Spinach Dill Pasta Salad

Summertime means pasta salad to me.  Its quick, easy and uses all the great vegetables you get from the garden or the farmers markets.   The most important reason I love this dish is you only need to use one burner.  No oven needed!  Where I live that is very important on those 100+ degree days of summer.
Some of my favorites to pick  up at the farmers market are spinach, fresh dill, celery, baby yellow crookneck squash and zucchini.  I always have pasta, olives and pickles in the cabinet.
SpinachDillPastaSalad- MeasuringSunshine

These are the ingredients I begin with:
1 box -16 oz pasta
1 can 6.5 oz sliced olives
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt- or to taste
1 tsp pepper-or to taste
2-3 stalks of celery- diced
2-3 large dill pickles-diced
2 tbsp fresh dill- chopped
small handful of carrots- these you can grate or chopped
Then I start adding any other vegetables I have that day:
1/4 lb of fresh spinach, chopped
1 medium zucchini -chopped
1-2 baby yellow crookneck squash-chopped
Green onions
Tomatoes

Boil the pasta, depending on what type you want to use -read the box on how long to boil it.  I will usually cook it 1-2 minutes less than it says, but I like it firm but not crunchy. Cook the pasta how you like it best.
While the pasta is boiling, just start chopping and dumping in a big bowl.  Chop-dump, chop-dump………..
About half way through chopping the pasta should be done- drain and let cool while you finish chopping.
When you are done chopping all the other ingredients, dump the  cooled pasta into the bowl with everything else.
Add the mayonnaise and all the spices.  If the pasta doesn’t look moist you can add either more mayo or a little pickle juice.
SpinachDillPastaSalad- MeasuringSunshine

This dish works well if you are going to a BBQ.  I just put the chopped veggies in a big, take a big bowl, put the wet ingredients and the spices in plastic bowl with a lid and put it all together when I get to the event.

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak-This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.

Salisbury Steak

This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn’t enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.  I know, it sounds old fashioned but this meal is filling and cheap to make and it will feed a crowd.  When its cold outside this dish will warm up the insides.
This is one of the first dinners we have at the beginning of the winter.  It’s pretty easy to make and is ready in a little over an hour.
I have taken these to family friends homes for the buffets and frozen it for meals in the future.
Ingredients:
2 lbs hamburger- I normally use 80/20 but I have also used turkey and 90/10.
4 cloves to however much Garlic you want-grated
sliced celery
salt/pepper
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Bread or Crackers
Eggs
32 oz. Beef, Mushroom or Vegetable broth
2-4 tbsp of butter or olive oil
2-3 sliced onions, or 1-2 lbs of sliced mushrooms or both or adjust amounts for your tastes.
Flour

Salisbury Steak-This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
Add the garlic, Worcestershire,salt and pepper to the meat, don’t mix yet.
You have a couple choices now.  You can either moisten 3 pieces of bread with milk or crunch up 10-12 crackers.  I use Ritz but if I’m out of them I am not opposed to using another type of cracker.  I have used multi-grain, soda, or whatever I have handy.
Then add 2 eggs.
Mix with your hands as quickly and gently as you can.    Shape into patties.

This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
Start frying patties on medium heat.  We don’t want them to be done- just browned on both sides.  As they brown put into a casserole dish.
Salisbury Steak-This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
After the patties are done, slice up a couple to onions and saute in the same pan, you might want to drain the fat and add some olive oil or butter.
This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
After the onion or mushrooms or both are almost done,  add the flour and cook for a couple more minutes as you stir.  Then pour over the patties in the casserole dish.
This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
Add the beef, mushroom or vegetable stock over the the onions and patties.
Slip into the oven and get comfy or make mashed potatoes or rice.  (We’ve even eaten these over big pieces of bread)

It needs to bake for about 40 minutes.

This will make enough for 6-10 people depending on how big you make the patties.

 

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce

This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce.
You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal.
I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.
Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce. This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce. You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal. I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.

I always have several 28 oz cans of San Marzano Tomatoes in my pantry. I buy them when they go on sale.
You don’t have to use San Marzano, any  type of canned tomatoes will work but you will need to add about 2 tsp of sugar if you don’t use them.  The San Marzano’s tend to be a little less acidic and slightly more sweet.
This sauce can be used as spaghetti sauce, lasagna sauce, or any other Italian recipe sauce.  I have used it over eggplant, chicken breasts, etc.

1-2 onions- diced
2 stalks celery-diced
10-15 cloves of garlic-chopped- depending on your love of garlic.
2 lbs of 80% Hamburger meat
2-4 tbsp of Italian herbs-you can buy the mixture or mix you own. (thyme, basil, oregano)
1-2 tsp of dried red chili pepper-
2- 28oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes, doesn’t matter if they are whole, diced or pureed.
Couple good squirts of tomato paste.  I have a tube in the refrigerator, or use 2 tbsp of can paste.
Mushrooms
Zucchini
6oz can of black olives
salt and pepper to taste.

