Not So Amish, Amish Macaroni Salad

So my boyfriend & I usually try and prep a couple meals/sides on Sunday’s before he leaves for the week to head up to work. He’s been telling me about how much he really enjoys picking up Amish Macaroni Salad on his lunch break. Naturally, I decided to try making Amish Macaroni Salad to send with him to help him save a little money. Homemade is always better anyways!

Now I have never actually had legit Amish Macaroni Salad so I was excited to try making it. I didn’t really have a taste to go off of, but I did find a recipe with eggs & cheese in it, two of my favorites. We made it one week & it was good, but I wanted to try changing it up slightly the next week. It’s delicious. Probably not as “Amish”, but it’s a darn good macaroni salad if I do say so myself.

Of course it’s fall & I’m posting picnic items, but that’s just how I roll. I’d make pumpkin pie in June if I had help eating it. Heck, I would drink pumpkin beer year round if someone would just keep the shelves stocked. Who ever said there isn’t a market for fall flavors year round is surely mistaken.

So a pasta salad in September, almost October it is! I hope you all enjoy!


Not So Amish, Amish Macaroni Salad

Prep Time:  30 Minutes                 Total Cook Time: 1 Hour & 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Macaroni (1 lb)
  • ¼ C Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Tbsp Dill Pickle RelishNot So Amish, Amish Macaroni Salad
  • 1 15oz Jar of Light Miracle Whip Dressing
  • 3 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
  • ¼ C Sugar
  • 3 tsp White Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • ¾ tsp Paprika
  • 4 Small Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped – or 3 Large Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 C Colby Jack Cheese, Cubed

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to the directions on the box.

Begin dicing onion, hard boiled eggs & colby jack cheese. Set aside.

Combine dill pickle relish, light miracle whip dressing, yellow mustard, sugar, white vinegar, salt, black pepper & paprika in a large bowl. Combine using a whisk. Once thoroughly combine set aside.

Once noodles are cooked & slightly cooled, combine with dressing, diced onions, chopped hard boiled eggs & cubed cheese.

Cover & chill for approximately 1 hour. Chilling overnight is best if time allows it! Enjoy!

Crispy Capers, Cauliflower & Spinach Pasta

I just got back last weekend from an epic 2 week road trip across the US with my fantastic copilot boyfriend. Our main goal was to return to Utah for a friends wedding, but of course we had to make some fun stops along the way. We went South before heading North, and then back East:  Virgina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arizona, Nevada, UTAH, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois & Pennsylvania (home). It was so fun, but man did I miss cooking. There are only so many gas station sandwiches you can eat before you begin to loose your mind. Road food is fun for a day & then it’s just downright bad. So needless to say, once I was unpacked, laundry was washed & I was starting to get back to my routine, I started scouting out some tasty recipes to try out.

I had around 4,000 frequent flyer miles, sounds like a lot, but of course not nearly enough for a free flight. So what does the airline do with those miles you ask? They offer magazine subscriptions at no cost, simply use my miles for the ones I want. Cool right? Not really, but hey, it’s better than nothing right?!

One of the magazines I subscribed to was Everyday with Rachel Ray. There are a lot of delicious sounding recipes in the magazine, so I’ll take it as a win in the selection book. I have cooked 2 of the recipes in the magazine, adding my little spin on them, of course. That’s where all the fun is, and eating all the food, but that’s a given. In the magazine the recipe is called Cauliflower & Caper Pasta. It’s a really delicious dish. I have been wanting to cook something with capers for a while now. I always loved anything with capers & lemon. The tartness of both just goes so well together with chicken, pasta a lot of things really. So once I saw “caper” in the title, I knew I was going to try it out.

The hardest thing about this recipe is crisping the capers. Now I have never fried anything a day in my life. I’m scared of hot oil, just like I’m scared of the broiler. Dummy me did not have a cover for the frying pan to prevent the oil from going EVERYWHERE once I added the capers to the pan. Learning curve. Needless to say I walked away with only minor oil burns & by minor I mean, just redness for a day and an initial sting. They always say you learn from your mistakes, & yes, yes I did learn from my mistake. So please, if you’re going to make this dish, be EXTRA careful when crisping the capers & the cauliflower. I don’t want anyone else burning their precious hands.


Crispy Capers, Cauliflower & Spinach Pasta

Serves: 5              Total Time: 45 Min.

