Tortellini Mediterranean Salad

I am super excited to be here today to share a recipe with you! A couple weeks ago we had a casual dinner of brats and corn on the cob. I needed another side dish to go along with the dinner so I threw together some ingredients I had on hand to make a pasta salad. It turned out quite tasty so I thought I’d share it with you.


2 small packages Buitoni Chicken Prosciutto Tortellini {found in the refrigerator section}, 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts. 1 medium tomato, 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, a large handful of fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions {be sure to add some salt to your cooking water}, drain and allow to cool slightly.
In the meantime, chop the tomato, artichokes, olives and basil into roughly the same size pieces {a trick I learned from Ina Garten, otherwise known as Barefoot Contessa}.



In a small bowl combine Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.



Whisk to combine well.


In a separate larger bowl, add pasta and chopped veggies.


Add the dressing to the pasta and veggies.


Mix well to combine and refrigerate for several hours.

Apple and Fennel Salad Recipe

Well, it took 2 days but I finally found my the cord to download my photos from camera to computer! Jeesh! Sorry for the delay on sharing the Apple and Fennel Salad recipe I mentioned the other day.


Anywhooo, it’s apple season! One of my favorite things about fall is the flavors. I’m talking about apple, cinnamon and pumpkin. We normally go apple picking at least once in the fall. The kids love it and it gives us an excuse to visit the mountains. But somehow we always come home with too many apples so I have to find recipes to use them up. This one I tore out of Southern Living in September 2010. And yes, I just now got around to making it! But I’m glad I did because it was yummy!


Here are your ingredients…

apple fennel salad

Dressing: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 shallot, minced, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together first five ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Salad: 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, 1 Gala apple, 1 medium fennel bulb, 1 celery rib, 5 oz. package fresh arugula, 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

chopping fennelToast walnuts either in pan on stove or in oven. Thinly slice apple, fennel and celery. (If you’ve never used fennel, cut off the stalks and bottom end and slice like an onion.) Coarsely chop parsley.

apple fennel salad

Place arugula in a bowl and top with parsley, apples, fennel, celery and walnuts.

IMG_5398apple fennel salad

Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

apple fennel salad

If you are unfamiliar with fennel it has a wonderful licorice scent and flavor. I have used it only once before this recipe, and it was cooked, so I was a little hesitant, especially eating it raw. But it was absolutely delicious! It really compliments the sweetness of the apples and the peppery arugula.

fennel and apple salad

You can find the original recipe here.

Oh, I have one more thing to share. The winner of the giveaway never contacted me. SO, that means I get to pick a new winner!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.41.22 PM

Congrats #7, Kris S!

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 10.42.15 PM

PLEASE contact me Kris to claim your prize!

Grilled Garden Salad

I found this recipe for Grilled Garden Salad from Kraft quite awhile ago but completely forgot about it until the other day when I was going through my piles (and piles) of recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines! I figured I’d better hurry up and try it since summer is on it’s way out the door and fresh veggies won’t be so fresh pretty soon.
So I made it yesterday (Labor Day) to go with some ribs and it was good! And really pretty too! Here is my version…

Ingredients: 1 large squash, 1 large zucchini, 2 ears fresh corn or 1 can corn, 2 small tomatoes, 6 large basil leaves, 1/4 cup zesty Italian salad dressing, 1 clove garlic,  2 Tbsp. lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop zucchini and squash lengthwise into three sections.

Just as I was going to put these on the grill, the skies opened up! Dang!

Luckily I have this fabulous grill pan from Pampered Chef!! I heated about 1 Tbsp oil in the pan.

And grilled the zucchini until tender, turning once.

While the zucchini and squash are cooking, chop the tomatoes.

You can also chop the basil.

Remove the zucchini and squash from the grill and chop.

The original recipe calls for fresh corn which is also grilled. I felt like taking the easy route and using canned corn. I threw it in the grill pan after the squash to give it a little grilled flavor.

Place corn, squash and zucchini in a large serving bowl.

Add tomatoes and basil.

Mix dressing, garlic (Love this Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic! Makes my life easy!) and lemon juice.

Pour over vegetables.

Toss to combine all ingredients.

 Sprinkle with parmesan cheese!

Gently toss again. Now it’s ready to serve!

You can find the original recipe from Kraft here.

