Summertime Tomato, Avocado, Roasted Corn,Basil Pasta Salad is a salad bowl to behold! This salad is the perfect side or main dish for the height of summer’s flavorful bounty. In August, we can find all these ingredients readily available at the height of their freshness. This is what summer eating is all about, without a doubt!
My inspiration for this recipe came from Teighan Gerard, the spirited, adventurous, creative energy behind Half Baked Harvest. I’ve followed Teighan for several years now, and subscribe to her blog. Every Sunday she emails her subscribers her “Nine Favorite Things” post. There are even more great photos in the post of her family, her home in Colorado which is a converted barn. When I need a pick me up, I saunter on up to her blog and allow my eyes and brain to rest. Her food photography is absolutely stunning. This is one talented and down-to-earth young woman. Here’s a link to Teighan’s fabulous pasta recipe.
This is such a cinch to quickly put together, especially during these last sultry summer days. I had fresh ears of corn that I grilled in their husks. A lovely pint of fresh sweet cherry tomatoes. An avocado that had to be eaten – such a chore! A hunk of the sharpest cheddar cheese in the refrigerator. My basil produced very well this season, so I grabbed a bunch of that, too.
I think when you approach recipes like this one, feel free to transform it into anything you wish or have on hand. Here are a couple of change-ups you might enjoy:
A Tex-Mex version with a can of drained black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro with a dressing made with olive oil, lime juice, a squirt of sriracha mixed with a sprinkling of cumin;
A French-inspired version made with a couple of drained cans of tuna, chopped cornichons, finely diced red onion, and capers with a lemon/mayo/thyme based dressing;
Add a cup or two of diced cooked chicken to the original recipe for a great dinner salad.
Any way you decide, you’ll have a fabulous summer side or main dish salad.
Summertime Tomato, Avocado, Roasted Corn, Basil Pasta Salad
4 ears fresh corn, steamed or grilled in their husks.
2 cups or 1-pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 avocado, diced
Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta.
While the pot of water is coming to a boil, start to make the salad dressing and prepare the vegetables.
In the bottom of a large salad bowl, mix together dressing ingredients: olive oil, parmesan or pecorino cheese, lemon juice, dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and ground pepper. Whisk together until well combined and the dressing thickens a little. (Or put dressing ingredients in a pint canning jar and shake until mixed and slightly thickened.)
Add the chives to the dressing and whisk until distributed. Set salad bowl aside.
Cut corn kernels from the cob, set aside.
Cut tomatoes in half, set aside.
Dice avocado set aside.
Drain the cooked pasta and run under cool water to stop cooking. Shake the colander to release more water.
Add pasta to the salad bowl with dressing. Toss until dressing evenly coats the pasta.
Top pasta with corn, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and basil. Toss until well combined.
Check for seasoning and serve!
I added more salt and pepper to the dressing. I added 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. If you have leftover cooked chicken, dice the meat and add to the salad for more of a dinner salad.
We all need a quick and easy meal like this one in our arsenal. And everyone likely has a pantry and freezer with the ingredient staples on hand. Easy Crustless Taco Pie is not only delicious but gluten-free, low carb and keto-friendly. And did I mention this taco pie is kid-friendly, too? A win-win in my book of tricks.
There’s nothing special that you need. Ground beef or ground turkey, eggs, cheddar cheese, taco seasoning are the staples here.
Serve with a dollop of full-fat sour cream (keto-friendly), guacamole, spicy salsa and a simple shredded lettuce salad on the side with diced tomatoes.
Here’s a tip! I like to buy ground beef in multi-pound packages from a big box store. The meat is usually leaner, 85-15% fat and I find it is cheaper per pound than buying ground meat in the grocery. When you make this recipe, why not brown 2-3 pounds at a time. Then separate the cooked meat into equal portions, load a freezer bag or two and store in the freezer. You’ll have cooked ground meat at the ready for another recipe Sloppy Joe’s or quick meat spaghetti sauce or tacos. Looking for even leaner meat? Use ground turkey instead. I’ve found ground turkey may be substituted for ground beef in most recipes.
