Zucchini Corn Tomato Salad

I am always looking for different kinds of salads to make especially in the summer when Farmer Markets and vegetables are in abundance. The varieties of vegetables are endless. My all time favorite vegetables I think are corn, tomatoes and zucchini. The combinations are just so appealing to me. I made this salad when I went on a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago and the salad was easy to travel with – really did not require refrigeration. Great for picnics, hot days, cool days, any kind of day. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Tomato, White Corn Salad
Created 7/25/12 and on 8/9/12 and again and again

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2 white corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob with a knife
3 medium zucchini, diced 
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey or Agave
2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh basil minced, about 10 basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

This salad can be assembled either hot or cold. I have done this both ways. I sautéed the corn and zucchini for a few minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil just to give the vegetables a nice bite of flavor. The sugars come out in the corn and the zucchini seems to have more flavor. 

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, tomatoes and mix well. In another small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients and the balance of the olive oil – 1 tablespoon whisk well. Mix the liquid with vegetables, season with salt and pepper and add the minced basil. Toss gently and serve. 

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Sunflower Seed Avocado Tomato Salad

I do not know about you, but when I hear the word salad, I think greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all the other fresh vegetables that go in a bowl, tossed and drenched in dressing. Today is an overcast, icky day in Columbus Ohio so…… I thought what a better way to cheer up myself on this blah day and make a salad that has bright colors in it. If Mother Nature will not bring me sun today, at least I can create it in my kitchen. I did not have any green lettuce or spinach but I made this salad instead and I am just excited – a different kind of salad. I toasted sunflower seeds and sweet organic corn off the cob, topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, avocados, lightly sautéed zucchini salad with a tad of olive oil. I’m a happy person right now. I am looking forward to trying this again over the summer with fresh farmer market vegetables. Enjoy!

Sunflower Seed Avocado Tomato Salad
Created on 2/21/12

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13 organic cherry tomatoes sliced in half and then quartered
1 small organic zucchini, cubed
1 cup of organic yellow corn, sliced off the cob (frozen will work too)
¼ cup of raw organic sunflower seeds
1 avocado, seed removed and cubed
1 teaspoon of basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil, or other oil you prefer
Salt / Pepper for seasoning

In a small sauté pan, heat up over medium heat 1 tablespoon of oil of your choice and add the corn and sunflower seeds, season the corn and seeds with salt and pepper along with the basil. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes until the corn and sunflower seeds are brown like – somewhat like the color of toast. Remove from the heat and put in a glass bowl. Cool.

In the same sauté pan, which should already have a coating of oil from the corn and sunflower seeds, if not add about ½ tablespoon more of olive oil to the pan. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper, lightly sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes. The zucchini should have a good solid crunch but the raw taste should not be there. Add the zucchini to the bowl of corn and sunflower seeds. Cool.

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Cut up the tomatoes, put in a small glass bowl and season with salt and pepper with a drizzle of oil. Set aside. The salt will help the tomatoes create some juice.

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After the sautéed vegetables are semi-cool, add the tomatoes with the juice and cubed avocado to the bowl and toss lightly. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Serve with whole grain crusty bread.

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Toasted Walnut Spinach Baby Peas Ravioli

I do not eat a lot of pasta because it causes my sugar to rise rapidly but every once in a while I do crave Italian food. I decided to become ambitious one day and attempt to make ravioli for the second time in my whole cooking life. I love spinach in anything so I thought I would try to make spinach ravioli with peas and walnuts. I did not want to use a tomato sauce so I blended up some garbanzo beans for the sauce base and the results came out good. I loved it! I planned my food menu very carefully that day because I wanted this. The dish was such a nice change for me. Enjoy!

Toasted Walnut Spinach Baby Peas Ravioli
Created on 1/6/12

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2 cups of baby spinach chopped – equal to roughly 2 handfuls
1 cup of frozen baby peas, thawed
½ cup of toasted walnuts
1 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced fine
1 package of wonton wrappers, – I cheated did not make fresh
1 cup of Ricotta cheese, can use tofu – very good as well
½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Egg
1 tablespoon of water

In a 350 degree oven, toast ½ cup of walnuts. This takes about 10 minutes depending on your oven. The extra effort to toast the walnuts is worth it. Toasting the walnuts bring out a ton of flavor. Set aside and cool.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until the spinach is wilted. Add the thawed peas and sauté until peas are heated.

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Put the sautéed vegetable mixture in a food processor and cool. Add the toasted walnuts, and pulse a few times. You want the filling to be chunky.

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Add the ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Set aside.

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Crack the egg and mix with the water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Set aside. On a clean board, prepare the Ravioli. This is a lot of work, but so worth it.

Lay one wonton wrapper on board. Add 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of filling. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Cover the filling with the 2nd wonton wrapper. Press seams together, and force any air bubbles out of the sealed wrapper so that the ravioli does not break or come apart during the cooking process. Repeat this process until you achieve the number of Raviolis you want.

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Put the raviolis on a cookie tray and cover with towel or a non-stick surface. Put the ravioli in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This helps prevent the raviolis from coming apart and makes it easier to cook.

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In a stock pot of boiling salted water, add the frozen raviolis one at a time. Cook for approximately 5 to 8 minutes just enough to cook the wonton wrappers and the raviolis float to the top of the stockpot.

Transfer the raviolis to a plate and top with your favorite sauce. In this recipe I used a garbanzo bean sauce topped with sautéed tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.

