Garden Fresh Pasta Salad

Garden Fresh Pasta

I haven’t always been a pasta lover.  

In times past I saw pasta only as a vehicle for a grey, pasty, congealed type of sauce with chunks of meat sprinkled in and cooked to oblivion.

And then I discovered gardening.

Garden Fresh Pasta Suddenly I had access to fresh garden tomatoes, sweet white onions, and crisp delicious peppers in every color of the rainbow, My world of pasta changed in an instant.  

Garden Fresh Pasta is one of my favorites. It is a simple meal that can be thrown together quickly. Change up the spices, throw in a few herbs and the possibilities are endless. I love spicy, so when I don’t have any homemade chili oil ready to go, I substitute cayenne pepper instead.  I love the added benefit that cayenne pepper gives to boost my immune system. It’s even better when I’m using my own cayenne peppers I have dried from the garden.

Garden Fresh Pasta Another of the things I love about this salad is the juice from the tomato makes up part of the delicious dressing. So, I pick out the juiciest looking tomatoes I can find. Usually this means a vine ripened tomato like a Beef, or Celebrity variety. A Roma or any Italian variety is usually too dry for this salad. Also, don’t worry about the seeds from the tomatoes. You will want to scrape up every bit of tomato juice for the yummy dressing to cover your pasta and you wont even notice the seeds.

Orecchiette Pasta with garden fresh veggies, feta and toasted walnuts all add up to a wonderful mouthful of delicious fresh flavor. 

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1- 2 tbsp chili infused olive oil or substitute ½ tsp cayenne pepper with 1 -2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 links Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 lb package of Orecchiette (may substitute any shaped pasta)
  • 4 vine ripened garden fresh tomatoes chopped with liquid reserved
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 1 cup chopped colorful peppers (whatever you have available)
  • ¼ cup chopped Walnuts
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped flat italian parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 1-2 tsps sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Lay walnuts on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast walnuts until they start to brown and smell toasted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Cool.
Italian Sausage
  1. Heat saute pan to medium.
  2. Add 1 tbsp chili infused oil (or oil and cayenne pepper)and cook sausage until well browned on all sides and cooked completely through, adding additional oil as necessary.
  3. Remove from pan, cool and slice into ¼ inch rounds.
Pasta
  1. Cook according to directions on package.
  2. Drain pasta in colander and rinse in cold water to stop cooking process.
  3. Pour into large bowl and place in refrigerator to chill while preparing vegetables.
Basil
  1. Place 1½ Tbsp olive oil in saute pan heated on Medium low.
  2. Add chopped basil and stir.
  3. Remove from heat after basil has wilted and turned bright green in color, about 1 minute.
  4. Cool.
Assembling your Salad
  1. Add tomatoes with their reserved liquid, peppers, onions, Italian sausage, olive oil basil mixture, parsley, garlic salt, salt, and freshly ground pepper to the chilled pasta and stir gently.
  2. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toasted walnuts.
  3. Serve immediately.
Notes
Great Tip
Prepare walnuts, Italian sausage, pasta and vegetables (with the exception of the tomatoes, because you want every dip of that juice for your dressing) earlier in the day. This way, your salad will be quick to throw together when you are ready to eat it.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE POST ABOVE ARE “AFFILIATE LINKS.” THIS MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE ITEM, I WILL RECEIVE AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION. REGARDLESS, I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES I USE PERSONALLY AND BELIEVE WILL ADD VALUE TO MY READERS. I AM DISCLOSING THIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING.”

Vanilla Almond Milk

Vanilla Almond Milk

I have never been a big fan of almond milk. I’ve purchased it a few times at the store and every time I was wholly unimpressed. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was. To me it tasted either bland and chalky or sugary sweet.

When I made the choice to cut down on the dairy in my diet I had to rethink my decision. Almond milk could be very useful. I knew the only way I would use it was if I made it myself. I then could control the process and know exactly what went into it.  I wanted all natural ingredients, no added sugars, and it had to be tasty. 

