Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim Credits: Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad <br> Photography by Joe Kim
Planning a picnic or family barbecue anytime soon? Give yourself one less thing to worry about and go for one of our easy pasta salad recipes. It's sure to be a hit!
Pasta salads are great to make ahead, and are absolute tops for large groups. They also take the cake for being an extremely versatile dish – with a host of added ingredients, toppings and dressings, simple pasta salads can go from humble side to star entrée in no time.
We asked Test Kitchen food specialist Amanda Barnier to share some top tips for preparing pasta salads, and why they're a crowd favourite. Here's what she had to share:
Pasta salads: the perfect make-ahead dish
"Pasta salads can easily be prepped in advance and can feed a crowd with little effort," Amanda says. "It can be made in advance and cooled immediately after cooking."
One important tip to remember, she adds, is to "add dressing the day it's being served, because it will quickly absorb the dressing."
Pasta salad favourites
"I like using cheese filled tortellini for a hearty salad. Soba and rice noodles are great with Asian dressings, whole grain and coloured pastas," Amanda says.
How to store pasta salads
"Keep salads well wrapped and refrigerated," she says. "Salad has the same storage life as its ingredients. Seafood is best eaten within 2 days, and chicken (within) 2 to 3 days. If traveling, be sure to store pasta salads in coolers packed with lots of ice."
"Proteins should not be within 4 C and 60 C for longer than a four hour period," she adds.
The long and short of it: best pasta shapes
"Short shapes are best with vinaigrettes and creamy dressings, and chunky ingredients such as chopped vegetables and beans," Amanda says.
"Long pasta shapes are better used with thinly sliced vegetables, proteins, herbs, spices and vinaigrettes."
Tips for making pasta salad
"If making a pasta salad in advance, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well," she advises. "Add dressing just prior to serving. Pasta quickly absorbs liquids; if the dressing is added too soon, the pasta will absorb it."
So whether you prefer chunky pasta salads with a cool, creamy dressing perfect for summer picnics, or entrée-worthy pasta salads with long rice noodles and a tangy vinaigrette, you're sure to find a new favourite with from our collection.
Easy pasta salad recipes:
Lemony Red Pepper and Asparagus Pasta Salad
A bright vinaigrette makes this pasta salad the ultimate dish to serve at any summer party.
Photography by Joe Kim
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
This salad highlights many fresh flavours of the Mediterranean and is at its best when made with good-quality olive oil.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
The Best Macaroni Salad
This is a great keeper salad and perfect for a picnic or BBQ. Just make sure you pack it with plenty of ice packs to keep it nice and cold, both during transportation and at the table.
Photography by Annabelle Waugh
Chicken, Broccoli and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
Make this pasta salad for the whole family—the kids will love the mild dressing and round bocconcini cheese, while the adults will appreciate it as a light alternative to a sandwich.
Photography by Jeff Coulson
More great pasta salad recipes:
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
This salad is simple to assemble for a quick family meal.
Warm Spinach and Ham Pasta Salad
Dressed with Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar, this penne pasta salad is a winner topped with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.
Winter Vegetable Pasta Salad
Cook everything together in one pot for this easy warm salad.
Pea, Pepper and Pasta Salad
This make-ahead salad is perfect for toting to a potluck barbecue or picnic. Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving so the peas stay bright green.
Summer Pasta Salad
Serve this light summery salad with crispy, homemade Parmesan Breadsticks.
Mediterranean Fusilli Salad
Fresh basil, hearty beans, piquant sun-dried tomatoes and al dente pasta make the perfect summer salad.
Warm Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
The dressing lends a taste of summer any time of year. The red peppers provide vitamins A and C and potassium. Quick and easy to make, this salad is perfect to take to a last-minute potluck or picnic.
Grilled Sausage, Pepper and Bocconcini Pasta Salad
This delicious pasta salad is made with tasty Italian sausage and lots of colourful peppers.
Bow-Tie Pasta Salad
This easy, colourful salad has the sunny fresh tastes of Greece.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Using tuna packed in both oil and broth means you'll need less oil in the dressing.
Salmon Pasta Salad
Start with melon wedges to whet your appetite for this quick and light dinner.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
Grilled market-fresh veggies meet marinated olives and artichokes in this healthy dish made with whole wheat rotini. So chock full with taste and texture, carnivores won't complain about this vegetarian dish.
Party Parmesan Pasta Salad
Try this hearty salad studded with salami, olives, tiny tomatoes, roasted pepper and fresh basil.
Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad
This easy tasty pasta salad is loaded with calcium. Omit the banana peppers if your child is not a fan of hot food.
Deli Pasta Salad
Add 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) extra pasta to the pot at dinner the night before to have enough for this lunchtime salad the next day.
Sirloin Steak with Green Bean Pasta Salad
Sirloin steaks paired with green beans and tomatoes make this salad a hearty entrée.
Looking for more great recipes? Try our best potato salad recipes.