This is a simple sauce that I use instead of a tomato based sauce. I make it to top over bread or pasta or steamed vegetables. Sometimes, I serve this with sautéed cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. The chunky style kind of reminds me of hummus but without the Tahini sauce and lemon.

Garbanzo Bean Sauce
Created 01/06/12

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté all the ingredients over medium high heat until beans are heated through. Put beans in a food processor or blender and pulsate until chunky or smooth. If putting on bread, I tend to keep the beans chunky. If I am putting this sauce over pasta it can be chunky or smooth, depends on the dish. If it is pasta I will probably keep the bean sauce chunky but if it is ravioli the sauce will probably be smoother.

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Roasted Potato Salad

I was invited to a barbeque potluck recently and wanted to bring something that I would not have to worry about spoiling when sitting out in the warm weather for a long time. I visited the local farmer’s market in Worthington, OH and took advantage of their wonderful spring vegetable picks for my recipe. Fresh herbs, asparagus, baby red potatoes, spring green onions, and garlic were all a part of my creation for this dish. The results were amazing and there was just a little tiny serving left after the night was through. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Salad created 06/11/11

5 lbs baby red potatoes, scrubbed well, cut into bite size cubes

2 bunches of spring green onions, chopped white and green parts both

1 lb of asparagus, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces

4 corn on the cobs, remove corn from cob with sharp knife

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cleaned and halved

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley

8 cloves of garlic peeled and minced

Olive Oil

Salt / Pepper

In a large bowl, combine green onions and potatoes with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, coat well and spread single layer on a cookie sheet or stone. Put in oven @ 425 degrees for about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft and golden color.

Put cut asparagus in a bowl and coat with approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Put asparagus single layer on a cookie sheet or stone and place in oven for about 15 min or less.

Put the cut corn in a sauté pan with about ½ tablespoon of olive oil, halved tomatoes and minced garlic, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes or until tomatoes shrivel a little. Remove from heat and put in a large serving bowl and top with fresh chopped basil and parsley.

Put roasted red potatoes and asparagus in bowl and toss well.

It is possible you may have to add another tablespoon of olive oil (optional).

Season dish with salt and pepper as needed.

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7 Layer Salad Squares

A friend asked me for some appetizer ideas for a family get-together for the New Year holiday. I used to be a Pampered Chef kitchen consultant so I thought I would check out some of the cookbooks and see what I could come up with. I found this recipe that I demonstrated at a kitchen show but really wanted to change the recipe to a more healthier version for my parties. Due to the travel time, there were some ingredients in the recipe that could become spoiled I had to figure out a way to make the recipe travel friendly.

7 Layer Salad Squares
Modified recipe from Pampered Chef on 01/02/2010

2 packages (8 ounces each) low-fat refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese
1 garlic clove minced
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (put bacon on paper towel to drain grease)
1 cup thawed frozen baby petite peas
3 plum tomatoes or ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced Roman lettuce
½ cup (2 ounces) 2% milk fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion

Salad Dressing (need ½ cup of this)
½ cup 2% Fago Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12×15 tray with a lip or a 12 x 15 stone with a lip. Unroll the crescent rolls with the longest side of the rolls to the shortest side of the tray.  Seams of the crescent roll need to be pressed together tightly using your fingers or a mini roller. Bake 12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

In a bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese, ½ cup of the homemade salad dressing, and garlic, mix until completely smooth. I found using a spoon first and then a whisk later helped gets rid of all the lumps. Add half of the crumbled bacon with half the peas in the salad dressing and spread mixture over the baked cooled crescent roll square.

Spread the seeded chopped tomatoes evenly over the salad dressing. Spread the thinly sliced lettuce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the lettuce and the thinly sliced onion.  Cut the appetizer into 24 even squares.

Eat Healthy!

Cook’s Note
The Greek yogurt… I am just hooked on this. I am using the Greek yogurt for recipes that require mayonnaise and sometimes sour cream. It is a perfect match and much healthier for you with really no difference in texture or flavor.

Another Pam’s Tip
Always remember to remove the seeds from tomatoes when using it for appetizers because the seeds cause juice and it could make the recipe very soggy.

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Colossal Chopped Salad

This is a recipe I receieved from my director in Pampered Chef. She made a few changs to suit her taste buds and then I made different changes to meet my tastes. Delicious and easy summer salad without any cooking! Enjoy!

Colossal Chopped Salad
Created on 12/10/09

1 package of whole wheat penne pasta (or any other pasta you prefer)
1 head of romaine lettuce cleaned and chopped up
2 stalks celery chopped
1 large carrot sliced thinly
1/2 medium sweet onion (I found the red-onion too much so I prefer Vidalia onion instead)
1 package grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/2 cup of sliced black olives
1 large cucumber seeded, halved and sliced thin
1 to 2 cups Feta Cheese crumbled
1 package of Lipton Garlic Savory Herb
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 to 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic minced

Dressing:
In a glass container with lid – add vinegar, water and package of garlic herb mix, add minced garlic and oil and shake well, set aside.

Salad:
Cook pasta according to directions and drain well, put in a bowl/platter
Sprinkle on top lettuces, tomato, olives, cucumbers, celery, carrots, feta cheese. Pour dressing on top and toss well.

You could add leftover chicken if prefer but not necessary the salad is great as is.

Makes about 12 servings

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