• 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

  • Millet Tabbouleh

    Our love for Middle Eastern food continues with this delicious tabbouleh made with millet berries.  We’ve never had millet berries before but it’s kind of like bulgar and cous cous.  The kiddos tried tabbouleh for the first time and devoured it!

    You can easily substitute bulgar or cous cous for the millet.

    Recipe adapted from War Eagle Mill.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. millet berries
    • 2 c. water
    • 3/4 c. parsley, finely chopped
    • 1/3 c. mint, finely chopped
    • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
    • 4-5 green onions, diced
    • 1 1/2 c. tomatoes, diced
    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 1/4 c. lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper

    Directions:

    1. Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup of water to a boil; cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Uncover and fluff with fork and let cool.
    2. Place parsley, mint, cucumber, green onions and tomatoes in a large bowl.
    3. In a small bow, stir together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
    4. Add cooled millet to bowl with veggies and combine; then add the dressing mixture and toss to coat.
    5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

    Millet Tabbouleh:

     

     

  • Lebanese Fatoush Salad

    We love Middle Eastern food.  Our love for Middle Eastern food really developed when we were living in Baton Rouge (who would’ve thunk it!), and then we moved to Houston, and there was a delicious restaurant down the street from our townhouse.

    This salad is so good, and even the kiddos loved it (and the dressing)!

    Salad Ingredients:

    • Butter lettuce
    • 1 red pepper, chopped
    • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
    • Red onion, thinly sliced (not too much)
    • 3 TBSP mint, chopped
    • 3 TBSP parsley, chopped
    • Pita chips

    Salad Dressing Ingredients:

    • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 TBSP lemon juice
    • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Directions:
    1. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
    3. Add dressing to salad and top with pita chips.

    Labanese Fatoush Salad:

     

  • 3 Bean and Corn Salad

    Aunt Nancy’s 3 Bean and Corn Salad is a Clark family staple.  It’s delicious and great for picnics, potlucks, summertime, and anytime!

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. vegetable oil or olive oil
    • 2 T. white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
    • 1 T. soy sauce
    • 1/4 tsp.  pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. salt (I omit)
    • 1 can (19 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 package (9 oz.) frozen green beans, but, thawed, and drained
    • 1 1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
    • 1/2 c. sliced green onions

    Directions:

    1. Mix/beat oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper with a fork until slightly thickened.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.
    3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Toss before serving.  Serves 6.

    3 Bean and Corn Salad:

     

  • Herbed Pasta Salad

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    I love pasta salad, and I especially love pasta salad that has bold delicious flavors.  This pasta salad certainly has bold delicious flavors.

    I’m not sure why it’s a common sentiment that a little bit of dried herb goes a long way, but I think that’s the furthest from the truth.  I think if you use just a little bit of the dried herbs, your food won’t have much flavor, and we’re all about flavor!  Don’t be scared off by the amount of dried herbs…trust me, it’s delicious!

    A friend of mine made a similar pasta salad for an event we went to, and while she didn’t have a recipe, she told me what she put it, and this is my version.  This is a great one to bring for a potluck or picnic too.

    Ingredients:

    • 14.5 oz or 16 oz pasta of choice
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 4 tsp. dried oregano
    • 2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 2 tsp. dried parsley
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 4 oz. crumbled feta
    • 1 lb of grape tomatoes, halved.

    Directions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat; then add salt and pasta, and cook until al dente; then drain.
    2. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine olive oil through feta and stir to combine.  Mix so that some of the feta actually breaks down in the dressing (emulsifes) and the dressing becomes a bit “creamy;” then add the tomatoes; then add the pasta.  Toss to combine and taste.  Correct seasoning to taste.

    Herbed Pasta Salad:

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