I've joined the Whip It Up challenge and will be posting new recipes here for the next few weeks. I will post the pictures on Flickr later - I need to replace the hard drive on my laptop so I'm not downloading any pictures until I get that fixed.
This week's challenge was pasta. I decided to share my basic pasta salad recipe with you. This recipe is so easy, and you can really get creative with it by adding shrimp, chicken, vegetables, or using different cheeses and different shapes of pasta - whatever you want. I have used it as a side dish for barbecues, or added chicken and peppers and used it as a main dish for dinner.
One thing to remember with this recipe is my measurements for spices are approximate. These are merely a starting point and feel free to add or subtract to your own tastes. Mangia!
4 cups dry pasta (I use tri-colored rotini, but you can use a mix of shell or rotini)
Bottled italian dressing (your favorite, I use Kraft fat-free house italian)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic power
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 tsp dried parsley
8 oz brick cheddar/jack cheese, cubed
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese (can use grated if you prefer)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Boil pasta until al dente; rinse under cold water until cool. In a serving bowl, toss the pasta with the dressing and spices until moist. Add cheese and additional dressing to moisten. Season with fresh ground pepper to taste. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Add more dressing if needed before serving.
Variations - to serve as a hot main dish, do not rinse. Add cooked chopped chicken, shrimp, chopped red and yellow bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, and toss with dressing and cheese as above.