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Easy Caprese Tortellini Salad

Whew! What a crazy week of s'mores, driving to Evanston to buy and fill the trunk with giant illegal fireworks see the desert scenery with my brother, swimming at the pool, gardening, eating watermelon & corn on the cob, melting at a parade, getting way too much candy from said parade, filling up on Hawaiian shaved ice with ice cream, dreaming of fireworks, bonfires, roadside fresh produce stands, spending time with family, sidewalk chalk with the niece and nephew, sidewalk fireworks with the kids, watching my brother almost blow up his house with giant fireworks, Cafe Rio, Carrie Underwood at Stadium of Fire to see even more fireworks, getting pulled over by a cop for driving too fast (it was Ryan, not me this time! haha!), getting off with a warning, and watching even more fireworks across the entire valley from our balcony! We are a firework-loving family, I tell you! 

This holiday is honestly my very favorite one. I felt like such a baby when I felt the tears swelling this year. Usually I'm all-firework, and don't really take enough time to relish in the real purpose of this beautiful holiday. But on the way home from the concert last night, we talked about our incredible country. Yes, there are some serious flaws and scandals that make us red in the face with anger, but for the most part, this country is absolutely stunning. We feel so incredibly blessed, and a deep sense of pride in my country fills my heart with burning gratitude. 

Now that the holiday has passed, we feel a little burnt out from all the festivities. Today, we plan on relaxing and taking it easy. I've been making our menu for the next week, and everything is going to be easy-peasy. We tried this caprese tortellini salad last week, and trust me, EASY isn't even enough when describing it. The ingredients are super simple, flavorful, and aren't too heavy. The tortellini can be served warm in the salad, or very cold right out of the fridge. We tried it with the three cheese tortellini, but you can easily grab a different stuffed-version (the chicken and prosciutto would be really awesome here). You could serve this as a great lunch with a few slices of fresh fruit, or even as a side to some grilled chicken at dinnertime! Super yummy and simple! 

Easy Caprese Tortellini Salad
makes 4-6 servings

12oz three cheese tortellini (chicken or prosciutto tortellini would be lovely)
4oz mozzarella, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
a handful of cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (if they're small, no need to slice)
1 14oz can black olives, drained
Sprinkle of balsamic vinegar 
Italian dressing
salt & pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook tortellini according to directions on the package. Drain, and place in a large bowl. Toss cooked tortellini with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olives. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, and a light drizzle of Italian dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and serve. 
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