Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

21 06 2015

This pasta salad is light, fresh and super tasty – great for serving in the summer! I love taking ideas I see on in my fav cooking shows or magazines and making them my own. This recipe is a great example, thanks to the Food Network’s The Kitchen for the pineapple-zucchini salsa idea!

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

Pasta Salad With Pineapple-Zucchini Salsa

The following serves 6-8 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and The Kitchen):

  • 2 small to medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 of a peeled and cored pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 2 small to medium-size shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger (save yourself time and use it from the tube)
  • 2 tsp finely diced jalapeno or your favorite hot sauce, use more or less depending on how much spice you like
  • 6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Champagne or Chardonnay Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or mint
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium. Grill the pineapple and zucchini for a few minutes on each side until beginning to char. You still want the zucchini to have a little crunch. Remove from the grill and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, diced the pineapple and zucchini and add to a large bowl or casserole dish. Toss with the cucumber, and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk the shallots, ginger, jalapeno or hot sauce, oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the pineapple-zucchini mixture and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season with salt and cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan to cool slightly.

Add the slightly cooled pasta to the dressed pineapple-zucchini mixture. Add the cilantro or mint and toss everything well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can also add more oil or vinegar if you’d like.

Store covered in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

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Fruity Orzo Salad

8 06 2015

Saw this fruity salad idea in my latest Rachael Ray Mag and had to give it a try! It’s pretty versatile too, you can switch up the pasta, the fruit and the herbs – perfect for quick summer meals!

Fruity Orzo Salad

Fruity Orzo Salad

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4-5 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained mozzarella pearls (small, fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or basil
  • Zest of half a lemon

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the cooled orzo, the chopped nectarine, mozzarella balls, chives (or basil) and lemon zest. Toss everything to coat in the dressing. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil and/or seasoning if needed. Add in the bacon and toss to coat.

Serve salad with a protein of your choice. Pictured here is a salmon burger.





Minestrone

21 02 2015

This is a healthy and comforting Italian soup, sure to wrap you in warmth even on the coldest of winter days! It’s loaded with veggies and is a great option for meatless Mondays, or to enjoy during Lent. Mangia!

Minestrone

The following serves 6 (adapted from Food Network Magazine):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes – if you don’t have crushed on hand, puree a can of diced tomatoes in a high-speed blender until smooth
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, or fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of green beans cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add tomato paste, dry herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring around, for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until nearly evaporated.

Next add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in green beans and cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the pasta and cook 10 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with lots of cheese and parsley for garnish.





Kale-Artichoke Dip

12 01 2015

Here’s a simple and unique artichoke dip that features kale rather than spinach. This healthy dip whips up fast, and is great for diving into on game day!

Kale-Artichoke Dip

The following serves 6 (adapted from Girl Who Ate Everything):

  • 1 (14 oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 4 cups fresh chopped kale
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Lemon zest from about a 1/4 of a lemon or so
  • Multi-grain chips and sliced veggies for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 1 and 1/2 or 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the artichokes, cream cheese, yogurt, 1/2 cup Italian cheese blend, parmesan, kale, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt to taste and mix well until everything is combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Stir and bake, covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered, for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Serve with multi-grain chips and sliced veggies such as celery and carrots.

And here’s one more idea for you….in case you have extras, try heating this up the next day and topping it on quick sautéed chicken!





Cabbage and Apple Salad

7 10 2014

Here’s a crunchy, healthy and super flavorful salad which I like to serve as a side dish. You can quickly whip it up and let it hang out in the fridge while you cook dinner – which will allow the flavors to combine. Don’t worry about the measurements, just wing it and adjust to your taste as you go. If you like salad a little on the tangy side, add more vinegar. If you don’t like it as dressed, don’t add as much liquid. Just have fun with it! 🙂

Cabbage and Apple Salad

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
  • Apple, cored and sliced thin
  • Shallot, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Whisk a little Dijon mustard with some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add shredded or sliced cabbage, sliced apples and sliced shallots. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, vinegar or oil as needed. Add sunflower seeds and fresh parsley before serving.





