Quick and Easy One Dish Summer Meal – Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad

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Quick and Easy Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad

A quick and easy one dish summer meal that’s great for hot days including a delicious Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad recipe and Banana Split Cake!

Quick and Easy One Dish Summer Meal


  • Keep a toothbrush in your kitchen to clean things like graters, beaters, chopper blades and other hard to clean small items.
  • Keep another toothbrush in your kitchen to clean places like around your faucets, appliance knobs, sink drain, etc.
  • Use Dow bathroom cleaner in the kitchen to clean anything with grease on it. I just spray it on and it literally melts away the grease and dirt. It is especially good to use for places like the back of the stove where the knobs are or on shelves where that greasy kitchen grime can build up.
  • Don’t just wipe things in a kitchen with a wet rag. Not only are you not cleaning anything, you are probably making it worse. Use soapy water to wipe things down.

    Hot soapy water cleans almost everything, especially in the kitchen, but it doesn’t hurt every once in a while to put some Clorox in your dish water to use to wipe things. Remember, you don’t need half a cup of bleach, only a capful or two. Stop worrying so much about what a few drops of Clorox is going to do to your family and worry more about what food poisoning will do to them because you didn’t clean the right way with the right stuff.


Try this quick and easy one dish summer menu!

Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad*
Bread, Butter and Jam
Corn on the Cob
Banana Split Cake*



This Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad recipe is a wonderful dish to make up in the morning. Then, when dinner time comes and everyone is hot and tired, just set this dish on the table. Voila! Dinner is served.

Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad Recipe

1 1/2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained
1 can (6 oz.) water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped


1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta. While it is cooking, chop rest of ingredients and mix. Mix dressing together. Add pasta and mix everything. Chill. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds if desired.

Banana Split Cake


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Mix and spread into 13×9 pan. Chill


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together. It will crumble at first, but keep mixing until smooth. Spread on crust.


1 container of whipped topping
1 can (15 oz.) pineapple, crushed or chunks (your choice)
1-2 bananas
Strawberries or other fruit
Ice cream topping
Nuts or toffee bits
Maraschino cherries

Slice bananas on filling, top with pineapple and then any other fruit you want. Spread with whipped topping. Drizzle with either chocolate, caramel, butterscotch sauce or favorite ice cream topping. Sprinkle with nuts and garnish with cherries.


For lots of quick and easy menus with recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less, check out our Quick And Easy Menus On A Dime menu guide.



  1. Emily May says

    Not to sound like a dope, but…is Dow Bathroom Cleaner the Scrubbing Bubbles? Can you use it on cabinet doors – will it mar the wood?

    Thank you!

    • says

      Emily, trust me we don’t think any questions our readers ask are dumb because we ourselves have at some point asked ones which would be considered really dumb. We all just know different things. I say this for everyone out there so you won’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask what you need.

      To answer you question, yes it is the scrubbing bubbles spray foam. I have used it on lots of different surfaces including sealed wood cabinets but to be safe like with anything you can try it on a small not seen spot like the inside of your cabinet. I have oak cabinets with a shiny finish in my kitchen now and use it on them all the time.

      I had a friend whose husband was a cabinet maker and he said you can use soap and water on wood furniture to clean it. The thing was not to let the water stand or sit on it and to dry it off right away because that was what usually ruins it. I say that with everything though – dry it after washing whether it is your counter top, stove, bathroom sinks, floors. It is the water left on things which causes it to have a coated or filmy look so always dry.

  2. Laurie Pruitt says

    Just a thought about the coupons, I am an avid coupon user, I went to an extreme couponing seminar and was amazed and have been using the technique for almost 5 months. I cannot believe how much I save and can get things for free. The woman who does the seminars has a website that is southernsavers.com, for those of you who live in the south this is well looking into. We don’t like ground beef, so a lot of recipes using them I replace with chicken and better quality meats. With the money I save from the couponing, it affords me to spend a little more on meats and other things that we normally could not afford. It is worth a look. Thanks, Laurie

  3. Karen Ewald says

    You suggested adding clorox to dish water. Not always a good idea. Some dish detergent react with clorine and send out nasty clorine gas. Have to make sure it doesn’t say anything about mixing them on your dish soap. I’ve learned this the hard way.

