Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

IMG_9603This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen.  With Independence Day quickly approaching, I wanted to try a new recipe for macaroni salad.  The ingredients caught my attention because of the addition of lemon juice.  I followed the recipe exactly – and what I liked was that the dressing was not overly thick.  The lemon added a nice fresh flavor to the salad.  What I did not like is that it seemed to be lacking something else.  I thought the parsley was overpowering.  I would change that to something like basil – and I bought a ham steak, diced it up and added about 1 cup to the salad.  It was now much better!  It still is not my most favorite recipe, but it is a nice change from the same old same old.  I also added about 1/2 tsp of Spike seasoning to the salad.  It is a seasoning I use in my Hawaiian Potato Mac salad and really like the flavors that it adds.

Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced basil (originally parsley)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Spike (optional)
  • 1 cup diced ham steak

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions.  Do not overcook the pasta though, you want it to still have some texture once you add the dressing.  Drain the pasta.  Rinse the pasta in cold water and give it a quick drain (you want to keep a little of the moisture of the water in the pasta – it will keep the dressing from becoming overly thick.

Combine the chopped red onion, chopped celery, chopped basil (or parsley), lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper in a small bowl and add these to the cooled macaroni salad.  Stir together and allow to sit for 2 or 3 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb.

Add the mayonnaise to the pasta and stir to combine.  Season with Spike if you think it needs more flavor.  Add the chopped ham to the pasta salad and stir. Chill until serving.

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Pasta Salad

Here is another lovely Pasta Salad that I like to serve with BBQ foods.  It is a variation on the Veggie salad, but with tri-color rotini pasta.

Pasta Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 oz tri-color Rotini Pasta
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into bite size chunks (remove the seeds if they are large)
  • 1 package grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can ripe olives, drained
  • 3/4 cup Italian dressing (I used a roasted red pepper Italian dressing that is quite yummy)

Instructions:

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and shock with cold water to bring the temperature down.  Combine the pasta, veggies and the dressing. Toss.  Chill and serve.


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Greek Orzo Salad

Greek Orzo Salad

I know I have posted this one before, but it truly is one of my favorite salads to make with barbecue food.  Greek flavors of feta pair perfectly with the tomato, cucumber, artichoke, and olive flavors.  Orzo pasta fills in the quantity nicely.  You can add more to stretch the salad for a larger crowd. My original post.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8

  • 3/4 lb Orzo Pasta (I love the Barilla Brand)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced (I like the hot house or English ones they are most consistently good)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 can black olives (Greek style if you desire, but can be made with just regular olives if you wish)
  • 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes (chopped tomato is fine too)
  • fresh basil, chopped (to taste or 1 tsp of dried basil works in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cut in cubes if you like larger pieces of feta
  • 1/2 jar roasted Red Peppers (optional)

For the Dressing:

  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Cook the Pasta according to the directions.  Prepare the vegetables, and put in a large bowl.  When the pasta is cooked, drained and cooled, add to the chopped veggies.  Combine the ingredients of the dressing and pour over the pasta salad.  Combine.  Add the feta cheese last, it seems to hold together better then.  Enjoy.  This really is quite addicting.  I think you will find it is as well.

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Greek Orzo Salad

Veggies and Feta

Red Wine Vinegar Dressing


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Warm Italian-Style Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

I originally found a recipe in “Taste of Home” Magazine that was an Italian Pasta, but I accidentally heated it up the first time I made and we discovered we loved it that way.  Plus it had grated carrots in the original and we didn’t like it.. so a few changes later it is mine!

Italian Style Pasta Salad
Serves 6
Ingredients

  • 14 1/2    ounces Tomatoes, with garlic and onion — canned
  • 16    ounces    Caesar Dressing — Marie’s is good
  • 2        Onions, Green — thinly sliced
  • 15    ounces    Artichokes, Canned — hearts, cut up
  • 20    ounces    Tortellini pasta, Cheese — refrigerated
  • 1    medium    Green Pepper — chopped
  • 6    ounces    Olives, Ripe — drained, pitted
  • 3    ounces    Pepperoni — sliced, mild
  • 1/2    cup    Cheese, Parmesan — shredded

Instructions

In a 13x9x2 inch baking dish combine first 7 ingredients.  Add cooked tortellini pasta and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and heat at 325° F for 30 minutes.

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