Veggie Pasta Salad – SUPER SIMPLE!!!

All this warm weather has got me thinking about summer time, grilling, raw veggies, pull out of the fridge…easy foods! And yes, when it comes to different sauces, I like different pastas. Alfredo is penne or bowtie, marinara sauce is thin spaghetti and penne most of the time, macaroni and cheese…you guessed it, and summer salads require rotini or macaroni noodles (depending on the sauce).

INGREDIENTS

1 box Garden Delight rotini pasta (or any rotini, this is what I prefer)
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
baby carrots (a hand full), chopped
1-1.5 bottle of Marzetti’s Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

ADDITIONAL INFO: This salad is not limited to just these veggies. If I’m making it for a group that I know like mushrooms and/or feta cheese, I’ll add them the day it’s being served. Green peppers, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers are also amazing in this. You can also use a zesty vinaigrette instead of the roasted garlic. Complements either way!!!

1. Prepare to make this a day a head.

2. Boil pasta per box instructions. Let cool and add the rest of your veggies to a large bowl with sealable lid. Yes, I say lid because I’ll store it over night upside down. Tupperware makes a great bowl for this salad. Add one bottle of vinaigrette, stir, and refrigerate over night.

3. The next morning/day… flip bowl upright, remove lid, stir, taste. Do you need more vinaigrette? Every thing will soak up the vinaigrette so be prepared to add more. Also, if you’re using mushrooms or feta this would be the time to add them. Refrigerate for approx 1-3 more hours and serve.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Beef Stroganoff

This is another favorite of mine as a kid…if you haven’t noticed yet, I like comfort foods. I’m certain it had part to do with the person that made it when I was in elementary school. Not having a recipe, searching cookbooks, online, making modifications…I think I’ve recreated what I so warmly remember.

INGREDIENTS

1lb sirloin steak, cut into strips (I purchase it cut up)
1/8c all purpose flour (or rice flour for GF)
4T unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onions, chopped
5-6oz beef broth
1T minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 large pkg fresh sliced mushrooms
1T Worcestershire sauce
1c sour cream
wide, extra wide egg noodles (GF use rice noodles!)

PREP

1. Start your noodles per package instructions.

2. Dredge your steak in flour.

3. In a skillet, melt 1T butter over medium heat; saute onions until tender. Removed from pan; set aside.

4. In a skillet, melt 1T butter over medium heat; saute mushrooms until tender. Removed from pan; set aside.

5. Melt remaining 2T butter over medium heat and brown meat on all sides. Add broth, garlic, salt, pepper, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, and onions. Cook until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

5. Just before serving, stir in sour cream. Heat through, but DO NOT BOIL.  Serve immediately over noodles.

Classic Goulash

INGREDIENTS

2lbs lean ground beef or turkey
2 large sweet yellow onions, chopped
3T minced garlic
3c water
2 (15oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (14oz) cans diced tomatoes
3T soy sauce
2T dried Italian herbs
3 bay leaves
1T seasoned salt, or to taste
2c uncooked elbow macaroni

PREP

1. In a large Dutch oven, cook and stir the ground beef over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown, about 10 minutes. Skim off excess fat, and stir in the onions and garlic. Cook and stir the meat mixture until the onions are translucent, about 10 more minutes.

2. Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and seasoned salt, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the macaroni, cover, and simmer over low heat until the pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and serve.

TIP: Right after cooking of ground beef OR turkey is complete, before additional ingredients are added, add 2-3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Drain into a colindar and rinse with hot water. Add back to the pan and add the rest of your ingredients. This will boil additional fat/oils out of the meat making the meal much healthier.

