shrimp pasta salad

Here is a perfect summer lunch recipe.  Actually, this recipe can be made one day in advance and used for a lunch, tea party sandwiches, summer snacks, or a light summer dinner.  Choose an attractive lettuce leaf to serve with the salad, such as bibb, Boston, mache or a red romaine.  The recipe was adapted from a Taste of Home magazine.

Here is the recipe:  Use an 8 ounce bag of cooked salad shrimp. (100-200 size)

Mix together 1/2 cup light sour cream, 1/2 cup light mayonnaise, 1-2 celery stalks minced, 3 minced shallots, 1 Tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon horseradish, salt and pepper to taste.

When this sauce is mixed together, add 2 cups of cooked and chilled macaroni noodles.  Chill completely for at least 3 hours and serve.

Melon and cucumber salad

For Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed this cool and refreshing salad made from honeydew melon and cucumbers.  I was inspired to make the recipe, which I found in Better Homes and Garden magazine, because of the interesting flavor profile and mix of fresh ingredients.


This is an easy salad to pull together.  The main ingredients are cubed honeydew melon pieces, sliced small cucumbers, chopped red onion, and crumbled feta cheese.  The dressing is made from 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mixed with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds.  The dressing is made separately and then added to the salad mixture just before serving. Use only enough dressing to lightly coat the ingredients. The feta is also reserved until just before serving the salad.

I mixed the salad ingredients and kept them refrigerated.  I added the feta, a splash of dill weed to the salad, and the dressing just before serving.

Very unusual but so very tasty and refreshing.  The honeydew melon gives this salad a wonderful flavor.  This is not a salad that can be stored for days.  This is one that needs to be fresh and eaten within a couple of hours.  Each of the ingredients contribute to a tangy, cool, crunchy or sweet taste which comes out perfectly.

If desired, grated sea salt and ground pepper could be added for additional flavor enhancement. This salad could also be served in a lettuce cup or simply on a bed of arugula or salad greens.



Herb and Bacon Red Potato Salad

Small red potatoes are very easy to work with when preparing summer potato salads. I like to use them because of their quick cook time, and tasty skins.  Almost all of my favorite potato salads leave the skins on the potatoes for that added texture and flavor profile.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a Picnics cookbook, which over the years, I have adapted for my family. This one uses bacon, which is unique for the rest of my potato salad recipe collection. For those guests who like bacon, this is a great recipe and one that could be prepared for summer holiday weekends.

To make the salad,  gather these ingredients:

8-9 small red potatoes, 6 slices of microwave bacon cooked, 1/2 of a medium red onion, 1/2 cup light mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 tablespoon dried basil, fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Scrub clean and boil the potatoes for 20 minutes until fork tender.  Drain and cool until warm.  Chop into bite-sized pieces for the salad. Chop the cooked bacon.  Add bacon and onion to the potatoes.  Mix well.


In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.  Pour dressing on the salad and mix well, while the potatoes still have some warmth to them.  This will give the salad the blended consistency.


Picnic lunches for warmer weather

With warmer weather coming to Michigan, the anticipation of picnic weather is here.  Portable containers to transport summer picnic food need to be properly sized with temperature consideration.  The containers need to keep food cold during transport.  I also like to have foods kept separately during transport.  There is nothing worse than having fruit juices spill or stain onto other picnic foods.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This past week I was asked to review one of the latest products to be launched next month from Francois et Mimi.  The set is a three-piece stackable Bento Lunch box with an insulated lunch box bag.  The set is available in five different colors, and includes a portable fork, knife and spoon.  Made from food grade materials, the set is BPA free and FDA approved

I especially like the design of this bento box set.  The boxes are stackable, and have an elastic strap to hold them together.


 Some of my favorite picnic foods to easily transport include:

grilled shrimp, watercress and cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese, chicken salad with rosemary–served with crackers, cole slaw, fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries or grapes, scones with jam, brownies, shortbread cookies, and various cheeses with thin sourdough bread slices.

Other great picnic packables are: tortilla roll-ups, stuffed cherry tomatoes with dill cream cheese, olives, pickles, cheese twists and nut bread.


For more information about the Bento boxes or to order on, please follow this link:



cherry vinaigrette on homegrown lettuce leaves


it was time to cut some lettuce leaves from my deck garden.  the single lettuce leaves were tender and delicious.  having grown to three to four inches in length, i simply cut them and washed and dried in a salad spinner.  the lettuce flavor is so mild and sweet, also being a great source of Vitamin A.


growing home lettuce in pots is so easy.  no worries about rabbits munching them in the evening.  to serve with this lettuce, i tried making a cherry vinaigrette.  i used a sample of fresh fruit vinegar from mange.  the sample was provided for me to taste and review for the blog.  the fruit vinegars are made in Vermont, and are shelf stable vinegars.  they are perfect for basting, cooking, and even for cocktails.

using my basic recipe for vinaigrette, i mixed three parts of salad oil to one part of the cherry vinaigrette.  i also added a pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  the dressing on the lettuce leaves was delicious.

for more information about fruit vinegars, please follow this link:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


cucumber salad


Jamie Deen has a good food cookbook featuring recipes using great ingredients–from the land, the sea, and the farm. one recipe caught my eye for cucumber salad.  i just had to make it.  i know this is one of those recipes that i seem to always see at other homes, but i have never made myself.  i was excited to finally have an opportunity to try it out.

the salad is very easy to make.  slice two cucumbers after peeling every other strip down the side of the cucumber.  i like the way that makes the cucumbers look in the salad.  place them in a large mixing bowl, with one pint of sliced grape tomatoes.  add about 1/3 of a sliced Vidalia sweet onion.  season to taste with fresh parsley, salt and pepper.


to make the dressing:  mix and whisk together 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2 teaspoons honey.

incorporate into the salad and chill before serving to keep the cucumbers very crisp. we really enjoyed the taste of this salad.



picnic fruit salad


given to me more than ten years ago, this classic picnic fruit salad tastes like summer memories. my grandmother used to make a recipe very similar to this one, but it included mini marshmallows.  that information really dates me, as i don’t think we have been adding marshmallows to salad recipes in over 30 years.

anyway, this one is often called an ambrosia salad, and i think is one of the best around.  gather and mix the following ingredients.

one can of pineapple tidbits, one can of mandarin oranges, one jar of chopped and drained maraschino cherries, 1/2 bag of chopped pecans, one can of coconut, and about 3/4 of a carton of fat-free cool whip.  i made this fruit salad for Memorial Day weekend.

it is just one of those old “timey” type of foods that everyone seems to love. fruit salad is great for picnics and potluck lunches.