Bacon and tomato pasta saladJanet Tharpe

Janet's Notebook

Put a twist on traditional pasta salad
Janet Tharpe

During the summer, on any given weekend, I have a backyard full of people. It seems like everyone congregates at my house and "suddenly" we're having a cookout. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

So, you'll typically find me in the kitchen on Friday night whipping up a few recipes in anticipation for Saturday. One thing I always prepare is pasta salad. I am a huge fan of the traditional style. But, I love to put a twist on the traditional.

When I saw Barbara Kingsley's Sweet Macaroni Salad recipe called for sweetened condensed milk, I wasn't so sure about it. But, I was thoroughly won over by this dish. The vinegar cuts the sweetness a bit, making for a super creamy salad.

"I always have to double the recipe and never have left overs," says Barbara. "[It's] a nice change to traditional macaroni salad." This tasty side has a surprising flavor that is sure to be the talk of your evening.

Cheese (along with chocolate) should be a food group in my mind. So the addition of brie to Kimberly Harbeck's Bowtie Pasta and Brie Cheese Medley meant that I had to save this recipe.

"This is one of my all time favorite dishes and it freezes great," shares Kimberly. I don't think you'll have many leftovers once your guests taste this salad. The brie adds a wonderfully nutty flavor that the crew and I couldn't get enough of!

We all know bacon makes everything better. And, that's never more apparent than in Marianne Gleason's Bacon & Tomato Pasta Salad. "Perfect for those hot summer nights," explains Marianne. "[It] goes together quickly and [is] not too heavy!"

This salad was fresh and satisfying, creamy and crunchy! Marianne suggests serving it alongside some grilled pork chops which we think would be great. I'm also thinking about adding some grilled chicken next time I make it. Then, it's a meal in itself!

Barbara Mitchell brought the flavors of Greece into her Greek Pasta Salad. "So quick and easy to make," says Barbara. "[You] can use [this] as a main dish if you add chicken or a side salad to accompany steak, chicken, lamb or pork." A versatile recipe is a must in the kitchen. I also love that this recipe combines the ingredients of a traditional Greek salad (one of my favorites) with the feel of a yummy, light pasta salad ... win/win!

The blend of dressing and mayonnaise in Barbara Drexler's Southern Antipasto Salad is delish ... a great combination of tangy and creamy. If you have a hard time finding the Italian blend cheese Barbara recommends, don't worry. We used an unseasoned Italian cheese blend and it still worked very well.

Barbara also has a great tip if the salad looks a little dry after sitting overnight. "Whisk more mayo and salad dressing together and add to [the pasta] before topping with seasoning and Parmesan cheese." This recipe has the wonderful flavors of an antipasto plate but in salad form. Yum!

One of the best things about pasta salad is you can use up items you probably already have and come up with one tasty recipe. Open the kitchen cabinets and the fridge and see what you can come up with. We'd love for you to share your recipe with us!


� 2011 Just A Pinch Recipe Club. Used by Permission.

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