Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Summer Tortellini Salad

This boil-and-toss salad is a versatile and hearty dish that makes a great one-bowl meal. You can also serve it as a side dish; just prepare the recipe without the meat.

Joan discovered this recipe in the July 2007 issue of Southern Living. The recipe was submitted for publication by Shirley Wood of San Antonio, Texas.

PREP: 10 MIN., COOK: 10 MIN., CHILL: 25 MIN.

1 (19-oz.) package frozen cheese tortellini (Joan used Wegmans Cheese Tortellini.)

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1/4 cup sliced green olives

1/4 cup sliced black olives

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

2 Tbsp. chopped sweet onion

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. herbes de Provence (1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning may be substituted.)

1/4 cup canola oil

Salt to taste

Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and place in large bowl. Stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients.

2. Whisk together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, and herbes de Provence. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Pour over tortellini mixture, tossing to coat. Stir in salt to taste. Cover and chill at least 25 minutes. Garnish, if desired.

Tuna Tortellini Salad: Substitute 1 (12-oz.) can albacore tuna, rinsed and drained well, for chicken. Prepare recipe as directed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

White Bean Salad

To complement pork steaks which were smothered in Sweet Baby Rays Gourmet Sauce, Joan prepared this quick salad with ingredients readily available in the pantry cupboard. Also, included Wegmans fresh corn-on-the-cob with the meal.

1 19-ounce can Cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt

Ground black pepper

1/2 cup basil leaves, torn

Place beans, celery, red pepper, vinegar and oil in a medium bowl. Toss until well combined.

Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Add basil and serve immediately or chilled.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


After Nancy and Bob took Aunt Dorothea , Joan and I for a pleasant lunch served by Sarah at the Oxbow, they entertained us with dessert in their home. Nancy served us a luscious white cake filled with lemon and topped with white whipped frosting and fresh red raspberries. Over cake and ice tea trifles entered the conversation. Here are some of Joan’s favorite trifle recipes.


This English-inspired desert is easy on the cook and the eye.

1 (4 3/4-oz.) pkg. vanilla pudding and pie filling mix
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
8 cups angel food cake cubes
(about 13-oz. cake)
3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
or orange juice concentrate
1 (21-oz.) can strawberry fruit pie filling
1 (11-oz.) can mandarin orange segments, drained

Prepare pudding as directed on package using 3 cups milk. Remove from heat; stir in orange peel. Cover surface of pudding with waxed paper or plastic wrap; cool 15 minutes.

Line bottom of 2 1/2 or 3-quart trifle bowl or glass bowl with 1/3 of the cake cubes; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the liqueur. Spoon 1/3 of pudding over top; spoon 1/3 of strawberry filling over pudding. Top with 1/3 of orange segments. Repeat layers 2 more times. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Garnish as desired. Store in refrigerator.

16 servings.

This recipe is from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks #142 December 1992


Brownie Trifle makes a splendid centerpiece desert.

1 (19.8-oz.) pkg. package fudge brownie mix
1 (3.9-oz.) pkg. chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1 (6-oz.) pkg. milk chocolate toffee chips
1 (12-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare brownie mix and bake according to package directions in 9x13-inch baking pan. Cool; crumble or cut into small pieces. Prepare chocolate fudge pudding mix according to package directions, omitting chilling procedure. Place half of crumbled brownies in bottom of a 3-quart trifle bowl; top with half each of pudding, toffee chips and whipped topping. repeat layers with remaining half of crumbled brownies, pudding, toffee chips and whipped topping. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish with mint and semisweet chocolate curls. (Soften 1 ounce of chocolate 10-15 seconds at 30% power in microwave. Shave off curls with vegetable peeler.)

Serves 16-18.

This recipe is from Country Folk Art - January 1998.


This desert was a bit hit at the 1998 Thanksgiving dinner .

1 14- or 14 1/2- oz. pkg. gingerbread mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
(note: use 1/2 cup if you use cranberry juice cocktail option below)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups cherry-cranberry drink or cranberry juice cocktail
1 1/2 cups frozen pitted tart red cherries
1 29-oz. can pear or peach slices, drained
Easy Lemon Cream

Prepare and bake gingerbread mix according to package directions. Cool. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

For the cherry sauce, in a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Stir in fruit drink. Add cherries. Cook and stir until thickened. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Cover and cool; do not stir. (To make ahead, chill, covered, for up to 4 days.)

To assemble, in a 3-quart clear glass bowl or soufflé dish (see note below if you want to assemble it on a tray instead) spoon one-third of the Easy Lemon Cream. Add one-third of the cherry sauce. Sprinkle with half of the gingerbread. Spoon another one-third of the lemon cream over gingerbread. Top with another one-third of the cherry sauce. Arrange half of the sliced pears atop of the cherry sauce (cover and chill remaining pears). Layer remaining gingerbread, lemon cream, and cherry sauce. Cover; chill for 2 to 24 hours. To serve, arrange remaining pear slices atop trifle.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Easy Lemon Cream
Beat 1 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla just until soft peaks form. Fold in 1 cup purchased lemon pudding and stir gently until combined. For creamier texture, stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice or milk.

To assemble trifle on 14X10 1/1 inch tray, double recipe. Slice gingerbread loaves into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Line tray with half of gingerbread. Cover with cherry sauce. Spoon on two-thirds of lemon cream and two-thirds of pears. Layer on remaining gingerbread. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. To serve, top with remaining lemon cream and pears.

This recipe is from Country Home - November/December 1998