Recipes for almond milk are abundant and making my own proved to be quite simple. With a few ingredients and some simple equipment I made a delicious, all natural lightly sweetened almond milk I love.  Dates and whole bean vanilla combine with almonds to give this vanilla almond milk a wonderful flavor. I can tell you for certain… my coffee has never tasted better. 

Dates and whole bean vanilla combine with almonds to give this vanilla almond milk a wonderful flavor. A simple recipe with all natural ingredients.

 

Vanilla Almond Milk
 
Serves: 3½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • water for soaking almonds overnight
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
Instructions
  1. Place almonds in bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. After almonds have soaked the required time, drain and rinse.
  3. Place almonds, dates, vanilla bean and 4 cups water in blender.
  4. Blend on high for several minutes until almonds, dates and vanilla bean is thoroughly ground.
  5. Strain almond mixture through nut-milk bag into container.
  6. Chill and serve.

Recipe shared with: 

Happiness is Homemade; Tasty TuesdayHearth and Soul Blog HopWonderful Wednesday Blog HopCreative Spark Link PartyOur Simple Homestead Blog HopLet’s Get Real Friday Party

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE POST ABOVE ARE “AFFILIATE LINKS.” THIS MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE ITEM, I WILL RECEIVE AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION. REGARDLESS, I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES I USE PERSONALLY AND BELIEVE WILL ADD VALUE TO MY READERS. I AM DISCLOSING THIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING.”

Rosemary Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips

Rosemary and Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips are baked to perfection for a satisfying crunch. A healthy and whole food treat you can feel good about sharing.

ROSEMARY SEA SALT SWEET POTATO CHIPS

Sometimes I want to eat the potato chip. There is something primal in that salty, crunchy texture that goes way beyond snacking.  The only problem with indulging my cravings is most of the time they are store bought and anything but healthy. Even the so called “healthy” chips have way to much fat and little or no redeeming value. Thus my dilemma; how to satisfy my craving and keep it real all at the same time.

Sweet potatoes are the “hallelujah epiphany” I came up with. 

In doing my research on how to transform these nutritious healthy gems into tasty chips, I wanted to find just the right crunch. I found that everyone had a different answer on how to achieve it. The ingredients were mostly the same but the temperatures recommended varied a lot. And so, I ignored them all and set off on my own journey and I’m glad I did.

Rosemary Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips are spot on; baked to perfection for a satisfying crunch. A healthy and whole food treat you can feel good about eating and sharing, though in my case the sharing is a little more difficult…I want to keep them all to myself.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Rosemary Sea Salt Sweet Potato Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  3. Place 2 tbsp coconut oil into medium sized microwave safe glass bowl.
  4. Microwave oil for 30 seconds to liquefy.
  5. Add sliced sweet potatoes to bowl and stir gently to coat.
  6. Place sweet potatoes onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper in single layer.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together sea salt and rosemary.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt and rosemary over sweet potatoes.
  9. Place sweet potatoes in center of oven (cook one pan at a time if necessary. It's important to have good air flow between the pans).
  10. Close oven door and immediately reduce heat to 300 degrees.
  11. Cook sweet potatoes for 50 to 60 minutes turning pan 180 degrees every 10-15 minutes for even browning. Once sweet potatoes begin to brown, remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  12. The sweet potato chips will continue to crisp up as they cool.

Sun Basket
Rosemary Sea Salt Sweet Potatoes shared with:

Merry Monday Link Party, The Mommy Monday Blog Hop; Tasty TuesdayWonderful Wednesday Blog HopThe Wednesday Round Up; Creative Spark Link Party;Worthwhile Wednesdays; Create it ThursdayLet’s Get Real Friday Party; Foodie FriDIYHappiness is Homemade; Hearth and Soul Blog HopOur Simple Homestead Blog Hop

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: SOME OF THE LINKS IN THE POST ABOVE ARE “AFFILIATE LINKS.” THIS MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE ITEM, I WILL RECEIVE AN AFFILIATE COMMISSION. REGARDLESS, I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS OR SERVICES I USE PERSONALLY AND BELIEVE WILL ADD VALUE TO MY READERS. I AM DISCLOSING THIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING.”

