Pasta Salad

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Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 10 - 15
  • Difficulty: Easy
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We had a BBQ for family and friends this past weekend and along with the typical burgers, sausage and pulled pork I decided to do a side dish that I don’t normally think of doing but decided to for this occasion because although it can be found at almost every BBQ get together it is pretty much never found at mine….. Pasta Salad.

Now everybody and I do mean everybody has there own version of a pasta salad. Some like it with Farfale or Penne while others prefer a creamy dressing and still others want less veggies….. I even know someone who once put red wine in theirs.

The hardest part for me was coming up with a dressing that was suited to the other ingredients however after a little searching I managed to come up with one.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 box Tri Coloured Fusili (or your pasta of choice)
  • 1 English Cucumber – chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes – deseaded and chopped
  • 1 large Red pepper – rough chopped
  • 1 Large Yellow pepper – rough chopped
  • 4 Green onions – chopped
  • 1 bag Shredded Old cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Grainy Mustard
  • Fresh chopped Basil and Oregano – about 3 tablespoons each
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large pot of salted water cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  2. In a non reactive container mix together the Olive oil, Red wine vinegar, Granulated garlic, Grainy mustard, herbs, salt and pepper. Seal and set aside.
  3. When the pasta has cooked and cooled add the vegetables and cheese and blend well.
  4. Shake the dressing well and pour over the salad. Mix thoroughly and top with more cheese.
  5. Enjoy.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

Bon Appetit 

Spanakopita in a Croissant

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  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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The Greeks have given the world many many great things over the centuries…… Democracy, Theater, Philosophy and of course—- FOOD. While most of us tend to forget that they gave us Democracy, Theater and Philosophy we can all certainly remember the Food. I mean, seriously, who can forget such toothsome foods as Souvlaki, Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and one of my all time favs Spanakopita which is a Greek spinach pie. Just the thought of spinach with onions, garlic, ricotta and feta cheese nestled between flaky Phyllo dough has me drooling. The fly in the ointment for this recipe, for me at least, is that I simply despise using Phyllo so when I found this particular recipe in my book Grilled Cheese & More (Publications International Ltd) I could not have been happier.

Here’s how we do this one…..

Shopping List:

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package (ten ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 medium croissants
  • 8 slices (1 ounce each) Monterey Jack cheese

Putting it all together:

  1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heaat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add spinach; cook 5 minutes or until spinach is dry. Remove from heat; stir in Feta cheese, oregano and nutmeg. Season to taste with black pepper. Divide spinach mixture evenly among croissant bottoms; top with Monterey Jack and croissant tops.
  2. Wipe out skillet with paper towel; place over medium heat until hot. Add sandwiches; cover with large lid. Cook sandwiches over low heat 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese melts and bottoms are golden brown.

There you have it…… another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time……….

                    Bon Appetite

 

Veggie Quinoa

Veggie Quinoa

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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I am 95% “Meatasaurus” and 5% “Vegisaurus” which mathematically means I am no part “Vegansaurus”  and that math works for me since I adore my meat. As for dairy, fruit and veggies… I can’t see living without them but I also can’t see having a strict diet of them but to those who can live on a strictly vegetarian diet I doff my hat to you. With that being said I recently found myself contemplating a veggie dinner more out of necessity than any other reason. It was between grocery shopping days and there was no protein (read meat) in the house…… besides I was to lazy to go out and get some so after peering into the pantry for what seemed like an eternity a plan was formed. I would use up the rest of the Quinoa and add other little goodies to it.

Now for those of you who may not be familiar with Quinoa it is simply a grain that is cooked similar to rice and, in my humble opinion, is every bit as good as rice but is oft times overlooked as a substitute for rice or other starches AND Quinoa absorbs whatever flavors are added to it so that makes it very versatile.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping List:

  • 1 3/4 cups Chicken stock
  • 1 cup Quinoa (normal liquid to Quinoa ratio is 2-1)
  • Half a medium onion- chopped
  • Half a seeded and chopped Jalapeno
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed veggies
  • Two garlic cloves- diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon each of Oregano and Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  • In a medium sized pot combine the Quinoa, chicken stock and Turmeric
  • Bring the pot to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer
  • Simmer the Quinoa for approx. 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed
  • Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan heat the oil and saute the garlic and onion until the onion is translucent— approx. 3 mins.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the garlic and onion and continue sauteing until the veggies are heated through. If need be add a little water to the veggies.

Once the Quinoa has cooked add it to the veggies and mix well. Spoon into a bowl and enjoy. Also feel free to add whatever protein you like. I would suggest chicken or shrimp.

There you have it, another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time……….

                           Bon Appetite