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Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

It’s finally that time of the year when you can introduce some lighter fare to your home cooked menu. Whether it’s lunch or dinner (or leftovers!), this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad has all of the elements of a perfect summer meal. Just toss some bite-sized pasta and mini mozzarella, with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and add some chicken for some protein. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s all the summer flavors you love, reconfigured as a quick and easy pasta salad. When you combine pasta and Caprese, could you ever go wrong? Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients 2 cups pasta (any shape) 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cups mini mozzarella pearls 1 cup cherry tomatos, halved handful of fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, or balsamic glaze salt pepper Directions Cook pasta until…

Citrus green salad with spicy shrimp

This super simple citrus salad with shrimp is so easy and flavorful, you’ll love adding it to your weeknight repertoire. It’s great in the summer when fresh greens are everywhere, but it’s also great in the winter, when citrus is at its peak. But during summer, canned segments can work just as well, and can be a real time saver if you’re in a hurry. This is also a great way to use up those random leftover greens. Toss in some arugula, kale, spinach, romaine — the more variety the better! I threw in some leftover cilantro, but you may choose to leave it out. I’ve been surprised by how many people hate cilantro. It’s delicious in this salad, but not necessary. The same goes for the cayenne pepper. If you hate heat, leave it out. But the combination of sweet citrus, spicy shrimp, and crunchy greens and almonds, is…

Arugula, mint and apricot salad

Apricots are too often overlooked in the summer. We repeatedly reach for fresh berries and cherries, even peaches and watermelon. But for many, apricots are a fruit only eaten dried. A ripe apricot, with its dainty golden blush-color, dripping with juices is a perfect fruit on its own or used in a summer salad. Apricots give you a boost of vitamin A which is said to help repair skin damage from the sun. They also maintain electrolyte balance in the body — great for sweaty, active summer days, since electrolytes reduce cramping and keep blood pumping through your body. Expand your fruit horizons this summer and try this refreshing arugula, mint, apricot salad while the apricots are at their peak. arugula, mint, apricot salad Serves 2 Ingredients 2 cups arugula 1/4 cup mint leaves 2 ripe apricots, sliced 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup almond slices 1/2 orange (for dressing), cold 1 tbsp extra virgin…

Mediterranean tricolored rotini crab pasta salad

I make this recipe no less than 10 times a year. It’s always a hit at friend gatherings. It’s a must at Memorial Day. I never have leftovers when I bring it to work potlucks, and it’s perfect to have ready in the fridge anytime you think people might stop by. Plus, you can prepare it the night before, never worry about keeping it hot, and you can adapt the recipe to make as much as you like. When you have to feed a large number of people, try this pasta salad instead of your go-to lasagne. I made a huge bowl of this for my friends after they had their baby and they appreciated someone finally brought them something lighter and healthier! You can add anything to the mix from shredded mozzarella to sunflower seeds or blueberries. I like tossing in mandarin orange slices for a touch of sweetness and crushed croutons for some…

Explore the fresh flavors of Tabouli quinoa salad this spring

Maybe you call it tabouli, or maybe it’s tabbouleh?  Or, maybe you don’t call it anything because you’ve never heard of it. But what’s important, is the fresh flavors you’re about to behold. Tabouli (pronounced tə-ˈbü-lē) is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. The vegetarian salad is classically made with cracked wheat, loads of fresh parsley and ripe tomatoes — among other ingredients like quality extra virgin olive oil and zesty lemon juice. Originally from Lebanon, tabouli has become one of the most popular salads throughout Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines and has become popular in American food in recent years, as well. With so many countries adopting the dish, there are truly endless variations. If you don’t mind dicing and chopping for 20 minutes, you’ll have a fresh and extremely healthy salad full of bright tastes, textures and colors. It’s one of those dishes that measuring out ingredients just isn’t necessary, but I…