Preserve The Harvest: Let’s Talk Sweet Potatoes

Preserve the Harvest: Let's Talk Sweet Potatoes PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: SWEET POTATOES

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every month with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…Sweet Potatoes.

LET’S TALK SWEET POTATOES

Let’s first clear up a common misconception many have about sweet potatoes…they are not yams. Although similar, sweet potatoes and yams come from two entirely different families. Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family while yams are found to be more closely related to lilies and grasses.  

Sweet potatoes have a variety of colors. Their skins range in color from white to yellow, red to purple and brown. The inner flesh may be white, orange, yellow or orange-red. They are also classified into two categories; firm or soft. Those classified as soft remain soft after cooking and those classified as firm remain firm.

Another interesting note is that here in the United States most of the “yams” we buy are actually sweet potatoes but of the firm variety. Yams can be found but they are harder to come by. The large majority of yams come from Africa, so a good place to look for the real thing would be an international market.

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes WHEN TO BUY 

Sweet potatoes are available most of the year but are harvested in Fall. Buy in October – January for best quality.

WHERE TO BUY

Sweet potatoes can be found in farmer’s markets, health food stores and supermarkets. Choose organic whenever feasible for best quality and taste.

HOW TO CHOOSE 

Choose sweet potatoes that are heavy for their size, free from soft spots, blemishes and sprouting eyes. Handle gently; sweet potatoes bruise easily.

HOW TO STORE

Do not put sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. It is best to store them in a cool dark place with plenty of ventilation. 50 degrees is the ideal temperature. If stored properly sweet potatoes may keep for up to 3 months. If proper storage is not obtainable, buy only what you can consume in a week or consider freezing your sweet potatoes to preserve the harvest.

HOW TO GROW

The Coastal Homestead has an informative step by step tutorial on growing sweet potatoes in 5 easy steps. If you are looking to grow your own, this is a great place to start. Click here—>How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in 5 Easy Steps

Sun Basket HOW TO FREEZE SWEET POTATOES

When freezing sweet potatoes it is good to take a moment and consider what uses you will be using your sweet potatoes for. Choose either the firm or soft variety depending on your specific need. For example; choose a firm variety for soups and stews or a soft variety for mashed and pureed dishes.

Choose good quality sweet potatoes that are similar in size and shape and scrub sweet potatoes thoroughly before cooking. There are several methods that can be used when cooking your sweet potatoes in preparation for freezing. Baking, boilings, steaming, or pressure cooking will all do the trick. Choose the method that works best for you.

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes
 
There are several methods that can be used when cooking your sweet potatoes in preparation for freezing. Baking, boilings, steaming, or pressure cooking will all do the trick. Choose the method that works best for you.
Ingredients
  • Cooked sweet potatoes, partially soft
  • Lemon juice or orange juice
Instructions
Preparing Cooked Sweet Potatoes
  1. Allow sweet potatoes to cool completely. If not peeled, remove skins.
  2. Mash, puree, quarter or slice according to preference.
To Prevent Darkening
  1. If sweet potatoes have been mashed or pureed, stir in 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice to each quart of sweet potatoes.
  2. Dip whole, sliced or cubed sweet potatoes into a solution of ½ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of water.
Freezing
  1. Pack into containers leaving ½ " of room at the top of the container for expansion when frozen or vacuum seal as desired.
  2. Freeze.
Notes
Frozen sweet potatoes will maintain the freshest quality for 12 months or more depending on the packaging. Proper vacuum sealing may extend the storage time considerably.

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Resource links:

Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries

National Center for Home Food Preservation

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes shared with:

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop; Let’s Get Real Friday Party; FoodieFriDIYSavoring Saturday’s; Sunday’s Down UnderThe Mommy Monday Blog Hop; Tasty Tuesday: Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopThe Wednesday Round UpCreative Spark Link Party; Worthwhile WednesdaysCreate it Thursday; Let’s Get Real Friday Party

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”