Crispy Capers, Cauliflower & Spinach Pasta
Crispy Capers, Cauliflower & Spinach Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 5 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 4 OZ Drained Capers (Patted Dry!)
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, Cut into Bite Sized Pieces (Washed & Patted Dry!)
  • 1 C Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 1 Box of Spaghetti, I use Barilla Protein Plus, but any Spaghetti will work just fine!
  • 1/2 C Warm Water
  • 1 C White w/ Lemon Flavor Cooking Wine
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1/4 C Grated Parmesan

Directions:

  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking, cut cauliflower into bite size pieces, wash & pat dry. Drain capers & pat dry.
  • Begin heating up a medium-large frying pan with olive oil on medium heat. Add capers to hot frying pan, BE CAREFUL. If you have a frying pan screen now is the time to use it!
  • Work capers around in pan until crispy, approximately 8 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon & place into a bowl on the side.
  • Begin adding cauliflower florets to frying pan. Work around pan until browned, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  • Add garlic, water, white cooking wine w/ lemon flavoring & fresh time. Combine together & add capers & spinach. Once heated through & pasta is cooked & drained, add to large bowl with pasta being sure to cover all of the noodles. Top with parmesan cheese mixing well. Serve immediately & ENJOY!

Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage

I found this recipe from a blog called Damn Delicious. They served their pesto pasta with a fried egg, which sounds amazing. Who doesn’t like ooey gooey egg yolk all over your food. I do, but egg on my pasta didn’t sound too appealing to me. So I went a slightly different route by adding some chicken sausage to get some protein.

Disregard the 95 word recipe title. Just call it Delicious Pesto Pasta. You won’t be disappointed.


Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage

Serves 6-8           Prep Time 25 Min             Cook Time 15 Minuets

Ingredients

Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage
Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Garlic Gruyere Cheese Stuffed Chicken Sausage
  • 1 Box of Shell Pasta (8oz)
  • 1 Bundle of Fresh Asparagus, Bottoms Trimmed
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1/2 TBSP Minced Garlic
  • 7oz Buitoni Pesto w/ Basil
  • 1 Package of Aidells Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese Chicken Sausage (4 Links)
  • 1/2C Sundried Tomatoes Drained & chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 1 Block Mozzarella Cheese, Diced

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Trim the ends of the asparagus & spread out over a baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt/pepper & minced garlic. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the asparagus are tender & crisp. Remove from oven & let cool before cutting into bite sized pieces.
  • While asparagus are roasting, boil water and cook pasta according to directions on the box.
  • Slice chicken sausage and cook in a frying pan until heated through.
  • Drain pasta once cooked. In a large bowl combine pasta, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, sausage, mozzarella cubes & pesto. Mix until well combined & serve immediately.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta with Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage

I’ve been cooking a lot, which is amazing. Means my soul is definitely happy. Lots of good things happening and lots of great things to look forward to. Life is good to keep it simple, but really, when isn’t life good?

Monday night I came home from work at about 4:15pm our usual return, and the roommate did not have dinner prepared or even thought out. Now we eat dinner extremely early according to some. My dad has his weekly ritual:

  • Leave for work at 7:30am
  • Head home for lunch at 12:00pm
  • Return to work around 1:00pm
  • Head home around 4:00pm
  • Drink a beer or two
  • Eat dinner around 5:15pm

This is every Monday-Friday without fail. Occasionally we’ll stay later at work if we are in the middle of something, or we’ll go in earlier/later. It really all depends, but for the most part this is the schedule and he’s sticking to it.

So my point, it takes some time to prepare dinner & the fact that nothing was done at 4:15pm worried me. I took the bull by the horns and decided I would cook dinner, really had to yank my chain to get me cooking.

I looked in the fridge and saw a lot of spinach. The pantry had a can of artichoke hearts & I remembered that we had purchased some chicken sausage the other week that needed to be used. There’s always pasta in the house & everyone in family LOVES spinach artichoke dip. So I stumbled upon a recipe form a blog called A Life of Flavor to use as an outline and see what I could do with it.

To be honest, I am still dreaming about this dinner 4 days later. If you’re a lover of cheese, spinach, artichokes & pasta you will absolutely love this dish. It’s really easy  & quick to whip up. You will not be disappointed.


Spinach Artichoke Pasta w/ Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 12 OZ Box of Pasta, your choice

    Spinach Artichoke Pasta w/ Roasted Garlic Sausage
    Spinach Artichoke Pasta w/ Roasted Garlic Sausage
  • 1 TSP Butter
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 8 OZ Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/4 TSP Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 14 OZ Can Artichoke Hearts, Drained & Chopped
  • 6-7 Handfuls of Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 Links Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage, Sliced into Bite Size Pieces
  • 1/2 C Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Cook the box of pasta according to package directions.

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions & sliced chicken sausage. The sausage most likely will be fully cooked. Heat until outsides are browned and onions are translucent. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter & add the minced garlic.  Add cream cheese and stir until creamy & smooth.  Stir in the milk and add the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt & crushed red pepper flakes. Once combined and heated through, add the chopped artichoke hearts, baby spinach & shredded parmesan cheese.

Drain the pasta & add the artichoke/spinach mix along with the cooked chicken sausage and onions.  Top with additional parmesan cheese if desired & ENJOY!