Hearty whole wheat pasta salad

For all the nay sayers and anti-whole wheat pasta folks who say it’s nasty, I disagree and challenge you to try this recipe. Haahaa!

1 16 oz. box of whole wheat pasta
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper (optional)
1 yellow pepper (optional)
3-5 fresh garlic cloves minced (depending on your love for garlic
2 medium size zucchini (quartered or diced)
6-12 cherry or another small tomato variety
1 15.5 oz. garbanzo beans (drained & rinsed)
1- 2 Tbs. granulated garlic powder to your taste
1-2 Tbs. fresh ground black pepper to your taste
1/4 cup of olive oil (I prefer garlic roasted olive oil, but plain olive oil will do)
1 cup (approximately) Lawry’s perfect blend chicken & poultry rub (I’m not sure how much I use, I just continue to add the rub until I like the taste.  You do the same.
1/2 cup red wine vinaigrette

Boil a pot of water with a dash of olive oil.  Add 1-16 oz. box of whole wheat pasta.  Follow package instructions.  Drain well and set aside.  Thoroughly wash and dry peppers, garlic, and zucchini. Chop/dice up peppers, and fresh garlic and toss in dish or bowl that will hold your pasta. Chop or quarter fresh zucchini and toss in the same bowl. Drain and rinse beans under cold water and add to bowl.  Add drained pasta and stir well.  Add olive oil and stir.  Add garlic powder and pepper and stir.  Add Lawry’s  to taste.  Add red wine vinaigrette and stir well. Continue to taste and add whatever spices to make the dish perfect for you.

Variation:  Grill, broil or bake 1-2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts.  Use Lawry’s Season Salt  or Adobe All Season Salt, garlic & black pepper.  Cool chicken.  Cut into cubes and add to pasta.  The chicken adds protein and makes the dish hardy.

Disclaimer:  I don’t measure my ingredients, but I am working on this. Taste buds vary. What tastes flavorful to me might be a tad bit too spicy for you, so I recommend that you use less of the spices first then gradually add to your liking.


Saturday kitchen marathons

This was my third consecutive kitchen marathon Saturday. I nicked named it that because, with the exception of attending my son’s Pee Wee football games Saturday afternoons, I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner all day Saturday for the upcoming week.

Saturday I cooked black beans with smoked turkey in the crock pot. The beans soaked Friday night and after parboiling the smoked turkey legs with fresh garlic, and a few other seasonings, I removed the skin and bones, and tossed the turkey in the crock pot with the black beans, onions and other spices. I’d be lost without my crock pot.

I enjoy fresh vegetables, so I took two large heads of cabbage and shredded them. Then I sliced three large Vidalia onions. Instead of sautéing them stove top, like I usually do, I put them in a large tin baking pan. I seasoned them with Lawry’s all season salt, olive oil, black pepper, and a little of the juice from the smoked turkey legs and tossed them in the oven. Yep! In the oven. Thanks for oven tip Butch! I cooked them in the oven on 350 degrees for about an hour or so. Cooking them in the oven was so much easier and relieved me of standing over the stove and having to wash another pot.

I also slaved over five pounds of homemade mashed potatoes. Hubby was leisurely walking around the house, so I put him on potato duty and had him peel the potatoes. He didn’t look thrilled about his contribution to dinner, but he didn’t complain and very nicely peeled them.

On to the turkey loaf– A couple of pounds of ground, freshly diced garlic, red, yellow, and orange peppers, whole wheat bread crumbs, crushed red peppers, a few other spices and a new special ingredient that a friend gave me that made the work all the worthwhile. The sauce is a Pineapple, Coconut, Mango, Tequila Sauce and is unbelievably smack your momma good! It’s all natural and gluten-free (makes up for the smoked turkey legs). I mixed the sauce in with the loaf and poured a little on the top. I covered the loaf and tossed it in the oven. OMG! My loaf had a completely new flavor that delighted my taste buds!

Tomorrow I’ll make a couple of cups of brown rice in the rice cooker, and we’re pretty much set for the week.

Are we eating left overs? Yes! Am I tired from all the cooking? Yes!!! The good news is that I don’t have to cook again until next weekend. I might steam some fresh vegetables later in the week, but that’s a quickie. So while I despise spending so much time in the kitchen on Saturday, I am not stressed during the week by simultaneously trying to cook dinner, walk the dog, help my son with his homework, and getting him to football practice on time.

All that cooking yesterday freed me up today to do two things that I haven’t done in a while.  Take a nap and update my blog. Yeah, finally!  Both felt good.

Forrest Gump was right, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!” Just when I had my old routine down pat, our son started a new school, so I’ve had to figure out a new system.