Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Food for thought.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to cook like I used to. As I sit here, I cringe at the list of foods we've been calling dinner the past few weeks - chicken nuggets, quick sandwiches and cereal about covers it! Today though, I am making it a point to stop and make something delicious, healthy and just plain pretty to look at. This pasta salad is a serious home-run and amazingly versatile. You can eat it warm or cold, you can use whatever veggies or pasta you have on hand, you can even add chicken or another protein to it to make it more of a main-dish meal. I adore this recipe. I've made it for friends with new babies, friends who are grieving and people who are home recovering from illness. I haven't met a person yet who doesn't share my deep affection for this recipe. If you make it, let me know how yours turns out.

Yummy Salad (this is just what I call it).
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c fresh minced basil (you can substitute dried, but you'll use less than 1/8 cup.)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T minced garlic (I always use fresh, but you could use the jarred kind too)
1/2 t salt
8 oz short pasta of your choice, cooked (penne and bow-tie are our favs)
1 head broccoli florets, chopped in small pieces
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved
2 oz can black olives, sliced
4 oz feta cheese (I usually throw the whole 6 oz container in - the more the merrier)
1 yellow or red pepper, seeded and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced (optional - I've made it without and don't even miss it really)
Combine first 5 ingredients, shake or mix until well-blended. Put all other ingredients in bowl, throw dressing on top, mix well. You can eat it right away or store it for a few days in the fridge. Serves 6-8 normal people or 3-4 Pattons (we eat big, remember). Enjoy!

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