Perfect Pasta Salad

Perfect Pasta Salad

Perfect Pasta Salad

Perfect Pasta Salad

The Perfect Pasta Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Box Elbow Macaroni cooked al dente and cooled
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 4 Scallions, sliced
  • 6-7 Small Sweet Red, Orange & Yellow Peppers, chopped
  • 1 carton Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large Cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1-2 small inner Celery Stalks WITH GREENS, diced
  • 3 Hardboiled Eggs, chopped
  • 8 oz Colby Cheese, cubed
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, chiffonade
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

DRESSING:

* Mix all dressing ingredients together. If too thick, thin out with a little more buttermilk. Pour dressing over cooled noodles. Add all the gorgeous veggie toppings. Mix until combined. Enjoy!!!

 

TIPS:

There are so many options for Pasta Salad.  To make it more healthy, use Whole Wheat Pasta and Fat Free or Low Fat dairy ingredients.

If there is a veggie you don’t like, LEAVE IT OUT and substitute it with something you do like.

Swap out the Fresh Basil for Fresh Dill and add 1 tsp Dried Dill to the Dressing.

The best thing about Pasta Salad is, its almost impossible to mess it up!!! Get Creative!

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Kicked-Up KEEN-wah

Kicked-Up KEEN-wah

Quinoa.  For those of you who are not sure how to pronounce it….KEEN-wah.  Hope that helps!  A super versatile seed, treated like a whole grain, and chock full of protein and fiber.  Once you start using it, you can’t get enough.  So simple to prepare, and a million ways to switch up the flavor.  For this recipe, I packed it full of superfood greens and other veggie goodness.  Serve topped with fresh, salty sunflower seeds.  Hope you enjoy!

SuperFood Quinoa

SuperFood Quinoa

Check out your fridge and see what awesomeness you have ready to use.  I had:

Ingredients

Ingredients

ORGANIC: Cherry Tomatoes, Shallot, Cucumber, Lemon, Kale, Feta & Garlic  (the poor, sad garlic did not make the picture for some reasson!)

Chop It UP!

Chop It UP!

TIP: Be sure to Salt your Cucumbers & Tomatoes first and lay them on a towel to release extra moisture

Fresh Herbs

Fresh Organic Herbs and Arugula from my pots!

I used my Garlic Chives, Parsley, Mint & Arugula

TIP: Mint, a little goes a LONG way, but use it if you got it because it adds a whole extra layer and level of flavor!

Chop or Tear

Chop or Tear

I used scissors to give them a rough, rustic cut.

Cook the Quinoa per instructions

Cook the Quinoa per instructions

TIP: Organic Low Sodium Veggie Broth and Garlic Clove boost flavor!

Add Kale

Add Kale

I added the Kale first while the Quinoa was still warm.

O Zinfandel Vinegar

O Zinfandel Vinegar

You can use ANY vinegar you like.  I was going to use Balsamic, but changed it up at the last minute.

LDJLj

2 T Vinegar, 2 T EVOO, Salt & Pepper

TIP: When using Vinegar and EVOO, in any dish, ALWAYS ADD VINEGAR FIRST!!! That way the vinegar has a chance to penetrate the ingredients.  If you added the EVOO first, the vinegar would bounce off and not stick!  The same goes for ANY acidic ingredient (lemons, limes etc) VS ANY oil (grape seed, avocado, coconut, etc).  Always add your acidic ingredient FIRST!

Toss

Toss &  Add Lemon Juice & Zest

It should look something like this now!

Combine Remaining Ingredients minus Feta

Combine Remaining Ingredients minus Feta

Mix.  Taste.  Add more Vinegar/EVOO, s&p if needed.

Lightly Toss to Combine, then Add Feta

Lightly Toss to Combine, then Add Feta

TIP: Flavor Change Up: Substitute Goat Cheese for Feta!

Delish, Healthy & Filling!

Delish, Healthy & Filling!

TIP: Top with fresh, salty Sunflower Seed for a nice nutty crunch!

ENJOY!

 

eat.drink.be Kari

Parsley Pesto Salmon Salad

Parsley Pesto Salmon Salad

Parsley Pesto Salmon Salad

Parsley Pesto Salmon Salad

Simple Ingredients make a Healthy & Flavorful Dish!

Simple Ingredients make a Healthy & Flavorful Dish!

I am about to knock your socks off with a completely ridiculous, slap-yo-mama delicious, only somewhat nutritious, recipe.

