Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Liesa's Throw and Go

My communications with my Aunt Liesa usually go something like this, "What time can we come to the pool?", "What is the temperature?", "What foods should I bring?" Recently, I got a text and photo that looked very similar to the one below. The message was something like, "I made this; it was easy; you should share on the blog."

I didn't have all the ingredients my aunt recommended.  No potatoes, but sweet potatoes.  No Italian dressing mix, but savory herb and garlic.  I figured it was worth a try.  One of the easiest and best meals I have ever made. EVER.

I couldn't keep my mouth shut about it, so lots of my coworkers have tried it with various soup mixes and dressing packets-ranch and Italian were favorites.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4-5 sweet potatoes, quartered (or red potatoes)
  • 2 cans of green beans, drained
  • 1 package of Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb and Garlic soup mix
  • 1/4 of a stick of butter, melted 
  • Optional-chicken broth (a few times I've not thawed my chicken enough so I threw in the broth midway through cooking to keep from drying out the beans and spuds)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a 9 x 11 baking dish; spray lightly with olive oil.
  3.  Add beans, chicken, and sweet potatoes into thirds of the dish.
  4. Top with soup mix or dressing mix of your choice and melted butter.
  5. Cook for 35-45  minutes.

Second time-going with red potatoes


DIFFICULTY: Easy
TIME: 5-10 minutes prep, 30-40 minutes baking time
SOURCE: My aunt










Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tomato and Gorgonzola Pasta Salad

I seriously cannot express how much I love this pasta salad.  The flavors of the arugula, Gorgonzola, and homemade Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette are amazing together.  This uses an entire box of pasta, so you can definitely serve a crowd if using this as a side dish; it would be perfect to take as a contribution to a picnic or another get-together.  (Use whole wheat pasta for an added healthy twist.)  I have also taken the leftovers as a stand-alone lunch.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 16 oz package penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette (click here for the easy recipe)
  • 1 1/4 lb beefsteak tomatoes (I used what I had available), seeded and chopped
  • 4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 (4 oz.) package arugula 
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.  (If you haven't made the vinaigrette, there is enough time to do so while the pasta is cooking.)  Toss together hot pasta and vinaigrette in a large bowl.  Cool.*  
  2. Stir tomatoes and cheese into pasta mixture.  Just before serving, stir in arugula; stir in salt and pepper to taste.
*The recommended cooling time from the original recipe is 30 minutes; I don't always wait so long.  The difference is that the cheese may melt a bit when you add it.


Difficulty: very easy
Time:  about 30 minutes
Source:   Southern Living magazine, July 2014