Y’all. My mom is a kitchen genius. From baking to marinating to straight up cooking, she has it down and I’m constantly trying to learn from her. The hard part? The woman doesn’t use recipes! It’s all in her head and she just eyeballs it, adding and subtracting until it looks right. Luckily though, I can get her to write things down every once in a while, which is why I’m able to share this pasta salad recipe today!
I could eat this pasta salad all day, every day! It’s super light taste and tons of colors make it a perfect addition to a BBQ or picnic. I am not a fan of mayonnaise-based salads for a variety of reasons so I love that this salad packs tons of flavor without it. Plus, without any mayonnaise, it’s a great option for entertaining outside.
It also is really really good the next day. Or even the day after that so if you make too much (which is almost impossible), you can definitely enjoy the leftovers.
Now, without the dressing, this pasta salad recipe would just be a bowl of noodles and veggies. The dressing is what makes it special. It’s super easy to make and you can really tweak it to your taste. The olives give the salad quite a bit of saltiness so I would suggest going light on the additional salt until you’ve tasted it. Bonus here: you get to taste test it before anyone else, multiple times if you have to!
Pasta Salad Recipe
1 box tricolor rotini, cooked to package directions
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 can medium pitted black olives, halved
1/2 jar of green olives, halved
5 oz of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 c red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta to package directions and then drain.
Prep celery, onion, olives and tomatoes to mix into the pasta. Chill mixture for about an hour to ensure the pasta is really cool.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing together and pour half of it over the salad. Stir until all the ingredients are coated. Set the remainder aside.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Pour the remaining dressing over the pasta salad and mix thoroughly.
When I was in college, I had my wisdom teeth removed and in the weeks that followed, I only ate three things: milkshakes via a spoon, shredded chicken and mac and cheese out of the famous blue box.
Unfortunately, once the swelling went down, I discovered a very strong (and new) aversion to said mac and cheese. As in, I couldn’t even look at it without feeling funny (and still can’t as a matter of fact). So for many years, I went mac and cheese-less.
I know. It was hard on us all.
But that changed when I learned how easy it was to make my own from scratch. Y’all. It is so dang easy. One pot and 20-ish minutes later and you’re in cheesy heaven! I know that sounds impossible. But it’s a real thing. Trust me.
See? Photos don’t lie.
Now, you could make this with any type of cheese your heart desires, but I opt to make my mac and cheese spicy. The pepperjack cheese and hot sauce add a subtle spiciness that keep this from being just any old other mac and cheese recipe.
Plus you make this all in one pot!
That’s only one dish to clean up when you’re done!
Did I mention that this is a one pot mac and cheese recipe? Yes? Ok. Just making sure.
Pepperjack Mac and Cheese Recipe:
1 12 oz can of low fat evaporated milk
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups dry pasta (I use medium shells)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp hot sauce (adjust this to your taste)
black pepper to taste
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Combine the water, evaporated milk, salt and pasta in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the pasta to cook until the liquid has reduced and the pasta is tender (about 9 minutes).
Add the hot sauce, cornstarch and black pepper. Stir thoroughly. Allow the mac and cheese to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and slowly add in the cheese, stirring until melted.
No need to return the pan to the heat, the sauce will thicken upon standing. Serve hot.
I’m sharing this post with Mary and Alesha for Delicious Dish Tuesday and am so happy to have been the featured post for the week!
Sweet potatoes are like running. I know that seems like an odd comparison, but hang with me for a second. If you had told me five years ago that I would run consistently and even enjoy it, I would have told you that you were crazy.
Same with sweet potatoes: I was not a fan, especially of the super sweet kind you normally find at Thanksgiving. But then I found the beauty of roasting them in the oven and boom! I loved them!
These are the tastiest, easiest sweet potatoes you could possibly find. Crispy and peppery, there is none of the sticky sweetness I remember from holidays past. This recipe makes for a perfect side dish for two people, or a great lunch for one (especially when you add some cheese).
1 sweet potato
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Wash and dry the sweet potato. Cut into evenly sized pieces.
Arrange the pieces into a single layer on the cookie sheet. Spray pieces lightly with cooking spray.
Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip pieces over.
Bake for another 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.