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Salads/ Side dish

Green Pea Pasta with Vegetables

Green and gluten-free!

While in Hot Springs a couple of months ago going to the horse races I found this gluten-free green pea pasta at one of the shops down town and since my son and family were visiting the next week I wanted something new gluten free to make for my daughter-in-law.

I purchased a red lentil pasta and this green pea pasta. My first thought was a pea pasta salad with green peas and some other green ingredients. I just happened to have one potato so I cut it into small cubes and boiled and added to the pasta salad.

There are so many gluten-free pasta out there now and once you add all your other ingredients you would never know it was GF. I was never a fan of gluten-free recipes (especially sweets/pastries) when they were starting to appear all over the internet. Seems like they were all made from just almond flour and to me everything tasted like almonds. I like all the new blends of flours and especially the pastas made with vegetables like this green pea pasta. This one comes from Abruzzo, Italy and you can buy it here or find it in a specialty shop.

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Sensation Salad with Avocado

Sensational salad!

I first had a sensation salad with my friend, Janice, at Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville, LA. My first thought was boy is this a simple salad — lettuce and dressing and some cheese. Simple is good sometimes when you want a salad to go with say, pizza and don’t want to fuss about a lot of ingredients.

From my search, I found almost all recipes were the same. Most recipes tore up the greens but what I remembered about my sensation(al) salad was that the lettuce was kind of shredded like you would for tacos but maybe not as thin. Of course, I just had to mess with the original and I thought that some fresh avocado would be great with the salad and the dressing and of course the pizza that we were doing on our Kamodo Joe smoker. Ok, so I couldn’t quit thinking of what else to add to this salad. With all this shredded iceberg lettuce that is traditional, why not add another shade of green by adding some shredded romaine; and why stop there? I threw in some good blue cheese with the Romano. And, next time I might throw in some tomato and fried bacon bits. Maybe that wouldn’t still be called a Sensation Salad but it would taste SENSATIONAL!

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Cucumber Zucchini and Pineapple Salad

Healthy spiralized noodles.

I don’t know if spiralizers are as popular as the Instant Pot or Air Fryers but mine as been in my pantry a little too long without being used. So, if you have one and it’s been neglected, get it out and try this recipe.

This recipe can be made with or without the oil. It’s not that much oil if you decide to use it and won’t wreck your diet for sure.

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Chicken Salad For The New Year

Start the year with a healthy salad.

About now everyone is probably thinking “how can I take off those extra pounds I put on over the holidays”. I put on .6 of a lb. xmas week but probably did more damage New Years than that and I will be saying “yikes” how did I gain that much just letting go for a few days. Well, whatever the numbers say, I’ll deal with it because putting those extra pounds on was quite fun and who wants to past up fun times with friends and family.

So, this recipe idea started with a segment on the Today show New Years day with how to make extra meals from a grilled chicken. I changed the recipe so much that I decided to rename it. I swapped the carrot with tomato, added avocado and changed the walnuts to pistachios. I also decided to do a quick pickle on the broccoli stems instead of cooking them and when it was all put together I decided to add a little dried cranberries for color and their recipe morphed into a new recipe.

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Spicy Green Bean and Cucumber Salad

Hello Betty. Long time no see.

Where would I be today without you Betty? Betty who you say; Betty Crocker of course.

I grew up watching my mother cook and living next d00r to our grandparents I also saw my grandmother cook up a lot of new dishes, some good, some not so good. Especially during the holidays there were always new recipes. I remember the strawberry shortcake made with Twinkies for a summer dessert – good, but the thought of Twinkies now makes me shutter. Watching my mother cook breakfast, lunch and “supper” for us, I’m sure, gave me the desire to learn to cook and experiment with different foods. My dad was always experimenting with things like making his own bar-b-q sauce, or canning fish to make fish cakes and experimented with hushpuppies until he settled on a recipe that he used from then on.

So, back to dear old Betty and I wonder how old she is these days. Does she have wrinkles, grey hair? Has she put on a ton of weight from eating all her recipes over the years. I guess we will never know.

Betty Crocker was one of the first cookbooks I bought as a newlywed and I still have it although it is stuck away upstairs along with most of my other cookbooks since now with a flick of a few keys a person can have hundreds of recipes to choose from; sorry Betty you were replaced.

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Pumpkin Salad with Goat Cheese with Maple Vinaigrette

So Thanksgiving is over, that doesn’t mean you still can’t make this salad.

Didn’t Thanksgiving come and go in a wink of the eye? And all those little grandsons have gone home.

I had so many pumpkin things I wanted to share this year that I couldn’t fit them in before Thanksgiving. So if you can still get those little pie pumpkins, grab one and make this salad. If you can’t or don’t want to do a pumpkin recipe in December or for Christmas, substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin pieces.

Hopefully you aren’t like me and only think certain things should be cooked in certain months. I really need to get that out of my head – that stuffing/dressing can only be made in November. That is the only time I make dressing. Even though I might freeze leftover dressing, it really never gets eaten because it seems to just not fit in March when I’m cleaning out my freezer and find a dish of my Thanksgiving stuffing that was so delicious back on the day smothered with giblet gravy with some mashed potatoes and saurekraut sitting beside it. Now that has my mouth watering and me wanting some dressing. Maybe I could stuff pork chops with stuffing, that doesn’t sound very Thanksgivingly but would use up that dressing you may have popped in the freezer.

