Summer Pasta Salad

Schoooool’s out for summa! Schoooool’s out forEVA! That’s right folks, I’m officially a college graduate. I have to say, it doesn’t feel real yet… Every evening I still feel like I should be sitting at my desk highlighting, color coding, reading, writing, studying, blah, blah, blah… But no longer! Now I just have to find a job…. Womp. We’ll get there. To celebrate, I had a few friends over for an informal graduation grill out. I made a TON of food (duh.) and then the rain and exams kept almost everyone away… I was sad until I remembered that it meant tons of leftovers all week! Woo! Including the Summer Pasta Salad that we feasted on everyday for a week…

Pasta Salad 1

Normally, the bf gets a little fussy if we eat the same thing more than a few nights in a row. I’m the kind of person who falls in love with some food item and pigs out on it every day for months. Maybe I’ll get sick of it, or maybe I’ll just become a slave to raisins…. Errr…. Nevermind. Anywho, we ate this salad every. day. No complaints on either end.

Pasta Salad 4

It’s so basic and refreshing and easy. Especially for leftovers, it doesn’t even require the microwave! I know it’s not technically summer yet but since I’m done with school it sure feels like it.

Pasta Salad 3

Because pasta dinners sometimes leave me feeling heavy and sleepy, most nights I mixed in a few handfuls of spinach to make a pasta salad salad… #saladsalad

Pasta Salad 2

This recipe makes a HUGE batch, we didn’t even have a bowl large enough to hold it all. If you like, feel free to halve it. However, the recipe as stands is perfect for a potluck or large party. Either way, this Summer Pasta Salad is a snap and will be a huge hit with whoever you serve it to!

Summer Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

A simple and easy pasta salad sure to please everyone at your neighborhood potluck or for a week of no-cook dinners!

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes whole wheat rotini, cooked
  • 1lb. bag sweet baby bell peppers, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise then chopped into ½” chunks
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized florets
  • 1 pint red cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • For the dressing:
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. (5-6 large cloves) roasted garlic
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano (I used a Greek herb blend)

Instructions

  1. Prepare all veggies and cook pasta according to package directions. Add pasta, sliced peppers, and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl (or two if necessary).
  2. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Once boiling, dump in chopped zucchini and broccoli. Wait 10-15 seconds then drain over a colander in the sink. The veggies will retain their crunch but the take the raw edge off.
  3. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or magic bullet and blend until combined. Alternately, they can be shaken vigorously in a jar.
  4. Add blanched veggies to the bowl with pasta and toss. Pour half of the dressing over the mix, toss, and pour the rest on. Taste salad for salt level and adjust accordingly. Chill and enjoy!

Notes

This pasta can be, and in my opinion should be, made a day or two before being served. The salt will cause the tomatoes to release their juices and the flavors will intensify.

http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/summer-pasta-salad/

Mushroom Miso Soup

I don’t know about you, but I thought spring was supposed to be warm! I mean, I realize that this is Ohio, but going from 82 to 28 in a week is just plain torture. As a result of this flip-flop weather (and I don’t mean sunny with sandals) I have come down with some sort of gross nasal crud. To warm up and fight this icky drippy nose, this Mushroom Miso Soup is just perfect. Check it out if you too are mad at the weather and trying to decide whether to unpack the shorts or just live in a sweater forever….

The best part about this soup is that it comes together in seconds. Because, let’s be honest, no one feels like making anything complicated when they’re sick. Plus, it’s the last week of school and exams, presentations, and papers are consuming my life!

I combined a few different recipes for miso soups I’ve seen on the web including this one that used lemon and ginger in the soup. The addition of these two cleansing ingredients makes this soup a powerhouse for kicking the crud! Oh, and it makes the souuuuper (see what I did there…) delicious!

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Making this only takes about 20 minutes, perfect if you’re under the weather or just need a little warm up! Try it today to soothe your cold weather frustrations!

