It’s hard to believe my last blog post was way back in May. Despite pandemic times, all is well here and I hope all is well with you, too. ☺️ Since May, I’ve enjoyed many outdoor activities like walking, hiking, canoeing and camping. Plus, with Greg’s help, I planted my garden!
Isn’t it beautiful? And big! More like a small farm? It’s funny to think when I started my landscaping project, all I wanted was a compost box. 😩
Speaking of gardens, this past weekend I used some garden goodies for the dinner I made for the staff and kiddos at the Denver Children’s Home.
Including last December, this was the fourth quarterly dinner I’ve prepared for this worthy organization and I couldn’t have done it without the generous help of Greg and others. One thing that makes this especially rewarding is the appreciation the kids and staff express; their homemade colorful thank-you cards really are the best! Besides, using my interests and talents to do something small like this makes me feel like I’m pitching in a little for the greater good. ☺️
For this last dinner, the menu included grilled chicken with barbecue sauce on the side, pasta salad, clementines, cookies and flavored seltzer water.
For the chicken, about 55 thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper, were grilled using my Weber portable grill. 😲 (Great job grilling Greg!)
Here’s another photo of the grilled chicken in one of the pans used to keep the chicken covered and warm in the oven at low heat:
To go along with the chicken, I made two big pans of salad that included pasta shells, greens, sweet corn, red onions, cheddar cheese, and lots of tomatoes, green onions and basil from Greg’s and my gardens. Below is a photo of just some of the garden tomatoes used for the salad. 😊
And, here’s a photo of one pan of salad after everything was assembled and tossed with a lemon-mustard-garlic vinaigrette. The recipe for this salad is included at the end of this post.
Isn’t it pretty? ☺️ And yummy! I know this to be true because, for quality control, there was a taste test. 👍
In addition to the grilled chicken and pasta salad, four bags of clementines were provided.
Also for this dinner, I baked about 6 dozen oatmeal cookies with butterscotch morsels.
These were taste-tested, too . . . for quality control 😋
Like the last two dinners, Greg and I dropped off this dinner at the front door after being greeted by several kind folks from the Denver Children’s Home.
Thank you for making time to read my blog post about this rewarding and enjoyable experience! And, please feel free to comment in the comment section below 😊
Just for fun, here’s a photo of Greg and me on our recent camping trip in NW Colorado 😊
Last but not least, here’s the recipe for the pasta salad. I wrote this recipe how I made it, so make any adjustments you like 😊
Pasta Salad with Lemon-Mustard-Garlic Vinaigrette (serves 45 – 55 people)
For the Salad
Five 16-oz packages of large shells pasta, cooked according to package directions. Note: I cooked the pasta in 5 batches a day earlier, drained and rinsed with cold water, tossed with a little olive oil and stored in gallon-sized ziplock bags in the fridge.
Four 14-oz bags of frozen sweet corn, thawed slightly, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and oven roasted on cookie sheets at 425 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Note: I prepared the corn the day before and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
16-oz package of baby spinach and baby kale
Two large red onions, chopped in slivers
One cup of green onions, chopped
16-oz block of sharp cheddar cheese, chopped cube-style
Eight cups of tomatoes, chopped
One cup of dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Divide the above ingredients into two large foil pans (~20” x 13”) and toss with the dressing below. Note: I tossed in the tomatoes and greens last. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
For the Dressing
1 3/4 cups of olive oil
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup of prepared mustard
Ten cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a large jar, screw on the lid and shake to combine . . . Voila! Pour half of the dressing on each salad. Gently toss to combine.