Lemony Pasta Salad For a Crowd

Lemony Pasta Salad

Lemon and Parmesan cheese are one of my favorite flavor combinations. A healthy dose of both makes this pasta salad a total crowd pleaser.

I am getting good at cooking for a crowd. Since my kids have started playing sports, we have done more all day tournaments with more food tables than I can count!

That’s how I know this Lemony Pasta Salad for a crowd is a hit with kids and parents alike.

I think one of the reasons this salad is so popular is the dressing is made with half mayo and half olive oil. It’s a dressing that pleases both types of pasta salad lovers – those that go for the creaminess or mayo and those that prefer the non-creaminess of an oil based dressing.

Using whole wheat pasta  will up the nutritional value of this recipe. You may need to order it since farfelle in whole wheat is hard to find at your local grocers.

When making this recipe up several hours in advance, I’d recommend throwing the basil in at the last minute. That way it won’t turn brown before you get a chance to serve it.

If you are looking for a recipe to bring to your next potluck, picnic or team table, I hope you’ll give this one a go.

Lemony Pasta Salad Recipe For a Crowd

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 boxes farfalle pasta (whole wheat if you can find it!)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 package frozen green peas
  • 2 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved (I like one red and one yellow)
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook farfalle in a large pot until al dente.
  2. While pasta is cooking, stir together the lemon juice, lemon zest, mayonnaise, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper in a large serving bowl.
  3. Add frozen peas, shredded carrot and shredded zucchini to a colander. Pour the cooking water with the farfalle over the vegetables to drain. Pouring the cooking water over the vegetables will quickly defrost the peas and will just blanch the carrots and zucchini.
  4. Immediately add the pasta and vegetables to the serving bowl and stir well to evenly distribute the dressing. Stir in the grated Parmesan, tomato halves and basil.
  5. Chill for 4 hours or up to 8 hours before serving.
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One last note! The quantities of veggies are just a suggestion. I’ve been known to throw in more, much more. It’s a great way to make sure everyone is getting a healthy dose of their daily veggies!

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Bacon, Butternut Squash, Kale Salad Recipe

Bacon Butternut Squash Kale Salad Recipe

Kale. Love it or hate it?

What if you combined it with the saltiness of bacon and the sweetness of butternut squash then tied it all together with a southwestern style dressing?

Bacon, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad is hearty enough to eat for lunch (I think) or it makes a really good whole food side dish to a roast pork tenderloin.

I bake my bacon in the oven at the same time the butternut squash is roasting. The bacon takes about 15 minutes at 425 degrees to bake to crispy perfection while the butternut squash will take about 30 minutes to get nicely caramelized.

If you’ve never baked bacon before, I’ve made a How to Bake Bacon video for you. You don’t need to make yours into bacon bundles, but the technique is the same.

After your bacon has baked for 15 minutes, pull your bacon out of the oven, stir the butternut squash a bit, tuck the squash back in for the next 15 minutes then lay your bacon out on paper towels to absorb the extra bacon grease. You’ll have at least 12 more minutes for the butternut squash to cook – the perfect amount of time to make your dressing and add your kale to your favorite salad bowl.

PRESTO! Side dish is ready to go in 30 minutes.

Bacon, Butternut Squash, Kale Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups baby kale
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Add kale to a large salad bowl.
  3. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Line a smaller baking sheet with tinfoil. Lay bacon on baking sheet.
  5. Put both bacon and butternut squash in 425 degree oven. Bake bacon for 15 minutes or until desired level of crispiness. Stir butternut squash when you take the the bacon out. Allow to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until it begins to brown and caramelize.
  6. Chop bacon once cooled and drained.
  7. Whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, orange juice, salt, cumin, and ginger. Stir in diced red onion.
  8. Toss kale with roasted butternut squash, chopped bacon, and dressing. Serve.
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If you try this recipe for Bacon, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad, please let me know how you like it!

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How to Cook Grains: A FREE Printable!

How to Cook Grains Small

How do you store your grains in your pantry?

I tend to buy my grains in bags or out of the bulk bins at the grocery store. Once the bag is open, I’ve found I can have a hot mess unless I put my grains in jars.

Look how tiny that millet is. A simple clip just isn’t up to the job.

Open bag of Millet

I have a great funnel I use for canning that makes this a pretty easy chore.

Use a canning funnel to put grains in jars

Once the grain is in the jar, I label it. Amaranth, quinoa, millet, cornmeal… they all look alike when in a glass jar. Labeling is key.

Label Whole Grain in Jars

Then I throw out the bag.

Which has the cooking instructions printed on the back.

Or if you buy from the bulk bin. You never had the instructions.

Enter: the How to Cook Grains Free Printable!

No more Googling water to grain ratios. No more wondering if it was 15 minute for barley or was that 15 minutes for bulgur?

This printable has the most common whole grains and how to cook them.

Let me show you how I use this at my house.

I purchased cork board squares from my Office Max. It came with adhesive, so it was easy to just put a cork board panel on the inside of the cabinet right next to my stove.

Corkboard organization inside cabinet door

Print out the How to Cook Whole Grains. It looks great in color or black and white if you are trying to save printer ink.

Then just thumb tack it up!

How to Cook Grains

Now you can toss out those bags with the cooking instructions with no worries. You’ll now how to make perfectly fluffy brown rice (or millet, or barley…).

Do you tack recipes inside your cabinet doors?

