I know what you’re thinking. “Really Jo? Wasn’t the tofu enough? What’s wrong with chicken? Do we really need more vegetarian options?” Yes. Always! Variety is the spice of life, my friend. And tempeh, like tofu, is excellent if you take the time to do […]
You know how every family has a set of side salads that appear at functions? Like Grandma’s broccoli salad, or Auntie’s guacamole? We’ve got those too. But we have things like “Romance Jello” or “Frog Eye Salad.” We were hilarious as kids.
Those side dishes are wonderful, but this one is a little different. It has vegetables. It has noodles. It didn’t come from the back of a romance novel. (I think)
My mother in law brought this salad once, and was told in no uncertain terms that she was to bring this to all future functions, no matter the occasion. That’s how we roll. You bring good food, and you’re in for life. Whether you like it or not!
It is so easy, too! Technically, I consider this a “cheat” recipe because the “sauce” isn’t homemade, but sometimes cheating is essential for success (in the case of food, not life). My sister and I made up a recipe for the 4th of July because my mother in law was out of town, and I think it was darn near perfect. Maybe Anita can give us some pointers in the comments section 😉
Anita’s Pasta Salad
Not sure where she got this one, but I’m so glad she did!
1 box of pasta (your favorite kind, but we like the colorful noodles)
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
2 cups of olives, either sliced or halved
1 or 2 large cucumbers, diced
1 bottle of your favorite Italian Dressing
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta with cool water. Add chopped vegetables, and 3/4 to 1 bottle of Italian Dressing. Mix. Serve. No kidding!
For some added color, you could add sliced cherry tomatoes or chopped red pepper. We were kind of in a hurry though, and didn’t really think ahead. It happens.
So now you have another item to add to your family’s repertoire. What are your family staples?
I was also sick for part of the week, and then the kid was sick for part of the week, so big to-do dinners just weren’t in the cards.
1 large sweet potato, diced as evenly as possible
1/2 cup black beans
1/3 cup feta cheese (I had roasted tomato and basil feta. It was fancy)
several cabbage leaves, shredded (I just tore them apart)
2 flat breads
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and spray or brush with olive oil. Spread the sweet potato out on the baking sheet, then bake for 10 minutes.
After the ten minutes, add a little bit of hot water to the baking sheet and return it to the oven. Not so much water that the potato is drowning, but enough to give it a nice steam. Repeat this process one or two more times, until the sweet potato is very tender.
Warm up the black beans, and then the flat bread. Combine all the ingredients and wrap in foil.
This is probably one of those meals that Nick wouldn’t be wild about, but I guess I’ll have to make it again this week to find out.
Ok, so this is one of those things that Nick tried. I’m too honest for my own good!
Fruit leather is ridiculously easy. All you do is boil some fruit in water, puree, and dehydrate.
Yep. Totally doable.
Since Nick did all the work on this one, he earned the right to abscond with the loot (he took it to work with him). At least he shared a few pieces. Next time we will probably do a triple or quadruple batch, just so there’s some the next day. (Fruit leather is hard to keep around with…well…us in the house. We like our fruit leather)
This is one of those infinitely changeable recipes. You can use whatever kind of fruit you want, and dehydrate it all at once. Then you’ll have fruit leather all summer long to bring with you on camping, floating and hiking trips! I’ll give you the recipe we used, and as we make this more often, I’ll post variations. I’d love to hear how you do it, too!
**Please wash all your fruit! I hate to sound preachy, but I know more people who don’t wash their fruit than I care to think about.
2 cups strawberries, roughly chopped
2 apples, sliced (we used Pink Lady, cause that’s what we had, but Granny Smith would give a nice bite of tartness)
1 oranges, peeled and segmented
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Gently boil until fruit is very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer fruit and liquid to a food processor and puree until smooth. At this point, you should taste the puree to see if it needs sugar. Most fruit is naturally sweet enough that you shouldn’t need it, but if you have particularly tart fruit or a particularly sweet tooth, add sugar in small amounts until it’s right.
You can use a food dehydrator or your oven–just follow your food dehydrator’s instructions, or set your oven on the lowest setting and bake for about 8-10 hours. Yes, hours. This is a good rainy day project. If you use a cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper and spray or brush a bit of vegetable or olive oil over it.
We didn’t use our Misto this time, but it definitely would have been helpful during the removal process.
When the leather is sufficiently dry, cut into strips and store in an airtight container.