Italian Salad(Pasta or no Pasta)

Let’s face it, I love all pasta.  I love it hot, cold and leftover!

When I think of pasta salad I think of summer. But this Italian Pasta Salad can be served all year long hot as a main dish, cold as a side dish, and packed in the lunchbox the next day for a yummy lunch your kids will love!

pasta salad

Don’t want the pasta? Put it over Romaine lettuce instead! I love making an Italian Salad for a crowd because sometimes I don’t want to make an antipasto and a salad. So, I combine them and there you have it! Like everything else this recipe can be adjusted depending on what you have in the house.

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Italian Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

With Pasta:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of small elbow pasta(or any type you prefer)
  • 1 packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup of Giardeniera Italian mix, drained
  • 7-10 oz pack of mozzarella balls(the little pearl ones)
  • 1/4 cup of pepperoni or salami, chopped into small pieces
  • big bunch of parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil a pot of salted water.
  2. Cook pasta per directions on box.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Prepare the dressing per directions on box.
  5. Put the pasta in a large bowl.
  6. Add all the ingredients except for the dressing.
  7. Toss together. Make sure you added enough salt and pepper. It needs a good amount.
  8. Drizzle with a little bit of dressing and mix again.
  9. Add enough dressing so that everything is coated and tasty.
  10. Before serving you may need to add more dressing to moisten the pasta.

Without Pasta:

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of black olives, halved
  • 7-10 oz pack of mozzarella balls(the little pearl ones) or shredded mozzarella
  • 1 can of hearts of palm
  • 1 can of marinated mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup of pepperoni or salami, chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dressing per directions on box.
  2. Lay your lettuce on a platter.
  3. Top the lettuce with all the toppings except for the dressing.
  4. Season with salt and pepper salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle with a little bit of dressing.

Enjoy!

Listed below are some of my other favorite salads…

No Romaine, No Problem

Shoepeg Corn Salad

 

 

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Pan Fried Artichoke Hearts

Artichoke hearts alone can make me a very happy person! It’s a known fact that they are the best part of the artichoke!! Coat them in breadcrumbs, fry ’em up and serve with a dipping sauce; I’m ready to party!

I always loved these as a kid and I love them as an adult. It is the perfect appetizer for any occasion. I think they are sort of fancy and have always thought of it as a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve sort of appetizer.

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If you are eyeing my mom’s bread dish like I was, I found some that are similar. Her platter is from years ago!

Large Banana Leaf Platter

Wood Leaf Serving Tray

Pan Fried Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Drain artichokes and pat until completely dry.
  2. In a coating tray, crack the egg in one tray and whisk.
  3. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate tray.
  4. Toss each artichoke heart in the egg and then coat with breadcrumbs.
  5. Put them aside until all are done and you are ready to fry.
  6. In a large skillet put enough oil so that it is about 1 inch high. Heat on medium high heat.
  7. When oil is ready, put several artichoke hearts in the skillet and let them brown.  When they are browned on the one side, turn them over with tongs and let them brown on the other side.
  8. When you remove them, place them on a paper towel lined dish.
  9. When all the artichoke hearts are done put them on a serving platter and serve with a Simple Crushed Tomato Sauce for dipping.

Enjoy!


If you liked this, you will love…

Roasted Peppers with Garlic

Broccoli Rabe

 

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is the item that will never be removed from our Thanksgiving menu. This has been on the Thanksgiving menu in our family for generations. They are amazing. We devour them that day and they are even better leftover. I have to make 50-60 mushrooms for about 8 people! These are also great to serve on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. They look fancy and everyone will love them!

The key is to get large, fresh, white mushrooms. Sometimes the large ones are hard to find, but keep looking…  It is worth the search.

***You can do all the prep work the day before. Cover tightly in the fridge until ready to bake.***

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 50-60 large, white mushrooms
  • 2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cups of grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 big bunch of Italian parsley, rinsed and chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Use a wet paper towel or clean dish cloth to wipe the dirt off of every mushroom. (This is the best way to get the dirt off. If you don’t have the patience for that, you can rinse them in a strainer. But you must dry them immediately since they soak up all the water.)
  2. Remove all the stems of the mushrooms while washing the dirt off. Set aside and finely chop about 1 cup of the stems.
  3. In a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, mushroom stems and about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Stuff each mushroom with stuffing mixture.
  6. Place mushrooms on a large baking sheet that is drizzled with olive oil.
  7. Drizzle more olive oil on top of the mushrooms.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Mushrooms should be brown and tender.


Here are some other great holiday dishes:

Grandma’s Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

Butternut Squash Soup

 

 

Holy Guacamole

 

Guacamole

Avocados are amazing. In my house, we all love them. I can’t keep up with buying them.  They are expensive! I complain because I find my husband’s avocado pits all over in cups because he has been trying to grow an avocado tree for years. But I wish he’d grow one already. It would save us some money!

When my 10 year old gets home from school he usually asks for guacamole and chips.  That’s when I smash an avocado, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  But this recipe I bring out on special occasions. It’s really tastes amazing! I can’t let my family know I’m making it because they eat it up with a spoon before I even put it on the table.

TIPS:  Once you see your avocados getting too ripe, put them in the fridge.  It will keep them fresh for a long time! 

Once you make the guacamole keep the pits that you’ve taken out and put them in the bowl of guac to keep it fresh until ready to eat!  

Ingredients

  • 6 Haas Avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 of an onion minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced(If you like it mild just use half)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro(Some people don’t like the taste of cilantro.  So you can skip it or use less)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced

Directions

  1. Scoop out the insides of the avocados and place them in a medium bowl.
  2. Squeeze lime over avocados.  Toss to coat.
  3. Mash to make it smooth.
  4. Add salt, cumin and cayenne.  Mash again.
  5. Fold in the onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro and garlic.
  6. Put the avocado pits back in to keep it fresh until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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You can pair this guacamole with any other recipes below:

Salsa Salsa

Mita’s Slow Cooker Chicken

Chicken Tostadas

Carne Asada Tacos