  4. says

    I was Director of Childcare programs as well as a Teacherb before I retired and have for years kept on hand a quart Bottle of warm water with a cap full of bleach in it to spray clean tables, chairs, hard toys, the bathroom sink, etc. It has no odor but kills germs completely. Our State Board of Health reccomends it. A capful in my dishwater once a week helps keep the germs down in our kitchen. It is a really cheap way to disinfect.

  5. Irene says

    Thank you for the Pasta Veggie Fruit Salad recipe! Made it for dinner but had to improvise instead of making a trip to the store. Use penne pasta instead of spiral, didn’t have mandarin oranges, so added the contents of 2 fruit cups. Didn’t have red onion or celery so went without. Served it up with some fresh french bread. Teens ate it up and husband said “that was good – is this a new recipe?” Can’t wait to try it with the extra items next time!

    • says

      Irene I died laughing at your post. Your making do is how many new and delicious recipes are invented and I loved that you used what you had on hand. What I was laughing at was many years ago I found the cutest poem. I can’t remember it exactly but it went something like – I had the best salad at my friends today so decided to make it right away. It called for paprika and I had none so added cinnamon, it called for apples but I only had bananas, it called for flour but used cornmeal instead – The poem went on and on like this and the last line said “I’m not sure why but it didn’t taste at all like my friends”
      : )

      • Sheri says

        I have to laugh. My daughter makes fun of me every time I say I followed a recipe or sewing pattern. She says, except this an that. But she does it too! Then I laugh at her!

        You really have to know the purpose of your ingredients, to know when and what to substitute.

        Our pasta salad:

        2 pounds pasta. Can be penne, shells, curly noodles… Your choice, whatever you have.
        2 pound can garbanzo beans
        2 pound can kidney beans
        1 pound some other bean, black, black- eyed peas, white, navy… Etc…
        1 pound can olives
        1 pound corn, canned or frozen
        1 pound frozen peas
        Toss with Italian dressing. Ours is homemade.

        You can have cubes of cheese and/or dry sausage to sprinkle on individual plates. Add whatever tickles your fancy or you have on hand.

        This is a family favorite. Especially for summer. This overflows a spaghetti pot. I have teenagers, so this is about right for us. Great for a crowd or potluck too. If you have fewer people, use only one pound of pasta and only use two kinds of beans, one pound each. The smaller batch fits in my spaghetti pot.

  6. Emily May says

    Thanks, Jill! I appreciate the patience with the questions! :) I’ll have to try the bubbles in my kitchen.
    Do you think it would work to remove hairspray film off an interior bathroom door?

    • says

      Emily, you can try the dow on the bathroom door. It really depends on the type of hair spray and the finish on the door. It won’t hurt to try. If if that doesn’t work I know for sure a magic eraser will or you can try a little baking soda on a wet rag but I like the magic eraser best.

      The dow works best on greasy or slimy things. The hair spray is more like a type of hard lacquer so the “roughness” of the magic eraser or baking soda cleans things which are harden on. Anyway I always try the dow first and if that doesn’t work try something else.

  7. LittleLori says

    Love the salad recipe! we had is last night and we all enjoyed it – even my picky daughter who didn’t want to try it until she heard we were having brownies for dessert

  8. says

    Do you have an easy solution in cleanint the grout around floor tile. I have tile through most of my house and I don’t know what to put on the grout that will clean the dirt buildup.

    • says

      Wendy I don’t have any tile and hope I never will just for that reason. It is a pain to clean but so many houses have it now. Tawra has had some over the years but she has struggled with it too. She is gone this week other wise she would pop in to tell you what she has used but if any one out there has some suggestions please let us know. Now that I think about it she does use The Works (from walmart, $ general) on her bathroom tile but I don’t know about the floor.

      • Celeste says

        I too have tile throughout my entire home and on my bathroom counters. I use regular white vinegar on my grout. I use a spray bottle and leave in sit for about 15 minutes and then scrub. It works better than any other chemical treatment out there and is way more economical.