Roast Turkey With Nutty Stuffing</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media Credits: Roast Turkey With Nutty Stuffing</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media
1. Remember to thaw: If the turkey is frozen, it will take at least a few days to thaw in the fridge. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
2. Use a large roasting pan: The roasting pan should be large enough that the turkey does not touch the sides and ideally should have a few inches of room around it.
This helps for better air flow and even cooking. Just make sure the pan (and turkey) actually fits in your oven.
3. Don't stuff: Filling the turkey cavity with stuffing increases the cooking time, which can lead to a dryer bird. Besides, my favourite part of the stuffing is the crispy bits, which you can only get if the stuffing bakes separate from the bird.
Pop the "stuffing" into a casserole dish and into the oven while the turkey is resting. Click here for downloadable information on turkey roasting times.
4. Don't tie your turkey: Tying the turkey is just a waste of your valuable time.
Tying the legs together (or going all out and trussing the whole bird – tying snugly with kitchen twine so the wings and legs stay close to the body) does make for a nice presentation, but it increases cooking time. We suggest leaving the legs as is, and tucking the wings under the breast so they don't burn.
5. 325°F all the way: 325°F is the perfect temperature for roasting a turkey. It's not too hot that the bird will burn before it's done, and not too cool that the turkey takes forever. Some recipes start at a higher temperature and then reduce to 300 or 325°F, but if you don't get the timing right, the turkey might get too dark.
Cooking at 325°F the whole time yields a nicely browned and still juicy turkey.
6. Baste often: Basting the turkey while roasting helps to develop a nice overall colour as well as keeps it juicy. We recommend basting every 30 or 45 minutes. Use a turkey baster to suck of the juices from the pan (or use a pastry brush or spoon) and drizzle the juices over the top of the turkey. Sometimes the juices can accumulate in the cavity of the turkey. Carefully tip the turkey so the juices run out and there is something to baste with.
7. Tent with foil: If the turkey is getting too browned before it's cooked, cover loosely with a piece of foil. This will limit the browning while the turkey continues cooking.
8. Use a thermometer: Just because the turkey looks cooked, doesn't mean it is cooked. The only way of ensuring it's done is to use a thermometer. We like a digital instant-read thermometer because it gives the most accurate reading. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, if it reads 170°F, then the bird is cooked.
9. Let it rest: Once the turkey comes out of the oven, let it rest on the counter, loosely covered in foil for at least 30 minutes. This will let the juices redistribute and cool the turkey down a bit so it is not too hot to eat. Also, this gives to time to finish the side dishes and make the gravy. Just be sure to add the resting to the total time and time everything accordingly.
10. Carve in the kitchen: Although a beautifully presented bird brought to the dining table is the idealized picture of Thanksgiving, I always carve the turkey in the kitchen. Carving a turkey can be a messy job. Doing it in the kitchen means less mess, and less stress at the dining table. Start by removing the legs and thighs (remove the bone and cut up the thigh meat), cut away each breast from the bone and slice.
Check out these tips on how to have the best Thanksgiving ever.
XLTL high-efficiency top-loading washer and dryer, GE<br>Image courtesy of GE Appliances Credits: XLTL high-efficiency top-loading washer and dryer, GE<br>Image courtesy of GE Appliances
There's more to laundry these days than just sorting colours. Here's the latest buzz in fabric care.
1. Fabric softener can save you money
Under a microscope, cotton fibres aren't all that dissimilar from strands of human hair. What's more, they're both at their most vulnerable when wet, which is why we use conditioner on our hair after shampooing. In the laundry cycle, that conditioning role is fulfilled by fabric softener. More than just perfuming your clothes and making them softer to the touch, fabric softener lubricates fabrics at the fibre level, reducing the damaging effects of friction in both the washer and the dryer, ultimately extending the life of your go-to garments.
2. "High-efficiency" washers aren't a fad
If you've still got a traditional agitator-method washer, you're officially in the minority. According to Jennifer Schoenegge, a clothes-care product manager at GE, high-efficiency (HE) washing machines now outnumber conventional washers in North American households. This is great news from an environmental standpoint, as not only can HE washers do up to four basket loads in a single wash but they also use half the water of standard models.
3. Not all high-efficiency detergents are equal
High-efficiency washing machines use cooler water than traditional washing machines; as a result, they require different detergents than agitator-method washers. Unfortunately, Schoenegge says some detergents that market themselves as being suitable for use in HE machines are simply repackaged versions of original formulas and can result in degradation of garment fibres over time. Look for detergents branded "HE Turbo," which offer protection against damage caused by cold-water washes, and collapsible suds that break down over the course of the wash and rinse clean in a single cycle. It's also important to avoid under- or overdosing detergent by measuring it according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
4. Dirty laundry doesn't always look dirty
In fact, "70 percent of the soil on your clothes is invisible—but it's there," says Margarita Bahrikeeton, global research and development leader for P&G Fabric Care. The tricky thing with these invisible stains (which are largely caused by oils from your body) is they attract even more dirt from the filthy water sloshing around inside your washing machine. Over time, Bahrikeeton says this dirt can degrade the contrast in your clothes, casting a "grey veil" over the entire garment that affects our perception of the colours. Although there are new detergents on the market containing polymers that claim to stop dirt from redepositing during the wash cycle (Tide Pods, for instance), you can take matters into your own hands by regularly washing your washing machine itself.
