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BLT Pasta Salad

July 23, 2016

We love BLT night at our house. It is such a simple meal with easy ingredients, yet the combination is always delicious.

 

While grilling burgers for dinner the other night, I decided to make a pasta salad for our side. We had extra bacon and tomatoes in the fridge from BLTs a few nights ago, and inspired, I decided to create this pasta salad.

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Crisp salty bacon, juicy red tomatoes, and fresh green lettuce combine with creamy dressing in order to take the classic BLT to the next level. Serve this dish as a side or enjoy it as a light meal; you’ll love it either way.

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Paula’s Notes: If you want to make this dish in advance, wait to combine the lettuce until serving. This will keep the lettuce crisp.

What’s your favorite “goto” meal? Link up below!

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BLT Pasta Salad

Serves: 4-6

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (4 oz.) pasta – gluten free, if desired
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked (pork, turkey, or vegetarian all work great)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced romaine lettuce
  • 2 tbls. light mayo
  • 2 tbls. plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rise with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, cook up bacon the bacon, cool, and crumble into pieces.
  3. Slice cherry tomatoes
  4. In a medium bowl, create dressing by whisking together mayo, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  5. Add remaining ingredients to the dressing and stir to combine.
  6. Enjoy!
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Creamy Pasta Salad With Salmon, Peas, and Herbs

July 21, 2016

I love the versatility of pasta salads. There are so many possibilities from the meat and vegetable mix-ins to the oil or mayonnaise base. Plus, now that gluten free pasta is so readily available, you can make a dish to suit nearly everyone’s preferences.

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I also love that with the right combination of ingredients, you can have a healthy, quick, and affordable one-pot-meal.

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This is where my pasta salad with salmon, peas, and herbs comes in. A mixture of gluten free pasta, sweet green peas, and satiating protein from both the salmon and the dressing, this recipe is not only delicious, but is also packed with good nutrition to keep you and your family healthy. Plus, you have a complete meal in under 20 minutes without turning on the oven – it’s a perfect summer recipe. Make it up for dinner tonight and take the leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow.

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What is your favorite pasta salad recipe? Link up below!

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Creamy Pasta Salad With Salmon, Peas, and Herbs

Serves: 4

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 tbls. lemon juice
  • 3 tbls. light mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 10 oz. pink salmon (I get the 5 oz. pouches, which are no-drain and very easy)
  • 10 oz. frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 lb. corkscrew pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water (gluten free, if desired)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 8 cups chopped leafy lettuce

Directions:

  1.  Whisk together the first seven ingredients in a large bowl (greek yogurt through pepper).
  2.  Add the salmon, peas, pasta, and green onions. Mix until everything is evenly coated in dressing. (Pasta salad will stay fresh for two days when refrigerated in an airtight container.)
  3.  Serve over a bed of lettuce and enjoy!

Recipe adapted slightly from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook.

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Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

July 19, 2016

One of the many things that I love about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit filling the produce aisles.  Sweet strawberries, juicy peaches, and tart blueberries hold a permanent place in our fridge and brighten our summer meals.

Cherries were on mega sale this week, so – of course – I stocked up. Apparently my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach, however, as I had a hard time eating them all before they reached the “overripe” stage. Luckily, cherries freeze well. All you need to do is take out the pits and put them in the freezer. Pretty simple.

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This morning I pulled out some of those frozen gems and turned them into a delicious cherry vanilla smoothie for breakfast. The natural sweetness of the cherries combine with the protein rich vanilla yogurt and result in a delicious dessert-like smoothie that totally passes for breakfast. Dessert for breakfast for the win!

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What are your favorite cherry recipes? Link up below!

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Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

Serves: 1

Time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp. honey or sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender (this is the one I use).
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Enjoy!

Recipe from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook.

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Curried Chicken Salad 

July 17, 2016

You. Guys. This chicken salad is delicious.

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Chicken has been on a heavy rotation in our kitchen recently. Because it has been so hot, I often prepare a big batch early on in the week and then use the leftovers for salads, wraps, fajitas, etc. It makes meal prep easy and the kitchen cool – two things that I love this time of year. 

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I’ve been falling back on the same few recipes, however, so I decided to switch it up a bit with this flavorful curried chicken salad. Quick and easy to prepare, this recipe requires only 10 minutes and a handful of ingredients – most of which you likely have in your kitchen right now.

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Don’t be fooled by the recipe’s simplicity, however. When combined, these few ingredients create a refreshing mixture of flavors and textures. Gluten free, protein packed, and absolutely delicious, serve this salad over a bed of lettuce, in a wrap, or between two fresh slices of bread; it is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.

Curried Chicken Salad

Serves: 4

Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. cooked boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces or shredded.
  • 
1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 
2 tbls. light mayonnaise
  • 
1 tsp. curry powder
  • 
1 cup halved red or green grapes
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
  • 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving (optional):
    • Lettuce leaves dressed with oil and vinegar, favorite wraps, crusty fresh bread, etc.

Directions:

  1. Put first seven ingredients into a large bowl and thoroughly combine.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Serve over lettuce, in a wrap, or atop your favorite bread.

Recipe from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook.

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Bacon and Tomato Zoodles

July 14, 2016

We have reached mid-July — can you believe it?

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I was talking with a friend at the gym the other day, and she told me that her garden has officially reached the “zucchini take-over” stage of the season.  Upon hearing this news, I decided I better get a jump start on some new zucchini creations. If “zucchini take-over” has started in Massachusetts, I am sure it has in other places, too!

 

I have professed my love of zoodles in a previous post; they are such a great alternative to your standard pasta. Gluten free, fiber rich, and vitamin packed…what’s not to love? Well today I played a game called “how can I use up some leftover ricotta cheese,” (which I bought for this recipe), and I think I conquered the challenge by combining zoodles, cheese, and bacon. Yep. Bacon wins every time.

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With salty bacon, sweet tomatoes, creamy ricotta, and a bite of Parmesan, this zoodle dish is seriously delicious. Plus, your meal is ready to eat in under 15 minutes. What more could you ask for? Gluten free and protein packed? Okay, you can have that, too. Enjoy!

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What are some of your favorite zucchini recipes? Let me know below!

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Bacon and Tomato Zoodles

Yields: 2 servings (though I’ve been known to eat the whole thing…)

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized (this is the tool I use)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 slices bacon – turkey, pork, or soy
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbls. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste – this will vary depending on the saltiness of your bacon)

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon to desired crispness according to package directions. Set aside and allow to cool. Crumble.
  2. Meanwhile, spiralize your zucchini and slice your tomatoes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
  4. Add zucchini and cook 3-5 minutes, or until you reach your desired texture. Be careful not to overcook or your pasta will turn to mush.
  5. Turn off heat. Drain zoodles of any excess liquid, if necessary.
  6. Return zoodles to pan. Add tomatoes, bacon, and ricotta. Stir until ricotta has melted and ingredients are well combined.
  7. Add in Parmesan, stir to combine.
  8. Add salt to taste.
  9. Enjoy!

 

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