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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Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Ok, so this is going to be a quickie post.  I’ve got so much going on right now.  But, I know if you are like my family…we are getting a bit tired of Turkey.  So, here’s a quick twist on it for ya.  You can basically use most of your leftovers….in a new way!

Fresh Ingredients

Fresh Ingredients

That’s right.  Other than leftovers and a bottle of wine….this is all I used.  So easy.  I chopped up 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks and 2 cloves of garlic. I would have used an onion as well if I hadn’t used a TON in the green bean casserole.  So, feel free to add an onion or shallot if you need to!

Carrots and Celery

Carrots and Celery

Sauté carrots and celery in 1 tsp EVOO until softened, about 5 mins.  Season with Salt and Pepper.  Do not brown!

Add Garlic and Fresh Parsley

Add Garlic and Fresh Parsley

Next, I added my fresh garlic and a handful of fresh parsley I had.  Feel free to add any fresh herbs you need to use up!!! Parsley, thyme and sage would all be great additions!!!  Sauté about 2 mins, or until the garlic is fragrant.  DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC or it will turn bitter.

Leftover Green Bean Casserole

Leftover Green Bean Casserole

I took my Green Bean Casserole and my Kitchen Shears and cut any large beans I had into smaller bite size portions.  Most Pot Pies call for Cream of Something Soup (or you can use flour and fat).  I used the rest of my leftover Green Bean Casserole to act as the “binder” for the pot pie.  If you don’t have any GB Casserole left, feel free to sub on of these!!!

GB Casserole ontop of Veggies

GB Casserole on top of Veggies

Then I just plopped the GB Casserole on top of the Sautéed Veggies and let it warm up so it would mix.

TURKEY TIME!

TURKEY TIME!

When I got it all mixed together, I took all the little pieces and bits of turkey that you’re not sure what to do with (too small for a sandwich….) and threw them in the pan!  If you only have larger pieces, just shred them up with your fingers or chop them up with a knife!

Wine & Gravy, Baby!

Wine & Gravy, Baby!

If you have any gravy leftover, this is a great place to use it!  It will also act as a “binder” and add a little bit of creaminess to it.  I needed a little liquid, so I also added about a cup of white wine.  You could use red wine, beer, or  stock/broth for this part as well.  Just use enough so your pie won’t dry out and it will be creamy!!

Thyme

Thyme

Hot Paprika

Hot Paprika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next add any herbs and spices you might want to use.   I had smoked my turkey, so I wanted to amplify that flavor.  I used a Hungarian Paprika and Thyme.

Peas, please!

Peas, please!

Next I added a handful (cup or so) of frozen peas.  You can add these or leave them out.  We just adore peas in our pot pies!  Also, you can use 2 cups of frozen mixed veggies at this step if you didn’t have any green bean casserole leftover.  That works great!

Pie Dish

Pie Dish

Simply spray a pie plate and spoon the pot pie mixture in it!  Can it get any easier than this?!?!!

Ready to pop in the oven

Ready to pop in the oven

Last, roll a pre-made pie crust out an inch or so (or make your own).  Be sure it will cover your entire pie with a bit leftover to tuck into the sides of the pan so the toppings won’t spill out.  Then cut a few slits in the top!  You can brush with an eggwash or with milk to get a nice crisp browned top.

I am right here, right now….at this step.  I will bake it 400 for about 30 mins.  (until brown and bubbly)

Pictures to follow.

Just wanted to help you out if you were getting sick of leftovers too!

eat.drink.be Kari

Sensational Make Ahead Stuffing

Sensational Stuffing

For Anyone Interested in a Turkey Day Time Saver!

Make Ahead!!!

Make Ahead!!!

