Just about everyday I'm cooking a dinner for my family to enjoy. It's not always the easiest thing to do but it's well worth the trouble to invest in my family's health by cooking at home... and helps save money! My goals are to prepare meals that are healthy, easy, and inexpensive. I also like to incorporate many international style recipes along with traditional American ones to encourage my family to have a wide range of tastes. So, follow me as I cook for my family and share in laughter, love and food!

Buon Appetito! - From my family to yours!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Layered Italian Pasta Salad

Have you ever heard the saying "Presentation is Everything" ? That is exactly what makes this super healthy salad so appetizing. There's a little chopping involved but no major cook time so you can whip this up in about 30 minutes and makes a beautiful side dish to bring to a party or as a stand alone for lunch. It makes a lot of food! It can easily feed 6 hungry people for lunch, or more, if you make sandwiches. Alex wasn't too crazy about the green olives so you can always use sliced black olives, or switch/add your own favorites! Make sure you put this in a glass dish that will really showcase all the beautiful colored layers.

Also, you have the option of making your own dressing or buying store bought. I would do store bought in a pinch but otherwise make it yourself! If you haven't make your own dressings before it is completely worth it. It's cheaper and tastes worlds better. But be warned! You will become spoiled and never think about buying hidden valley again! :)


1 (16-20 oz) frozen or refrigerated package of tri-color cheese tortallini
1/4 pd of genoa salami (deli is cheapest!) chopped
1 can canelli beans/great northern beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 block of mozzerella cheese, diced into 1/4inch cubes (or buy cubed mozz for less work, more $)
1 large yellow or red pepper, seeded and diced
1 package grape/cherub tomatoes
14oz can sliced green/black olives

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegarette (store bought or quick recipe follows)

Cook the tortillini's according to the package instructions.

While that is cooking, chop all your ingredients.

Drain pasta and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to avoid sticking and pop in the freezer for quick cooling.

Get the rest of your ingredients together then pour pasta into the bottom of the dish. Layer ingredients in the order listed.

Drizzle dressing all over salad just before serving. Enjoy!

Quick Balsamic Vinegarette

All amounts are approximate. Adjust to taste.

2/3 cup high quality olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vin.
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 TBS dijon mustard
1/2 TBS honey

Put in tupperware or other container with a tight fitting lid and shake the crap out of it. Voila!! (Do not fridgerate)

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