Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memorial Day Picnic Salad

Jill helping decorate graves in 1988 - Age 2 1/2

On Sunday, I'll join my parents for our annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to several Pratt and Stafford County cemeteries. Then, on Monday, Randy's sister, Kathy, and family will be here to decorate graves for that side of the family.

Back when I was a little girl, my Grandma and Grandpa Leonard from Sublette came back to their home county (Pratt) to make the trip on Memorial Day weekend. My Grandma's flowers were usually from her own garden and carefully arranged in cans which my Grandpa had spray-painted a dark green.
(There she is in the background with my Grandpa in 1989. Brent, 1, is with my Dad, and the young-looking guy in the middle is Randy.)

Maybe you don't think about a cemetery being a joyful place. But when I see the joy in these two little girls' faces, I can't help but think that the ancestors whose graves we were visiting had to be smiling as the little girls danced. (Read more in my 2010 blog post, Dancing in the Graveyard.)
Dancing in the graveyard - Jill & Paige - 1988
When I was a little girl about their age, we sometimes gathered at Lemon Park in Pratt for a picnic before our car caravan to the cemeteries. My Great Aunt Helen and Great Uncle Mike and their family would often meet us there. As a child, I loved getting together, eating homemade favorites and playing on the playground equipment until it was time to go and place flowers on graves of ancestors, some of whom I remembered and some who had died long before I was born.

At the time, I was blissfully unaware that preparing a picnic meal while also getting flowers ready for Decoration Day was more work for Moms and Grandmas. These days, we usually let a local pizza parlor do the cooking for us. And that's OK, too. But, if you have a picnic or a potluck to attend this Memorial Day weekend, this Cornbread Confetti Salad could be a contender. 

I last made it for a funeral dinner at church. It makes a large amount, which is great anytime you need to serve a crowd. Enjoy!

Cornbread Confetti Salad
From Taste of Home magazine
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

1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

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.

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 with all the ingredients combined.

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

Here's another potluck salad good for a Memorial Day outing:

I am linked today to Ashley's What's In Your Kitchen Wednesday. Click on the link to see what's cooking with other food bloggers.


  1. What a great memory piece, Kim! I'm glad that Darci pointed it out to me.