Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad

September 3, 2012

Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad

My Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad has a delicious flavor and is one of my favorite summertime classics.  This pasta salad contains no mayonnaise which is why it’s picnic perfect!


8 Ounces Corkscrew Pasta

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Diced Tomato

1/4 Cup Diced Yellow Bell Pepper

1/4 Cup Diced Cucumber

1/4 Cup Diced Carrots

1/4 Cup Diced Celery

1/4 Cup Diced Green Onions

1/4 Cup Chopped Green Olives

1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

1/4 Cup Chopped Sopressata

1/4 Cup Diced Cheddar Cheese

1/8 Cup Diced Pepperoncini Peppers

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 Cup Basic Herbed Salad Dressing

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain the pasta and add 1 tablespoon to the drained pasta.  Do NOT rinse the pasta.  Place the pasta in a large bowl.  Combine the tomato, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, celery, green onions, green olives, sopressata, cheddar cheese, pepperoncini peppers, kosher salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and basic herbed salad dressing.  Mix well, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  Serves 6

Spinach Salad

August 23, 2012

Spinach Salad

This is a delicious main-dish salad.  For a refreshing side-dish salad, simply reduce the portions and omit the egg and bacon.  This salad pairs very well with roast chicken or a thick grilled pork or veal chop. 



2 Hard Boiled Eggs (Peeled)

3 Pounds Flat Leaf or Baby Spinach

6 Diced White Mushrooms

6 Strips Crumbled Bacon

6 Slivered Green Onions

1 Sliced Green Apple

10 Toasted Whole Pecans

1 Cup Garlic Croutons



1 Tablespoon Honey Dijon Mustard

1 Minced Garlic Clove

1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Dill

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream


In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together until nice and creamy.  Press the egg yolks through a fine mesh strainer and finely chop the egg whites.  Keep the egg yolks and the egg whites separate.  Set aside.  Add the spinach and mushrooms to the salad bowl and toss well to coat.  Divide among 4 serving bowls.  Sprinkle the egg whites, bacon, green onions and egg yolks around the top of the salad.  Arrange the apple slices around the outside of the salad and layer several of the apple slices with the toasted pecans.  Top with croutons.  Pass around the dressing for everyone to help themselves.  Serves 4

My Indoor Tomato Plants

August 5, 2012

My Indoor Tomato Plants

I am so excited!  I am finally getting tomatoes from my indoor tomato plants.  With the basil that I have growing and the tomatoes I think that I will make my Caprese Salad.

Caprese Salad


3 Sliced Tomatoes

1 Pound Fresh Mozzarella (Sliced)

1 Bunch Fresh Basil Leaves

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Drizzling


Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices.  On a large shallow platter alternate layered slices of tomatoes and mozzarella.  Add basil leaves between each layer.  Drizzle the salad with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Serves 6


French Jam Jar Salad

July 22, 2012

French Jam Jar Salad

Here is a great idea for either a picnic or taking your lunch to work.  Put your salad in a French Jam Jar for easy storage and carry.  You can layer mixed green salads, fruit salads or any kind of salad you want.  Here I layered a simple vegetable salad.




Peeled Cucumbers

Sliced Tomatoes

Chopped Belgium Endive

Chopped Carrots

French Jam Jars


Peel the cucumbers, slice the tomatoes, and chop the carrots and endive. Layer up the vegetables into as many French jam jars that you need.  Put the salad dressing into a separate container.  Seal up the jars and pack up for your picnic or work.  Enjoy!


I always stock up on French jam jars.  They are versatile and quite handy in a pinch.  I also use them to store left-over food in the refrigerator.  Trust me; left-overs won’t look so pathetic. 


Chopped Fiesta Salad

July 19, 2012

Chopped Fiesta Salad

Sometimes you just need a good salad.  I came up with this simple, yet tasty, fiesta salad that is a meal by itself or paired with a main course.  I served it with roasted chicken breasts.  Serve with salsa dressing.


2 Cups Chopped Spinach

2 Cups Chopped Romaine

1 Chopped Ripe Tomato

1 Medium Chopped Red Bell Pepper

1 Medium Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper

1 Cup Corn

1 Large Chopped Cucumber

5 Chopped Radishes

1 Small Chopped Zucchini

Tortilla Chips

Salsa Dressing

Chop the spinach and romaine lettuce and place in a large bowl.  Chop the tomato, red & yellow bell pepper, cucumber, radishes and zucchini.  Add to the spinach and romaine.  Add the corn.  Toss the salad.  Arrange tortilla chips around the edges of the bowl and crumble a few on top.  Serve immediately as the tortilla chips tend to get a big soggy if left to sit long.  Serves 4

To make the salsa dressing all you need to do is to combine 1 cup of ranch dressing to 2 cups of salsa in a food processor or blender.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Simple Beets

July 8, 2012

Simple Beets


Even as a kid I have loved beets and I still love them today.  Beets are one of those vegetables that I could eat every day.  Whenever I go to the farmer’s market the first thing I usually pick up are an assortment of fresh beets.  I usually pickle them, but sometimes I like to make Simple Beets which are basically naked little things.  When choosing beets it is important to select small or medium sized beets.  The roots should be firm and the skin smooth & deep in color.  The smaller beets may be so tender that you may not have to peel them after they are cooked.  Pass on beets that are soft or have bruises or spots.  These are signs that the roots are old, fibrous and tough. 



