Super Easy Pasta Salad

It is summertime and one thing that means is simple meals and there is nothing better than salad. I try to keep either salad ingredients if not some sort of salad in my fridge at all times. Pasta salads are a quick go to and are great for light filling meals. My Super Easy Pasta Salad definitely fits the bill. It has a great balance of pasta, meat, veggies and cheese. How can you go wrong when there is cheese involved?

My Super Easy Pasta Salad is an extremely easy to make pasta salad. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have made it over the years. It is always a huge hit at potlucks and i’m always asked for the recipe.  When I tell people the recipe they are always shocked at how easy and good this recipe is. Sure, you could make your own dressing but this recipe uses store bought for the easy factor.

Make it for yourself and see how good it is!

Super Easy Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 13oz bags frozen tortelenni (cooked per package directions)
  • 16oz diced ham
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup tomatoes (diced roma’s or halved grape tomatoes)
  • 6oz baby spinach
  • 16oz whole milk mozzarella, diced
  • 2.25oz can sliced black olives
  • 14oz bottle Zesty Italian salad dressing (I typically use Kraft)
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese to garnish

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except salad dressing.
  2. Add enough dressing to coat. Somedays I use the whole bottle, others almost the whole bottle.
  3. Garnish with shredded Parmesan.

 

Super easy pasta salad | Country Girl Gourmet

Biscuits and Gravy

I am going to admit something, I am not a born southern girl. I am a convert, I claim the south as my home 100% but… I was born in New York, south western New York. I moved to North Carolina right before I turned 2 and lived in the south until the Army decided that my husband needed to be a recruiter in NJ in 2006. My mom never fried a chicken, made black eyed peas or biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Somehow though I can cook all of the above and more. Maybe being raised in the south it is just something that is now in my blood. Good thing because I have 3 Carolina boys of my own and we are pretty sure my lil Jersey girl is going to grow up claiming Texas as her home.

Getting back to food, I’m not much of a breakfast person. I can’t stand eggs or cereal but give me some good biscuits and gravy and I’m all over that. I keep 2-3 things of pork sausage in my freezer at all times because we love biscuits and gravy so much. It is the easiest thing to make too and you don’t need those canned biscuits. From scratch biscuits are easy to make.

Easy Biscuits

Ingredients

 

  • 2 1/4cups Self Rising Flour
  • 1TB Sugar
  • 3/4cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. Mix flour and sugar together. Cut in shortening and mix until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add milk and combine until all moistened. Do not over mix.
  2. Put flour on counter and take dough and spread to a 3/4-1in thickness. I use my hands but feel free to use a rolling pin. Then use a biscuit cutter, cup or whatever you want and cut your biscuits out.

Biscuits and Gravy
This is part of a pampered chef measuring cup…It is perfect, imo for making biscuits.
Biscuits and Gravy
Biscuits and Gravy
bake in a preheated 425* oven for 20-25 minutes
Biscuits and Gravy
Don’t they look yummy?
Quick, easy and not from a can.

Now to go with the biscuits, you need Sausage Gravy. Yes you can by a powder mix from McCormick but why? Sausage Gravy is easy to make plus you get real sausage with your gravy.

Sausage Gravy

Ingredients

  • 16oz pork sausage
  • 2cups milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1tsp seasoned salt

Directions

Biscuits and Gravy
Step 1 take Mr Jimmy Dean and brown
Biscuits and Gravy
Once brown add milk and sift in flour and stir, add seasoned salt.
Or…
I use this:
tupperware shaker
It is a Tupperware Quick Shake.
I add the milk, then flour and seasoned salt and shake well (my kids love doing his part) and pour.
Biscuits and Gravy
Cook on high heat and stir until it thickens.

Biscuits and Gravy
There ya go quick and easy sausage gravy.

Now just take your biscuits put some gravy on top of them and enjoy!
Biscuits and Gravy

>Homemade Veggie Burgers

>I LOVE Veggie Burgers! My family can take them or leave them so we rarely have them. Until today that. I have edited a veggie burger recipe off allrecipes.com The only person who knew these burgers were veggie burger’s was my husband and out of the 6 of us 5 of us liked them. Son #3 was being picky tonight and did not want corn so refused to eat his.