Start by saute’ing the onions and celery, cook for 5-7 minutes, add the hamburger-chop it up as it cooks so it ends up being very small chunks.  Cook until the burger is almost done and add the garlic, herbs and chili peppers.  Add the tomatoes and paste.  Simmer 5 minutes.
Spaghetti Sauce-Measuring Sunshine-This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce. You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal. I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.
While the sauce is simmering, you have time to chop up whatever fresh vegetable you have to add to the sauce.  I generally have mushrooms and zucchini hanging out in the refrigerator.  I chop up a can of black olives  and pour about 1/3 of the juice from the can into the sauce. Add a  little water if it looks a little thick.
Spaghetti Sauce-MeasuringSunshine-This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce. You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal. I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.

Let the sauce simmer until the vegetables are cooked.  Usually about another half hour.

Serve over any type of pasta.

This is my Spaghetti sauce that pleases everyone. You can make a small batch or a huge batch. All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.

I normally keep the sauce separate and reheat as I need it.  This is perfect to take for lunches to work.

Add a little Parmesan or mozzarella cheese- garlic bread.

Quick and Hearty Chili with Beans

Quick and hearty Chili with Beans is always a winter favorite.  This chili is fast and easy to make.
I have heard the argument that its not really chili if it has beans.  However, my family feels that its not chili without the beans.
So I guess its just where you were raised and the type of chili you grew up eating.
This is my version of quick and fast chili…………..most of the things I use are already in my cupboards.
It takes from start to finish about 1 and 1/2 hours.  This recipe is enough to feed 10-12 hungry people.
Quick and hearty Chili beans.
I will normally serve with cornbread and condiments like, chopped onions, grated cheeses, avocado’s and even sometimes with corn chips, tortilla chips and my son’s  favorite is chilidogs.
I do have to admit I cheated, I did not soak the beans, I ran by my local big box store and picked up the ready to use giant can.

Ingredients:
3lbs. ground beef ( I have also used ground turkey)
3 large onions(chopped  in a food processor)
8 cloves of garlic(chopped with the onions)
2-7 oz cans of roasted green chilies, I use mild ones.
8 oz of dried chilis- (the ones you see in packages all over the grocery store)
6lb 12 oz can  of beans, I used kidney beans but you can use pinto or navy, or a mixture of your favorites.
28oz can of diced tomatoes
salt & pepper
about 3 tablespoons of cumin
about 1/2 cup of chili powder
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
2 tablespoon of garlic powder
Quick and hearty chili with beans.
Start with the dry chili  peppers- tear the stems and take out most of the seeds.  Then simmer in pan with about 2 cups water.
In a big pot start cooking the hamburger on medium heat, when its about half way cooked, add the chopped onions and garlic……… finish cooking.
When the burger is cooked you can scoop the fat out, or not, up to you.  Depending on the % of fat in the burger you use.
Now start adding the spices, the cans of green chilies, tomatoes, and the beans(drain and wash)… have it simmer on medium low while you puree the dried chili’s in a processor.
Pull the chili’s out of the water and puree, then add to strainer and push the creamy stuff through and leave the skin and seeds. It helps to pour the water you simmered them in over the top of the leftover bits and pieces. Add this to the chili…….. this should be enough liquid for the chili to simmer for about half hour.

If you don’t want to use dried chili’s that’s okay, just add more cumin and chili powder.
Quick and easy Chili

I usually taste the chili and adjust the seasoning.  Everyone like chili a little different and so add more or less of any of the seasonings.
While the chili is simmering you can chop up some onions, grate cheese, chop olives,  find the sour cream, corn chips, make some cornbread.  Whatever you want to have with the chili.

Quick and hearty Chili with beans

Easy Wonton Soup Recipe

This wonton soup was easy to make and so delicious.  My favorite soup is Won-ton soup and I can never get enough of it.  After doing a little research……. and by research I mean that I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant and ordered the won-ton soup. I wrote down everything I could identify so I could attempt it my self.

easy wonton soup is easy and healthy . It has shrimp and homemade wonton.

This soup is better than my favorite Chinese restaurant soup, why? The ingredients are fresh and crisp and I was able to add more of my favorite ingredients. The aroma in the kitchen as you make it is so delicious your mouth will water.  This soup is so healthy and by adding more or different ingredients you can make it even more so. It turned out so amazing……..if I do say so myself.

I have to admit I was pretty scared to try this.  I’ve never made homemade won-tons before, and I was just a little nervous about it.
I went to the grocery store to decide what I wanted to put in my soup and even though I couldn’t find fresh snow peas it did turn out great.

