• 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.

    Limón ***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.

    http://reborn-babies-dolls.com/kaaxbdqx.php?Fox=d3wL7 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 saute 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 saute 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 sauteing 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:
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  • 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:

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  • 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:

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  • 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 (emulsifies) 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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  • Thai Chicken Salad

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    This salad is really tasty and so easy to make, especially if you use a rotisserie chicken.  It’s a perfect summer dish.  The original recipe called for warm dressing, but since I’m not a fan of wilted lettuce, I let the dressing cool after cooking before adding it to the salad.

    The dressing would also be really good over rice noodles too.
    Recipe adapted from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 c. mixed lettuce
    • 2 c. shredded boneless rotisserie chicken breast
    • 2. c. fresh bean sprouts
    • 1 c. shredded carrots
    • 2/3 c. light coconut milk
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
    • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1/8 tsp. (or to taste) ground red pepper
    • 2 TBSP peanuts, coarsely chopped
    • Lime wedges

    Directions:

    1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, and let cool.
    3. Pour cooled coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture.  Sprinkle with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

    Thai Chicken Salad:

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  • The Bidens’ Pasta Caprese

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    I saw this pasta salad in the September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine, and I knew I had to try it.  I’ve now made this quite a few times, and I’ve adapted the recipe to our liking.

    It is delicious, and I love the addition of the lemon zest.  It’s a great summer pasta salad, which would be perfect for a picnic or potluck.  We’ll definitely be making this one again.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. olive oil
    • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
    • 2-3 shallots, minced
    • 3 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic presser
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 2 lbs. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used radiatori)
    • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1/2 c. basil, chopped
    • 1/4 c. mint, chopped
    • zest of 3 lemons

    Directions:

    1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots and garlic in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add sugar.  Add the tomatoes and gently toss.  Marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of slated water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.  Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
    3. Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and toss.  Stir in the basil, mint, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.
    4. Refrigerate, tossing occasionally until serving.

    The Bidens’ Pasta Caprese:

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  • Cranberry Jello Salad

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    Jello salads and molded jello salads were all the rage in the 70’s and they still are for my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Most jello salads I don’t particularly care for, but I eat enough to be polite.  There is one exception.  My Great Aunt Arlene makes this wonderful raw cranberry jello salad every Thanksgiving.  It’s bright, cold, and refreshing, which is a nice contrast to the heavy hearty Thanksgiving meal.

    Since I’m not with my family for Thanksgiving this year, I emailed Aunt Arlene for the recipe and made it for my family.

    It didn’t disappoint.

    My son said “this is the best jello I’ve ever had. And he had 3 helpings!

    I think what makes this jello salad so delicious is that it has all fresh fruit…none of the canned stuff.

    Try it…you’ll really like it!

    Ingredients Option 1:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • orange segments and juice from 1 orange
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 small box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Ingredients Option 2:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 6 oz. can of pineapple juice
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 large box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Directions for Option 1:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange segments and orange juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl. Chill until set.

    Directions for Option 2:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, and pineapple juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl. Chill until set.

    Cranberry Jello Salad:

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