Veggie Burgers

2 16oz can Black Beans
1 green, red, yellow or orange pepper (or combination of different types)
1 onion
4-6 clove garlic (to taste)
2 eggs
2tsp hot sauce
2TB chili powder
2TB cumin
2tsp dried cilantro (optional for the anti cilantro people out there)
black pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flax meal
1 cup frozen corn (optional)

Rinse and drain beans well. In a food processor finely chop green pepper, onion and garlic. Drain any excess water. Use food processor to mash beans. Transfer to large bowl and mix in egg and seasonings. Finally sir in bread crumbs, flax meal and corn kernels. Mixture will be sticky but will form patties. Form 8 burger patties. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

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Brining a Turkey

One of the best things you can do to ensure a nice juicy turkey is to brine it. Brining is Easy! Just gotta plan ahead a lil.

Country Girls Turkey Brine
1TB Rosemary leaves
1TB Thyme leaves
1TB Black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic
1 onion, halved
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar

water (like 1.5-2 gallons)
A container big enough for your bird (such as a cooler)
ice

In your container mix all ingredients and then add turkey (be sure to remove innards first). Cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the turkey then drain and discard the excess brine and pat dry and prepare your turkey as desired.

Brining a Turkey |Country Girl Gourmet

Country Girl’s Chili

Looking for a quick and easy Chili recipe? This recipe simmers all day long in the crockpot and is perfect for chilly days.  I have used this recipe and fed not only my friends and family but I have used it for fundraising. This chili is great alone or on top of nachos or turned into walking tacos or Frito pie.

 

Country Girl’s Chili

Ingredients

2lbs ground turkey
1 medium onion,diced (diced)
4 cans(15.5oz) pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
4 cans(15oz) tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired and diced
1TB Sugar
1TB Chili Powder
1 TB Cumin
1tsp Thyme
1/4tsp Cayenne Pepper
1TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Directions

Heat EVOO in skillet until hot and add ground turkey and onions. Cook until turkey is brown and the onions are soft and translucent. Place in crockpot and add remaining ingredients and combine. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High

Country Girl's Healthy Chili | Country Girl Gourmet
YUMMY!

Move over pork chops and applesauce

Pork Chops and apple sauce a meal made popular by Peter Brady from the Brady Bunch. Well, Peter Brady it is time to grow up.

Spiced Praline Pear Sauce with Pork Chops

4 pears, peeled and diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2TB Cinnamon
1/4tsp nutmeg

cook these two ingredients in a heavy saucepan on med-hi heat until pears are soft and sugar is syrupy/thickened up. Then add…

1TB butter
stir in until melted. then add…

1/2cup pecans
I like whole pecans..remember pronounced puh-cahn not pee-can…A pee can is something you keep by the bed to pee in.

next add…
1/4cup light corn syrup
again stir in.. then add

1/4cup evaporated milk
bring to a rapid boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and you will have….
Spiced Praline Pear Sauce
Now doesn’t that look good?

Now for the chops, you want something Easy-Peasy.

Place a dallop of EVOO in your frying pan and pan fry your chops (we like the thick ones) with a bit of kosher sea salt and fresh ground pepper. You want them to look something like this…
pork chops

Now it’s time to put it all together and plate…
dinner83109

mmm…
topped chop

Now that sauce isn’t just for chops, I am sure it would be good on ice cream and pancakes but I guess I will have to make it again. It was so good my husband ate the leftover sauce by itself!

Simple Strawberry Jam

Simple Strawberry Jam | Country Girl Gourmet
Simple Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

1 pound of Strawberries (hulled)
2 cups of Sugar
Juice of half a lemon

Directions

Throw all of your ingredients in a heavy sauce pan, the heavier the better. You are cooking sugar here. Throw your temp onto medium-high and mash and stir with a potato masher. Bring to boil and continue to stir and mash until your jam mixture reaches 220 degrees F. Pour into clean sterilized jars.
At this point you can either process or place jar in the refrigerator to be eaten right away.

I chose the later, it is good stuff and goes fast in my house. It’s is yummy on toast, biscuits, peanut butter and jelly’s, pancakes..etc. I think you get my point. The best part though is that it is easy and you know EXACTLY what is in your jam, no added ingredients or artificial colors. It is simple goodness for you and your family that you can feel good about.

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