Over the summer, I hosted Sunday dinner at my home for a group a friends once a month during June, July and August.  Early in the summer, I sent out a blind email to 15 women and invited them to dinner. I gave them the option of 3 dates (the second Sunday of each month), they just had to let me know if they were free for dinner that day. The only catch is they did not know who else would be at the table.  The purpose was to gather six women around the table with good food and a bottle of wine, and talk about our struggles or to see where God was working in our lives. 

Although I would love to say I came up with the idea myself, it was inspired by IF:Table, an extension of the IF:Gathering ministry.  IF:Gathering was created to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose. IF:Table focuses on gathering women around the table for a simple meal and Christ centered conversation. Six women, around one table, discussing 4 questions.

 Garden Pasta SaladPasta Salad (12)

The idea of hosting IF:Table in my own home appealed to me because I LOVE cooking, entertaining and spending time in community with other women. Summer is also a less stressful time to have friends over for dinner. The days are longer, no one has to rush home to get their kids in bed for school and meals can be simple. Pasta, salad and dessert (and wine, of course) can be a complete meal in the summer because no one wants to spend a lot of time in the hot kitchen. Now that it is fall, this recipe for Garden Pasta Salad reminds me of comfort food for Sunday dinner. It is a great family weekend meal and because it makes a huge serving, you will have leftovers for the week. 

Pasta Salad (6)

If you enjoy chopping fresh, colorful vegetables – this is the perfect recipe for you. First, put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta, then pour yourself a glass of wine. You will need a sharp knife, a cutting board and an assortment of fresh, colorful vegetables. I chose mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, red onion, red and yellow bell peppers. Toss the veggies with olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, then roast them in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. While the veggies are roasting, cook your pasta, drain and return it to the pot.  Add in the veggies, Gorgonzola cheese, diced sun dried tomatoes, more olive oil and seasoning.  I love that this dish can be made ahead of time and kept warm on the stove until it is time to serve. I served the Garden Pasta Salad with a simple green salad and sun dried tomato chicken.  To keep it even more simple, you could simply pick up a rotisserie chicken and some good crusty bread. While you are at it, pick up a good bottle of red wine to serve with dinner.   

Pasta Salad (4)

Garden Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of vegetables (mushrooms, asparagus, red onion, zucchini, yellow and red bell peppers)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (divided)
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounce jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 16 ounce box of penne pasta

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Chop veggies into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Toss to coat then place on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.
  3. In a large pot, bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain (do not rinse) and return to the pot.
  4. To the pot, add the roasted veggies, 3-4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of oil from the sundried tomatoes, diced sundried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes (optional). Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat over low and stir until cheese is melted. Serve warm or room temperature.
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Do you enjoy hosting friends for dinner? Do you have a favorite dish that you serve to friends? Have you ever heard of IF:Gathering or IF:Table?

Wellness Tips for Working Moms

This post is part of the Write 31 Days series that I am participating in during the month of October. Every day I am sharing Wellness Tips for Working Moms and you can find all the related posts here. #write31days

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