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Entree/ Salads

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Love at first site!

My sister, her daughter-in-law, her 2 grandsons and son and two of our grandsons from Austin came to visit and even though I’ve had a couple of months to plan my menus I get down to the wire on what I want to have for the week — burgers (✓), BBQ (✓), teppanyaki steak on my new grill top bought for outdoor kitchen (✓), homemade pizza on our Kamoto Jo smoker (✓), and maybe some mussels for lunch one day (✓ didn’t get around to) and cook those in a new contraption we have for the grill (a basket you can either fry in, steam in or boil in and it will be perfect for mussels. (Will do the mussels another time this summer.)

I needed just one more dinner and when I was browsing Pinch of Yum’s blog this shrimp avocado bowl just jumped off the computer and I immediately knew what I was going to add to the mix — some oranges, some roasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds and some cilantro and green onions for garnish. The miso dressing was so good on this salad.

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Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad

Slaw or Salad?

Slaw or salad? We’ve had that discussion before (or I’ve had with myself). I’ve always thought of cabbage as a slaw or coleslaw before but on the other hand I always put some finely shredded red cabbage into salads to add more color. This salad will make a great side dish for any summer gathering.

I came across this salad at webpage when I was looking at her Lemon Chicken recipe I’ll be making in a couple of days. I’m not sure if I will use the coconut flour (I have it) or not. Recently I tried a Chicken and Red Peppers (that’s 50% chicken and about as much broken dried chili peppers) and the chicken was coated with potato flour and I wasn’t crazy over the results of that type of flour. So, what I may do is try one small piece of chicken in the coconut flour and one in regular all-purpose flour before I tell you what to use. When it comes to fried chicken, you can’t beat just regular flour.

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Roasted Beet and Pine Nut Salad

Beautiful salad and if you keep the beets separated they won’t bleed on each other.

Seems like it was just winter (usually short period of time here in Texas) and now it is springtime with summer just weeks ahead. The winter took havoc on our back yard killing about 1/4th of our plants. Since my husband loves shopping nurseries we will have plenty of shopping and planting to do to get it back in shape. I’m not a fan of hot summer days here in Texas but I will be glad to start using our outdoor kitchen again since it is getting warmer. Now that we have a new 65″ tv hanging on the wall out there and some new chairs that swivel between the pool and tv wall, I’ll be spending a lot of time out there.

I’m sure I’ve said before how much I love beets. I did these back in the winter when I could find yellow and red beets in the grocery. Seems like you can find beets year round in the markets but not always yellow beets.

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Peanut Zucchini and Cucumber Spiralized Salad

Isn’t this a beautiful spiralized salad.

Wow, my blog caught up with me. I had this salad ready to post but had not written anything about it. We had an earlier than I thought trip to Austin to welcome our new grandson (#6). Our daughter was in labor all of about 30 minutes before delivering little Frankie. He’s just the cutest thing.

Then we had a trip to Missouri to check on my mother-in-law and spent a week there, all the time I never looked back at my post to see what was coming up.

So, here’s my newest salad using my spiralizer. I kind of put the device back in my closet and forgot about it until one weekend we had friends over and I thought how good a refreshing salad would be made with cucumbers and zucchini.

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Almond Slaw with Edamame

Crunchy vegetables and nuts, how easy is that.

Have you made any New Years resolutions yet? or I guess the question is DID you make any New Year’s resolutions and have you broken them yet?

Guess I could resolve not to go to so many movies a week, but why would I do that, I’m over 60 so why not go as often as I want (at least twice a week) until I run out of movies to watch. I could resolve to exercise more but I have to start doing that anyway because my sciatica problem is into its fifth month so why not try a little more moving around to see if it will get better.

I have not really made any other promises to myself than to try and simplify our meal times a little. I don’t mean make easy recipes with 2 or 3 ingredients; but I think I would like to start trying to make some kind of meat dish, or fish or chicken, probably on the grill since I won’t have to do that and make one side dish to go along with the main dish. How easy would dinner be every night if I were to simply make meat and a salad of some sort or throw a vegetable on the grill with the meat.

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Brussel Sprout Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Cranberries

A beautiful Christmas salad to go with just about anything.

A few weekends ago I was looking for a side dish to go with some burgers we were doing one night when my daughter came for the weekend. What started off as a sautéed Brussels with cranberries and pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese turned into a crunchy salad with a citrus vinaigrette.

At first this salad was going to have pistachios in it because I had a bag full in my freezer then I thought pumpkin seeds sounds so much fitting for this time of the year and go great with cranberries.

Brussels sprouts are a little bitter I think and the addition of the dried cranberries and the citrus dressing balance the flavors perfectly. I tweaked the dressing after making it the first time because I thought it needed a little garlic and some Dijon mustard.

If you don’t care for the cranberries, try adding some dried figs and I loved adding the shaved parmesan cheese as a garnish.

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