My Pasta Salad Philosophy

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 by Rachel

The first pasta salad I ever made was a disaster. I took the recipe from a friend after eating his dish at a potluck. I don’t remember what it included, I think chicken and perhaps pepperoni. I had friends and sister around as my guinea pig food tasters. It was disgusting. Nobody finished their dish. Of course, that was 6 or 7 years ago, and I’ve become a much more sophisticated cook (also better at obeying directions!) Though I don’t make pasta salads weekly, I really appreciate them for their endless healthy possibilities. Pasta salads also have such a nice social quality to them. I almost always make a pasta salad for parties as a vegetarian option or side dish. The picture here is of a pasta salad that I made for my birthday party last year. Nobody turns their nose up at pasta salad!


After visiting my mom this weekend, she sent us home with squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I instantly knew that I’d be making a pasta salad. I picked up some pre-cooked/pre-diced Tyson bagged chicken (a coupon buy), a block of mozzarella, and some rotini noodles. I always like rotini, farfalle (bowtie) or cellentani (curly cue) for pasta salads, because I think their shapes are cute and appropriate for the dish (i.e. holds the sauce/dressing best). For this particular pasta salad, I tried to slice up everything (except for the pasta) so it was dime-sized. I put all the ingredients in a big bowl, then I mixed them up with a big spoon. I sliced the cheese and veggies while the pasta was boiling, so the total meal prep time was around 30 minutes.


So you can recreate the recipe if you choose, here are the proportions: 1 bag of the pre-cooked/pre-diced Tyson bagged chicken, ½ block of mozzarella, ½ box of rotini noodles, 3 medium-sized yellow squashes, 2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, a splash of olive oil.


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Food is always on my mind!

Friday, August 14th, 2009 by Rachel

Not all of my meals are successes. I screw up more than I care to admit. But today I felt like trying a new recipe. When Derrick and I were deciding what to eat for dinner, macaroni and cheese came up. We have three boxes of Kraft Mac&Cheese (it was on sale for 57 cents a box at Walmart) and one box of Velveeta shells & cheese.


But I looked in the pantry at the sad box of Cellentani sitting by itself. As you loyal readers know, I was supposed to make pasta salad yesterday before my discovery of the toxic redrum mold. That box of tiny little corkscrew-shaped enriched macaroni product was just staring up at me, and I knew that it needed to be cooked. This noodle is perfect in terms of both appearance and texture. It’s perfectly little engineered shape will hold anything, from olive oil to spaghetti sauce to cheese. Cellentani was worth the risk of adding a new fancy dish, and it matched the already “yellow plate” of grilled chicken and squash! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about at all, here’s a linky:


The grilled chicken, seasoned with Tony Chacheres, was delicious. Derrick hit a home run. This was also my first time cooking squash. I sautéed it in a little pan with butter, then salted and peppered it once it was on the plate. I definitely overdid it on the butter. I’m going to post the Mac & Cheese recipe that I used/adjusted a lot/sort of invented with the help of Commonsense cookbook. I’m also going to post what I think needed to be improved. I’ll appreciate any comments/suggestions as well!


Macaroni & Cheese ala RayRay




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