With summer upon us, lighter dinner options are a must. I am a fan of salad because it’s versatile and a great way to try out new vegetables and incorporate new flavors. Peaches are in season and a great pop of sweet to a summer salad. I also like to pull a few herbs from my planters and go to town in salads and summer cocktails. In this case, it would be great to pair the two together. If you did not give the adult popsicles a try, this would be a nice dish to enjoy it with or a glass of wine. 😉
Peach and basil salad
2 cups of chopped arugula
1 cup of chopped lettuce
1 small peach diced
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 cup tomato
2 tbsp. feta cheese
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped pecans (optional)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. local honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1. Rinse and chop lettuce and arugula.
2. Peel cucumber if preferred, then cut in half horizontally, then make three vertical cuts longwise (scoring the cucumber), then dice.
3. Rinse and slice tomato in preferred size.
4. Rinse peach and score it as if cutting off slices. Then cut in small chunks by cutting horizontally around the peach and removing chunks from pit.
5. Add ingredients to bowl, then top with feta cheese and pecans.
6. Rinse basil leaves then stack and roll to cut them into ribbons. Add to salad bowl or plate.
7. Add ingredients for dressing into a small bowl and mix until honey is dissolved.
8,. Add to salad and enjoy.
Though I’ve heard lots about spaghetti squash and have also tried it, I’ve never actually made it. Mr. Buddy at my local farmer’s market had a sample roasted with marinara and parmesan. I decided to “beef” up my take on it and make a quick and easy Rosemary meat sauce. This is easy to make as a second meal for a crock week so the longer items can cook at once and you will have options during the week. While I typically would make my own sauce, I decided a little store help wouldn’t hurt and would prove helpful for nights that need a quick meal turnaround. If you have a bag of frozen spinach or other leafy greens, add a serving to the bottom of a bowl with a layer of the squash, meat and marinara on top for an easy change to microwaveable leftovers. I hope you find this as enjoyable as I did. Enjoy and share your thoughts.
Meat sauce and spaghetti squash
1 large spaghetti squash
2 cups marinara sauce
1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and scrub spaghetti squash then cut in half longwise.
2. Remove seeds and pulp and put in the oven with a cup of water.
3. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
4. During the last 10 minutes of baking, peel and dice onion and add to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and seasoning and cook until completely brown and tender.
5. Remove spaghetti squash from the oven and flake with a fork to make noodles. Add 1/2 cup or so to each plate, top with ground beef, marinara and sprinkle or grate on cheese.
Who says ice has to be frozen water? Double the fun this Fourth of July with a cocktail that just gets better with time. Since ice not only cools a beverage, but can also water it down, I decided to add some flavor and a kick with the melt. It’s simple, use an ice cube tray or Popsicle trays (84 cents a tray at Walmart) as I did, to make ice of your drink of choice. I went with a pineapple coconut water that I picked up in Trader Joe’s for 99 cents with a half an ounce of vodka, a simple basil leaf and a couple of blueberries for color. These “sicles” freeze in a couple of hours and can be made with any flavors you like or have on hand. This is also easy to make non-alcoholic so that all guests can partake in the festivities. Check out the recipe below for the cocktail recipe.
3 oz of vodka
1 8.45 oz can of coconut water w/ pineapple juice (trader joes)
1 12 oz can of club soda
1 medium lime
4 basil leaves
1 tbsp. blueberries (optional)
1 tbsp. local honey
a pinch of cayenne
1. Add 1/2 oz vodka and coconut pineapple water to each cool gear popsicle container.
2. Rinse and add a basil leaf to each and optional blueberries. Close and freeze until ready to use.
3. In a large glass or martinis shaker, add the juice of half a lime and basil leaves. Crush leaves to release flavor.
4. Add honey, vodka, water and cayenne. Top and shake until well blended.
5. Add a Popsicle to each serving glass, and pour mixture evenly into each glass.
6. Top with soda water and a squeeze of lime.