August 6, 2013

Quick Colorful Cheddar Pasta Toss

I don't know about y'all but I'm holding onto Summer and soaking up every last drop of sunshine. Normally by this time in August we are begging for Fall to make an appearance. This year the weather has been absolutely amazing. We've had a few days with the highs in the 90s, but mostly it's been upper 80s and down into the low 70s at night. This year I am definitely not yearning for Summer to end!
 
One of my favorite things about Summer is all of the delicious salads and pasta salads that seem to pop up. They are great for light colorful meals that don't heat up your kitchen. So in celebration of hanging onto Summer for just a little while longer I'm going to share our absolute favorite Summer salad. It's packed with protein so we honestly eat it as a stand alone meal a lot of the time! This recipe is toddler tested and toddler approved, and honestly there's nothing better than a meal that the whole family enjoys! It is also always a hit at potlucks, picnics, parties and showers. I always come home with an empty bowl and recipe requests!
 
 
 
What You Need:
 
  • 1 (16 oz) box of tri-color rotini pasta
  • 1 (10 oz) bag of frozen green peas
  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1 (8 oz) package of cheddar cheese (sharper the better) cubed
  • 1/2 cup of sliced ripe olives
  • 1 (4 oz) jar of pimentos
  • 3 green onions, green parts only, chopped
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS of mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper, to taste
 
What You Need To Do:
 
  • In a large pot cook pasta according to package directions. Add peas during the last 5 minutes of cook time. Or, you can cook them separately. I like doing it this way because hey, one less pot!
  • While the pasta boils you can do your chopping of the ham, cheese and onions and open and drain the olives and pimentos.
  • Once the pasta and peas are done, drain very well. I usually let mine sit at least 5-10 minutes.
  • While the pasta drains make the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, olive oil and seasonings in a small bowl and whisking together. PRO TIP: Double the dressing. Trust me.
  • Toss all ingredients and dressing together in a large bowl.
  • Let chill at least two hours before serving but overnight is best.
Enjoy!
 
If you liked this recipe be sure to pin it for later! And if you aren't following me on Pinterest you are missing out!
 
Credit: This recipe was originally found in the Southern Living 5 Star Recipe Collection cook book.
 
 
 
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