April 23, 2014

Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce

Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce Resize

Did you have a fun and festive St. Patrick’s Day?  We didn’t do too much to celebrate.  (I have a little Irish in me, but no freckles!)   I did make a cabbage dish on Monday, leaving me with half a head of green cabbage.  I love roasting wedges of cabbage, but I wanted something a little more assertive, so I decided to make an herb dressing for them.  Add in some other roasted veggies, and I came up with this recipe for Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce.

Buttermilk is not something I grew up with, so I can’t really say much about it.  It does have a pleasantly sour taste that adds complexity to baked goods (think pancakes) and sauces.   If you add a lot of dill and pepper to this recipe, you’d have something very close to ranch dressing, but without all the chemicals and preservatives in bottled or packaged varieties.  I used parsley because that’s what I had but I’d like to try it next time with a big handful of tarragon.  If you grow your own herbs, this is the perfect canvas for trying new flavor combinations!

I served the sauce over roasted cabbage wedges and roasted golden beets.  Here is a list of other vegetables I think this would taste good on:  carrots, leeks, green beans, baked potatoes, and Brussels sprouts with bacon.  I served this with balsamic-glazed salmon last night, and you know what?  The sauce went great on the fish too!  I had a little sauce left over, so this morning I used it to make chicken salad for my husband’s lunch.  Find your own way with this delightfully green and springy sauce—start here!

Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 beets
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 green onions
  • handful of fresh herbs:  use parsley, tarragon, dill, or a combination of these
  • 1 clove garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze of lemon if desired (I used a big squeeze – okay, two big squeezes!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.  Prepare the beets for roasting:  Wash them and remove any greens from the top.  In a large rectangle of aluminum foil, place the beets, root tip facing up, in the middle.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, maybe a tablespoon total.  Wrap up the beets in the foil and place in a pie plate or Pyrex bowl.  Bake for one hour or until they give when you push on them.  Set aside to cool.
  2. While the beets are baking, prepare the cabbage: Cut out the core of the cabbage, then cut the cabbage into 4 wedges.  Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle each wedge with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.  After the beets have been in the oven for half an hour or so, add the cabbage.  Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake again for about ten minutes.  (The time will vary depending on your oven, your cabbage, et cetera.  You want the cabbage to get golden and a little crispy at the edges, but not too dark!)
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, combine buttermilk, yogurt, green onions, herbs, and garlic in a food processor.  Taste it…need more garlic?  Go ahead!  Add salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you like and blend again.  Taste to make sure it’s yummy, and then put in the fridge until ready to serve.
  4. Skin the beets:  once they are cool enough to handle simply slip the skins off with your fingers.  If you are using red beets, you may want to wear gloves, since they will turn your fingers pink!
  5. On each plate, lay down a wedge of cabbage and a beet cut into quarters.  Serve the hot veggies with the cold buttermilk herb sauce.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad Resize

Now you ladies know I love a good salad.  I will eat a salad for breakfast – in fact, I’m finishing this big bowl of Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad right now, with my morning coffee!  Raw Brussels sprouts—for breakfast?!  Yes indeed!

I found this recipe on the Bon Appetit website, which I tweaked to my liking.  The best thing about this salad, aside from the fact that it tastes good, is that it is so hearty.  I made it last night, had some for dinner, and it’s still good this morning!  But because it’s so sturdy, you’ll want to keep the nuts, fruit, and cheese separate until you’re ready to eat it.  You can sub any dried fruit you like for the cranberries:  cherries, blueberries, golden raisins, and diced dried apricot would be delicious too.  And if you don’t have toasted almonds, substitute pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts.  Check it out, and report back with your chosen combination of flavors!

Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur or lacinato kale)
  • 1/2 pound large Brussels sprouts
  • 1 shallot (or 1/4 red onion)
  • juice of one large lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • to serve:  almonds, dried cranberries, and Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare kale:  Strip the leaf off the thick stem, then soak the leaves in cold water to remove any dirt.
  2. While the kale is soaking, prepare the Brussels sprouts:  cut off the stem end and any brown or wilted leaves.  Slice in half lengthwise, and lay down flat on the cut side.  Thinly slice each sprout half to create shreds.  Place shredded sprouts in a very large bowl.
  3. Dry the kale.  Grab a handful and sort of wad it up, then run your knife through the kale to shred it.  Add to the sprouts in the  bowl.
  4. In a small food processor, blend together the shallot, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey.
  5. Pour over the kale and mix with your hands.  I mean get in there!  Massage the dressing into the kale, squeezing it to soften everything up and get the dressing into all the sprouts and kale.
  6. To serve:  Dish salad into a bowl.  Take a handful of almonds and crush with a knife or in a mortar and pestle – just crack them lightly, you don’t need to pulverize them.  Add the cracked nuts and cranberries to the salad, then shred some Parmesan to go on top.  I shaved the block of Parmesan with my vegetable peeler, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Crustless Kale Quiche

Crustless Kale Quiche Resize

Talk about a tongue twister!  It’s worth the effort to say, and the little bit to make, because this Crustless Kale Quiche hits the spot.

I’ve only made this once … and I’ve already eaten almost half of it.  The kale adds a little bitterness and chew to what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill spinach pie.  Nutmeg, currants, and pepitas add an almost sweet, Middle Eastern flavor profile.  The three eggs are just enough to combine the ingredients without becoming heavy or custardy like a regular spinach quiche.  Don’t get me wrong – a traditional spinach and swiss cheese quiche is wonderful, but this one is lighter, with an unexpected combination of flavors that will have you craving it again.

I ate this hot, and I ate it cold, cut right out of the fridge.  I ate this with a big slab of goat cheese on top and I ate it plain.  I’m going to eat more of it with dinner tonight and see if I can’t discover some new way to enjoy it.  If you want your greens, with a little extra zing, try this instead of a salad tonight!

Crustless Kale Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag of frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 3/4 cup pepitas (or try pine nuts or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter) plus more for greasing the pie plate
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins (next time I’m trying golden raisins!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Goat cheese, to serve, if desired

Directions:

  1. Wash the kale and remove from the stem, tearing it into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces.  Saute on medium heat in a large pot with a lid.  Don’t add any extra water or oil – just the damp kale by itself.  Stir occasionally until it gets soft, about 15 minutes.  When it appears soft and has reduced in volume, pour in the bag of frozen spinach.  Stir to combine and replace the lid.  Cook on medium-low for another five minutes until the spinach is thawed.  Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350*F.  While the spinach and kale are cooling, heat the coconut oil over medium and add the pepitas.  Stir frequently for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and currants.  Stir for another 3 minutes.
  3. Squeeze out as much water from the kale mixture as possible, then dump it into a large bowl.  Pour over the pepita mixture and combine.  Add nutmeg and salt.
  4. Beat 3 eggs well and mix into kale mixture.  Grease a pie plate, then fill with the kale mixture.  Smooth it down so you have a flat top.  Bake for 35 minutes or until not wet in the middle.  Serve warm or cold, with goat cheese or without.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad Resize

As Coleen pointed out in her post on Monday, this is National Soup Month!  She will be sharing some of her favorite soups with us.  And what makes a better meal than soup and salad?   One of my favorite salads is Chinese Chicken Salad!

This is perfect for winter, because all of the ingredients are in season now.  Instead of canned mandarin oranges, you can probably find fresh ones now – I’ve got Clementines and Satsumas left and right at my grocery store.  Red cabbage and carrots are always around, as are green onions.  For the base, I used Napa cabbage, but if you don’t have that, you can use any kind of lettuce you like, or really finely chopped green cabbage.  I cooked some extra chicken breasts last night so I could chop them up cold and throw them over the salad, but you can use whatever chicken you like – roasted, store-bought rotisserie, or even breaded chicken nuggets!

This recipe serves two as part of a lunch or dinner menu.  Try this salad with any soup you like, or paired up with a sandwich, wrap, or pasta dish.  Filling, nutritious and delicious – and it won’t break any of your New Year’s resolutions!

