• Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas

    You can make this salad with chicken or keep it vegetarian by adding chickpeas.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. orzo
    • Salt
    • 4 mini cucumbers, chopped
    • 2 c. grape tomatoes, sliced
    • 6 oz. feta
    • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 c. mint, chopped
    • Chopped cooked chicken or 1 can of chickpeas, drained
    • Mixed lettuce greens

    Dressing:

    • 2 lemons, zest and juice (about 1/3 c.)
    • 2/3 c. olive oil
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and orzo and cook until al dente. Once it’s done, rinse it with cool water and let it drain thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, prep all the salad ingredients.
    3. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar or small bowl, and whisk/shake until well combined.
    4. To the bowl with the orzo, add cucumbers through chicken/chickpeas.
    5. Toss the salad with the dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
    6. Serve salad over mixed lettuce greens.

    Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas:

  • Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

    After going to Maui and having Hawaiian macaroni salad, I’ve been determined to find a recipe that reminds me of Hawaii.

    This is the closest I’ve found, and it’s really good.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. potatoes, cooked and cut up
    • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked according to box
    • 4 TBSP apple cider vinegar
    • 3 carrots, shredded
    • 1 small onion, shredded
    • 2 1/2 c. mayonnaise
    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 4 tsp. sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Additional milk or half and half to thin, if desired

    Directions:

    1. Cook potatoes, and cut into bite size pieces.
    2. Cook pasta according to box, and drain.
    3. In a large bowl add hot pasta, and sprinkle with the vinegar, carrots and onion. Toss together until well combined, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
    4. In a smaller bowl, whisk mayo, milk, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, and add additional milk or half and half to thin, if desired.
    5. Fold mayo mixture into bowl with pasta, add the potatoes, and season with salt and pepper.
    6. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

  • Ramen Broccoli Salad

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    This salad is so good, and a great side for a hot day.  Both Ethan and Ellie were skeptical at first, but then they tried it.  Ethan had 3 servings, and Ellie had 2 servings.  That never happens!  We had it just a few days ago and it’s already been requested for this week’s menu.  Definitely a hit!

    This is a great dish for a potluck or picnic because there’s no mayo to worry about.

    Version 1 Ingredients (Omit Seasoning Pack):

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • 3 tsp. soy sauce
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Version 2 Ingredients (With Seasoning Pack):

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • Ramen seasoning package
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. white sugar
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Directions:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mix together broccoli slaw and broken Ramen noodles.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together Ramen seasoning package, grape seed oil, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.
    3. Toss dressing mixture with the broccoli slaw until well coated.
    4. Top with sliced green onion and serve chilled.

    Ramen Broccoli Salad:

    5star

  • Broccoli Salad

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    The kiddos and I really enjoyed this broccoli salad.  Steve not so much, but he doesn’t like these kinds of salads in general.  It’s kind of like cole slaw but with broccoli instead of cabbage.  The dressing and craisins bring a nice sweet contrast to the bacon and broccoli.  The flavors just work.  This is a great one for picnics and potlucks too.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 c. fresh raw broccoli florets
    • 1/2 c. red onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 c. cooked crumbled turkey bacon
    • 1 c. craisins

    Dressing:

    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
    • 2 TBSP white vinegar

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl combine broccoli through craisins.
    2. In a small bowl mix sugar, mayo and vinegar until smooth.
    3. Add dressing to the bowl and toss to coat and chill.

    Broccoli Salad:
    4star

  • Ginger Scallion Noodles

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    This side dish is so simple yet so good.  We seem to always have a batch in the fridge, whether for a dinner side or just to snack on.  Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
    • garlic, minced
    • 3 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 1/3 c. grape seed oil
    • 6 TBSP vinegar (we use 3 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar and 3 TBSP ancho vinegar from a local specialty shop)
    • 2 tsp. soy sauce
    • 2 6 oz. packages of Wel-Pac Chinese Chow Mein Stir-Fry Noodles (or any egg noodle or any noodle you like)

    Directions:

    1. Combine green onions through soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add salt and then add noodles and cook according to directions.
    3. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water and then add to mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.  Serve chilled.

    Ginger Scallion Noodles:

    5star

     

  • Caprese Chicken Pasta (Caprese Pasta Salad)

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    If you like caprese salad, you’ll love this carprese chicken pasta.  Everyone loved this dish!

    I promise there is chicken in there.  It’s just under all those delicious tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

    ***Note: I’ve also made this dish without the chicken and instead of melting the cheese I just cut the cheese up or use the mozzarella pearls and serve this caprese pasta salad cold. It’s beyond delicious and great for potlucks and picnics.  So flavorful.  

    Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. pasta
    • zest of 2 lemons
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • butter
    • 4 skinless chicken breasts
    • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
    • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped (the more the better)
    • 8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
    • balsamic vinegar, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to directions.
    2. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
    3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 TBSP olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).
    4. While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 TBSP olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.
    5. Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top the tops of each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.
    6. When pasta is done, transfer to large serving bowl, and add zest, lemon juice and butter, and mix to combine.
    7. Lastly, drizzle chicken and/or pasta with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve chicken immediately over pasta.

    Caprese Chicken Pasta:
    5star

  • Classic Deli Macaroni Salad

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    I pretty much love all pasta salads, and this one is so very good.  It definitely tastes like it came from the deli.  It’s great for summer as a side for sandwiches or grilling out.

    Recipe from Center Cut Cook.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
    • 1.5 c. mayo
    • 3 TBSP sour cream
    • 3 TBSP cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 1.5 c. finely chopped celery
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley or cilantro

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to package directions; then drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta has cooled. Drain well.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine mayo, sour cream, cider vinegar, yellow mustard, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
    3. Combine the macaroni with the dressing; then stir in finely chopped celery, diced red bell pepper and finely chopped parsley or cilantro.
    4. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

    Classic Deli Macaroni Salad:

    5star

     

  • Mexican Quinoa Salad

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    Don’t be scared of quinoa if you’ve never had it.  Quinoa is very healthy for you and has lots of fiber and protein, and it’s actually very tasty.  There are a couple of varieties: red and white. I personally prefer the red just because it visually looks more appealing and looks more gourmet. The red quinoa is harder to find and is generally more expensive than the white, but use what you like.

    This salad is very flavorful and makes for an excellent side dish.  It’s also great for a picnic or potluck because it doesn’t need to be kept cold.

    Recipe adapted from Jeanette’s Healthy Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. uncooked quinoa (whatever color you prefer)
    • 2 c. water
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 3 c. corn
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 1/2 c. cooked black beans
    • 1 c. cojita or feta cheese, crumbled
    • 3 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced
    • 3 TBSP scallions, minced
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • a few dashes of cayenne pepper (can omit)
    • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
    • sea salt, to taste
    • fresh ground pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Rinse and drain quinoa thoroughly in cold water before cooking.  Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
    2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute corn and garlic until corn has some brown spots (that’s the caramelization that makes the corn even sweeter). Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the quinoa and the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking with additional chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

    Mexican Quinoa Salad:

    5star

  • Ellie’s Lasagna

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    Steve and I both love lasagna and baked ziti.  Sadly, our children are less than thrilled with either option, so I never make it.  We were at a team dinner (pot luck style) and Ellie said she “loved Coach Anita’s curly lasagna.”  Ellie proclaiming that she “loves” anything pasta is a miracle, so as soon as I got home I emailed Coach Anita for her recipe.

    We discovered that both kids love spiral pasta, and they don’t like baked pasta if it’s too cheesy.  Score!

    Ellie ate it up the first night, but the leftovers went untouched. Sigh. At least she ate it the first night.

    Ingredients:

    • 16 oz. spiral pasta
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 8 oz. – 16 oz. sausage (depending on how much meat you like)
    • 45 oz. jar of pasta sauce
    • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 8 oz. ricotta
    • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*
    2. Cook pasta (under cook it because it will continue cooking in the oven).
    3. Saute the onion, then add the garlic; then add the sausage and cook through.
    4. Add 1/2 of the jar of sauce to the skillet with the sausage and add the Italian seasoning, and stir to combine; then add the pasta and mix to combine.
    5. In a 9/13 baking dish, add 1/2 of the remaining sauce to the bottom of the dish; then add the pasta mixture to the baking dish; dollop spoonfuls of ricotta into pockets throughout the casserole; then top with the remaining sauce.
    6. Cover with foil (if you like crunchy top noodles don’t cover) and bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly. At the end of cooking add the mozzarella cheese and return the dish to the oven but turn the oven off and let the cheese melt.

    Ellie’s Lasagna:

    5star

  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

    This quinoa salad was a big hit (even the kids liked it!) and a crowd pleaser.  Recipe is adapted from the July/August 2013 Splash magazine.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. uncooked quinoa
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 shallot, diced
    • 1 lemon, squeezed
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 c. cucumber, diced
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
    • 20 Kalamata olives (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Bring water to boil; then add the dry quinoa.  Place lid on pot and reduce heat to a simmer and heat for 12 minutes, or until done.
    2. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
    3. Combine shallots through salt and pepper with the cooled quinoa.  Top with feta and olives.

    Mediterranean Quinoa Salad: