Easy Pasta Salad

Something you’ll find us doing A LOT this summer is grilling out. Now that we have a house – and our own outdoor space to even have a grill! – we plan to get outside as much as possible and cook some delicious meals!

I’m sure a lot of you like to grill out in the summertime. There’s also so many opportunities for parties, get-togethers, and just enjoying time with family and friends.

We tend to have a lot of pot lucks and BBQs to attend this time of year, so one of my go-to recipes to bring is an Easy Pasta Salad. This recipe is seriously so simple, and it feeds a crowd if you need it to!

The ingredients include, pasta, veggies, cheese, and dressing. That’s it!

I use store-bought Italian dressing to make it easier on myself, especially when I need to make this recipe last-minute. But, there’s plenty of homemade dressings out there you could whip up and use instead.

You can also add as little or as many veggies as you like; the possibilities are endless.

Hope you all are having a great summer. Enjoy the recipe!

 

Easy Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. penne or rotini pasta
  • 16 oz. bottle Zesty Italian dressing (or a homemade dressing)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese or cheese cubes (I’ve used both and prefer the cubes)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional other veggies to add: cucumber, tomato, olives, etc.

Directions

  1. Boil pasta in a large pot according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, dice up your red bell pepper, and any other veggies, and set aside.
  3. When pasta is finished, drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. Pour Italian dressing over pasta, add bell pepper and cheese, plenty of salt and pepper and mix well.
  5. Refrigerate 2 hours+ before serving.
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Tortellini & Broccoli Alfredo Bake

Happy Saturday guys!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far. Our plans were sparse, so we are enjoying some free time before our week starts.

We have Vacation Bible School at our church this week, so that will make for busy nights without much cooking. Sometimes that’s a win, unless it calls for eating out a lot.

One way I try to even things out when I know a busy week is approaching is trying to cook as much as possible the days before and after that week.

Last night was no exception! I made this Tortellini & Broccoli Alfredo Bake on a whim and I was so so pleased with it. Super easy to pull together when you’re pressed for time and ingredients.

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This recipe would also be a good one if you do “Meatless Monday”. Or, you could easily add some chicken to bulk it up a bit. It was plenty filling for the 3 of us without any additions, though.

Enjoy the recipe!

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Tortellini & Broccoli Alfredo Bake

Ingredients

  • 19 oz. bag frozen cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups raw broccoli
  • Large jar of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese, divided*
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt to taste

*I used colby jack cheese because that’s what I had on hand, but you could use just about any kind of cheese you like. Mild cheddar or a mixture of parmesan and mozzerella would work too.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with 2 tsp of salt.
  3. Boil tortellini and broccoli for about 2 minutes, or until just a bit tender.
  4. Drain and set aside.
  5. Return pot to stove and set to medium heat. Add butter and whisk until melted.
  6. Add alfredo sauce, chicken broth, 1/2 cup cheese, and seasonings and whisk until well combined and cheese is melted.
  7. In a greased baking dish, add tortellini and broccoli. Pour alfredo sauce over and mix. I suggest adding an extra sprinkle of salt and black pepper at this point.
  8. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

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Life Lately

Happy Friday! And hello to you after not posting in about 3 months (!!!)

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So, life lately… we bought a house! I know, that’s pretty big news! We had considered buying a house for a while now, wanting to move out of our 2 bedroom apartment into something bigger, that had a yard for our dog and daughter to play in. We signed on the dotted line at the end of March and after some updates, moved in the end of April. We are so happy about our purchase! Our home is 3 bedroom, 1 bath (which is probably the ONLY downside of the move since our apt was 2 bath), and has a nice sized fenced-in backyard. Oh, and came with a pool! Hellloooo summaaa! Things were a little crazy the first week, as with any kind of move. But, we’ve gotten settled in and are enjoying our new crib (ha).

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We had to be involved and do some work ourselves! Its no fun sitting on the sidelines of a home renovation. Need to get your hands dirty 😉

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The location of the house is nice because its in a quiet neighborhood, but less than 10 minutes from several restaurants and grocery stores. Its also about 15 minutes closer to my job, but unfortunately is 30 minutes further from my husband’s. However, we live close to the interstate and he has a flexible schedule, so its not been too bad.

We had to switch Emma to a new daycare, which I was so nervous about! Change is always hard on a child, especially when its the change of their daily routine. A new house and daycare seemed like so much at one time for her. However, she has adjusted pretty quickly and likes her new friends and teachers. Happy momma for sure!

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Another piece of great news, hubby is going on his FINAL year in his PHD program! *cue angels singing*

We are thrilled for him to be wrapping things up this next year and earning his long-awaited degree! Praying for a great job opportunity to open up for after his graduation. We know the Lord is going to continue to take care of us 🙂

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Other than the new house, no other big news to report!

I’ve still been cooking and such, but with packing, renovating, and the move I just haven’t put much time into new recipes. Hoping to start back on that soon, but lets be honest, I may just enjoy my new home and pool this summer, hehe.

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Part of Emma’s new routine is wanting to get our cornhole boards out pretty much every day after daycare and throw the bags with daddy. Its so sweet!

I hope everyone has a nice, long weekend and enjoy your time with friends and family.

I’ll be back at some point with a new recipe, I’m sure!

Peace out homies.