Summertime. Hot. Humid. Thunderstorms.
That’s the Gulf Coast. Steamy days and steamy nights, unless you are right on the Gulf itself where the breezes help cool things off.
It’s hard to be creative or even motivated about meals in this kind of weather. The season brings to mind one word.
What on earth do you serve for dinner that is languid????
I don’t like cold soups, and don’t know anyone who gets excited about them either. They just seem…weird. It’s too hot to be thrilled about a hot soup too.
Granted, we still eat our red beans and rice. But we want something cool, refreshing…and not hot. We want meals that are easy to prepare to minimize our time at the stove too.
Tis the season of the salad.
So what kinds of salads rule YOUR house in summer?
Tossed salads are great–no cooking required, but not everyone likes “rabbit food” either. They want something that caused someone (usually not them) to stand in front of a hot stove at some point.
Pasta salads are a favorite with us. I have a “kitchen sink pasta salad” that has been a staple basic recipe for years, and it is adaptable & versatile. It is never exactly the same, so it basically comes with a list of possibilities rather than set-in-stone-ingredients.
Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. pasta (whatever shape you like, but not spaghetti, linguine, etc.)
- 1 can whole kernel corn
- 3/4 c. mayonnaise
- 1 can sweet peas*
- 1 c. chopped green or ripe olives*
- 1 c. finely chopped celery*
- 6 boiled eggs, chopped coarsely*
- 1 c. shredded cheese*
- 1 c. chopped pickles (dill or sweet)*
- 1 c. chopped onion*
- 1 c. chopped peeled cucumber*
- 1 c. crumbled bacon*
- 1 c. diced ham, cooked chicken, or drained tuna*
- 1/2 c. ranch dressing*
- 1 c. sliced green onions*
- 1 c. finely chopped zucchini*
- 1 c. chopped red bell pepper*
- 1 c. chopped tomato*
Items with * are optional additions, use at least 2 or 3.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain & rinse with cold water. Combine corn & mayonnaise, stir until mayonnaise is smoothly combined with liquid from corn. Stir into pasta. Add other ingredients and toss lightly to combine evenly. Refrigerate, preferably overnight, but at least 4 hours. Makes 10-15 servings, depending on how many ingredients are added.