Salads take on cool gels|Cooks Corner Column

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

By Staff
Lisa Tindell
Cooks Corner
As the weather warms up many people turn their thoughts to lighter and somewhat healthier options for lunch and dinner.
As I began thinking about this fact myself, my thoughts turned to salads and just how many different kinds of salad dishes there are to think about.
My first thoughts turned to congealed salads. For some reason, no church homecoming or family reunion would be complete without some form of congealed salad on the table.
I know that most congealed salads are placed on the serving table with other types of salad including macaroni or pasta salads and even sit near the potato salad and coleslaw at most events. As far as I’m concerned, most congealed salads would be better suited on the dessert table.
With cool ingredients such as jellos and whipped cream, these wonderful dishes are so good I classify them as a dessert more than a salad.
Whichever category you put these dishes in, you can bet I’ll take a second helping if I make it through the line a second time.
I looked through some old cookbooks that are in my collection and came across several congealed salads that look and sound mighty tasty. I’ve chosen a few from the collection to share with you this week.
The recipes I’m sharing came from a Franklin Family cookbook that was put together by the family and passed out at a family reunion sometime in the mid-1960s. I have no idea which Franklin family this book came from. I’m not related to any Franklins, so the mystery remains as to how I actually acquired this little gem of a book. If you recognize any of your family recipes in this column from the Franklin Family Cookbook, please let me know. I’d love to meet the people who prepared such wonderful dishes.
Pineapple and Cheese Salad
1 pkg. lemon gelatin
1 cup boiling water
2 cup pineapple juice
8 oz. cream cheese
2  1/2 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c up maraschino cherries, cut fine
Mix together gelatin, boiling water and pineapple juice. Chill until soft set. Blend cream cheese with cherry juice until smooth. Add to thickened gelatin and fold in until combined. Add drained pineapple and cherries. Mix thoroughly. Place in a mold and chill until completely set.
If you’re looking for something a little different in the congealed salad family, this next recipe will probably be just what you seek.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
3 cups ground pretzels
1 1/2 sticks melted margarine
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
8 oz. Cool-Whip
2 pkg. strawberry jello
2 cups pineapple juice
16 oz. frozen strawberries
Mix pretzels and margarine and pour into a 9×12 pan. Press into pan to form a crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add Cool Whip and stir just until combined. Spread mixture on top of cooled pretzel mixture. Bring pineapple juice to a boil and add strawberry jello stirring until jello is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in frozen strawberries. Stir until mixture begins to thicken. Pour thickened jello mixture over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set or overnight.
I hope you get a chance to try one of these recipes. Congealed salads can be a wonderful treat any day of the week. When you make your own, you won’t have to wait until the next family reunion to enjoy a cool treat.
If you have a recipe or kitchen tip you’d like to share with the readers of this column, I’d love to hear from you and I promise to give you proper credit for your submission. You can give me a call at 867-4876 or drop me a line by email at I’ll even take submissions by regular mail at 407 St. Nicholas Ave., Brewton, AL 36426.
Until next week, happy cooking!