macaroni chicken salad

Macaroni Chicken Salad Recipe
take an old friend for a new spin

Mmm MMM! I love me some macaroni and cheese!

In college I could eat an entire box of the stuff in one sitting. I still can. I’d stir in a little sour cream just to make things creamier, as if that was a missing thing.

This recipe takes the tried and true mac ‘n cheese staple and dresses it up with a bit of protein and some veggie bits to make a special dish that will tickle the tastebuds.

foodie tips

❤  I’m sure the folks at Kraft would love to know that in my entire life I don’t recall if I’ve ever had any other boxed mac and cheese but theirs. There’s something to be said for a loyal stomach! I’ve made mac and cheese from scratch a few times – here’s one of my favorites if you want to enjoy hatch-chicken mac ‘n cheese. It’s out of this world.

Evil Bell Pepper

Could it be evil lives inside peppers? On my next slice I’ll definitely have an *extra* knife handy. Just in case.

❤  My dear friend Heather 1,000% percent loathes bell peppers. I don’t quite get her hatred for the lil’ green things. She said the flavor is wretched and it makes her burp.

I went online and discovered there is a following a folks who are convinced that “pepper faces” are evil. Hmm… they could be onto something. This one’s for you, Heather!

If by chance you fall into the “no-thank-you” green pepper camp, try substituting a can of Hatch peppers – fresh if you can. The smoky heat will warm your heart. And I know Heather loves hatch peppers so all should be good there.

❤  House divided: Joe and I argued whether this dish was better hot or cold. Since I’m the one writing the blog post, I kindly suggest you try it warm first; then chill any leftovers and see if you like the chilled version. Note: There won’t be any leftovers! :) Looks like I win again!Macaroni Chicken Salad Ingredients

i. ingredients

1 package | macaroni and cheese dinner
1 cup | cooked chicken, diced
| hard-boiled cage free eggs, chopped
½ cup | green pepper, chopped
½ cup | green peas, cooked
¼ cup | celery, chopped
¼ cup | radishes, sliced
3 tablespoons | onion, chopped
⅓ cup | salad dressing or mayonnaise

ii. what to do

1. Make your mac ‘n cheese dinner according to the package directions. Please don’t overcook it! Soggy pasta is right up there with wet blankets and warm beer. No thank you!

2. Transfer the mac ‘n cheese to a large bowl and combine in the next seven ingredients.

3. Stir in the salad dressing and toss gently. Consume immediately or chill, if you must. :)

Yields 6-8 servings according to the original recipe… or 1-2 servings, if you enjoy bountiful mounds of food, like me.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A macaroni chicken salad recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s macaroni-chicken salad recipe

 

At 5 cents a servings I’ll eat $2 worth, please. It’s the least I can do! The least.

Here in the 2nd commercial a wife is really bummed her husband is coming home for lunch. Sheesh! Maybe he should check the Mac n’ Cheese to make sure it’s not generously sprinkled with Rat Kill! 

Here we see the Mom’s family is just too busy to stop to eat dinner together. Sounds like it’s 15 minutes for dinner to be ready… and 20 minutes of spankings for all! And there’s plenty more servings of spankings to go ’round!


sauerkraut bend’s potato salad

Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook NookTime For A Potato Fiesta

Give your typical cold egg and mayonnaise potato salad versions a rest and get ready for a tongue-tingling-tangy version with German roots. This potato salad recipe is unlike any other I’ve tasted! It’s not a bad thing, it’s just tastefully unique.

Before we dive into this dish let’s enjoy a special story behind it.

Sauer-what? 

When I found this recipe in Mom’s cookbook I expected it to be a dish from a restaurant named Sauerkraut Bend. Reading a bit closer, I saw a well-known word to me “NIOSA” –  an acronym for Night In Old San Antonio – a four-day celebration held during the city’s larger two-week long Fiesta. Two weeks of citywide partying!

Fiesta San Antonio Picture Credit: Pinterest User: Scarlettpayne99

Fiesta San Antonio Picture Credit: Pinterest User: Scarlettpayne99

The NIOSA festival dates back to 1937 and it’s held in La Villita (Spanish for “tiny village”), a small art community nestled along the San Antonio River and very close to The Alamo. NIOSA is synonymous with cascarones, crepe paper flowers, live music, thousands of happy dancing folks of all ages and loads of food and libation. If social media hashtags were around when the festival was founded I would have used #bestofdays.

Mom and Dad attended NIOSA from the time before I could walk on my own two legs until my teenage years when we worked side by side in a pretzel booth with her dear friend Bristol, an important lady to our family and this cooking blog. While I sadly don’t see the giant pretzels listed on the NIOSA menu for 2015, I’m happy to learn the festival still serves the super-crispy-cinnamon-sugary “Buñuelos” and savory Peruvian “Anticuchos.” (I also found the Anticuchos recipe in Mom’s cookbook and it’s coming very soon here at Betty’s Cook Nook).

