Here is a delicious pasta salad, perfect for hot summer days because there is nothing to cook but the pasta. I've adapted this from a Betty Crocker recipe so that there is much less measuring involved, and more vegetables, both of which are good things any time, but especially in July.
Use any mild white cheese your family likes, such as Emmentaler, Jarlsberg, Jack, or Gouda. I get a couple of thick slices of good ham from the deli, at least a quarter-inch, so that cubing it is easy.
Ham and Pasta Salad
1 lb. uncooked small pasta, such as fusilli, gemelli, shells, or elbows
1 lb. frozen sweet peas
1 lb. cooked ham
8 oz. Swiss cheese
2 or 3 stalks celery
1 or 2 red bell peppers
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped (optional)
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. In the last minute or so of cooking time, add the peas to the boiling water with the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, cube the ham and the cheese, chop the celery, and seed and chop the bell pepper.
When the pasta and peas are done, run some cold water over them to cool, or let sit for a while if you're feeling lazy. When it is cool enough at least that the cheese won't melt, add the ham, cheese, and vegetables and toss. Mix together the mayonnaise and ranch dressing, add the chopped chives if using, and add to the salad, tossing well.
Serves a crowd. Active work time: about 30 minutes.