 Salted-Oatmeal-Brown Butter-Butterscotch-Blondies

w/Caramel Drizzle in da Middle

Holy Crap!  That’s right!!!  Did ya catch all that?!?!  They are somewhat healthy…made Organically with Whole Wheat Flour, Chia Seed, Oats, Coconut Palm Brown Sugar…..but then there’s the 2 Sticks of Brown Butter (that’s right…Paula Deen Style, ya’ll).  So I thought before I work on that and post, I’d better rock out something healthy for ya’ll to counteract the Blondie Recipe coming up!  Wanna Sneak Peek???

Out-of-Control Blondies

Out-of-Control Blondies

 

Ok, back to healthy.  Gather your ingredients.

Parsley & Lemon (mustard not pictured for some reason...)

Parsley & Lemon (mustard not pictured for some reason…)

 

1 Cup Organic Parsely

2 T Organic Mustard of Choice

1 Organic Lemon, Juice & Zest

1 T Good Organic Fruity EVOO

Salt & Pepper

Blend.

 

I used the Magic Bullet

I used the Magic Bullet

Bright Green

Fresh & Healthy

Now, Coat your Salmon with it.

Tip: Be sure to put some parsley puree in a separate bowl to paint your Salmon.  We will use the leftovers to dress the Chopped Salad!

Tip: Be sure to put some parsley puree in a separate bowl to paint your Salmon. We will use the leftovers to dress the Chopped Salad!

Drizzle EVOO over Baking Sheet.  Bake 400, 16 mins or until desired doneness. (a nice crust will form)

Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper before Baking

Tip: Sprinkle with Fresh Ground Pepper before Baking

Now, we are ready to move on to the Salad while the Salmon is baking.

Gather Ingredients

Gather Ingredients & Chop them Up!

Chop It UP!!!

Orange Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Spinach, Parsley Pesto, Scallions, Carrots, Snap Peas

Toss with Leftover Parsley Pesto

Toss with Leftover Parsley Pesto

Top with Feta, Cucumbers & Fresh Sprouts

IMG_4169

Delicious  & Nutritious

Delicious & Nutritious

 

 eat.drink.be Kari

 

SUPERFOOD SALADS

STUCK IN A SALAD RUT???

You’ve got the basics down, I’m sure: Lettuce

But here are some ideas for healthy, flavorful toppings

Very Veggie

Very Veggie

Mix Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Carrots, Kalamata Olives, Blue Cheese or Feta Crumbles, Cucumber, Corn off the Cob, Sliced Avocado

This one is awesome to do in the summer when you have leftover grilled corn and an excess of veggies from the garden!  Dress lightly with a homemade vinagrette or simply Oil and Vinegar.

Going Greek

Going Greek

Mix of Carrots, Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives, Artichokes, Feta Cheese, Sprouts

Greek Vinaigrette & Fresh Black Pepper

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Light & Crunchy! Mushrooms, Carrots, Cucumbers, Yellow Pepper, Radish, Lettuce, Spinach, Chicken, Sunflower Seeds

This one is great to make with leftover Chicken!  The dressing was Dijon, Lemon, EVOO, agave, s&p

Kale and Salmon

Kale and Salmon

One of my favorite Kale Salads (served here with Salmon)

Shredded Kale, Shredded Carrots, Shredded Red Cabbage, Sesame Seeds

Tossed with a Sesame Soy Dressing. Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Sesame Seeds, Sesame Oil, S&P.  YUMMY!

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Crisp & Creamy

Served one night with Steak Tacos…will post the taco recipe soon….

Lettuce Mix, Red Pepper, Orange Pepper, Cucumber, Snap Peas, Scallions

Dressing: Greek Yogurt, Dijon, Red Wine Vinegar, EVOO, S&P

eat.drink.be

Kari

Easy Entertaining

~ Easy Entertaining ~

Beautiful & Delicious

Beautiful & Delicious

Now that the weather is warming up, we all want to entertain.  I am going through some old photos and finding some cute, easy ideas to pass along.  Enjoy!

Above: Roll a Log of Goat Cheese in fresh chopped herbs and lemon zest.  Garnish with Chive Flower (I believe I used fresh organic thyme, chives, parsley, lemon zest, s&p)

 

Table Display

Bright & Colorful Display Ideas

Starting Bottom to Left: Herbed Goat Cheese, Edamame Hummus & Fresh Veggies, Caprese Bites, Radish & Herbed Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Foraged Quinoa and Berry Salad, Drunken Pasta, Smothered Greek Hummus, Baked Brie with Grapes and Thyme

This was actually for another BookClub that I hosted.  I tried to use all my own produce and herbs and local ingredients.  I had chosen the book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.  I needed more lettuce than I had, so I even foraged dandelion greens from my yard!!!  Gotta keep with the spirit of the book!  I have some of the pics, so I’ll post them.  Not 100% of all the recipes, but I’ll do my best to remember what I can.

