Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Simply perfect pasta salad {+ a Mezzetta holiday giveaway!}

I can't believe the holiday season is already upon us!

When I think of the holidays, I think of the three F's: family, friends, and food. In my family, both the one I was born into and the one I married into, and even in my close circle of friends, every get-together is really just an excuse to make yummy food. I mean, really, there's nothing better than spending time around the holidays with family and friends whilst stuffing your face, am I right?

 What's a holiday without the finger foods, snacks, and olive trays?


Growing up, I spent hours in the kitchen watching my mom cook for us, especially this time of year. She was always in the kitchen when it came to holidays, parties, barbecues, and potlucks, and she had her signature dishes for every occasion. Everyone could count on my mom to bring salads, famous casseroles, and delicious desserts, and I picked up a few of these special recipes from her while on my way to adulthood. Mom's pasta salad is one of my all time favorite crowd-pleasers because it's easy and everyone loves it. Plus, you can make it simple and super kid-friendly, or you can go all out and jazz it up for a more refined palette. I tend to land somewhere in the middle most times I make it, and my kids love it. I'll be making this deliciousness this holiday season:


Ingredients:

1 package of tri-colored rotini pasta
1 small carton of grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup Mezzetta olives (any variety- I'm using the Blue Cheese Stuffed ones)
1 14oz can artichoke hearts- cut into small chunks
1 small pkg salami or pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Italian dressing, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions:

Cook pasta according to packaged instructions- I prefer my pasta al dente for this. While it's boiling, cut the tomatoes and Mezzetta olives in half. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop them up into bite size chunks. Quarter the salami or pepperoni, and shred your cheese. Set aside chopped ingredients.




When the pasta is done, drain it, and rinse it well under very cold water. Make sure the pasta is completely cold! Drain well, and dump into a large bowl. Add the chopped ingredients and some dressing, and stir it gently. Taste the salad to see if you need more dressing- I tend to use a lot (like 1/2 a bottle) so use your own judgement.


Add the cheese (I didn't use any this time, since I was using the blue cheese stuffed olives) and salt and pepper to taste, tossing lightly again. Chill in the fridge or serve immediately!


As I mentioned above, you can get creative with this recipe and change it up to your liking. Sometimes I use Mezzetta's black olives and turkey pepperoni in it if I'm going to a barbecue, while other times I'll use higher quality salami and tangy kalamata olives with feta cheese in it. Either way, I've never come home with leftovers!



Mezzetta's Holiday Memory Sweepstakes 


Make sure to enter the Mezzetta Holiday Memory Sweepstakes right now on their website for a chance to win this cool grand prize- an instant print digital camera to capture your own holiday memories! Or be 1 of 10 runners up to win an Ultimate Olive Lover's gift basket!

• Grand Prize (1) - Instant Print Digital Camera plus a Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket including Mezzetta Olives, Olive Spoon, Cutting Board, Olive Bowl, Cocktail Napkins and Recipe Card.

• Runner Up Prizes (10) - Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket including Mezzetta Olives, Olive Spoon, Cutting Board, Olive Bowl, Cocktail Napkins and Recipe Card. 


Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? Mezzetta has tons here. Check them out for some inspiration! Also, grab a coupon here for Mezzetta olives this holiday season.

What's your favorite holiday dish?


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