Tuesday, August 24, 2010

127.Overnight Layered Salad, Celebrate

American cooks can be as inventive as anyone and someone really hit upon a great idea the day he or she probably decided to clean out their refrigerator and invented the layered salad.

I remember seeing one for the first time in the late 60s or early 70s. I loved the colors of the vegetable layering which showed through the clear, glass bowl. The salad was served at a luncheon and we were all impressed with the fact that it had been made the day before which released the hostess from most of her kitchen duties the day of the get-to-gether.

I had no idea how the salad was going to taste, but was pleasantly surprised with its fresh, crisp flavors and ingredients. Everything blended nicely and the mayonnaise made it more than just a pile of vegetables.

That particular dish was a 7-layer salad but, if you  hunt around, you will find 8 and 11-layer recipes. Actually, these salads have no real rules...they can be made with a huge variety of ingredients and with as many layers as will fit into your container. The salad can be made for just one or two people or a crowd...

The ingredients which showed up the most often for this salad are as follows: Lettuce, carrots, celery, red cabbage, broccoli, green peppers, peas, red onion, water chestnuts, mushrooms, macaroni, eggs (chopped), egg whites (chopped), chicken (chopped), bacon, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, corn, green onions, black beans, green onions, jalapeno peppers, black olives, cucumber, caulifower, zucchini, and  mayonnaise.

Today's recipe is a layering of ingredients from my refrigerator that I needed to use up...so, find a reason to celebrate the little leftover things in your kitchen with a happy, layered salad!

Overnight Layered Salad

Iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
Spinach, fresh, torn into pieces
Real bacon bits
Green onions, chopped
Frozen peas, thawed
Water chestnuts, drained and sliced
Chopped hardboiled egg, chopped
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Mayonnaise, Hellmann's Real

(Quantities are not given because this salad can be as large or as small as you want to make it)

Layer all but the mayonnaise in the bowl in the order listed. Spread the Hellmann's over the top of the salad carefully to from a light layer. Seal to the edge of the bowl. Cover salad tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Optional: Garnish with chopped peppers or tomatoes or another vegetable of your choice.

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