It’s getting hot and sunny and we are getting busy around the house, around the city, and having lots of fun. So, for me, it’s time to make easy quick cold meals to satisfy our hunger.

Yesterday I threw a large party for my job and brought home some of the leftovers. I also had some random things in my fridge. Then I attended another party last night. So today’s lunch was a pasta salad featuring all of our leftovers in a new and interesting way. It was delicious and we ate it between chores of pruning, repairing the chimney, hanging the laundry out to dry on the line, and pulling weeds.

Oh by the way, my little 4 year old guy was busy painting on several old cereal boxes I saved. So our backyard pavement is covered in painted cardboard. The boxes’ last stop before the recycling bin.

So for this salad, I prepped the following:

The sliced tomatoes from yesterday’s BBQ were destined for the garbage. All that was left were the “unwanted” tomato ends. You know, the chunks that slip right out of your burger when you take a bite, so you avoid taking those slices. I gathered all of them up, about 10 and chopped them into small square bites.

Next I emptied out the jar of Kalamata olives. I saved the juice for another use, perhaps a salad dressing someday.

With the last of the slices of cheddar cheese from burgers, I chopped them into small squares.

The last of the green leaf lettuce got chopped and thrown in.

The last of the cauliflower I had bought this week for dal, but never made dal, so we’ve just been snacking on it with ranch dip. Well, it got finely chopped and tossed in to this meal.

Next I went outside my front door and snipped plenty of chives and scallions and those went in.

Mixed all of the above with freshly cooked pasta wheels and some chardonnay citrus vinaigrette which my Aunt gave to me when she cleaned out her pantry (because everybody who knows me, knows I’ll take anything edible and get creative with it!). We ate this pasta salad with some sardines and rolls and gherkins and strawberries from the front yard garden. Weird combo? Maybe, not really…it met our needs.

What are you doing this summer to get creative with food, waste less, and eat while on the go?