Summer Salad / Pasta Primavera

Through a lifetime of potluck dinners I’ve found that most folks fall into warring camps when it comes to pasta salad (and potato salad):

  • There’s the Mayo versus Mustard factions …
  • and the Sweet versus Dill Relish factions.

I like to mix things up a bit by throwing them all into my Summer Salad / Pasta Primavera recipe.  It’s an unusual combination that has won over many former partisans.

When first prepared, the dish is hot so I call it Pasta Primavera.  Once chilled, it’s Summer Salad.  Although the ingredients are identical, the two dishes take on very different characters due to the way temperature affects flavors and the resulting texture.  Either way, it tastes great.

And, best of all, it keeps well in the fridge so I can make a huge batch for a week of cool summertime lunches (or dinners).

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Lazy Mandarin Grilled Chicken Salad

One of my favorite lazy tricks is Tyson Grilled Chicken.  This recipe uses it and some Dole Fruit Bowls to transform a boring side salad into a restaurant-worthy main dish:  Mandarin Grilled Chicken Salad.

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Mexican Mess / Micro Taco Salad

I make a taco salad pasta dish I affectionately call Mexican Mess or Micro Taco SaladI have no idea where the recipe came from.

The taco pasta is sort of like a Mexican-spiced Spaghetti with Meat Sauce … but once you add all the toppings, the similarity fades.

Stretching meat with pasta (or beans or tofu) has long been a strategy for poor folk (myself included) but it is also healthy by cutting red meat consumption.  And using whole wheat or fiber-fortified pasta makes the dish even more nutritious.


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