Cook's Corner: Cool side dishes for hot days

Published 2:18 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
Man, is it hot. We're only in the middle of June and temperatures are reaching points where all the little places on my body are sweating.
I can only imagine what things will be like in July and August.
The weather we are experiencing has me dreaming of cool dishes that require little or no cooking and will help to keep my body temperature as low as possible.
If you feel like you're in the same boat as I am, this week's recipes may help you achieve the same results for which I am searching - cool, refreshed and relaxed. This first recipe is one that I tried a couple of years ago for a family reunion.
I hope that you'll like it as much as my extended family did. My uncle, who had recently had surgery on his mouth, found that this was just about the only thing he could eat with any enjoyment the year I gave this a try. This recipe will make a pretty large dish.
Fruit Fluff
1 large can chunk pineapple, well drained
One-half pound each red and green seedless grapes, halved
1 qt. strawberries, sliced thickly
3 to 4 bananas, sliced
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. whipped topping, thawed
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Combine all fruits in a large serving bowl. In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Beat on medium speed until well blended and creamy. Fold in whipped topping until combined well. Pour over fruit and stir to combine fruit with fluff. Chill before serving.
This next recipe is one that I've had many times. The buttermilk part usually surprises a few people, especially my husband. This sweet and tart salad is really good - so good in fact, that I usually save my serving for dessert.
Orange Buttermilk Salad
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 (6 ounce) package orange flavored gelatin
2 cups buttermilk
8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
Mix pineapple and sugar together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in gelatin until completely dissolved, remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Add buttermilk, and refrigerate 1 hour, or until partially set. Gently fold in whipped topping. Pour mixture into a lightly oiled gelatin mold. Refrigerate 8 hours, or until completely set.
I have prepared this next dish so many time over the years, I feel like I'm related to Richard Nixon. Seriously, I can remember having this dish many times as I was growing up. I hadn't had it in several years and got a yearning for it this past Christmas season. I had to practically beg for the recipe from everyone I knew. I finally got it and now I'm sharing it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Watergate Salad
3 oz. pkg. Pistachio instant pudding
20 oz. can crush pineapple, undrained
1 cup mini-marshmallows
8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
One-half cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Pour all ingredients into an 8×8-inch serving dish and mix until well blended. Refrigerate overnight.
I hope that you find something here that can give you a little refreshment on a hot day. If none of the recipes work, maybe you could find a cool spot in the pool. Do remember on these really hot days to keep yourself hydrated. If you begin to feel tired or drained, sit down and rest a few minutes and do so with a bottle of water in your hand. No fun, or work, for that matter is worth having a heat stroke. I hope that you can find a good way to keep cool.
Until next week, Happy Cooking.

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