Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Arugula Greek Pasta Salad

    Wanting an unconventional side for Thanksgiving? Maybe something that isn't too heavy... or maybe you just want to be like me and make this on Sunday and eat it for lunch all week. Basically, I can give you a million reasons you want to make this pasta salad.  

   This recipe was born out of indecision, I was craving a Greek salad and my Mother-in-law's pasta salad and could not make up my mind on what I wanted to make. Then it hit me, combine them and this little baby was born. I love, love, love a strong vinaigrette, hence my obsessive love of Greek Salad You could easily tone down the bite of vinegar or tang of lemon. I grew up eating Greek salad and loving all things vinegary and tart. If that's not for you, cut back on the lemon juice and vinegar and I'm sure it will be more your speed.

   I'll probably be taking this a few places this holiday season. I've taken it a couple of places over the summer and it was always a major hit! It truly is something I would normally post in the summer, but I thought this one holds up year round. And I know I can't be the only one who needs something a little lighter to go with the heaviness of the sides, covered in bacon, cheese, butter and cream. I love all the indulgent foods we eat at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but sometimes you've got to have something that has a brighter and lighter flavor and feel. That's why I love taking this and other non-traditional recipes places every year.

Arugula Greek Pasta Salad

1 19 oz bag frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 cup arugula, roughly chopped (or baby kale)
1/2 a cucumber, cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower rice
1/2 cup crumbled feta

Greek Dressing
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tablespoon parsley
 juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Prepare pasta by package directions. While water is coming to a boil and pasta is cooking, prep, cut and chop your veggies. Rinse and quarter tomatoes, rinse and chop arugula, drain and chop olives, cut cucumber into chunks, dice onion. Place all veggies, cheese and cauliflower rice in a large bowl and set aside. Once pasta is cooked, strain and rinse with cold water until pasta has cooled some, add to the bowl of vegetables and start dressing. IF you use a blender or food processor add all ingredients and blend. If you are doing it by hand, whisk together everything but olive oil until all combined, then stream in olive oil in a thin stream while whisking constantly. add about half dressing and toss everything together. Taste, if you you need more dressing stir in and taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I think I'll make up some of this for lunches next week!

Happy eating!


Monday, November 6, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake Krispy Rice Treats

Guys, Guys, GUYS!!!!! Stop what you're doing and make these! I know, I know, everyone makes krispy treats, but these are different! Have you ever used freeze dried fruit in anything? The beauty of them are, they don't get super sweet like regular dehydrated fruit, they stay perfectly tart. Mix them with the super sweetness of the marshmallows and you have a match made in heaven!

I really love freeze dried fruit. You can crush them into powder and it is so concentrated that you can stir it into any thing for a major kick of flavor. Stir it into a yummy buttercream and you have the best strawberry frosting you'll ever try. Add it to a basic cake batter and it makes a huge difference to your strawberry cake!

I've made these a few times and no one can keep their hands out of them. I actually just finished one while I'm sitting here at my "Ladies ONLY" Craft Retreat. I made a double batch and 24 hours in, they're almost gone. My kids and husband devour them every time. My sister and niece do the same. I bake so many things and create so many desserts, so for one this simple to be such a favorite, you know it's a winner. I'm currently working on some fun versions of these guy.

Strawberry Shortcake Krispy Rice Treats
adapted from Cookie and Cup's recipe here

5 tablespoons butter
8 cups mini marshamallows + 2 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups rice cereal
1/2 cup crushed freeze dried strawberries + 1 tablespoon set aside
*4 oz white chocolate optional

Line a 9x9 with parchment paper. Rip off an extra piece, about the size of the bottom of the pan and set aside. In a large pot, over medium heat, stir butter and marshmallows until melted. Remove from heat, stir in rice cereal. Once mostly combine add in remaining 2 cups marshmallows and 1/2 cup crushed strawberries. Pour into pan and using the extra sheet of parchment press into pan until flat. Allow to cool and set, about 30 minutes to an hour. Cut into squares and place on a cooling wrack with parchment under it. In a small microwave safe bowl melt white chocolate at 10 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. It should not take more than 30 seconds. Drizzle white chocolate over squares and sprinkle remaining crushed strawberries on. *If you skipped the white chocolate just sprinkle the berries on the top after you pressed the treats into the pan while cooling.