With a tempting blend of meats, veggies and pasta for your picnic, how can you go wrong? The recipe comes together in no time, serves a crowd and tastes as good at room temperature as it does cold. If you're expecting a smaller group, simply halve the recipe to accommodate your number of guests.— Michele Larson, Baden, Pennsylvania
This medley of garden-fresh vegetables, tender pasta and a homemade vinaigrette is sure to execute a triple play on your taste buds. The tubular noodles and round olives will likely remind your crew of bats and balls.
"I made some changes to the original recipe by adding extra tomatoes, more color, celery for crunch, relish for a hint of sweetness and ham to make it more filling," explains Karen Ballance of Wolf Lake, Illinois. "It's great for picnics and potlucks or as a side dish for any meal," she adds. "It's also handy because you make it ahead of time."
In San Antonio, Texas, Evelyn Billingsley celebrates the freshet tastes of the season by tossing together an herb-enhanced salad. "It's a simple and delicious way to perk up picnics and potlucks," she suggests. "Be creative and add sliced zucchini, yellow summer squash or any vegetables your family fancies."
Beans will bring bravos when you present this pleasant pasta and veggie salad. "I first made it for friends who are very good cooks. When it was gone, they asked where the second bowl was," chuckles Lenore Adams of Dayton, Ohio. "Among my make-ahead favorites, it's a big hit every time I serve it."
"For a long time, my family has been trying to cut down on high-fat foods," relates Lee Ann Berijan of Blaine, Minnesota. "I've tried to use my creativity and my family's love of pasta to provide tasty meals. This light satisfying dish is great after a day in the summer sun."
"When it comes to cooking, I believe the simpler the better," writes Holland, Michigan's Carol Blauw. "A few years ago, a co-worker told me about this colorful, tasty and, most importantly, easy-to-prepare salad," she says. "It has been a favorite at our house ever since."
Cooking healthy doesn't mean you have to spend hours in a hot kitchen. Debbie Terenzini-Wilkerson serves a low-fat, fuss-free fiesta at her Lusby, Maryland home by simply combining a refrigerating a few tasty ingredients.