Ok.  So, with Thanksgiving coming up this week, I am always scrambling at the last minute.  This year I VOW NOT TO DO THAT!!!  (ha, right?!?!?!)  Seriously.  At least I’m going to put forth some effort.  So, I am trying to do a few Make Ahead things to help myself out.  This recipe is only HALF COMPLETE!!!! So, I am posting what I have done so far, so you, my dear reader, can be ahead of the game right along with me!  You’re Welcome!!!  All I am doing is making the super yummy “filling” for the stuffing.  I have made TONS of different types of stuffings over the years.  From Homemade Corn Bread to Rye Bread, Oysters to Sausage, and finally to Pepperidge Farms in a bag.  This year I am sharing a Semi-Homemade Version using the Pepperidge Farms Stuffing Mix you can pick up at your local grocery store.  Yes, I know…..this is not how I usually cook.  But I was thinking of you, my reliable reader, who prefers a quick and easy method that still tastes delicious.  I think you will be pleased with this one.

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • Neese’s Sausage (I would have preferred the Sage but couldn’t find it)
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Shallots, diced
  • 2 Medium Carrots, diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks & Leaves, diced
  • 1 Carton Baby Bella Mushrooms, torn
  • Handful Dried Cranberries
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary (can use 1 T dried)
  • Few Sprigs Thyme (can use 1 T dried)
Saute

Brown Sausage, Veggies & Aromatics

This is super easy to make.  Just get a big skillet.  The biggest one you have.  Or you can always use a pot if you have to.  Heat up the Skillet.  Add the Sausage FIRST so it can start to brown.  Crumble it up a bit and now add all your chopped veggies in, minus the Mushrooms, Garlic & Dried Cranberries.  Season with a little Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper.  Mix and let the sausage cook with the veggies.  Meanwhile, if you like mushrooms, just take one in your hand and tear/crumble it into the skillet.  This creates a different “meatier” texture that you will love.  You can slice them if you want, but I have been just tearing them into pieces with my hands for all sorts of different recipes (especially Chili) and have been so impressed.  I really think you will like it if you give it a try!  And, its super easy!!!  Next add your herbs on top!

Garlic & Dried Cranberries

Garlic & Dried Cranberries

When the sausage is fully cooked, go ahead and add in your garlic and dried cranberries.  Cook for a few more minutes so the garlic will soften and you should be able to smell it.  Also, the cranberries will plump up a little bit from absorbing all of the yumminess.

Should look like this:

Should look like this:

This is as far as I have gotten so far.  I let it cool then put it into the fridge.   I plan on warming it and adding it to the stuffing.  I’ll cook the stuffing per the instructions on the package.  (I think you just add some vegetable stock or water…).  I’ll post the rest on Wed when I make it!!!  But, it should be pretty simple and straightforward from here on!  The directions on the bad just say Onions and Celery….but trust me…..this is WAYYYYY better!!!!

Sorry to post half a recipe, but I figured some of you might want to go ahead and do this part!!!

Happy Cooking!!!!

See Ya in a Few Days!!!!

eat.drink.be KARI

AND I’M BACK!!! PART 2 OF:

SENSATIONAL STUFFING!

OK, so I left off with the Sausage Mixture for the stuffing in the fridge/freezer.  Hopefully if it was in the freezer, you took it out last night and let it thaw out.  Now, we are ready to go!

Here's what you Need

Here’s what you Need

Get out your Sausage Mixture, Stuffing Mix (or homemade breadcrumbs/cornbread), and one Organic Low Sodium Broth.  (I used Chicken.  Any stock/broth will do.  Try NOT to use water….you really need that extra flavor.  But try and always get the Low Sodium!!!  I have found my favorite brands are Pacific and Imagine….and I usually buy whichever is on sale.  If neither of them are, I buy the one with the Least Sodium!!!)

Seriously, this is ALL YOU NEED!!!! It can NOT get any easier than this!

Warm the Sausage Mixture

Warm the Sausage Mixture

In a large Pot, warm the Sausage Mixture over Med.

Seasonings of Choice

Seasonings of Choice

Next, add a few herbs of choice for a flavor boost.  I used an Italian Mix.  Sage is the BEST!!!!

Stuffing & Broth

Stuffing & Broth

Gently Mix 1/2 of Stuffing and 1/2 of Broth.  Stir. Add rest of Stuffing and enough broth to moisten.  Gently Stir to Combine.

So Easy!!!!

So Easy!!!!

Spray your baking dish and add stuffing.  I had about 1/3 of the box of broth left.

