“Fold in Cool Whip. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight before serving.”
I think these are the last words of each and every Jell-O salad recipe in the history of Jell-O salads. When I was a child, salad wasn’t green unless there was lime Jell-O in it. The good women in my small, Midwestern farm town took these salads seriously. My mother was famous for her Green Salad which was made with lime Jell-O, cottage cheese, Cool Whip, sugar, and a can of crushed pineapple. Another staple was Carrot Salad. It was made with orange Jell-O, shredded carrots, a can of crushed pineapple, and a layer of Miracle Whip on top. These recipes are an integral part of my childhood memories of my mother, both grandmothers, and the amazing farm women from Macon, IL who all had a hand in my upbringing. Family reunions meant a rainbow of Jell-O salads to choose from…each one a specialty from that particular family. Green Salad, Carrot Salad, Pistachio Pudding Salad, Cherry Salad, Orange Tapioca Salad. You get the idea. While these staples from my childhood are not a part of our family’s diet, I do like the concept of adding fruits and vegetables to foods for added health benefits. When Tatum was just beginning to eat solid foods, I had to make most of her foods from scratch because of her allergies. I looked for easy ways to hide vegetables in every main dish for added health benefits. I still do this today but now it benefits the entire family.
I am a proud product of my parents’ belief that nothing should be wasted. That’s farm life. “Cut off the brown spots. Eat around them.” Most fruits and veggies can be saved and used later if you chop them in your food processor and freeze them. At any given time, you might find the following frozen fruits and vegetables in my freezer:
Zucchini Yellow Squash Spinach Strawberries
Broccoli Apples Blueberries Bananas
Carrots Grapes Blackberries
When you know the fruits and veggies in your fridge will be heading south soon and you have a full plate of life going on, (or a 4-day swim meet WITH the mile on Thursday)…freeze them. I’ve saved many a blueberry, broccoli, or zucchini before they reach full squishiness by doing this. Here are some later uses for them.
Taco meat = spinach, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, OR yellow squash
Pancakes = apples, pumpkin, beets
Smoothies = any fruit or spinach
Spaghetti Sauce = zucchini or yellow squash
Muffins = pumpkin, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, any fruits
Meat Loaf = zucchini or yellow squash
Soups = any vegetable
Side note on broccoli…a little goes a long way. Don’t overpower your meat with too much. I did that once and the family gave that particular Taco Tuesday two thumbs down.
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