Italian Tortellini Salad

I invented this on a Sunday night when I felt like something new. I love the Italian chopped salad at McAlister’s Deli, so I was thinking about that as I started, but I like how it ended up even better if I do say so myself. Its distinctive flavors still go together well. It makes a HUGE amount, so I quickly realized I’d need to share and took most of it to work the next day. I was pleased to find I didn’t even have to try to find a spot in the fridge for it again when I went to put it away at the end of lunchtime since it had all vanished – yay!

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The best part about this recipe, as I face down a 99 degree afternoon, is that it requires no cooking except quickly boiling the tortellini, and it’s served at a nice chilly temp.  This is filling enough to be your dinner or a hearty side or appetizer.  ~Robin 

Ingredients:

  • Buitoni three-cheese tortellini, 1 20 oz. bag
  • 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
  • ½ red onion, diced or thinly sliced (about a cup, sliced)
  • 2 c. of tiny tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size (I love Sunset’s Wild Wonders Gourmet Medley for their variety of colors, but you can snag any grape or cherry tomato variety as well)  
  • 1 c. sliced Kalamata olives (could use green olives too, but I love Kalamata olives)
  • About 4 c. of baby spinach (stems removed)
  • 2 c. hard salami, cubed into ½ in. chunks (about 10 oz. by weight)*
  • 2 c. provolone cheese, cubed into ½ in. chunks (about 10 oz. by weight)
  • 1 c. Ott’s creamy Italian dressing
  • Black pepper, fresh cracked, to taste (optional)

Instructions:

Prepare one package of tortellini according to package instructions, except do not add any olive oil – it would make it harder for the dressing to stick to the pasta later.  Drain very well and set aside to dry further and cool.  

Once pasta is cool enough and well-drained, add all other ingredients except tomatoes, black pepper, dressing, and olives; then mix. Add tomatoes, olives, pepper (if desired), and dressing, gently tossing until mixed well and salad is coated with dressing throughout. Chill & serve.  

*My deli counter sliced the salami and cheese into ½ inch thick slices so I was able to simply chop it into cubes from there…big time saver!  This salami from the deli is SO much better than the lunch meat slices you may have been tortured with by a well-meaning relative as a child. I thought I didn’t like salami all my life, but it turned out I just hadn’t had the right salami.  Give salami a chance! Unless you’re one of our vegetarian friends, in which case you can save a couple bucks instead.  🙂 

Italian Tortellini Salad

Italian Tortellini Salad

    Ingredients:
  • • Buitoni three-cheese tortellini, 1 20 oz. bag
  • • 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
  • • ½ red onion, diced or thinly sliced (about a cup, sliced)
  • • 2 c. of tiny tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size (I love Sunset’s Wild Wonders Gourmet Medley for their variety of colors, but you can snag any grape or cherry tomato variety as well)
  • • 1 c. sliced Kalamata olives (could use green olives too, but I love Kalamata olives)
  • • About 4 c. of baby spinach (stems removed)
  • • 2 c. hard salami, cubed into ½ in. chunks (about 10 oz. by weight)*
  • • 2 c. provolone cheese, cubed into ½ in. chunks (about 10 oz. by weight)
  • • 1 c. Ott’s creamy Italian dressing
  • • Black pepper, fresh cracked, to taste (optional)
  1. Prepare one package of tortellini according to package instructions, except do not add any olive oil – it would make it harder for the dressing to stick to the pasta later. Drain very well and set aside to dry further and cool.
  2. Once pasta is cool enough and well-drained, add all other ingredients except tomatoes, black pepper, dressing, and olives; then mix. Add tomatoes, olives, pepper (if desired), and dressing, gently tossing until mixed well and salad is coated with dressing throughout. Chill & serve.

*My deli counter sliced the salami and cheese into ½ inch thick slices so I was able to simply chop it into cubes from there…big time saver! This salami from the deli is SO much better than the lunch meat slices you may have been tortured with by a well-meaning relative as a child. I thought I didn’t like salami all my life, but it turned out I just hadn’t had the right salami. Give salami a chance! Unless you’re one of our vegetarian friends, in which case you can save a couple bucks instead. 🙂

https://foursistersdish.com/2017/07/07/italian-tortellini-salad/

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Hearty Beef Chili

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Hello all!  Tracy here.  It was unseasonably cold and rainy here in our neck of the woods recently.  On days where I find myself putting my warm clothes on, I start to look for comfort food – preferably something that I know my family of meat loving boys will eat.  Even the pickiest of eaters in your family will love this chili recipe – especially if you top it with cheese and serve it with a pile of Fritos.  If you like things a little spicy, like we do, you can also add some diced jalapenos to the top.  If you follow Weight Watchers (or attempt to, like me), this comes to 2 Freestyle Points for a one cup serving!  With the new Freestyle program I’ve added extra beans so it’s extra filling with lower points! Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lbs 95% lean ground beef (You can also use half ground beef, half ground venison, as we often do).
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ T. chili powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 ¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (16 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (16 oz.) light red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (16 oz.) pinto beans, drained

Instructions:

Cook beef, onions, and garlic in a large sauce pan until beef is browned; drain away any excess fat.

Stir in all remaining ingredients except the beans.

Gently stir as mixture heats to boiling, breaking up tomatoes.

Once mixture boils reduce heat to simmer; cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cans of beans, heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, for about 20 minutes longer.

Serve topped with cheese, over Fritos, or with your favorite southern cornbread.

Weight Watchers Info.:  Figured with 95% lean ground beef this recipe comes to 2 Freestyle Points for a 1 cup serving.  

Hearty Beef Chili

Hearty Beef Chili

    Ingredients:
  • • 1 ½ lbs. 95% lean ground beef (You can also use half ground beef, half ground venison, as we often do).
  • • c. chopped onion
  • • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • • 1 ½ T. chili powder
  • • ¾ tsp. salt
  • • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • • 1 ¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • • 2 cans (16 oz. each) petite diced tomatoes
  • • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • • 1 can (16 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained
  • • 1 can (16 oz.) light red kidney beans, drained
  • • 1 can (16 oz.) pinto beans, drained
  1. Cook beef, onions, and garlic in a large sauce pan until beef is browned; drain away any excess fat.
  2. Stir in all remaining ingredients except the beans.
  3. Gently stir as mixture heats to boiling, breaking up tomatoes.
  4. Once mixture boils reduce heat to simmer; cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in cans of beans, heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, for about 20 minutes longer.
  6. Serve topped with cheese, over Fritos, or with your favorite southern cornbread.

Weight Watchers Info.: Figured with 95% lean ground beef this recipe comes to 2 points for a 1-cup serving.

https://foursistersdish.com/2017/04/26/hearty-beef-chili/