Mushroom Miso Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 2 cups

The perfect comforting soup if you're feeling under the weather or are trying to warm up while waiting for spring!!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Tbs organic white miso
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbs freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 Tbs low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Juice of one lemon, 3-4 Tbs
  • 8 oz. baby ‘bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 sheets of nori (dried seaweed), sliced into strips (optional)
  • ½ block extra-firm tofu (optional)
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds
  • 3 green onions, green parts only, sliced lengthwise

Instructions

  1. Add water and miso to a small pot and heat over medium or medium-high heat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients through tofu, if using, and heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a DRY pan, watching carefully, until lightly toasted.
  4. Divide the soup between two bowls and top with sesame seeds and green onion.

Notes

The miso and ginger may settle to the bottom of the pot or bowls while you make this. Whisking it gently mixes everything back together and ensures you get a spoonful of goodness each time.

http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/mushroom-miso-soup/

Veggie Spring Rolls

Happy Monday everyone!  I feel like I start every blog post whining about how little time I’ve had to blog and how it’s been forever since I posted a recipe… But truly my life has been completely consumed by school, the new house, and the fact that it’s FINALLY warm enough to go outside!  *raises hands to the heavens* So here’s a quick post about a surprisingly quick recipe for Veggie Spring Rolls that you’re going to absolutely love.

Spring rolls are so elegant.  They’re thin and somewhat see-through and delicate and beautiful.  They’re carefully rolled and crafted with care.  They must be hard to make….. right? Wrong!! These Veggie Spring Rolls are shockingly easy and SO delicious!

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Want to know the secret to making this dish even easier??  Ok, ok fine I’ll tell you.  I used a vegetable julienne peeler. It’s like a regular peeled except that it cuts the peels into thin strips (check out the one I use in the picture above). Because, let’s be honest, ain’t NOBODY got time for julienning carrots…. You just peel the veggies, set them in the rice paper wraps, and roll that s*&! up!  They won’t be perfect (at least mine weren’t…) but they will be beautiful and you will want to stuff them all in your face hole.

Quick note on rice paper sheets:  These were shockingly easy to find!  I found them in the Asian section at our local Giant Eagle but if you don’t have any success at your regular grocery store, international supermarkets are all over the place these days and will surely have them on the shelves.

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Now GO! Get outside! Sit in the sun and enjoy these crisp, delicate beauties- you won’t regret it!

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Veggie Spring Rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 rolls

Serving Size: 1 roll

Cool, refreshing veggies rolled up in thin sheets of rice paper make the perfect spring or summer appetizer, lunch, or dinner! Don't be intimated- they're a cinch to master and totally worth the effort!

Ingredients

  • 8 rice paper sheets
  • 1 zucchini or cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch of green onions (scallions)
  • 1/2 cup alfafa sprouts
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • Soy sauce or peanut sauce, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Prepare vegetables: using the green parts only, slice the green onions into strips; julienne (by hand, with a peeler, or on a mandolin) the carrots and zucchini; thinly slice the mushrooms; and cut the tofu into 1/4 inch strips.
  2. Prepare workstation: on the counter, spread a slightly damp towel out, this is where the rolls will be made; assemble all filling ingredients for easy access; and fill a plate or large bowel with warm water.
  3. One at a time, dip the rice paper sheets in the warm water and lay on the damp towel
  4. Fill the sheet with 2-3 pieces of tofu, a portion of each of the vegetables, and a few pieces of cilantro.
  5. Carefully fold the left and right sides of the roll in toward the middle, then roll the paper around the veggies, moving away from your body. (It is helpful to use your pinky fingers here to keep the sides tucked in as you roll.) Repeat with remaining sheets.
  6. Be sure all edges are sealed, dipping your finger in water and smoothing them out if necessary.
  7. Serve immediately with soy sauce or this peanut dipping sauce. Keeps in the fridge for 1-2 days.
http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/veggie-spring-rolls/

 

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