Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cookout Companions: BLT Macaroni Salad and Banana Split Cake

I know that I promised to continue my "Posts from the Farm" series while I'm visiting my family this week. But before I get into my adventures in the Indiana countryside over the new few days, I wanted show you what I cooked up before I left home (or I may never remember to post these recipes).

One of my uncles and my cousin came to stay with us for a couple of days last week. I'd decided that we would cook burgers and brats on the grill for dinner on one of the evenings of their visit. It was the perfect meal with which to try out a new pasta salad recipe. This BLT Pasta Salad was an excellent accompaniment to our dinner.

The recipe called for macaroni, but I used shell-shaped pasta due to a macaroni shortage in my pantry. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, then drain and pour it into a large serving bowl.

You'll notice from the picture below that I stirred some bacon into the pasta. I started adding ingredients BEFORE carefully reading the recipe. According to the recipe, I was supposed to add the bacon just before serving. Ooops. Actually, I caught my mistake before I added all of the bacon, so I only added about half and stirred in the rest just before serving.  No biggie, though. I think that you could do it either way and the salad will turn out just fine. The bacon didn't get all gross and soggy or chewy and I think it was nice to put it in ahead of time so that the flavors could all blend together.

Now that I've beaten the topic of the bacon in this salad to death now, let's move on.

The dressing for the salad is super simple. Just stir together mayonnaise, vinegar, and some salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the pasta.

Add in tomatoes, celery, and chopped green onion. Stir it all together and let the salad chill for at least two hours. (I made mine a day in advance).

Stir in one pound of crumbled, crispy bacon before serving.

YUM! I really liked this salad. I'd definitely make it again. If you're a fan of BLT's you'll like this one.

BLT Macaroni Salad from Taste of Home

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
5 green onions, finely chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1-1/4 cups diced celery
1-1/4 cups mayonnaise
5 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, green onions, tomato and celery. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over macaroni mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Just before serving, add bacon. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: 3/4 cup equals 290 calories, 25 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 19 mg cholesterol, 387 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein.

And now for dessert!

I based this Banana Split Dessert on a recipe I found in an old copy of Kraft Food and Family magazine. I spruced it up a bit, adding in chocolate and strawberries and garnishing with cherries on top. The result was a big hit with my family and our guests.

Here's the how-to:

Begin by mixing graham cracker crumbs with a little butter and sugar.

Then press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9X13 in. dish. Pop the dish into the freezer for 10 minutes.

While the crust chills, combine cream cheese and sugar.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the graham cracker crust.

Then squeeze on some chocolate syrup.

Top with sliced strawberries.

And crushed pineapple.

And of course, bananas.

Then mix up some instant vanilla pudding.

Fold a cup of whipped topping into the pudding.

Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the bananas.

Top with more whipped topping.

Garnish with heated hot fudge or more chocolate syrup and maraschino cherries just before serving.

Make sure you do it JUST before serving....it doesn't look very pretty the next day.

Although, I can assure you that it tasted just fine the next day...and the next!

Banana Split Dessert

Honey Grahams, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
Chocolate Syrup
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, drained
2 cups sliced strawberries
4 bananas, sliced
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each)Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
Maraschino cherries (for garnish)

Make It
MIX crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Freeze 10 min.

BEAT cream cheese and remaining sugar with mixer until well blended. Spread carefully over crust; top with chocolate sauce, then strawberries, then pineapple. Slice bananas; arrange over pineapple.

BEAT pudding mixes and milk with whisk 2 min. until well blended. Stir in 1 cup COOL WHIP; spread over banana layer in pan. Top with remaining COOL WHIP. Refrigerate 5 hours. Drizzle with chocolate syrup or heated fudge just before serving; arrange over dessert. Top with cherries to garnish.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my first "Post from the Farm" this summer. I have some exciting footage to share of the biggest caterpillar I've ever seen!

Oh, and don't forget to enter the contest to win 6 recipe booklets from GOYA foods. I've only gotten 3 entries, so the odds are good!


Kim said...

Both of the recipes look terrific, but I have really been craving macaroni salad lately and I love your Blt version.

Julie said...

I think whenever you add bacon you just can't go wrong...I love this salad. Looks great!

teresa said...

oh my gosh, this post makes me want to brew a bit pitcher of iced tea and take a picnic. they both look sooo good, i especially love that salad.

Shari said...

hey Krista, these both look great!!!! Good to see you followed in your mom's footsteps with being a wonderful cook! Love your blog!!

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