Green Goodness Pasta Salad- Fantastic Food Friday.

Oh my. This Green Goodness Pasta Salad is whoa. It’s light, it’s bursting with flavor and it’s a beautiful blend of tang, herbs and asparagus. I adapted it from the Greed Godess Pasta Salad in Clean Eating Dinner in 30. I’ve had this bookzine for a couple months now and I happened to grab it while meal planning last week. It’s definitely become one of my new favorite pasta salads. And will most definitely make an appearance or two at some potlucks!

green goodness salad

It is a multi-step meal and I while I think it took a little longer than 30 minutes, it was totally worth it. One way to help it go together faster is get everything measured and ready. Oh- and you need to have the chicken cooked, so use leftovers or cook it the day before.

12 oz cooked and cooled chicken, cut into bit size pieces
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
12 oz rotini pasta (use whole grain if you want)
¼ cup EACH chopped fresh parsley, cilantro and dill
3 green onions, thinly sliced
EVOO
Salt and Pepper

Blanch asparagus in boiling salted water for 1-3 minutes, until fork tender. Immediately put in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Let it hang out in the cold bath while you do the rest.
Cook pasta according to directions. When you drain, toss the pasta with a little EVOO to keep them from sticking. I left it in the strainer, but you could also spread it out on a tray or cookie sheet.
For dressing whisk together

½ cup plain Greek yogurt (one 6 oz container)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 glove of garlic, finely minced
1- 4 tbsp milk (add one tbsp. at a time to get the consistency of a creamy dressing)

Drain the asparagus. If there’s any ice left you can run warm water over it to melt it, or pick out the ice pieces.
In a large bowl, add pasta, asparagus, chicken, dressing and herbs. Mix until it’s well coated with the dressing. Seasoning with salt and pepper if desired. I was pretty liberal with it.

Fantastic Food Friday- Black Bean Quesadillas

One of my big goals for 2015 is instituting Meatless Mondays. My sister went vegetarian about a year and a half ago, more recently vegan. While she has had tremendous success, I am not quite ready to give up all meat and animal products. So, meatless Mondays it is! Along with that, I am trying to choose more plant based protein sources as well as find local and humanely raised meat sources.

Our first meatless Monday was a big success! Well, I think it was. For dinner we had black bean corn quesadillas. We made things a bit more complicated by making our own tortillas but they were so worth it!

For tortillas, you need

2 ¾ cup flour

1/3 cup lard or shortening

¾ tsp salt

1 cup warm water

(I use lard because we don’t use shortening. Totally not vegetarian, but I didn’t exactly plan very well this week either!)

Dissolve the salt in the water. Mix flour and lard with a pastry blender or fork until it’s all mixed together into small pebbles. Pour half the water over the flour and mix. Continue adding water until everything has been moistened. Knead until you have a medium dough. (Not to soft, but not real stiff!) Divide dough into 12 portions, roll into small balls. Place on plate and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 20 minutes.

Start heating up an ungreased cast iron skillet. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough into a circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Don’t stack these up. Husband and I found it best if one rolled and one cooked them.

Make sure your skillet is screaming hot. Place one tortilla on the skillet. It will bubble. In about 30 -45 seconds flip it over. There should be nice golden brown spots. Cook for another 30 seconds or so. Don’t overcook or they get hard. Don’t use oil or you get fried tortillas. We just threw ours on a plate since we were using them for quesadillas, but if you wanted to keep them warm for tacos, use whatever method you like (roll in foil or put in tortilla warmer). Turn off the stove but keep that skillet close because we are going to use it again!

For the filling, you’ll need

1 cup frozen corn 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 onion, finely diced 1 tsp oil ½ -1 tsp garlic powder ¼ – ½ tsp chili powder 2 tbsp lime juice Salt to taste 8 oz package of cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (or however much cheese you like)

Put the corn in a second ungreased skillet on low-medium heat. Stir and cook until the corn just starts to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Put in a bowl. Place the oil in the skillet and let it heat up. Put the onion in the skillet. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and chili powders. Add the rinsed black beans and stir until heated. Kinda smoosh them down with the back of your spoon. Add the corn back in. When its all combine and warm, put it back in the corn bowl. Mix in the lime juice and salt.

Warm up the skillet again. If you are using store bought tortillas, warm them up slightly on the skillet. You want them warm enough to fold without breaking.

Place 1/12 of the mixture (I totally eyeballed it based on who it was for, kids got a little less than the adults) on half of the tortilla, leaving about a ½ inch of space at the edge. Sprinkle on some cheese. Fold tortilla in half and press down a smidge.

Put the folded tortilla on the hot cast iron skillet. Let it cook for about a minute, watch close so it doesn’t burn. Flip it over, carefully and cook another 30- 60 seconds, just long enough of the cheese to melt.

Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole…

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot and My Worldwide Culinary Adventure.

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