Pasta salad

Spring is here — according to our calendars, at least. Mother Nature may still be throwing a few temper tantrums here and there, but that won’t stop the cookouts from taking over your weekend dinner plans.

If you plan to attend a cookout, it’s customary to bring a food item. Tempting as it may be to pick up some $3 sugar cookies from Kroger, why not try cooking something that everyone is sure to rave about? If you plan ahead, you might even help your meal plans for the week by saving some for yourself.

Pasta salad is always a crowd favorite, but this recipe in particular is deliciously refreshing, ridiculously simple and hardly takes any time to prepare.

First, let’s go over your grocery list:

  • One box of pasta (preferably rotini, but bowtie or penne works as well)
  • One-half bottle of zesty Italian dressing (Kraft is recommended)
  • Two cucumbers
  • Two red and yellow bell peppers
  • A carton of grape tomatoes
  • Cayenne pepper

Note: You can adjust the amount of dressing, pepper and veggies to your liking.

All right, you’ve unloaded the groceries. Now, it’s time to get things cooking.

  1. Cook pasta as instructed on box
  2. Dice cucumbers and bell peppers. Cut tomatoes in half. Toss all veggies into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add dressing and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mixing bowl. Stir.
  4. Once cooked, drain the pasta. To cool the noodles, place them under cold running water.
  5. Add cooked pasta to mixing bowl. Stir.
  6. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours. The longer it sits, the richer the flavor.
  7. Remove salad from refrigerator and give it another good stir.
  8. Serve cold and enjoy.

If you plan on keeping some for yourself, you may want to double the batch, but it’s advised not to double the spice. Pasta salad makes for a perfect leftover, provided you keep it refrigerated. It can last up to seven days after being prepared, which gives you quite a few quality meals for the week ahead.

Life and Arts Editor

Anne Simendinger has been with The News Record since September 2017 as a staff reporter, digital producer, and life and arts editor. She is also a Cincinnati contributor for BroadwayWorld.