While celebrating the holidays at my Aunt and Uncle’s house this past weekend, we talked of holiday dishes that my family used to make. This included my Grandpa’s amazing Smoked Salmon, my mom’s Raspberry Jello Salad, and my Grandma’s green jello salad. (Apparently, we survived on fish and gelatin alone).
I remembered my Grandma’s green jello fondly, with its pineapple and cottage cheese in the mix, and thought that all of you might want to make it part of your holiday meal, too.
First off, it’s crazy. I mean, you can convince yourself that jello and pineapple and apples all belong together, but then you throw in evaporated milk and cottage cheese and HEAVEN FORBID…mayonnaise?!!! Those dang church ladies were always putting sherry, cream of mushroom soup, or mayo into something. But it DOES go together and this seems more like a salad than dessert. After all, it has fruit, protein and milk in it. Put it on a leaf of lettuce, like my Grandma used to, and you’ve got a well-rounded meal!
This recipe fills a full 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. I cut the recipe in half because……well, because……I was tired, ok?! Geesh. I didn’t get the large pineapple can….or the correct size Jello boxes. Moral of the story? Read your recipe FIRST, people!
Boil your 2 cups of water and dump the Jello in the casserole dish you plan on using for the finished product. You can do all of your mixing in the one dish. Pour the boiling water over the Jello and mix until completely dissolved. When I was a little kid, this was my job and I took it VERY seriously. I was afraid that If I stopped stirring, the Jello would never dissolve and it would ruin everything.
Once the Jello has dissolved, add all of the rest of the items, except for the cherries, one at a time and fold in before adding the next on the list. I used my trusty food processor to grate the 2 apples. Oh! and please buy 2 lovely, crispy organic apples for this recipe. You will be leaving the skin on the apple when you grate it and who wants chemical and wax covered bits of apple in their Jello? Not me! You can see that I’ve added the crushed pineapple (juice and all) and the apples here.
Next comes the weird part. I recommend you just steel yourself and dive right in. Add the cottage cheese, evaporated milk, mayonnaise and your choice of chopped nuts. Stir it up, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.
I know what you’re thinking….what the hell does that taste like? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s refreshing! It’s a bright, sweet citrusy base with a creamy middle and a top off of nutty crunchiness. It works great as a salad. It’s even green like a salad! And if you follow my Grandma and Mom in their classy presentation of this very dish, you will cut a square of this and place it on a leaf of crispy, fresh lettuce. Presto! It’s a vegetable. It’s good for you!
As for those cherries…. I must admit that I cannot recall ever seeing a maraschino cherry on top of this square of creamy green goodness, so I omitted it from my final product. (And this very well may have been the one ingredient that ‘Children like’) But if you buy the whole Maraschino cherries in a jar and run one under some water before you place on top of the square of salad, it looks a heck of a lot like a tomato. Cute and sweet!
Jewel Riley’s Molded Salad
- 1 lg. pkg. lemon jello (6 oz)
- 1 lg. pkg. lime jello (6 oz)
- 1 lg can of crushed pineapple (3 1/2 cups)
- 2 apples (grated with skins included)
- 2 c. cottage cheese
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 c. mayonnaise (a little less, if preferred)
- 1 c. nuts (chopped)
- Maraschino cherries
- Dissolve the Jello in 2 c. boiling water.
- Add the remaining ingredients in order, except the cherries.
- Combine well.
- Pour into molds or a 9×13 inch baking pan and chill.
- Garnish with cherries and serve.
- Children like this!