So yesterday, as I'm melting from the heat we've all of a sudden been having after weeks of rain, and not feeling too motivated to cook, I was digging through the fridge and cupboards looking for something to make for supper. With hubby working at supper time, and kid's working shifts, I've been trying to think of things to make that I can just put in the fridge and people can help themselves when they are hungry and you know, around. That simple suggestion came from my friend Barb, who you all know, is a cooking queen. And she's already been through the phase in life where you kids have installed a revolving door into your house and you never know who's going to be around for supper. So I knew she'd have good advice.
I found a package of tortellini in the fridge from when they were on sale at Costco, but no alfredo sauce left. I tried to look up a few recipes but was either missing ingrediants or they didn't appeal to me so I made up my own. I tried to go for flavors we like and colors that look good in a salad. And voila. It disappeared faster than one can say "I will make this again". And it keeps. Wonderfully. Nothing got mushy or soggy.
MEDITERANIAN TORTELLINI SALAD
-1 pkg. (750 gram) fresh, frozen, or dried 3 cheese Rainbow Tortellini (I used Olivieri fresh because I like how fresh cooks better)
-2 chicken breasts
-lemon pepper seasoning
-1 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
-1.5 - 2 cans black olives, sliced
-1 cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese
-1 small red onion, sliced
-1 red or orange pepper, sliced into strips
-a dozen or so cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
-1/2 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing
-2 garlic cloves, crushed
-1/4 - 1/2 tsp. hot sauce ( I used Tony Roma's Private Reserve but any Louisana Style will do) or a few dashes of red Tobasco sauce
-1 Tbsp. lemon juice (I used Real Lemon)
Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and then run cold water on them until cool. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a fry pan until hot. Slice chicken breast into thin, skinny strips. Season with lemon pepper and fry over medium heat until cooked through.
In a small measuring cup whisk together Italian dressing, garlic cloves, hot sauce and lemon juice
Put all ingrediants into a large (I'm talking large) bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss until coated.
This made enough for 5 of us as a meal with leftovers. Perfect for a hot summer day or to take to a picnic. The beauty of this recipe is you can adjust to how you like. Want more chicken in it? Go for it! Don't like lemon pepper? Use seasoning salt, garlic powder and fresh ground pepper. Hate Feta cheese, use the fresh mozzarella that comes in little tiny pebbles or cube whatever cheese you like. Hate garlic? Leave it out and use another oil/vinegar based dressing. It's very easy to play with.