Picnic Salads – Five Recipes Included!

My last post was about healthy salads, now comes the fun salads that are not so healthy but oh so tasty!

I call these picnic salads because when I was growing up the only time we had them was for parties and family gatherings. My mom would make vats of macaroni salad, potato salad and coleslaw. And they were ohhh sooo good!

With my mother getting older, when I’m in town for a family gathering, making the vats of salads has been passed to me…using my mother’s recipes. Of course, she’ll tell you that I bastardized her potato salad (her word!) because I put garlic powder in it, and she never did. Mom isn’t much of a fan of garlic, but I put the stuff in everything.

In the last few years I’ve started making these at home for my little family, because they love them, and when it comes down to it, they’re not difficult at all to make, and they are yummy. They are not that healthy, because these are a few recipes I’ve never changed to be lower calorie, because the way I feel about it is if I’m going to eat potato salad, I want my mom’s (plus garlic) perfectly tasty recipe.

I use both mayonnaise and Miracle Whip for my salads, depending on what I’m making. We happen to be a family that always has both spreads in the fridge, and use them for different purposes. For instant, I must have mayo in my tuna, but MW in my chicken salad and on my BLTs. Another important ingredient is sour cream. My favorite is Tillamook fat-free, because it tastes most like full-fat that I’ve found. Kroger brand is pretty good too, if you don’t happen to live on the west coast where Tillamook is found. You can, of course, use full fat.

The potato salad recipe that follows is my mother’s, one of the coleslaws is what we call Kentucky Slaw (as in KFC) It is one of those “copycat” recipes that my mom got through the mail when I was a kid. I worked at KFC as a teenager, and I promise, this is as close as I’ve ever come to duplicating it, and I love KFC coleslaw. The other coleslaw is an asian-inspired flavored slaw that’s super easy, and one I came up with when I didn’t have all the ingredients to make the Kentucky slaw. And then there’s the broccoli salad. This one I just found this summer on food.com. I was visiting my aunt, and she wanted to make one but didn’t have the recipe. I think I ate her whole batch! It is by far my favorite new picnic salad recipe. Lastly, comes the macaroni salad. This one is a little tricky because I’ve never made the same tasting macaroni salad more than once. I use macaroni salad as a “clean out the fridge” salad. Also, I mostly don’t measure anything, and all my salads (except the Kentucky slaw) are made by taste. I’ll try to get you close measurements, but things like the potato salad the recipe is to make enough to feed about 65 family members in a 10 quart Tupperware.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Mom’s Bastardized Potato Salad:

Potato Salad

  • Diced, cooked, cooled potatoes
  • Celery, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Dill pickles, chopped


  • Equal parts mayo and miracle whip (this is important for the right flavor)
  • Yellow mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cider vinegar or Pickle juice

I boil the potatoes the day before and put them in the fridge overnight. Do not overcook them or they turn to mush when you mix the salad. Cook just long enough to poke a fork through. The next day I peel them using a butter knife and cut them up into a mixing bowl, in about 1” cubes. Then I chop up the onions, celery and pickles. The celery give the salad a nice crunch, so I use quite a bit. Use as many onions as you like for your tastes, and the same with the pickles.

After all the stuff is chopped up, I just mix it up by hand, then put together the dressing in a separate bowl. I can’t give you measurements because I don’t know. You want enough to coat your potatoes but not enough that there’s more goop than potatoes. Use the vinegar or pickle juice at the end to add a little tang, and also to thin the dressing just a little. I tend to use more vinegar because I like the tang.

Kentucky Slaw (KFC “copycat”)

Kentucky Slaw

  • 6 cup shredded cabbage (store-bought bagged coleslaw mix works great)
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrot
  • (store-bought bagged coleslaw mix works great and cuts down on mess and time)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Mix together. Refrigerate 20 min.


  • 1 cup mayo
  • ½ cup buttermilk or sour cream
  • ¼ tsp celery seed
  • onion powder
  • 1-2 Tblsp vinegar

Mix well with cabbage mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hr before serving. Tastes better after 24 hours.

Creamy Asian Slaw

Creamy Asian Slaw

  • 1/3 head cabbage, shredded
  • ¼ red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fat free sour cream
  • ½ cup Hood Calorie Countdown milk
  • 2 Tblsp mayo
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½-1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tblsp granulated garlic powder
  • ¼ c sugar or Splenda
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil.

Mix everything together very well and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is best.

By using the low-calorie milk, fat-free sour cream and Splenda, this was a salad I was able to eat without guilt.

Fresh Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

This recipe is almost as it was posted on Food.com by “Nora”. I make smaller batches than this because I’m the only one in my house that will eat it. Hubby won’t eat raw broccoli, and the kiddo thinks raisins in salad is wrong. I love it as it is – though I leave out the almonds, because they aren’t something I keep on hand.

  • 2 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ lb bacon
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup almonds
  • 1 cup mayo
  • ½ cup sugar or Splenda
  • 2 Tblsp white wine vinegar
  1. Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towel and then crumble into small pieces
  2. Cut broccoli into bite-size pieces and chop the red pepper up fine. Combine with raisins, bacon and almonds.
  3. Mix the mayo, sugar and vinegar and coat the veggies well.
  4. Refrigerate. Tastes best after 24 hours.

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

I will start with the dressing for this. This one I use cider vinegar and Miracle Whip, salt and pepper.

I cook up 2-3 cups dry elbow macaroni, mini shells, fusilli or penne noodles. We like the veggie noodles, and they add color to a normally bland-looking salad.

The things I put in are any combination of the following, as you like it.

  • Any type of onion
  • Sweet or dill relish
  • Celery
  • Cheese cut into small cubes
  • Frozen peas
  • Sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow for extra color)

This also works well to make a cold tuna salad. Just add 1 or 2 cans drained chunk light tuna.


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