When my grandmother was in her late eighties I lived with her awhile. It ended up being a fairly short time as she was in need of 24 hour company and I could not provide that. She was more than willing to give up cooking duty and I was happy to take it over. At some point she had lost interest in food and after 80 years of cooking (she started as a child helping to prepare meals) she was ready to give it up. Don’t get me wrong, she complained bitterly if I baked pie or cake or some other goodie and didn’t leave her any. She just wasn’t hungry for most meals. She had also become quite picky.
Chicken ‘n Pea Salad was one of the things I could routinely serve that she would eat. It’s also something that you can whip up quick after working all day. You can use up leftover chicken or defrost and grill up some (breaded tenders would be quite tasty). There always seems to be a bag of peas in the freezer (it feels empty without them) and some pasta sitting in the cupboard waiting to be used up. I’m not sure it’s allowed not to have ranch dressing in the fridge, at least not with my family. You can make it as basic or fancy as your audiences taste buds will allow, throw in some diced onion or shredded carrots. I normally use shell shaped pasta but I didn’t have any, the macaroni works just as well. Continue reading →
Most of the time I have no idea why pasta salads are called salads. Really they should just be called cold pasta. I say this because most pasta salads are devoid of what I usually associate salads with, vegetables or even fruit. There’s no reason for this, just pack more veggies in! So that’s what I did.
You could substitute other veggies for the spinach, I’ve made this recipe with broccoli or even mixed frozen veggies. But spinach is what I had that needed to be used up so spinach it was! If you substitute, make sure you cook the veg at least a little. With broccoli I just throw it in with the tortellini, frozen veg you just need to defrost. I used a bowl with a lid with the spinach so that when I threw in the tortellini I could close it up and steam the spinach a bit. Continue reading →