A Summer Pasta Salad and Backyard Entertaining Tips

by Tonya Staab
Published: Updated:

Plan the perfect get together in the backyard this summer with friends and family with these tips and our delicious summer pasta salad recipe.

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pier 1 Imports. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating. #Pier1OutdoorParty

There seems to be a constant rotation of people coming and going from our house (especially when you have a swimming pool and it’s summer). So, I want to share a few tips and a quick and easy salad you can whip up for those times.

a picnic themed food table set up in a backyard for summer

Tips for backyard entertaining

  • FOOD: Order food if necessary. 4 $5 footlongs from Subway are great and if you cut them into 8 slices, they go a long way. I always try to make one quick dish, but the rest is what I have on hand, ready-made and picked up, or delivered.
  • PETS: If you have pets, keep the food high, especially if you cannot stand guard and tend to the food at all times. Use food covers to keep bugs at bay.
  • DECOR: Your table doesn’t have to be perfect or perfectly matching. When shopping for items I tend not to go with an entire theme but mix and match a few different ones, always keeping in mind items that I have at home, that way I can rotate pieces to create new looks each time, especially if I have more time to play around, but have a few staple table decor ideas ready-to-go at a moments notice.
  • SUPPLIES: Keep supplies such as plates, utensils, napkins, and straws on hand. When possible try to purchase recycled items or those that can be used again. My preference is melamine for outdoor entertaining.
  • FRUIT: Don’t cut up fruit if you are leaving food outdoors unless you cover it due to bugs. Place out a few options in a bowl, cover it, and then replenish as needed.
  • DRINKS: Keep drinks covered. Whether you use mason jars with lids or cupcake liners, bottles, or fun picnic-themed tumblers (pictured above). You don’t need to have soda or whip up fancy beverages. Add fresh fruit and ice to a dispenser filled with water for a refreshing picnic drink. It’s the best way for your guests to stay hydrated outside in the heat.

Tip: I find that these impromptu get-togethers tend to continue after dark. Have lighting already set up, this will ensure smooth transition of your space from daytime to evening with the flick of a few switches or the lighting of candles.

a pasta salad with garbanzo beans, corn, and bell peppers

Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 3 voted )


  • 1 box (1lb) Gemelli pasta
  • 1 tin garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  • 1 celery stalk (finely sliced)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • large pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbs sweet honey mustard


  1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions (approximately 8-10 minutes). For the last 4 minutes toss in the corn kernels too. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool.
  2. Toss in the garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, and celery.
  3. In a cup combine the lemon juice, nutmeg, pepper, and honey mustard.
  4. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.

Recipe: by Tonya Staab tonyastaab.com

You can either serve this dish in a large bowl or spoon it into individual mason jars and chill until ready to serve.

a girl holding a picnic themed cup with a straw that looks like a picnic blanket with ants crawling on it

Please pin these ideas for later:

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LovelyLysa June 16, 2014 - 8:15 pm

I totally need the storage trunk in mocha.

Jackie @theseasidebaker June 16, 2014 - 8:21 pm

This looks great! I love impromptu parties (provided my house is clean!).

Natalie S June 16, 2014 - 8:42 pm

I am loving the Swingasan as well as the Santa Barbara Serving cart – love outdoor fun!

lesley June 17, 2014 - 5:03 am

i have been drooling over the dragonfly garden stake with the matching wind chime for a month!

Christine N. June 17, 2014 - 8:35 pm

Would love the drink dispenser and cute patio string lights!!:)

Amy June 18, 2014 - 8:18 am

I love those little Mason Jar Tumblers! What a great idea!

Melissa H. June 18, 2014 - 12:11 pm

I’ve always wanted a drink dispenser and the Hammered Glass dispenser looks just like what I need!


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