I had to share this recipe if only to show the beautiful rise from the eggs. Yes, the dish deflates a little while it cools. But look! Isn’t it pretty out of the oven?
You’re happy! Your kids are happy! Everyone’s happy!
Quick and Easy, Crustless Taco Pie - Gluten Free & Low Carb!
We all need a quick, simple, and easy meal like this one in our arsenal. And everyone likely has a pantry and freezer with the ingredient staples on hand. Quick and Easy Crustless Taco Pie is not only delicious but gluten-free and low carb. And did I mention kid friendly? A win-win in my book of tricks.
Recipe type: Quick Dinner
Taco Seasoning Make your own (below) or use a package of taco seasoning from the store.
In a small bowl combine:
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Mexican oregano
¼ - ½ cayenne pepper, if desired
You'll have leftover Taco Seasoning. Place the remainder in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store for another recipe.
For Meat Filling
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons taco seasoning, above
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream or half-n-half
4-6 oz shredded cheddar cheese, or Monterey Jack, or Monterey Pepper Jack depending on your pepper heat
Taco Pie Assembly
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Spray 9" pie dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a 12" skillet, brown ground meat over medium-high heat until cooked through and no pink is showing.
Add diced onion and minced garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
Add 3 Tablespoons (or one package) of taco seasoning to the browned meat. Continue to cook for 2 minutes until the mix becomes fragrant.
Spread the meat filling into the prepared pie dish.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream or half-n-half. Pour slowly over meat mixture in the pie pan.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center has nicely risen and begins to brown. 30-40 minutes.
Remove taco pie to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with accompaniments, if desired.
Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic is one of my favorite types of dishes. Crushed red pepper, orange zest, and garlic lend the simple sauce a bright delicious bite. And it’s so quick and easy! Orange Shrimp any time of the year but is a fabulous dish when your schedule is tight and fast food is not an option. You know, like during the holidays!
I always have a pound or two of raw shrimp (21-25 count) in the freezer. It’s handy for lots of quick meals like Shrimp Tacosor Shrimp Scampior Shrimp and Grits. Frozen shrimp don’t take long to defrost, either. Measure out what you need for your recipe. I use a scale for an accurate amount. Then I put them in a colander in the sink and run cool water over them until the shrimp are ready. I also use raw shrimp rather than cooked frozen ones, because raw shrimp will absorb all the lovely flavors either as they’re marinated or as you cook them. Garlic and lemon are two of my favorites, but you could use coriander, red pepper flakes, cumin or curry. Seriously delicious!
Here are a couple of things to remember when cooking raw shrimp:
Rinse shrimp after the shells and tails are removed. Remove the black vein at the top. Most frozen packed shrimp come deveined, but it’s a good idea to check anyway.
Once rinsed, place shrimp on a baking sheet lined with paper toweling. Use another layer to pat dry the top. Shrimp should be dried off to get a proper sear.
Don’t overcook your shrimp! It’s easy to do. Place shrimp in a hot pan with a little olive oil. As soon as they become translucent, turn them over to cook the other side. Really, 2-3 minutes per side is more than enough. You want a nice crunchy bite, not a rubbery one. It’s a texture thing.
Quick and light, Orange Shrimp with Broccoli and Garlic is perfect for an easy and informal dinner with a little citrus and spice. Yummy!
Recipe type: Main
1½ pound shrimp (21-25 count) peeled, deveined, and rinsed under cool water
3-4 cups fresh broccoli, separated into florets
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1½ Tablespoon granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how much spice you want, or leave it out
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Sliced green onion for garnish
Sesame seeds for garnish
3 cups Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions
Line a sheet pan with a couple of layers of paper toweling. Place shrimp on the toweling in a single layer. Take another sheet of paper toweling and pat the shrimp dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil into the skillet. Add broccoli florets for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is tender. Remove broccoli from the skillet into a bowl or plate and set aside.
