Here are some easy ways to enjoy having friends or family over for dinner without a lot of last-minute fuss. Each of these delicious salads is  colorful, satisfying, and tasty.

Italian

Pasta salad with pepperoni and cheese
Serves 6 to 8

Pasta Salad

1 lb. penne or rotini pasta
1 8-oz. bottle of Italian dressing
8 oz. thinly sliced pepperoni, cut into strips
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in pieces
1 can pitted ripe olives, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups diced provolone cheese
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs. dried Italian seasonings ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 or 2 Tbs. vegetable oil to water, to keep pasta from sticking. Cook penne or rotini until cooked, but still firm, about 9 minutes. Rinse pasta under cool water to stop cooking, and drain.
  2. Combine bottled dressing with chopped parsley, chopped basil, dried Italian seasonings, and crushed red pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over cooked pasta and toss. Add pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, ripe olives. Toss gently. Add cheese and toss again. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before ready to serve.