Labor Day Weekend is a welcomed, nice break from work and I hope you all enjoyed it. Our 3 day weekend together was absolutely a nice break and we did so much with friends and family. I especially love Labor Day because it means my hectic summer travel has ended!
I am always satisfied when I can find an outlet for my creative energy that has been building up. Sunday morning I woke up at 6 AM and just couldn’t keep my mind off of things to do. (Mentioned this just recently, huh?) So by 7, I got up out of bed and went right to the kitchen and started creating… RECIPES! Well, of course I made coffee first but with some Labor Day parties on the agenda, I wanted to make a few side dishes to share! I was finished by 9:30 and saved enough time to enjoy a full hour at the gym.
First, I like to pull all of my ingredients together. I decided I wanted to make 2 completely different types of pasta salad. One, a new recipe with Josh’s favorite dressing and the other a classic recipe with a twist. This Vidalia Onion dressing can be found at Sam’s club. I really don’t know where else to find this exact kind but it’s the best. As I was boiling 2 different types of pasta, I decided to cook brown rice to make a stir fry with the fresh snap peas I just got from a co-worker. Since these recipes are SO EASY, I figured I would share:
1. Vidalia Onion Bowtie Pasta Salad
- 1 box farfalle/ bow tie pasta
- 1 cup “Virginia Briand” Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette salad dressing http://www.vitafoodproducts.com/c-55-vidalia-onion-salad-dressings.aspx
- 1-2 green or red peppers
- 1 red onion
- 1 can black olives (3.8 ozs.)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- dash of black pepper, parsley
Cook entire box of pasta to make enough for a party of 10. Chop peppers and onions and strain can of olives. Add all ingredients together once pasta has cooled. I prefer the pasta al dente, especially for pasta salad. Keep in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.
(Sorry, the photo is not nearly as appetizing as the actual dish!)
2. Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 box of elbows (penne pasta works well too)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 4 medium (or 2 large) tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 1/3 cup KRAFT lite balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- 1 can black olives (3.8 ozs)
- 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (if you like it a bit spicy)
Same thing- cook pasta, cut fresh veggies and add dressing, spices and cheese. I ended up adding cucumbers to this recipe before I took it to Jen & Tommy’s so that they were nice and crisp. Cucumbers will get soggy quickly. I was very lucky to use the peppers and tomatoes from our garden. Our tomato plants are continuing to grow like crazy this year!
(And of course for my last-minute Veggie stir fry, combine 1-2 cups cooked brown rice, 2 cups sugar snap peas, onions, sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, fresh garlic, 1 tbsp. olive oil and La Choy teriyaki sauce. I used my Calphalon stir fry pan for about 10 minutes while I was prepping the other dishes. Add any other veggies you like too. The bags of frozen veggies actually work great with a stir fry. Broccoli is very healthy and one of my favs!)
SANGRIA~~~ And so last but not least, I made use of that merlot that I opened the night before but didn’t drink because it was not the tastiest red I have had… and used up all of the fruit I had in the house (well, except of course the BANANAS)!
You can make Sangria however you like; basically combine your favorite wine (white, rose, red) with your favorite fruit. My Mom gave me a Fantastic gift, it was actually just a stocking stuffer but it is literally the gift that keeps giving- Everyday Food Monthly magazine.
I used Merlot, many oranges, plums, green apples and orange flavored sparkling water. Most recipes call for brandy but I prefer to skip it.
OK, So Todays’ Post = A little overwhelming with recipes, yes, but hopefully my craziness in the kitchen will inspire you to cook up something creative too!
Happy Labor Day and Welcome FALL!!