Mac-N-Cheese

This is the first meal I can remember making as a kid….7-8 years old? I found it in one of my mom’s cookbooks and I’ve been making it ever since. There are some great things you can.not.ever change.

mac-n-cheese

INGREDIENTS

2-2 1/2c shredded colby jack or cheddar & jack cheese
2c milk (2% or whole)
2T butter
4T flour
1t yellow mustard
2c dry elbow noodles
salt/pepper to taste

PREP

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start your noodles per the boxes directions.
2. Melt butter over med-low heat. stir in flour and continue to stir till there aren’t anymore lumps. Turn up stove to medium heat and add milk a little at a time, again, stirring out the lumps. It will gradually thicken. Add mustard and 1-3/4c cheese. Allow to melt till it’s super smooth…DO NOT LET YOUR CHEESE SAUCE BOIL. Taste for adding salt/pepper.
3. Mix noodles and cheese sauce and pour into a oil sprayed/oven friendly dish.
4. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Top with remaining cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.

TIP… When the fun2 were little, before Tyler caught onto me, I would take one to one and a half cups of frozen broccoli flowerettes and grind them down to green dust with my food processor and add to the cheese sauce before adding the mustard. The only challenge this caused was when Ty told another mom she didn’t make her mac-n-cheese correctly during a playdate and refused her meal. Ooops!!!

Marinara Sauce

I’m good if you think I’m crazy after getting through this recipe. Everyone has their “go-to/quick” meal. Mine is a little out there, and it takes a little time on the back-end, but is as quick as opening a jar of marinara sauce in a pinch! This has my favorite ingredients all in one recipe, and it’s insanely good for you!

Okay, so I’m going to start this by saying you may think there are typo’s in quantities here…that is not the case. This is my base sauce for quite a few things from when we have marinara sauce over cheese tortellini and creamy marinara sauce (add alfredo sauce!), to adding more tomato paste and using on homemade pizzas. I will freeze it in “meal-size” amounts in freezer ziplock bags (4-5 ladles per bag). When I say base, every meal can be different. Add a little oregano, or an Italian seasoning. Add a little more sugar. Add sweet Italian turkey sausage or ground beef. It works as a great sauce for crockpot/slow-cooker or regular lasagna, and works great with “no cook” noodles!

cook as many hours as possible...

INGREDIENTS

300oz whole or diced all natural canned tomatoes
3/4c sugar
1/2c sea salt
16oz frozen spinach
1/2c minced garlic
1/2c dry leaf basil
1 sweet onion
1 small bag of baby carrots
2.5-3lbs summer squash, the smaller the better (almost seedless). chopped.
2.5-3lbs zucchini, the smaller the better (almost seedless). chopped.
12-14oz light olive oil
6oz tomato paste (optional)

1. Add all veggies to a good size stockpot. Add 1/2c sugar and 1/4c salt, only. Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the tomato paste. Simmer on low-medium for at least 4-5hrs (no, that was not a typo).

look at all those veggies!

This is mine... Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments...from BABY FOOD to HIDDEN VEGGIES!!! can't.live.without.it

2. You will need to use a handheld puree-er to get a smooth consistency, and yes this takes time. You’ll find out now if you need the tomato paste. After puree-ed, taste. Does it need the additional 1/4c sugar and 1/4c salt? Those are the key ingredients to cutting the acidic taste. If it tastes like it needs something, add a little more. I’ll continue to cook on low for 6-8 more hours if I can. Reason is it makes the sauce very rich tasting.

pureeing may take 10-15 minutes to get desired smoothness...

When cooled, ladel 4-5 scoops into each quart size freezer bags. Place in deep freezer. Yield 18-22 meals depending on how much you package per meal. <- NOT a typo.

I'm missing one bag here. We needed dinner! 😉

Alfredo Sauce

alfredo sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/2c butter, unsalted
1 block cream cheese
1T fresh garlic
2c milk (2% or whole)
5-6oz fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

PREP

Melt butter and cream cheese over medium heat. Add garlic and milk. Whisk till smooth over low/medium heat (do not let this boil). Add Parmesan cheese. Heat and stir till melted. Salt/pepper to taste (optional).

Add baked chicken, steamed veggies (broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash, zucc, onion, etc). The fun2 will sometimes ask for creamy marinara sauce, so I’ll do a 50/50 mix with my homemade marinara sauce. This can also be made with gluten-free noodles!