Greek Salad Dressing and Pasta Salad

The nice thing about this pasta salad is that you can cut out most of the cutting. I left the olives and tomatoes whole and just cut up the red onion and artichoke hearts. I left off the amounts because you can really just put in however much you like. And the dressing is great on a spinach salad as well.
Greek Salad Dressing and Pasta Salad
Shredded Rotisserie Chicken, or shredded cooked chicken breast
Olives (variety of choice, I just used plain black)
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Red onion, cut in half, then thinly sliced
Feta cheese, crumbled
Artichoke hearts, drained and slightly chopped
Fresh baby spinach
Penne pasta, cooked and cooled
Greek Dressing
Toss everything all together.
Greek Dressing:
1/2 c plus 2 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 c plus 2 tsp red wine vinegar
Whisk everything except vinegar together well. Add in vinegar.

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner

I found this recipe on mykitchencafe.blogspot.com which she found on a different website. I love how recipes evolve with each person. I made some small changes to it as well, and just love it.
We always have leftover ham after holidays and I love finding new ways to use those leftovers.  Simple, easy, quick, and not to mention delicious. Or, “Delish!” as my girls say.

HAM AND PASTA SKILLET DINNER
printable version
1 pound small tube or shell pasta (I used Orecchiette)
3 T olive oil
1 T butter
3 cups fully cooked ham, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c minced fresh parsley (or 2 T dried)
1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 T lemon juice
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions, but only to al dente, because it will continue to cook in the skillet and soak up the sauce.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted.
Add pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender, about 4-6 minutes.
Add ham, basil and oregano and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in borth and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half (it will look brothy at first, but have faith!)
Stir drained pasta into ham and vegetable mixture.  Add 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and toss. Sprinkle parsley and remaining cheese over the top of the pasta.  Serve immediately.

Easy (and versatile) Alfredo Sauce

This is my great alfredo sauce. I made this recipe many a year ago.  It is so versatile. And so fool-proof and easy. The light cream cheese is fine, but not the fat-free. Fat free cream cheese is not meant to be heated.  And I know, there’s no picture. But I accidentally deleted it and I didn’t want to hold it against you.

EASY (& VERSATILE!) ALFREDO SAUCE

6 oz cream cheese (low fat neufatchel is fine)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
3/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan (fresh shredded is best)

Combine all in saucepan. Whisk over medium to medium-high heat until smooth and hot.  Serve over fettucine, penne, whatever your heart fancies!
And if you garnish with a little fresh chopped parsley, I’ll love you all the more for it.

NOW…here comes the VERSATILE part of it…..
If you want a richer sauce- you can do a full 8 oz cream cheese
If you want a lighter sauce, you can do 1 1/2 cups milk, no butter, and only 4 oz cream cheese
Want an alfredo florentine sauce?  Add a cup of chopped spinach (thawed frozen is fine)
How about Broccoli Alfredo? Add a cup or 2 of cooked chopped broccoli
Or maybe a pizza with alfredo sauce instead of pizza sauce? Just cook it a little longer to make it thicker.
I told you-it’s versatile!

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