Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Easy Preparation Meals, Makeover Monday Meals, Summer Cooking Delights

Makeover Monday Meals- Salad Edition

 

 

 

 

The one thing most people can agree on is salads. The fact is a salad encompasses much more than just lettuce. By definition, a salad is a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.

Salads fall into the following principal categories:

  • Green salads
  • Vegetable salads
  • Salads of pasta, legumes, or grains
  • Mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Fruit salads

Salads are versatile and easy to prepare. Instead of picking up a pre-made salad for a light weeknight dinner, this recipe takes less than thirty minutes to make and some of the ingredients are pantry staples you already have on hand.

This pasta salad takes advantage of summer’s bounty of tomatoes, paired with black olives, fresh basil, and mozzarella. Moreover, it’s adaptable for low-carb lifestyles, vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease.  You can even add more veggies like broccoli and red bell peppers, or whatever other vegetables you like.

We have included a recipe for a homemade dressing that takes no time to make and can be kept in an airtight container in the pantry.

 

Caprese Style Pasta Salad

1 box of tri-color penne or rotini style pasta prepared according to directions, rinsed then cooled. (gluten-free tricolor or regular penne or rotini pasta)

1 bottle of Italian dressing or homemade 4 Seasons Style Italian dressing

1 can of medium black olives, drained and sliced

1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in halves

1 package of whole milk or part-skim mozzarella, diced into medium size cubes (vegan mozzarella)

Extra virgin olive oil

A bunch of fresh basil

 

Add the cooked pasta, black olives, and tomatoes to a large bowl, then toss them together. Add the mozzarella, then drizzle enough olive oil to coat over the mixture, then lightly toss together while adding the Italian dressing. How much you use is up to you.

Roll the basil leaves together and cut them chiffonade style. Add to the pasta salad and toss with two spoons to get the bail distributed throughout the salad. You can serve the salad immediately or if you have time,  cover and let it chill in the fridge.  This pasta salad gets better with time.

Savory Saver recipe for Copycat Good Seasons Garlic and Herb Dressing

2 Tbsps Garlic Powder ·

1 Tbsp Sugar ·

2 tsp Salt ·

2 tsp Dried Parsley ·

1 tablespoon Dried Basil ·

1 ½ tsp Onion Powder ·

½ tsp Dried Mustard …

½ tsp Black Pepper

¼ tsp Dried Oregano

¼ tsp Dried Thyme

¼ tsp Celery Seed

Ingredients for Making Dressing

2 Tbs Dressing Mix

2 Tbs Water

¼ Cup White Vinegar

⅔ Cup Neutral Oil (Canola, Vegetable, Safflower, Grapeseed or Peanut)

Instructions

Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Store in an airtight container.

To Make Dressing

Put 2 Tablespoons of the dressing mix in a Salad Dressing Shaker or Small Mason Jar.

Add 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar to the shaker.

Close Shaker and shake up well to mix and dissolve the ingredients.

Add oil to the mix and shake again until fully combined.

To Make the Carb-free version of this salad, spiralized 1 large or 2 small zucchini. In a lightly salted boiling water pot, add the zucchini noodles, and cook for 1-3 minutes. Remove from the pot, drain in a colander, and run cold water over the noodles. Set them aside and let them cool before proceeding with the recipe.

For a Vegan version of the pasta salad, you can use a vegan mozzarella. Miyoko’s Creamery makes a vegan mozzarella, there are also Great Value, Earth Grown, and Violife versions of vegan mozzarella, that are available commercially either in stores or ordered online.

Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Summer Cooking Delights

Bonus Makeover Monday Recipe- Corn Chowder

One of the very best things about summer is the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables. With fruits like blueberries, cherries, and blackberries in season, berries are wonderful on their own, on top of yogurt with a little granola, or baked up in a pie.

The same applies to the bounty of fresh vegetables. You can find zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, green beans, herbs, and tomatoes (which are technically not a vegetable) in many backyard gardens, farm stands, farmer’s markets, and your favorite market or grocery store’s produce section.

Summer corn is found everywhere. It’s so delicious this time of year and there are so many ways to enjoy it besides boiling or grilling it to indulge in its sweetness. When  I came across this recipe by Simply Recipes, which was touted as their very favorite, I was intrigued enough to put aside a few other recipes I’d been eyeing to give this one a whirl.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Simply Recipes has this along with many other recipes that feature corn as the star of the show. Check out their website for more ideas to enjoy it to the maximum.

The recipe includes bacon and milk, which won’t work for vegans or vegetarians. I have adapted it so you can still enjoy this lovely bowl of soup.

Sweet Corn Chowder by Simply Recipes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter ( For the vegetarian or vegan chowder: 2 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, plus 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin or virgin olive oil)

1 strip bacon, or 1 teaspoon bacon fat (omit for vegetarian and vegan soup)

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup small-diced carrot

1/2 cup small-diced celery

4 to 5 ears sweet corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 3 cups), cobs reserved

1 bay leaf

4 1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat (soy or rice milk)

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large (1-inch) diced (about 3 cups)

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

For vegetarian and vegan chowder, go straight to sauteing the vegetables in the vegan butter/olive oil)

Cook the bacon:

Place butter and bacon into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Heat on medium heat until the bacon renders its fat, 3-4 minutes.

Cook the vegetables (except the corn and potatoes):

Add the chopped onions, red bell pepper, carrot, and celery, lower the heat to medium-low and cook until vegetables soften about 5 minutes.

Add corn cobs and bring to a simmer:

Break the corn cobs in half (after you’ve stripped off the corn) and add the cobs to the pot. Add the milk and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.

Make sure the heat is as low as can be and still maintain a gentle simmer (on our stove we had to use the “warm” setting) to prevent scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan.

Add potatoes:

After 20 minutes, add the potatoes, salt, and thyme to the pot. Increase the heat to return the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

Finish the soup:

Discard the cobs, the bacon strip, and the bay leaf. Add the corn kernels and black pepper. Again raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.

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Check out more recipes from Simply Recipes

http://simplyrecipes.com