Summer Pasta Salad

Need a side dish to bring to a summer BBQ? This is an easy staple that every cook-out needs to be complete. Warning: you may want to consider doubling the recipe if you’d like to come home with leftovers. It will be a hit!

Ingredients:

Rainbow colored pasta

1 package of pepperonis

1 small carton of cherry tomatoes

2 to 3 bell peppers, vary in colors

1 red onion

frozen peas

frozen chopped brocoli

salad supreme (spice aisle)

Italian dressing (SOY-FREE: Good Seasons’ Zesty Italian packet mixed with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and water)

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil the pasta. Strain it and run under ice cold water until the pasta is cooled.

Chop all veggies (bite-size). Toss them into a large bowl with the pasta.

Add the salad supreme spice, dressing, and salt & pepper until you like the taste. While my patience is terrible, it’s best to refrigerate it over night and add additional flavorings in the morning if needed.

Welcome, summer!

Welcome, summer!

Perfect Starter Salad

When I was growing up, my mom served a side salad with EVERY dinner. I wish I were motivated to do the same, but I find myself so turned off by the cutting of the vegetables, the mixing of the dressing, etc. It just seems like more work than it’s worth.

However, I have since discovered the easiest and tastiest way to go about it!

Ingredients:

Pre-washed arugula and baby spinach blend

Cherry tomatoes

1 lemon

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Tear up the spinach and arugula. The kick of the arugula makes up for the lack of veggies.

Halve the cherry tomatoes

Squeeze in the juice of a lemon and the olive oil.

Add some salt & pepper and mix.

Breezy Side Salad!

Breezy Side Salad!

Mom’s Chili

Nothing beats a hot pot of my mom’s chili in the fall/winter. But, who am I kidding? I eat it year round. This is a (slightly) adapted version of the chili I grew up on.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pound of ground round- I use sirloin, not because it’s leaner, just because I’m lazy about straining.

1 medium onion

1 can of kidney beans (the size depends on how bean-y you like it)

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can of whole tomatoes- I cut them into quarters to have some larger tomato chunks. I strongly suggest you not wear white during this process- lesson learned.

1 can tomato paste

Chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste (I also add cumin)

1 cup of water

1 bay leaf

Directions:

Brown meat and onion, drain fat (again, I’m lazy). Dump everything else in a pot. Add the meat and onion and simmer four an hour or so. Taste periodically to adjust flavors. If you have a crock pot (yet, another sign of my laziness) then you don’t have to brown the onions, just the meat. I plug it in before work and return to an apartment filled with the scent of chili! Love that.

Thanks, Mom!

Pizza Night

I grew up having a weekly family pizza night. Every Sunday entailed pizza, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Married with Children, and on the late nights, X-Files. The idea of life without pizza was unfathomable. I now make my own pizza. It’s easier than you’d think!

Trader Joe’s has a pre-made pizza dough with no soy. Whole Food’s (my typical go-to) does not! T.J.’s also has a fresh sauce that’s safe (kept in the refrigerated area next to the dough).

For most of you, regular mozzarella should do the trick. For those of you (like myself) who are also lactose-free, Whole Foods does carry a brand of rice cheese by Galaxy Nutritional Foods.

I suggest purchasing a pizza stone or pan. I love mine from Crate and Barrel. http://www.crateandbarrel.com/pizza-grilling-stone/s104322 The best part- you’re not supposed to wash it!

Let the crust sit out for about twenty minutes prior to rolling out (it gets much bigger). Toss some corn meal on the stone. Use flour to role out the dough. Put it on the stone, toss on your sauce and cheese. Add whichever toppings you like. I love tomato and fresh basil! Bake for about twenty minutes at 425 degrees.

A tip if you’re a pesto person- Williams Sonoma has a safe pesto sauce. It’s pricey, but I love it! If you’re really daring, you can make your own. Toss some pesto, pine nuts, parmesan, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor. That’s the simplest way I know- but Rachael Ray offers some much more tasty options.

Enjoy your pizza night!