Hawaiian Macaroni SaladAt a fun potluck, my neighbor Shelia brought this wonderful salad. This recipe is unique because the grated sweet onion and relish sets it apart from other macaroni salads. If you don’t have sweet onion, then substitute with 1/4 of a regular onion and then add a ¼ cup of sugar. Some variations to the recipe can also be by substituting peas, green onion, chopped ham or even tuna.
Rice a Roni Chicken SaladRecently Dave and I visited our friends Mike and Lori for a barbeque in Poulsbo, WA. I worked with them at the US Army Corps of Engineers when we lived in California. This salad was one of the sides they served. Mike said his mother used to make this for the family when he was growing up. It’s a great summer salad, delicious and easy!
PestoThis thick summery sauce is a blend of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and aged parmesan. However, the ingredients can be versatile. I have used what fresh herbs, nuts and aged cheese I have at home. If you don’t grow your own fresh herbs, they can usually be found in abundance at a farmer’s market in the summertime. Traditionally, a couple heaping spoons full are mixed with some prepared pasta as a wonderful side dish. But you can also put the pesto in soups, on crusty bread, in salads and on chicken or fish. See my October 2021 Newsletter for the history of pesto!
Indian Chicken and Jumbo Shrimp CurryThis Indian chicken and jumbo shrimp curry is delicious. Curry itself is considered to be a sauce that is combined with different types of meat, fish and/or vegetables. I learned to like curry when my college girlfriend Lori and I were studying at the University of London. Our host mother taught us how to make Indian dishes such as this and Naan bread. What is really the best news is that, despite the heavy cream, curry is very good for you!
Basil and Walnut PestoThe classic basil pesto is made with pine nuts and either Romano or Parmesan cheese, but you can substitute. This Basil and Walnut Pesto recipe uses roasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. Basil is a strong and aromatic herb where a little goes a long way. You can substitute half the basil with fresh spinach leaves though the flavor will not be as strong as using all basil leaves. In a pinch when I did not have basil or spinach, I have used Cilantro as a substitute.
Ragu alla BologneseThis is one of my favorite Italian meat sauces. I think the sweetness of the onion and carrots add to the distinct flavor of this dish. The Ragu alla Bolognese is a slow cooked sauce and a specialty from the town of Bologna in central Italy. Typically they serve it with a flat pasta such as pappardelle or fettuccine. Mangia!
Donna’s LasagnaDonna Papanicolas is a good friend of mine here in Newark, Delaware. She and her husband run a nice Greek and Italian restaurant in town called the Mediterranean Grille. When Dave is away flying, from time to time I have enjoyed having a bite to eat in their restaurant before heading over to the movie theater. One time I came in and they were featuring her lasagna. I ordered two servings to take home. Dave and I thought it was the best lasagna we have ever had. Donna’s Lasagna has the best of both worlds as she overlaps not only the noodles but also the mozzarella cheese so the layers are sealed in for a nice cross section when you take a bite. I asked her where she got this recipe and she said it was her Mothers. Her husband, Akillas told me recently that it was Donna’s beautiful hair style and her lasagna that cinched their relationship let alone that Donna’s mother was a special person according to her new son in law. Enjoy this special recipe!
Bajan Macaroni PieWhen Dave and I took our trip to Barbados, we were curious about what Bajan food would be like. Our hotel offered a Bajan buffet by the pool and we were excited to try the local cuisine. The macaroni pie was one of our favorite dishes. The staff said the secret to the recipe is the New Zealand cheddar cheese which is made from grass fed pasteurized cow milk and tastes both buttery and smooth. It may seem curious that mustard and ketchup are in this recipe. But some of the key ingredients spice wise include turmeric and vinegar, which are in mustard. Also, sugar and tomato so ketchup does the trick. There is no doubt that Bajan macaroni pie is a delicious staple in Barbados!
Three Bean Pasta SaladThe reason why I love this recipe is that it combines two dishes that are delicious. First a pasta salad and then homemade three bean salad. This is a simple and healthy side that you will enjoy!
Easy Shrimp Fried RiceThe funny thing about fried rice is that it really isn’t fried. Just a minimal amount of oil is used. And even though I really love shrimp in fried rice, you can use any protein you want (leftover pork, chicken or steak). This easy shrimp fried rice is a quick lunch or dinner for your friends and family. And it is a wonderful way to use left over rice and vegetables. I even make it on our boat as it’s that fast to pull together. In a pinch, if I am out of soy sauce, believe it or not Worcestershire sauce works just fine. I also find with shrimp in fried rice, some cubed pineapple accompanies the dish very well. Enjoy!
Lasagna RollsThough there are a fair amount of ingredients for this lasagna rolls recipe, I love the simplicity of making the dish and that each serving is filled-up with a single lasagna noodle. Without a doubt, lasagna is a popular Italian dish around the world. Originally, lasagna was named from the Greek word “laganon” or known for layering pasta and sauce. Recently, I had the Greek version of lasagna called “pastitsio” which is layered with penne pasta (tube shaped), ground sirloin, eggs, onion, garlic, cinnamon, tomato basil sauce and a parmesan cheese sauce. Conversely, the Italian version comes from the Bologna region and is made with only one cheese… Parmigiano-Reggiano. Unlike my version, this authentic recipe includes a buttery béchamel sauce which makes the lasagna taste like “the food of the gods”!
SpätzleSpätzle can be referred to as small egg dumplings but usually more as a pasta because of the ingredients and it’s boiled in water and not broth. This is a popular dish in many European countries including Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary. One of my favorite memories of spätzle was when Dave and I were in Vienna a few years ago. It was springtime, so spargel (white asparagus) was in season. At dinner one evening, I ordered spargel and spätzle with a hollandaise sauce. And that was a satisfying meal. I also like that this is so easy to make. You can pair this with any entrée and its common to have with pork or wiener schnitzel.
Spaghetti CarbonaraAfter the US liberation of Rome in 1944 towards the end of WWII, Spaghetti Carbonara was the American Officers most requested dish. According to La Stampa, the Italian newspaper, the name carbonara is loosely derived from a hearty dish that was fed to Italian charcoal workers or the “coal miners spaghetti”. This is without a doubt my favorite pasta dish. I first had it at home in Germany when I was in high school. My mother made it after ordering the carbonara in a local Italian restaurant. This basically is a breakfast pasta you can have any time of the day and it’s easy to make. I love it with a light salad. And the leftovers (if there are any) keep in the fridge well for several days. Just reheat in the microwave. Serves 4.

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