It’s too hot to cook

Yuck! Summer has arrived in the Gateway City. With our eyes gazing longingly to the first day of fall, the rumble emanating from our stomachs reminds us that it can’t wait that long. It wants to be fed now. We’re tired of barbecue already, so what to do? SLPL has thousands of inspiring cookbooks (and 83 devoted solely to salads*) to thumb through, but that won’t solve the problem of what to have for supper tonight.

One of the go-to recipes for a cool supper on a hot night at my house or something to take to the company picnic (or any event) is an easy recipe with an unimaginative, but appropriate title: Cold Pasta Salad.

Cold Pasta Salad

Cook 1 (16 oz.) box tri-colored pasta. Rinse immediately after draining to stop further cooking.  While the cooled pasta is draining, in large bowl mix together:

1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped (including green)
1 (15 oz.) can black olives, chopped
2-4 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I usually use 4)
1 package pepperoni, sliced

Add the pasta. Mix well. (I find it best to use my hands to mix it.)

For the dressing, mix:
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Italian seasonings

Pour dressing over pasta mix and coat well.

Add 1 package (2 cups) shredded 6-cheese Italian cheese and mix.


Tips: It's best if made the day before serving (which allows the flavors to marry) and served at room temperature, which awakens the flavors, but it’s also a great dish served the same day.

Makes 10 cups or the large bowl.

*A few others to try are listed below. To peruse all 83, search the Library’s Catalog at for (All Formats) by Keyword (Subject) and type in “salad.”


Cooking Light Big Book of Salads

Salad for Dinner

Since we’re talking about food, did you know that the Library has a special “Culinary Exhibit” online? The exhibit gives you a “taste” of what is available in the Library’s Culinary Collection. This special collection was conceived in 1989 by Susan Manlin Katzman to document St. Louis’ culinary history. All locations have a wide selection of cookbooks but the rare, unique and valuable items as well as the menus are housed in the Rare Books and Special Collections Room of Central Library. To view this exhibit, click bon appetit!

Be sure to check back soon for one of the simplest, easiest crockpot dinners ever that the family will love.

This week’s guest chef blogger is Julie, who has been with the Library for more than a decade. She hangs out in the Marketing Department and keeps things running smoothly. She loves to cook, read and volunteer (not necessarily in that order) at the The Bunny House, a no-kill shelter for rabbits only.

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