Sunday, May 28, 2023

Cavatappi Shrimp Salad

This is one of my favorite pasta salads and I've been making it for years. It's smooth and creamy with tender shrimp and just a slight crunch of sweet onion and celery. I make it with elbows and sometimes with spiral pasta but my favorite is Cavatappi. I like the way the ridges hold the dressing and make it creamy and delicious. I like to eat it warm when I first make it and then refrigerate it for a few days of eating it chilled. So good!   It's one of those salads that just gets better each day as the flavors meld together. Don't forget to add the Old Bay seasoning for the perfect blend of spices!

Cavatappi Shrimp Salad 

1 box Cavatapi pasta
1 lb large precooked fresh or frozen shrimp, thawed and cut in pieces
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 Vidalia or sweet onion chopped
2 teaspoons fresh dill weed
2 teaspoons celery seed
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup mayo (I only use Hellman's Real Mayo)
1 tablespoon of milk or half and half

If using frozen peeled and cleaned shrimp, thaw them over night in bag they came in so you can save some of the liquid. 

Cook pasta in large pot of salted, boiling water until tender. Drain pasta and add to large bowl. Do not rinse the pasta. 

While pasta is cooking, remove tails from shrimp and cut into preferred sized pieces. In a separate bowl whisk together mayo, cream (or half and half), a little teaspoon of the shrimp liquid, diced celery, chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste. Add the dill weed, Old Bay seasoning and parsley.

Add dressing to pasta and mix in well. Then fold in shrimp making sure you distribute throughout. You may not need all the dressing if you prefer your salads to be more dry. I like mine creamy. Taste dressing to see if you need more seasonings.

I serve this warm when I first make it and then cold for the next day or two. It just gets better.

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad


 You know you have a winner pasta salad when you can’t decide if it’s better hot or cold.  When you decide it’s a full dinner meal and not just a side salad.  You know it’s a winner when you put on the pot luck buffet table and it’s gone within a few minutes.  This is definitely a winner.



















Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad


16 oz box of elbow macaroni

3 chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3/4 cup of mayonnaise

3/4 cup of your Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

3-4 green onions chopped (white and green)

8 strips of cooked bacon, chopped

2 cups of Colby Jack shredded cheese

1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes



















Cook the pasta per package directions, remove, drain, and set aside.  Be sure and add plenty of salt to your boiling water before adding pasta.



















In a large skillet over medium heat add your olive oil, chicken, and garlic. Saut√© chicken until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and then add to your cooked noodles. 




















In a medium bowl, mix together your ranch dressing and mayonnaise.  Pour your dressing over your pasta and chicken.  Add in the shredded cheese and mix well.




















Next add in your cooked bacon, green onions, tomatoes and cheese and stir until mixed through. If you want it creamier, just add a tablespoon of mayo and stir well.  





















Sprinkle some green onions on top for color.  Serve warm or refrigerate for an hour or two and then serve.



















Want a bite?












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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Grilled Pineapple Spears


I love grilled pineapple.  I think it's one of the best and easiest desserts for any summer cookout. I always like the oohs and ahhhs that come from your guests when you serve it hot off the grill with a little whipped cream or ice cream.  You just don't realize how good it is!  

Grilled Pineapple Spears

1 large golden ripe pineapple, trimmed and cut into spears
Olive oil
1/2 cup honey

Heat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium high. When the grill is ready, brush the pineapple spears lightly with olive oil on all sides.

Place spears on the grill and cook them for about 6 minutes on each side until tender with grill marks.  Remove to plate and drizzle with honey.

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Friday, May 26, 2023

My Classic Summer Potato Salad


Everyone has their own favorite potato salad and most tend to make it just like their mother or grandmother. It's one of those things that you are fussy about if you're like me. I like good old fashioned potato salad that steers clear of that vinegar taste that you get in the grocery store.  Do you add pickles or dill or relish?  Do you add the eggs or leave them out? Do you use mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?  Do you add mustard?   This potato salad recipe is the one I grew up with and I love it warm or cold.  It's simple to make and I never change it.

Classic Summer Potato Salad

3 lb russet potatoes (approx 6 medium)
salt (1 teaspoon per quart of water
2 large hard boiled eggs
3/4 cup celery (about 2 ribs), diced or chopped
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp prepared mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and dice the potatoes into approximately 1" ­inch cubes. Cover the potatoes with cold water and then bring to a gentle boil. Add salt and simmer until tender, about 7 to 9 minutes. Do not over cook.  Drain well and place potatoes in large mixing bowl.  Allow to cool.

Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard and celery seeds. Add in the onions and celery and blend well.  Gently fold in the chopped hard cooked eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can serve the salad warm or chill so the flavors have a chance to meld together.

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