Healthy Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

This pregnancy has me craving cold dishes. I have probably made 5 different pasta salad variations in the past 3 weeks.  I just can’t get enough of them! Plus it’s a good way for me to get more raw vegetables in my diet, which I need even more since I’m, you know, growing another human being.

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A healthy pasta salad?

Take a look at those beautiful colors! Any dish with that many colors has got to be packed with tons of good stuff, right? And as long as you use whole grain pasta, there will be nothing bad about this salad.

Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

half a box of your choice of pasta salad noodles (I chose penne)

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped about 1/4 inches thick

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces 

1/2 to 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (your preference)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (took me 3 juicy limes)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or another flavorless oil, like canola)

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like things spicy)

generous amounts of salt and pepper for seasoning

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro to mix well. In a small bowl mix lime juice, oil, honey, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour vinaigrette over pasta and vegetables.

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It keeps pretty well overnight in the refrigerator, so you can make this dish ahead of time. It’s great for Saturday BBQ’s or potluck dinners at church. You can make it gluten-free, too, by replacing the noodles with gluten-free noodles, of course.

Simple and sweet stir fry

I love to cook stir fry. It’s so easy, takes a small amount of time, and only uses one or two dishes! I also like a sweet sauce along with something sweet in the stir fry, like pineapple!

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I used pineapple, water chestnuts, broccoli, sweet onion, and baby bella mushrooms, but you are more than welcome to use whatever combination of veggies you love. Sam has been gone for the past few days (due back tonight, yay!) so I went meatless but you can add meat if that’s your style. Me? I’d be happy if I never saw meat again!

Simple & Sweet Stir Fry

Serves 2

1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Half of a sweet onion, sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup pineapple, chopped, about 1 inch cubes

small can of sliced water chestnuts

Olive Oil (to cook veggies in)

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sirracha *or more if you like it spicy*

1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water

1 cup cooked brown rice *I like to cook mine in chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor*

For the sauce, mix soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sirracha, & cornstarch mixture together in a bowl and adjust sweet or spicy flavors if needed. Make sure you mix the cornstarch with the water separate from the sauce and then add that mixture to the sauce. Otherwise, you’re going to have clumps of cornstarch floating around your sauce.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and cook the mushrooms and onion on medium-high heat until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, broccoli, water chestnuts, and pineapple and cook for 5 more minutes or until the broccoli is tender.  At this point, I like to add some soy sauce to the cooking veggies, about 3 tablespoons.  Add the sauce to the veggies and cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until the sauce starts to get thick and bubbly.

Serve the vegetables over the rice, making sure to spoon some of that yummy sauce over it!

Enjoy!

A healthy side dish: roasted red potatoes

I must say…I have been eating very healthy since I’ve been here in Arizona.  Partly to get back to my pre-baby weight, which has been reached and even beyond that! And the other part, the big one, is that I want to be healthy.  The funny thing that I’ve found about eating healthy all of the time is that you come to despise the thought of unhealthy, processed foods.  Maybe it’s just me (and Debbie, my mother-in-law), but the thought of a big, greasy cheeseburger sided with greasy fries makes my stomach turn. All of that oil would just weigh me down and make my stomach hurt.

One of the sides that I have been making a lot lately is roasted red potatoes.

I love experimenting with different fresh herbs and spices. These were tossed in about 6 tlbs of olive oil, sea salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and a little bit of paprika. They turned out amazing, however I didn’t get a picture of them after they were cooked because we gobbled them up so fast!

Just pop them into a 425 degree F oven and roast for about 35 minutes. So yummy and a very healthy alternative to things like mashed potatoes (that would normally be loaded down with butter and sour cream) or french fries.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

3lbs red potatoes, quartered

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and toss potatoes. Once they are coated well with the mixture, spread the potatoes out on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 35 minutes.

Before I wrap this up, I’d like to take a trip to Cutesy-ville!

Six and a half month old Milo jumping in his Jumperoo! Love this sweet baby.

Poor Kitsune has really taken a back seat ever since Miles was born, but I still make time for snuggles with my fur-baby.

Tomorrow is FRIDAY! Whoo-hoo!