A smile is the first thing you notice about someone, so of course the prospect of achieving whiter, brighter teeth is appealing. Here’s what you can do at your bathroom sink—or in your dentist's chair—to help get you a brilliant smile.
We all know that proper brushing is key to oral health, which in turn is important to achieving whiter teeth. For years manual toothbrushes have been the weapon of choice, but is it as effective as an electric brush? Probably not, says Dr. Roger Avila, a dentist at Islington Bloor Dentist in Toronto. “The purpose of a toothbrush is to remove plaque and stimulate gums to help prevent tooth decay. Electric toothbrushes are exceptional at doing both jobs.” With the constant advancements in technology our toothbrushes are working stronger, faster and better. But along with the advancements comes a steep price tag: The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, widely considered the Rolls-Royce of toothbrushes, will cost you about $225. If that gives you sticker shock, try Oral-B Precision 1000 Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush, which will cost you around $60. But real talk: Even a $10 battery-powered spin brush can give your teeth a polishing effect.
Use Whitening Toothpaste
This seems like a no brainer, but whitening toothpaste really can help your toothbrush remove surface stains caused by beverages, such as red wine or coffee. Most whitening toothpastes on the market include both abrasive and chemical ingredients that clean teeth and remove stains, but only at the top level. If you have sensitive teeth try Sensodyne True White Mint toothpaste ($19), it helps relieve tooth sensitivity while giving whitening results with a low abrasive formula. But if you want something that will give you instant results we suggest Luster Premium White NOW! Instant White Toothpaste ($65). This toothpaste deposits a bluing agent that temporarily clings to teeth, which masks yellowness.
Try an At-Home Whitening Kit
The dentist chair isn’t your only option; at-home systems and strips have come a long way since they first appeared on the market. Products that claim speedy results (within a few hours) often contain a high percentage of peroxide (a chemical that changes to hydrogen peroxide once it hits your teeth), which can irritate sensitive teeth and gums. If you fall into the sensitive teeth camp, Dr. Avila says to look for whitening systems or strips that use 10 percent (or less) of peroxide. He warns that with some teeth, at-home or professional systems simply won’t help you reach a whiter and brighter smile. “Some teeth don’t change as much as others and that is because of the colour of the dentin, which is the layer that lies under the enamel.” Bad news, there’s nothing you can do to increase you dentin; the amount of dentin you have comes down to genetics, says Dr. Avila. If your dentin game is strong, always make sure your teeth are as clean and as dry as possible to increase efficacy; this helps the peroxide adhere to your teeth. Try: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid, $46, walmart.ca.
Avoid Foods and Drinks That Stain Teeth
Basically, anything that brings you joy in the food and drink department—and can also stain your white button down—can stain your teeth. Some of the worst culprits are red wine, coffee, barbecue sauce and blueberry pie. “If you are a coffee drinker, tea drinker or love red wine, whatever kind of teeth whitening you use, it’s not going to be effective or work to its fullest strength,” says Elmira Amirpour, a dental hygienist at Islington Bloor Dentist. She suggests using a straw whenever you can to avoid contact from teeth and to chase that glass of red wine with some water.
Consult a Pro
If money isn't an issue and you’re looking for major results, fast, head to your dentist. A great entry point into in-office whitening is Philips Zoom! QuickPro. This whitening process doesn't use LED, instead a 20% hydrogen peroxide is applied to teeth followed by a sealant that helps lock in the hydrogen peroxide layer. It should take 5-10 minutes, 30 minutes later patients brush away the varnish leaving teeth that are up to four shades lighter for around $150- $200. The treatment is also touted to be the best option if you experience sensitivity—we tried it and it lifted our teeth up to six shades lighter, shattering its four shade claim. Amirpour suggests trying the treatment one to two weeks after a cleaning and to ban foods that can stain (beets, coffee, toffee) for 72 hours post treatment. If you want to step up your whitening, try Philips Zoom! Whitespeed or Sapphire Whitening, “Zoom is very intense but results wise it’s the best,” says Dr. Avila. With its combination of peroxide and LED light Philips Zoom! Whitespeed costs around $500-$650 and can whiten up to eight shades. It works in a similar way to the QuickPro procedure however you receive three cycles (each lasting 15 minutes) of LED light that activates the whitening gel. The light used in Philips Zoom! Whitespeed also gives you the option of going to high, medium or low, depending on patients teeth sensitivity.