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Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppyseed Dressing

Spinach and strawberry salad - TheGreenbacksGal

As summer winds down, it’s time to make the most of the produce that is still available. For many of us, that includes strawberries and spinach.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad pairs strawberries and spinach to create a simple, tasty and refreshing side dish. It can be made into a main dish salad by adding a few strips of grilled chicken.

If you’ve never tried strawberries and spinach together, you might be surprised by how well they complement one another. Besides this salad, I like to use strawberries and spinach together in my green smoothies. The strawberries are an excellent way to hide the green flavor of spinach. In fact, they work so well you might not know there are any green leaves in the smoothie at all (except that it looks green!).

Back to the salad . . .

Poppy seeds make this salad visually interesting and provide an extra dose of minerals.

The spinach is nutrient-dense and gives us a healthy boost of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C, iron, folic acid, and B vitamins.

Strawberries add a delightfully sweet taste while providing vitamin C and K, dietary fiber, and flavonoids (which help fight inflammation, cancer, and heart disease).

Almonds add a little protein and fat as well as a nice crunch.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients

For Salad:

1 bunch fresh spinach leaves
1 pint strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese, optional

For Dressing:

1/4 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Method

Wash strawberries and slice into quarters. Set aside.

Wash spinach and spin in a salad spinner to dry off the leaves (wet leaves don’t hold onto dressing very well).

Decide of you will make the salad in one large bowl or on individual plates. Either way, the spinach leaves go in first.

Lay spinach leaves on plate or bowl.

Place strawberries evenly over the spinach leaves.

Sprinkle sliced almonds and Feta cheese over the stop.

Homemade Poppyseed Dressing The Greenbacks Gal

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover tightly with a lid and shake jar vigorously, until dressing is well blended and has a somewhat creamy consistency. The dressing can also be made in a blender, just add all the ingredients and blend.

Drizzle dressing over salad.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad Whole Food Side Dish

Optional addition:

Try toasting the nuts briefly in a skillet before making the salad (give them time to cool off). It will add a nice extra crunch and a stronger nutty flavor. 

Have you ever tried strawberries and spinach together?

Stacy is a preacher’s wife and homeschool mom. She loves creating her own natural skin care and herbal remedies and is pretty much obsessed with all things DIY. Stacy is intent on creating a happy, healthy home and strives to encourage other moms through her blog, A Delightful Home.

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Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa Canning Recipe

Berry Cherry Rhubarb Salsa

How do you feel about tart?

This Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa is just the right mix of tart and sweet. It takes full advantage of all the lovely sweetness that is plentiful this time of year.

If you are new to canning, this recipe is simple. All it really requires is some chopping and a very short boiling time before you start to can.

Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa Canning Recipe

This recipe makes 6 half-pint jars. Save a few to give as gifts at Christmas time!

Cherry Berry Rhubarb Salsa

Ingredients

  • 6 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups diced strawberries

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, cherries, vinegar and ginger. Heat to boiling.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add strawberries.
  4. Ladle into 6 sterilized half-pint sized jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace
  5. Process filled jars in a water canning bath for 15 minutes. Adjust processing time for high altitude.
  6. Remove from boiling water and allow to cool on a wire rack.
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Marinated Cucumbers

The last few weeks I’ve been picking cucumbers out of my garden. I had hoped to pickle them – but I get so few at a time, I’ve been using them as they ripen.

This recipe is my daughter’s favorite. In fact, she loves it so much, she asks me to make it for her for her birthday dinner. They have been a great way to use the cucumbers and get a pickle-like flavor with few pickles, without all the canning work!

Marinated Cucumbers

Marinated Cucumbers

Ingredients

  • 3 large cucumbers
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • dash black pepper
  • dash salt

Instructions

  1. Peel and thinly slice cucumbers, then set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine all other ingredients. Heat over medium and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
  3. In an airtight container, layer cucumbers. Pour marinade over. Let sit in fridge overnight. Keeps well for several days.
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Grilling Eggplant: A Quick and Healthy Side Dish

How to Cook Eggplant on the Grill

If you are looking for the simplest way to cook eggplant slices, look no further than your grill. Eggplant can easily be grilled with the most delicious results.

To get the best results, you’ll want to start by selecting the perfect eggplant. If you’ve selected a ripe eggplant, there is no need to salt it. However, many people will elect to salt their eggplant to remove any potential bitterness. Here’s how to prepare your eggplant before grilling.

How to Cook Eggplant Slices on the Grill

  • Cut the eggplant however you choose – into rounds or into planks. However, if I’m serving with a dip, I have a preference to slice the eggplant into rounds. You’ll want your slices to be between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch wide.
  • There is no need to peel the eggplant. Peeling is a personal preference.
  • Heat the grill to medium high heat.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil and garlic mixture.
  • Put the slices directly on the preheated grill.
  • Cook until dark brown on both sides – about 5 minutes per side.

Optional 

  • Before brushing with olive oil and garlic, make shallow cuts in the eggplant to allow the garlic to penetrate further into the eggplant.
  • Add finely chopped onion and parsley to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Add finely chopped rosemary and oregano to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Add salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Omit olive oil and garlic. Mix approximately 1/4 cup miso with a splash of mirin and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and baste eggplant during grilling.
  • After grilling, brush with a mixture of lemon juice and finely chopped mint.

Grilled eggplant is excellent served hot directly off the grill. However, if you end up with leftovers, stuff into a pita with some hummus for a delicious sandwich the next day.

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