Pear Gorgonzola Salad

Over the summer, while on my MOPS steering retreat, I discovered how much I liked the combination of pears and gorgonzola. Just in case you are not familiar with gorgonzola cheese, it’s like blue cheese. I think it might be slightly creamier, but don’t hold me to that. I’m not a cheese expert, I just know that I like it! Anyway, during the retreat I enjoyed a pear, caramelized onion and gorgonzola pizza and a pear and gorgonzola salad with a delish vinaigrette from Trader Joe’s.

Today I’m sharing with you the SIMPLE salad recipe. And don’t be afraid of it! The sweetness of the pear and bitter gorgonzola make a fantastic combo!

The basic ingredients are very simple. There are several substitutions you can use. This is just what I had on hand.

Mixed salad greens, fresh or canned pears, gorgonzola or blue cheese and Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette. Red onions and/or chopped toasted walnuts are also a great addition to this salad. If you do not have a TJ’s nearby, you can make a pear vinaigrette using the juice of the canned pears, champagne or white vinegar, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, seasoning and olive oil.

Place the mixed greens in a large bowl. If you are adding red onion, thinly slice it and add it to the top of the greens.

Peel fresh pears or drain canned pears. Slice into 1/2-inch segments.

Throw them on top of the greens.

Next add your gorgonzola cheese. Add toasted walnuts on top of the salad, if desired.

Just before serving, add dressing. Start with 1/2 cup. You can always add more later.

Toss and serve!

This salad really is delicious! Especially in the winter when the fruits and veggies aren’t so fresh.

Corn & Blueberry Salad (don’t be afraid)

Corn and Blueberry Salad? Really? Corn AND blueberries? I don’t know. I will admit, that when I came across this recipe while flipping through BHG magazine last summer, I was skeptical. But, it sounded interesting, so I tore it out and put it amongst the other pages of recipes that I had torn out. One year later, while organizing these recipes I came across it again. It was too interesting not to try. 
The verdict? It was amazing! It was so yummy, I’m sharing the recipe with you! Corn season is coming to an end, so don’t miss out! Fresh, sweet corn is what makes this salad a hit. Here is the recipe, adapted from BHG. 
Salad: 5 ears fresh corn {not cooked}, 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1 small cucumber {I used half}, 1/4 cup red onion, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and 1 jalepeno. 
Remove the corn from the cob, chop the cucumber, onion, jalepeno and cilantro. 
{I only used a teeny tiny bit of the pepper and I chopped it into very tiny pieces}

Place fresh ingredients in a large bowl. 

Dressing: 2 Tbsp {or more} fresh lime juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin.
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour dressing over salad.

Mix well to combine and refrigerate. 
{The original recipe says overnight. I only had a few hours and it was fine.}

Serve along side your favorite grilled meal. Be sure to share this salad with friends. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure! 

Find the full recipe here.

Guest Post: Cowbow Caviar from Colleen

Hi there, I am Colleen and my blog is So Much to Say.

I’m thrilled to be here today guest posting for Jen.  I stumbled upon Jen’s blog a few months ago and I have been a huge fan of her blog ever since.  Jen’s home is full of inspiration (totally love her kitchen cabinet make-over), she has great recipes and her boys are pretty cute too! I am very envious of her mad painting skills when it comes to furniture she has found.
A little about me . . . . . I’m a thirty-something mom of two and wife to my husband of almost nine years. I spend my days working as a lawyer which keeps me very busy! When I am not at work, you can find me with my two beautiful kids beside me.  I’m a wanna-be Martha Stewart (I could do without the jail stint), a compulsive organizer, list maker, and Pottery Barn lover.  I love to read blogs although admittedly they fill my head with ideas and crafts that I keep track of on Pinterest.  (I’ve been known to re-organize my boards on there!)  I blog about many things like our life experiences, our home, projects, crafts, and sometimes just our ordinary days at home.
Today I am sharing a simple side dish.  We recently had a Mexican theme get-together at our house and served the following side dish.  It’s easy (which is key for me!) and very tasty.  We served this with fajitas, black rice and beans, taco mac & cheese and a salad.  It was a huge hit (as was our themed night – so much fun)!  Oh, and you cannot forget the margaritas and/or sangria!

Cowboy Caviar
2 15 oz oz cans black beans, rinsed
1 17 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large avocado, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Keep chilled until serving.


I would love to have you pop on over to my blog and say hi.
Thanks so much for having me Jen!! 

