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easy–peasy pasta salad 

first of all, thank you for your kind words and messages yesterday ☺️

tis the season for cookouts, barbecues ( <—–did I ever mention that I don’t like that word?  I lost my 5th grade spelling bee to this word.  There is not a ‘Q’ in barbecue)
Le sigh…  
Anyway.. where you find cookouts, you find fun side dishes!  Our family always had a slaw, potato salad, detox salad or pasta salad in the fridge this time of year. 

A favorite is my Mom’s pasta salad. Nothing fancy, just amazing. 

Recently I made this version of a pasta salad..   And while it can be tweaked to whomever is eating it, this is how I did it.  I have a lot of readers who are adjusting to cooking on their own. I’m going to try to share some easy, inexpensive ideas for y’all. 
This came out a bit on the spicy side. But we love heat around here.  I’ll put the non spicy version in parentheses.

Vinegarette-based pasta salad 

1 pound pasta of choice (we love farafalle for this) 

Sea salt

1 /2 red onion chopped 

1/2 cup pepperoni, quartered 

1/2 block pepperjack cheese ( use Monterey Jack or cheddar for less spice) chopped 

Cherry tomatoes *see tip below for easy cutting *

1/4 cup chopped olives

1/4 cup pepperincinis,sliced 

1/3-1/2 cup of premade Italian dressing ( I like Newman’s for this, use what you like)

1/4 cup herbed feta ( not pictured) 

Broccoli florets go great in this but I didn’t have any

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add sea salt. Cook pasta according to box and drain ( don’t rinse) 

Add about a tablespoon of dressing to warm pasta and toss.  Let come to room temp, tossing every once in awhile.

Add toppings

Then top with dressing and toss!

If using the red pepper flakes, sprinkle a few on top. 
I made this last week and my family devoured it. It’s so simple, yet so tasty.  It has just the right mixture of texture and flavor 
Some more of our family favorite side dishes 

Blistered tomato salad with feta and arugula 

 Spinach fennel salad with blood orange and arugula

Prosciutto cantaloupe salad

***. Easy way to halve a bunch of cherry tomatoes. ***


Take 2 deli- style lids 
Lay tomatoes single file on one lid 


Top with other lid upside down 


Use a serrated knife.  Apply gentle pressure to top lid and slowly cut between the 2 lids 

Bada bing!


The hubs and I have been playing words with friends again.  He’s terribly competitive 🙄. And I never win a match with him 😂😂😂
Anyone else have super competitive family members???

Off to hear about him winning again..

Until next time…
Ciao bellas!

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