It has been a while since I have participated in this weekly event sponsored by Beth Fish Reads.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.
I thought I’d share with you my take on pasta salad. I don’t follow a recipe for this – it is a meal that can be whipped up with pretty much what you have in your refrigerator as long as you have some boxed pasta and Italian dressing on hand.
Quick and Easy Pasta Salad
- 1 package of your favorite pasta – preferably something like shells or twists (I like to use Rainbow Rotini because it is really colorful)
- A variety of fresh vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, pea pods, and zucchini…your choice!
- Small cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 cups of shredded cheese (I like Monteray Jack, but cheddar or Mozzarella also is a good choice)
- Shredded cooked chicken (optional)
- Bernstein’s Italian Dressing (I like Bernsteins because it has a lot of flavor and spices in it)
- Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta to your preference according to the package instructions. When done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking and cool pasta.
Slice up the vegetables of your choice – I usually cut the veggies pretty small or make thin slices, but it is up to you how you like them. Pour a small amount (about a tablespoon) of olive oil into a skillet, and saute the veggies until they are crisp tender. At the end of sauteing, add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir together in a large bowl the cooked veggies, cooled pasta, 1-2 cups of shredded cheese, the shredded cooked chicken (you can leave this out if you want a meatless pasta), and the Italian dressing to taste (I use about 1/4 cup of dressing, but it really depends on your taste). When well mixed, stir in the cherry tomatoes (if they are large, I cut them in half first). Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.
Serve with grated or shredded Parmesan Cheese on top and a slice of your favorite crusty bread.
I love to make this pasta on hot days when I really don’t feel like cooking. The whole meal can be whipped up in about 15 minutes and it is a total dish which allows large servings for two people with plenty of left overs for the next day.