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Tag Archives: pasta salad

Pepperoni & Basil Tortellini Salad

Usually, I’d argue that this dish makes a perfect salad for Summer, whether it’s as a side dish or a meal itself. And it does. But when it’s unseasonably warm weather-wise on the home front and were less than two weeks away from Christmas, I’m not going to rant or rave. I mean I can’t actually do anything about it, so why not just go with it?

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad 2

Just picture it, your favorite cheese tortellini with ripe grape tomatoes ready to burst with flavor, fresh basil, a generous helping of chopped pepperoni, and all mixed up with your favorite creamy Caesar salad dressing. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, or anybody on a diet, but if neither of those apply to you, it’s a dreamy combination.

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Trust me you want in on this dish. In a month filled with warm, rich comfort foods and chaos and (if you’re a parent) kids home on break needing more lunch options than the typical brown bag variety, run headlong toward this ‘salad’. This is pasta salad, 2.0, and it’s just the change of pace we enjoy. With the roller coaster weather, us and our meals have to roll with the punches.

Pepperoni & Basil Tortellini Salad

Tortellini & Pepperoni Pasta Salad 3

1 (20 oz) pkg cheese tortellini, or about 3-4 cups frozen tortellini
1 cup pepperoni slices, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup cubed, or shredded, mozzarella cheese
1 cup caesar dressing
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Directions

  1. Cooked the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer the tortellini to a large bowl.
    2. Stir together the dressing and the cooked tortellini. Add in the pepperoni, basil, cheese, and tomatoes and gently stir together, so that the tortellini don’t fall apart, until everything’s evenly combined.
    3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
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Mediteranean Tortellini Pasta Salad

 It was the day after Christmas, and all through the house children were playing with plenty of arguments over tv time and game systems for their parents to dowse.

The wrapping paper was all picked up and Santa’s supplies packed away with care, when I realized, ‘Oh, crap!’ Dinnertime soon would be there.

The sons’ were all asking, wondering what there was going to be to eat.

And this Mom had nothing. I’d never even thought to pull out any meat….

None. Nada. Zilch.

It was then that a little light from heaven shone down…right into my fridge. And my heart and belly (and my Mommy-conscience) leapt with joy! (Let’s be honest, what was I going to rhyme with Zilch or fridge?!)

Pasta with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and vinegrette dressing…maybe even a little Feta cheese.

An easy, meatless meal? Yes, please.

Oh, had I been craving some good pasta lately. And the lasagna I’d had for dinner on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas day still hadn’t cut it.

And thus to us, a new recipe was born.

Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad

 Mediterranean Tortellini Salad

1 lb tortellini
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

For the Dressing

⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste

Note: Serving a crowd? No worries! The recipe easily doubles. Just don’t cry any crocodile tears over the empty bowl that comes home and the fact that you have no leftovers to enjoy later on.

Directions

1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Soak the onions in a bowl of clean, cold water. Drain after 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl add the onion slices, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, cheese, and tortellini. Gently toss them together.
4. In a different bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk everything together until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the tortellini salad and gently mix until everything’s nicely coated with the dressing. Serve this salad warm or at room temperature.

Ranch Pasta Salad

Summer and pasta salad just go hand in hand at my house.  Quick, economical and delicious!  Now let me beat you to it, yes I know Summer’s long gone and it’s already November. While that may be the case, another thing that go hand in hand in our home, are quick and easy meals. A hearty pasta salad is also a favorite of ours for a light dinner or a really filling lunch. So even though I’m loving living in the land of Soup, Stew, and Comfort Food at the moment pasta salad, or a version of it, still visits frequently. This is one of our favorite creamy/mayonnaise based pasta salads. I don’t make it too too often, but when I do I always wonder why I don’t make it more often.  I normally make it with rotini pasta (I feel the ‘dressing’ sticks to it best), but you can use pretty much any shaped pasta you’d like.

 ranch veggie pasta salad 2

Pasta salad doesn’t have to be the tired stuff of bad salad bars anymore (it’s 2014 people). Think of it as a blank canvas for fresh and flavorful ingredients you can toss in. Just look at all the vibrant colors we’re throwing into this one. They add one heck of a fresh flavor punch.

Ranch Veggie Pasta Salad

I urge you to try a pasta salad with ranch dressing. It’s a lovely, lovely thing.

Ranch Pasta Salad

ranch veggie pasta salad 3

recipe adapted from Inspired Craft Ideas 

1 cup Greek yogurt (fat free is great!)
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 packet ranch dressing mix, plus extra, to taste, if desired
1 lb rotini pasta, cooked
2 large carrots
1½- 2 cups broccoli
1 cup ham
1 cup cheddar cheese
½ yellow bell pepper
½ red bell pepper

Directions

1. Combine the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix. Set aside.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, drizzle with a bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick.
3. Chop the veggies, ham, and cheese into bite sized pieces. Combine with the pasta and ¾ of the dressing. Stir well, add additional dressing if it is too dry.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these other fan/family favorites as well.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad 3

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

Don’t you just love a good pasta salad? They just seem so summery to me. Whether as a light side with dinner, or as a lunch. My favorite though are the heartier versions where I can dump everything in, give it a good solid stir, and after it’s cold… voila! Dinner is served. Pasta salad literally provides endless possibilities for new flavor combinations and ingredients. It makes me so happy, like kid on Christmas morning happy. This particular pasta is one of my personal favorites. It also happens to include one of our favorite ways to season/prepare chicken. It’s so simple too!