1 Bunch Beets

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt


Wash your beets and trim the ends before cooking.   Fill a medium size pot with water and add the kosher salt and washed beets.  Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or more depending on how large your beets are.  Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork or the tip of a knife into the beet.  When done, remove from the heat and gently rinse under cold running water.  The skins should slip right off.  Slice the beets and serve warm or at room temperature. You can dress the beets with a vinaigrette dressing or add sweet onion, parsley and hardboiled egg slices for a healthy salad.  If you are mixing beets with other vegetables or adding to a salad it is a good idea to cook and dress the beets separately and add them last because their intense color will seep into all of the other vegetables.  Beet juice can stain your skin so wearing kitchen gloves may be a good idea when you are handling the beets.  If your hands do become stained all you need to do is rub some lemon juice on them to remove the beet stain.  Serves 2

Burrata, Tomato & Basil Salad

July 6, 2012

Burrata, Tomato & Basil Salad

This salad is very similar to a caprese salad. The burrata is silky on the outside and creamy on the inside which boasts a richly sweet and milky flavor.  Since burrata is a delicate cheese it should be handled as little as possible.  I love this salad so much.  It is great as a main dish by itself or layered with strips of grilled steak.  It also makes a nice appetizer or side dish.  The perfect combination of flavors and textures make this delicious salad truly magical. 



3 Ripe Tomatoes

12 Ounces Burrata Cheese

25 Fresh Basil Leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper


Cut the tomatoes into slightly thick slices.  Very carefully slice the burrata cheese into slices.  On a large shallow platter layer alternating the slices of tomatoes and burrata and top with basil leaves.  Drizzle the salad with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6

Avocado & Corn Salad

June 6, 2012

Avocado & Corn Salad


This salad is a nice change of pace and super easy to make.  I served this salad with lamb chops last night.



2 Peeled & Diced Avocados

2 Chopped Green Onions

10 Halved Cherry Tomatoes

1 Cup Fresh Cooked Corn

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 Ounces Vinaigrette Salad Dressing


In a large serving bowl, toss together the tomatoes, avocados, green onions, tomatoes and corn.  Dust lightly with the black pepper and kosher salt.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.  Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving to blend the flavor.  Serves 4

Summer Corn & Tomato Salad

May 22, 2012

Summer Corn & Tomato Salad


This salad is so easy to make as it really takes little effort to chop tomatoes and cut the kernels off of the ears of corn.  The reward is a nice summer salad and very portable to make ahead for picnics and cookouts.



5 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels (10 Large Ears)

1/4 Cup Grape Seed Oil

3 Tablespoons Raspberry Vinegar

Juice of 1 Lime

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Ripe Chopped Tomatoes

10 Chopped Green Onions

1/3 Cup Chopped Cilantro or Italian Parsley


Insert a vegetable steamer into a medium size pot filled with salted water. Bring the water to a boil.  Put the corn kernels in the steamer basket.  Cover and steam for 5 minutes.  If you do not have fresh corn then you may use frozen corn, but do not use canned corn.  In a small size bowl whisk together the grape seed oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Core, seed and coarsely chop the tomatoes.  Chop both green and white parts of the green onions.  Chop the cilantro or Italian parsley.  Combine the corn, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro (or Italian parsley) in a large size bowl.  Toss with the dressing.  Serve either at room temperature or chilled.  This salad will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Serves 8


Swordfish Salad

April 23, 2012

Swordfish Salad


Instead of using tuna why not use swordfish.  If I have leftover swordfish I like to make my delicious Swordfish Salad.  Serve it on bread or over lettuce and tomato.  So delish!



1 Large Piece of Cooked Swordfish

1 Chopped Jalapeño Pepper

1 Chopped Dill Pickle Spear

2 Chopped Green Olives

3 Chopped Scallions

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/4 Cup Mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley


Dice the swordfish into bite size chunks and transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the chopped jalapeño pepper, chopped pickle, chopped olives, chopped scallions, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard and parsley.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Serve on bread of your choice (I like to use a crusty Italian bread) or serve over lettuce and tomato.  Serves 4


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