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Auntie Ahulani’s Amazingly Good Mac Salad

Auntie Ahulani’s Amazingly Good Mac Salad

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Auntie Ahulani’s Amazingly Good Mac Salad recipe

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Are you ready for flaming torches, tropical drinks, amazing roast pig, Huli Huli chicken and all things tiki??  The sound of the Hawaii War Chant is in the air and the leis are lined up.  It is SO on.  In just under 5 weeks… WE ARE HAVING A LUAU!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Join me over the next month as I post some fabulous Luau Recipes – everything from Beach Baby Pudding Cups to Huli Huli chicken – perfect summer recipes for your next barbecue, cookout or family reunion.  We’ll be starting with one of my personal favorites – Auntie Ahulani’s Amazingly Good Mac Salad.

I received this recipe, along with many others, from Auntie Ahulani, a wonderful Hawaiian lady.   At 76 she is still going strong and, if you’re looking for her, is likely found in her tiny retro kitchen fussing over a bubbling pot of beautiful sun-orange lilikoi jelly. Small but feisty and very kind, Auntie Ahulani was quick to offer to share some of her most amazing recipes with me as long as I would pass them on.  I’ll be sharing them with you in the coming months. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Here is Aunti Ahulani’s Amazing Good Mac Salad recipe.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Authentic Hawaiian Mac Salad is ridiculously simple. In fact, a true Hawaiian macaroni salad is basically just macaroni, carrot, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  If you’re feeling frisky you can add celery, extra onion, potatoes, crab, or peas.  But don’t even think of mixing in ham or pineapple – it’s just not authentic.  This version omits the carrot.

Hawaiian Cole Slaw

Besides being true to the add-in options, there are 2 main things that make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad authentic:  lots of mayonnaise (which is partly why it’s so wonderful) and soft plump macaroni.  Actually the two go hand in hand.  Hawaiians cook their macaroni until it’s very soft. There’s a reason for this. It enables the macaroni to soak up more of the wonderful dressing.  In Hawaii it’s all about the mayonnaise.

And you don’t want to use just any brand of mayonnaise.  It has to be Hellman’s (sold as Best Foods to our friends west of the Rockies). That’s it.  Trust me, it just won’t taste right with any other brand.  And don’t hold back on the mayonnaise amount.  I know it sounds like a lot, but the creamy delicious results will speak for themselves.

 

Luau Recipes

Have you ever had a Hawaiian-style plate lunch?   Macaroni salad is a staple of the Hawaii-style plate lunch.

A plate lunch is great meal and consists of a scoop of mayonnaise-rich mac salad along with a couple mounds of white rice to mix into some huli huli chicken or teriyaki chicken with a sweet-and-tangy shoyu, sugar, garlic, ginger marinade.  This mac salad is right at home in the mix.

 

Pin for Later

Luau Recipes

Or Make Now

Let’s get started!

Family Size

 

Auntie Ahulani’s Macaroni Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
A classic authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Perfect for your next BBQ! An AlohaDreams.com recipe.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 servings
Author: Auntie Ahulani
Ingredients
For the macaroni
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
For the Dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise or Best mayonnaise
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 8 ounces imitation crab chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas cooked
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 green onion chopped
Instructions
  1. In a very large pot bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until soft, about 13 - 15 minutes (you don't want al dente pasta for this). Drain pasta and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine onions, crab, peas, celery, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix in the mayonnaise.

  3. Gently stir in the cooked and drained macaroni.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
  1. Can, and should, be made at least 4 hours in advance and preferably up to 1 day for the flavors to marry. Cover and refrigerate. Serve sprinkled with the chopped green onion.

