National Salad Month: Strawberry Pretzel Salad

***To read the other installments of the National Salad Month series, check out these links: Asian Slaw and Grape Salad


National Salad Month strikes again!  Today, I’m bringing you a recipe that Paula Deen first brought to fame (Fame? For a recipe? I don’t know…).

I like this recipe for a variety of reasons:

  1. It uses strawberries, a fruit that is very much in season right now, i.e., tres budget-friendly.
  2. It mixes salty with sweet — one of my favorite flavor combinations (like peanut butter and apples and sea salt and chocolate).
  3. It’s misuse of the word “salad” makes me giggle.  Really, it’s more of a layered dessert… A dessert casserole of sorts.  But this should come as no surprise since Paula Deen is the one who named the dish.

(Thanks for indulging me… I feel like I haven’t gotten to make a list in a while.)

And since it’s a Paula Deen recipe, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that it has more butter and sugar than necessary.  In fact, I was able to cut the butter and sugar in HALF as well as the whipped topping… and I didn’t notice their absence!

So… here’s my version for your Pinning or cooking pleasure:

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels (don’t bother with the food processor, it’s better if they’re still in pieces)
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 T sugar, plus 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 of an 8 oz. container of whipped topping
  • 1 package of strawberries, washed, hulled, and chopped
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed or diced pineapple
  • 1 pkg. strawberry gelatin mix
  • 2 c. boiling water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine the melted butter, broken pretzels, and 2 T of sugar until pretzels are coated.  Spread it evenly over the bottom of a greased casserole dish and bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes or until hardened.  Allow to cool.
  3. After the cream cheese has softened, whisk together with 1/2 c. of sugar then fold in whipped topping until incorporated.  Spread the mixture over the pretzel crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Combine the strawberries and pineapples and spread over the mixture and crust.
  5. In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin packet in boiling water and set aside until cool.  Pour over the top of the fruit.
  6. Refrigerate for about four hours, or until gelatin has set.  Enjoy!

It’s so good…..


A Tony Chachere’s Knock-off

Happy Mardi Gras!!!

While I’m not Catholic, I am a lover of all things New Orleans- related (and I happen to be a native of Mobile, Alabama, the original home of Mardi Gras in America — little known fact).   :)

I took this picture on a trip to NOLA.

Growing up on the Gulf Coast, I enjoyed many fabulous and unique types of cuisine, including Cajun food.  And I love Cajun food.  So today I wanted to bring you the recipe for a cheap, easy, and excellent addition to most any kind of food: Cajun seasoning (this is a Tony Chachere’s knock-off, in case you had your suspicions).

See what I did there?  Mardi Gras… New Orleans…great food…Cajun food… Cajun seasoning.  It’s a tangled and slightly opportunistic web of blog topics, so try to stay with me.

This seasoning is great on seafood, steak, chicken, sautéed vegetables, as a part of pasta sauce, and… the list goes on.  It already has salt in it, so it saves you a few extra prep steps (my favorite thing to do is sprinkle it on both sides of a catfish or tilapia filet — so good).

Here’s how to make it…

Combine the following in a bowl:

  • 1 T salt
  • 1 1/2 T cayenne pepper
  • 2  T paprika
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T celery seed
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T thyme
Put in a jar and shake or lightly whisk in a bowl until the cayenne pepper (all the red stuff) is evenly distributed.  That’s it!
In this particular recipe I used dried spices and herbs, but if you have the fresh stuff, use those by all means — just remember the 1 to 3 ratio: 1 teaspoon of dried seasonings to 3 teaspoons of fresh seasonings.
Happy Mardi Gras!

I found a cool, new website

So, the other day it was almost dinnertime and I was struck by many different conundra (that’s plural for conundrum) including, but not limited to:

  • hunger
  • increasing hunger
  • lack of food in the fridge and pantry
  • the lack of desire to go out to eat
  • the lack of desire to go to the grocery store
  • the lack of desire to order delivery (again)

It was an Eeyore kind of evening.  Fortunately, I did not lack the desire to cook (very fortunately), but due to conundra #4 (lack of food), I didn’t have many options.  I had turkey bacon, a pack of crescent rolls, and some leftover boursin cheese.  And water… which hardly constitutes a side item.  Yeah, I hadn’t been to the grocery store in a while.

So, I Googled “turkey bacon recipes” and, that’s when I came across My Fridge Food, a user-driven website where you input whatever ingredients you have (however few) and they generate recipe options for you!

As I mentioned before, the website is user-driven, so the number of recipes is constantly growing.  And because it is user-driven, some of the recipes are fabulous, others are lacking.  However, users are able to leave comments, and  this feedback can be helpful if you’re on the fence of whether or not to use a certain recipe.  If you register as a user (it’s free), you can comment on and submit recipes to your heart’s content!

The website’s main page has a few staples that a lot of people tend to have in their fridges.  You can check the boxes next to the items you have and search, or you can do a more detailed kitchen search (which has more food choices).  Another plus about this website is that it lists the fat, carbs, calories, and protein content of each recipe!

