Just for Dad

It is Dad's day to feel special.


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Dad's the greatest and you want him to know it. So make a pasta salad that is designed just for him. For starters, brainstorm to select a shape of pasta that fits his personality. If he loves his car? Go for cool wheels and use wagon wheel pasta. Or, if he's a great dresser, bow ties or farfalle might be the pasta that suits him. Dad also gets to choose how he would like to dress his special salad: Creamy French, Italian, or Buttermilk Garlic.

One of the terrific things about this salad is that it's ready to go in 30 minutes. The pasta is the only ingredient that needs to be cooked. After that, there's no more hot stuff to worry about. All that's left is shaking up the dressing. Just measure and snip a few ingredients, toss them into a plastic container with a lid, then get shakin' in the kitchen.

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Make some memories with Dad's favorite dressing. Bring a disposable camera into the kitchen and take snapshots of the gang cooking and dancing while shaking up one of these easy dressings.

Creamy French Dressing

Prep: 10 minutes

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  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 1/4 cup catsup
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place ingredients in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake until smooth. Makes 1 cup.

Buttermilk Garlic Dressing

Prep: 10 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon snipped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon snipped green onions with tops
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Place mayonnaise and buttermilk in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and shake until well combined. Makes 1 cup.

Italian Dressing

Prep: 10 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil and 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place ingredients in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake until smooth. Makes 1 cup.

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  • Get a head start. Cook, drain, and rinse the pasta, and cut up the celery and sweet pepper before getting your kids into the kitchen. Lightly toss cooked pasta with a little oil to keep it from sticking.
  • Watch out for slippery fingers. Make sure little hands are completely dry before beginning any snipping step or shaking the dressing.
  • Keep a clean scene. If one of the ingredients spills or drops on the floor, even it it's just a little, stop and wipe up the spill immediately.
  • Share silly Dad stories: Tell your children funny stories about things their Dad did when they were babies.
  • Play the kitchen math quiz: For example, when does 1+1+1 = 1? Simple. When you're talking teaspoons. Three teaspoons equal one tablespoon. Or, when
    does 4 x 1 = 1/4? When you're talking tablespoons. Four tablespoons equals one-quarter cup. To prove it, carefully measure four tablespoons of water into a measuring cup and show how they add up to 1/4 cup. Or, count the pieces of green pepper as you add them to the salad. When little ones can't count any higher, toss in the pieces that are left.
  • Stage a tasting with a red and green bell pepper. Chat about how red bell peppers started out green. Explain that when you leave green peppers on the vine, they change color to red and become sweeter as they ripen. Then have each person shut his or her eyes, but don't let your children see what color the pepper is. Can they tell which it is just by tasting?
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