Chilled Side Salads for Easy Easter Entertaining

Easter is time for chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks and lots of jelly beans, but what about the actual meal?

The aisles at local grocery stores are overflowing with pastel colors and Easter baskets; chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and every color of jelly bean you can imagine. Easter is also a time for panic if you are the cook and preparing to entertain family and friends—what do you cook this year? The easy choices are a traditional turkey, or a ham or pork loin—but coming up with new, delicious side dishes are another matter entirely. Help is on the way! 

Keep in mind that many of these colorful side dishes can be made ahead of time and kept cold until ready to serve. Concentrate on the traditional main course and a warm side of fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy, with hot rolls, and just glide to the refrigerator and pull out these delicious side dishes. These side dishes also keep well refrigerated, so you will have plenty for lunches and for quick evening meals with leftovers next week.


French Corn, Bacon and Bean Salad
15 oz. can green beans, drained, or equivalent fresh
8 oz. can corn, drained, or equivalent fresh and cut from cob
2 tsp. onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped
1 small jar pimento, drained
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/3 cup French dressing, your choice
6 to 8 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Combine beans, corn, onion, celery, green pepper and pimento.  Mix French dressing and vinegar and toss with salad.  Cover and chill for one hour.  Serve on fresh lettuce leaves.  Serve crumbled bacon on top.  Keep chilled until ready to serve. (Double or triple this recipe for a large crowd.)

Oriental Sweet 'N Sour Salad
1 15 oz. can green beans, drained
1 15 oz. can wax beans, drained
1 12 oz. can bean sprouts, drained
1 5-oz. can water chestnuts, sliced, drained
1/2 cup red onion, sliced very thin
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. salad oil
1/2 tsp. celery salt

In a small bowl, mix last five ingredients.  Pour over the rest of the ingredients and mix gently. Cover and chill overnight.  Serve cold.

Tarragon Mushrooms
Approx. 1 1/4 lb. large fresh mushrooms
2 green onions, slice thin including tops
2 shallots, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tarragon vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon rind, grated
Chopped fresh parsley

Wash and trim the mushrooms, slice thin and place in a bowl with the green onions, shallots and chives.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tarragon vinegar, and white wine. Add garlic and lemon rind and whisk until frothy. Pour marinade over mushrooms and chill for at least three hours, tossing the mushrooms several times to coat completely.  Serve chilled sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

Amish Carrot Coins Salad
2 lbs. carrots, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can condensed tomato soup
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper

In a saucepan, cook the carrots in water until tender, but still slightly crisp.  Drain and cool.  Place carrots in a 3-quart sealable serving bowl.  Add green pepper and onion.  Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk soup, sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper until smooth.  Pour over vegetables and stir.  Cover and chill overnight, or, up to three days, stirring occasionally.  Serve with slotted spoon.  Makes about 8 cups of salad, or enough for an Easter dinner side vegetable.


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