Summer Pasta Salad

I love a quick meal.  I particularly love a quick lunch that I can make ahead and pack full of whatever I have on hand.  One of the quickest, easiest ways I have to get a fast, balanced mid-day meal into my kiddos is to whip up a quick pasta salad.

For this one, I used:

 

2 cups (before cooking) macaroni

1/2 bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed

2 tubes string cheese, sliced into disks

1/2 cup Italian dressing

 

The process is so simple:

Cook and drain the pasta.  Dump it in a bowl and add the cheese, broccoli, and dressing.   Toss to coat (I use my hands, because I’m just like that, but a spoon would work fine) and chill.

 

This particular version is very simple and basic.  Still, it contains a starch, a fat, dairy, protein, and a green veggie.  Not bad for a quickie lunch.  If I have chicken, steak, or ham on hand, I add that.  I sometimes use diced cheddar, swiss, or even crumbled blue cheese.  Cooked carrots, diced onions or peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, or even chopped pickles work great in there.  For dressing, Italian or Ranch are sure kid pleasers, but we’ve done blue cheese, honey dijon, or thousand island before too.  It’s fun to experiment!  I used plain white pasta because it’s what I had, but you could easily sub whole wheat or gluten-free to fit your preferences/needs.

 

A quick summer pasta does the trick for us!

 

Do you like pasta salad?  What are your favorite add-ons?

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