Rush Hour

Not too long ago, I was the grateful recipient of some homemade smoked turkey. Being the warmest part of summer, I can't say that my first instinct was to warm it and have it alongside mashed potatoes. There's a time and place for that, but this time of the year, my thoughts turned to using it along with summer's freshest flavors in a salad. With the strong flavor of smoked turkey, a pasta salad was where I went.

This simple pasta salad came together when I took pasta and the smoked turkey as the base and spent a little time looking in my refrigerator and garden to fill in the gaps. You can easily create summer salads the same way. Have leftover ham? It's great cubed in a salad. Beef sliced thin makes a simple salad into a main course meal. And, of course, salads mean keeping the house cool and enjoying a quick meal. During the dog days of summer, you just can't beat that!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Creamy Smoked Turkey Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. dried pasta -- choose your favorite variety
  • 2 c. diced smoked turkey
  • 1 c. diced sweet red pepper
  • 2 T. sliced green onions
  • 1 c. thinly sliced tomato
  • 1 c. chopped broccoli pieces
  • 1/2 c. cubed cheese -- choose your favorite variety
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise -- I like to use the sun-dried tomato flavored variety
  • 1/2 c. low fat sour cream
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly. Meanwhile prepare the turkey, vegetables and cheese. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make a dressing. Toss the pasta, smoked turkey, prepared vegetables, cheese and dressing in a large bowl. Season the salad as needed. Serve chilled.

  • Yields: 4 main course servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes