I’ve made seven layer salad for a hundred years and it never occurred to me that it would be a great appetizer. I’ve made vegetable pizza for a hundred years and, well, you get the picture.

Add any fresh vegetable you like, change the tomatoes to halved cherry or sliced Roma. I love sliced black olives on salads.

Any shredded cheese is acceptable. A little more mayonnaise is alright, too. I ate today’s version as a side dish with the rigatoni main dish. I was tired. I called it salad and bread.

Rigatoni and sausage may be my new favorite Italian dish.

You may want to use unsalted chicken broth instead of the water. Do taste along the way before adding any salt. Pepper is no problem. If you have fresh basil, use twice as much. I love fresh basil. I used a lot.

We’ve all eaten that famous strawberry pie. I’ve never been a fan of corn starch filling. However, with crushed berries added to it and with ice cream or real whipped cream on my serving, l’ll have seconds.

Seven Layer Appetizer

1 package crescent roll dough sheet

3/4 cup mayonnaise

5 cups chopped or torn salad greens

5 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

1 cup diced cucumber

1/3 cup diced onion, red, vidalia or scallions

1/3 cup frozen baby peas, blanched and cooled

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Sliced, or diced tomatoes

Bake dough sheet according to package directions. Cool completely.

Spread mayonnaise evenly over cooled crust. Scatter greens over mayonnaise. Layer remaining ingredients in any order. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerator no more than an hour before serving. Twill be soggy.

Rigatoni and Sausage

1 pound rotini pasta, cooked all dente

1 pound mild Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled and well drained.

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons oil or bacon drippings

1 cup chopped onion

1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded

2 ribs celery, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, grated

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/2 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1-2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

Shredded Italian six cheese blend

Discard drippings from frying sausage. To the same pan, add butter and oil. Add onion. Carrot, celery and garlic. Cook until vegetables are crisp tender. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, sugar and about half the water. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add sausage, cover and simmer thirty minutes. Add remaining water if the mixture is too thick. Stir in cream cheese and basil until incorporated; then the cooked pasta. Serve hot with cheese on the side.

Strawberry Slab Pie

Pie crust, homemade or store bought

Bake until golden and set aside.

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 cups freshly sliced strawberries

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

Fit pie dough in a 10x15x1 inch jelly roll pan. Bake pie crust until golden. Cool completely.

Mash one and a half cups of the strawberries.

In a medium size heavy saucepan, stir water, cornstarch and sugar until smooth. Bring to boil. Add lemon juice and crushed strawberries. Return to boil and cook one minute. Cool ten minutes. Add remaining sliced strawberries to the glaze mixture. Spread cream cheese on cooled crust. Spread cooled strawberry mixture over cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until serving time. Top with whipped cream at serving time.

Miss Olivia Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table.

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