Grape Salad and a Spinach Dip

By Amy Larson

Lisa’s Famous Grape Salad


2 c. green seedless grapes

2 c. purple seedless grapes

½ c. bleu cheese crumbles

¼ c. Olive and Vyne garlic-infused olive oil

2 Tbsp. Olive and Vyne™ 25 star (dark) balsamic vinegar

¾ c. walnuts or pecans


¾ c. walnuts or pecans

¼ c. sugar

2 Tbsp. water

½ tsp. chili powder

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. cumin

¼ tsp. salt


•         In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar and water and bring to a boil. Add spices and nuts, continue to stir gently. Remove from heat, drain and cool on cookie sheet. Toast lightly under broiler four minutes.

•         Wash and de-stem grapes, add to salad bowl. Toss in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, coating grapes evenly. Mix in crumbled cheese, candied nuts, and enjoy!

NOTE: This recipe was lovingly given by Carolee Polfer who shared a catering business with her dear friend, the late Lisa Villano. Carolee has over 30 years’ experience in the food service business, doing mostly catering, which is her passion.  Carolee is excited to share a recipe inspired by Lisa, and even happier to hear of the recipe’s renaming to honor her friend.

Spring Spinach Dip


2-10 oz. packages of frozen, chopped spinach

2 c. Best Foods ™ mayonnaise

1 ½ c. sour cream

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 pkg. Knorr™ dry vegetable soup mix

3 c. chopped green onions

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice (optional)

8 oz. sliced water chestnuts

1 loaf French bread, or round loaf of bread


> Heat spinach in hot water; drain well, pressing out as much water as possible. Mix all ingredients well. Chill.

> Remove center from bread loaf, then fill with dip. Cube the excess bread to serve alongside your new spinach dip masterpiece.

 NOTE: This recipe was inspired by a recipe found in 1997’s “Venita and Her Friends” cookbook, one I picked up years ago at a forgotten location.  The collection was put together by the Horseshoe Bend Improvement Club, and is filled with hundreds of old-fashioned down-home cooking ideas, several of which I’ve concocted, to my family’s approval. The contributors obviously knew their way around the kitchen, and what a joy it must have been to have gathered around their tables.

This recipe page is brought to you by The Idaho Dairy Council.


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Amy Story

About Amy Story

Amy Story is a food and adventure writer, artist, and art instructor. She makes her way through the state looking for good recipes and new friends, often found simultaneously.

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