Use the same skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add minced garlic and let sizzle for 30 seconds or until garlic becomes fragrant. Add red pepper flakes, if using. Place shrimp in the skillet in a single layer. (You may have to cook in 2 batches.)
As soon as the shrimp becomes translucent, flip over the cook the other side. Total cooking time is 2-3 minutes per side, at most. Remove cooked shrimp and garlic, pepper flakes to bowl/plate with the broccoli.
Return the skillet to the stove. Add orange juice, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened.
Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons cold water. Add to skillet and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce becomes shiny. Add orange zest.
Pour finished sauce over shrimp and broccoli. Garnish with sliced green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over cooked hot rice.
It’s that time of year! Cold, rainy, and windy here in Indiana. We’re expecting snow in a few days – Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella is the perfect yummy bite. You’ll be all warm and cozy in no time, guaranteed. And it’s a very quick dish – 35-40 minutes.
Serve with a green salad and a warm loaf of crusty Italian bread. Heavenly!
I just love to eat gnocchi. The first time I ate them was in eastern Pennsylvania just outside Philadelphia in the 1980’s. The Philly area is populated with lots of Italian Americans, and you can find very good Italian restaurants everywhere. The corporation I worked for at the time had their eastern headquarters there. Every time I attended a meeting or training session, I had to have gnocchi. Pillowy soft warm little dumplings served in a divine tomato sauce – just wonderful. I don’t know if the gnocchi were homemade or not, but they sure tasted like they were. So light, and delicious with the satisfying mouth feel of a lovely petite dumpling. Who could resist? Not me.
Gnocchi was not available in Indianapolis in restaurants or groceries when I returned home. But over the next few years, packaged ones began to pop up at places like World Market, where they sell a nice variety of international foods. Now, you can find premade gnocchi anywhere. The potato gnocchi I used here I found at Trader Joe’s. And they were perfect for my casserole. Probably not as light as homemade, but not gummy either like other brands I’ve tried.
Homemade gnocchi is on my Foodie Bucket List. Anne Burrell has a nice recipe on Food Network from her series Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Here’s a link to her instructional video about how and why of basic potato gnocchi. Obviously, this dish is a quick dish with premade gnocchi. But I wouldn’t discourage anyone from making their own. It will take a little longer though. Anne Burrell suggests making a double batch, cooking half and freezing the rest for another use. Brilliant!
What do I love about this recipe? I found Baked Gnocchi at Simply Delicious Food through Pinterest. When I decided to bring my little dumplings to life, it was late in the evening. But I had all the ingredients in my larder – potato gnocchi from TJ’s, canned tomatoes, fresh cherry tomatoes, bacon, and everything else including crusty bread and salad. Lucky me! I like the addition of halved fresh cherry tomatoes in the sauce. They lend fresh texture and just look pretty in the finished dish. And a little fresh or dried basil in the sauce as it’s cooking wouldn’t be a bad idea – I adore basil in any tomato dish, but it’s not essential. Bacon, how interesting? It adds a hint of deep smoky flavor. I would not have thought of that.
Let’s whip up a warm and tasty casserole, shall we? You will be well loved.
First on the list is to heat your oven to 400F degrees. Fill a 4-5 quart pot 2/3 full of water. Bring to a full boil. This will take a while as you know. Don’t watch it – make the delicious tomato-based sauce for the casserole in the meantime. It can sit at the ready after cooking is finished to receive your lovely gnocchi when they’re done.
Heat a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and the chopped bacon and cook until the bacon browns and releases most of its fat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off most of the remaining liquefied bacon fat, and return the skillet to the stovetop. Add the minced garlic, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes – cook for 30 seconds – don’t let the garlic brown or burn – this all goes very quickly. Add the canned and fresh tomatoes and the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Throw in the crispy bacon and dried basil (if using). Stir and remove from heat.
