Saturday, May 09, 2009

My Tri-Color Pasta Salad


Yup, EVERYONE has a version of this Spring/Summer salad...but making this delicious side dish can be a challenge if you have picky eaters in the house - like me. Let's see, I have a hubby that turns up his nose to any salad with an obvious vinegar taste, two boys that aren't that crazy about cold salads, etc....This salad is quick, easy and edible..according to my children :) LOL!
WARNING: This is a "throw-together-add-what-you-what-not-very-exact" recipe...and yes, I based this recipe on one given to me by a Southern pal years ago...

Tri-Color Pasta Salad serves 6-8
1 16 oz. box Barilla Tri-Color Pasta
1 pkg. Mann's Steam & Serve Garden Herb Medley veggies
3 TBL. kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 TBL. crumbled Feta cheese
5 squirts? Wishbone Italian Dressing
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In the microwave, cook the veggies according to label directions, but maybe a few seconds less (I like my veggies on the crunchy side..). Uncover and let completely cool. NOTE: I usually remove the cauliflower because I think it's too mushy for the salad. Besides, it's a healthy snack while cooking ~


Boil in salted water, pasta for approx. 8-9 mins. Not too long, or the noodles won't hold up!
Rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly.
In a large bowl combine pasta, veggies, kidney beans, Feta cheese and a twist or two of pepper.
Fun part: 5 or more squirts of Italian dressing (my kids beg to help with this part!).
Mix gently but thoroughly. Refrigerate for about 4+ hours...
That's it...
What I dig about this salad - it's so basic, you can add more of this or less of that, whatever!
I sometimes add artichoke hearts or cubed salami, more dressing or hot pepper flakes...it's all good.
Enjoy!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Be Hippy Happy - MAKE Y-O-G-U-R-T


Well, in the 70's my late father, a chiropractor, was hell bent on putting my mother and I on the road to "everything natural!" We begged for donuts, Fruit Loops, Count Chocula (remember than stuff? Loved it! Sorry Daddy...), anything but granola from the health food store, again...Gawd, please ~
His answer to our whining? Homemade yogurt -
No syrupy fruit at the bottom, overly processed store bought slop - actual made from scratch plain yogurt.
So patchwork denim jeans, halter tops and platform shoes aside, I look back and am grateful for his bravery (we threatened to revolt before we tried it!) as I have carried on the tradition to my boys. Not only do they enjoy thinking of new ways to flavor their yogurt, they actually love making it with me.
I could go on and on and on and on about the obvious health benefits of yogurt - but I'll let YOU do that! :)
There are a ton of recipes out there, but let me share with you how we make it....try it, you'll like it ~

SANDY'S YOGURT
I use a yogurt maker, but you can use a crockpot or thermos or storage container! Don't let your lack of equipment deter you.

For 1 Quart of Yogurt -
1 quart whole milk
5 TBL. yogurt starter (quality PLAIN yogurt with live & active cultures or 1 TBL dried culture)
1 TBL. instant non-fat dried milk (makes it creamy and helps to thicken)

STEP 1:
Heat to almost a boil, quart of milk. I used the microwave. Insert a thermometer, cover with Saran wrap.

STEP 2:


When milk has cooled to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, add the yogurt starter. Add instant milk. Whisk until fully incorporated.

STEP 3:


Now pour into your container (s) and place into the yogurt maker. p.s. - I always plug my maker in while I'm preparing the milk...so it's ready to rock after I pour. Now get a towel, and cover your yogurt to insulate. Let it set for 10-12 hours UNDISTURBED!

STEP 4:
After cooking time is over, set your yogurt on the counter to cool and set. Then place in the fridge for at least eight hours before eating. The longer the better - maybe two days, etc..

STEP 5:

A little honey, some nuts..or maybe fresh strawberries...YES!

STEP 6: Optional
My hubby likes thick, Greek Style yogurt - so if that's your "thang," just get some cheesecloth and drain the desired amount for about 30 minutes. Yumm!

What a year!!

I'm still alive!  I realize I've been MIA...this is what happens when real life forces to be reckoned with. ;)  Hang tight friends, ...