Secret Ingredient Potluck Pasta Salad: Kid Approved!!!

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This recipe was happened upon by accident and, like most recipes born out of a moment of desperation. I was cooking for a larger crowd and needed to be sure my kids would have something to eat. They aren’t super-picky eaters but they can get finikey in certain situations. The “I don’t like this” conversations start happening…Meanwhile I’m just trying to have a good time at the cook-out and make sure my kids are eating SOMETHING more than cookies and chips!!!

My kids affectionately refer to this dish as “Noodle Salad.” Personally, I don’t care what anyone calls it I just hope it brings full bellies to kids and adults everywhere! Speaking of adults…This is an adult crowd pleaser as well. the best of both worlds. You can feed your kids and look like a contributing adult with your adult-looking pasta salad in a pretty serving bowl.

You can easily tailor this recipe based on what your kids like or don’t like. My kids love black olives, cheddar cheese, pepperoni/salami, and noodles. BINGO! That sounds like legit pasta salad! I added a couple more ingredients to make it kid and adult-friendly, but this pasta salad is as EASY and as kid-pleasing as it gets!!!


  • 1 Lbs. Rotini (I use Barilla Gluten-Free pasta because I need to, but you can use any pasta type/brand you choose).
  • 1 Can Large Black Olives (pitted and roughly chopped)
  • 4 Oz. Mild Cheddar Cheese (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 Cup Pepperoni/Salami – Thinly sliced (I used Deli Salami in this recipe)
  • 1 Whole Bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing (I used the Aldi version, but any version is fine). Don’t worry, ‘Zesty’ does not mean ‘Spicy’ so little mouths can handle this.
  • 3 Tbs. Salad Supreme (shhhh…this is the secret ingredient)


  1. Boil noodles according to package instructions. Set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl add the chopped olives, cubed cheddar cheese, Salad Supreme, and sliced pepperoni/salami.
  3. Add the noodles into the same bowl and toss with the ingredients.
  4. Next add the entire bottle of salad dressing. This May seem excessive, but the noodles soak up the dressing & nobody likes a dry pasta salad.
  5. Fold the salad dressing with the noodles and other goodies until everything is coated.
  6. You can serve this immediately or store in the fridge for serving later. Make it a day ahead of time and save yourself some hassle! It’s getting really nice outside, you are gonna have better things to do:-). My spring and summer nights and weekends will be filled with baseball and softball games…What are your summer plans? 

Have Dinner on the Porch,



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