Farmer’s Market Treasures for Italian Pasta Salad

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Farmer’s Market Treasures
Miller Farms – Organic

There’s still time to take advantage of those farmer’s market treasures for a delicious Italian Pasta Salad. If you’re from the Northern Colorado area, you may want to check out the Longmont Farmer’s Market. It’s open Saturdays 8:00 – 1:00 through November. The Italian Pasta Salad can be made as a side dish, or a full meal. I tend to beef it up to a full meal.

Recipe — Italian Pasta Salad


12 oz. dry gemelli pasta in a pot of boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Gemelli pasta is a thicker Italian pasta. You may substitute what you have, especially if you can’t find it.

For the Salad:

As a side dish

recipe, pasta salad, veggies, organic, garlic, oregano, vinaigrette, vegetables, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, broccoli, corn, cheese, edamame, peas, carrots
Farmer’s Market Treasures
Full Circle Farms – Organic
  • 2 cups seeded, chopped cucumbers
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups halved marinated green olives
  • 1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano (3 oz.)
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion (Feel free to use green onions.)
  • Add the cooked gemelli pasta

This side dish makes 10 servings (10 cups).

Beefed up as a full meal:

recipe, pasta salad, veggies, organic, garlic, oregano, vinaigrette, vegetables, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, broccoli, corn, cheese, edamame, peas, carrots
Farmer’s Market Treasures
Organic Broccoli

I omit the cucumbers and add:

  • peas
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • cooked fresh corn
  • Asiago or Cheddar cheese chunks
  • cooked chicken, tuna, or cooked shrimp
  • dry roasted edamame

Choose your favorites!

In a large bowl, mix the cold drained pasta with the vegetables.

For the Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette:
recipe, pasta salad, veggies, organic, garlic, oregano, vinaigrette, vegetables, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, broccoli, corn, cheese, edamame, peas, carrots
Italian Pasta Salad
Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette


  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (Feel free to use apple cider.)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (To decrease the calories and add a little more bite, use 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and increase your vinegar. I usually add Balsamic vinegar to my personal serving but not the whole batch as a matter of personal preference.)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano (Use dry if fresh is unavailable.)
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Toss whisked vinaigrette with pasta salad.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy dish! What are your favorite veggies to add to a pasta salad?

Gluten Free – Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

dining, Highlands, North Carolina, Recipe
Dining Delight

Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not, this recipe is a gluten free keeper — Turkey and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash. A good friend of mine shared this tasty, low fat, nutrient rich meal that’s sure to leave you feeling satisfied.

acorn squash, recipe, gluten free, Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash – Delicious Stuffed

This recipe serves 8 so feel free to double it or cut it in half.

  • 4 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 8 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste (I typically cook without the added salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 medium sweet apples, such as Pink Lady or Gala, peeled, cored, and
    Gluten Free, Recipe, Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
    Apples for Your Gluten Free Recipe – Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash


  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the squash halves cut sides up on the baking sheets. Brush with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 45-55 minutes, until tender when pierced with fork (and when top edges are nicely browned).

mushrooms, recipe, Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the turkey. Cook, breaking up with wooden utensil, until cooked through and no longer pink. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add apples, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and poultry seasoning and stir 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with turkey. Stir to combine, then taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in almond flour and egg whites.

When squash halves finish roasting, pile stuffing evenly into the halves. Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Squash is a nutrient rich food we should all indulge in when we can. Do you have a good squash recipe to share? How about a gluten free one? Check out my Sweet & Sour Chicken — another gluten free keeper.

Thanksgiving — Turkey Dressing Through the Generations

Thanksgiving is upon us and it’s time for a very special side dish — my mother’s turkey dressing! I only treat myself to this guilty pleasure at Thanksgiving (and of course for leftovers) for very obvious reasons. However, among the many blessings I have to be thankful for, this is one I’d like to share for all to enjoy.


