We’re preparing to spend the long weekend camping with friends near the Snake River here in Idaho, and the final count will be four adults, one teenager, one adolescent, one preschooler, and one tiny tiny.
Meals need to be easy and quick. We all bring our own kitchens, but make-ahead meals are key when kids are involved. The easiest: Perfect Pasta Salad
It can really be anything you want. Just remember a few key things, and you’ll have them eating (cold…pasta?) out of your hand.
1) Boil a 1/2 bag of any small-to-medium pasta in salted water. I prefer rainbow rotini, but you can tell from these pictures that I didn’t have any this time. That’s okay – shells are universally loved.
2) Cook your pasta until al dente, then strain and toss under cold, running water. This stops the cooking process in its tracks, and really gives you that nice, bouncy pasta.
Let pasta cool for 10 minutes in a chilled bowl, and then toss with:
- 1 1/2 cup balsamic dressing
- 1 cup slivered carrots
- 1 cup marinated, salted cucumber bits
- 4 (5?) pieces cooked bacon, chopped
- 1 nice big tblsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, shelled
I like to toss everything together, but save a small handful of bacon and sunflower seeds to decorate the top.
Label it imploringly. Good for three days in the cooler. Don’t forget a big spoon!