 

Veggie & Hummus

Veggie & Hummus

Just Slice Veggies of your choice and put a dip in the middle!

 

Edamame Hummus:

1 package Organic Edamame (cooked & drained)

1-2 T organic Tahini

2 Cloves Organic Garlic

1 Organic Lemon Zest & Juice (or lime)

1/2 – 1 Jalapeño (to taste)

1 T Organic Chili Powder

Put in Blender or Food Processor.  Blend.  Drizzle in GOOD, LIGHT ORGANIC EVOO until desired consistency (4-7 T)  I kept this one a bit more rustic rather than creamy.  Less EVOO….healthier.  Put in cute serving dish and sprinkle with Chili Powder or Paprika. Cilantro is also good in this!

Makes a great

Use a Variety of Veggies & Color Coordinate!

Caprese Bites

Caprese Bites

Pretty Basic:

Layer Basil, Mozzarella & Tomato on Fork

Drizzle with GOOD Balsamic Vinegar & EVOO

salt & pepper

Radish Tea Sammies

Herbed Radish Tea Sammies

Supereasy.  Bought Tea Sized Rye/Pumpernickel Bread.  Made a custom herb cream cheese to spread.  (soften 1 package organic cream cheese, blend herbs of choice, salt & pepper.  I think I used thyme, chives & parsley)  Slice Radishes.  Top with 2 Radish Slices and Sprinkle with Fresh Herbs (thyme & chives)

 

Foraged Quinoa & Berry Salad

Foraged Quinoa & Berry Salad

Variety of lettuce and foraged greens, Quinoa (cooked & cooled), My Fresh Raspberries, Local Blueberries, Local Goat Cheese (could substitute Feta or another creamy cheese….I like the tanginess the goat cheese) s&p.  Tossed with Lavender Balsamic and drizzled with EVOO.

Brie, Grapes, Thyme & Lavender Balsamic

Brie, Grapes, Thyme & Lavender Balsamic

Beautiful & Delicious!

Top Brie with Grapes, Lavender Balsamic, Fresh Thyme, s&p

Bake 400 7-10 mins.

DEVOUR!!!

Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

Lemon, Cucumber, Mint

So Refreshing!

eat.drink.be

Kari

 

VEG-OUT Chicken Salad

VEG-OUT CHICKEN SALAD

Fresh & Full of Veggies

Fresh & Full of Veggies

This is what I made with the leftover Buttermilk Grilled Chicken from last night’s dinner.  I looked in the fridge to see what fresh organic veggies I had.  This is what I came up with:

srap

Cherry Tomatoes, Black Grapes, Radish, Snap Peas, Carrots, Celery

Chop them however you like!  I did each one a bit different….just to my own personal liking.

  • Cherry Tomatoes: Halve or Quarter depending on size
  • Black Grapes: Halve
  • Easter Egg Radish: Julienne
  • Snap Peas: line up and cut on a Diagonal
  • Carrots: Julienne
  • Celery: Dice

Next, Throw it all into the Bowl.  Mix it up!

Lookin Healthy!!!

Lookin Healthy!!!

Next, I used my leftover dressing from last night as the binder.  Pinot-Grigio, Cucumber & Feta.  It was fantastic for this chicken salad.  The Creamy Feta, the Crisp Cucumber & Snap Peas, the Peppery Radish, with the Fresh Lemon was just a match made in heaven! Lucky for me!!!  And the base of Greek Yogurt kept the salad LowFat and Healthy!

Pour some Dressing on Top

Pour some Dressing on Top

Mix it Up & Voila

Mix it Up

Fresh, Easy, Healthy & SuperDelicious.

You get your protein, veggies & fruit all at once.

Now, how’s that for leftovers?!?!!?

Serve over Lettuce

Serve over Lettuce

Dinner is Served

TIP: I also sprinkled Organic SunFlower Seeds & Edamame on top for an extra boost!

One more thing!!!!

I STILL had some VEG-OUT CHICKEN SALAD leftover for lunch the next day.  Made a quick, healthy & tasty spinach wrap!  Can’t get any easier than this!  Grill once, eat for days.  Gotta love it!