Stuffing

Stuffing

Pour another 1/2 cup or so of broth over the top to keep moist while baking.

Yummy!!!!

Yummy!!!!

Cover and Refrigerate until ready to bake!

Bake 350 for 30 mins.

***For a Crispy Top, bake UNCOVERED***

I can’t WAIT to get ours into the oven!!!!  I’ll post some pics later on, but for now:

Go Get Your Stuffing ON!!!!!

Gobble Gobble Gobble till ya Wobble Wobble Wobble!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be Kind.

eat.drink.be Kari

@eatdrinkbeKari

www.eatdrinkbe.com

Rustic Feta Potato Soup

20131105-120816.jpg

Now that the weather is starting to cool off…..It’s SOUP TIME, Y’all!!!!! One of my favorite times of the year. I love the crisp chill in the air and the tantalizing smell of garlic and onions sautéing wafting throughout the house. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING smells better than that!!! I was going to make a Potato Leek Soup to share with y’all, but I could only find 2 decent leeks at the market. So, I rolled with the punches, as I do a LOT in cooking, and created a Super Delicious, Mouth Watering Rustic Feta Potato Soup. I call it “rustic” because I use lots of fresh veggies and keep the skin on the potatoes. I pretty much always leave the skins on my organic potatoes, not matter what I am making (mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, soup, etc). I like the texture and for the added health benefit that most of the good nutrients are in the potatoes skin. Why take the time to peel them if I enjoy the taste AND its better for me??!?! That would just be silly. But, as always, if you don’t care for it…peel the potatoes….you’re the one that has to eat it! Also, I used a variety of herbs and peppers and onion that I had on hand. Feel free to Use What You Got!!!!The onions and peppers do NOT have to be the exact same ones that I use. If you don’t like heat and spice, leave out the serrano pepper and just use bell or sweet peppers. If you only have onions and no leeks or shallots, thats fine. The wonderful thing about soup is that it is amazingly flexible…….almost impossible to destroy! And, every time you make it, you can change it up and use different veggies and herbs until you find the way you like best. I don’t think ANY of my dishes EVER taste the same. That’s why I could never be a chef….Im NOT consistent at all (and I’ve never been to Culinary School or worked in a kitchen!!!!). But, that’s why I LOVE cooking. The mix-up change-up is always fun and the results are (usually) delicious!

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients

But, Let’s start with first things first….Pancetta.

Sizzle Sizzle, Baby!!!

Sizzle Sizzle, Baby!!!

First, I sautéed up some diced Pancetta. You could sub bacon with no problem. I figure, what’s a better way to top your soup AND a wonderful grease to sauté your veggies in! I cooked the pancetta for a few minutes, then added in some diced red onion as well. Don’t add in the onion at the beginning bc it will burn before the pancetta is crispy!

Holy Mother of Yumminess

Holy Mother of Yumminess

When it’s ready, with a slotted spoon, place onto a paper towel to drain the excess grease. Be sure to leave as much fat as you can in the pot for the veggies. Then, if you live in my house……you must HIDE THE CRISPY HEAVENLY little bites from the kids and hubby, or by the time the soup is ready it will be gone. Seriously. That’s how good this stuff it. TIP: If you are a vegetarian or simply do not have bacon or pancetta, skip this step and just use a good quality EVOO to sauté the veggies in! No worries. While this heavenly concoction is cooking, prep and dice your veggies of choice. And, be sure to clean your leeks. I’ll show you how.

Sliced Leeks in Water

Sliced Leeks in Water

Leeks contain a ton of dirt and sand and you want to make sure to get all of that grit OUT! There is a pretty simple method to do this. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Thinly slice the leeks using only the bottom white and light green parts. Throw the top stems into the compost! Put the slices into the water and toss with your fingers for a second to separate the pieces. Let them sit for a few minutes. The grit will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the leeks will float on top. Scoop out the leeks and voila, clean leeks! You are ready to go!

Look at the beautiful colors!

Look at the beautiful vibrant colors!

