The past few weeks have seemed like a blur to me. My grandmother on my mother’s side past away at the end of the month, which of course was unpleasant. Then me and @TheChicGirl spent some time in KC for @GoBlogSocial which gave us both a much-needed break and was really inspiring, as you may have read. However on the trip back the car air conditioner broke down on us, then there were battery issues when we finally made it back to the house. Luckily my hubby was able to address both issues in time only to take us back on the road to Oklahoma, where last week we spent with Miss Linda, my mother in law as she prepared for a family reunion.
After the sad news of my grandmother passing and car issues, doing some cooking and the like, for a family reunion really lifted my spirits and I needed a reason to wear my amazing new cook-out dress I made recently, but more on the dress in another post.
The family reunion was for the Lasley family which is Miss Linda’s family and while the extended family was invited it seemed only her siblings attended, making me and my hubby the only children there. I guess if you can call us children. Oh, well despite that we both really enjoyed the gathering and I got to make to of my favorite things, pie and pasta.
Since it was a cook-out I made a macaroni salad, in which I wanted to do something different. I had read about using Greek Yogurt instead of Mayo in salads so I really wanted to try that out, and instead of peppers in the salad I thought I’d change it up with by going with olives, and tomatoes instead. Of course macaroni salad to me must have celery, which is ironically the only thing I really like celery in.
I wanted the salad to have lots of color so instead of elbow macaroni I used garden rotini, which I guess that means it’s a pasta salad and not macaroni salad after all. After cooking the pasta I cut up the celery, cherry tomatoes and mixed it with a small can of chopped black olives. To top it off I also cooked and chopped some turkey bacon to go in it as well. Then I mixed the veggies/bacon mixture with the pasta.
I had read several recipes about making dressing using Greek Yogurt, a little milk and Ranch Dressing Mix. I wanted my dressing for the pasta salad to be creamy and not watery so I altered the recipes I had found to be 8 oz. of Fage Greek Yogurt and mixed it with a few tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix, it came to about 4 tablespoons, but it was more or less just as many as I felt it needed for taste.
- 1 lb. of garden rotini
- small can of chopped black olives
- celery chopped (3-4 small stalks)
- cherry tomatoes chopped (about two handfuls)
- 4-8 strips of Turkey bacon cooked and chopped
- 8 oz. Greek Yogurt ( I used Fage)
- 3-4 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
- In a large pot bring 4 quarts of water to boil then add pasta and a dash of salt (if desired). Return to boil. When pasta is tender, drain water and let pasta cool in serving dish.
- Cook the Turkey bacon to your liking. Chop the Turkey bacon and mix it in with the chopped black olives, celery and tomatoes.
- Mix veggie and bacon mixture with pasta, and let chill.
- Mix the Greek Yogurt with the Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix. Pour over pasta mixture.
- Keep refrigerated until read to serve.
Now when it comes to family gatherings I’m known for my pies. My sugar-free keylime pie is my staple, and though it was already requested that I bring one, I also decided to make another pie. I wanted to make something summery and a few weeks back I remember I got this berry pie recipe sent to my Inbox from Pillsbury, or Kraft, wait maybe it was Betty Crocker; well whoever it was I thought I would make that. Once I got to the store to but the ingredients for the pie, I was like really I need cornstarch and heavy cream and so forth and so forth. Then I thought, well first it needs to be sugar-free, and all I really want is a lemon base to toss some berries on. So I decided to go with a simple Jell-O pie recipe.
Basically it consists of sugar-free lemon Jell-O, boiling water, Neufchâtel cheese and sugar-free Cool Whip, blend well.
After chilling in a gram cracker crust for a few minutes I topped it off with a mix of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
Though the pie was just tossed together on a whim, it was really really good. I made it two days before the get together as a test, and it was gone within the night. I made a fresh one the day of the reunion.
- 1 graham cracker crust
- 8 oz. Neufchâtel cheese (or cream cheese)
- 8 oz Sugar Free Cool Whip
- 2 small packages or 1 large package of Sugar Free Lemon Jell-O
- 1 cup boiling water
- Mix boiling water with Jell-O until completely dissolved.
- Blend in Neufchâtel cheese into the Jell-O with a mixer.
- Fold in the Cool Whip.
- Pour mixture into graham cracker crust.
- Let chill a few minutes.
- Chop Straw berries and raspberries then mix together with blueberries.
- Top berry mixture on to pie.
- Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving.
Speaking of the reunion it was held at Miss Linda’s house out on her enclosed porch which over looks the garden. I helped set the tables and the place settings looked so nice, you wouldn’t believe you were in a small town in Oklahoma, it looked like some sort of resort.
Besides my amazing dishes there was all sorts of good food. My hubby’s Aunt Pat and Uncle Don smoked some really good chicken, and his Uncle Bob and Aunt Barbra went all out with home backed rolls, a delicious potato salad, which I need to get the recipe for, homemade ice cream and homemade root beer (though I don’t actually like root beer).
All in all the reunion was really fun and a much-needed break from other more somber events. We all had a great time with the family, even if I was only related by marriage.
Your pie and pasta salad was delicious! Actually, the pie and berry cheesecake surpassed delicious!!