Friday, June 17, 2011

Tortellini Salad

So, the kids are officially out of school. Summer vacation starts now! Our girls flew to Florida to spend some time with their dad. Our oldest graduated high school. One of our middle sons has a new summer job. And our other teenager just couldn't wait to enjoy the summer.

Scott and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch together without rushing to pick up kids from school, go to a ball practice or lesson, there was no real rush to get home, just a beautiful afternoon overlooking a gorgeous fountain in the lovely city of Chesapeake. It's a nice break from having the kids, but oh my word is the house quiet. Even the cat doesn't know what to do.

Well, since it's just the two of us for a while I'm back to making smaller meals, which is easy on the budget. The temperatures are headin' back up, so I think a simple pasta salad supper works well for those hot summer days. This recipe is great for supper but also makes enough for a quick lunch the next day. Or you can 1/2 the recipe pretty easily. I prefer to make my homemade Italian dressing, but if you like store bought you can use it in this recipe for Tortellini Salad.

1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 package (9 oz) refrigerated spinach-filled tortellini
2 cups small fresh cauliflower florets
2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
1 cup oil-packed julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes (from 6.5-oz jar), drained
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 jars (6 oz each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped and reserving 1/4 cup liquid
1 bottle (8 oz) Italian dressing (or the homemade recipe is listed below)

In large saucepan, cook and drain tortellini as directed on package, adding cauliflower and broccoli during last minute of cooking time. Rinse with cold water to cool; drain well.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix tomatoes, onion, parsley, bell pepper and artichokes.

Add tortellini, cauliflower and broccoli to salad; stir gently. Add dressing and reserved 1/4 cup artichoke liquid; toss to mix. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
2 tablespoons salt

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, sugar, oregano, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt and regular salt. Store in a tightly sealed container.

To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix.

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