06 June 2009

Ode to the Perfect Summer Salad

Shake and shake the ketchup bottle.
First none will come...
And then a lottle.

That has absolutely nothing to do with the Perfect Summer Salad, but since it's been going through my head since I read Code Yellow Mom's blog (and her ensuing posts on Ketchup), I thought I'd share it.

Since the summer is shaping up nicely - despite the fact that we're burning a fire in the wood stove today (I get chilled easily...), I'm looking forward to more of my favorite summer meals. Barbecuing on the grill. Pasta Salad. Fresh Fruit. Fresh Veggies. Less inside mess. In our house, we believe in cooking outside as much as possible during the summer. There are two reasons for this - and neither of them have anything to do with the environment. The first is that we don't have a stove in our house. We took it out to install an antique wood cookstove - that's not currently attached to the wall. The second is that it's cheaper to cook outside than it is in. And I'm cheap.

One of my friends called me tonight to ask for a summer recipe. It's a tried and true pasta salad that is perfect for entertaining. It makes a TON of salad, and has a good blend of fruits and meat. Not to mention, it's D. Licious. Should you choose to make this salad, be prepared to pass out the recipe - and to eat a lot...

Perfect Pasta Salad

3 c. shell pasta - cooked according to package directions
4 c. cooked, diced chicken meat
2 (16.5 oz) cans pineapple tidbits, drained (drink the juice)
2 c. diced apples - any flavor, although tart is best
2 c. diced celery
1/2 c. finely chopped red onion
1/2 c. (each) chopped red and green peppers
2 c. red grapes (cut them in half, they won't run when you're trying to eat them)
2 (8 oz) cans water chestnuts, drained
1 small jar pimento (they only come in small here...)
1 1/2 c. cashews

1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. Prepared Coleslaw Dressing

In a really large bowl, combine all ingredients except cashews and dressing. Just before serving, toss the dressing in with the pasta mix and add the cashews. This is delicious the next day too.

I first had this salad at a wedding reception... I took some home with me (the hostess was my Mother in Law - it was acceptable to take left-unders home...), and then proceeded to eat nothing else for the next week. It was, indeed, that good. This is saying a lot for me, since I do NOT eat left-unders very often. It's like licking your plate to prove that the food was good.

I realize this is not much of an ode - since the definition of an ode has something to do with singing, but I'm pretty sure those who eat it will sing its praises... hence, the ODE. Enjoy!

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