Modifications to the original recipe were made to reduce the saturated fat and salt content while retaining its delicious flavor. This has always been my favorite…

  • 1 package cubed seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 loaf bread (whole wheat or bran bread – “stale”).

    Thanksgiving, basket, autumn, bread, recipe
    Thanksgiving Basket
  • 1 container of chicken livers
  • 1 cooked turkey liver
  • Broth (boil the neck to make fresh broth, or use already prepared broth)
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning.
  • 4 cups chopped celery
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 6 large eggs (beaten slightly).
  • pepper
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sautee onions and celery in olive oil, cook until soft then set aside.
  • Sautee chicken livers and turkey liver, cook until soft then set aside.

Advance timeline:

  • 3 days before — onion and celery
  • 2 days before — cook liver, neck, innards in chicken broth, low salt.
  • Dice the liver and add to the onion mixture in refrigerator. Save flavored broth for stuffing.
recipe, turkey, dressing, Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Turkey — Dressing Through the Generations

Day of Meal:

  • Place bread in a large pan (Take 1/2 loaf of bread out a couple of days before and dry out.)
  • Wet bread with broth, add beaten eggs, butter/oil, liver, onions & celery. If done in advance, you will need to lightly heat mixture before adding to bread mixture (not too hot though or the eggs will cook).
  • If you stuff your turkey, do it just before baking and place it in a mesh stuffing bag. Bake according to the directions. Please note, it is critical to maintain proper internal safe cooking temperatures.

Certain foods or particular meals bring us “home” in tradition. This is one of mine… . What family recipe is one of yours that you would like to share?

Thanksgiving, recipe, turkey, dressing
Thanksgiving Day
                      Thankful for Every Blessing


Mr. Bugs Had It Right — Carrot and Cashew Soup

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Fall Harvest — Carrots

Mr. Bugs had it right! It’s the end of harvest season — at least in Colorado, and this Carrot and Cashew Soup recipe is delicious!

bunny, carrots, healthy, antioxidant
Mr. Bugs Had It Right — Carrots — A Healthy Choice

Before we get to the recipe, check out the skinny on carrots, a very versatile vegetable. It’s commonly eaten steamed, roasted, boiled, raw, and as an ingredient in many stews and soups. They are easy to grow and can be bought canned, frozen, fresh, and pickled.

Carrots – A Healthy choice

The carrot is a crunchy, sweet, aromatic vegetable that is a very healthy, popular vegetable high in Vitamin A (it provides 210% of an adult’s daily needs). Carrots also contain vitamin E, folate, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and fiber. Evidence exists that vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants (carrots included) reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vision will also be restored by correcting Vitamin A deficiencies.

If you have an over abundance of carrots, you may ask, “What should I do?” A neighbor who has a garden of carrots shared a delicious soup recipe — Carrot and Cashew Soup (this is a favorite even of those who are not crazy about carrot soup).

colorful carrots, carrots, Carrot and Cashew Soup, recipe
Colorful Carrots
  • Carrots — 3 pounds chopped.
  • Chopped onions — 1 1/4 cup.
  • Cashews — 3/4 cup unsalted, unroasted.
  • Olive Oil – 2 TBS.
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves.
  • Vegetable stock or water (you may substitute with 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth and 3 cups of water) — 6 cups.
  • Soy milk (or what you prefer) — 2 1/2 cups.
  • Ginger root — 1 Tablespoon grated.
  • Black pepper to taste (optional).
  • Add the water or stock with the carrots to a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
    onions, carrot and cashew soup, recipe
    Onions for Carrot and Cashew Soup

    Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Sautee the onions, garlic, and cashews in another pan in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Place the contents of both pans in a blender and puree until very smooth.
  • Return the puree to the saucepan and add the ginger, soy milk, and black pepper.
  • Garnish with toasted cashews, parsley, and yogurt.
Colorado, fall, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Karen Van Den Heuvel — Fall in Colorado

You may salt and pepper to taste (although I avoid the extra salt since Americans consume too much).

Let me know your thoughts after you try this delicious recipe!