Asian Pasta Salad

This is an easy salad to put together and perfect for a warm day. Asian Pasta Salad works well as a side at a cookout too. I’m using fresh grated ginger and broccoli that I blanched a few minutes. Water chestnuts, sesame seeds, and red bell pepper add crunch. You can easily substitute snow peas for the broccoli. If you don’t have fresh, you can try dried ground ginger, but it isn’t as tasty. Ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sweet chili sauce add a sweet and sour zing. I serve it cold, but you can serve it warm if it suits you. For a main dish, add cooked protein (like grilled chicken or shrimp) at the end and toss.

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Watermelon Lemonade

It’s already really hot here in Florida. For hot summer days we all need a thirst quencher. My recipe today is for delicious watermelon lemonade. The watermelon and lemon flavors blend perfectly together. I like the sweet and tart combination. How sweet is it? That totally depends on your watermelon and your taste. If you have a ripe, sweet watermelon, you may only need a little sweetener. For less sweet melons, increase the sweetness. My recipe gives an approximate white sugar amount, or you could add honey to the drink for sweetness. You can garnish your drink with fresh mint or small slices of watermelon or lemon. For adults, you can even add vodka or gin for a cocktail.

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Lentil Bolognese Sauce

You know I like to cook with lower fat  for a healthier diet. Today I’m offering a vegetarian Bolognese sauce when you sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on it. If you need a vegan version, drop the cheese. Bolognese sauce is traditionally a meat sauce with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Today’s pantry recipe replaces the meat with lentils and mushrooms. It requires lentils, mushrooms, herbs, and crushed tomatoes to make a go-to-sauce for pasta, stuffed peppers, and even lasagna.  Add a little dry red wine (or white) to the simmering sauce; the alcohol will burn off. Wine adds another note of deeper, richer flavor. This is a great inexpensive week night meal that’s ready in less than 50 minutes.

Broader pastas have been used in Italy with Bolognese sauce, but you can use the pasta of your choice. Use whole wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta, or even zucchini spirals or spaghetti squash. Feel free to adapt the recipe to meet your family’s taste. 

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Pasta Cobb Salad

This time of year, I’m always looking for refreshing recipes to keep the kitchen cool. Pasta Cobb Salad does just that. It also is great to take it to summer cookouts, tailgates, and BBQs. Cobb Salad is one my favorite meals. If I spot it on a restaurant menu, I have a hard time passing it up. Starring chicken, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, and hard-boiled eggs, this main dish salad makes me happy. Pasta Cobb Salad is a delightful twist on the classic Cobb salad. Incorporating pasta into the salad give you an extra dose of hearty comfort and satisfaction. It’s the perfect meal as the weather warms up and it only takes 30 minutes to make.

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