recipe: the best pasta salad ever (and it will only take you 20 minutes!)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017
I have taken it upon myself to make lunch for Patrick to take to work and for me to eat at home every day, so we can save that precious eating out money for dinner dates that we're looking forward to, instead of hurried trips to Panera or McAlister's just because we have no edible food in the house. Because I'm always juggling so many things – my full-time job, selling Lularoe with my mom, this blog and my accompanying Instagram, just to name a few – I am really into the idea of meal-prepping on Sundays and having everything figured out for me for the rest of the week.

Because Patrick and I are superbly picky, a lot of meal prep recipes that are super popular on Pinterest and other apps take themselves out of the running. I also don't like things that have lots of ingredients, especially ingredients that I won't use often, or spices, because my spice collection is kind of sad and I'm working on building that up with quality spices, instead of buying cheap versions here and there when we can. And then, the big recipe killer – at this moment in time, I do not have a crockpot!

So, that leaves us hungry and eating sad lunches at our respective desks. Well. Until I found this amazing pasta salad recipe on Buzzfeed's Tasty app. (Which is amazing, by the way.)

I mixed the recipe up a little bit – here's my take to make an entire vat of pasta salad.

Note: I made a half-version of this recipe the first time and it was enough for four lunches. I doubled it to get a little bit more out of it, because Patrick loved it. 


ingredients

• 1 lb bowtie pasta (you could probably use shells, penne, etc. but I like farfalle for this. it's fun!)
• 2 red bell peppers, diced
• 2 cups of shredded mozarella cheese
• 1 cup of diced turkey, ham or chicken (your preference)
• 1/2 cup of Italian dressing


1. Boil your pasta. This what takes a while.


2. While your pasta is boiling, dice your red bell peppers and turkey/chicken/ham into small, bite-sized pieces. Since I've started keeping red bell peppers in the fridge for snacking, I go ahead and slice up all of the red bell peppers at this time. I dice two for the pasta salad and put the rest in the fridge in strips. Meal prepping!

Again, I really do just use lunch meat from the deli section. It's pretty affordable if you snag it on sale.

3. Strain your pasta and let your pasta cool. I dump the pasta into a mixing bowl and set it aside until it cools. This is when I run off to play with Theo or prepare another meal for the week ahead. Or maybe I just eat Red Vines and watch TV.

4. Mix the pasta, diced meat, peppers, mozzarella cheese and Italian dressing together. You'll need a fairly large mixing bowl if you're into vats of pasta salad like me.



There you have it! My guess is this will be enough for eight lunches, so four days for us. The recipe is easily divided, doubled, etc., and honestly, I dump in extra dressing or red bell peppers or mozzarella cheese whenever I feel like it. 

While I'm at it, I want to point out that this recipe is super affordable, too! (And I didn't use any store brand items, surprisingly enough, so you could make it for even less if you did!) Here's the cost breakdown:

1 lb pasta - $1.68
Red bell peppers - $2.50
1 8 oz bag of mozzarella cheese - $3.75
1/4 lb of turkey - $2.59
1/2 cup of Italian dressing (1/4 of a bottle of Olive Garden Italian dressing) - $0.75

Total = $11.27 

That breaks down to $1.41 per lunch!

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What is your go-to lunch recipe? Do you have another easy 5 ingredients or less lunch idea for us?

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