Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been craving tangy dressing a lot lately. I’ve also noticed that I’ve been gravitating towards lighter, springy-er dishes. That could be pregnancy related or could be that I’m just really ready to move on from heavy winter dishes (even if I do live in San Diego). Either way, when a friend on a cooking message board I frequent mentioned a pasta salad including asparagus, I was immediately intrigued. Suddenly vegetable pasta salad combinations were just swirling around in my head and I knew exactly what we were having for dinner.

The plan was for me to make grilled chicken and serve it with a large side of this Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad. The look on Jesse’s face when I told him the plan was kind of comical. He was sure that there should be some other side, or something! Much to his surprise (and my delight!) he loved dinner and he even felt full. It just goes to show that dinner doesn’t have to be heavy to be good. The leftovers also made an awesome lunch!


Here are a few more lighter side dish ideas!

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw
Southwest Pasta Salad
Spicy Cold Noodles

Foil Packet Soy-Lime Salmon with Green Beans

So, technically, I made this salmon in a parchment packet and not a foil packet (because who runs out of foil? me!), but who’s counting? What really matters is that this dinner was fast, easy, delicious, and nutritious.

When Jesse asked what was for dinner and I told him salmon he got that sad puppy dog look. It’s not that he doesn’t like seafood/fish, he just isn’t ever really excited about it. He definitely changed his look after the first bite. The foil (or parchment) locks in the moisture and the flavor leaving you with a perfectly cooked salmon filet and flavorful green beans.



Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away! We were originally expecting to still be in China for the holiday, so it’s been a pleasant surprise getting to plan a full on American feast. There are some foods that were just hard to find in Suzhou, like turkeys. One grocery store did have 1 frozen turkey. But they literally had that same turkey the entire time we lived there, so I had my doubts about the quality. Here I have my choice of ingredients, a nice big kitchen to prepare it in, and a group of friends to share it with.

My menu is shaping up to look pretty similar to last years, with just a few adjustments and additions. One thing that was requested this year was green bean casserole. Of course I could just go with the traditional casserole made with cans, but that wouldn’t be quite as fun! So I searched for a from scratch recipe that would be the best balance between the traditional taste and better for you non-processed ingredients. I think I found a real winner! One that gives the canned casserole a run for its money!

One last thing – For the trial run I bought a bag of crispy fried onions for the topping but on the actual day of I plan to make them myself.



Baked Zucchini Fries

Jesse and I are potato people, so it’s no surprise that potatoes are my default side dish for a lot of meals. But the thing is, there is so much more out there than potatoes! Rice, quinoa, beans, vegetables… The possibilities are endless.  Sometimes you just have to remind yourself of the other options.

These baked zucchini fries are an awesome alternative to a potato side dish. The outside is crisp, the inside is tender, and they are the perfect vehicle for any sauce you like (and you know I like sauces!).  They are NOT french fries, but that’s OK. They are different and delicious.