My youngest son and his family (including their dog) come to visit every summer around the end of July.  He graduated from college, married his fiancee, moved to St. Louis and began his engineering career all within a month’s time in 1982.  This is my favorite picture of them taken quite a few years ago.  The girls have both graduated from college by now….


…and the dog, Brandy, passed away and has been replaced by Maggie.


Each year, there’s the decision of what to cook, particularly for the big family meal when everyone gets together.  It’s always blistering hot, of course, and I don’t want to spend all of my time in the kitchen.  This year, I decided to serve corn-on-the-cob from my local farm market and a Salad Buffet.  All but one of the salads have been posted previously on my blog and are old favorites:

  • Vegetable Pasta Salad.  This is an adaptation of the Tuna and Veggie Salad posted previously.  I omitted the tuna so I could have one plain pasta salad.

  • Thai-Inspired Chicken and Noodle Salad.  This is a new salad this year and we all like it very much.  It’s good either room temperature or chilled.

THAI-INSPIRED CHICKEN AND NOODLE SALAD

  • 8 oz. ( 4 cups) LoMein noodles (or thin spaghetti)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup Teriyaki sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • few gratings of black pepper
  • 2 chicken breast halves, baked and shredded
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.  Transfer pasta to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine canola oil, Teriyaki sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, peanut butter, ginger and pepper.   Mix well until smooth.  Pour dressing over pasta and toss to coat evenly.  Gently mix in chicken, cilantro and toasted sunflower seeds.

This makes a big bowl of salad – 6 to 8 servings.

For dessert we had a sundae bar and then went out on the patio to work off the calories.  My daughter-in-law brought water balloons and small fireworks and the visit ended with a flourish.

Already, I’m wondering – what can I cook next year?