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Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing

Antipasto Pasta Salad

My grandmother passed me a container of some of the best dressed pasta salad I had eaten in a long time.  She had gotten the recipe out of a magazine.  I will make the salad dressing from now on as a zesty Italian dressing.  The salad can contain any or all of the following ingredients.  What vegetables your family will eat will work and just leave the meat out to make it vegetarian.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing:

  • 1 pound pasta, cooked
  • green peppers
  • tomatoes
  • garbanzo beans
  • salami, chopped or cubed
  • pepperoni, mini or chopped
  • cheese (provolone, cheddar, mozzarella,or Monterey jack),cubed or shredded
  • olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • broccoli,blanched
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • grapes
  • avocado


  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


Combine any combination of salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Chopping all vegetables to bite size pieces or smaller.

In a jar whisk together all dressing ingredients but olive oil.  Once sugar is dissolved slowly whisk in olive oil.  Place lid on jar and give it a good shake.

Top salad with 1/2 of dressing and add more as needed.


Butternut Macaroni and Cheese

Butternut Macaroni and Cheese

Looking to cut some calories, add some vegetables, and still eat comfort food?  This is your recipe, I swear it tastes great.  Not only are you substituting some liquid with broth but you are adding all that squash for a rich buttery flavor.  Not to mention no one can guess what is in it because it is all orange and smooth.  My kids gobbled this down.

Butternut Macaroni and Cheese:

  • sea salt
  • 1 lb. macaroni with ridges, or whatever pasta you want maybe even over cauliflower
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped (1 tsp dried thyme will work)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (10 oz.) frozen, defrosted box of butternut squash (I just buy a fresh one, peel it and steam it, then mash)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

Heat a pot of boiling water, season with salt and cook pasta according to directions.  Until al dente.

While pasta is cooking start your sauce.  Over medium heat in a  medium pot heat oil and butter.  When butter melts add thyme and grate onion and garlic into the pot with a microplane.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Add flour and cook for 2 minutes more, whisk in stock and squash.  Cook until warm and smooth.

Stir in cream and bring to a bubble.  Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and combine with sauce.

Easy Alfredo with Italian Grilled Chicken

Mr.Picky had an idea for dinner, he kept it secret and started creating.  This is the recipe he used, which I believe he got off of  This recipe is a classic food that Mr.Picky loves.  We are garlic lovers in our house, so the only thing we would change is add a few cloves of fresh crushed garlic to the melted butter.

Easy Alfredo with Italian Grilled Chicken

Easy Alfredo with Italian Grilled Chicken:


  • 2 or more chicken breast
  • A bottle of Italian Dressing (your favorite, he used a Roasted Red Pepper Dressing)

Easy Alfredo:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 oz. parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb. of pasta, we used penne.  Cook as directed or until desired tenderness. Reserve about a 1/4 cup of starchy cooking water to incorporate into pasta and sauce.

Marinate your chicken breasts in the dressing for at least 3 hours.

Grill chicken on low, until breasts reach 170 degrees internally. Remove from heat, place on a cutting board cover with foil to rest while you finish your meal.  Sauce takes only a few minutes, but would start about boiling noodles half way though the chicken cooking.

Once chicken is resting and noodles are almost done or draining, start your sauce.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, on medium heat.

Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stir with a whisk until smooth.

Add milk, pepper, and thyme.  Whisk until smooth.  Add cheese, and remove from heat stirring until cheese is melted.

Toss together sauce, pasta, and reserved cooking water.  Slice of cube grilled chicken and serve on top or mix in.

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