Large Group

 

Auntie Ahulani’s Macaroni Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A classic authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  Note: After multiple testing and considerable feedback, this recipe will reliably feed 30 as part of a buffet or multi-course dinner.  Makes 110 ounces or 30 3.6 ounce servings.  An AlohaDreams.com recipe.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Cooking for a Crowd
Servings: 30 servings
Author: Auntie Ahulani
Ingredients
For the macaroni
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon salt
For the Dressing
  • 3 cups Hellman’s mayonnaise (or Best mayonnaise)
  • 1 small onion , diced (or 1/2 larger onion)
  • 1 pound imitation crab , chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas , cooked
  • 2 stalks celery , chopped
  • 4 hard boiled eggs , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 green onions chopped
Instructions
  1. In a very large pot bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until soft, about 13 - 15 minutes (you don't want al dente pasta for this).  Drain pasta and return to pot.

  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine onions, crab, peas, celery, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix in the mayonnaise.

  3. Gently stir in the cooked and drained macaroni.
MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
  1. Can, and should, be made at least 4 hours in advance and preferably up to 1 day for the flavors to marry.  Cover and refrigerate.  Serve sprinkled with the chopped green onion.

 

Here’s some other fantastic recipes to put you in a Hawaii frame of mind.

Huli Huli Chicken

This is without a doubt one of the Best. Chicken. Recipes. Ever. We fixed this for our luau last year. I figured out of the 140 guests there had to be some folks who didn't like roast pig. So we made 70 pieces of Huli Huli Chicken to supplement the roast pig. Turns out no one doesn't like roast pig. But NO ONE wanted to skip the chicken either.

Big Island Fish Tacos

Missing summer? Let these easy, fantastic fish tacos transport you to lazy days on the beach. Even better, they are a hip-friendly choice after the holiday season.

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

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Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Simple and really delicious, this Mexican Street Corn Casserole will be a sure hit with your whole family!  It’s a winner.

Have you ever had Mexican Street Corn?  It’s one of my favorite things. A grilled ear of sweet corn is slathered with mayonnaise, sprinkled with chili power and lime juice and covered in cheese.  (I’m so in!)

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

They serve wonderful Mexican Street Corn in Puerto Vallarta.    I know this because one day I got the wild hair that we needed a Puerto Vallarta vacation.   Twenty minutes later on Google, I turned up Villa Amapas.  (I’m dangerous in this mode.)

What do you think?  Could you hang here with a good book?

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Well me too!  It only took me about 3 minutes to become convinced this was our next vacation destination, and Jeff no time at all (Jeff is an easy mark).  So I called a couple of other couples who only took about 15 minutes to opt-in and we were off!

Welcome to Villa Amapas – Puerto Vallarta

Villa Amapes Puerto Vallarta

It is Amazing.  And with 3 couples you can rent it for as low as $300 per couple per night.   Would this work for you?

Villa Amapes Puerto Vallarta

Did I mention Villa Amapes comes with Lupe?  Lupe is an out-of-this-world cook.  This Mexican Street Corn Casserole is my take on one of Lupe’s fabulous recipes.  I’ll be publishing more of her recipes here in the months to come.  Here’s Lupe’s table waiting for dinner.

Villa Amapes Puerto Vallarta

Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, Villa Amapas also comes with Miguel, Lupe’s charming husband, who magically appears with marvelous treats and cold drinks the minute you hit the pool.

Villa Amapes Puerto Vallarta

Here’s the link in case you’re thinking you could stand a bit of this action.

Villa Amapas Puerto Vallarta

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Anyway, back to the wonderful Street Corn.  (Sorry – I got side tracked thinking of that infinity edge pool and Lupe’s cooking.)   I’ve taken the traditional Mexican street corn and incorporated it into one of Lupe’s fantastic casseroles. It has the same great flavors of Mexican street corn but with the all the easy-prep benefits of a casserole.

This Mexican Street Corn Casserole is very easy to make.  You can do it all in one bowl and one casserole dish!  The color is wonderful when baked, as it turns a nice orange on top and is very attractive.  In case you’re wondering what cotija cheese is, it’s a hard cow’s milk cheese from Cotija, Mexico.  Wonderfully salty and crumbly, it looks like this.