After a few clicks on Google I surprisingly learned the origin of Sauerkraut Bend. It was one of the 15 cultural areas comprising the NIOSA festival. Sauerkraut Bend was nicknamed after a neighborhood located in San Antonio’s King William District that was founded by German immigrants flocking to Texas in the 1840s in search of a better tomorrow. The ties between this recipe, my German roots, the now historic district where a great family friend moved and NIOSA were literally fast-tracking in the overactive windmills of my mind. Turns out the pretzel booth I volunteered in as a child was located in NIOSA’s Sauerkraut Bend pavilion and I had no idea until I researched for this post (I think way back then I called the area “Germantown”).

It’s so amazing the connections a simple recipe written on an index card can ignite!

I then remembered the connection to a funny picture I saw in our family photo archive. I dug it back up – here’s Bristol and my brother Roger (behind her) having a great time in the ol’ pretzel booth in 1976!

Here's a picture ofHere's a picture of Bristol and my brother Roger at NIOSA in 1976. Note the pretzel in the right hand corner!

I’m not quite sure how my Mom scored this recipe. Perhaps she smooth-talked it from a fellow volunteer friend who also worked in Sauerkraut Bend or maybe it was printed in the San Antonio Express News. Either way, I’m so glad I found it and I’m happy to share it forward to you now. Mom would want it this way.

I could go on and on (and you know I could) about this story and why I love nostalgic food blogging but I’m sure you all have better things to do, like eat. So let’s bring on the Potato Fiesta!

Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad Makes A Perfect Side Dish For Most Grilled Dishes

foodie tips ~

  Five pounds of potatoes? That will feed a small army! We cut the recipe in half and this yielded about 6-8 servings. The type of potato wasn’t specified but we used gold.

  One stalk of celery to five pounds potatoes? I’m not pointing fingers, but I am making note of it.

  If you have an eye for potatoes like I do (get it?) you’ll have to try my Mom’s California Potato Recipe which to this day remains one of my top favorites EVER.

i. ingredients

5 pounds | potatoes
5 strips | diced bacon
⅔ cup | sugar
2 cups | vinegar
2 cups | pickles, chopped (we used Texas’ own Best Maid Dill Pickles)
| green onions, chopped
1 stalk | chopped celery
½ cup | parsley, chopped
to taste | salt and pepper

ii. what to do

1. Boil the potatoes, drain and let cool a bit. Peel and discard the skin and cut the potato into pieces.

2. Fry the bacon, reserving the drippings. To bacon and drippings add the sugar and vinegar. Heat and stir until well blended.

3. Pour the bacon mixture over the potatoes.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. The recipe doesn’t specify, but a little research at Wiki mentions that a vinegar-based potato salad like this one likely came from southern Germany and was served warm. I enjoyed mine at room temperature, but either way I’m sure it’s tastefully satisfying.

Yield: A lot of potato salad!

Here’s a scan of the original recipe as penned by my Mom, Betty!

A Scan Of Mom's Recipe For Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad

What’s the Big “Dill?”
Here’s a Texas Country Reporter video you might like to watch about Texas made Best Maid Dill Pickles!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook


mom’s layered salad

A Layered Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook NookLayers Of Taste

This salad recipe should be in everyone’s cookbook, so best bookmark it now.

My Cousin Julie said this dish is very popular for potluck meals – and when she’s taken this she’s always been asked for the recipe.

It’s that good!

Foodie Tips ~

  If you plan to eat this salad right away, run hot water over the frozen peas before adding so that they will defrost. Or you can use canned or fresh peas.

  Ingredient amounts may be doubled and layers may be doubled for large party servings. You can add any of the optional ingredients below to make this salad more of an entree then serve it with rolls, iced tea and a dessert! Need some dessert ideas?

  You may notice that in my pic above I served my salad from a glass champagne bucket. Whoopsie – no big glass dish for me! If you don’t care as much about the presentation you can layer this salad in any bowl that you’d like but make sure it’s large enough to hold the head of lettuce and all its friends.

  If you can serve the salad with the layers in tact send me a pic! It’s probably best to toss the salad just before serving. That is, after everyone has already viewed and snapped pics of your multi-layered wonder.

i. ingredients

the main stuff:
1 head | iceburg lettuce, chopped
1 box | frozen peas
2 cans | water chestnuts, drained (I added a can to the recipe below)
| green onions, chopped
1 cup | swiss cheese, shredded
optional | ham, chopped
optional | black olives, sliced or chopped (I used 2 cans)
optional | hardboiled eggs, chopped
optional | green peppers, chopped
optional | dealer’s choice  :)

the topping:
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | sour cream
½ – 1 teaspoon | sugar (it’s not me, it’s the ’70s calling!)

to serve:
1 bottle | hormel brand bacon bits (yummm… a bottle)
1 cup | parmesan cheese, shredded

ii. what to do

1. In a large glass dish layer the first five ingredients to form the base of the salad. Add the optional ingredients, as you wish.

2. Mix together the three topping’s ingredients above and spread over the top of the salad. Be sure to cover to the edges to seal. The salad may be covered with plastic wrap and left in the fridge for a day or two or enjoyed now.

