Meatless Monday: Almost-Fully-Greek Pasta Salad

(Title explained:  I didn’t have any tomatoes in the house.)

2 c. uncooked penne or rotini pasta

1 c. chopped cucumber

1/2 pepper, seeded and chopped

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1 small can sliced black olives

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 tomato, chopped can also be added

Dressing:

3 T. lemon juice

3 T. olive oil

1 tsp. each oregano and sugar

salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, cut up vegetables and place in medium size bowl. Add olives. When pasta is ready, drain and rinse well with cold water.   Add to vegetables in the bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a container and shake to blend.  Pour over salad. Chill a few hours before serving. Serves about 4. May serve more if used as a side salad, rather than a main dish.

Anti-Ox, Cholesterol Lowering, Smoothie

I enjoy apples, and my husband eats an apple a day.  Last week, researchers announced that eating an apple a day lowers LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol by as much as 23% in women. http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/health-benefits-of-apples-and-4-other-cholesterol-lowering-foods There’s motivation for me to eat more apples (even though I don’t have high cholesterol.)

1 apple, cored and quartered

1/2 orange, peeled

1/2 c. each blueberries and blackberries (frozen)

1/4 – 1/2 c. ice (depending on whether the berries are frozen)

3/4 c. water or juice

1 t. sugar or honey

Blend in blender until smooth.  (I have a Vitamix, so I don’t need to be as fussy about cutting food into small pieces before placing in the blender.)

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

If pesticides are a concern, look for tomatoes “on the vine” as they are often grown without the use of pesticides.

4 tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 tsp. dried garlic

1 1/2 T. dried parsley

1 1/2 T. dried basil

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 T. olive oil

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

A dash each of red pepper flakes and salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix together in a small bowl.  Let stand for three hours unrefrigerated to blend flavors before using. Or refrigerate overnight. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Spotlight on Dill

We’ve been enjoying Earthbound Farms Fresh Herb Salad which includes the following:

Organic baby lettuces (red and green romaine, red and green oak leaf, lollo rosa, tango), organic red and green chard, organic mizuna, organic arugula, organic frisée, organic radicchio, organic parsley, organic dill, organic cilantro.

The fresh dill in this salad is very nice.  An annual plant, it grows about 30” high.  A member of the parsley family, it may help to relieve indigestion, bloating, gas and cramping.

This very familiar and popular herb works well in potato salad, pasta salad, scrambled eggs, dips, salad dressings and sauces and leek and potato soup.  It also pairs nicely with salmon or any white fish.

Here is a recipe that is easy to pull together:

Randy’s Cucumber Pasta Salad

3 cups cooked pasta such as penne

½ c. thinly sliced carrots

½ c. thinly sliced celery

1 c. parboiled broccoli florets

1 green onion, thinly sliced

¼ c. chopped onion

½ to ¾ c. creamy cucumber salad dressing

1 tsp. dillweed

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  4- 6 servings.

Meatless Monday: A to Z Quinoa Salad

P1020726

2 c. water

1 c. quinoa, rinsed well and drained

1 c. diced zucchini

1 apple, peeled and diced

½ pepper, seeded and chopped

½ c. each sliced almonds, crumbled feta, and raisins

Dressing

1/3 c. olive oil

2 T. maple syrup

1 T. lemon juice (to assist in keeping the apples from turning brown)

1 T. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. oregano

Salt and pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook 10 – 15 minutes.  Place in a bowl and add zucchini, pepper, apple, almonds, feta and raisins.  Combine dressing ingredients in a container and shake well. Pour over salad, mix well.  Refrigerate to chill.  Serves 6

BBQ Sliders

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 large egg

1 c. crushed saltine crackers (I used the ones with unsalted tops)

1 package onion soup mix

Mix together, form into small, thin patties.  BBQ on medium for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Makes 12 patties.   The onion soup mix adds so much flavor. I just wish there was a low-sodium onion soup mix as I am sodium sensitive.  Serve with baked oven fries and the usual accoutrements for burgers.