After doing a search for bacon, here is one of the more exciting things I found:

Bacon Bowls

Bacon in bowl form.  That shouldn’t even be legal.

Now, as I said, this website has a lot of great recipe options, but I decided to use it more as a jumping off point rather than stick to the letter of the recipe (and I didn’t have lettuce or tomatoes, so I couldn’t do the cute BLT bacon bowl thing featured in the pic).  However, I was captivated by the concept of a bacon bowl (yeah, captivated).

So… I took those crescent rolls, rolled each one up with a little dollop of boursin cheese on the inside and stuffed each into a muffin tin lined with a piece pf bacon and cooked it on 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes.  In short, I made bacon wrapped, boursin cheese stuffed crescent rolls (the jury is still out on the legality of such a delectable combination).  And unsurprsingly, they were delicious.  And ridiculous.  Nay, they were deliculous.

awesome camera phone pic courtesy of Josh

Kind of cute, too.  And all thanks to the inspiration I got from!

Here’s another simple recipe I’ve had my eye on:

Apple Cheddar English Muffin

Apple Cheddar English Muffins — I always have these three ingredients, and everyone says apples and cheddar cheese are a winning combination, though I’ve never tried it together.  (Anyone tried this combo before?)

So, not all of the recipes are super fancy, exciting stuff, but sometimes it inspires you (like it did with me) and helps you to creatively use what you may already have lying around.  And consequentially, save money (and you know I like that part).

Go check it out:

And then form strips of bacon into cups and bake them in muffin tins.  I mean, how could that be wrong?

Other food related posts:

Teresa’s Potato Cheese Soup

Easy Chocolate Truffles

In Praise of

National Soup Month: Crockpot Mexi-Tater Chicken Soup

In my fourth and final installment for National Soup Month (also knows as January), I bring you:

And here’s the MS Word doc, for another printable version:  The GPP’s Mexi-Tater Chicken Soup

Delicious, delightful, easy, and yeah… in case you’ve noticed, I like heartier, cheesy soups.  So sue me.  I like to cut calories in other ways…  that’s what salads are for :)

Hope you enjoy!  And in case you missed the other budget-friendly, delicious-delightful-and-dairy-infused soup recipes, check ’em out right here:

National Soup Month:

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (a la La Madeleine Restaurant)

Teresa’s Clam “Chowder”

Teresa’s Potato Cheese Soup

National Soup Month: Teresa’s Potato Cheese Soup

National Soup Month strikes again.  And by again, I mean all month long.  Because hey, it’s January… and that’s National Soup Month!

(Please contain your excitement, I can hear your cyber squeals from here. )

This week’s soupy-soup recipe installment comes from…

Who do we talk about all the time around here?

No, not the dogs… they can’t cook, silly.  They don’t even have opposable thumbs!

No, not Josh either… he does have opposable thumbs, but not so much on the cooking skills (though they’re improving — it’s a New Year’s resolution of his).

No, not this guy either….

(That is totally a picture of Josh in a 70’s disco fro and ‘stache!  Yes!!!)

Nope.  The contributor of today’s recipe is…



(I get in trouble every time I post this picture, so relish the moment.  It won’t come around again for a while.)  :)

I know, I know, no big surprise.  As you may remember, she was also the contributor for last week’s soup recipe:  Teresa’s Clam “Chowder”  (the quotation marks being essential).

As with everything my mother makes, this soup is DELICIOUS… and as with most everything Southern women make, it. is. rich. (However, no sticks of butter were harmed in the making of this soup.)

Here’s a handy-dandy 4″ X 6″ recipe card for your Pinning or printing pleasure.

potato cheese soup recipe card

Better yet, here’s a far superior MS Word doc (far superior = more printer friendly):  Potato cheese soup recipe card doc

Hope you enjoy!!!


You might also enjoy trying…

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Teresa’s Clam “Chowder”

National Soup Month: Teresa’s Clam “Chowder”

Y’all, in case you forgot in between last week and now, it is still National Soup Month!

(What?!  You’ve already forgotten this momentous occasion?  Here’s a link to last week’s post.)

Ok, you may not be as stoked as I am about this fact, but it’s cold outside, I like to cook, and I’m just ever-so-slightly opportunistic when it comes to topics to blog about.  So…..  let Part 2 of National Soup Month commence!

This week:  Teresa’s Clam “Chowder”

Yes, “Teresa” as in my often-discussed mother (here and here), “Clam” as in the canned kind, though feel free to get your hands dirty and use the fresher stuff, and “‘Chowder,'” as in more like a cross between a soup and a chowder (not as creamy like the Boston stuff, but still delicious with a bit of a Cajun kick), thus the quotation marks.

Here’s a recipe for you Pinning or printing pleasure!

(Click on the image for a bigger image, or the MS Word doc below for a printable version.)

clam chowder

Clam Chowder -- recipe card

And here’s the printable one:  clam chowder recipe card printable version


You might also fancy…

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Holiday Libations