Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I can't believe it's finally here! The official start of summer! Hooray! But before the festivities begin I would like to tip my hat and say a sincere thank you to all who have served or are serving to protect our great nation. THANK YOU!

Now, on to the food. In addition to all the parades, husband and I intend to go to a few cookouts. Since I would never dream of attending a party empty handed it is essential for me to prepare a dish that doesn't require refrigeration and can handle a trip in the saddlebags (weather permitting, of course!). This is one of my "go to" recipes for summer parties since it is relatively easy to make, goes well with grilled anything and contains ingredients most everyone likes. PLUS the components of the salad are large so anything someone doesn't like can easily be eaten around.

Erika's Tortellini Salad

2 packages frozen cheese tortellini, cooked, drained and cooled
1 can whole black olives (or hit the supermarket olive bar for some of the fancy ones)
1 stick pepperoni, cut into chunks
2 roasted red peppers, chopped rough
1 container grape/cherry tomatoes, halved (or chopped fresh tomato or chopped sun dried in oil)
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered (NOT marinated)
1 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

Prepare one package of good Seasons Italian dressing using BALSAMIC vinegar
Add 2-3 heaping teaspoons of sugar and mix together

Put all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, prepare dressing and pour over salad. Toss gently to coat. Let sit 1 hour before serving.

That's it! So simple yet delicious! Enjoy, be safe and have a great weekend!

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