  9. barb~ says

    Could you help me with ideas on how to spot clean my white, yes white carpet! It was here when I got the house, but it has gotten bad in places. Having a big, black, long haired doesn’t make it any easier! Although, I think my kids were worse when they were little:)

    Thanks much!

    • says

      Barb, Tawra has had light carpet for years (not by choice) and it has been a real struggle with 4 kids, dog, cat and husband. Plus she lives in the country on a dirt road. She has tried everything ever suggested and the only thing she had work was she used regular carpet cleaner then on her white carpet took bleach on a q tip and did really bad spots.

      I couldn’t tell how big an area you had or what. If it is old set in stains too will make a difference and much harder to get out. Maybe some of our readers will have had more success. Oh and it depends on what kind of carpet it is too. Sorry I wasn’t more help.

  10. says

    I do not have tile but was watching a home show and the fix it man said there is a paint you use on the grout if the stains don’t come out and then you seal it, so no more dirt gets in it.
    I don’t recall the name but if you ask at a hardware store they may be able to direct you to the right section.

  11. Alyce says

    Emily May~ In regards to your question about getting hairspray off of the bathroom door: I just use cheap shampoo in water like I would soap, but it takes the hairspray off just like in your hair. :)

  12. Alicia Webster says

    Tawra, you must be psychic ! I was just saying to my hubby this morning, “I don’t understand how people like Tawra and Jill manage to get everything so clean. I sure wish I knew their secret.” You have to understand, that even though I am at an age where I should know how to do just about everything, I was not taught by any family members how to clean, and in fact, we lived in filth because my mom was a hoarder, and both of my parents were drug addicts. So anyway, I never learned any domestic skills, and so I am learning by reading blogs like yours so that my kids don’t have to grow up as I did. Thank you for being specific, for example: I have been using a dish cloth rinsed in COLD water (with no soap) for YEARS, and wondering why my kitchen never gleams. I have used Dow bathroom cleaner for ages, but it never occurred to me to use it in the kitchen. They don’t have it here in Australia, but when we move back to the U.S. (in one year) , I’ll be sure to use that helpful hint. But again, thanks for not assuming that everyone is at the “Martha Stewart level” of housekeeping, and for giving us basic skills that everyone can do. Also, keep in mind, that although I don’t leave comments as often as I used to, I still read every newsletter, and refer to you two often, as in “Oh Jill would be so disappointed in me if she saw this mess” or “Tawra’s oven would never look like this”, etc. My hubby probably thinks that Tawra and Jill are two distant relatives of mine that he’s never met :)

    • says

      Alicia I loved your post. I had to laugh too. Tawra and I are no Martha’s that’s for sure. I was standing in front of a pile of clothes on my bedroom chair yesterday thinking I need to deal with this mess and I had no good excuse for not doing it. I have had to remind myself over and over for many years that my house will probably never look like that picture in the magazine. They spend hours and use many people to get it so picture perfect plus they allow no one walk into those rooms let alone live in them but for some reason I forget that. I guess they are good examples to strive toward.

      My motto is to have it healthy, stress free clean but livable messy. You mentioned liking your house to be shiny and sparkly, my mom taught me to dry everything and you will get that sparkly shine. After you clean your bathroom wipe everything quickly with a dry rag (diapers or old flour sacks or anything which won’t streak or leave lint). I do this in the kitchen too. I don’t do it every day but when I can. Dust and residue are the 2 things which makes things look dull so if you dry off your faucets it helps get rid of the residue. That is why I don’t use wipes very much to clean things because they leave a residue and so do many microfiber cloths. I once got ready to sell my house and the realtor thought I have replaced all my faucets but I hadn’t. I had just dried them after cleaning them.

  13. Alicia Webster says

    Jill, thanks for the extra hints about achieving a high shine or that “gleam” that some of us are looking for. I told the hubby and he said that it makes perfect sense, because that is how men get that high shine on their cars. They clean/wash the car, and then they buff, buff, buff, with tons of clean, dry rags until they get the look that they are hoping for. I’m am off to try it out !

