Tag Archives: lunch

Rainbow Pasta Salad and lots of the good stuff know, I learned from my friends

So I have told ya’ll about my very good friend Betsy before, right?  I will give ya’ll a little more back story here because it is relevant to the recipe…well, mostly.  Ha ha!  Ya’ll know I love to tell a good story, right?  Anyway, I met Betsy back in 2005 when my oldest started MDO at First Baptist here in Shreveport.  Her oldest, Maggie, was in class with Ben.  I had 2 kiddos, aged almost 2 and 6 months old.  We had just moved from Keithville and I was still convinced I could absolutely be the perfect mom and all the other delusions we new mommies by into.  It’s true, girls.  Betsy is what you would call, shy, when you first meet her.  Friendly, but a little aloof and seems perfect beyond words.  It is a little intimidating.  We would make a little small talk, but she worked in the MDO and was always on her way to her own class.  Lo and behold, round about April, I was pregnant with #3 and she was pregnant with #2, now known as Aubrey and Annie.  We would meet in passing and exchange hellos.  Come fall, my Kayla was old enough and I put her in MDO with Ben and Betsy was her teacher.  We were both hugely pregnant and would talk about due dates and Kayla’s progress, which coincidentally, was not good.  You know how daycares and MDO’s always say “she will stop crying as soon as you leave and be fine.  We will call you if there is a problem.” Kayla was one of those rare babies that did not stop crying.  She in fact, sat in Betsy’s barely there lap and would sob inconsolably.  So, I would come and get her early everyday.  Keep in mind, I am due any day with baby #3 and my 18 month old was a mama’s girl.  I was experiencing mommy guilt, self doubt, mommy fear at it’s most primal…whatever you want to call it.  Aubrey came along in October and then Annie at the end of November.  I eventually took Ben and Kayla out of MDO because Aubrey kept getting so sick and finally got a stomach bug at 5 months old and I said enough.  I am not going to lie or sugarcoat it.  Having 3 kids, 3 and under and a husband who worked or hunted all the time was to say the least overwhelming.  I guess I had a little postpartum depression now that I look back on it.  Baby number 3 was a blessing and also a knockdown punch I was not expecting.  She cried all the time if she was not being held and I was just at my wits end.  So, fast forward to a year and half down the road, I was expecting baby #4 and Ben would be starting kindergarten in the fall.  I decided to try MDO again.  So I went back to the only place I really knew, First Baptist.  Little did I know how glad I would be that I made that decision.  I found out Betsy was also expecting a baby boy and was due in June. I was expecting a baby boy in July.  Well…as luck (or I say, God’s plan) would have it, that summer, right before I had Lucas, I saw Betsy in the Target parking lot.  I have goose bumps as I write this as I can see just how meant to be it was.  I admired her newborn baby boy, Jack Henry and made small talk.  Well, cut to the fall, and the girls started MDO.  Aubrey and Annie were in the same class and every day Betsy was not working at MDO, I would see her in Target.  We would laugh and joke about “ha ha see you in Target every time!  How funny!”  We exchanged phone numbers, but I was still adjusting to motherhood with 4 kiddos and did not see much of a future in our friendship.  I had not made friends very easily since moving to Shreveport and I did not have high expectations.  Well, somehow, we managed to carve out a nice little friendship and we banded together with some other moms and formed a nice posse that included about 6 moms and in excess of 25 kids.  Yeah, we were a motley crew at best.  Betsy and I spent lots of time together with the kids and without.  I ended up being her teaching partner for a year before they moved.  I loved those Tuesdays and Thursdays and I frankly loved spending time with my friend.  This pasta salad recipe is only one of the many things I treasure from our time together.  For someone who says she doesn’t cook, she sure does have some flipping awesome recipes.  Ya’ll know the rest of the story…they moved to South Louisiana so her hubby could join a practice and the rest of their story could unfold.  I miss her everyday and I know she misses me, but life has moved on for both of us and we have made our way.  She is still one of my good friends and our kiddos still love each other, even if we don’t see each other often.  And a few of those friendships still remain strong and that is a gift that keeps on giving.  (I am talking to you Lexie B)  You see, some things, like our friendship, are just meant to be.  God kept putting us in one another’s path until we realized…hey, I like this girl!!!  She likes Target as much as I do and she gets me.  She just gets me.  Thank God for friends who get us, right?  Those crazy years were made much more bearable because of Bets.  In many ways, she taught me how to be a mom.  She taught me how to pack lunches for my kids…no really, she is a mastermind at packing lunches kiddos love. She taught me how to make really delicious brownies.  She taught me you can never go to Chick fil A too often and how to do really good arts and crafts.  She taught me how to get over myself and roll with it with a little grace and not worry so much.  She taught me to laugh at myself.  And she taught me to trust in friendship again and that I was lovable just as I was.  Hot mess and all.  She is the yen to my yang.  This rainbow pasta salad is a perfect example.  For years I had wondered, how in the heck do the restaurants make such deliciousness?  Well, in walks Betsy to show me.  So delicious and yet so easy.  Too good to be true.  And yet…totally true.  Just like our friendship.  Love ya Bets. ~AMB

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friendship is indeed a gift

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A good friend gives your cozy coupe a push when you need it.  

