We still have a lot of snow around the edges of the yard (several feet of it as a matter of fact), but it won't be long before it's barbecue season again, so my thoughts are turning towards side dishes that can be prepared ahead of time.
Summer Pea Salad, jazzed up with crisp bacon and tomatoes is one of my favorites. It is one of those great salads that travels well and tastes even better after it has been in the fridge for a day or two. If you are going to make this salad, in advance, don't add the crisp bacon right away (it will get soggy), just sprinkle it over the salad before serving.
16 ounce bag of frozen green peas
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup celery chopped
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
3 slices of crisp bacon cut up (optional)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded (I use more)
cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Fresh green peas are the best in this salad, but when they are not available, frozen peas work very well too. Microwave peas (covered) with 1 tablespoon of water for about 3 minutes or until slightly cooked (but not soft) then drain and cool.
In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together (except the cherry tomatoes); gently fold in the dressing.
3 heaping tablespoons of light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons milk
Whisk the ingredients together and gently fold into salad.
Add cherry tomatoes and an extra sprinkle of cheese to the top of the salad for decoration. Cover and chill.
NOTE: Every microwave cooks at a different rate, so keep an eye on your peas when you microwave them. You don't want them to get overcooked and mushy.