Get your Pancetta fat filled pan and sauté the rainbow of veggies in that deliciousness. Again, use what you got! This is not a normal boring potato soup. I like to include as many veggies as I can for that rustic look and superb flavor. I used carrots, celery, red onion, leeks, and a variety of peppers (serrano, red, poblano, banana). Slice ’em and dice ’em however you like! Sauté over Med-High Heat. Meanwhile, while your veggies are softening, cube your potatoes.

This is how you do it!

This is how you do it!

I like to slice my potatoes in 1 inch thick slices lengthwise. Then I stack them together and slice into 1 inch strips (like you are making french fries), then slice them down into cubes. The above pic shows you 1 lengthwise slice that has been cut into fry lengths, and now being cut into cubes. Does this even make sense!?!? Kinda hard to exlain….so I hope the picture helps you could see how to do it! Make the cubes bigger or smaller if you like, but remember they need to be bits-sized without being too small that they might overcook and fall apart.

Add Garlic and Herb Bouquet

Add Garlic and Herb Bouquet

While you are prepping your potatoes, be sure to stir the veggie pot every once and awhile. By the time your taters are ready, your veggies should be softening and translucent. Add the garlic and herb bouquet garni, and season with Salt and Pepper. For my Bouquet Garni I used Parsley, Thyme and Rosemary. I tied the Parsley and Thyme together with the Rosemary and didn’t have to use kitchen twine. Whatever works for you! Or, you can chop the herbs up and add them like that as well. I wanted some of the flavor to steep into the veggies, but I didn’t want it to overpower the soup. Thats why I used the bouquet garni so I could remove it later on. TIP: Under the garlic you see some leaves. These are celery leaves. I ADORE them. Whenever I’m cooking I ALWAYS include the celery leaves….they have so much flavor!!!! I’m not a superhuge fan of big chunks of celery, so I always dice mine pretty small. The leaves help infuse some of the flavor without the crunch of the celery. Do it, you’ll thank me later. I always try and buy the leafiest celery bunch I can find!

Add your Potatoes and Season!

Add your Potatoes and Season!

Next, add your cubed potatoes and season. I used Dry Mustard, Salt, Pepper and Worcestershire. Mix them in with the veggies and cook for about 10 mins. You don’t want to overcook them or get the mushy. You can also add your liquids here and not sauté the potatoes at all, but for some reason I think it brings out a better more rounded flavor.

ummmmm, yes please!!!!

ummmmm, yes please!!!!

I decided to GO FOR IT. Maybe not so healthy, but it does have a ton of veggies, right?!?!! You can use fat-free Half and Half or some Veg or Chicken Stock instead and just add a little bit of heavy whipping cream. But, I say, if your gonna do it, do it RIGHT!!! I had company coming over and decided to go ALL IN, Baby!!!! TIP: Be sure to take your creams and cheese out of the fridge when you start the soup so that they come to room temperature. You want to take the chill off so when you are adding them to the hot pot, they don’t curdle. You want to drizzle them in slowly and mix constantly as you pour!!!!!

Liquids Ready, now time for the Feta Crumbles!

Liquids Ready, now time for the Feta Crumbles!

Mix in the Half and Half SLOWLY until you are happy with the portion of veggies vs liquids. Let that cook for about 5-10 mins then add in the heavy whipping cream. I did not use all of either of these cartons. Probably 4 cups of half and half and maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of the heavy whipping cream. Then, right before serving, crumble the ENTIRE block of Feta (that’s right….I said it…..use it all cuz company’s coming!!!)

Adjust Seasonings

Adjust Seasonings

Stir and Taste.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  I added some fresh homegrown Thyme and Garlic Chives for a nice pop of color.  And some Fresh Black Pepper.  Depending on the quality of Feta you used, you might or might not need to add more salt.  Some Fetas are SUPER salty, while others are not.  Always adjust at the end before serving.  TIP: I used a Boars Head Feta for the Soup, but used a HIGHER QUALITY Feta for the Topping/Condiment Station.

Topping Station

Topping Station

Sour Cream, Pancetta & Red Onions, Crispy Kale, Scallions & Local Feta.  These were my toppings of choice.  You can use whatever your little heart desires.  I will say the Pancetta was out of this world and took the soup to a whole other level.  And the Crispy Kale was so damn delicious I’m gonna share how to do that with you!

