Cool salads are a great way to serve tasty food when it's warm outside without feeling heavy and overfull.

While heartier fare keeps us warm through Wyoming's nine months of winter, these few blessed weeks of warm are the perfect time for main-dish salads, smaller portions and the freshest produce we can find.

I attended a funeral for a dear friend last week and the normal practice of carrying in salads and desserts for the dinner was on full display. Those who contributed spared no effort, and the result was a table nearly the width of a ballroom filled with salads of all kinds. A dessert table in the back of the room was equally as spectacular. And those were just accompaniments to the mountain of pulled pork and potato casserole that were served.

Speaking of great carry-in food, the first Hamburger Fry of the summer at Hawk Springs is Wednesday, featuring homemade salads and desserts from residents in that area. Eating starts about 5 and goes until about 7. Entertainment is provided by the Torrington Fiddlers. Tickets are $7 adults, $3 for children 6 to 11, and children under 6 free. All of the money goes to the year-round upkeep of the refurbished Hawk Springs Community Building. It's a great time and a not-to-be-missed Wyoming summer event.

If you are unable to attend this week, there will be similar events July 8 and August 12.

With a promise of ice cream "later," it's easier to squeeze in a giant plate of salad without a huge hunk of meat and a massive pile of potatoes alongside at the homestead.

In addition to the choices offered in the accompanying article, this is a taste salad that goes together quickly once the chopping is completed. And that, of course, can be done early in the day or the day before, stored separately in small plastic containers or resealable bags.

Summer Spaghetti Salad

  • 1 package (16 ounces) thin spaghetti, halved
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, halved, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) Italian salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. Place in a large bowl; add tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber and peppers. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Yield: 16 servings.

(Recipe courtesy of "2000 Taste of Home Annual Recipes")

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS.


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