Rainbow Pasta Salad 

Stuff you need~

1 package of rotini pasta, cooked al dente and then rinsed with cold water

5 cups of chopped vegetables (you can use anything but I use cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, purple onion)

1/2 – 1 cup of cheddar cheese and/or Mozzarella cheese cubes

1/2 cup Salad Supreme seasoning

8 ounces or 1 cup of Italian dressing

What to do with the stuff~

Put your cooked, drained and cooled pasta in a big bowl.  Toss in your chopped veggies and cubes of cheese.  Stir in the seasoning blend and the Italian dressing.  Add more if you think it needs it.   Toss well so that the seasoning and dressing coats every last noodle.  You will be so happy and full of joy when you take a bite of this yumminess.  It will make you smile and want to give some to your friend.  Do it.  She might just love you for life!!

Shout to my girl Bets for this and so many other wonderful things she introduced me to!!!

*For this batch I added in some penne pasta because I needed to stretch it a little further to feed a large group.  I added a little more salad dressing and seasoning accordingly.

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The secret ingredient 

 

this is a potluck go to recipe.  It makes a ton and pleases everyone

So full of color and flavor…you will love it and so will your friends

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Callie’s Ham Salad

This must be my week to try new things.  I cannot recall having ham salad before and to be honest I was a tad bit reluctant  to try it.   I love most things that include the word salad…tuna salad, potato salad, definitely chicken salad, egg salad..but ham salad?  Yes, ham salad.  Now, I know lots of people are very familiar with ham salad but not me, so forgive my innocence or what I call now…my ignorance.  Several recipes for ham salad have caught my eye, and I have kind of planned to make it, but the minute I saw this little beauty, I knew I would have to make it.   Like now.  Cannot wait.  Impulsivity reigns supreme when it comes to a recipe I see that must be made.  I may perish if I don’t make this asap.  (said in my best Southern damsel in distress voice…)  Tomorrow is another day and by God, I will make this ham salad!!!  Now,   what I love about this recipe is that it is simple and straightforward.  I like recipes that tell me how to get from a to z directly.  Shortest route here people.  No need to reinvent the wheel.  I guess because I deal with kiddo mood swings, fake illnesses, deciphering their language (mine are all at ages where nothing is as simple as it once seemed, maybe it is just me?)…so a recipe should get down to the nitty gritty pretty quickly.  If you start off and tell me that I need to cook a whole ham first before I can get a ham salad out of it…well no thank you.  I am tired, need more coffee and want ham salad.  This recipe took you straight to it.  No hoops to jump through.  This is very easy, takes few ingredients and you can double to feed a hungry bunch if you need to.  Now, this original recipe comes from a cookbook that is now at the top of my list to buy.  My birthday is coming up…hint to BD.  The cookbook is called Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions and I discovered it when I came across blog lovin and this link~ http://www.thecountrycook.net/2014/01/callies-ham-salad.html?m=1.  If you have never had ham salad, I encourage you to try this recipe.  It made a believer out of me.  we ate it in a sandwich, but some people spread it on crackers.   I will be making this one again and again.  Cajun mama is a ham salad convert…spread the word.

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Definitely on my make again list…already.  

Ham Salad

Stuff you need~

1 lb. ham (I used a ham steak that I bought at the store.  It was a little over a pound.  That is what the blogger I got this recipe from did.  But you can use leftover ham from Easter (great idea, Laura!) or any time you bake a good ole ham.

3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

2/3 cup mayo (as always…Duke’s is my fave)

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 sandwich sliced pickles, chopped (I used BD’s favorite kind Claussen that we already have in the house-picture below)

1 1/2 tsp. pickle juice

1 Tablespoon light brown sugar

kosher salt and black pepper to taste (slow your roll and give it a taste first.  I added salt without reading that part and it was a tad too salty for us.  But still amazing)

What to do with the stuff~

Now, she suggests just pulsing the ham and celery together for 20-25 pulses or so.  Again, I did not read all the way through and tossed all the ingredients in the food processor and pulsed it all.  I had left the pickles and onions pretty coarsely chopped and it turned out fine.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this but the consistency might be a tad off unless you chop the ham silly fine.  So, as I said, my way was to throw it everything into the food processor and pulse it a few times until it was combined. Lol!  I was being a hardheaded gal today (or more so than usual…) She says after you pulse the ham and celery set aside.  In a bowl, combine other ingredients.  Add the ham and celery mixture to the mayo mixture and gently stir.    Potato potato I say.  It was dang good my way so I think any way you go, you are golden!!  And that ham salad will taste so good with a glass of iced tea and some potato chips.  Ya know…if you like that sort of thing.  And I do.  I really do.  OOH she also added a few  pieces of chopped green onion (green parts) to the finished product.  I did this as well.  Mmmmmmm….

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Yes, yes, I am a believer in the powers of ham salad.  

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Big Daddy’s and Benny’s favorite pickles 

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All set to be pulsed all together into a lovely ham salad…it was good even if I didn’t do it right