Cool Cucumber Pasta

Cool Cucumber Pasta :: Zim on a Whim

This warmer weather has me craving cool salads like this Cool Cucumber Pasta salad. (I’m sorry to those of you who actually have SNOW on the ground in May!) It’s sweet and tangy and perfect for summer barbecues because there’s no mayo. It’s great for lunch, too.

I got the recipe from my friend Lisa about 15+ years ago! I believe she got it from a magazine, but my old, faded, and handwritten recipe card doesn’t say the source.

Here’s how you make it…

Cool Cucumber Pasta
8 oz. tube pasta, like ziti
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 medium cucumbers or 1 long hot house cucumber, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse to cool.
2. In a large bowl, stir the pasta with the oil, cucumbers, and onion.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients with a whisk and pour over the pasta.
4. Chill for 3-4 hours, stirring it up a few times while chilling.
5. Stir again before serving.

*The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it sits. You will need to stir it up before serving each time as the liquid will settle to the bottom of the bowl.

If you’d like to check out another cold salad great for entertaining, check out this Fiesta Salad or this Mango and Jicama Salad!


BBQ Meatloaf Muffins

These little meatloaves are so moist and packed with barbecue flavor that I’m sure you’re going to love them! Baking them up in a muffin tin makes this meal come together quickly – perfect for those weekday dinners when you don’t have a lot of time. This recipe was inspired by one I found by Rachael Ray. When I went to make these last year, I was missing some of the ingredients so I had to wing it. I think these came out tastier and have been making them this way ever since! I am not even a fan of meatloaf (unless I get an end piece, bacon is involved, and use a lot of ketchup) and hubby normally hates meatloaf — but we loves these!

You need two bowls: a large one for the meat mixture and a medium one to make the sauce. Combine the meatloaf ingredients in the large bowl, mix the sauce ingredients in the smaller bowl, and then mix in HALF the sauce to the meat mixture. Fill your muffin tins and spoon the rest of the sauce over the meatloaf muffins.

Bake and enjoy!

BBQ Meatloaf Muffins
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1/2 of a large, sweet onion (like Vidalia), chopped
2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning (like McCormick Grill Mates)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
Splash of milk (about 1/4 cup)
3 handfuls of plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mild picante sauce

(Preheat oven to 400 degrees)
1. Mix together the beef, chopped onion, BBQ seasoning, salt, pepper, egg, milk, and bread crumbs in a large bowl. Using your hands work best!
2. In a separate bowl, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and picante sauce.
3. Mix in half of the sauce with the meat mixture, reserving the rest of the sauce. Combine well, but do not over-mix.
4. Grease the cups of your muffin tin with a little olive oil or spray lightly with cooking spray. Distribute the meatloaf mixture evenly among the muffin cups, and then spoon the reserved sauce over each muffin. (You may have a little sauce leftover…)
5.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until the meat is cooked through.

Note: I get 12 meatloaf muffins when I fill the muffin tin. The meat doesn’t come up past the top of the “cup”. The sauce will bubble a little while the meatloaves are baking so if you fill them higher it might get messy in there. If you happen to have a little more meat than 1 1/4 lbs., just use a second muffin tin for the extra ones.