Orange & Avocado Salad

Happy Tuesday to you ! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and a fun and safe Fourth of July. A thunderstorm forced our cookout to move indoors, but luckily, the rain let up just in time for fireworks in the cul-de-sac {a tradition on our street}. And yes, here in SC it is legal to shoot your own fireworks any day of the year!
Anyway, nothing is better than a yummy fresh salad on a hot summer day. Here is a recipe {courtesy of Kraftfoods} that I love. My version uses regular dressing instead of low-fat and I’ve cut the serving size in half.
Here is a peak:
Doesn’t that look yummy?!  Here is the recipe:
Orange-Avocado Salad

You’ll need mixed greens, 1 can of mandarin oranges, 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced, and 1 avocado, chopped.

Layer the greens, onions, oranges and avocados in a large bowl.

Pour 1/3 cup zesty Italian salad dressing (I prefer Kraft) over the top.

Toss salad well, adding more dressing if needed. 

And that’s it! My favorite kind of recipe: easy and delish! Serve it up!

And enjoy!

Strawberry Recipe #2: Baby Blue Salad

A couple weeks ago I shared with you our tradition of picking strawberries. Well, we went again! I told you we love picking! 

And since we love picking, we bring home a lot of berries. And since we bring home a lot of berries, I have to find ways to use them. So, I have a lot of strawberry recipes. Have you ever had greens and strawberries? I have several recipes for green salads with berries. This is one of my faves! The sweet strawberries pair perfectly with the tangy blue cheese and the spicy pecans!
Baby Blue Salad with Sweet & Spicy Pecans
{courtesy Southern Living Magazine}

1 bag mixed greens
2 oz blue cheese
1 orange, peeled and sliced
1/2 pint strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup Sweet & Spicy Pecans {recipe follows}

Start by preparing your Sweet & Spicy Pecans. Mix, until dissolved, 1/4 cup sugar in 1 cup warm water. Soak 1/2 cup pecans in sugar water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, combine 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp chili powder and 1/8 tsp ground red pepper in a small bowl. Remove pecans from water and toss in sugar mixture to coat. Lay in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and place in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, turning once.

Layer lettuce, oranges and strawberries in a large bowl.
Crumble blue cheese. {You can purchase already crumbled blue cheese, but I think the block of blue cheese tastes better.} Add this to the salad.
After your Sweet and Spicy Pecans have cooled, give them a light chop and add them on top of the salad.
Isn’t it colorful?! Now for the dressing. Southern Living gives a recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette but I just use store-bought {Kraft or Wishbone Balsamic Vinaigrettes are two that I like}. 
Add the dressing and give it a good toss. 

Jen’s Broccoli Slaw

Looking for a new twist on your typical coleslaw? Why not try Broccoli Slaw? “What the heck is broccoli slaw?” you ask. Coleslaw that uses shredded broccoli instead of cabbage! I’ve made a couple different recipes of broccoli slaw and combined them all to create my own version that I’ll share with you. This salad combines toasty Asian flavors with sweet apples. Almonds and noodles add a nice crunch. I must admit that it is pretty tasty!
So for your next BBQ, why not make something new to wow your guests?! 
You’ll need: 
 1 bag of broccoli coleslaw {in refrigerator case with bagged salads}
2 green onions
1 large Gala apple
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped {optional}
3 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 package Ramen noodles, oriental flavor
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a skillet over med-low heat.
While butter melts, open Ramen noodles and set seasoning packet aside. Use a rolling pin to crush noodles. 

Add crushed noodles and sliced almonds to the melted butter. Saute, stirring frequently about 7-10 minutes, or until toasted. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
In the meantime, core and chop apple into 1-inch pieces. Chop green onion and cilantro {if desired}.
Combine broccoli slaw, green onions, apples and cilantro in a large bowl.
Combine sugar, seasoning packet, apple juice and vinegar. Whisk in oil. 
Add noodle mixture to the bowl, pour dressing over salad. Stir to combine.
 Refrigerate for several hours and mix well before serving. 
{Yield: 8 servings. This salad gets better the longer it sits. It’s great the next day too!}

Easy Chicken Salad

Everyone loves a good chicken salad. I got this recipe from mom. I’m not going to claim it’s the best chicken salad I’ve ever had {I love a chunky chicken with grapes and celery}, but it is one of my favorites and it’s soooo easy.
2 chicken breasts
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can  chopped green chiles
Brush the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Bake in a 375* oven for 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear.
After you take the chicken out of the oven, cut it into several smaller chunks and allow it to cool.
Place a few chunks at a time in a food processor and process until finely ground. Repeat until all chicken is ground up.
Add 1 cup mayo, 1 can chopped chiles and salt and pepper to taste. 
Mix until blended.
Serve on your favorite bread with your favorite “accessories.”
This is also a great way to use up leftover chicken breasts from a meal!