Broccoli Pasta Salad

The first thing that usually comes to mind when a lot of people hear the word marinade is meat that’s been prepped for grilling. But others who are right at home in the kitchen might add pasta salad to the mix.

pastasaladOne of my favorite pasta salads is one that is comprised of broccoli, artichoke hearts, ripe olives, rotini and feta cheese that is marinated in Zesty Italian Dressing. And a recent sale on broccoli at our local supermarket made me think of Therese’s tasty pasta salad right away.

Per my request, she made a large batch of the salad recently, and we’ve been feasting on it ever since. And the thing about this salad, it gets better the longer it sits.

Broccoli Pasta Salad
1 large bunch broccoli, including stalks, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 16-ounce jar Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 13.75-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts in brine
1 3.8-ounce can sliced pitted ripe olives, drained
½ cup (more or less to taste) of crumbled feta cheese
12 ounces cooked rotini
Mix all of ingredients and marinate overnight. 

Swedish Meatballs

Spaghetti is usually the first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the word meatballs. But those tasty morsels are much more versatile. For example, meatballs can be found in soups and stews or served with sauces.

newermeatballsAnother way to serve meatballs is over mashed potatoes. This is very common in Scandinavia, particularily Sweden. I recently tried my hand with Swedish meatballs, and the result was especially satisfying. We had them with mashed potatoes, of course, and also some baked winter squash, corn on the cob and salad.

Swedish Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef (can substitute venison or elk)
½ pound pork sausage
1½ cups soft bread crumbs
½ cup half and half
½ cup milk
½ cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 egg
¼ finely snipped parsley
1¼ teaspoons salt
Dash pepper
Dash ground ginger
Dash ground nutmeg
Mix meat thoroughly. Soak bread crumbs in cream and milk for about 5 minutes. Cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter.| Mix egg, crumb mixture, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and spices. Add meat. Mix by hand until well-combined. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. (Mixture may be soft, so for easier shaping, wet hands of chill mixture first.) Brown meatballs in 2 tablespoons butter. Remove from skillet.
Next, make gravy by melting 2 tablespoons butter in skillet with drippings. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Add 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1¼ cups boiling water. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add meatballs to gravy. Cover and cook slowly for 30 minutes, basting often. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage is one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. A lot of people simply don’t like cabbage because of the way it smells up the house when it’s cooked. Others find that its commonality with beans unappealing.

cabbageWell, neither of those reasons, nor any others, can deter my love for the leafy green vegetable. No matter how it’s cooked, cabbage is a favorite of mine.

Here’s a recipe I recently came across that looks like it’s right up my alley. It’s for unstuffed cabbage rolls. I’ve always liked cabbage rolls, but sometimes the effort and the time it takes to make them is impractical. This easy and healthy recipe can be prepared in one pot, in a short time, making it perfect for those who are crunched for time.

And to top it off, cabbage is a superfood with lots of nutrients. Among its many other health benefits, it is known for healing stomach ulcers and preventing cancer.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
1½ to 2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small cabbage, chopped
2 14½-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
½ cup water
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook, stirring, until ground beef is no longer pink and onion is tender.
Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.