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Zesty Pasta Salad

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
It’s Labor Day weekend and you know what that means…Cookouts!!

Whenever I get invited to a gathering, I like to have something to bring. There’s just something about coming over to a party empty handed that makes me feel guilty. Should I bring wine? Should I bring a dish? Should I bring dessert?

My go-to item to bring to any cookout or social gathering is my Zesty Pasta Salad.

Zesty Pasta Salad

Before becoming a vegetarian, I used to make this dish all the time including several meats. I would add pepperoni slices, shrimp, and diced ham. It was always a hit. Initially, I didn’t know how to spice up my pasta salad without meat. It took some experimenting, but I finally figured it out.

What I love the most about this pasta salad is that it’s so darn easy to make. The most work you’ll put into making this dish is dicing up your vegetables.

The Mrs. Dash seasoning gives this pasta salad that extra kick and flavor that meat used to give this dish. It has several spices included and is packed with lots of flavor.

I’ve seen several recipes use a variety of different salad dressings, but the Zesty Italian is by far my favorite. I love that garlic, lemon, and vinegar flavors. Give a try. This will surely be a hit at any cookout or social gathering for your Labor Day.

Zesty Pasta Salad

This Pasta Salad is the great dish to bring to your Labor Day celebration.
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 Mins | Total Time: 30 Min
Course: Side Dish | Cuisine: American
Keyword: Side Dish, Pasta, Salad, Pasta Salad, Zesty, Labor Day
Serving Size: 5 servings

12 oz Garden Rotini Noodles
16 fl oz Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
5 oz grape tomatoes
1 1/2 cucumbers
1/2 red onion
2 tbsp Mrs. Dash Original Blend Seasoning

1. In a pot of water of lightly salted water, bring noodles to a boil or until they are tender. Drain your noodles once completely cooked
2. Dice your cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions into small chunks
3. In a large bowl combine your noodles and vegetables together.
4. Add the Zesty Italian Salad Dressing until your desired taste or evenly coated
4. Sprinkle on top the Mrs. Dash Original Blend seasoning mix
5. Set salad in fridge to cool

Blackened Tofu Alfredo

Monday, August 13, 2018
Have I ever told you all that anything with pasta is my favorite? Well...anything with pasta is my favorite. Spaghetti, alfredo, lasagna...I can eat just about any noodle you name.

So of course, when I decided to become a vegetarian I HAD to figure out how to prepare my favorite pasta dish without my usual chicken breasts.

You can mix this recipe up with just about anything. You can use mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli or just anything to give it that extra texture besides noodles and sauce. But, since I've been on a tofu kick lately, I decided to try this dish with tofu.

Now, I wish I could say that I created my own alfredo sauce. But, if you've been following me you know that I'm no professional chef. There's a plethora of homemade recipes out there alfredo sauce, but this mama here needed a simpler approach.

And there you have it! A very simple dinner for those nights where you don't have a whole ton of time, but want something that will leave you satisfied.

Want to add some more green to this dish? Steam some broccoli or asparagus tips. There's no such thing as too much or too little with this dish.

Blackened Tofu Alfredo

Blackened Tofu Alfredo is an amazing meatless pasta dish featuring a spiced tofu.
Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dinner, Entree | Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: Tofu, Pasta, Alfredo, Vegetarian
Servings: 5 servings

16 oz. fettuccine noodles
1 pack extra firm tofu
vegetable oil for coating pan
15 oz Bertolli Creamy Basil Alfredo Sauce
1 tsp of salt and pepper
1 tbsp of Garlic powder
Parsley to top off

1. Take your tofu and wrap in a cloth or paper towel. You can place a plate or pot on top to press the excess water. You will need to get as much moisture out of the tofu as possible. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes
2. Once moisture has been removed from the tofu, you can cut the tofu into little cubes. You can season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I go heavy on the pepper here.
3. Add tofu into a well coated pan. I used oil of my choice. Allow the tofu to cook on each side or until a crispy golden brown. Set aside when done.
4. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add your fettuccine noodles. Allow noodles to cook until soften.
5. Drain the water from your noodles.
6. In your pot, add the noodles and Bertolli Creamy Basil Alfredo Sauce. Allow for sauce to thicken and evenly coat the noodles.
7. Add tofu cubes over top. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy

If you'd like the tofu to be coated in the alfredo sauce, you can also mix in with your noodles and sauce
Add salt and pepper to your liking. I found that one teaspoon was enoug for me

Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
One of my favorite lunches to prepare is my version of a tuna salad sandwich. Instead of using tuna, I go with chickpeas. Now I won’t lie to you all. Chickpeas by no way resemble the texture or taste of tuna. But, it’s a damn good replacement and a great source of protein.

UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted on August 9, 2018. I have added some updates to the recipe 

I love pairing the sandwich with a pickle or even a handful of plain chips. The best part about this chickpea salad sandwich is that you can jazz it up with a bit of everything to your liking. There is no right or wrong way to making it. I personally try to make it as close to the traditional tuna salad as I can. I even like to add a bit of mustard on top for a bit of a tang.

And there you have it. I promise it’s quick, simple, delicious, and filling. If chickpeas don’t do it for you, I have seen some use Heart of Palm for a more tuna texture. Again, this recipe is so flexible that you can jazz it up depending on how you may be feeling for the day.

Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich

This Chickpea Salad goes perfectly for your lunch on a sandwich
Prep Time: 5 mins | Total Time: 5 mins
Course: Lunch
Servings: 4 servings

1 can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1 tbsp Sweet Salad Cubes
1 tbsp Mayonnaise
1/3 cup Finely diced yellow onions
1 Small handful of spinach

1. Open your canned chickpeas and drain
2. Using a food processor or a fork, smash your chickpeas until they become a mashed consistency. Try not to oversmash. Leave some chunks there
3. Add the smashed chickpeas into a bowl and throw in your mayonnaise, salad cubes, and onions
4. Stir everything together until everything is evenly mixed
5. Add to your sandwich!!

You can use raw chickpeas for this recipe, but you will need to soak them overnight prior to preparing