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Kara’s Sights & Bites: Chilled salads are the best option for warm weather dining

By Kara Kimbrough

Retracting last week’s statement proclaiming spring is the perfect time to grill may be necessary. When temperatures rose to the mid-80s this week, all pleasant grilling conditions disappeared. In my defense, technically, it is still spring. Despite the heat, Memorial Day is on the way whether we’re prepared for it or not. And we still have to eat. My only advice: serving cool, fresh salads are one way to beat the heat and keep things light at any Memorial Day meal, regardless of the temperature.


When it comes to potato salad, nothing compares to Mama Hamil’s creamy, chunky version. Thankfully, the popular Madison family-style restaurant offers large containers of its delicious sald for take-out. If you’d prefer to make it yourself, drop me an email and I’ll send a recipe similar to theirs.


Here are the recipes for three other favorite salads, guaranteed to keep your Memorial Day dining cool, light, and delicious.


Totally Easy Tortellini Salad

2 (14-ounce) packages frozen cheese tortellini

2 bell peppers (1 green, 1 red), diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained

1 (8-ounce) bottle creamy Caesar salad dressing

Prepare tortellini according to package directions and drain. Rinse with cold water, drain, and chill. Combine tortellini, bell peppers, celery, artichoke hearts, and dressing in large bowl. Add ground black pepper and other seasonings to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


Marinated Corn Salad

3 (15-ounce) can shoepeg or whole kernel corn, drained

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 (8-ounce) bottle Italian dressing

In a bowl with a lid, combine vegetables, then pour in bottle of dressing. Close container and shake well. Refrigerate overnight or at least several hours before serving.

Cool Seafood Salad is the perfect side dish for a Memorial Day cookout or family meal.

Cool Seafood Salad is the perfect side dish for a Memorial Day cookout or family meal.

Seafood Salad Extraordinaire

2 cups cooked seafood (shrimp, crabmeat (can use imitation) or a combination of both

1/2 cup French dressing (more to taste)

1-1/2 freshly finely grated onion

1/2 cup finely grated green pepper

1/2 cup finely grated celery

1 tablespoon fresh dill

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

In a large bowl, combine seafood with all ingredients except mayonnaise and eggs. Mix well and refrigerate 30 minutes. Stir in mayo and chill for another 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.


Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer from Mississippi. Email her at

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