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Pasta Salad

A cold pasta salad is just the thing for dinner on a hot summer night. Easy to make and refreshing to eat, pasta salads can be served as the main dish or as a side dish.

One of the great things about a pasta salad is that you really can't go wrong. Pasta salads can be expanded, if needed, simply by adding another ingredient or two.

This is one of my favorite pasta salads to cook and serve in the summertime. I love how this salad uses frozen vegetables which means even less time in the kitchen since there is very little slicing and dicing with this salad.

Ingredients needed:

  • 2-1/2 cups uncooked pasta (spiral pasta or bow-tie pasta)
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2/3 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or substitute your favorite cheese)
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon bits (optional)
  • Crushed croutons (optional)

Take the package of frozen mixed vegetables and set it aside so that it will start to defrost. Add water to a large pot and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it following the directions on the package. While the pasta is boiling, shred the cheese and dice both the onions and tomatoes. Set them aside for later use.

When the pasta is finished cooking, turn off the heat and add the package of frozen mixed vegetables. You are not cooking the frozen vegetables; they will finish thawing while in the salad. Stir the vegetables and the pasta. Rinse the mixture of vegetables and pasta, then drain.

Place both of the salad dressings into a small bowl and add the dill and garlic salt. Stir till the mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl place the drained pasta, onions, tomatoes, dressing, and cheese. (Reserve about two tablespoons of cheese for later.) Gently stir the mixture so that the pasta is coated. Serve immediately or cover the bowl and then place into the refrigerator to chill.

Before serving, sprinkle the bacon bits, two tablespoons of cheese that was set aside, and croutons on top of the salad. Sprinkle the croutons to taste.

For variety add some of your favorite ingredients. Some suggestions would be adding other frozen vegetables or diced meat like ham or turkey. You are only limited by your imagination as to what can be added to this great-tasting pasta salad.

This recipe will serve six generous servings.

 

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