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Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Ingredients

12 oz Cavatappi, macaroni or bow tie pastacook to package directions, rinse in cold water when done
1 (8.4 oz) pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1 (8 oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, no need to drain the oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil
2 tbsp freshly chopped Italian parsley
5 oz shaved parmesan cheese
Champagne Vinaigrette
cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 pinch granulated sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cook pasta to package directions. Drain and toss with cold water. Set aside.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.

Toss everything together in a very large serving bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Italian Tortellini Salad

Looking for the perfect dish to serve hungry guests this summer? Look no further than this Delicious, quick and easy Italian Tortellini Salad recipe with homemade dressing. Ready in just 20 minutes!

8-10 servings

20 ounces three cheese Tortellini (ie: Buitoni)
8 ounces uncured sliced Genoa salami, cut into thin pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, chopped into small pieces
8 ounces mozzarella pearls, drained
2 (2.25) ounces sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh italian basil
–Italian Vinaigrette
3/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup finely freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp of EACH dried parsley, drained oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp EACH black pepper, paprika
1/2-1 tsp agave or honey, or add more to taste

–Tortellini Salad
Cook the tortellini to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool.
Place tortellini in a large serving bowl and toss with all the other ingredients.
Toss the salad with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired. Serve cold or at room temperature.
–Italian Vinaigrette
While the tortellini is cooking make the dressing. Add all ingredients into a mason jar, tighten the lid and shake until well combined. You can also add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Store in an airtight container up to two weeks. Shake or whisk each time before use. If the oil becomes a solid in the fridge, just lettuce dressing sit out a few minutes for it to become room temperature.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe for Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies will quickly become your favorite. They come together super quickly and will be devoured in minutes!

10 cookies

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Prepare a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan often. The butter will foam and then it will make popping and cracking sounds. Watch carefully, when it is nearly done making sounds it will start to form brown bits. Cook for another minute or so then pour the butter into a heat proof bowl to cool a bit.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl, with a spatula mix together the brown butter and brown sugar until well combined. Mix in the egg and the vanilla. Mix the dry mixture into the wet in 3 additions until well combined. Transfer to a clean work surface and combine the cookie dough with lightly floured hands. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Place large scoops (3 tablespoons) of dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 17-19 minutes until the cookies are slightly golden brown. Transfer to racks to cool.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Blueberry Walnut Mascarpone Muffins

We are smitten with these delicious Blueberry Walnut Mascarpone Muffins. This recipe is simple to prepare and great for breakfast, brunch or as an anytime snack.

18 standard sized muffins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 1/2 cups flour plus 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
raw (course grain) sugar for topping

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with liners or grease generously with baking spray or softened butter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, mascarpone and vanilla extract, beat until combined.
In a small bowl, toss the blueberries and the walnuts with the 2 tablespoons of flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three additions, alternating with the milk. Fold in the flour-coated blueberries and walnuts.
Fill the liners to about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the batter with raw sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out virtually crumb free. The muffins will be slightly golden brown when done. Let cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms & Spinach

In under 30 minutes you can have this easy, gourmet Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms & Spinach recipe on the table.

4 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces uncooked Orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup half & half
splash of dry white wine
8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced thin
5 cups baby spinach
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
–serve with
grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
more chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh Italian parsley
hot pepper flakes

Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon until cooked through.
Remove the sausage from the pan, place in a bowl. Set aside.
While the sausage is cooking, cook the pasta to package directions. Drain, toss with some olive oil and set aside.
Keeping the oil from the sausage in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Season with the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low add the broth, half & half and wine. Bring the temperature back up to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms and baby spinach to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit and the mushrooms and spinach are softened. Mix to make sure everything cooks evenly.
Mix the sausage back into the pan. Mix in the cooked Orecchiette pasta. Serve hot with grated cheese, fresh basil, parsley and hot pepper flakes if desired.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms & Spinach

In under 30 minutes you can have this easy, gourmet Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms & Spinach recipe on the table.

4 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces uncooked Orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup half & half
splash of dry white wine
8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced thin
5 cups baby spinach
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
–serve with
grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
more chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh Italian parsley
hot pepper flakes

Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon until cooked through.
Remove the sausage from the pan, place in a bowl. Set aside.
While the sausage is cooking, cook the pasta to package directions. Drain, toss with some olive oil and set aside.
Keeping the oil from the sausage in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Season with the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low add the broth, half & half and wine. Bring the temperature back up to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms and baby spinach to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit and the mushrooms and spinach are softened. Mix to make sure everything cooks evenly.
Mix the sausage back into the pan. Mix in the cooked Orecchiette pasta. Serve hot with grated cheese, fresh basil, parsley and hot pepper flakes if desired.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms & Spinach

In under 30 minutes you can have this easy, gourmet Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms & Spinach recipe on the table.