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Your Mexican Street Corn Casserole is perfect for barbecues and loaded with flavor!  You can serve it as a side dish, or a dip (Jeff is enjoying the leftovers with tortilla chips as we speak).  You can even use it in tacos.  Enjoy!

Pin for Later

Or Make Now

Hungry Yet??

Me too.  Let’s get started!

Family-size Mexican Street Corn Casserole

5 from 2 votes
Mexican Street Corn Casserole - Family Size
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 15 servings
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces cotija cheese
  • 2 pounds frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cotija cheese in the food processor and pulse until cheese is reduced to crumbles. Reserve one-half of the cheese.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, jack cheese, one-half the cotija cheese and egg. Mix until combined. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish with 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the mixture in the casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can be made to this point and refrigerated for 1 day. Reheat in a 350 degree oven till warm.
  1. To serve sprinkle reserved cotija cheese over the casserole.

 

Mexican Street Corn Casserole for a Crowd

 

5 from 2 votes
Mexican Street Corn Casserole for a Crowd
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 30 servings
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 pounds frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 12 ounces (4 cups) Monterey Jack cheese , shredded
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Special Equipment
  • 1 large aluminum roasting pan
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cortina cheese in the food processor and reserve 1/2.
  2. Combine the corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, jack cheese, parmesan, and egg and mix until combined. Grease a large disposable aluminum roasting pan with butter. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and bake uncovered, for 45 - 60 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can be made to this point and held in a slow cooker, covered, on LOWEST setting for up to 2 hours.
  1. To serve, sprinkle 1 cup cotija cheese over the casserole.

 

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Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

  Aloha Dreams

   Fabulous Recipes, Cooking for a Crowd & Dream Home Design      

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Perfect Potato Salad for your Summer BBQ & Entertaining

Potato Salad

It’s almost SUMMER!!!  And I, for one, can’t wait. I’m ready for some potato salad.  Right now.  There are a lot of marginal potato salad recipes out there. You know the ones I’m talking about. The potatoes are waxy or undercooked, there isn’t enough creamy stuff to bind the whole thing together, the flavor or texture is too uniform, or – worst of all – the potatoes, which are supposed to be the star of the show, are bland and uninspiring.

Don’t get me wrong. I love potatoes.

Really love them.

If it’s got potatoes in it, I’m your girl!  But I’m often disappointed with potato salads.

This potato salad recipe is the culmination of many years of small improvements. I started with mom’s recipe (which was pretty great already) and modified it to include crunchy dill pickles for added zing. Next I switched out the new red potatoes for Yukon golds.  As you’re gently mixing the ingredients together some of the Yukon gold potatoes break down into a wonderful tangy mash.  That’s what gives it that great creaminess.

Potato Salad

Then I added some green onions for color and flavor.   It was very good, but something was still missing. Although their texture was perfect, the potatoes were still bland.

Finally, several years ago I found the secret.

The secret ingredient?   Pickle Juice.

Potato Salad

Yep. Pickle Juice. I picked up this trick from reading the Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats, a fantastic site. He’s a wonderful cook and I’m consistently impressed with his recipes.

Along with all of the great ingredients that give this salad a wonderful depth of flavor and lots of texture, the pickle juice when mixed with the hot potatoes infuses them with a wonderful tang. Combined with the creamy texture created when some of the potatoes break down and mix with the mayonnaise, this potato salad is insanely special.

Potato Salad

This Potato Salad can, and should, be made in advance. In fact, it’s best served the next day. Or you can cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.  I love to use one of our family’s old green or yellow Pyrex bowls.  As you can see from the pictures below, it’s been through A LOT of rounds of Potato Salad.  Do you have a favorite family serving bowl or dish?

Potato Salad

Pin for Later

Or Make Now.

 

Hungry Yet??

Me too.  Let’s get started!

 

Potato Salad
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

It might seem like a lot of salt in the water to boil the potatoes, but that, along with the pickle juice is what gives the potatoes more flavor.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 18 people
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 4.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks, that’s about 10 – 11 med/large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 red onion diced
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 5 spears Kosher dill pickles cubed (not Polish)
Instructions
  1. Measure dill pickle juice into a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.