3. When ready to serve sprinkle the salad with the bacon bits and the parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

mom's layered salad recipe from betty's cook nook

 

This photo is of Julie’s original Mom’s Layered Salad recipe. I took this pic on her dining room table which is as big and beautiful as Texas. The wood originated from a bowling alley.

Who would have thunk? My spectacular Cousin Julie, that’s who!


italian dressing

what's this? italian dressing! shake it up and it'll tickle your taste buds.Love Italy?

I’m freshly back from a two week adventure to Italy*, so there’s nothing more relevant to make this week than Italian dressing.

Italian dressing isn’t just for mere lettuce; you can use it to top sliced tomatoes, or marinate meats or potatoes before cooking.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get shaking!

* Think I’m kidding about an amazing trip to Italy? Click here to visit my other site that celebrates all things Italian!

i. ingredients

1/2 cup | EVOO
2 tablespoons | red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon | fresh basil, chopped (dried basil only if you must)
¼ teaspoon | fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon | gray sea salt
to taste | freshly ground black pepper

If serving dressing atop sliced tomato:

also add | LOTS of green onion tops, sliced
also add | parsley

A view of Lake Como from my rental's balcony view of Varenna. Read more about Lake Como at my site ForTheLoveOfItaly.com - It'll make you a better Texan. :)

A view of Lake Como from my rental’s balcony view of Varenna. Read more about Lake Como at my site ForTheLoveOfItaly.com – It’ll make you a better Texan. :)

ii. what to do

1. Prepare all ingredients and place in a dressing jar.

2. Shake, shake, shake!

3. Enjoy the dressing fresh or refrigerate it up to a week or two.

foodie tips ~

  I doubled the recipe. The more, the better.

  Try using a garlic press if you’re too tired to finely chop.

  You can also add some grated aged romano cheese to the dressing for an awesomely cheesy taste.

  If using as a marinade, add chopped green onion tops and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes … then grill.

  Try the tomato recipe on the recipe card if you want a tasty option for the dressing.

the original italian dressing recipe cardthe original italian dressing recipe card written by mom... the recipe is from mary stephenson's kitchen

Who is “Mary Stephenson”?

We Kikers lived at 2927 Trailend Drive and Mary was the mother of the family living next door to us.

Mary was a fabulous foodie friend of ours and you’ll see a few recipes from Mary’s kitchen here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

Our two families spent many shared dinners and laughs together so I was happy to find some of Mary’s recipes tucked in Mom’s cookbook since the Stephensons were a magnificent and memorable part of my wonder years.


california potato salad

delicious california potato salad

One of the best things about recovering Mom’s cookbook is that I’m able to discover new food journeys with ease. With literally hundreds of recipes to choose from, I didn’t experience them all growing up; in fact I only remember a few special handfuls.

When I stumbled across this unique potato salad recipe that packs a lotta punch compliments of avocado instead of hard boiled eggs, I knew I had to give it a whirl.
I can see why mom clipped this recipe ~ it has a super great taste!

This potato salad made its debute in my cucina on the 4th of July in 2011 and it has since visited many times!

i. ingredients

3 cups | potatoes, cooked then cubed
1 cup | sour creamspices join forces in this california potato salad recipe
½ teaspoon* | salt
½ teaspoon | seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon | caraway seed
to taste | lemon juice
bunch | parsley sprigs
3 | california avocados
¼ cup | chopped onions
8 slices | hickory-smoked bacon, crisped and crumbled
1 | large tomato

ii. what to do

1. Scrub then boil the potatoes in a medium-sized pot. Boil until tender, but not “mushy.” Set aside to cool.

2. Blend the sour cream with the salt, pepper, caraway seed and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.

3. Chop the parsley to yield ¼ cup; set aside.

4. Cut 2 of the avocados lengthwise into halves, removing the seed and skinning.

the avocado-potato salad mixture before adding the sour cream5. Cube the avocado and gently combine it in a medium-sized salad bowl with the chopped parsley, potatoes, chopped onion, sour cream mixture and 1/2 of the bacon.

6. Arrange additional parsley sprigs on the top around the outer edge of the salad. Cover and chill.

7. To serve, prepare the remaining avocado by slicing lengthwise into halves. Remove the seed and skin and cut into slices. Slice the tomato crosswise then cut the slices in half.

8. Alternate the avocado and tomatoes on top of the potato salad and sprinkle with lemon juice.

9. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top of the potato salad and serve.

Foodie Tips ~

  While the original recipe calls for 1½ teaspoons of salt, I found this a bit too salty and suggest using just ½ teaspoon of salt. You can always add more salt later, should your taste buds beg for it.

  If you prefer, you can omit the ring of parsley used for presentation … and you can dice and scatter the tomatoes and avocado that sit atop the salad.

Buon appetito!

Avocado Bacon Potato Salad

Also Known As “California Potato Salad” This Dish Is Deliciously Dy-No-Mite!

A scan of the original california potato salad recipe from Mom's cookbook

A Scan Of The Original California Potato Salad Recipe From Mom’s Cookbook