Quick and easy macaroni salad, perfect for a warm summer day!

Ahhh, who doesn’t love macaroni salad on a warm summer day? It’s so refreshing… and goes well with anything or all by itself. You can change this recipe to add more (or less) vegetables, add what you’ve got, I never make it exactly the same… Fresh dill (or whatever spice you like) always kicks it up a notch, makes it taste fresher… Made a note to pick up some fresh dill… I only had dried dill weed, but that worked just fine, you just have to use a lot of it!

SUMMERTIME MACARONI SALAD

Cook 2 cups macaroni (or similar shape) noodles as directed on package, then drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Radishes, Orange Pepper, Celery and Hard Boiled Eggs

While the water is on, chop your veggies, whatever sounds good to you at the time… I used 2 stalks of celery, about a quarter of an orange pepper, about 8-9 radishes and three hard boiled eggs. Chop and set aside.

Dressing for Macaroni Salad

Get the dressing mixed up. I used three big oversize spoonfuls of Hellman’s Canola Mayonnaise. If it’s not enough you can always plop in a little extra. To the mayo I add a quick pour of apple cider vinegar, add more if you like vinegar, less if you don’t, a tiny squirt of mustard, salt, pepper and dill. Stir until creamy and mixed.

Stir macaroni into dressing and season with dill...

Now stir the macaroni that was set aside hangin’ out into the bowl with the dressing, stir it around good making sure to coat everything with the dressing, you don’t want any dried pieces of noodle. Blaaaah. Season with copious amounts of dill . Cover and refrigerate (unless you can’t wait… I couldn’t)… Now for the best part…

Summertime Macaroni Salad

Pour yourself a nice cold drink, scoop out a little dish of macaroni salad and enjoy! It will put a smile on your face AND if you make it earlier in the day it keeps the kitchen nice a cool, no stove… yipeee!

Catch you back here tomorrow!
Photo blog HERE

Meatless Monday… Giada’s Creamy Farfalle, with Cremini, Asparagus and Walnuts!

Image: FoodNetwork.co.uk

I made this a few years ago and it was outstanding! I just now remembered it while trying to come up with a meatless recipe that I know you would all love! Trust me on this, it’s a WINNER with a capital W! It’s quick, easy and the taste??? Out of this world!! Pair with a small salad and whoa, it’s friends-come-over-to-dinner worthy! This is one of the most popular Giada De Laurentiis recipes. Dang she’s good!

Below is the recipe, or click HERE for the link to the Food Network page where you can print the recipe!

 CREAMY FARFALLE WITH CREMINI, ASPARAGUS AND WALNUTS

Ingredients

Salt

1 pound farfalle pasta

3 tablespoons butter

1 pound cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

1 cup mascarpone cheese

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

 

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and most of the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and saute until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the farfalle. Stir in the mascarpone and nutmeg and toss until the cheese coats the pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. Stir in 1/2 cup of walnuts. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts. Serve.

Enjoy! Catch you back here tomorrow!

Rustica in Rockland… whoa baby!

Image: RusticaMaine.com

While in Maine we had several friends tell us of a wonderful Italian place to visit for dinner. FINALLY we got around to trying it and I swear we will be back each and every year we’re in Rockland! It was absolutely unreal! The pasta was TO. DIE. FOR. Specifically this one… via the Rustica website: 

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe ~ Penne with House made hot Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, caramelized onion and marinara.

The restaurant is kind of kitty corner from the Farnsworth Museum if you’re familiar with it… Check it out, give it a try!

Catch you back here tomorrow! If you get a chance visit my photo blog at http://almostdailypic.wordpress.com !

Bowtie pasta with sundried tomato and scallion cream!

Food & Wine

I was trying to think of what to make for dinner… ugh, I don’t want to be in a rut and make the same thing time and time again. We were both in the mood for some pasta, but we just weren’t sure HOW we wanted it… I happened to be on Facebook and I saw that Food and Wine magazine had posted a recipe that was quick and easy and sounded DELICIOUS! So off we went to the store, hunted and gathered the ingredients, popped home and threw it together in NO TIME! Seriously. This pasta sauce ISN’T. EVEN. COOKED! I had some reservations… hmmm, seems like you should at least cook it. I usually do try a new recipe pretty much as it’s shown, then the next time I make it I tweak it and change it up a bit. The only thing I did with this recipe is to use basil instead of parsley (LOVE tomatoes and basil together!) which the recipe did have listed as an alternative, and I used sundried tomatoes in oil instead of reconstituting… I also used mini bowties, well, just because I like them and they’re cute!  This. Was. Delicious. Say no more… I will be making this time and time again!

If you get a chance, check out this recipe. It would be nice paired with a small salad or a crusty loaf of good bread (as Ina would say). The recipe also mentions that it would be good with fusilli pasta, as the sauce would hold on to the crevices. See the wine pairing suggestion from Food and Wine below…
Pairing Suggestion – A fruity red wine will be ideal with the rich sauce and the assertive, salty taste of the sun-dried tomatoes. A slightly chilled bottle of Barbera or Dolcetto from the Piedmont region of Italy would be perfect.

Bow Ties with Sun-Dried Tomato and Scallion Cream

SERVINGS: 4   FAST / VEGETARIAN

Ingredients

5 scallions, white and light-green parts only

6 tablespoons chopped reconstituted sun-dried tomato halves (about 12 halves); see Note

1 cup light cream or half-and-half

1 pound bow ties

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the scallions and sun-dried tomatoes with 1/2 cup of the cream.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the bow ties until just done, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and toss with the puree, the remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water, the salt, pepper, and parsley. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it by adding more of the reserved pasta water.

 Notes

Reconstituting Sun-Dried Tomatoes In a small pan bring enough water to a boil to cover the dried tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, then remove from the heat and let steep in the hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain. You can also use drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes for this recipe. Since they’re already soft, you don’t have to reconstitute them.

Variation

Bow Ties with Sun-Dried Tomato and Herb Cream An equal quantity of chopped fresh basil or chives or 2 tablespoons of tarragon would be a good alternative or addition to the parsley.

Remember to visit my photo blog at http://almostdailypic.wordpress.com!

Image via Food & Wine – Melanie Acevedo