 Generously season your chicken breasts with taco or fajita seasoning, and then bake them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cooked through. While having some on hand does give me an extra excuse to whip up one of our favorite pasta salads, we just genuinely like it that much. I love to dice it up and toss it in with some lettuce to make a nice hearty salad. The hubs uses it to make his own little protein packs to take to work. For the pasta salad though, you can make it all at once, or cook your chicken as much as a couple days ahead of time and have it ready to go.

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

Seriously, just look at those juicy slices of perfectly cooked chicken.

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Eat your colors’? Fresh ingredients can be so vibrant, and I’m really starting to notice the burst of intense, natural flavor they add to our meals. My favorite chicken, vine-ripened tomatoes, bacon, and a Mexican blend of cheeses over a bed of pasta. Oh the intensity! They all combine beautifully with just a tiny bit of help from the special sauce.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad 2

Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the recipe!

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad 3

recipe adapted from Recipes for our Daily Bread

3 chicken breasts, seasoned with taco or fajita seasoning
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
12 oz package of spiral pasta
1/2 cup Ranch dressing (not dry mix)
1/2 cup salsa, regular NOT a fruity blend
1 teaspoon taco or fajita seasoning
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, or cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Generously season the chicken with either taco or fajita seasoning and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through, at 350 degrees.
2. Allow the cooked chicken to cool slightly and then dice.
3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Set aside to cool.
4. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Allow grease to drain by putting the cooked bacon on some paper towels and when cool, crumble it.
5. Chop the tomato.
6. In a a large bowl combine all ingredients, stirring to mix everything together.

That’s it! Told ya, simple. While it’s great straight away, it tastes best when allowed to chill. It’s just as good if made the night before and left to refrigerate overnight.

This recipe was taken over to Fiesta Friday # 24 which is hosted every Friday by Angie on The Novice Gardener.

Asian Pasta Salad

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This pasta, tossed in a sesame oil and soy sauce-based dressing, is a refreshing, Asian-inspired side dish perfect for picnics.  This is great for lunch, a light main meal, or even a supper-time side dish, so serve it for the family, or make ahead for your next Bar-B-Q.

Do you ever roast a whole chicken, and then wonder what you’re going to do with all the leftover meat after dinner is over? This is perfect for a chicken dinner day after. Pick those bones clean! Don’t let anything go to waste. As my mom always said, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ That, and some juicy, leftover pieces from your roast chicken would be the perfect reason to whip up this dish.  Vegetarian or looking for a meatless meal idea? Omit the chicken. All the original tangy flavors will still infiltrate every bite.

Summer will be here before we know it, and this quick, colorful, and oh-so tasty cold, oriental noodle salad will pair perfectly with the season!

Asian Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Asian Pasta Salad

recipe adapted from Lil Luna

1 lb.  Tri-Color Rotini
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups diced or shredded chicken breast
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper strips, optional

Directions

1. Make pasta as directed and set aside.
2. Cook sesame seeds in a skillet on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside.
3. Mix together vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds and pepper with a whisk until mixed well.
4. Pour dressing mixture over pasta and mix until coated evenly
5. Add chicken, cilantro, spinach, carrots, and peppers, if using. Toss and serve.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Sometimes, I think my kids must find me a real drag. I mean, they love carbohydrates sooooo much. Why should they be forced to suffer through a salad? If they were meant to eat leaves, they would have been born cows… right? No.

I’m kidding. Just a little. Maybe. Really they don’t complain. Much.

However, this mean, green Mama came equipped with a wonderful little sensor. I can feel the resistance building. When I feel an attack of the ‘anti-leaf’ campaign approaching, I immediately resort to subterfuge. I find a way to get those greens in. I get behind their defenses and hit them where it hurts. Right in the taste buds. This recipe is a beautiful pairing of pasta and salad that they can’t resist. The secret ingredient? Bacon! They see the greens, they know they’re good for them. They know they should at least try to resist, but their surrender is inevitable. This dish is just too tasty. Support your own troops with this delicious pasta salad. Pack a punch that they won’t soon forget. Who said your greens had to taste ‘green’ anyway?!

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

  •  1 cup dry pasta; cooked according to package directions
  • 8 pieces bacon; cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease*
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 head of lettuce (or whole if small), chopped**
  • 1 cup croutons (optional)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup casesar dressing (or more to taste)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon, reserve 1-2 tbsp of the drippings/grease.
  3. Transfer cooled pasta to a bowl and toss with the bacon drippings* until evenly combined.
  4. Add in all other ingredients and stir thoroughly until evenly combined.
  5. Add in more dressing if necessary, to taste, and again toss everything to evenly coat.
  6. Serve immediately.**

*Don’t skip the bacon drippnigs! I know it might be tempting, but the flavor just isn’t nearly as robust without it. Also, it helps prevent the pasta from sticking together if you want to let it chill or transport.

**If not serving immediately, DO NOT add in the lettuce until you are ready to serve. If you add in the lettuce and don’t serve immediately the lettuce will be wilted and soggy.

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