Mary’s Birthday Luncheon with the Girls!

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

Luncheon Menu

Tortellini Salad
Mandarin Chicken Salad
Waldorf Salad
Rolls with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Tortellini Salad
2 10-ounce packages Cheese Tortellini
1/4 pound sliced Salami, diced
1 10-ounce package frozen Arrichokes, thawed
1 8-ounce container Ciliegini Mozarella, halved
12 large Basil leaves, chiffonade
15 – 20 Cherry Tomatoes in assorted colors
1 12-ounce bottle Cardini’s® Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Cook Tortellini according to package directions, drain in a collander, and rinse with cold water.  Add all ingredients, except salad dressing, together in a large mixing bowl.  Stir until well-mixed, then pour salad dressing over salad and toss throughly. 

Refrigerate at least 2 hours to chill and blend flavors.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese just before serving, and garnish with fresh basil.

Mandarin Chicken Salad
1 head Romaine Lettuce, washed and sliced horizontally
1/4 head Red Cabbage sliced thinly in both directions
3 Ribs Celery, sliced diagonally
3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
20 – 24 Snow Pea Pods, thinly sliced vertically
1/2 cup toasted sliced Almonds
16 ounces cooked chicken, diced
2 11-ounce cans Madarin Oranges, drained
Chinese Plum Salad Dressing – The Cheesecake Factory sold me a pint jar of theirs – which is the best I’ve ever had.  Generally, I prefer this type of salad tossed with the dressing, but since I had a lot of people, I put it on the table in small pitchers, and let them dress it themselves.
 Waldorf Salad
Waldorf Salad is an American classic.  It’s crunchy, sweet, creamy, and a little salty.  I used the recipe in the New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, page 259.
Tall and Creamy Cheesecake: A Basic
Cheesecake is another American classic – and, it’s my friend, Mary’s favorite.  I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from “Baking From My Home to Yours,” page 235.
Cheesecake is wonderful by itself, with fruit, or sauces.  I made this cheesecake for my sister-in-law’s birthday and served it with Dark Chocolate Sauce, Raspberry Coulis, and Caramel Sauce placed in squirt bottles on the table.  It was fun and delicious!
 Presentation and the Table
Timing is the most important factor when you’re having company.  In this case, it was critical because my friends were on their lunch break and had to get back to work.  I did my best to have things ready to go.  While it’s nice to let everyone serve themselves,when you’re pressed for time,  it’s more efficient to plate the food and have it on the table when they arrive.

~Make Grocery List

~Buy produce at Farmer’s Market

~Go to Grocery Store to buy remaining supplies/ingredients
~Set Table


~Make Cheesecake so it has time to set & cool
~Arrange Flowers
~Prepare Tortellini Salad so flavors have time to blend


~Make cabbage and lettuce cups – I used Red Cabbage for the Mandarin Salad; Iceberg Lettuce for the Tortellini Salad; and Curly Red-leaf Lettuce for the Waldorf Salad.  Separating the Cabbage and Iceberg is tricky, because the leaves grow into each other, so make sure you take your time.
~Prepare Madarin Chicken Salad

~Prepare Waldorf Salad

1/2 hour prior to guests arriving:

~Set out small, shallow dishes with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar at each place.
~Preheat oven for rolls – I served Trader Joe’s Rosemary Parmesan and Ciabatta rolls
~Set out drinks – I made Lipton and Ginger Peach Iced Teas with lemon and orange slices
15 minutes prior to guests arriving:~Plate salads~Put rolls in oven for 10 – 15 minutes

~Fill Ice Bucket

Happy Birthday, Mary!
These recipes are provided for your personal use. If you publish them, or re-post them, please give me credit. Grazie e Buon Appetito!


  1. says

    What a beautiful spread of food! I have been craving a Waldorf salad all week. The tortellini salad is full of delicious flavors too – anything with salami is a winner in my book!

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