Chipotle Crab, Corn and Bacon Bisque

15 09 2014

It’s really felt like fall around CLE this past week. The crisp air was calling for a bisque or chowder, especially after we ended up with corn and thick-cut bacon from our Fresh Fork Market share. This bisque features sweet crab and corn paired with the smokey flavors of chipotle and bacon. So delicious and comforting, and perfect for enjoying on a cool Saturday night. Make the whole batch and dive into the leftovers throughout the week!

Chipotle Crab, Corn and Bacon Bisque

The following serves 6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut smoked pork bacon, diced
  • 6 corn cobs (if you can, use leftover grilled corn cobs)
  • 4 cups skim milk (I use skim milk for a healthier option, but for a richer flavor you can use cream or whole milk instead)
  • 3 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 small white or candy onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 chipotle in adobo
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • Corn from 4 corn cobs
  • 16 oz wild caught crab meat, drained
  • Chopped cilantro

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat and add diced bacon. Cook bacon until crisp, stirring often. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

To the bacon drippings, add the onion, celery and carrots and saute veggies for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 6 corn cobs (kernels removed) to a large pot and cover with milk and chicken stock. (When I make grilled corn, I’ll cut the corn off the cob after it’s grilled and then freeze the cobs to use in soups like this later. You could of course use fresh corn instead). Heat over medium and bring to a low simmer, then reduce heat to low for about 20-25 minutes to infuse the flavor of the cobs into the liquid. Remove cobs from the liquid and discard.

Add the minced garlic and salt to taste to your sautéed veggies and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Next add the tomato paste and chipotle in adobo (add the whole chipotle, 1 for less heat 2 for more heat). Cook for a minute or so, stirring everything together. Next add the flour, stir to combine, and cook for another minute (use 1/3 cup for a slightly thicker consistency if you’d like).

Deglaze with the wine, whisking to combine. Cook until the wine is nearly evaporated and gets nice and thick. Next whisk in the warmed milk and stock, along with the sherry. Simmer on low until it starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste.

Remove from the heat and puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Turn the heat back onto low and add the corn (to cut the corn off the cobs, put a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl, stand the corn straight up and from the top to the bottom, cut the corn off the cob using a large knife – the large bowl will collect the kernels). Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt if needed. Fold in the crab gently just before serving.

Serve bisque garnished with crisp bacon and chopped cilantro.





Mini Phyllo Cup Bacon Cheese Balls

18 08 2014

I saw these fun little cheese balls in this year’s bacon issue of Food Network Magazine. I thought they were so cute and great for serving at a party, but didn’t want people to worry about having to spread them on something. So I came up with the idea to pop them in a mini phyllo cup and poof….the perfect individual appetizer, no utensils required!

Mini Phyllo Cup Bacon Cheese Balls

The following makes 45 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 package turkey bacon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (fancy shred works well)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Chopped chives
  • Sunflower seeds (no salt added)
  • 45 mini phyllo cups, thawed (3 packages of 15 – you can find them in the frozen section of your grocery store)

Preheat oven to 350. Lay a cooling rack inside a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray. Lay bacon across the cooling rack in one layer. You will have to do this twice depending how many strips you can fit. Bake until crisp (check on the bacon every 10 minutes until it’s done). Remove from the oven and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat and bake the final remaining strips of bacon. Allow all the bacon to cool.

While the bacon cools, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mustard, zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Crumble 8 pieces of cooked bacon, and mix in with the cheese mixture.

Roll into 45 mini balls, lay in a single layer on a tray and cool in the fridge. Crumble the remaining bacon and store in a tupperware container in the fridge.

To save myself time, I did all of the above the night before I wanted to serve these.

The next day I baked the thawed phyllo cups at 350 for 5 minutes or so, to crisp them a bit. Remove cups from the oven and cool.

Next, combine some of the crumble bacon you saved, some chopped chives and some sunflower seeds in a bowl – just eyeball it. You can always mix more if you run out, or if you make too much, serve the garnish over a salad for lunch later.

Remove the balls from the fridge and roll in the bacon, chives and sunflower seeds – pressing slightly to adhere. Place one ball in each phyllo cup, and arrange on a platter to serve.