Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

This is a simple, tasty, summery pasta recipe.  I LOVE all of these flavors combined, and roasting the vegetables gives them such rich flavors. Topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil make this dish so wonderful and light!

Roasted Vegetable Pasta
(4 servings)

Penne pasta (I LOVE Barilla brand PLUS)
4 medium tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 zucchinis, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small eggplant, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cloves garlic
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
fresh grated Parmesan
fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 450. Cut up veggies and place on a cookie sheet. Add the 4 cloves of garlic, leaving the skin on so they will not burn while roasting.  Drizzle veggies with Extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast veggies for about 20 minutes or until they are soft and slightly browning on the edges, stirring every few minutes.  When the veggies are done, remove skin from the garlic and mince.  Add it back into the veggies. While the veggies are roasting cook pasta to al dente.  When they are both done, top pasta with veggies and then add fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.  Adjust salt and pepper to desired taste. Serve with crusty bread!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

This is my go to chicken salad recipe.  I have made it for many baby showers and always get asked for the recipe which makes me chuckle because it is so easy and basic.  The key is to use a Rotisserie chicken all that flavor is what makes people think you are a genius!  I LOVE the ones from Sam's Club but any rotisserie chicken would work just fine.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad
(8 to 10 servings)

1 Rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed and roughly chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup pecans, chopped
1-2 cups red grapes, cut in half
mayonnaise to desired consistency (I LOVE Hellman's lite)
fresh ground pepper to taste
salt to taste (I usually don't need any)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to combine.  Serve on toasted whole wheat bread (as shown), on croissants, or anything else that suits your fancy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Olive Garden Bread Sticks

My kids LOVE Olive Garden for their bread sticks and Alfredo sauce.  So, when I came across this recipe on this blog, I thought why not give it a shot.  To be honest, I wasn't really that hopeful, but I was pleasantly surprised!  And I love surprises, so it was a win/win for us! They even had that yummy butter crust on the bottom just like Olive Garden's do! I did alter the recipe a bit, I have made enough bread to know a thing or two about the flavor I like, so here is what I did...

Olive Garden Bread Sticks
(24 bread sticks)

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 t yeast
4 cups flour (I used bread flour, but all-purpose would work fine)
2 T butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 T sugar
1/2 T salt

4 T butter, melted
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes until it gets frothy.  Add the flour, salt and melted butter to the yeast mixture. Mix in a stand mixer or by hand until fully combined.  The dough should be moist but not sticky and should hold in a ball.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until  it is smooth.  Divide dough into 24 pieces and roll with your hands into bread sticks (like making a snake). Place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the over to 400 and once it is hot put the bread sticks in.  While they are in, melt 4 T butter and mix it with 1 t garlic powder and 1/2 t salt. After the 5 minutes are up, brush the bread sticks with the melted garlic butter.  Pop them back in the over for an additional 5 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Remove them from the oven and brush them once more with the garlic butter.  Serve them warm.

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