Chinese Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 or 3 green onions
  • 2 mandarin oranges
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, or 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop the Napa cabbage into inch-wide strips.  Finely slice the red cabbage.  Place both in a salad spinner and rinse under cold water, then spin dry.
  2. Cut the carrots into matchsticks.  Finely slice the green onions.  Peel the oranges and remove as much of the white pith as possible.  Separate into segments.  Dice or thinly slice the chicken breasts.
  3. To assemble:  In two very large bowls, mix together the cabbages, carrots, and onions.  Arrange the oranges and chicken breasts on top.  Drizzle each salad with one tablespoon each of sesame oil and rice vinegar, and sprinkle the sesame seeds, salt, and pepper on top.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

The Five B’s: Butternut, Brussels Sprouts, Baby Bellas, Bacon, and Balsamic

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Raise your hand, please, if you—like me—are planning out and testing recipes to serve at your Thanksgiving Day meal!  Over the next few weeks, both here on the blog and also over in our FaceBook GCH-Fellowship page, we will be chatting about recipes for the big feast.  Last Friday, Dana shared that “…it is always good to have a couple of side dish recipes in mind.”  She gave us her recipe for a delicious-looking side dish salad here on the At Home with GCH blog.

So today I am giving you a recipe entitled The Five B’s: bacon (yum!), butternut (oh, yum!), brussels sprouts (yumm-o!), baby bellas (yum-yum!) and balsamic (yummy!)….silly, I know.  But seriously, consider trying this as a side dish for your Thanksgiving feast!  Easy to prepare (the veggies can be prepped the day before).  And the prepared dish can be popped into the oven the moment you take the bird out!  It will be done and piping hot when your bird has finished resting and been carved.  This dish definitely fits into our healthy but oh-so-yummy point of view!  Enjoy!

2013-11-06 18.45.52

Five B’s: Butternut, Brussels Sprouts, Baby Bellas, Bacon and Balsamic

Ingredients:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2# thickly sliced bacon, chopped
1+1/2# Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 medium-large butternut squash, cleaned and cubed
8 ounce container Baby Bellas, cleaned and quartered
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (the REAL stuff, please!)
1+1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In a medium-sized saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook 8-10 minutes ‘til crispy. Lay out on a paper towel to drain; set aside.
  • Lightly oil a large sheet pan (or two!) with olive oil.
  • In a very large bowl, or stockpot, pour in the prepared veggies…Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, Baby Bella mushrooms…along with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil; stir well to evenly disperse the oil and season well with salt & pepper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, additional 1 tablespoon olive oil, and maple syrup. Drizzle this mixture over the vegetables and toss so that they are evenly coated.
  • Spread out vegetables in a single layer (very important!) in the pan(s); sprinkle with salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg.
  • Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes; carefully remove pan(s) stir and flip over the veggies so that the other side can caramelize. Place back in over and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or ‘til the veggies are slightly brown and caramelized.
  • Remove from oven and, just before serving, top with crumbled bacon

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Frozen Pea Salad

Frozen Pea Salad Resized

Here we go, ladies – we’re heading into the holiday season!  Every time I go to the supermarket now I see dozens of magazines at the check out, with photos of glorious turkeys and fantastic centerpieces.  But let’s be honest – not everyone will have to make a turkey this year. In my case, my newlywed brother-in-law and his wife will be hosting Thanksgiving, so they are in charge of the turkey.  But it’s always good to have a couple of  side dish recipes in mind.  I’m usually responsible for making at least one pie and cornbread stuffing, plus some kind of vegetable  dish.  This year, I plan to bring this Frozen Pea Salad.

Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, No, the peas are not frosty little balls of ice.  They are thawed and cold, but not actually frozen anymore.  The version of this recipe my Mom used to make featured sour cream and a little mayonnaise.  I’ve switched that out for Greek yogurt to up the protein and lower the fat a little bit.  This can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on how many people you are serving, but I would suggest not adding in the cashews and bacon until you are ready to eat, so the textures stay distinct.  It’s sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy, cold and delicious!  If you need an easy, off-beat vegetable side dish, read on, friends!

