BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad A Pinch of Joy

BLT Pasta Salad A Pinch of Joy

Five star, family approved.   One serving is all it took.  Wheels and Bytes both rated it  five stars and suggested demanded it be added to our menu frequently.   On our recent trip, I made and served this for several family gatherings.  It was a hit each time! 

The whole thing can be assembled in about twenty minutes. I like to make this salad in the summer because I know I can get two meals out of one short cooking session.  I divide the pasta salad in half and only add the lettuce to the half we are going to eat.  Hide the keeper half in the bottom right hand corner of the refrigerator where tall left handed people never look, if you want it to survive for that second meal.  Add another teaspoon of lemon juice if you like a little zing in the dressing.  I have also made dressing using half sour cream and half mayo, giving a  slightly “softer” flavor (and saving an emergency trip to the grocery).   We grow cherry tomatoes so I  use them instead of seeding and dicing a large tomato.    Cut  larger grape or cherry tomatoes in half to keep them bite sized.   I also like that this uses shredded lettuce.  You hardly know that it is there but it adds volume and therefore reduces  carb and calorie count quite a bit.  Be sure to cook the pasta only until it is al dente – still rather firm when you bite it.  I used shell pasta here because that was what was in the cupboard, but most of the time use bowtie pasta.  Rotini or penne also work with this recipe.

 I have purchased two packages of turkey bacon in my life.  On sale as a buy one get one deal not too long ago.  I don’t remember what I made with the first package but decided there are certain expectations  that can’t be met when you send a turkey to do a pig’s job!  Earlier this summer, I ran across the second package in the freezer with this salad in mind.  The “can’t waste a thing” gene kicked in so I brought the bacon upstairs, thawed it, then  browned it in the skillet.  This wonderful salad surrounded it with all the other good flavors and made it part of the family.  It was  good.  

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BLT Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 16

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

BLT Pasta Salad

Five star family approved. The perfect accompaniment or use as a summer meal. Recipe can be easily doubled for pot luck dish or serving a large group.

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups uncooked pasta, such as rotini, shell or bowtie (half of a 1 pound package)
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and cut in ½ inch pieces (half of a 12 ounce package)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and cut into small pieces to equal 1 –1 ½ cups
  • 6 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 16 ounce package of shredded iceberg lettuce OR 6 -7 cups packed shredded lettuce.

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta al dente, as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool, leave to drain thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, in 10 inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until crisp. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.
  3. Slice, seed and dice tomato. Slice green onions very thinly. Set aside both.
  4. In large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar until smooth.
  5. Add pasta and stir, then gently add bacon, tomato and onions.
  6. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour up to overnight.
  7. Stir in lettuce just before serving.

Notes

Charlene @ A Pinch of Joy

http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2013/08/blt-pasta-salad/

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Fruit Slushie

Fruit Slushie A Pinch of Joy

Last summer we visited my sister Vee.  They were preparing to repair a storm damaged roof and she had a crew of family coming in for the task.  When I asked what I could do to help prepare food for them, she told me to use the bananas on the counter and make a fruit slushie.  As if I knew what that was and made it all the time.  She seemed to think that since I grew up in the same household, I would immediately know what that was and how to do it.  Ummm – noooo.  That’s why the six of us are always teasing about growing up with the “other” family.  Even as brothers and sisters growing up with the same adults at the same address, we don’t have the same experiences.   Once we had ascertained my complete ignorance :-) , she provided me with a recipe card (which looked like she had referred to it frequently!). 

I used hot water to dissolve the sugar.  The concentrate juices were thawed to the point they were soft, but still a bit crystalline.  A quick peel of the bananas  and cut evenly into not quite a quarter inch thick slices.  A can of crushed pineapple with juice.  Crystalline not fully thawed frozen strawberries. Mix, pour into a 9x 13 pan and freeze.   Just that quick!  Vee noted some substitutions their family liked using different fruit or freezing in a different shape.  This is a regular part of their summer rotation for summer meals and snacks.  Kids love the refreshing cold and the fruity flavor.

The roofing crew arrived and swarmed over the roof.  When time to serve, the Fruit Slushie was quickly scooped on to plates and vanished in very short order.   The roof was completed in almost record time.  Had to have been the Fruit Slushie . . . . it IS pretty darn good!  And full of healthy goodness. 