  2. Add potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt to 3 quarts water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 - 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, red onion, green onions, pickles and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. When potatoes are tender, drain thoroughly and add hot potatoes to a large bowl. Sprinkle pickle juice over potatoes and stir gently to coat.

  5. Gently fold mayonnaise mixture into potatoes.
Make Ahead Note:
  1. Potato Salad can, and should, be made in advance. It’s best served the next day. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

 

Potato Salad for a Crowd

5 Reasons this is a Fantastic Large Group Potato Salad Recipe:

  1. It makes 5 pounds of potato salad.  This works out to 16 (5 ounce) servings or 20 (4 ounce servings).  If you are serving this as one of 4 or more items on a buffet, the average person will take a 4 ounce serving.
  2. It’s a great make in advance recipe.  In fact, it’s better the next day.
  3. It holds up well on a serving line.
  4. It’s very easy, it always turns out great and can be assigned out if you’re cooking in large quantities.  It’s far better than anything you can buy.
  5. Everyone loves it.
Potato Salad

Want more delicious recipes ?

Asian Lettuce Wrap for a Crowd

If you’re looking for a healthy recipe for your family but are tired of salad, these Pork & Ginger Lettuce Wraps are for you. They are really easy and really fast, on the table within 30 minutes from start to finish. But the best part of all is they are REALLY good! Whip up a batch for your family this week, they’ll LOVE them.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Sliders for a Crowd

You'll love this sweet and salty breakfast. It will have your house smelling so good your family will be waiting at the table, at least mine was! A few simple ingredients and a few minutes in the kitchen give you an extraordinary breakfast big enough to feed a crowd.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

These mini Ham & Cheese Sliders are easy to make and your family will love them! Whip some up this week. They will be DEVOURED faster than you can imagine.

Best-Ever Chunky Chicken Salad

Your whole family will love this Best-Ever Chunky Chicken Salad recipe. It's hands down the perfect go-to chicken salad for sandwiches for a quick delicious lunch or a light supper. It takes hardly any time to pull together. The sweetness from the grapes always makes it a favorite with kids! Crowd version included, too!

Peaches and Cream Bars

It's time for some peachy, juicy, crunchy, brown sugary goodness of summer. These melt-in-your-mouth moist, Peaches & Cream bars are a perfect dessert to celebrate summer.  The crunchy, brown sugary crust just sends them over the top. The 'peach pie' smells coming from your oven will lure you to try a bite (or a pan) for yourself!

Easy Cooler Corn on the Cob for a Crowd

Looking for an easy way to cook corn for a crowd at your next BBQ, Family Reunion, Girls Camp or Scout Camp? Try this wonderful easy method I’ve used successfully time after time for large groups. It’s the easiest way to cook corn for a crowd. Guaranteed!

I’m so excited you are making one of my recipes and I would love to see how it turns out!  Make sure to share the aloha on instagram and tag me@alohadreams so I can see your masterpiece!

Follow me on Instagram . Have fun cooking, and be happy!

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Southern Style Green Beans

Southern Style Green Beans

  Aloha Dreams

   Fabulous Recipes, Cooking for a Crowd & Dream Home Design      

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Southern Style Green Beans

Don’t you just love Southern cooking? It always brings a smile to my face.  It’s like hearing a soft, welcoming southern accent.  What’s not to love?  It’s comfort food at it’s best, kinda like snuggling into the best bed ever for a relaxing nap.  (Can you tell I’m still jet lagged from our recent Hawaii trip?)   These Easy Southern Style Green Beans are a perfect example of that Southern charm.  Jeff could easily eat these several times each week.

Southern Style Green Beans

Doesn’t that look good?   It tastes even better.    This quick, easy, make in advance side dish is a skillet of bacon-y, buttery, meltingly tender deliciousness.  The beans come out tasting better than any veggie I’ve ever served!  Even kids love them.  This is one of my go-to, work-horse side dishes.   I’ll often put it on the menu for casual dinners when we have friends over.  It’s also a great pot-luck side dish!