Italian roasted veggies make for simple vegetarian, vegan meal

I first had roasted tomatoes at a wedding where they served this veggie blend family style, surrounding a tender roasted chicken. The way the crinkled tomato skin slipped off and the insides burst made them oh-so craveable. I skipped most of the meat and loaded my plate with these flavorful veggies. Sure, they’re a great accompaniment to your favorite protein, but I like this dish all on its own. This combo is entirely too easy to prep for how delicious it is. Just wash the veggies to remove any dirt, and you’re almost done. I buy the bagged cauliflower to save time breaking off the florets myself. And it’s up to you if you slice the mushrooms or leave them whole. Onions are really great in this mix too. Just chop up one medium onion and add in with all the other veggies. (Baking time might need to be adjusted a few minutes longer.) Italian Roasted Veggies Ingredients…

How to make your jack-o-lantern last longer

From funny faces to scary skulls, there’s no limit to what you can carve into a pumpkin. Displaying your work is one of the Hallmark’s of Halloween. But that excited fall feeling quickly fades when your masterpiece becomes a mushy mess on the front porch. Of course you know your jack-o-lantern won’t last forever, but there are a few steps you can take to help keep your hard work intact for longer: Always buy your pumpkins from a local farm. Because it’s grown on-site, you can be sure your pumpkin has been spared the damage often done by careless shippers. Pick a good one. A long-lasting jack-lantern starts with a firm pumpkin. Avoid choosing a pumpkin that already has soft spots. Clean it well. Exterior: Before you start carving, load a spray bottle with one teaspoon of bleach and one quart of water. Spray and wipe the exterior surfaces first to remove any excess dirt and bacteria that could enter your pumpkin. Interior: Once…

Wake up with orange, carrot, ginger juice

Orange, carrot, ginger juice. It seems too simple to call this a “recipe” — it’s only 3 ingredients long! But if you’ve only been drinking orange juice in the morning, there’s room improvement. Orange juice’s hefty dose of vitamin C is great for some morning pep, but why not pair it up with other pro-health ingredients and get even more greatness per gulp? Ginger is known to fight against infections and alleviate muscle pain and soreness, nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. It’s also known to have anti-inflammatory effects, help indigestion, lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and it may even prevent cancer and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. Carrots help prevent cancer, improve eyesight, boost immunity and control diabetes. Furthermore, fresh-squeezed juice gives you the most nutrition, so when possible, DIY. orange, carrot, ginger juice Serves 2 Ingredients 5 large carrots, washed 2 oranges, peeled 1 inch fresh ginger Directions Press all ingredients through a juicer. Pour and…

Basil Pesto with Almonds Ready in Minutes

When a recipe calls for an ingredient that requires a special trip to the store, I find it rarely gets made. That’s been the situation with me and pesto. Does anyone really have pine nuts handy? This recipe is great because the almonds easily substitute for pine nuts, and most of us have almonds stocked in the pantry. Just about any nuts will add a nice crunch, really. A medley of almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts would add great texture and flavor. Pesto is easy to jar and save all year, but enjoy it fresh, now that basil is growing abundantly in the garden. To make this recipe, simply add all ingredients to a food processor or high power blender, and pulse until ingredients are chopped finely. Pesto works well with chicken, vegetables, pasta, grilled sandwiches, Caprese salads and more. Pesto with Almonds Ingredients 3 cups packed fresh basil (or about 3 ounces)…

Garden Tuna Avocado Salad Wrap

If you’re not a fan of mayo, or if you’re trying to eat healthier, you’ll want to try this creamy substitute. Tuna salad wraps are a quick and tasty go-to dinner option anytime of the year, but if you’re making them with mayo and bread, you’re not exactly eating healthy. Try this recipe using avocado as a substitute and be well on your way to eliminating as many as 20 grams of bad fats from your meal. If you garden or keep lots of leafy veggies handy, this is also a great opportunity for a carb-swap out. Eliminate that processed bread or that heavy wrap, and use a large leaf of Swiss chard or Romaine instead. You’ll love the extra crunch it adds without adding any calories — A typically wrap can be as much as 150 calories, while a leafy green will only add about 10. Garden Tuna Avocado Salad Serves about 5…