SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO SALAD yield 8 servings

Simple ingredients make an elegant looking side dish for any picnic or BBQ. This is the perfect pasta salad for a quick bite or pick me up!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup micro greens of choice
1/4 cup diced red pepper
FRESH salt and pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together the pesto and vinegar.
  • Toss pasta with pesto mix.

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes tossing to combine well.
  • Fold in micro greens, diced red pepper and Parmesan cheese. 
  • 
Chill in fridge until ready to eat.


NOTE: This makes a full meal just by adding some chopped salami, pepperoni or rotisserie chicken pieces.

CHICKEN CAESAR PASTA SALAD

CHICKEN CAESAR PASTA SALAD

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup Caesar dressing (you choose)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 LARGE lemon, juiced
2 cups micro greens of choice
1 cup container grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup FINELY shredded QUALITY Parmesan cheese
2 cups chicken grilled, diced or shredded (I use rotisserie chicken breast pieces)

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Add sea salt and pasta then stir to prevent sticking.
  • Return water to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook pasta according to directions on package until tender but still slightly firm.
  • Drain then immediately rinse under cold water to cool pasta and stop cooking.
  • Set aside to drain completely.
  • Using a very large bowl, add Caesar dressing, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and lemon juice then stir to combine.
  • Add chopped Romaine, grape tomatoes, Parmesan, black pepper and well-drained pasta then stir until ingredients are well coated.
  • Add diced or shredded chicken then toss to distribute chicken evenly through salad.
  • Season to taste with salt and additional black pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

 

TUNA TARRAGON

TUNA TARRAGON

1 tablespoon salt
5 cups small shell pasta*
1 1/4 cups penne pasta*
1 cup egg noodles*
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 small cans tuna in water, drained WELL
1 1/2 cups sweet pickles with their juice
1 3/4 cups Duke’s mayonnaise
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons dried tarragon leaves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
chopped red onion
chopped tomatoes

  • Bring a LARGE pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add all of your pastas and cook for about 8-10 minutes until al dente.
  • Drain pasta and cool by running cold water over pasta in strainer.
  • Drain pasta completely and immediately coat with canola oil to prevent sticking.
  • Drain pickles, reserving juice and chop pickles.
  • Drain tuna completely and use a fork to break apart into flakes.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, pickle juice, vinegar, salt and pepper until well blended.
  • Fold in tuna and pickles into dressing.
  • Combine the dressing and cooked pasta, mixing thoroughly.
  • ALLOW SALAD TO MARINATE FOR 8 HOURS!
  • Serve over a bed of lettuce with chopped red onion and tomatoes.

NOTE 1*: or 2 pounds of your desired pasta mix

ORIGINALLY posted 9-16-2017 but needed a serious updated picture!

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PORK TONKATSU with WATERMELON TOMATO SALAD

TONKATSU basically means breaded with seasoned Panko bread crumbs and fried – traditionally deep fried though I pan fry.

PORK TONKATSU with WATERMELON TOMATO SALAD
PORK
4 boneless center cut pork chops, pounded thin
4-6 tablespoons avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 LARGE eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

  • Whisk together the eggs and mayonnaise in a shallow bowl.
  • Add Panko crumbs to a similar shallow bowl.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Season egg mixture with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Season pork chops with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dip each pork chop in egg mixture and then dredge in Panko crumbs.
  • Add pork chops to skillet and cook on both 2-3 minutes per side until golden, adding more oil as necessary.

SALAD
2 cups 1/2″ watermelon cubes
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup CHOPPED, FRESH Italian leaf parsley
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Toss the watermelon cubes, tomato halves, red onion pieces and parsley together. Set aside.
  • Whisk together avocado oil, mayonnaise, vinegar and lemon juice.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Just before serving pour dressing over the salad and gently toss.

CARROT COINS

I ORIGINALLY posted this recipe in 2012, but I’ve been making it since the 80’s, but boy did it need a serious photo update. This recipe makes a great side that lasts several days or even weeks with a great vinegar base.

CARROT COINS
40 ounces +/- canned sliced carrots, drained
14 ounces +/- canned baby peas, drained
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 can Campbell’s tomato soup**
3/4 cup vinegar (I sometimes use apple cider and it is just as good)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup avocado (neutral flavored) oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Whisk together soup, oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. 
  • Add carrots, peas and onions. 
  • Chill overnight so flavors blend. 
  • Serve cold.

