I enjoy cold pasta salads and rice salads, so I decided to make one with orzo, a rice-shaped pasta. Feel free to add other favorite veggies—like asparagus and green beans—and serve with rolls or pita bread.—Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
The first time I made this main dish, my son's friends cleaned out the salad bowl—I didn't get even a taste! The next time I made it, I knew why it had disappeared so fast: The crunchy cabbage, tender tidbits of ham, subtle sweetness of honey and zesty hint of mustard make a perfect combination of tastes and textures. (Be sure to serve yourself first!)
The crispy and fruity chicken salad is refreshing served for lunch, dinner or a potluck supper—either warm or cold. For an easy change of pace, I suggest using a bottled salad dressing.—Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
While touring Door County, I sampled this salad. As soon as I got home, I wrote the lady who'd made it requesting the recipe. The mix of rice, vegetables and orchard-fresh fruit is a tasty way to remember Wisconsin's premier cherry-growing area. —Yvonne Gorges, New London, Wisconsin
I saw a cranberry chutney recipe that used sugar, oil and other flavors I didn't care for, so I made this combination with sugar substitute and eliminated the oil. Now it's a family favorite. —Gloria Wiech, Frontenac, Minnesota
I "invented" this salad as I went along...it's a combination of various pasta salad recipes I'd seen. It can be served as a side dish, of course. In summer, however, my husband doesn't care for hot meals, so I make it as a main dish.
We're recent city transplants with two young children, ages 6 and 3.
As a switch from commercial dressing, I whisk together my own sweet and tangy honey-mustard concoction to complement the salad greens. I refrigerate any leftover dressing to use later in the week.—Carly Carter, Nashville, Tennessee
Meet the Cook: Since our family likes things spicy, I often add a fresh jalapeno pepper to this salad. It's a simple, savory way to use up leftover chicken. Plus, it's so eye-catching, it could double as the main dish and the table centerpiece!
-Krista Shumway, Billings, Montana
When I want to bust out of my salad rut, I roast a medley of veggies and mix them with fluffy quinoa, a super-nutritious grain. Make a double batch to have an encore salad waiting in the fridge.—Julie Piasecki, Franklin, Massachusetts
Dolores Brignac's family was skeptical the first time she served this unusual salad-but one taste convinced them it was a winner. "Now when I bring it out, everyone digs in and cleans their plates," she pens from Braithwaite, Louisiana.