Frozen Pea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or more, to taste)
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup salted, roasted cashews (you can break them up a little or leave them whole)
  • 4 slices bacon, fried crisply and drained

Directions:

  1. Take the peas out of your freezer and empty the bag into a Pyrex or other casserole dish.  Set them by the stove as you fry the bacon.  The heat from the stove will help the peas thaw.
  2. Fry the bacon crispy, drain it well, blot with paper towels, and dice.
  3. Are your peas thawed yet?  If not, microwave them for thirty seconds at a time, stirring well each time, just until the ice melts and you can squish a pea between your fingers.  You still want them very cold, just not icy and crunchy.  When thawed and still very cold, drain any extra water in the bowl.  Mix in yogurt and green onion, and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. When serving, sprinkle the pea salad with cashews and bacon.  If you have leftovers, either keep the cashews and bacon separate, or make sure they stay on top.  If they get mixed into the salad and then saved that way, they will soften up.  It will still be delicious, but it won’t have the crunchy versus soft texture difference that makes this salad so fun!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Creamed Kale

 

Creamed Kale

My favorite side dish in restaurants is creamed spinach.  There’s just something about it that I crave.  And lucky for me, it’s not hard to make at home.  But spinach is a little fussy – it goes mushy in the fridge really quickly, so I don’t have it on hand unless I’m cooking it that day.  But kale on the other hand … that hearty veggie will hang out in your fridge for a few days without appreciable loss of texture or taste.  So I had 2 bunches of curly kale hogging space in my fridge and decided to see if I could cream it.  In short, yes I did!  Creamed Kale for dinner!

Use whatever hearty green you have – kale, chard, or spinach.  If you are using spinach, just wash and blanch it quickly.  Kale and chard need more time in the pot to soften up, so plan accordingly.  I made this with one part whole milk and one part half-and-half, but I think next time I can just use whole milk.  If you like a richer flavor, use all half-and-half.  As for the onion, I used just a regular brown onion.  I think a sweet variety would be even better, so if you see Vidalias or Walla Wallas, pick one up!  Also, I left it out, but you can certainly add a little (or a lot, your choice) grated parmesan cheese to garnish.  Ready to check it out?  Let’s go!

Creamed Kale

(serves 2 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches kale, any kind, or chard, or spinach (see note above if using spinach)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Set a large pot of water to boil.  Prepare the kale:  tear out the tough center stem, and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Wash well.
  2. Slice the onion as fine as possible – you want thin strings.  In a large pan, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of butter, stirring to make sure they don’t burn.
  3. Boil the kale for about 3 or 4 minutes.  You don’t want it too soft – a little chew is nice.  Remove to an ice bath.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible from the kale.
  4. When the onions are soft and browning, add the kale to the pan.  In a bowl, whisk together the milk, half-and-half, and cornstarch.  Pour over kale and onions and stir to incorporate.  Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 3 minutes until thick and creamy.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in last tablespoon of butter, then serve hot.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Baked Italian Cauliflower

Baked Italian CauliflowerResize

 

After I had my second daughter, my friend Sunita brought over dinner for my family.  Not only was that a lovely, thoughtful gesture, but it was a tasty one too!  Sunita made a huge casserole of baked rigatoni  and cauliflower in a spicy tomato sauce, spiked with gobs of melty cheese.  I won’t tell you how quickly I ate up dinner (and all the leftovers) – but it was fast!  Here is a link to the original recipe.  However, my husband and I don’t eat pasta anymore, and my girls aren’t really that into it either.  I wanted to see if I could make the same tasty dish, simplified a little, without the noodles.  I think I did!

Baked Italian Cauliflower is a tasty side dish and will go well with baked meatballs, chicken breasts, whatever you have going!  The only ingredient that may be a little difficult to locate is the cheese.  The recipe calls for 8 oz. of fontina, which is a semi-soft, creamy cheese.  It melts like a dream!  If you can’t find it, you could substitute 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella and 1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese.  It won’t be exactly the same, but you’ll still get the gooey, smooth texture from the mozzarella and a little bite from the swiss.  As for the pepper, I used one of those red pepper flake packets that always comes to your house when you order pizza.  Do you have as many of those packets in a kitchen drawer as I do?  If not, use other red pepper flakes, or even a 1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce.  I’ll let you decide how spicy you want your dish to be.  For me, the pizza pepper packet was enough!

Once you make this (and love it!) you can add in other things to your cauliflower casserole:  cooked Italian sausage or ground beef, slices of summer squash, or some very finely chopped herbs – basil and parsley would be yummy.  Bake this tonight and tell me how you like it!