**I replaced the canned soup with the following recipe:

CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
2 tablespoons butter 
3 tablespoons flour 
1 cup pureed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups milk 
dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour and seasonings and cook until bubbly. 
  • Add tomato puree’ and blend well.
  • Remove from heat and gradually whisk in liquid. 
  • Return to heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened to desired consistency.

PEANUT CHICKEN RAMEN & PEANUT CHICKEN SALAD

PEANUT CHICKEN RAMEN
2 LARGE chicken breasts grilled to your liking OR 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken pieces
Yakisoba noodles for 4
1/2 pound Beech mushrooms
3 large green onions, sliced thin
1 cucumber, sliced
A handful of snap peas, trimmed

1 red, yellow and orange mini pepper, sliced
pickled onions
Chopped cilantro, optional

PEANUT SAUCE
1/2 cup salted creamy peanut butter (see notes)
2-3 tablespoons BRAGG’S liquid aminos
2 tablespoons maple syrup
+/- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, depending on your heat level
Juice of 2 FRESH limes
+/- 1/4 cup water (to thin)

  • Whisk together the peanut butter, liquid aminos, maple syrup, chili sauce and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add water a little at a time until a thick BUT pourable sauce is formed.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, chili garlic sauce for heat, lime juice for acidity, or liquid aminos for saltiness.

NOTE:

  • Almond butter or Cashew butter SUBSTITUTE WELL for Peanut butter.
  • If your sauce becomes too thin, add more nut butter.
  • If your sauce is too thick, thin with more water.
  • FRESH grated ginger to taste adds another layer of great flavor.

NOTE: The leftovers added to torn lettuce make a wonderful salad 😀

SPICY CUCUMBER SALAD – FAITH & FOOD FRIDAY #10

I’m still featuring my Mary & Martha GRACE meal prayer box on Faith and Food Friday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

THIS WEEK’S PRAYER: Our Heavenly Father, kind and good, We thank Thee for our daily food. We thank Thee for Thy love and care. Be with us Lord, and hear our prayer. Amen.

SPICY CUCUMBER SALAD
2 medium cucumbers, sliced thin
1 tablespoon KOSHER salt
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 LARGE shallots, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, FINELY diced
1 Fresno chile, halved seeded and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sour cream
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste 
1/4 cup FRESH chopped parsley (optional)

  • Add cucumbers to a LARGE colander and sprinkle with KOSHER salt. Allow to drain 15-20 minutes.
  • Whisk together the sugar and vinegar into a large mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved.
  • Fold in chilies and green onions. Set aside.
  • Rinse cucumbers and pat dry.
  • Whisk sour cream into vinegar mixture.
  • Fold cucumbers into sour cream mixture tossing to coat well.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour until ready to serve.

ANTIPASTO SALAD ~ FAITH & FOOD FRIDAY #9

I’m still featuring my Mary & Martha GRACE meal prayer box on Faith and Food Friday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

THIS WEEK’S PRAYER:

Oh, the Lord is good to me. And so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need. The sun and the rain and the apple seed. The Lord is good to me. Amen.

ANTIPASTO SALAD adapted from Valerie Bertinelli

VINAIGRETTE
2 tablespoons QUALITY red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard  (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Calabrian chile paste, crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha 
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 
1/2 small shallot, minced 
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper
3 tablespoons avocado oil 

  • Whisk the vinegar, mustard if using, chile paste, Italian seasoning, shallot and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a small bowl.
  • Gradually whisk in the avocado oil.
  • Pour into a cruet and shake.

SALAD
4 radishes, thinly sliced (watermelon OR yellow radishes if you can find them)
2 celery heart ribs, thinly sliced 
1 romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips 
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips 
1/4 pound provolone, cut into 1/4-inch cubes 
1/4 pound mozzarella balls
1/4 pound Genoa salami, cut into 1/4-inch cubes 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
3 tablespoons sliced pickled pepperoncinis
3 tablespoons sliced pickled cherry peppers

  • Combine the radishes, celery, romaine, iceberg, provolone, salami, tomatoes, pepperoncinis and cherry peppers in a large salad bowl.
  • Toss with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

NOTE:

  • I like to add a generous drizzle of a QUALITY balsamic glaze.
  • I also like to refer to this as a kitchen sink salad because I use up whatever is in my crisper bins and deli drawer 😀

MACARONI POTATO SALAD

MACARONI POTATO SALAD adapted from A Spicy Perspective

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into half inch cubes
12 ounces macaroni
1/2 cup FINELY minced Vidalia onion
1 large carrot, coarsely shredded
1 can Le Suer peas, drained WELL
1 LARGE bunch green onions, minced
1 1/2 (+as needed) cups Duke’s mayonnaise
1 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large stock pot.
  • Fill the pot with cold water until it is one inch over the top of the potatoes.
  • Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook the potatoes for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, add the macaroni noodles, stirring to combine and continue boiling for 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.


