A few weeks ago, we spent a week on St. George Island, Florida with Joey's parents. We had a wonderful vacation - plenty of time for playing in the waves, reading outside on the porch, walks on the beach, and of course plenty of ice cream was consumed nightly. :)
Whenever we go on vacation with Joey's family, I get to be in charge of the food, and I had a great time planning the week's meals. This year I only cooked 3 nights, and the other nights we either went out or ate leftovers. It was a good balance for us - I didn't end up in the kitchen for hours every evening, and we were still able to enjoy some local cuisine, but we still enjoyed home-cooked leisurely meals in our beach house. What I cooked this year:
Spicy Grilled Shrimp Po' Boys, Cajun-Grilled Corn on the Cob, Watermelon Slices
Pimento Cheeseburgers, BBQ Pasta Salad, Watermelon, Toasted Okra
Grilled Chicken Fajitas, Beans and Rice, Chips, Salsa, and Guacamole
also on the menu but we didn't get around to it - Grouper with Garlic-Shrimp Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Zucchini
The BBQ pasta salad was one of my favorite dishes, and what's even better - I was able to eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week. It's a step up from your basic creamy pasta salad. Barbecue sauce is added, as are some fun spices and flavors - cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic, hot sauce, scallions, and a little honey. And since I like a lot of "stuff" in my pasta salad, I added chopped onion, fresh corn, grape tomatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese. If you really want to get crazy you could sprinkle it with crumbled bacon before serving. It's a fun twist on the traditional, and often boring, pasta salad. And one that would definitely be well-received at a cookout this week!
BBQ Pasta Salad
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Summer Grilling 2009
serves 8 to 10
- 1 lb elbow macaroni, or other pasta shape
- 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
- 4 scallions, sliced thin
- 2 Tbs cider vinegar
- 1 tsp hot sauce, plus more for serving
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 cup mayonnaise (light is fine), or any combination of mayo and Greek yogurt to make 1 cup
- 2/3 cup BBQ Sauce
- 3 ears of corn, cooked as desired (roasting or grilling is my method of choice), kernels cut off
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta and cook until almost tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain briefly, so that the pasta is still moist. Transfer to a large bowl.
Stir in the onion, scallions, vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powered, cayenne, and honey. Let sit until the flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce, and sit unitl the salad is no longer watery, about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the corn, cheese, and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper as needed, and serve.
Salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. If the salad becomes dry from sitting, stir in a few tablespoons of water or barbecue sauce just before serving.