About this time every year, my sweet Grandmother Todd would start planning who would bring what to our Thanksgiving meal. The assignments stayed pretty much the same each year, as most of us had our specialty that Grandmother wanted us to bring.
This year will be our first Thanksgiving without Grandmother. It will be hard, no doubt. But the sweet memories are plentiful, and for those, we are thankful. We are also thankful for the familiar and favorite recipes that we can continue to make and pass along to our children.
At our house, the holiday table is not complete without at least one congealed salad. Congealed salad is an umbrella term that most cooks use to refer to any salad that is cold or frozen. There is seldom a green vegetable (or anything healthy for that matter) in this type of salad. It most often contains fruits, nuts, and various thickening agents – from Jell-O to cream cheese to sour cream.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to share three of my favorite congealed salads, all pulled straight from my well-worn recipe book. I hope that one day my daughters will pull these recipes out to put on their family tables, so that our tradition of a “congealed salad on the holiday table” will continue!
Petticoat Tearoom Frozen Salad
The Petticoat Tearoom, a charming lunch spot in Mountain Brook, Alabama, served this delicious frozen salad for years. Now closed, The Petticoat Tearoom is a fond memory for many. How wonderful it is to have this recipe to serve at our own family tables.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup lemon juice (fresh)
- 3 cups sour cream
- 6 ounces crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/8 cup cherry juice (from the maraschino cherries)
Whisk sugar & lemon juice until sugar dissolves. Add sour cream, stirring well. Add all other ingredients, stirring until incorporated. Freeze in muffin cups or any other mold. Remove from freezer an hour or so before serving.
“Dinner-On-The-Grounds” Blueberry Congealed Salad
This is one of those dishes that made an appearance at almost every church potluck that we attended “back in the day.” I made this salad many, many times in our early marriage, especially when I made a pot roast with all the fixin’s!
- 1 small can crushed pineapple
- 1 can drained blueberries or 1 cup fresh (NOT blueberry pie filling)
- 1 large box Jell-O – grape or black cherry
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 cups hot water
- 8 oz cream cheese (I use reduced fat)
- 8 oz sour cream (reduced fat)
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Jell-O layer: Mix Jell-O in hot water until dissolved. Add pineapple and berries. Pour into 11 x 13 dish; chill until set.
For the topping: Mix cream cheese, sour cream, sugar & vanilla until smooth. Spread on top of chilled layer. Sprinkle with pecans.
Cherry Pineapple Frozen Salad
This is a fabulous go-to frozen salad that can be made weeks ahead and pulled from the freezer an hour before guests arrive. Ridiculously easy and delicious, it can almost be considered dessert.
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 1 large can crushed pineapple (don’t drain)
- 1 can condensed milk (2% is fine)
- 8 or 12 ounce carton Cool Whip (either is fine)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Mix all ingredients well. Freeze in container of your choice – smaller muffin tins, 11 x 13 pan, or large bundt. Remove an hour before serving.