Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

Cookouts and get togethers need a crowd pleasing side dish to compliment the main course. This recipe produces nearly 6 pounds of deliciousness for everyone except vegans. This recipe is American inspired so your Nonna’s true Italian recipe still reigns supreme. But with that said, these ingredients should be easy to find in most USA grocery stores. You can prepare most of the recipe ahead of time and cook the pasta on the final day. Combine everything together and you get one hearty and tasty dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 8 oz mozzarella balls
  • 8oz pepper jack cheese
  • 9oz genoa salami
  • 6oz pepperoni
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ cup halved kalamata olives
  • ½ cup sliced pepperoncini
  • ½ cup parsley

Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe




Directions

First, cook the pasta following the instructions on the package. Typically you should boil 4 – 6 quarts of water. Add salt and the pasta then boil for 7 – 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and allow it to cool.


Slice the cherry tomatoes in half or thirds if they are large. Dice half of a red onion and dice half of a green pepper. Add everything into a large mixing bowl. Add the sliced kalamata olives and sliced pepperoncini. Next, cut the salami and pepperoni into small cubes and add it to the bowl.


Next cut the mozzarella balls in half and add them to the bowl. Cut the pepper jack into small cubes and add to the bowl.


Prepare the dressing by combining the ingredients into a jar then seal the jar. Shake until everything is well combined.


Pour the pasta into a 9 x 13 foil pan. Pour the diced ingredients from the large mixing bowl.
Mix everything together while incorporating the dressing. Top with chopped parsley.




Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Watch How To Make This Recipe





Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Grilled romaine has an excellent flavor and it compliments many dishes. Not only is it easy to make but it’s also quick to cook. You can put these on the grill while you cook some chicken or fish and have yourself an excellent meal combo. If you have leftovers, you can eat them cold the next day. And one thing you must do is add the grated cheese on top. That just takes it to another level!

Ingredients

  • 3 romaine hearts
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 oz romano cheese

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe




Directions

First, preheat the grill at a medium heat and clean the grill grates when hot.


Next, slice each heart of romaine in half lengthwise. Brush both sides with olive oil. Salt the inside with kosher salt.


Place each romaine half open side down onto the grill and cook for 5 minutes with the lid open. After 5 minutes, flip over all romaine hearts and cook for another 5 minutes. Use tongs to check for softness and remove the romaine hearts when they become less stiff.


Squeeze some lemon on the inside area of the romaine hearts. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Finally, top with fresh grated Romano cheese.




Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Watch How To Make This Recipe





Loaded Scalloped Potatoes

Loaded Scalloped Potatoes

Loaded scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin are so good that you could serve them as a main course. In this decadent recipe, we combine a cream sauce from scalloped potatoes with the cheese from potatoes au gratin. And if that is not enough, we added all the favorites of a baked potato. When you hook this up for the holidays, you’ll be the winner winner of your Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. This recipe does require some prep time and you can get this done a day ahead of the cook. And it’s flexible enough to bake at a variety of temperatures. This makes it easy to slip in the oven along with your main course or other side dishes. The combined flavors in this recipe are quite intense. You’ll love the variety of different cheese and dairy products layered in the fresh potatoes and herbs. And a most interesting flavor comes from the chicken broth. Don’t you dare skip this ingredient it is a difference maker!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 – 6 green onions
  • 12 oz bacon
  • 16 oz cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flour

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe



Directions

First, hand shred the block of cheddar cheese. Next, using a super thin guard on a mandolin, slice the white onion. Dice the green onions and mince the garlic. Finally mince the rosemary and thyme. Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.


Next, slice the bacon into bits and fry it in a skillet on medium heat. When the bacon grease starts foaming and the bits are turning brown, remove the bits with a slotted spoon and place them on layered paper towels. Carefully remove most of the bacon grease and leave about 3 tablespoons in the skillet.


Add the thinly sliced onion and continue to cook on medium until the onion becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic and a pinch of the herbs. Next, slowly stir in the flour and combine together for several minutes. Next, add the chicken broth and stir until the sauce thickens. Slowly add the whipping cream followed by a few slices of cream cheese. Stir until the cheese melts into the sauce, then continue to add whipping cream and cream cheese until all is incorporated into the sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes then turn off the heat.


Peel the potatoes, then use a mandolin with a thin blade and slice them. When the potatoes are all sliced up, use a non stick spray or vegetable shortening to grease up a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Add a layer of potatoes to the dish first. Next use a large spoon and cover the potatoes with a layer of sauce. Next apply a layer of shredded cheddar cheese. Add some bacon bits and green onion. Repeat these steps until all the ingredients are used. Be mindful of how much you have left for each item so that each layer has equal amounts of everything. This should make 4 to 5 layers.


Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If you need to cook with other food at a lower or higher temperature this is fine. After 30 minutes use a toothpick and stick it all the way to the bottom of the pan. Feel for the tenderness of the potato slices. If there is a lot of resistance like a raw potato, keep cooking with the foil cover. If there is partial resistance, cook for another 30 minutes uncovered. When the toothpick slides in and out with very little resistance, almost like butter, the potatoes are ready to eat. Sprinkle the top with fresh thyme, some green onions and bacon. Allow it to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.




Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Watch How To Make This Recipe





Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is the standard side dish to all your holiday meals. For this recipe we ditch the usual Campbells cream of mushroom soup and instead make cream of mushroom from scratch. It’s easier than you may think and the flavor is 100 times better. And if you love mushrooms you can mix around various types like white and baby Bella for additional flavor. This recipe is divided up so that you can prep the green beans and mushroom sauce a day or two ahead of the meal. Simply put it all together, put it in the oven and bake yourself an amazing side dish that everyone will love (except for green bean and mushroom haters).

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz white mushrooms
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 oz French’s crispy fried onions

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe



Directions

First, wash then trim the ends off the green beans. Cut the large beans in half. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and boil the beans for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the water from the beans then transfer the beans to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process. The beans should be partially cooked and still crunchy but not stiff. Once cooled, remove the beans from the ice water and place them on a rack with paper towels and let them dry for at least an hour.

Sauce instructions

First, dice the onion into small bits. Mince the garlic cloves. Wash then slice the mushrooms into thin slices. Pull the thyme leaves from the stems and dice the leaves. Next, melt the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms then stir frequently and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, black pepper, then the flour and cook for another minute. Add the chicken broth and reduce the heat to medium. Add the cream and cook for another 25 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Baking instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the beans to a large baking dish. Pour in the mushroom cream sauce and mix the beans to coat them in sauce. Mix in half the container of crispy onions, then mix everything together. Pour the remaining crispy fried onions on top of the beans. Bake uncovered for around 30 minutes.




Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Watch How To Make This Recipe