Sunday, July 31, 2016

Erin's Pasta Salad - Cathy

We haven't posted much lately on our blog, I'm afraid.  Not that this is an unusual thing for me, despite my best intentions but we've been especially busy for the last oh...year or so, planning a pretty big event in our family.

It was a stunningly beautiful and touching ceremony, and the most wonderful day and evening full of so many friends and family.  And now Caity is Mrs. Garlinghouse!
Well, we're finally catching our breath and now it's the dog days of summer...the time of year when I come in from picking the garden and lie down on the kitchen floor next to our dog to try to cool off.  I wonder if that's why they call it that? IT'S SO HOT!! I know it's that way in a lot of places all across the country.

If you're looking for a nice cool salad to serve this weekend, this is a longtime favorite of ours.  The original recipe came from our friend, Cindy Taylor Voss who is a wonderful cook.  We've always just called it Cindy's pasta salad, and it was an ever-popular staple at any of the get-togethers we had.  A few years ago I asked Erin to make it for a big family party, and she started going through my cupboards and fridge, adding a lot of things to the original recipe (look away Taylor boys!) and we were thrilled with the results.  We have been making it that way ever since, and so it has become Erin's pasta salad.

I can't recommend this salad highly enough; it is always devoured and in the off-chance you have some leftover it holds pretty well the next day.  Though we very rarely use any bottled salad dressing or mixes for things, this calls for Good Seasons Italian dressing mix--I'm not sure how to replace it, and anyway, why mess with success?

One thing about this recipe is that there are no exact measurements for the veggies.  I tried to put approximate amounts, but just add them to your taste and be generous. The more there are, the more colorful and tasty!

Serves 8-10
Five Years Ago: Kevin's Italian Beef, Porch Swing, Pan Con Tomate, Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad
Four Years Ago: Basil Saketini, Rice, Bean and Many Veggie Gratin
Three Years Ago: Quick and Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam, Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters, Grilled Cornbread Panzanella
Two Years Ago: Grilled Zucchini and Hummus Pizzas, Campfire Breakfast Burritos, Gina's Mom's Tart, Watermelon Popsicles
One Year Ago: Grilled Fava Beans, Grilled Tomato, Corn and Red Onion Salad, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad with Chipotle-Lime Dressing

what you will need:

2 packages "Good Seasons" brand dry Italian dressing mix
Oil and vinegar of choice to mix up - we usually use white wine vinegar and canola oil or light olive oil
1 1-lb. package pasta, we like to use a mixture (but try to buy one already mixed or choose shapes that will cook at a similar rate)
1 large can black olives, chopped small
Green Cerignola olives, a handful, chopped small
Kalamata olives, a handful, chopped small
Baby carrots (or peeled regular carrots), 1/2 cup or so, chopped small
Marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut to bite-size, 1/2-1 cup
Cucumbers, cut small, 1/2 cup or so
Green and red bell peppers, chopped small, 1/2 cup each
A couple of Tbsp. of mayonnaise or Ranch dressing

Prepare one package of Italian dressing according to package instructions.

Then cook the pasta until al dente, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  Drain very well and put in a large bowl.

Add veggies to taste and toss gently with enough prepared dressing to just moisten.  Add in the bit of mayo or Ranch dressing just to make it a bit creamy and sprinkle in enough of the remaining powdered dressing to season it to your taste--maybe half of the package and save the other half for next time!

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