We are big fans of make your own meals. I’ve shared our make your own gyro bar, and I thought I had shared our make your own salad bar, and the make your own taco…… You get the idea, we do a lot of buffet style meals.
Why do we?
We have some wildly differing tastes in things. And it’s mostly in the parents. Jeff loves cream sauces for his salad dressing. I love Italian and Caesar. I also like Ranch, but occasionally I’d like to have other dressings. The list of differences goes on and on.
It of course starts with the pasta. I like Wacky Mac because it has some veggies built into it. And for my veggie averse family that’s a good thing. If I’m doing this for a large crowd I’ll make a couple of different types of pasta, for just the 5 of us I dump in the bag of Wacky mac and we’re good to go.
Pick your protein. Huh, protein is e before i. Go figure. This is a great chance to raid your refrigerator for leftovers. This particular time it was steak and a breaded chicken chopped up into little pieces. I’ve used rotisserie chicken, leftover turkey, ground beef, taco meat, fajita meat (now that’s delicious). You get the idea.
Pick your toppings. For us that means at least one kind of cheese, probably more like 2 or 3 (this night it was shredded colby jack and feta cheese, my kids devour feta cheese and will put half a cup on). I like a bit of crunch with my pasta salad so I like to add in sunflower seeds and croutons. Jeff doesn’t really like those.
I put out all of the salad dressing in our refrigerator. At this particular venture it was: ranch, italian, and miso dressing. There’s usually at least one vinegar and oil based dressing and one cream based dressing.
This works really well for us recently because the boys’ kung fu schedule is right in the middle of when I’d usually prepare dinner, so we’re often not getting home until 6:30 or 7:00 and if I have to wait to prepare something after that we wouldn’t be eating until 8 or 9:00. That’s just not acceptable to Jeff and I. So, lots of quick meals to eat.
Do you have a nice quick go to meal? If not check out some of these other blogs participating and you’ll find some great meals.Enchanted Homeschooling Mom | Inspired by Family | Sun Scholars | This Reading Mama | Life by Ashley Pichea | In Culture Parent | Raising Life Long Learners | Glittering Muffins | Octavia and Vicky | Kid World Citizen | Kitchen Counter Chronicles | Nomad Parents | Childhood 101 | Triple T Mum | Adventures in Mommydom | The Freckled Homeschooler | Teach Beside Me | The Chirping Moms | Disco… the World Through My Son’s Eyes | So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler | Pickle Bums | The European Mama | The Golden Gleam | Forever, For Always, No Matter What | Motherhood on a Dime | Harrington Harmonies | Rainy Day Mum | Jenni Fischer | Cakes and Sribbles | Toddling Into Madness | Mermaids’ Makings | Mud Hut Mama | Here Come the Girls | All Done Monkey | Small Potatoes | Little Artists
OR Head over to the pinterest board:
maryanne @ mama smiles says
This is a great idea! I think my kids would enjoy a pasta salad bar.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
We do this sort of thing with baked potato bars, but I never thought of doing it with pasta salad. Great simple idea! Thanks for posting it.
I really have to go through this blog hop as I often struggle with the same problem of quick simple family meals. Unfortunately, Anna is not a fan of pasta salads, but otherwise your idea must work really well for a big crowd.
I loved its adaptability, we’ve used this to make our own salads, and I like Phyllis’ suggestion of potato bars.
It really is hard to keep up everything as kids get older. I admire parents who can.