Last week among the flurry of celebrations I attended/hosted, we threw one of my co-workers a retirement party. She’s a Texas transplant, with some Cajun flair, and this gave me just the excuse I
needed wanted to go for a Deep South potluck theme. I’m talking in-your-face-church-basement-bring-a-covered-dish fixin’s.
My inspiration was the Cornbread Salad from Deep South Dish. I recommend checking out Mary’s recipe too, because she gives lots of ideas on how to make this dish your own. I took the easy way out and used Jiffy cornbread mix and Newman’s Own Ranch dressing. Next time, I will probably use a gluten-free cornbread recipe and make my own dressing.
And now for the most important question I will ask today. Cornbread: to add sugar or not to add sugar?
My Red Hot Jello Salad is a recipe that originally came from one of those little old ladies in the church basement. I honestly prefer to just make a pan of the gelatin without the cream cheese layer. Since I was channeling Deep South potluck, though, I most definitely left the cream cheese in place.
Both recipes serve a crowd. The cornbread layer salad filled both a 9×13-inch glass pan and a 1 1/2-quart bowl. You could easily divide both recipes in half.
Cornbread Layer Salad
2 8.5-oz. boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 10-oz. bag frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
1 10-oz. bag frozen corn, thawed
1 c. onion, finely chopped
1 c. celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. sweet pickle relish
1/4 c. pickled jalapenos, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10 slices of bacon, crumbled
1 16-oz. bottle Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing
1/2 t. Konriko Creole Seasoning, or to taste
Prepare the cornbread according to the package directions. Allow the cornbread to completely cool. While the cornbread is cooling, mix together the Ranch dressing and Creole seasoning in a bowl. When cooled, crumble the cornbread and layer in the bottom of a pan or bowl, reserving 1 cup of the cornbread crumbs.
Next, layer the black-eyed peas, corn, onion, celery, relish, jalapenos, and tomatoes over the cornbread crumbs. Pour the dressing mixture over the layers. Layer the shredded cheese and bacon over the dressing mixture, then sprinkle the remaining cornbread crumbs over the top. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 8-12 hours, or overnight.
To serve, you can toss the salad. If you are using a shallow pan, you shouldn’t need to mix it up.
Red Hot Jello Salad
2 3-oz. boxes of cherry Jello
1/2 c. Red Hots cinnamon candies, divided
3 c. unsweetened applesauce, divided
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. Vegenaise (or mayonnaise)
1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off the burner and add one box of Jello to the pan, stirring to dissolve completely. Add 1/4 cup Red Hots cinnamon candies and continue to stir until they too are completely dissolved. Then add 1 1/2 cups applesauce and stir until well combined. Pour Jello mixture into a 9×13-inch pan or glass dish. Place dish in refrigerator and allow Jello to firmly set, at least 3 hours.
When Jello layer is set, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, celery, and walnuts. Top the Jello with the cream cheese mixture. Place dish back in refrigerator while you make the second Jello layer. Boil 1 cup water. Remove from heat and dissolve remaining box of Jello, followed by remaining Red Hots. Mix in remaining applesauce and pour over cream cheese layer in dish. Return to the refrigerator until firmly set, approximately 4-6 hours.