Spinach Wrap, TONS of Fresh Lettuce, VEG-OUT Chicken Salad

Spinach Wrap, TONS of Fresh Lettuce, VEG-OUT Chicken Salad

……and That’s a WRAP!!!

eat.drink.be

Kari

Grillin’ Season

So, the weather is warming up and we wanted to grill out.  Whenever we use the grill, we like to be economical.  That means Grill EXTRA so you have some leftover.  I love a meal that can fill you up one night and be delish in a totally different way the next.  I love leftovers that don’t TASTE like leftovers!!!!  So, with the leftover Chicken, I made a super healthy VEG-OUT Chicken Salad served over Lettuce the following night for Dinner.  The next day I put it in a Spinach Wrap for Lunch!!!  3 Meals in 1!!!  That’s what I’m talking about!!! Now, I know that Chicken on the Grill is that way to go….but how to keep it moist and not under or over cook it can be tricky.  Well, the under/over for cooking is really in your hands…….but, I CAN help you get a super moist, flavorful piece of meat if you can cook it right!  Lucky for me, I have a Hubby who knows how to Man the Grill!

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Tonight’s Menu

  • Organic Buttermilk Grilled Chicken
  • Organic Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Dried Cherries
  • Faux Wedge Salad: Organic Grilled Romaine w/ Pinot Grigio, Cucumber & Feta Dressing
  • Spring Onion & Jack Organic Grilled Sourdough 

First things first.  Make the chicken marinade and let marinade for AT LEAST 24 HOURS (if possible)!!! I did this one that morning, and it was still delish, but I really think overnight brings something even tastier to the table!  The Buttermilk Marinade is super easy and doesn’t really require too many ingredients.  I bought an Organic Grilling Pack of Chicken at Kroger.  (Private Selection, maybe?) It came with 2 breasts and 4 legs.  Skin On & Bone In. Perfect for Grilling.  Then I mixed up the marinade and threw the chicken into a glass bowl, covered it & let it sit in the fridge all day.  Every now and then I would come by and toss it around a little.  Make sure all the sides were getting some time in the bath!

Buttermilk Marinade

Buttermilk Marinade

I didn’t have any actual Buttermilk, so I made my own.  I’m sure you can use regular Buttermilk if you have some….its a great way to use up Buttermilk that you need to get rid of!  Or, to make your own Buttermilk:

3-4 cups of Organic 2% Milk into a glass bowl

Add 3 T Organic Lemon Juice (or white vinegar)

Stir Gently

Let Sit for 5 Min before adding any other ingredients

Now that the Buttermilk is done, it’s time to add some flavor!

Again, this is a BASIC RECIPE….

Alter to YOUR TASTE!! If you like garlic…add more.  If you like it spicy…add a LOT MORE!!!

BEST BUTTERMILK CHICKEN BATH

  • 3-4 cups Organic Buttermilk
  • 3-7 cloves chopped Organic Garlic
  • 3-5 Organic Bay Leaves
  • 2 T – 1/2 bottle Hot Sauce of Choice (depends on your spice level)
  • 2 T Organic Dry Mustard
  • Kosher Salt & Organic Crushed Black Pepper or Whole Peppercorns
YUMMMMYYYY

YUMMMMYYYY

So, that’s it.  KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid sometimes IS best.  This is basic and can be added to or subtracted from at any time.  Pull it out of the fridge about an hour before grilling to get meat to room temperature.  DO NOT PLACE COLD MEAT ON A HOT GRILL!!! or you just wasted a day of work!!! Same goes if you were cooking it in the oven, btw.  Now, the tastiness is in the hands of the griller.  Good Luck!  Grill until juices run clear, but don’t poke and stick the everliving hell out of it.  Also, let it rest 15 mins after coming off the grill so the juices can redistribute.

Now, On to the Sweet Potatoes.  These are probably the easiest thing on the plate.  Cook the SP in the oven.  Peel. Mash. Serve. Enjoy.

Sweet Potatoes with

Dried Cherries

Bake Organic Sweet Potatoes (or Yams) in the oven 350 for 45 min to 1 hour.  Let Cool a bit.  Slide out of peel into bowl.

Melt 1/2 stick organic butter, 3 T Organic 100% Pure Maple Syrup, 2 T Organic Cinnamon & Pinch Salt

Butter, Syrup, Cinnamon & Pinch Salt

Butter, Syrup, Cinnamon & Pinch Salt

Pour Over Sweet Potatoes and Mash/Mix together.  Add in a handful (1/3 cup) organic dried cherries.