  14. Maggie says

    Wiping things down after washing. Do you do that to your floors, too. The last time I scrubbed my kitchen floor (used Mop & Glo), I was very careful to make sure I did not miss any places, yet when the floor dried, there were ugly streaks and what looked like missed areas. Would that have been different if I wiped the floor dry.
    A story about homes shown in magazines: A friend’s son renovated his beach house and architectual digest (a neighbor worked there) thought the son’s house should be one of their picture profiles. The son said that by the time A.D. brought in their knick-knacks, display pieces, some additional furniture pieces and moved things around, the house did not even look like their original home. Once they finished with their pictures and took out their things, the son was left with rearranging his own way and cleaning up the mess from all those people being in his home. He said this was a first and last time. His home is beautiful but A.D. made it a showplace not a home for living in. The magazines don’t really show “your home”, they show what they want us readers to see. That’s why you only see portions of rooms in the photos.

    • says

      Maggie, the same thing happened to us when we did a photo shoot for Parade Magazine and Woman’s World 4 years ago. The kids begged us to never do another one again and we won’t! The worst part was we did all this super heavy duty cleaning in the house and arranging and then they just cut out our house in photoshop anyway!!! We spent 3 days cleaning and doing the shoot and I think we might have sold 10 books from it. Augh!!!

    • says

      I had to add that they not only rearranged and changed everything, they actually Photoshopped out our kitchen entirely! Not sure why– it was spotless and the photographer loved it.

  15. Maggie says

    My friend’s son was told that they ran out of space in the magazine so only had room for portions of the rooms. Most likely, that’s what happened to you. X pages = X photos with a little text.

  16. Carol says

    My general purpose household cleaner is a litre of hot water, mixed with two teaspoons of borax (the 20 Mule Team Kind) and a teaspoon of dish soap. I put it into a litre sized spray bottle and shake well. You do need to use hot water to dissolve the borax. My mum used borax to clean diapers with, and it removes stale odours, gets rid of germs and cuts through grease and soap scum easily. It’s also cheap! I also use the borax in the laundry to get rid of any stains. A little borax sprinkled in a stained sink will also clean it well.

  17. Tanmy says

    I use a little bleach often when washing dishes. One of the kiddies just got over strep throat and using bleach helped killed the germs so it didn’t spread through the whole family. I also use a little bit when washing blankets off the beds of the little kids that still wet the bed, it gets the smell out.

  18. Kay Fitzgerald says

    My bathroom has large, white tile and grout that is one-half inch wide. It was not sealed, so looks dingy. It was suggested that I use fine sandpaper on the grout, and I’m going to try it. Kay

  19. Sheri says

    When I had opportunity to install new carpet and tile in my previous house, I got carpet to match the dirt in the back yard. Same for the grout! The carpet was a desert rose pink, a very dusty color. The grout was a camel color with a pink tinge. Our dirt was mostly clay. It was a good color! Too bad I had to leave it behind! I can hardly wait until I can replace my carpet here!

    The tile in the kitchen acted as a heat sink in winter. The south facing sliding glass door let the sun in during winter, to about ten feet into the room. Those tiles soaked up the solar rays during the day and released them to keep my house toasty. Way cool! And that same door, barely got any sun in winter! That was a great house!

  20. Roxie M. says

    I find the ‘scrubbing bubbles’ to be expensive. At Sam’s club they sell a gallon jug of degreaser for less than $6.00. A gallon jug has lasted me more than a year. You do not need much. I add it to hot dish water to clean the back of the stove and the pans after frying (baking) bacon. It works great on the painted kitchen cabinets too. It is in a purple jug and sold with the cleaning supplies.

  21. Mary Jane says

    Giant salads are a staple around our house in the summer, especially since we usually have lots of greens in our garden. However, we don’t always have a lot of other veggies on hand, until the garden matures. So here are some things that we often put into a green salad to make a meal. Dried sweetened cranberries (or any dried fruit), a diced raw apple or pear, chopped nuts, especially almonds (be sure no one has sensitivities), cubed bits of cheddar or mozzarella cheese, dried spices (dill is a favourite), finely chopped onion or dried minced onion, croutons, drained canned mandarin orange segments, hard boiled egg, cubed leftover cold meat, (including a bit of leftover crumbled bacon). The point is that salad is a lot like soup. There is a lot of room for experimenting, and using up the bits and pieces.

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