Whenever Anita and I go antiquing we like to pack a light lunch for the trip. Taking our lunch instead of eating out means that way we maximize our antiquing time. But just because lunch is hauled in a cooler doesn’t mean that it’s going to be boring. I made a few fantastic Italian cold-cut wraps and this absolutely delicious creamy pasta salad for our last trip. We both could’ve eaten the salad all afternoon long, but that would’ve meant little time for looking for antiques! Perfectly creamy, with a little crunch from the onion, peas and pickles. Oh, and cheese.
For a great twist on this creamy pasta salad substitute chopped green or black olives for the diced pickles. Another great change is to use smoked cheddar cheese instead of extra sharp cheddar.
This salad is even better (I wouldn’t have thought it could be any better!) the next day.
Creamy Pasta Salad
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10 servings
- 2 cups dried elbow macaroni
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 7 ounce block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, diced
- 1/2 cup sweet pickles diced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion diced
- 1 4 ounce jar pimentos, drained
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta per package instructions. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to cool.
Add the peas, cheese, pickles, onion and pimento and fold to combine.
In a separate bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, cream, mustard and sugar. Fold into the pasta mixture.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.
I love when avocados are in season here. They’re perfect on a salad, be it sliced, chopped or in the dressing itself. This avocado Ranch dressing is quite easy to make. It packs a nice subtle avocado flavor, with the wonderful creamy herb flavor of Ranch. I like my dressing pretty thick, so that’s how I made it. But if you prefer yours a little thinner, just add some more milk.
Avocado Ranch dressing isn’t just for salads either. It’s perfect as a dip, or use it as a substitute for sour cream on tacos or nachos.
For a little more kick, try my jalapeno ranch dressing.
Avocado Ranch Dressing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 3 -4 cups
- 2 ripe avocados halved, seed removed
- 1 cup Ranch dressing
- 1/2 cup milk plus more, if needed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons or more hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt to taste
Scoop out the avocado and place into a blender or food processor.
Add remaining ingredients except salt and process until smooth.
Taste, add salt as needed, and pulse a few more times to mix.
Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
Note: If the dressing gets too thick, stir in a bit more milk before serving.
This oriental chicken salad is by far our favorite meal-sized salad. I can never eat just one little ole serving. It’s addictingly good. The dressing is just the right combination of acid and sweet. Instead of croutons there are crunchy yummy tried Ramen noodles. They make for the perfect topping over the just-as-crunchy cabbage.
I love the dressing for this oriental chicken salad so much that I always double the recipe for it. The Ramen noodles stay crunchy in the dressing so you don’t get down to the bottom of the plate only to discover sad, soggy ‘croutons’. Don’t be afraid to double the amount of Ramen either.
Also try my southern fried chicken salad.
Oriental Chicken Salad
Note: The dressing is crazy good. Double the amount and you won't be sorry.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
For the salad
- 2 packages Top Ramen noodles spice mix discarded
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cups cooked chicken chopped
- 1 head green cabbage shredded
- 1 bunch green onion chopped
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
For the dressing
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Crunch the noodles into the skillet and brown, 2-3 minutes.
Add the almonds and cook another minute. Remove from heat.
Place the remaining salad ingredients into a large bowl.
Add the Ramen noodles and toss.
Drizzle with the dressing, toss, and serve.