Friday, June 3, 2011

Tasty Pasta Salad-This Weeks Side Dish!

This weeks side dish is one I have been making for years. I have used all types of pasta with it. As a matter of fact, the first time I was introduced to this salad it was made with spaghetti~and it was delicious! I originally made this salad with purchased Zesty Italian Dressing. But the sodium content of store bought dressing is just too high. So, I went searching for a Zesty Italian Dressing, and I found the recipe I used below. I think it is a wonderfully tasty recipe. I made a few changes to lower the sodium count. We also used this recipe earlier in the week as a  marinade for our Mini Caprese Skewers.

 Zesty Italian Dressing
(adapted from

1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Water
1/2 tablespoon Garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon Onion powder
1/2 tablespoon granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Celery Seed
Pour 1 cup of red wine vinegar in a bowl.
Add 1 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Add the water, garlic powder, onion powder, white sugar,
dried oregano, black pepper, dried thyme, dried basil,
dried parsley, and celery seed. Whisk together.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate. This will last up to 60 days.
Let's make our salad. 
McCormick's Salad Supreme
Green Onions
Yellow Pepper
Grape Tomatoes
Rotini Pasta
Start by boiling water for your pasta. 
Wash your yellow pepper. Cut the top off the pepper.
Cut the pepper in half, and then in half again.Trim all the seeds
and white skin on the inside of the pepper. Discard them. Slice
the halves into strips, and then chop the strips into 
small, bite size pieces.
Wash your green onions.Chop off the ends of your green onions, 
and discard. Chop the rest of the onion down the stalk until about
the last 2-3 inches. The chops should be bite size.
Wash your grape tomatoes, then cut each tomato in half.
Cook your pasta according to package directions.
Then drain the pasta.
Put your pasta in a big bowl so you have room 
to mix everything together. I didn't have a big enough bowl, so 
I put my pasta back into the pot I cooked it in. 
Add the veggies, and then pour some of the dressing into 
the pot and toss the pasta until all of it is coated with
dressing. Just add a little at a time. You can always add more,
put you can't take it out if there is too much.
Here is your finished pasta.
Enjoy with your steak sandwich!

Thanks for joining me today!
Remember when you are making this pasta salad, 
there are so many different ways 
to change it up. You can use just about any type of pasta, 
and you can change the veggies to fit the 
season or your own taste.
Experiment! You can't do it wrong!

See you tomorrow!
We will be making a special dessert that is 
a spin off of a summertime fav!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Steak Sandwich to end all Steak Sandwiches!

This steak sandwich we are making today is the best one you will ever have! Of course, it doesn't hurt that we are starting with the king of steaks, filet mignon. Add the perfect garnish, and an incredible semi homemade roll, and sandwich nirvana is upon you!! Let's get started~
This is the bread I used to make the buns for our sandwiches.
You can get it in the freezer section of your grocery store.
We only use 1/2 of a loaf for this menu.
Actually, we use half of a half for each roll.
This is a 1/4 of the loaf, shown above.
You will need a bread pan for each roll.
You can use a bread pan like above, or you can
even use a disposable bread pan, if you do not have 
2 aluminum ones.
The loaves come 3 to a package.
Take a loaf out and put it in the refrigerator 
to defrost slightly. When you can cut through the 
bread loaf, cut it in half. Then cut the half in half.
Spray your pan with pan oil.
Place the bread in the pan.
Pull a piece of plastic wrap from the roll.
Cut the wrap, then spray it with pan oil.
Cover the pan with the plastic, oil side down.
The oil will help you remove the plastic easier,
once the loaf has risen.Place the pans in a warm place 
so that the bread can rise. I used the top of my refrigerator. 
It took about 3 hours for it to rise to the height shown below.
When your bread is risen like this one, bake it in the oven
for about 25-30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees.
This is how it looks when it is done.
Take it out of the oven, and let it cool on a cooling rack.
After about 15 minutes, take it out of the pan.

Here is your finished roll for your sandwiches. Yummy!
It's time to make our sandwiches!
You will need:

Romaine Lettuce
Provolone Cheese
approximately  1/4 pound Filet Mignon per sandwich
Pound your steak down to flatten it some. 
Place the meat on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, 
and you can use a rolling pin, or anything with substantial
weight if you don't have a meat mallet.
Cook your steak until it is to your liking. I like mine
cooked to medium rare. Make yours how you like to eat it.
 Cut your bread to get your sandwich ready.
Dress your bread.
Cut your steak as needed, into small pieces as shown.
 Don't forget your cheese!
Enjoy your steak sandwich!

Thanks for joining me today for one of my favorite meals!
Tomorrow we will be making the pasta salad you see on
the plate with the sandwich!
Remember the salad dressing we made yesterday?
We will be using it to dress our pasta salad.

Just a Note~ Yesterday I referred to the mini caprese skewers
as the appetizer. It was not. The skewers were the salad portion of the meal.
I apologize!!!
The appetizer for this meal was the quesadilla!!!

Thank you!
See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mini Caprese Skewers-Our Appetizer du jour!

Mini Caprese Skewers are easy. And delicious! And you cannot eat just one! I have made these many times, and I have never had anyone say that they don't like them! So let's give them a whirl!!
Here is what you need:

Mini Caprese Skewers

Grape Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Spinach Leaves
Homemade Italian Dressing
(recipe to follow)
Mini Skewers

Italian Dressing
(adapted from
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil-Cold Pressed
2 tablespoons Water
1/2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/2 tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Dries Basil
1/2 tablespoon Dried Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Celery Seed
Pour your vinegar in a large bowl.
Pour your Olive Oil in the bowl.
Whisk the two together.
Add the water, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar,
oregano, black pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, and celery seed.
Whisk after each addition.
Cover and place in the refrigerator.
It will last for 60 days, but I guarantee it will be
gone before then. It's that good!

Now lets make the skewers!
Wash your spinach leaves. You will need one 
piece per skewer.
Pat dry with a paper towel.
Wash your tomatoes. You will need one per skewer.
 Cut your mozzarella cheese in half.
Cut each half in half.
Cut slices of the cheese so that when they are cut,
there are four pieces per slice.
Put as many grape tomatoes and pieces of mozzarella cheese
as you will need for as many skewers as you are making in a bowl.
Pour in some of the Italian dressing. Mix the cheese and tomatoes so 
they are all coated with the dressing.
Keep the rest of the dressing, as we will use it for the Pasta Salad,
which is the side dish we are making on Thursday.
Cut the stems off of the spinach leaves you are using.
Start your skewers by folding your spinach leaf in half,
and if it is still too big, fold it in half again. Then place it on the skewer
and bring it to the top.
Add a tomato to your skewer. You can put the tomato on either 
the round section first,or skewer the oval section. It will make a difference 
when you are done. They will look different, as you will see.
Add your piece of cheese. You can put the cheese on the 
skewer as shown above, of you can put it on lengthwise,
for a different look.
Your skewer is done!
Here are the skewers all done up and lookin' pretty.
See how on some of the skewers the tomatoes 
and cheese are on the skewers longwise. 
Then some of the others are on shortwise(is that a word?).
The difference is that one way the skewer is showing at the 
bottom, in the other way it is not. It makes no difference
which way you do it, but all of the skewers on the same plate are
usually all done the same way. It just gives it a better look.
Enjoy the Mini Caprese Skewers!

Thanks for joining me today! 
Tomorrow we will be making our filet mignon sandwiches
with the semi homemade rolls.
Don't miss it!