Southern Style Green Beans

So what’s the secret?

Canned beans.

I’m as big a fan of fresh green beans as the next person, but for depth of flavor and tenderness frankly you can’t beat canned French cut beans for this recipe. And because you’re using canned beans they do not have to cook nearly as long. I always keep 3 – 4 cans of the French cut beans in the pantry so when a craving hits I can have them on the table in less than 30 minutes with the rest of the meal.

Try it tonight.  You’ll love it.  These beans are insanely drool-worthy.

Pin for Later

Or Make Now

Hungry Yet??

Me too.  Let’s get started!

Southern Style Green Beans
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This recipe for Southern Style Green Beans is a quick, easy, make in advance pot of bacon-y, buttery, meltingly tender deliciousness.  

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 strips bacon (Do not use a “sweet” bacon such as “Cider House” or “Apple wood”)
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 3 cans French cut green beans (Make sure you get 'French cut')
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/3 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop the bacon crosswise into small strips
  2. Chop the onion
  3. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté bacon until browned, but not overly crispy. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat.
  4. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  5. Drain 2 cans of the French cut green beans and put beans only in pot. Add both beans and juice from remaining can to the pot.
  6. Add 4 tablespoons butter, 1 1/3 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  7. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes.
MAKE AHEAD to this point. Cool, cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
  1. Can hold on low up to 1 hour, add ¼ cup of water as needed to replace evaporation.

Recipe Notes

When I’m fixing a meal, I fix this first and let it hang out on the stovetop on low while I’m preparing the other items.

 

Easy Southern Green Beans for a Crowd

 

Southern Style Green Beans

This is a wonderful recipe for a crowd.  It’s inexpensive, it comes together quickly, it and be made in advance and it holds remarkably well (in fact it just keeps tasting better).  I made it for a 140 person cast and crew of The Savior of the World and was getting recipe requests for days afterwards.

Here’s all you need to serve 50.

 50 Servings
Bacon30 strips
White onions, chopped5
French cut green beans15 (14.5 ounce) cans
Butter2 1/2 sticks
(20 tablespoons)
Table Salt6 2/3 teaspoons
Ground Black Pepper1 1/4 teaspoon
Slow Cooker 1 large (7 - 8 quart)

To make for a Large Group

When making this for a large group, I follow all instructions above – including, and especially, browning the bacon on the stovetop.  I do this in a large Dutch Oven.  The difference I make when cooking this for a large group is to use a big pot.  I still cook it on the stovetop.  Once it’s cooked, THEN I transfer it to the slow cooker, and hold it up to 3 hours (covered) on Low.

Occasionally I may use my slow cooker for long simmering recipes, but I almost never start the cooking process in it.  There’s a reason for this.  It is next to impossible to get the same depth of flavor from a slow cooker that you can from browning on the stovetop.  Sure you could put everything in the slow cooker to cook, but you’ll miss the flavor that comes from browning the bacon on the stove top.  Since the liquid released from sweating the onions de-glazes the browned bacon bits from the pan, you might as well just completely the cooking process on the stove top while you’re at it.  Once it’s cooked then you can move the whole party to the slow cooker to hang out.

Important note:  If transporting these Southern Style Green Beans to an event in a slow cooker it is VERY IMPORTANT that you put the slow cooker in a box with minimal/no room around the slow cooker within the box so the slow cooker can not tip over when you hit the breaks.  Don’t EVEN ask me how I know….   :  )

I have the BEST smelling CR-V in town.

Still Hungry ?

Shredded Poached Chicken

Want to simplify your dinner plans this week? It’s easy! Just make up a big batch of shredded poached chicken and you’re ready for some wonderful easy meals.

