When we were first married, we spent a lot of time together; I don’t mean just the usual newlywed period, either. Our places of work were literally down the street from each other, so most days we would carpool to work. Carpooling was really nice. I really enjoyed getting to see each other right after work and having someone to share the annoyances of city traffic with. But, no matter how much time we spent together in the car, I always felt like we really connected and had the best conversations at the dinner table.
Dinners were a bit of a shock to my system when we first got married. The crock pot quickly became my best friend when it came to meal planning. But sometimes (a lot of times), I wasn’t very good at planning ahead. We would get home from work and realize there were no plans for dinner. Sitting down with a bowl of cereal was okay from time to time, but we both usually preferred a full meal. I quickly found some favorites that were fairly easy to throw together after two long days at the office.
Remembering how important dinner time was for us in those early days of marriage, I wanted to share with you today one of those easy, go-to recipes that is still one of my husband’s favorites to this day.
Pizza Pasta Salad
1 lb. spiral pasta, cooked & drained
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (can substitute one can of diced tomatoes, drained)
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz. sliced pepperoni
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (if this has too much acidity for you, use 1/4 cup red wine vinegar & 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine pasta, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and pepperoni. In a small bowl, combine oil, parmesan cheese, vinegar and seasonings. Pour over pasta mixture. Cover and refrigerate or serve warm.
These days, in our house, we jokingly call this Pantry Pasta Salad. What is so great about this recipe is that it is delicious in its original form, but is also very forgiving with substitution and/or additions. Don’t have the called for amount of cheddar? It is delicious with any amount of cheese. Not a fan of pepperoni? We also love it with Canadian bacon or cubed ham. I’m sure you could go without meat at all and have a delicious side dish or Lenten meal. Feel like it needs something else? We love to add a rinsed can of chickpeas into the mix. (Also, it is delicious with black olives, but my husband hates them). And those are just a few suggestions. The possibilities of this pasta salad are nearly endless.
So, whether you’re a newlywed trying to get a handle on this whole dinner time situation (like sweet Christina and B) or a veteran wife and mother looking for an easy, new recipe to add to your arsenal, I hope you’ll give this one a try.
Emily is a wife and stay-at-home mom living the Midwestern dream with her little family. She is a lover of chocolate, coffee and comfy sweaters. You can find out more about her and read her ramblings over at Raising Barnes.