Foodie Friday: Memorial Day Picnic Picks

When I was a kid, Memorial Day meant two things to me: The neighborhood pool was open, and my family would have a picnic with the family next door. I looked forward to both events with a child’s fervent anticipation.

The picnic was full of spectacular summer foods, naturally. There was my dad’s barbecue chicken, grilled in a smoker built from an old 55-gallon drum that was spray-painted silver, with a DIY valve on the smokestack: an old Budweiser can. My mom made her classic potato salad and a chocolate sheet cake that melted in our mouths. I also remember fruit salads, green salads, iced tea and Shasta grape and orange soda.

I also loved this picnic because it was a communal thing, and it’s the only time I remember eating outdoors with my family. It was a tradition, and it was special. And there was that cake. Wow. It’s virtually the same as the one popularly known as Texas Sheet Cake, but my third-generation Kansan mother taught it to me.

Here’s another picnic-perfect recipe as we kick off summer by tradition, if not by the calendar. Kim of Kim’s County Line likes this colorful Cornbread Confetti Salad for potlucks. Happy summer! — Erin O’Donnell, co-editor, Kansas Women Bloggers

Cornbread Confetti Salad

Cornbread Confetti Salad

From Taste of Home magazine

Kim’s Notes: I used both low-fat Miracle Whip and sour cream. Instead of preparing my own bacon, I used a package of already prepared real bacon bits found near the salad dressings. It was more expensive, but it worked well and saved time and mess. The original recipe added the cornbread to the beans ahead of time. I prefer not having the cornbread, bacon and cheese soggy, so I add those just before serving. However, the leftovers were still good even will all the ingredients combined.

If you are serving this at an outdoor event, be sure and have a cooler ready for the leftovers.

1 pkg. (8.5 oz.) cornbread/muffin mix

2 cans (15.5 oz. each) whole kernel corn, drained

2 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved (or 3 small tomatoes, chopped)

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onions (bulb and green tops)

10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese

Dressing:

1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream

1 cup Miracle Whip

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

Directions:

Prepare cornbread according to package directions. Cool completely; crumble. Set aside.

Combine dressing ingredients; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers and onions. Refrigerate.

Just before serving, add corn bread, crumbled bacon and cheese to the bean mixture. Pour dressing over all and toss to coat. Makes 20 to 22 servings.