Huli Huli Chicken

This is without a doubt one of the Best. Chicken. Recipes. Ever. We fixed this for our luau last year. I figured out of the 140 guests there had to be some folks who didn't like roast pig. So we made 70 pieces of Huli Huli Chicken to supplement the roast pig. Turns out no one doesn't like roast pig. But NO ONE wanted to skip the chicken either.

Tropical Summer Salad

It’s time for a healthy summer salad. You’ll love the SUPER easy tangy sweet Orange Vinaigrette Dressing. It comes together in no time.

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

  Aloha Dreams

   Fabulous Recipes, Cooking for a Crowd & Dream Home Design      

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Betty’s Best-Ever Baked Beans

Best Ever Baked Beans

I’m excited to be sharing with you our family’s wonderful baked beans recipe: Betty’s Best-Ever Baked Beans!  These beans will become your new favorite BBQ side dish. They are so simple to make and they taste amazing. They are a must-have at family barbecues and a wonderful ‘cooking for a crowd’ side dish at cook-outs.

You’ll love the smell of the beans and sautéed onions, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, and bacon… all bubbling away in the oven while the flavors merge together.  And speaking of bacon….the bacon gets chopped and fried before going into the oven so you get a savory, bacon-y taste in every bite. It’s a nice compliment to the jam-y sweetness of the brown sugar and syrup.

These baked beans are the perfect side dish for potlucks, picnics and barbecues – easy to make and so good. They are sure to become a new favorite.

Pin for Later

Best Ever Baked Beans

Or it Make Now

 

Betty's Best Ever Baked Beans
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 45 mins
 
Serving size:  4 ounces 

Serves:  20

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20 people
Ingredients
  • 1 large (53 ounces) can Van Camps Pork & Beans
  • 1 medium (28 ounce) can Van Camps Pork & Beans 81 ounces total
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pancake syrup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 8 bacon strips chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a sauté pan, over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Remove bacon from the pan to a paper towel to drain.
  3. Sauté onion in the remaining bacon grease.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a large Dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot.

  5. Bake 1 hour, 30 min at 350 uncovered.
  6. Let rest 10 – 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

Make in Slow Cooker These can also be cooked in the slow cooker set on low for 6 to 8 hours as well. They won't get that nice caramelized top, but they’ll still be delicious if you're in a pinch for time.

When serving these baked beans as part of a buffet line-up, I plan on about 4 ounces per person.   A 6 quart (192 fluid ounces) slow cooker will hold a double batch of this recipe, serving 44 – 50 people.  

An 8 quart (256 fluid ounces) slow cooker will hold a triple batch of this recipe, serving 66 – 70 people.

 

 

Want more Fabulous Side Dishes?

Asian Lettuce Wrap for a Crowd

If you’re looking for a healthy recipe for your family but are tired of salad, these Pork & Ginger Lettuce Wraps are for you. They are really easy and really fast, on the table within 30 minutes from start to finish. But the best part of all is they are REALLY good! Whip up a batch for your family this week, they’ll LOVE them.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Sliders for a Crowd

You'll love this sweet and salty breakfast. It will have your house smelling so good your family will be waiting at the table, at least mine was! A few simple ingredients and a few minutes in the kitchen give you an extraordinary breakfast big enough to feed a crowd.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

These mini Ham & Cheese Sliders are easy to make and your family will love them! Whip some up this week. They will be DEVOURED faster than you can imagine.

Best-Ever Chunky Chicken Salad

Your whole family will love this Best-Ever Chunky Chicken Salad recipe. It's hands down the perfect go-to chicken salad for sandwiches for a quick delicious lunch or a light supper. It takes hardly any time to pull together. The sweetness from the grapes always makes it a favorite with kids! Crowd version included, too!

Peaches and Cream Bars

It's time for some peachy, juicy, crunchy, brown sugary goodness of summer. These melt-in-your-mouth moist, Peaches & Cream bars are a perfect dessert to celebrate summer.  The crunchy, brown sugary crust just sends them over the top. The 'peach pie' smells coming from your oven will lure you to try a bite (or a pan) for yourself!