Crispy Kale

Crispy Kale

Put a few handfuls of baby Kale into a large bowl (if you don’t have baby kale, you can sub torn bits of kale or chard as well).  Drizzle a T of EVOO and dash of Salt and Pepper.  Lightly massage with your hands to make sure all the greens are coated.  Spread out on a Baking Sheet (lined with foil so it won’t stick).  Bake 275 or 300 for about 10 mins.  You need to watch it.  Don’t let it overcook and get to where it just crumbles and dissolves.  You want nice, crispy edges.  Then take it out of the oven.  This was perfect around Halloween because it kinda looked like spooky spider webs!!!!

Toppings Galore

Toppings Galore

YUM

YUM

I also served with it a French Bread, sliced in half that I topped one side with a garlic & herb butter and the other side I sprinkled some Monterey Jack Cheese, Scallion & Parsley.  Wrapped it up in foil and threw it in the oven along with the kale.  Ooey Gooey Garlicy Deliciousness.

Rustic Potato Feta Soup

Rustic Potato Feta Soup

Now I will list the basic recipe.  I am going to keep it simple so you can use what you have in the kitchen.  For example, I will list *2 onions* in the recipe when I use 1 red onion and 1 yellow onion.  That way you can make substitutions to your personal taste!!!  I hope that will help simplify it for you!  Also, Never Forget: Your food is only as good as your ingredients…. so use GOOD ONES!!!!  For all of my cooking I use organic whenever possible.  Homegrown and Local is choice for me as well.  The better your ingredients, the tastier your food.  Trust me.  So, while I don’t list ORGANIC in front of each ingredients, its a sure bet thats what I’m using!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Handfuls Baby Carrots (or 2-3 Large Carrots)
  • 2-3 Peppers of Choice
  • 1-2 Spicy Peppers of Choice
  • 5 Cloves Garlic (or to taste)
  • 4 Celery Stalks & Leaves
  • Herbs of Choice
  • Feta Cheese
  • 4-6 Cups Half and Half
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T Dry Mustard
  • 2 T Worcestershire Sauce
  • Scallions
  • Pancetta
  • Kale
  • Sour Cream
  • Evoo, Salt & Fresh Groud Pepper

Chop and sauté Veggies over Med-High Heat for 10-15 mins or until softened.  Add in Garlic & Herbs (bouquet garni) and cook a few mins more.  Add in cubed Potatoes, Dry Mustard, Worcestershire & Salt and Pepper.  Cook about 10 mins more until potatoes are NOT QUITE FORK TENDER. Slowly add in (stock or a beer if you want to be healthier) Half & Half.  Let simmer a bit while it warms.  Stir in Heavy Whipping Cream, which should thicken it up a bit.  Add Crumbled Feta.  Taste.  Adjust Seasonings and add Herbs, Salt, Pepper, etc as needed.  Serve Immediately.  Garnish. DEVOUR.

 

Got Leftovers???

If you are LUCKY enough to have any soup leftover, I have a suggestion for a quick healthy presto-chango.

Green with Envy Potato Soup

and it's really REALLY good

and it’s really REALLY good

Organic Baby Green

Organic Baby Green

Simply reheat your soup on the stove.  Once the soup is warm, add in a handful of baby greens.  I used a mix of kale, spinach & chard.  You can use one or a mixture.

Green With Envy Potato Soup

Green With Envy Potato Soup

Stir to combine and let the greens wilt a bit in the warm soup.  I also did the baby kale in the oven, as shown previously, and used a TON of that for topping.

Garnish as desired

Garnish as desired

Now THATS a spoonful of rich & creamy soup!

Now THATS a spoonful of rich & creamy soup!

So many flavors & textures

So many flavors & textures

lefor

I’m in leftover HEAVEN!!!

so damn good!!!

It doesn’t even taste like the same soup!!!

I hope you make this and enjoy it as much as we did!

eat.drink.be

Kari

@eatdrinkbeKari

www.eatdrinkbe.com

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