Pasta Salad with Cantaloupe, Salami, and Basil

My kids love pasta. According to C, he would eat noodles about 100 times a week if he could. (He just learned about 100.) I like pasta too, but sometimes it can get a little old. And then there is pasta salad. Granted, it’s a family friendly workhorse, but I get a little bored with it. It’s just….forgettable. I’ve been steering clear from it lately. But when I offered to help a neighbor out with a family dinner and she thought a pasta salad would be the easiest, I had to rethink my pasta salad strategy. I started googling. There were lots of recipes, but nothing that I thought was both kid friendly and inspiring. And anything with mayo or that couldn’t be prepared the day before were immediately out. Fortunately, there was a bright spot to help a girl out. Bon Appetit gave me a few ideas of what to avoid – and how to create – better pasta salads. This lit my inspirational fires and I trotted off to Target to grab a few things for our family road trip as well as the pasta for my salad. While I was there, I found myself looking at a cantaloupe and found my inspiration. A fun curly pasta, cantaloupe, salami, mozzarella cheese, basil. I think we’ll have a winner!

For the record – this is just a ball parking recipe. Adjust the flavors/amounts for your personal tastes. This passed the kid test (my kids devoured it) and Jeff told me twice that he liked it. That’s a good thing.  Continue reading

Avocado-Mango Salad with Fresh (or Blue) Cheese, Bacon and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

A perfect family salad – avocado and mango for the smaller hands, a sophisticated dressing and crunch for the grown ups. Serve it deconstructed on a platter and let everyone fend for themselves. My notes are in italics.

Avocado and Mango Salad. DELICIOUS.

Avocado and Mango Salad. DELICIOUS.

From Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless.  Continue reading