IMG_4491

the Faux-Wedge

grilled romaine w/

pinot grigio, cucumber &  feta dressing

Now, there’s nothing quite like a Classic Wedge Salad, am I right?  You know what I’m talking about.  The half (literally) head of crummy iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing…maybe a few tomatoes tossed on for color, and if you’re somewhere fancy…maybe even some bacon?!?!?!?!  Well, I thought the Classic Wedge needed a little Updating and Pizzaz added to it.  The Hubs loves the original wedge, let’s see if I can Karify it some…..so, to change it up I:

  1. Change the lettuce from crummy-no-healthful-benefits Iceberg to Yummy Lovely Organic Romaine
  2. Still Cut the Head in Half, but this time I’m gonna throw that bad boy on the GRILL
  3. Change the Dressing. Adding a little wine to the mix seemed to dress it up a bit!
  4. Top it with beautiful fresh, organic tomatoes & cucumbers
  5. CHOP IT BABY! Instead of serving the entire half, which does make for extremely pretty presentation…but is much more difficult to eat, I chopped the heads of Romaine after Grilling to make it easier to eat
Slice Romaine In Half, Drizzle EVOO S&P, throw "facedown" on grill until edges have slight charr

Slice Romaine In Half, Drizzle EVOO S&P, Grill “facedown” until edges have slight charr

Chop Romaine

Drizzle with an AMAZING Dressing (recipe to follow)

Top with Fresh Chopped Organic Grape or Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumbers

The Classic Wedge, Kari-Style

The Classic Wedge, Kari-Style

TIP! Be sure to cut your tomatoes & cucumbers ahead of time, lay on a paper towel, and SALT.  This will help draw out excess moisture and keep the dressing/salad from getting soggy

TIP! Be sure to cut your tomatoes & cucumbers ahead of time, lay on a paper towel, and SALT. This will help draw out excess moisture and keep the dressing/salad from getting soggy

 

Slicing the Cucumbers is pretty easy.  First wash and pat dry.  Peel it or not…your choice. I suggest peeling if its not organic and not peeling if it is organic and a softer skin variety.  Lots of good vitamins and nutrients in the peel!

Halve the Cucs lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  i've found that a babyspoon is the PERFECT tool for this!

1. Halve the Cucs Lengthwise and Scoop Out the Seeds (I’ve found a Baby Spoon is the PERFECT Tool!)

Then Julienne into long strips

2.Then Julienne into Long Strips (repeat for both sides)

 

Chop into Pieces

3. Keep Lined Up & Chop into Bite-Sized Pieces

salt paper towel

4. Lay on Paper Towel and Salt to help release excess water

 

Now, Let’s Get Dressed!!!

I just concocted this dressing with ingredients I had on hand…..and it turned out absolutely AMAZING!!!  I tried to lighten it up by using greek yogurt, adding cucumbers….and adding wine???!!!???  I leave the cucumbers on the paper towel draining, and mix them in right before serving the salad.

1. chop garlic, shallots and add greek yogurt

1. chop garlic, shallots and add greek yogurt

other ingredients

Lemon Juice, Pinot Grigio & Champagne Vinegar

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Organic Lemon Zest, Salt & Pepper

Holy Yummers!!!

Feta, Salt & Pepper on Top. Holy Yummers!!!

 

Pinot Grigio, Cucumber & Feta Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup Organic Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • rest of glass of Pinot Grigio (1/4 cup)
  • 2 T Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • Organic Lemon Zest
  • 1/3 Cup Crumbled Feta
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Add a little over 1/3 Cup Chopped Cucumber before Dressing Salad

NOW ONTO THE BREAD!!!

Spring Onion & Jack Organic Grilled Sourdough

Organic Butter & Scallions

Organic Butter & Scallions

Take a loaf of Organic Sourdough and slice lengthwise.  Drizzle with EVOO.  Combine half stick organic butter with 1/3 cup chopped spring onion (chives or  scallions would work as well!) Salt & Pepper.  Mix.  Spread over both sides of bread.  Add layer of Monterey Jack Cheese.  Put bread back together (sandwich style).  Wrap in Foil….throw on Grill! Tastetacular!!!!!

Slice Bread and Drizzle EVOO

Slice Bread and Drizzle EVOO

Smear Butter/Onion Mix

Smear Butter/Onion Mix

Layer Cheese

Layer Cheese

Wrap in Foil

Wrap in Foil

Ooey, Cheesy, Oniony

Ooey, Cheesy, Oniony, Smokey

 

……and Dinner is SERVED!!!!

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*Stay Tuned for the VEG-OUT CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE

Even Story Liked It!!!

 

eat.drink.be

Kari