Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday ~ Pasta Salad

 This is Jeff's favorite pasta salad, inspired by a macaroni salad his mom makes, but perfected by an "oops" moment in my kitchen. ;)

Pasta Salad
Boil 8 oz. of pasta to al dente (we like medium shells the best = 2 c. of dry pasta)

While it's boiling prepare:

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese cubed in small cubes
1/2 c. red pepper (or yellow)
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained

Mix the dressing: (I like to do it in a jar and shake it.)
3/4 c. lite mayo
1/4 c. milk
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper (to your taste)
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

When the pasta is done and stops steaming, drain it well and dump it in the bowl you'll mix it in. While it's still hot, sprinkle the cheese cubes (and I also do the peppers/olives) all over it, so that they melt just a little and stick to the pasta. Jeff says THIS is the secret. :) I discovered the "secret" when I was in a hurry, and went ahead and dumped the cheese in, so I could pop the bowl in the fridge and run. What I thought was an "oops" turned out to be a secret step ... and a time saver!   LOVE THAT!

After the pasta has cooled a little, pour the dressing all over it and mix well. Some of the cheese will clump together ... it's up to you if you want to break it up or leave it as a "bonus" for someone to find.

Chill the pasta salad in the fridge until it's very cold. I like to give it a few hours, so that the flavors blend really well. It's awesome if you make it in the morning and serve it that night.

This batch was served with barbecued pulled pork. YUM!
The BEST combination (Jeff's favorite warm weather meal combo) is Grilled chicken, this pasta salad, fresh corn, and fruit. Add a fresh focaccia bread with olive oil, and it's perfection on the patio!

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