A few weeks ago, I decided I would challenge myself to not make my two kids ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch every day of the week. I have had no incentive to stop because my kids don’t complain and actually love ham and cheese sandwiches. I just can’t believe they can eat it for lunch every school day and even request for it on non-school days.
This challenge started not because of any healthy commitments but um, well, because I actually didn’t have any ham in the fridge on Sunday morning (Sunday is the start of the school/work week in Dubai). So as I scanned the fridge for sandwich ingredients, I came upon the eggs…
Day 1 – I made the kids fried egg and cheese sandwiches. (This went down a treat with my daughter, the picky eater, but my son did not like it. Go figure)
Day 2 – Fried egg and cheese sandwiches. Yes. Again. My husband thought it was a weird lunch item but I still hadn’t made it to the grocery store.
Day 3 – Since my son wouldn’t eat his egg sandwich, I decided to go the pasta route as that’s what I had in my pantry.
I whipped up a pasta salad with mayo, canned corn, frozen peas, and leftover roast chicken. My daughter ate only the pasta but my son cleaned his lunchbox.
Day 4 – Pasta salad again. My son couldn’t get enough of it. My daughter decide to give it a all a pass.
Day 5 – My kids lucked out. They would’ve had more pasta salad for lunch again as I had made a huge batch but it rained the day before and the streets were so flooded that the government canceled all schools.
I definitely need to make more of an effort to vary things up for the kids.
One day I’ll get my mom act together.
Anyway, this pasta salad is also a great dish for a quick weekday meal or a salad to bring to a potluck or picnic.
And I really love that this is another one of those versatile recipes that can be made with pantry items and basically just four sets of ingredients:
- Pasta: Use almost any kind that you have in the cupboard;
- Vegetable: Frozen or fresh peas, carrots, corn (or canned corn);
- Protein: I’ve used leftover chicken, canned tuna or sardines (not the tomatoey ones though);
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and mayonaise or you can substitute a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for the mayonnaise and then add a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Simple Pasta Salad
- 1/3 box of pasta (my pasta boxes are 500 g or about 1 lb)
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 can tuna (in oil or water), drained or 1 cup of leftover cooked chicken cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup frozen or canned corn (or fresh)
- salt and pepper
Boil pasta according to directions. I like my pasta a little bit soft so I cook it for one minute longer than al dente. Drain pasta using colander.
If using frozen peas and/or corn, defrost by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over it to cover. Drain after 30 seconds.
Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
-This recipe doesn't have to be exact: use whatever is available in your fridge and pantry and adjust the amount of vegetables and mayonnaise to your liking