Easy Cooler Corn on the Cob for a Crowd

Looking for an easy way to cook corn for a crowd at your next BBQ, Family Reunion, Girls Camp or Scout Camp? Try this wonderful easy method I’ve used successfully time after time for large groups. It’s the easiest way to cook corn for a crowd. Guaranteed!

I’m so excited you are making one of my recipes and I would love to see how it turns out!  Make sure to share the aloha on instagram and tag me@alohadreams so I can see your masterpiece!

Follow me on Instagram . Have fun cooking, and be happy!

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Explore Aloha Dreams

Things to do Big Island of Hawaii
Dream Home Bathroom

EXPLORE

If you're planning a vacation to Hawaii, I've got you covered on the very best places to go!   From many amazing restaurants to incredible adventures in the surf and on land, this is your go-to source for unique and exciting things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Or just take a Virtual Vacation!!    Let's go!

SAY YES!

If you've been asked to cook for a large group activity, be it a Girl's Camp or a Graduation Party, say Yes!  I'm here to help.  From Menus to Game Plans to Recipes, I'll help you keep on schedule and turn out amazingly delicious food if you're cooking for a crowd!  My recipes are tested and trusted.    Let's cook! 

AHONUI

Ever wished you could build your dream home?  Like amazing house design and home building ideas?  Me too!  Join me as I design and build a home on the Big Island of Hawaii. Follow along while I design each room. Enjoy a front row seat for the entire amazing construction process.  Let's play!

PARTY

Would you like to throw a Luau, but not sure where to start?   Want to know how to build a tiki bar and roast a pig?  Here's everything you need to have a luau.  How about a Christmas Feast or even a fabulous dinner for your neighborhood supper club?  You've come to the right place.    Let's party!

Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Dressing

Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Dressing

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Easy Fabulous Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Glaze

Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Dressing

Wow.  Ree Drummond has the best, and I mean the very best, Vanilla-Orange dressing for a fruit salad.  I. Wished. You. Could. Smell. THIS.  Wow. Just, Wow. It smells like you have been plopped down in the middle of an orange grove with a basket of vanilla pods. Wow.  You have to try this.  It’s so simple and so easy.  To ensure it coats the fruit well, I’ve thickened up the syrup.   Even with my few small changes, this is classic Pioneer Woman at her (always great!) best.

This is so easy.  You just make the simple syrup by boiling the sugar, water, orange juice and zest and you’re there.  Remove from heat to add the vanilla bean, let it cool and pour over the fruit.

And speaking of fruit, let’s talk about what kind of fruit holds best for large group serving.

Easy Fruit Salad for a Large Crowd

Successful Make Ahead Fruit Salad – All you need to to know:

  1. These fruits should to be served within a hour of preparation: bananas, kiwi.
  2. Apples and pear slices can be soaked for 10 minutes in a salt solution made from half a teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt dissolved in one cup of cold water.  After 10 minutes, drain them, pat dry or cover and refrigerate.  They will hold up to 2 hours this way.  When you’re ready to use them, a quick rinse under cold running water completely washes away any traces of salt.   This allows you to enjoy a fresh-tasting and good looking apple, well after it’s originally cut.
  3. These fruits can be served within 2 days of preparation: strawberries, pineapples, watermelon.
  4. These fruits can be served within 3-4 days of preparation: mandarin oranges (keep in the can until ready to serve), mangos, blue berries, grapes.

Obviously, this list depends on the condition of the fruits and veggies when you buy them. If something is in sad shape when you buy it, you can’t expect it to last a full week; use common sense and if something doesn’t look (or smell!) right, throw it out!

SIDE NOTE:  One of the best things I ate last summer was ice cold watermelon chunks.  We prepped a large batch of watermelon for a church Youth Conference, piled them on very large platters, covered them and for the next 2 days pulled them out to serve.  They were ice cold and WONDERFUL, but best of all they were just as good on day 2 (and even day 3) as day 1.

