Recipe: Perfect Pasta Salad {Lunch Box}

It is official - I am now one of the many who packs a lunch to bring to work. While a frozen, or store-bought lunch pack, can satisfy, I've found that making food ahead of time and bringing it in really is the best option. Not only can I ensure that I know exactly what I'm putting into my body, but it is hugely cost-saving as well! This week, for lunch, I've been packing a sandwich (Turkey & Russian dressing!), and adding some homemade pasta salad on the side.
 

A few weeks ago, I saw this picture on another blog ...


The picture wasn't captioned, and I have absolutely no idea where the blogger got it from - but I was in love at first sight! Tomatoes and mozzerella? Sold! But without a recipe, I decided to make my own.

First, I gathered up my ingredients.


3/4 lb. Penne Pasta
12 oz. Jar of Artichoke Hearts
1 Pint of Baby Tomatoes
8 oz. Mozzerella
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Basil
1/2 Bottle of Italian Dressing (not pictured, but I used the Stop&Shop Brand)

I cooked the pasta, rinsed it with cold water, and then set in the fridge to cool for 1 hour.




Then, I drained the artichoke hearts, halved the tomatoes, diced the mozzerella, and set it all to the side to wait for the pasta to cool.


Once the pasta was cooled, I mixed in the artichoke hearts, tomatoes and mozzerella. Then I sprinkled the top with oregano and basil, and finally, mixed in half of the bottle of Italian dressing.


This the perfect lunch side, but it also makes a great dinner. Or snack. Or any other meal. I swear, it really is that good. It stores in the refrigerator and, since it is eaten cold, you don't have to worry about needing to heat it up - it is perfect as is!


Do you have any favorite pasta salad combinations? You could definitely add all sorts of other things into this pasta salad, including (but not at all limited to) chicken, prusciutto, parmesan cheese, cucumbers, olives, and/or sundried tomatoes. You can even put all of those things in if you wanted to - and I just might do that next time! Hope you all have a fantastic rest of your day!
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