I think there is some kind of unwritten rule that says moms must bring the same thing to every picnic and family gathering they attend in the summer. My mother-in-law always brings amazing baked beans and her famous pasta salad. My mom always brought potato salad and seven-layer salad. We rarely ate potato or seven-layer salad at home. They were items she made exclusively for functions. I loved both dishes and looked forward to the summer soirees that Mom would make them for.
One reason Mom didn't make her two typical dishes at home was because they make crowd-pleasing portions. My dad is one of thirteen children and I have tons of cousins. Family functions were big! I have scaled her seven-layer salad back so that it can be served at home or in a smaller group setting. What I love most about this is serving it in the trifle. I serve salad in this bowl ten times more often than I serve dessert.
Mom's Seven-Layer Salad
Recipe from my mom
½ head iceberg lettuce, chopped
⅓ of a small head of red cabbage, chopped
3 carrots, grated OR ½ head cauliflower, chopped
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ pound bacon cooked, cooled, and crumbled
For the dressing:
1 ½ cups Miracle Whip/Salad Dressing (not mayo)
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Layer the lettuce, then cabbage, then carrots or cauliflower, frozen peas, dressing, cheese, and then bacon. To make the dressing just mix everything together in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Keep in the fridge until ready to seve. Serve it with tongs, without mixing it all together. It gets all mixed as people scoop it out.
My mom always uses the cauliflower instead of carrots. I just didn't have any when I made this.
The leftovers of this aren't great... the lettuce gets really slimy.
To make this for a crowd, just double everything and put it in a huge bowl.
I love the dressing. I grew up with it and it is homey to me. If you don't think you'd like it, skip it and serve it with a bottle of your favorite dressing on the side, but I think you'll like it too.