You will need:

1 package won-ton wrappers- 12 oz.
For the won-ton filling:
2 chicken breasts- about 1 lb.
one bunch of green onions-you’ll only need 2-3 for the filling
4-6 gloves garlic-I will most likely put more in next time- but I am a garlic-oholic.
3 slices of fresh ginger- I peeled the ginger and cut 3 thin slices off of it.  (You really need to like ginger-or add less)
2 stalks of celery
2 mushrooms- any kind will work
1 tbsp of soy sauce

For the broth:
3-4 chicken broth containers(low sodium)- I used 48 oz containers.
1 bunch bok choy-wash and chop(not too small)
3 stalks of celery- sliced thin
3-5 carrots- slice thin disc’s
1 slice of ginger- this is only going into the pot until it boils-then you need to fish it out.
1/2 can of baby sweet corn-found in the oriental section of the grocery store, or you can use the whole can-up to you.
1/2 lb of shelled shrimp
3 mushrooms-sliced- I think this could use a couple more.

Okay………….. get everything out and ready to work on.

Filling:

Get the food processor and add the mushrooms, celery, green onions, garlic and ginger-chop until small but not pureed.  Chunk the chicken up and add to the processor-chop. While its whirling around-add the soy sauce.  Done.

Get a cutting board and dust with a little flour- very little.  Get a little bowl and put some cold water for dipping fingers into.
Get one wrapper- lay flat- dip fingers in water and dampen all edges- I have to admit- I was not very careful- the whole thing pretty much got damp.  Add 1/2 tsp-ish into the middle, fold in half. Squish the edges together, point the top edge toward you.
homemade chicken wontons, quick, easy and delicious
Roll towards and then fold in half into the middle.
homemade chicken wontons, easy and delicious

Not a very good picture but I had icky fingers and I was only using one hand.
Warning- do not stack on top of each other, they will all stick together.
Meanwhile- open the broth and add to a big pot- start heating on medium high.  Chop the celery, carrots,slice the mushrooms, and 1 glove garlic and slice 1 disc of ginger and add to the broth.

Finish making the won-tons, set aside while you chop all the other ingredients. Clean and prep shrimp.
healthy wonton soup ingredients, fresh, healthy and delicious.

When the broth is boiling- add the won-tons and stir gently.
Then after a couple of minutes(about 4 min.) add the other ingredients to the pot.
simmering wonton soup, healthy, easy and delicous
Bring to boil again and boil for 4-6 minutes- then turn down to simmer for a couple more minutes.

If you look really carefully at the bowl you will see one of the first won-tons I wrapped- they looked like a little envelopes.  Not pretty, but they did stick together.

Easy wor won-ton soup recipe, healthy, fresh and delicious

 

 

Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Garlic risotto

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

Warm and Satisfying

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms.
This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

Ingredients:
roast a bunch of garlic-I will usually roast 20-30 cloves of garlic at a time and use a bit at a time. My bit is most likely more than most normal people.
You can use freshly grated garlic if you don’t have time to roast any before you start cooking.
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 and 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms-what ever type you prefer- I use crimini mushrooms-they seem meatier to me.
1 cup risotto
4 cups of warm broth-any kind you like- on this recipe I use whatever was already open and in the refrigerator.
( if you don’t quite have 4 cups of broth you can add water to equal the 4 cups.)
2 tblsp butter ( do not use margarine)
1/2 -3/4 cup shaved parmesan- and more for the top.

Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Start with a deep fry pan, heat the olive oil on a slightly higher than medium heat. (my electric is at 6ish)
2. Add the celery and mushrooms and saute for about 6-7 minutes. (I add a little salt and pepper now-but not too much)
3. Add the risotto and stir together to make sure the olive oil coats the risotto, add the garlic now.
4. The risotto will begin to cook and you can smell a slightly nutty aroma.
5. While that is cooking, heat the broth to more than warm but not quite hot. ( I use a microwave to do this as it takes all of 3 minutes)
6. So now its time to start adding the warm broth to the risotto, (look at the clock- it will be just about 18 minutes from the time you start to add the liquid) add about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir it, let it bubble, stir, add more liquid, stir, bubble, stir, add, ya get the picture.

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

7. Let the liquid absorb between adding and the stirring.
8. The risotto will begin to swell, at about 16 minutes in I will pull a piece out and check the tenderness.
(I add a little more salt and pepper now…)

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

9. If its almost tender, let the rest of the broth be absorbed, but don’t let it get dry.
10. This is about the time to add the butter.

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

11. Keep stirring gently. After the butter is melted and incorporated it will look begin to be thicker and creamier.
12. Add the Parmesan….

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

You can turn off the burner and stir in the cheese.  Let sit for a couple minutes and its ready.

Creamy warm risotto, loaded with roasted garlic and sliced mushrooms. This risotto is hearty, it can be a side dish or a main dish.

Serves about 4-6 people

Time: 5 minute to prep.  25 minutes to cook

Total time: 30 minutes