  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish including juices, apple cider vinegar, mustard if using, allspice, FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste, stirring until smooth.
  • Use a grater to shred the onions and carrot.

  • Drain the potatoes and macaroni in a colander and place in a large salad bowl.
  • Add in the onion, carrots, peas, and scallions.
  • Pour the dressing over the top and mix until well combined.

  • Cover the potato macaroni salad and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

NOTES:

  • If you have time, make the salad a day or so ahead of when you want to serve it. It tastes even better on day two!
  • Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

  • You can make this with unpeeled new potatoes for a slightly different texture. Follow the instruction as is, yet leave the potato skins on when you chop them.

PEA & BACON SALAD with FRENCH DRESSING

PEA & BACON SALAD with FRENCH DRESSING adapted from Molly Yeh DRESSING
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup champagne vinegar 
1 cup FRESH sliced mushrooms (optional)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard  (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped 
FRESH gound sea salt

  • Blend together the ketchup, yogurt, vinegar, mustard, sugar, paprika, onion and salt to taste into a high-speed blender.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

SALAD
4 slices bacon
6 ounces sugar snap peas, stringed and cut on the bias (about 3 cups) 
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken pieces (optional)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 SMALL head butter lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
2 cups bite size torn romaine lettuce pieces
1/4 cup FRESH chopped Italian parsley leaves
Wedge of Parmesan, for grating 

  • Put the bacon in a large cold skillet and cook over medium heat until crisp, 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain on a paper towel-lined plate, and set aside.
  • Add the peas to the bacon fat, then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until they get a slight color, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  • Scatter the peas and herbs onto a bed of butter lettuce leaves.
  • Crumble the bacon and scatter over the pea layer.
  • Finish with a grating of Parmesan and a drizzle of dressing.
  • Serve with more dressing on the side.

NOTE: This salad is another “kitchen sink” salad that allows for substitutions, deletions or additions to clean out the crisper drawer or leftover chicken.

CHICKEN PASTA SALAD ~ FAITH and FOOD FRIDAY #6

I’m still featuring my Mary & Martha GRACE meal prayer box on Faith and Food Friday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

THIS WEEK’S PRAYER:

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
2 cups dry rotini pasta
1/2 pound snap peas, trimmed and halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
1 LARGE shallot, small diced
1/4 cup FRESH chopper parsley
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced or rough grated
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, diced (optional)
3 tablespoons tarragon rice vinegar (or flavor of choice)
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
  • Whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Italian dressing, mustard (if using), salt and pepper until emulsified.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss cooled pasta, snap peas, shallots, Parsley, artichoke heart pieces and chicken pieces together.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over and toss again.
  • Fold in tomatoes and cheese, tossing to coat well.
  • Chill several hours before serving.

CHICKEN, CORN & BLACK BEAN SALAD with BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

CHICKEN, CORN & BLACK BEAN SALAD with BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

CHICKEN, CORN & BLACK BEAN SALAD
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup FINELY sliced red onion or shallot
1/4 cup FRESH chopped cilantro
1 can seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed WELL
1 LARGE can fire roasted corn, drained WELL
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
2 1/2 cups chopped OR shredded rotisserie OR grilled chicken
1 cup shredded spicy Mexican blend cheese
4-6 cups salad greens of choice
FRESH chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
Lime wedges for garnish (optional)
1 batch balsamic vinaigrette (see below)

  • Whisk together sour cream and lemon juice. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl toss together the beans, corn, red onion, cilantro, tomatoes and vinaigrette.
  • Toss together the chicken and sour cream mixture until well coated.
  • Fold in cheese.
  • Transfer bean mixture to platter.
  • Top with chicken mixture.
  • Sprinkle with FRESH ground pepper, cilantro and FRESH lime wedges if desired.

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
GENEROUS 1/2 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
1 tablespoon QUALITY Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Add all ingredients to a lidded mason jar and shake WELL.
  • Refrigerate until needed and shake WELL again before using.