Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Pasta Salad

For family functions that I am invited to, I am usually asked to bring my pasta salad. The recipe is really easy and doesn't take much time. We'll start with a list of ingredients - I usually make a double batch, so that is what my list is for. 2 green peppers 2 red/orange/yellow pepper (if you want it colorful, you could any combination to equal 4 peppers) 2 cucumbers 1-2 red onions (depends on size and how much you like onions-can also use vidalia onions) 2 boxes rotini noodles Mrs Dash Original Blend Seasoning - enough to give a generous coating over the vegetables 2 - 16oz bottles Kraft Seven Seas Viva Italian salad dressing -- they have since discontinued this, and since it is so difficult to find, I have to use whatever the store has. If you can find the Kraft House dressing that is the closest. The Kraft Tuscan House is good, but a little spicy. Optional - You can also add tomato, carrots, cheese (don't add until right before eating-it gets soggy), bacon bits (don't add until right before eating), crutons **If any of the ingredients seem like too much, don't add them. Example - Sometimes after cutting up 3 peppers I feel like that is plenty so I omit the 4th one. Anything you would eat in a regular salad you could add to this! Have fun with it!! Try new things! Be creative! The store I went to didn't have what I was looking for, so I had to get Zesty Italian. It isn't my favorite, but it works. Here is a picture of what the Mrs Dash looks like.
I recently got the new Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor, so I thought I'd use it help with all of the chopping.
This picture wouldn't load the correct way. I just took it to show what the MFP looks like in pieces.
First you start by getting the water ready for the noodles. You want to bring the salted water to boil and cook the noodles per the directions, but making sure the noodles are al dente.
Second I cut up the veggies while the noodles are cooking and put them in a bowl large enough to mix the pasta salad in.
I didn't use the Manual Food Processor (MFP) on the cucumbers. To cut up the cucumbers, I first peeled the skin off. Then, I cut it in half length wise. Laying (what was) the middle of the cucumber on my cutting board, I cut that in half length wise. That left me with 4 long strips per cucumber. I then cut them into bite size pieces.
The peppers were next. I washed them, then cut the tops and bottoms off and removed all the seeds. Normally, I would cut into strips and then bites sized pieces, but this time I used my MFP. What a time saver!
This is what the peppers looked like when I was done.
Same thing with the green peppers. This is only part of 1 green pepper.
The red onions at the store looked pretty bad, so I used a vidalia onion.
After the noodles are finished cooking, put them in a strainer in the sink and run them under cold water. I used my spoon to stir them and make sure they all get a good rinse to get the salt off. The cold water also helps to cool them off.
The store also didn't have rotini noodles... so I made due with these.
Unfortunately, my camera battery died. The rest is the easy part, though! With the veggies cut up in the bowl, mix them together well. Take the Mrs Dash and coat the veggies generously. Make sure all the veggies have Mrs Dash on them, then mix well. Add the noodles to the veggies, mix well. This is not always very easy until you add the dressing. With 2 16oz bottles, I use a bottle and a half of dressing. I mix it well, then transfer it to a container with a lid. You could also make in the container that you want to store it in. Then you refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Right before serving, you want to mix well. If it looks like it might be a little dry, add some of the remaining dressing, and mix well.
You can very easily turn this into a family favorite! Be creative! Try new things! Enjoy!

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