cream!!
    Just about any fresh fruit you’d care to freeze in it will do for my family…peaches, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries. We seem to be fans of the berries!

  14. Rurnt.
    HYSTERICAL.
    I have a friend who says Rurnt and I make fun of her all the time about it. It’s a word that just makes me laugh.
    Nice work, Sophie.
    And Sophie’s mama.

  15. I love homemade vanilla ice cream with strawberries and blueberries on top:)

  16. Mmmm, the chicken salad sounds divine. I’ll have to use Duke’s mayo instead of Blue Plate or Hellman’s becuase my husband’s a mayo snob and won’t eat anything but Duke’s.

  17. Well, there must be strawberry shortcake, and fresh corn on the cob with LOADS of butter and salt. I’ll repent later! :-)
    The only top-of-my-head recipe is for pasta salad. It’s yummy!
    1 box of multi-colored pasta (I use the corkscrews)
    1 bottle of Zesty Italian dressing
    1 cucumber
    1 tomato
    Dice the veggies. Add them to the cooked pasta. Smotehr liberally with most of the Italian dressing, and chill. TA-DA!
    Now enough with the food. You’re making me hungry!

  18. MMMMM…..sounds great. I sure do miss my old life in Mississippi. Boy could they cook there!
    To answer Melynda- I cook my chicken in the crockpot. Just throw in a whole chicken, some onions, celery, eh..whatever you have around, and cook it on low overnight. In the morning let it cool a bit and pull the chicken off the bone. Couldn’t be simpler. Oh, I also throw in a bit of chicken bullion- but a good cook probably doesn’t need this.

  19. We love chicken salad in our home, so I’ll have to try it. Pasta? Well, I love pasta so much that it makes my husband jealous. That’s probably why he isn’t a pasta eater. Hmmm…food for thought…
    Thanks for posting the recipes. I’ll be trying them, although I’ve never heard of Blue Plate. Be nice to me or I’ll be talking with your mom. LOL! Just kidding!

  20. YUM! THanks for sharing!
    I am a Yankee, transplated to the South, and I LOVE IT DOWN HERE! And the food, the weather, the monograms on everything, the big hair bows on little girls… I could go on.
    Here’s My yankee grandmother’s frozen fruit salad and green bean bundle recipes:
    http://chadsgirls.blogspot.com/2007/10/southern-covered-dish-lunch-i-missed.html

  21. Those both sound wonderful! Do you use black olives or green olives in the pasta salad?

  22. Food is my spiritual gift, and summer is my favorite season. So I’m going to do my best to limit myself to one recipe here.
    I love homemade ice cream, and I’m on a fruit pie kick lately. (I’m debating between blackberry and fresh blueberry for Father’s Day.) But it simply wouldn’t be summer for the Love Wells without Cajun Turkey Burgers. Recipe is in the middle of this post.
    By the way, Sophie, I recently confessed to a Texas friend that I have never eaten homemade fried chicken. Never. Do you think that qualifies me for some sort of refugee program for your Mom’s cooking?

  23. Yum! A little pineapple in the right place is a wonderful thing. My hubby’s grandma used to make sticky buns with pecans and pineapple. Wonderful! We lived next door to her for a while and LOVED baking days because she didn’t know how to bake for one, and we were always the grateful recipients of a pan :-)
    Anyway, I’m a big fan of the cucumber and like to make various side dishes using the wondrous green vegie. And I’m a fan of the variety so we don’t always make the same recipe. Sometimes the vinegar and sugar way, other times the yogurt and dill…but always with lots and lots of sliced cucumbers. Oh my, excuse me while I go make some right now!

  24. We call this Bachelor Salsa. Why? Because it is so easy a bachelor with no kitchen utensils can make it.
    1-can Black Beans, drained
    1-can whole kernel corn, drained (I prefer sweet corn)
    1-jar of salsa
    Mix together. Let chill in fridge. Best served with Frito Scoops chips.
    It will take every bit of restraint to keep from eating the entire bowl in one sitting.

  25. Oh my. These look wonderful!! I have never seen a chicken salad with pineapple (which I LOVE!!) and curry. Can’t wait to try them.
    Kiss your Mama for me, please. :)

  26. I cook my chicken by covering it with water, bringing it to a boil, and then letting it simmer for about 45 minutes. It’ll be fork tender at that point. I season it with salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, Worcestershire, and a couple of stalks of celery. And then I save the broth and freeze it because it is TASTY and a great to re-use the next time you cook veggies.