Glazing

  1. Storing your fruit in a soupy lake of glaze or dressing will cause it to degrade quicker.  You’ll want to drain and reserve the glaze, refrigerating it in a separately covered container.
  2. Refrigerate the fruit, covered.

 

Know your Quantities

Pineapple

An average pineapple peeled and cored should produce about 4.5 cups of fruit

Strawberries

A quart of strawberries, hulled and quartered, is about 4 cups

Blueberries

One pint of blueberries should fill 2 dry cup measures—and should come right to the top of the pint container in which they are sold. Chances are, your pint will weigh about 12 ounces…give or take a little.

 

Grapes

Seedless grapes weigh less on average than similar-sized grapes with seeds. When I measured my pound of seedless grapes it contained about 2.5 cups

 

 

Pin for Later

Fruit Salad with an Orange Vanilla Syrup

Or Make Now

Fruit Salad with Orange Vanilla Bean Dressing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This smells heavenly!   All fruit except bananas, kiwi and apples are a good choice for this fruit salad.

NOTE:  If serving as one of several side dish items, most people will only take 1/2 cup and this should easily serve 35 - 40 people.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 22 (1 cup) servings
Ingredients
For the Dressing
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (juice of 1 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (zest of 1 orange)
  • 1 vanilla bean , seeded
For the Fruit
  • 2 quarts strawberries - sliced (8 cups total)
  • 2 pints blueberries 4 cups total
  • 2 (23.5 ounce) bottles mandarin oranges - thoroughly drained (5 cups total)
  • 2 pounds green seedless grapes 5 cups total
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, add the sugar and water. Zest the orange over the saucepan. Then split the orange and juice the orange to produce about 1/3 cup of orange juice. Add orange juice to the saucepan and stir to combine.  

  2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes to thicken.  While dressing is cooking, split vanilla bean and scrape out seeds. When dressing is done cooking remove from heat and stir in the vanilla seeds then store dressing in the refrigerator until cold. 

  3. Meanwhile, prep the fruit:  Wash the berries and grapes and hull and slice the strawberries.  Thoroughly drain the mandarin oranges.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Salad can be made to this point the day before. It's very important to store fruit and dressing separate, covered, in the refrigerator.
  1. When ready to serve, place fruit in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the fruit.  If necessary, thin dressing by adding 1 - 2 tablespoons juice or water.  Gently toss to coat all fruit.

 

Want More Fabulous?

 

Best-Ever Chunky Chicken Salad

Your whole family will love this Best-Ever Chunky Chicken Salad recipe. It's hands down the perfect go-to chicken salad for sandwiches for a quick delicious lunch or a light supper. It takes hardly any time to pull together. The sweetness from the grapes always makes it a favorite with kids! Crowd version included, too!

Peaches and Cream Bars

It's time for some peachy, juicy, crunchy, brown sugary goodness of summer. These melt-in-your-mouth moist, Peaches & Cream bars are a perfect dessert to celebrate summer.  The crunchy, brown sugary crust just sends them over the top. The 'peach pie' smells coming from your oven will lure you to try a bite (or a pan) for yourself!

Easy Cooler Corn on the Cob for a Crowd

Looking for an easy way to cook corn for a crowd at your next BBQ, Family Reunion, Girls Camp or Scout Camp? Try this wonderful easy method I’ve used successfully time after time for large groups. It’s the easiest way to cook corn for a crowd. Guaranteed!

Maui Road to Hana Banana Bread

This Road to Hana Banana Bread is moist and flavorful, transporting you to the islands in one bite. The crunchy sugar topping adds sweetness and texture. Read all about it along with our recent vacation to Maui.

Hawaiian Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Another great, super-easy make ahead recipe. 10 minutes work, overnight unattended low and slow cooking, and you’ve got mouthwateringly tender luau-style Kalua pork. Really easy. REALLY good!

Aloha Dreams

Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

Ever wished you could build your dream home? How about building your dream home in a tropical paradise?  Join me, room by room, as we design and build a fabulous dream home in Hawaii!

Tropical Salad

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