musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Monday, August 30, 2010

Obsessed with Veggies

Don't faint, but Son-O requested veggie-pasta salad to go with the steaks (that had been hiding in the freezer for nearly two years. . . ask me why they weren't freezer-burnt and tasted totally fresh and delicous) we decided to grill last night.  Yes, a teenager *asking* for veggies.  Yup.  He's pretty cool.  Thank you very much.  No.  You can't have him.

Of course, being Mom, I embraced this request and ran with it.  Did some digging around various recipe websites for some ideas and hit upon some gold. . . vegetable and pasta style.

And, of course, me being me, I couldn't resist tweaking and altering and substituting and adding and subtracting and. . . All vegetable and pasta measurements are approximate.

Creamy Pasta-Veggie Salad

2 cups pasta (lg. elbo noodles, shells, fiori, corkscrew, bow ties, etc. - your choice)
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots (thinly sliced whole carrots or 'chunked' baby carrots can be used)
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
6-8 green onions finely sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


2/3 cup mayonnaise (could use Miracle Whip in a pinch - but then do not add any vinegar)
1/3 cup prepared Ranch salad dressing
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp red wine vinegar (could use 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp dried minced onion
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp prepared mustard

Cook pasta according to package directions. 

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables.  Set aside.


Rinse pasta with cold water to cool.  Set aside

While pasta is cooling, combine all dressing ingredients.

Combine cooled pasta with prepared vegetables, dressing, and shredded cheese. 

Mix well. 

Let sit 15-20 minutes at room temperature, or one hour in refrigerator to allow dressing and flavors to 'mingle' and 'get-friendly' and tasty and stuff.  Serve.

While I was making this, I had several ideas for and leftovers.  What do you think of this Creamy Pasta-Veggie Salad Makeover?  IF you have any leftovers, add some sunflower kernels, bacon bits, cooked diced chicken and/or chopped boiled egg. 

Oh my goodness - I canNOT wait for supper tonight and some Do-over Pasta salad!  Yes.  It was *that* good:-)  It's taken every iota of self-control I have today to not go to the refrigerator and eat all that's left.  I'm already planning on making it again!

Are you wondering what the fellas thought of this one?  Hubster said he wished it had sunflower kernels in it (haha!  And that was *before* told him my 'Do-Over' plans with the leftovers).  Son-O thought it had a little too much dressing and would have preferred shredded carrots over the chopped baby carrots that I used.  He was voted down on the dressing suggestion, but a thumbs up on the carrot thought.

And please keep in mind, everything is very flexible in this recipe - quantities and choices - when it comes to the pasta, vegetables, and even the cheese.  Don't like brocoli?  Then skip it. . . Prefer more pasta to vegetable ratio?  Go for it!  Love that cheese?  Add more!  Crunchy celery make you smile?  Then, by all means, toss some in!

 The dressing, however, is not quite so bending.  You can adjust a little here and there with the spices as you like, but, for the most part, it's good to go!  And would be tasty on all kinds of things.

Have a Veggie kind of day ~

Robin Z

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