  27. These sound glorious. My you say it so well and I’m from the South. :) Now, let me think about recipes….

  28. Oh, I’d just LOVE to share a recipe with everyone. Please be sure you follow my steps precisely — I don’t want any of you novices to mess this up.
    Ice
    Ingredients: Plumbing, water, plastic (the tray)
    Directions:
    1. Turn on faucet and allow cool water to flow.
    2. Begin to fill ice trays. Don’t worry — everyone overfills.
    3. Place in freezer for approx. 120 mins.
    4. Remove from freezer and place in your favorite beverage.
    TIP: Pre-chew for little kids. “Look, kids! Momma made Sonic ice!”
    And another one I’m famous for:
    1. Find your phone book and turn to the “P’s” in the business section.
    2. Look carefully for a listing called “Pizza Hut.”
    3. Using your trusty map (this should have been listed in the ingredients — my bad), determine which Pizza Hut is closest to your house.
    4. Dial the number and carefully decide between pick-up or delivery.
    5. I cannot over emphasize how important this last step is: you now must decide what kind of crust you want. Do not shy away from the deep dish one — you’ll work off those calories as you walk to the door when the delivery person rings your bell.

  29. Whoops! HTML link didn’t work in my earlier comment.
    So here’s the recipe in all its glory. Thankfully, it’s short and easy.
    CAJUN TURKEY BURGERS
    1 beaten egg
    1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp ground red pepper
    1/2 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
    1 lb ground turkey
    In a large bowl, combine egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper. Add bread crumbs and ground turkey. Mix well. Shape into six 3/4-inch-thick patties. Grill or broil. Especially yummy topped with pepper jack cheese and/or guacamole.

  30. a) Let it be known (again) that I love me some Amy Beth and I am absolutely using her recipe for ice, because apparently New York City landlords don’t believe in these newfangled icemaker thingamabobs.
    b) You don’t use Hellmann’s?! Oh honeybee. My grandmama was only loyal to two name brands (otherwise she was a make-it-yourself type): Pillsbury pie crusts (in the red box) and Hellmann’s. For. Shame.
    c) I’m just playin’. Can’t wait to try these! (I’ve got a whole big bowl of newly-shredded chicken to use up and a brand-new jar of Hellmann’s Light that’re just calling my name!)

  31. Hey Sophie!
    Maybe you could tell mama that my Birthday is Wednesday and I dont have a mama and she would make me one of her scrumptous meals??
    This was awesome, I loved your post and I wrote down the recipes. My Chicken salad is similar. I am going to try the crushed pineapple. Thanks for sharing!!

  32. Oh YOWSA!!!!! My tummy is rumbling already and it’s only 8 AM!!! It’s chicken salad for me this weekend. BTW mama….. my birthday is coming up!

  33. I just have to say thanks for using the word “Rurnt”. It is a part of my daily vocabulary. I love you even more for that.

  34. I make a similiar chicken salad. I use pecans and always toast them first. It really brings out the flavor. Hubs calls it my surpise chicken salad because there is a little surprise in every bite. :>)

  35. In the interest of sharing – what is summertime for if not another excuse to eat something cool and laden with chocolate? And so with out further ado I present the ever scrumptious Chocolate Eclair Cake courtesy of Paula Deen!
    Cake:
    1 (1-pound) box graham crackers
    2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding
    3 1/2 cups milk
    1 (8-ounch) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
    Frosting
    1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    1/2 cup cocoa
    3 tablespoons butter, softened
    3 tablespoons milk
    2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    Butter the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line the whole graham crackers. In bowl with an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.
    For frosting, blend together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.
    PLEASE NOTE: I usually use store bought chocolate frosting since it is way easier and less time consuming to deal with. This is a crowd pleaser so be prepared to not have any leftovers if you choose to share with others!

  36. Hey Sophie,
    My podunk grocery store only had Caesar with Bacon dressing….Do you think that will ruin this recipe? Because if I have to, I’ll drive into the Big City if it means a great bowl of pasta salad.

  37. Have you ever had the chicken salad on a croissant? Would you recommend that?

  38. SO good on a croissant. So good on any bread-type substance, really. Deeee-licious.

  39. Just had to let you know that I made this today and it was yummy!!!

  40. Was I supposed to drain the relish or pineapple? And… what size in ounces are the relishes? I think I RURNT a perfectly decent chicken trying to make this. : )

  41. That chicken salad sounds delicious and I think I will make it for our women’s ministry luncheon. Thank you

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