Add heavy cream or yogurt. Sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Check seasoning. Set aside off the heat while you boil your gnocchi.
As they’re cooking, the gnocchi will float to the top. That’s when they’re finished. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift your gnocchi out of the boiling water and directly into the skillet with your sauce.
Gently mix everything and pour into a 3-quart ovenproof baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Pop the casserole into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown like this:
Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Let your casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
And there you have it! Sprinkle with extra grated Parm and/or fresh chopped parsley and serve! Theoretically, you’ll end up with 2-3 plentiful servings. Richard and I ate half the first night for dinner and reheated the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Mamma Mia! This is sooooo delicious!
It's that time of year! Cold, rainy, and windy here in Indiana. We're expecting snow in a few days - Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella is the perfect yummy bite. You'll be all warm and cozy in no time, guaranteed. And it's a very quick dish - 35 minutes. Serve with a green salad and a warm loaf of crusty Italian bread. Heavenly!
While you're waiting for the water to boil for the gnocchi, make the sauce. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Pour off the bacon grease. Return the skillet to the heat. Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and paprika. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Be sure not to let the garlic burn.
Add all tomatoes and sugar. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat. Add heavy cream or yogurt, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with ¼ - ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir until combined.
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions.
When they're done, use a slotted spoon to lift dumplings from the water and directly into the skillet with your sauce. Mix it all together. transfer to an ovenproof casserole lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely browned.
Remove casserole from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with a warm crusty loaf of bread and a green salad. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley &/or grated Parmesan cheese. You could use fresh, sliced mozzarella in place of shredded, if desired.
If you’re like me, we scour the internet looking for delicious recipes that take us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut of making the same dishes over and over again. It’s not like the meals aren’t delicious. But sometimes we just need to rock the boat a bit. I just love Pinterest and visit every day looking for inspiration. Pinterest is a great resource for me where I find great food bloggers and recipes of all sorts like this one:
I was looking around one afternoon and my eyes lit up when I landed onA Pinch of Yum and this wonderful recipe for Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato & Kale. Why don’t I ever think about combinations like this? I’m in the Midwest. I don’t think this way. Sweet potato simmered with sweet curry and turmeric in coconut milk and broth finished with kale – seriously flavorful. There are even chopped peanuts in the recipe that gives this soup a little crunch – awesome!
And healthy! Look at all the good stuff it’s made from. Lindsay’s soup is thickened with creamy peanut butter instead of the usual roux of butter, flour, and milk. I didn’t miss it a bit. Many of us serve soup as a first course to a holiday meal and Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Peanuts and Kale would be a stellar beginning.
And quick! Forty minutes from cutting board to table. I always have sweet potatoes on hand during fall and winter, so that was a cinch. I bought a package of frozen, chopped kale at the grocery to make prep even easier.
I didn’t have jalapeno, so I substituted crushed red pepper flakes. Lindsay calls for two cups of water. I used chicken stock instead. She likes to leave her sweet potatoes in bite-sized chunks, and I mashed mine up a bit to make the soup thicker. Try it. You’ll love it!
This dish is a warm and comforting, healthy, gluten-free, bowl of happiness. Lindsay at a Pinch of Yum says she was inspired to make this soup based on a West African recipe for groundnut soup. It would be fabulous as a first course for a holiday meal.
Author: A Pinch of Yum, Lindsay
Recipe type: Soups & Stews
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small to medium onion, diced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-14 oz can fire roasted or petite diced tomatoes
1-14oz can light coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet curry powder (I use Penzey's)
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1-10oz bag frozen chopped kale
Put olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned.
Add sweet potato cubes and stir until they become lightly browned - 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic, stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant - 1 minute.
Add the curry powder and turmeric to the sweet potatoes. Stir and cook until the spices are fragrant, a minute or so.
Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, chicken stock, salt, and chopped peanuts. Stir everything together.
Bring the soup to a simmer and continue to cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Add peanut butter and kale. Stir and continue to simmer until the soup is thick and creamy.