Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad


Tri-color Rotini

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July celebration with lots of delicious food. 🇺🇸 It’s been a while since I posted a new recipe (I’ve taken a little hiatus in the kitchen), and thought I’d share this one I made yesterday. It can be a nice main or side dish, and is yummy both warm or chilled. I kept this pretty simple which made it quick and easy, but you can add your favorite vegetables, and/or chicken or tofu… lots of possibilities. I used tricolor rotini, but feel to go with whatever pasta you’d like (bowtie, penne, small shells, etc.).

The sun-dried tomatoes are used to make a “pesto”, which I decided to do without the use of a food processor. It was a little more work, but I wanted chunkier bits incorporated into the salad and I think it was perfect.

This serves 3-4, so double the ingredients if needed.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (about half a box) of tri-color rotini
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Basil, for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine your finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, garlic, olive oil and balsamic in a bowl and stir very well.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Drain pasta and reserve some of the cooking liquid.
  4. Toss the pasta with the tomato pesto, and season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  5. Fold in 1 1/2 oz. goat cheese, until melted and well incorporated, and add the cherry tomatoes.
  6. Crumble the remaining goat cheese and sprinkle on top.
  7. Garnish with fresh basil.

Sun-dried Tomato Rotini

 

 

Five Ingredient Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Broccoli


5 Ingredient Chicken and Sweet & Spicy Broccoli

I realize it’s been two whole months since I posted a recipe so am way overdue. I made this delicious meal last month, and it’s super easy to put together. I cooked the chicken on top of the stove, but you can definitely use the grill if that’s your preference.

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. chile paste (like Sambal Oelek)

Directions

  1. Preheat burner to high.
  2. Using 2 tbsp. olive oil, cook chicken for 4-5 minutes without moving them, then turn over and finish cooking on the other side.
  3. Transfer chicken to a small plate or bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey and chile paste in small saucepan. Stirring with a whisk, bring to a boil, and continue cooking for four minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken, as much or little as desired.

Sweet and Spicy Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. package of broccoli
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. Cook broccoli using your favorite method. (I prefer to steam)
  2. Combine all ingredients (except broccoli) in a small bowl, stir well and drizzle over broccoli.

Top ↑

Italian Barbecued Chicken (with Polenta)


In my recent polenta post, I mentioned that I came across a BBQ chicken recipe from Rachael Ray which I intended on making soon, and decided to try it out last night. I made a few modifications like I normally do, and all I can say is… WOW! The sauce is truly delectable and really makes the dish. I took some to work today, and finished every single last bite! So if you like chicken, and want a delicious new way to make it, I highly suggest you try this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in chicken thigh and leg or chicken breasts 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. grill seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thick cut slices pancetta or bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce  
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Torn fresh basil leaves
  • Polenta

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and grill seasoning.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet and brown the chicken a few minutes on each side to put some of its flavor and drippings into the pan, then transfer to oven and roast 10 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, if using pancetta or bacon, add to pan, and cook until crisp. Remove from pan, crumble and set aside.
  5. If not using the meat, put one more tablespoon olive oil into pan, and add onions, garlic and rosemary. Cook 5 minutes, then add the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer 5 minutes more.
  7. Remove chicken from oven, place in barbecue sauce, add bacon or pancetta (if using) and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Fill shallow bowls with polenta, top with chicken, spoon extra sauce over chicken and garnish with some torn basil leaves.

Top ↑

Steak Marinade


If you’re searching for an extremely tasty and easy marinade for your steak, look no further! A couple of weeks ago, I posted a recipe by Paula Deen for another marinade which is really good, but may just like this one a little bit more. I made this last week to use on some tri-tip and it was amazing, and just whipped up some more to marinate a Rib-Eye… can’t wait to cook it up for dinner!!

Marinade in the blender

Ingredients

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or red wine)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 (1 lb) steaks

Note: For my dinner tonight, I only had one rib-eye (approx. 1 lb.), so used about half of the marinade and froze the remaining to use another time.

Makes almost a cup

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients (except steaks) in a blender (or food processor), and blend until smooth.
  2. Place steaks in a large, resealable plastic bag.
  3. Pour marinade over steaks, seal and refrigerate for about 3 hours.
  4. Take steaks out from fridge and let them come to room temperature (30 min-1 hr.) *
  5. Remove steaks from bag, discarding remaining marinade.
  6. Cook on a preheated grill brushed with oil on high, for about 7 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness is achieved, or place in a skillet, over medium-high heat for same amount of time as above. (I cooked my tri-tip on top of the stove).

* It is always best to cook meat from, or near, room temperature. This will help the meat cook consistently across the interior by reducing the amount of time that it takes to cook the meat. But… I have cooked them after just a few minutes of sitting out, and they’ve come out delicious. 

Marinated tri-tip steaks

Top ↑

Herbs de Provence Roasted Vegetables


I’m a huge fan of veggies, and always looking for new ways to prepare them. Just recently, I made a ginormous salad to bring to a party and had a ton of leftover vegetables. My first thought was to simply make a salad, but then I decided that cooking them in some fashion was more appealing. Obviously with all of the cooking/baking I do, I have a pantry-full of herbs and spices, so I took a look to see which ones I wanted to use, and ran across my Herbs de Provence, containing rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil, sage and lavender. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend you do! This recipe is super easy, healthy, delicious and can be varied to suit your taste or what you have on hand. If you’re not a balsamic fan, you can substitute lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • Approximately 12 cups vegetables, chopped * (I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, peeled garlic cloves, red potatoes, cucumber and grape tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp. Herbs de Provence
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the vegetables, set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper.
  4. Toss together with the veggies to coat well.
  5. Lightly grease a large roasting pan with cooking spray and spread evenly, in a single layer.
  6. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

* I chopped the potatoes and carrots smaller so they wouldn’t require additional cooking time. However, if using larger pieces of root veggies, you can roast them first in the oven for a few minutes to ensure even cooking.

Before going into the oven

Top ↑

Marinated Goat Cheese Appetizer


Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July holiday! I went to an amazing party with out-of-this-world food, and zoned in on a goat cheese appetizer that was insanely delicious… which I made a significant dent in since I wholeheartedly love the combination of goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar!!! Fortunately, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely woman, Alicia, who brought the dish and quite ironically, after I attempted to recreate it last night, she contacted me on here. So I now have THE recipe for this incredible appetizer, which she kindly shared with me. She’s also a blogger, so check out her site by clicking on her name or going to my Blogs I Like page, and clicking on What Manhattan Beach Needs Is link.

Enjoy!

Shown here with roasted pecans.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 oz. goat cheese log
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 5 whole sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
  • Roasted pine nuts

Directions

  1. Place goat cheese in a bowl, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add balsamic and honey, and warm in microwave just enough to stir.
  3. Add sun-dried tomatoes and basil to balsamic mixture.
  4. Pour over cheese and top with pine nuts.
  5. Marinate for about an hour. *
  6. Serve with crackers (I like Trader Joe’s sesame thins) or thinly sliced bread.

* If you marinate in the fridge, make sure to let stand at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.

Top ↑