Everyday Mom's Meals: Think Outside the Pasta Box

Monday, June 22, 2015

Think Outside the Pasta Box

Here in Indiana we've been dealing with some really stormy weather. We've got floods in towns near to us, and farmers crops probably ruined for the season. It's been hot, humid and wet. But I know for many of you south of us, you're simply dealing with HOT temps. The stifling heat that takes your breath away the minute you walk out the door. On days like that, you want food that satisfies you, but doesn't raise your body temperature any more than it already is.

By now you know how much we love pasta. You know my obsession for it runs deep and if I could eat something every day for the rest of my life, it would be it. But when it's hot and muggy, as much as I love it, I just can't eat it as much as I would like. Or so I thought...until I started thinking outside the pasta box.

Why can't I have the pasta I love, but in a cool, summer inspired salad, filled with garden fresh, crunchy veggies, without a heavy, hot sauce? There is no reason I can't!!! We love pasta salad, so why not just ramp it up to take it from a side dish we love on picnics and at barbecues, to a main dish filling enough for a supper after a long day??!!

Oh.My.Blog! This is crazy good! I can't even describe it. There are no words for just how yummy it is. Seriously, I'm salivating just thinking about eating it again. Oh, and it just happens to make a ton too, so you can feed a crowd, or have it to eat all week long. Add some crusty bread or fresh fruit, and supper is done!

Be sure to keep this one in mind for your upcoming July 4th party! I guarantee it will be the thing everyone takes seconds and thirds of, and then will want the recipe too!

Summer Spaghetti Salad
Inspired by Taste of Home
1 lb. thin spaghetti, broken into thirds
1 (10 oz.) container cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 (3.4 oz.) can sliced black olives
1 (16 oz.) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 TBS sesame seeds,  extra for garnish
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBS dried parsley, extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook spaghetti until just done. Do not over cook. Rinse with cold water and drain well. In a large bowl combine all veggies and spaghetti. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl whisk together dressing, cheese, sesame seeds, paprika, celery seed, garlic powder and parsley. Pour over salad. Toss very well to coat. Garnish with extra parsley and sesame seeds. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Can be made ahead 24 hours and refrigerated until serving.

Shared on The Country Cook

Disclaimer: As a field editor for Taste of Home, I share this recipe with my own thoughts and opinions. I am NOT a paid employee. 

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