farm to table

Summertime Salads

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Summertime weather seems to be in full swing here in Kamloops. Has been for a bit now. With the warmer weather we tend to gear more towards easy meals that mostly include the BBQ and salads. We are also blessed to be living in an area that is extremely kind and fruitful to growing gardens. No joke, these garden beds are almost on steroids. Something about the dryer climate makes them flourish. Early. Everything is ready to start picking (and enjoying!) and we haven;t even hit July. This is my third year working on my gardening skills and I must say, every year comes with new lessons. The first year, only plant what you are going to eat. This is also the year I discovered I do not like kale. I hope the Food Bank did as they received A LOT of it. The second year, I learned the importance of spacing and seed quantity control. This year, it almost looks like I have a tiny idea of what I am doing out there. So far so good but one never wants to jinx themselves! Our crop this year includes peas, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, a strawberry patch, a pumpkin patch, cucumbers, and a large variety of peppers. We are big salsa and ‘mexican night’ people so it’s important to have a nice selection of peppers ranging from sweet to mild to burn your booty off. With all of these fresh veggies it of course leads me to looking at new recipes and different ways to use them. Enter Pinterest, as usual. So today I want to share with you not only some fantastic summer salad recipes but also some dressings – many of these can be used as a marinade too. It’s kind of a let your senses guide you situation in my kitchen with very little rules. I often go with my gut and maybe I just have a husband that loves all of my cooking, but things tend to go over pretty well. Now if I could just get my extremely picky children on board. If you have a toddler that eats salad, applause to you mama!

Garbanzo Summer Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing – I can’t wait to try this one! It looks like a hot mess with all of my favourite friends. Perfect to compliment any meal and looks like a great potluck option.

Honey Mustard Chicken Avacado & Bacon Salad – Ok this one is amazing. My mouth is watering just reading the ingredients. This link has a huge collection of healthy recipes to try out but number one on the list is the one I am referring too.

Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad – I am not crazy about spinach but I like the sounds of this one. Cranberries are the best addition to salads.

Tomato Basil Avocado Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette – YUM. That is all.

Thai Noodle Salad – I often forget salads don’t have to be composed of lettuce. This is a great ‘side salad’ for asian infused meals.

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Baked Spaghetti Pie Time

Hope you all had a great week – Happy Friday! Since having a baby, gone are the days of going out Friday night for cocktails and dinner. I love those E-Cards that say: ‘TGIF! Oh wait, I am a mom.’. So true! However, in our house we tie cocktail hour into making dinner and try to have fun with it every night. Tonight’s special was Via Italia style. One of my all time favourite meals is spaghetti but when I was¬†searching Pinterest to spice up a regular meal, I came across all sorts of variations to ¬†your run-of-the-mill noodles and sauce. Ladies and gents, I give you Baked Spaghetti Pie! This one is a winner and I suggest you try it at home as soon as you can.
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After looking at many recipes, I decided there is really no way that you can fail at this dish, and no reason you need to limit your ingredients. Luckily I had been to the Farmer’s Market yesterday and happened to have everything I needed. I suggest sticking to your favourites when it comes to sauce, spices, condiments and oil. Try to opt for fresh ingredients when possible like green peppers, garlic and red onion. Oh and don’t forget the steroid sized green onions!

Steps To Pie Awesomeness: (Not sure why exactly it is referred to as a pie but that is okay!)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Boil noodles as you usually would. Spaghetti noodles are perfect however I used fettuccine and really any pasta noodle would be ideal.
Brown your beef in a frying pan with oil, adding your chosen vegetables and spices once the beef is cooked. I added diced green peppers, green onions and red onion, garlic flakes, chilies, salt and pepper. In a separate dish I mixed together my pasta sauce, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Throw that into the beef and veggie mix as well. In a casserole dish, pour a bit of olive oil and layer your noodles. Grate cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Pour your beef and veg mix evenly over it and then add more cheese. If you eat in this house, you cannot hide from cheese!
Bake in the oven for twenty minutes and the top of your ‘pie’ is bubbly and golden. Put on some sweatpants and serve with garlic bread…. and a bottle of red wine if you feel so inclined. Bon appetite my friends!

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