Friday, March 25, 2011

Food For Thought

A few weeks ago I shared with you several cole slaw recipes ... and received some rave reviews!  Thanks! In the spirit of warm weather hopefulness :) I thought I would share with you a few more summer-time favorites!

Lots of veggies.  Not a lot of cooking.  
And the fresh taste of summer.  Dig in!

Pasta Salad
(This recipe is one of those "a little of this & a little of that" meals ... never the same twice!)

16 oz pasta of your choice
Veggies of your choice, chopped into bite-sized pieces:
Tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, green onions, avocados, zucchini, broccoli, etc.
Meats & Cheese of your choice:
Chopped kielbasa, cubed ham, cubed chicken, cubed cheddar, shredded mozzarella, crumbled feta, crumbled blue cheese, etc.
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Garlic clove, minced

For this particular pasta salad, I used:  rigatoni pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion and shredded mozzarella.  Prepare the pasta according the package instructions.  When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.  Let the pasta sit in a colander over the sink to drain well.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add your chopped veggies, meats and cheeses.  Drizzle with about 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar.  Add a generous shake of Italian seasoning and the clove of garlic.  Give this a good stir - it will be very loose and soupy.  Add the pasta and toss well to coat.  I like to let the salad refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.  If the pasta seems a bit dry when it's time to serve, just add a splash more oil and vinegar.

Simple splendidness ...

Tuna Noodle Salad
(This recipe is one my mom makes regularly during the summer.  And one of my favorites!)

16 oz pasta of your choice (We used bow-tie pasta this time.)
1 package of tuna (I like the tuna in the pouch ... more fresh tasting.)
1/2 cup cubed cheddar cheese
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream

Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions.  During the last 5 minutes, pop in the peas and let them cook with the pasta.  When finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Let the pasta & peas sit in the colander in the sink and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the tuna, cheese, onions and cucumbers.  Add the mayo, sour cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix this well.  It should seem overly creamy so that it will also be able to coat the noodles well.

Add the noodles and mix well.  I let the salad sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.  Even my kids like this salad ... they don't even notice the tuna! :)

Creamy deliciousness ...

Tomato & Olive Tapanade

(I served this at a get together ... and brought home an empty bowl.)

2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup olives, sliced
1/4 cup blue cheese
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Crusty bread

Toss the veggies and cheese together in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of vinegar.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste and stir well.  Let this mixture sit on the counter for about an hour to get to room temperature.  Stir once more before serving.

I sliced the crusty baguette into 1/2 inch slices and used it as a delicious vehicle for consuming all the tomatoey, olivey, blue cheesey goodness. :)

Flavorful bites ...

Roasted Asparagus
(This isn't so much a recipe as it is brief instructions on how to eat an entire pound of asparagus all by yourself!)

1 lb fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Crushed pepper

Break off the woody ends of each asparagus by gently bending each stalk.  The asparagus will snap off right where the texture goes from tough to tender.  Rinse the asparagus in the sink and let it drain for a few minutes.  Give them a good shake before spreading them out on a cookie sheet.

Make sure the asparagus are in a single layer for even roasting.  (They cook quickly enough that you can do additional batches, in necessary.)  Drizzle the stalks with a little olive oil and then toss the stalks around with your hands to get them evenly coated.  Next sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the entire pan.

Now, pop them in the oven set to broil.  Leave the oven door open a crack so that you can keep an eye on them.  After about 3-4 minutes, slide them out and move them around a little with a set of tongs to allow them a chance to be roasted on all sides.  Pop them back in for about 3-4 minutes.  

You are looking for the asparagus to be a bright green color with little flecks of black from the roasting ... but not mushy.  I like my asparagus to still be a little crispy when I bit into it.  Something like this:

A plate full of spring!


  1. Mmm...those recipes look great for a hot summer day!

    The only way I'll eat asparagus is if it's roasted. I add a little garlic to mine! I've gotten a lot a compliments when I serve it to guests, and in the summer, I'll throw it on the grill so that I don't heat up the kitchen!

  2. That all looks wonderful! Thanks for visiting on my SITS day!

  3. We love grilled asparagus.

    We have a killer mustard slaw recipe, and I also a ramen noodle coleslaw.


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