4 servings

1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces uncooked Orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup half & half
splash of dry white wine
8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced thin
5 cups baby spinach
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
–serve with
grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
more chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh Italian parsley
hot pepper flakes

Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon until cooked through.
Remove the sausage from the pan, place in a bowl. Set aside.
While the sausage is cooking, cook the pasta to package directions. Drain, toss with some olive oil and set aside.
Keeping the oil from the sausage in the pan, reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Season with the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low add the broth, half & half and wine. Bring the temperature back up to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms and baby spinach to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit and the mushrooms and spinach are softened. Mix to make sure everything cooks evenly.
Mix the sausage back into the pan. Mix in the cooked Orecchiette pasta. Serve hot with grated cheese, fresh basil, parsley and hot pepper flakes if desired.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

We can’t get enough of these absolutely Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies. The recipe is Simple and quick to prepare. Great for work and after-school snacking.

24 cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw turbinado sugar for rolling

Pre heat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Lightly spray two cookie sheets with baking spray or line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and light brown sugar for about 3 minutes. Mix in the egg and vanilla until just blended. Add the flour mixture in two additions until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in the turbinado sugar. Place 12 dough balls onto each baking sheet. Press each cookie down with a fork with a crisscross pattern. Lightly sprinkle the tops with any extra sugar.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden brown on the top. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store at room temperature, covered for up to 5 days.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Lit’l Smokies Grilled Hot Dog Mac ‘n Cheese

We love this mac for busy weeknight meals, casual weekend entertaining and the lunchbox!

6-8 servings

1 package Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies (about 36 in the pack)
16 ounces macaroni, cooked to package directions
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar & mozzarella combo is great!)
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Cook the macaroni, place in a large bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil & set aside.
Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the hot dogs for about 5 minutes or until browned on each side. Remove them from the hot pan with tongs. Let cool a bit & slice the hot dogs into thirds.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the cheese, half and half & garlic salt. Cook about 5 minutes stirring often until you have a well combined, creamy sauce.
Toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Fold in most of the hot dogs & place some on to top for serving.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

What is it about sheet pan meals that swoon? Maybe it’s because they require minimum prep, healthy fresh ingredients, are budget friendly, have great flavor and feed a pack of hungry folks. Also, they are pretty quick to clean up too!

6 servings

1 lb chicken breast
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 zucchini
1 red onion
–Marinade
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp Chimayo chili blend – or 2 tbsp regular chili powder
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin ground black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp garlic powder
–Serve with
sliced avocado
sour cream
freshly chopped cilantro
lime wedges
corn or flour tortillas

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle.
Cut all vegetables and the chicken into 1/4 inch strips. It’s nice to have everything relatively uniform in size.
Make the marinade by whisking all the ingredients together.
Spread the chopped ingredients in a large baking sheet.
Pour the marinade over the top and rub it into the chopped veggies and chicken to thoroughly coat with your hands.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Toss once with tongs during cooking time.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle some fresh cilantro and lime wedges over the top. Serve with corn or flour tortillas, sliced avocado and sour cream.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: DIY Lunchables with Salami & Cheese

We love making our own lunchboxes with healthy ingredients you can find at the store or in your garden.

1 lunchbox plus snack

1 ounce unprocessed cheese
1-2 ounces uncured salami
some gluten free, low salt rice crackers (or any crackers you wish)
leafy salad greens
cut & cleaned veggies
fresh fruit or homemade apple sauce
homemade granola or muffins

Choose a bento box and arrange the ingredients so they each have their own compartment.

We do not eat salami too frequently. It is part of our mindfully balanced meal plan. You can find it cured or uncured if you are looking for it. Even meats labeled as “uncured” are still “cured” with natural nitrates found in sources such as beets, sugar, celery and sea salt. Instead of salami you could use any other meat, poultry or protein source you desire. Watching your fats? Go with a low-fat cheese instead of a fuller fat one.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: DIY Lunchables with Salami & Cheese

We love making our own lunchboxes with healthy ingredients you can find at the store or in your garden.

1 lunchbox plus snack

1 ounce unprocessed cheese
1-2 ounces uncured salami
some gluten free, low salt rice crackers (or any crackers you wish)
leafy salad greens
cut & cleaned veggies
fresh fruit or homemade apple sauce
homemade granola or muffins

Choose a bento box and arrange the ingredients so they each have their own compartment.

We do not eat salami too frequently. It is part of our mindfully balanced meal plan. You can find it cured or uncured if you are looking for it. Even meats labeled as “uncured” are still “cured” with natural nitrates found in sources such as beets, sugar, celery and sea salt. Instead of salami you could use any other meat, poultry or protein source you desire. Watching your fats? Go with a low-fat cheese instead of a fuller fat one.

~ Marla Meridith