Baked Italian Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese
  • 1-14 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1-6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Wash the cauliflower and cut out the core, then chop into bite-sized florets.  Microwave in a covered bowl, with a few tablespoons of water, for 8-10 minutes.  The cauliflower should be cooked but still firm.
  2. Drain the water off and add the cauliflower to a very large mixing bowl.  Chop the onion into very thin slices and add to the cauliflower.  Dice the cheese into tiny cubes, about 1 centimeter square, and add to the bowl.  Mix in tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Pour cauliflower mixture into a large casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.  Keep an eye on it towards the end to make sure any exposed cheese doesn’t get too brown.  Serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Curried Potato Salad

Curried Potato Salad

No matter what you think of Martha Stewart, you can’t argue that she doesn’t know what she’s doing in the kitchen.  Sometimes when I’m looking around for inspiration and new recipes, I come across something that I might be on the fence about.  Maybe it sounds unusual, or I don’t know if I can make it right, or sometimes the measurements or directions don’t seem correct.  But when you make a Martha Stewart recipe, you know you’re going to end up with something pretty good.  And that’s what you get with this recipe for Curried Potato Salad!

My husband bought me the Martha Stewart Living cookbook 12 years ago, and we’ve certainly gotten our money’s worth out of it.  This was one of the first recipes we made and it has become a family favorite – my Dad, in particular, requests it.  Every ingredient is easy to find in the grocery store, although you may have to look a little harder for cilantro and curry powder, depending on where you live.  Trust me (and Martha) – this recipe is a keeper!

Curried Potato Salad

(Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living)

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds baby white potatoes, scrubbed (I’ve used red potatoes, too – just make sure they are small, and all the same size)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I’ve used red wine vinegar too – it’s fine)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise, or from a jar
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by several inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat, add 1 tablespoon salt, and reduce to a gentle boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes.  Drain into a colander. Using gloves or paper towels to protect  your hands, cut potatoes into wedges while still hot.  Drizzle with vinegar, and set aside to cool.
  2. Place eggs in a small pan with enough water to cover by 1 inch, and place over medium-high heat.  When water comes to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 13 minutes. Drain, and place in a bowl with cold water to cover. When cold, peel hard-boiled eggs, and cut into quarters lengthwise.
  3. Place mayonnaise, curry powder, and remaining teaspoon of salt in a large bowl; whisk to combine.  Add potatoes to mayonnaise mixture.  Add eggs, onion, and cilantro.  Stir to combine.  Chill until ready to serve.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Asian Pasta Salad

Asian Pasta Salad

This is a recipe my sister used to make 20 years ago.  I think it came from a cookbook she had, which has since been lost in the shuffle of life.  I replicated as closely as I could when I had to bring a dish for a potluck at my daughter’s school.  This Asian Pasta Salad is great alternative to macaroni salad, especially in the summer, since there’s no mayonnaise to worry about.

Use any small pasta shape you like.  I usually like to use bow-ties, but I was out of them for this go around.  To save time, you can cook the chicken the night before you plan to eat this.  I think next time I make this, I will add pea pods and diced green onion.   Those weren’t in the original recipe, but I bet they’d add some sweet, crunchy interest!

Hoisin sauce is widely available, and if your grocery store has an Asian section, I’m sure you can find it – look for a little jar, next to the soy sauce.  You could substitute a jar of Plum Sauce if you can’t find Hoisin.  Hoisin sauce is great for any kind of stir fry you make at home, so I doubt it will go to waste.  The dressing for the Asian Pasta Salad is also tasty on a more traditional “Chinese chicken salad” with shredded cabbage, diced chicken, green onions, slivered almonds, and mandarin orange segments.

Asian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 pound box of dried pasta, small shape preferred (macaroni, mini-shells, or bow-ties work well)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (try to get at least one red bell pepper), cut into very thin slices
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Boil the pasta, following the directions on the box.   Don’t overcook!
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a small container with a lid, shake together the Hoisin, vinegar, and oil.  When the pasta is done, drain and pour into a very large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well.
  3. Add the chicken, peppers, and cilantro to the bowl and toss to combine.  Taste for seasoning, as you will probably need salt, and may prefer a little pepper.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again.  Chill for at least an hour, or until ready to serve.

 

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipes, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!