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Fruit Slushie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Fruit Slushie

A fruit filled healthy and refreshing summer treat

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 6oz can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 6oz can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 4 bananas sliced
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed

Instructions

  1. Dissolve sugar in water. Add orange juice and lemonade.
  2. Mix in sliced bananas, crushed pineapple with juice, and strawberries.
  3. *Alternatively you can add or substitute other fruit such as blueberries and/or mandarin oranges
  4. Pour into 9/13 inch glass pan.
  5. Freeze until solid, at least two hours.
  6. When ready to serve, let it set out for 10-15 minutes before attempting to cut.
  7. *Alternatively you can freeze as popsicles. Use paper cupcake liners, a silicone muffin pan or 3 oz paper cups.

Notes

Charlene @ A Pinch of Joy

http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2013/07/fruit-slushie/

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How to create salads your family will love

No more boring salads How to create salads your family will love A Pinch of Joy

No more boring salads How to create salads your family will love  A Pinch of Joy

Green salads are a great addition to any meal.  They are low in carbs and calories but filling so you can eat a lot without going above your daily goal.  They are a delicious way to pack in nutrients.   But like anything else on the table, salads can be boring.  Here’s some ways to beat the boring . . .

Based on a yummy salad we first found at Panera, the strawberry combination above is easily one of our favorite salads.   The base is a spring green mix.  Add a couple of fruits, some nuts and the saltiness of feta cheese.  Yum!  The fruit  changes with the seasons – strawberries for spring, apples for fall, canned mandarin or fresh clementines anytime.  Dried fruit makes an appearance as well, for color, nutrition and flavor.  You can use golden raisins or dried cranberries, flavored or plain.  (Dried fruit has a high carb count, so resist the temptation to over load the salad.)    Nuts can be English walnuts, slivered almonds or pecans.  I love  salads without dressing, but a light raspberry vinaigrette or lemon poppyseed are good dressings for fruit salads.

Raspberry Salad A Pinch of Joy

Raspberries in season are also a great addition to salads.  This salad is waiting for a bit of protein which can be in the form or cheese or meat.  Raspberries are mild in taste so you might want a cheese with a stronger presence like blue cheese to play the flavors against one another.  Or marry the flavors by using  fruit glazed grilled chicken slices as the protein.

You can see a bit of formula creeping in here.  Greens as the base get the supporting role that carries the whole show.  A star for color and flavor.  One or more proteins, such as nuts, cheese, beans or meat,  for nutrition and glucose balance.  A character or two that provides crunch  and texture to the production.   It works for raw vegetable salads too, as you can see below.  The recipe given below can be used as a guide for all sorts of variations!

Vegetable Salad  A Pinch of Joy How to Create a Salad Your Family Will Love

To help with other salad variations, I ran across this wonderful download from the American Dietetic Association.   When I  find that kind of  “this makes sense” information, I pinky-promise that I will share!   You can print or download it to your own computer here, Color Your Plate with Salad.  (No compensation – just passing on what I found helpful.)

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Green Salad with fruit and nuts

Green Salad with fruit and nuts

Ingredients

  • 1 12 ounce bag mixed spring greens
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/3 cup nuts, pecans or walnuts, slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit, golden raisin or cranberries
  • 1 cup sliced, diced fruit

Instructions

  1. Divide clean greens into three bowls for hearty appetites or four bowls for smaller appetites
  2. Add approximately 1 Tbsp feta cheese crumbles to each bowl
  3. Add nuts equally to each bowl, approximately 1-2 Tbsp per bowl
  4. Add dried fruit to each bowl, approximately 1 Tbsp
  5. Top with 1/2 apple, cored and diced. Can also used other sliced fruit, about half cup of strawberries or mandarin oranges, for example.
  6. Dress lightly with poppy seed dressing, approx 1 tbsp, or a raspberry vinagrette.
  7. Serves three - four.
  8. Approximately 140 calories and 20 carbs with dried fruit OR 100 calories and 12 carbs without dried fruit

Notes

Charlene @ A Pinch of Joy

http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2013/07/how-to-create-salads-your-family-will-love/

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing! 

Subscribe by email  on the sidebar or follow on Facebook, RSS feed, bloglovin’ or twitter   using the links here or the blue buttons on the header!   Follow  my pinterest boards here.    If you found this helpful, please share on your favorite network by clicking one of the buttons on the bottom of this post.

 

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