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Hey friends! LONG time, no talk. We’re almost completely settled in the new house now, so all things food are starting to come to fruition again. But here’s the thing – IT’S HOT. IT’S SO HOT. And humid. Not Georgia-humid, but… humid. I swear, my hair hasn’t been dry in over a month now and it’s just… it’s so much. I’ve never been this hot and sweaty for so long before. It makes the whole concept of baking sound like the most ridiculous idea anyone has ever had. Turn on the oven? Are you completely insane? I would throw this glass of water in your face, but I desperately need it because I’m parched.
Instead, I recently opted for less than ten minutes with the stove top and a whole bunch of time with the fridge. Mind you, I can’t get in the fridge with the food, but still. Summer is always screaming for pasta salad, so that’s exactly what I made: Shrimp Pasta Salad with a Homemade Italian Vinaigrette.
The dressing is so simple – you’re going to kick yourself for not trying it sooner. Making your own dressing is not only quick and easy, but you get to control what’s in it – and that’s always a plus. Just throw everything in a jar, put the lid on, shake it up, and let it sit in the fridge until you need it. Done.
This pasta salad is a spin on a family recipe that has a mayonnaise-based dressing, but I made a few alterations to keep it a little on the lighter side. A few tips:
Use a pasta that has a fun shape:
Add colorful ingredients:
And be generous with the dressing:
But here’s the thing… I make a mess with this recipe. Like, vinegar all over the counters. Red pepper juices smeared across cutting boards. I’m the type that cleans as she goes to save time and converse counter top space (as well as dishes and utensils), but when it comes to this pasta salad I am so eager to just get it made that I put off all the cleaning to the end.
You know what saved the day this time? ocelo™ No-Scratch Scrub Sponges!
I picked up a 6-pack of these bad boys at Target for $5.57 and they’re so darn cute it was hard to use them knowing they’d get dirty. But good grief, did I need to get them dirty. Since this was the first time I’d been to this Target, I wasn’t sure where to find them – but thankfully, it was nice and easy! There was a huge sign for “Cleaning Supplies” and they were right there, just waiting for me.
There were a bunch of options on the shelf, but I was specifically looking for the ocelo™ No-Scratch Scrub Sponges and as luck would have it, they came in adorable prints!
Their fresh, colorful designs made the whole task of cleaning more enjoyable, so when I was covered in garlic and vinegar I didn’t mind as much. I specifically picked the ocelo™ no-scratch scrub sponges because I knew that they could clean my glass jar and bowl, as well as my stainless steel pots without scratching. That’s the last thing I need to be worried about when I’m trying to prep a meal!
But seriously – look how cute these are:
Confession time: the rule in our house is that whoever didn’t cook is the one who does the dishes. So guess who didn’t have to do the dishes this time? This guy. So those manly hands you see in the pictures below aren’t mine. I know, you’re shocked. He tackled the stainless steel pot and strainer…
And the plastic strainer…
And the jar that was filled with slippery, greasy vinaigrette. You know how you clean something oily, but you feel like there’s always a residue leftover?
Not this time, friends! It was seriously squeaky clean, and not a scratch on it. Gorgeous!
But truth be told, I only let him do a couple and then I sent him away so that I could finish. Was it my OCD, or was it the completely adorable sponges? I guess we’ll never know (but I’m leaning toward the sponges).
While I worked on the rest of the dishes, he tackled the counter tops – they were sparkling in no time at all!
Stop by Target to get your own set of ocelo sponges – and print out this coupon to save $0.50 off One ocelo Scrub Sponge Multi-pack!
- ¾ cup grapeseed oil (or vegetable or canola)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey (or sugar)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 lb pasta
- 8 ounces salad shrimp (or regular shrimp, diced)
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 orange pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ vidalia onion, diced
- ¼ cup relish
- Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and shake to combine. Set in fridge for at least one hour before use.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Once it's done cooking, immediately rinse in cold water. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until evenly distributed.
- Add dressing and stir to combine.
- Place in fridge and let chill for at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!