Memorial Day Retro Sides

I have put together a few recipes that have been around for quite awhile in my family and therefore I call them “retro” because they are from back in the day. Memorial Day is always exciting as it really marks the time of year we open our pools here in Central New York and officially feel summer is finally coming. Any earlier and we could probably go ice skating on the pool! It is also a holiday that puts a smile on my face because the “real” Memorial Day (May 30th) was my father’s birthday. For years he had my sister and I believing the flags up and down Main Street and the Parade were all in honor of his birthday. It wasn’t until several years after he passed away that I realized he was enjoying just one more story with his quick Irish wit and teasing like no other! The first recipe is one that I can say I “learned” from Fannie Fragnoli. Fannie co-owned Comando’s Restaurant in Cortland with her husband Vince and although I never did get a recipe out of her I did observe her closely for years. While all the boys were fooling around (my husband was one of those boys sometimes) I closely watched what Fannie was doing. Although Sandro thinks it was him, I believe I was her favorite kitchen employee, or maybe we shared that spot with her.

Fannie’s Tuna Noodle Macaroni Salad


1 bag (12 oz) wide egg noodles
1 can of tuna packed in water
1 sm bag of frozen peas
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Splash of red wine vinegar


Cook egg noodles in salted boiling water until al dente (almost cooked), drain and allow to cool. Drain the tuna in a strainer and set aside Cook the peas according to the directions on the bag and drain.
Chop the onions, celery and set aside. When noodles have cooled add all above ingredients and mix gently so that noodles do not break. Taste and add salt if needed, some pepper, the sugar and the splash of red wine vinegar. Mix again. Serve immediately!

The next salad is one my mother makes and is quite a hit with everyone. I’m not sure where she got the recipe or if she just concocted it. We’re good at throwing together ingredients and making it taste good! In fact when I was verifying the ingredients with her she said you can throw anything you want in there. So I guess if there is anything else you think may go with this feel free to add it! I’ve been very lucky to learn from some great women over the years!

Julia’s Artichoke-Olive Salad


1 can of artichoke hearts
1 can of chick peas
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
1 can black olives
1 jar green olives
1/4 of chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Olive Oil
Splash of White or Red Wine Vinegar
Garlic Salt
Salt and Pepper

Drain the artichoke hearts, chick peas, and olives and set aside. Chop the onion, celery and green pepper. Mix all ingredients together. Add the olive oil, splash of vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste. Mix well, top with parsley and serve.

Red Potato and Green Bean Salad


2# of small red potatoes
3/4# of fresh green beans or a package of frozen steam fresh cut green beans
3 scallions, chopped
1/3 c olive oil
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1/4 c Flat leaf (Italian) parsley


Wash and quarter the potatoes, add cold water to a large sauce pot and add potatoes and about 2 tsp of salt.
Boil the potatoes until soft.
Clean and cut the green beans and add water to another sauce pot and boil until you can easily stick a fork into bean or if you are using the steam fresh to save time follow the instructions. Drain the beans and set aside.
In a separate cup mix olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk until emulsified. If you like Dijon mustard you can also add that to it as well. Add what you prefer! Mix the potatoes, beans, chopped scallions together in a serving bowl, pour the dressing over the potato salad, mix well, top with Italian parsley and serve immediately.
This is especially good served warm so eat it right away. It tastes much better right after you make it!
So there you have my retro sides. Serve with hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, ribs, etc. Have Fun!

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