Sunday, January 1, 2012

Artichoke Pasta Salad (with Feta Cheese)

Artichoke Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese
 Artichoke Pasta Salad
How many meals are you making this weekend? I get all mixed up unless I plan out my meals and ingredients at holiday time. It is kind of like a list of meals board...if I don't I get overwhelmed with all the cooking and company. . Then I can go to the market with my list and hopefully not forget anything.

 New Year's Eve is one menu, New Years Day is another. It is hard to keep it all straight and not repeat anything you did on Christmas Eve or Christmas Brunch or Christmas night! No wonder us moms are all stressed out during the holidays! Geesh! 

I found this colorful "Wacky Mac" in the store last week. It looked
kind of festive so I bought it for our New Year's Buffet.
Boil up the pasta in salted water.....Wacky Mac I mean....snicker....
Then drain and add your cut up veggies....I ran out of I didn't include them
but this salad is better with the black olives....for sure! 

Salads have to be a little more special than normal, because, well......IT'S NEW YEARS!  Here is one that everybody loves no matter where I bring it.  

Green, yellow, OR  yellow bell pepper, diced (The colorful veggies make this salad so pretty!
cup artichoke hearts, drained, diced up into pieces
package FINELY crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)
cup pitted olives sliced in half 
1/2     cups of quartered and sliced celery or cucumber (for crunch)
3/4     cup chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
3        cups cooked and drained pasta (9 oz) (bowtie, shell or rotini) or 1 bag
3/4     cup Greek vinaigrette with Feta Cheese (I like Gerrards-find at Target)
teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
A few shakes of Johnny's seasoning to taste (find at Costco in a large bottle)

I usually buy my artichoke hearts from Costco because they are good quality and cheaper in the large jar.  I only use about half of this jar in one salad though. And you do have to cut them up into small chunks. The feta cheese is cheaper NOT in the quickie deli section. Look in the cream cheese section instead for a better price. 
I love these Girard's salad dressings...they are not cheap, usually $3.99 on Sale! 
Girard's® Greek Feta Vinaigrette Dressing
Look for the Greek with Feta dressing (my favorite for this salad....)
Or if you have some good Italian like Kraft House Italian...that will do too in a pinch....

Boil the pasta ( I look for colorful pasta for holidays...sometimes in fun shapes too) but any kind will do, curly, shell, or ziti style or bowtie are all good. Then drain it. Add the sliced artichokes, chopped tomatoes, diced peppers and cucumber, celery, and olives. I cut my olives in half. Add a few cups of diced rotisserie chicken for a meal.

Then add the Feta Cheese to the Artichoke Pasta Salad...I pinch it all and crumble
it till it is as fine as cottage cheese...

Crumble the feta cheese over everything and then add the Greek dressing (it looks like an olive oil thick Italian with bits of cheese in it, kind of cloudy looking). A good brand of Greek dressing is hard to find.  Look for Girrards Greek and Feta Cheese or Trader Joe's Greek Dressing or make your own. A good recipe is HERE at All Taste and shake a little seasoning salt over it.  Let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
Use whatever color you want of the fresh peppers...I used red on this one..

Artichoke Pasta Salad...yummy! (Better with black olives...I didn't have any on hand)
But trust me...It's better WITH olives...and looks more Greek too....
Colorful and rich and Greek Artichoke & Feta Pasta Salad!  
It is delicious and you will get many compliments on it. It is just a little different from stuff everybody else brings to the New Year's Party. It is the bomb for a juicy good side dish! 

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