Saturday, May 21, 2011

Picnic Pasta Salad

This version of pasta salad was a staple of family get BBQ's when I was growing up. Ingredients can vary but the back bone of rainbow pasta, salad seasoning, and your favorite Italian salad dressing always tied it together. Use my version as a base to create your own Picnic Pasta Salad.

Serves 4

1/2 box rainbow Rotini, cooked and chilled
1/3 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 green bell pepper, diced
1/3 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 orange bell pepper, diced
1/3 cucumber, peeled and diced
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 small head of broccoli, segmented into tiny florets
Kraft Italian Red Pepper Vinnegrette, or your favorite Italian style dressing, to taste
Johnny's Salad Elegance Seasoning, to taste

Combine all ingredients in to a large bowl and combine. I always start modestly with both the dressing and the salad seasoning, you can always add more. Once combined chill until serving. The dressing normally settles at the bottom of the bowl, so be sure to stir the salad before serving.

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is a common Italian soup made with fresh seasonal vegetable along with the addition of beans and pasta. This soup can be made a variety of ways to suit each persons tastes. It is simple yet hearty. My version is always vegetarian and varies with the seasons.

Serves 4-6

32oz box of your favorite stock/ broth. I prefer to use a vegetarian "No Chicken, Chicken Stock
1 can petite diced tomatoes
Handful of frozen corn
Handful of frozen peas
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1 cup cooked Ditalini pasta, or whatever you prefer
1/2 small white onion diced
2-3 kale leafs, chopped thin

Spices to taste:
black pepper
garlic paste
onion powder
sea salt
1 generous squirt of ketchup (trust me on this one)

Combine all ingredients with the exception of the pasta and heat until it comes to a boil. Once it boils turn down to a simmer for about 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add pasta before serving so they do not become overly starchy in the soup. 

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.