Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing #Pastapalooza

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing #Pastapalooza

Dreamfields PastaI try to eat healthy as often as possible. And while I’d like to make healthier choices, I’d still like to enjoy some of my favorite foods. Pasta is the perfect example. It’s something that I really don’t want to cut out of my diet if I don’t have to.

That’s why I enjoy cooking with Dreamfields Pasta. With 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving, it’s an easy way to add nutrition to your diet. And it tastes great, bonus!

Dreamfields is celebrating the fifth anniversary of their very popular Pastapalooza event. And to celebrate that milestone, they’re having a Dreamfields Pastapalooza Market Basket Challenge by having food bloggers create recipes using just five ingredients.

Readers get to vote for their favorite recipe from each market basket category, with the winning blogger receiving a $1,000 donation to their local food bank/pantry; a $200 donation will go to the food bank of choice of the remaining bloggers. One randomly-drawn reader who votes will win a family pack of Dreamfields plus a $1,000 donation to their local food bank/pantry.

As a food bank supporter, I was excited to be asked to participate in this challenge. Food bank donations have been on the decline in recent months and this is an awesome way to support one of my very favorite causes.

Let’s check out what ingredients they put in my basket!

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon DressingMy market basket was labeled the “gourmet basket”, which included:

  • Flavored vinegar
  • Dried fruit
  • Protein of my choosing
  • Almonds
  • A root vegetable

My job was to put these ingredients together in a recipe featuring Dreamfields Pasta. And for my recipe I chose a light summer entree salad. Just the thing I most enjoy for supper this time of year!

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon DressingFlavored vinegars work so well in salads. I started with a base of white balsamic vinegar to which I added some fresh garlic and rosemary, creating an aromatic flavored vinegar which I used to dress this recipe, Confetti Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing!

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon DressingI chose cranberries for my dried fruit to add a bit of sweet tartness, red onion and carrots for the root vegetables and grilled chicken for the protein. We were allowed two wild card ingredients to add to our recipes and I chose both honey and dijon mustard for the dressing.

All the ingredients mixed together with the cooked and chilled pasta make for a gorgeous summer salad. And the addition of the toasted almonds brings a welcome crunch to the dish!

I’d be so honored if you’d vote for my dish, Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing. Your vote goes to a very good cause as I’ve chosen The Southern Maryland Food Bank as the charity I’d like to support if I do indeed win this challenge!

Don’t forget, there’s something for the voters too! If you vote and your name is chosen, you will win a family pack of Dreamfields Pasta plus a $1,000 donation to a food bank of your choice!

So be sure to vote for your favorite market basket challenge recipe. They all look like winners to me!

Confetti Pasta Salad with White Balsamic Dijon Dressing #Pastapalooza
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
A lighter pasta salad full of summer produce, grilled chicken and dressed with a balsamic dijon dressing.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Dreamfields penne pasta, cooked al dente and chilled
  • 1.5 cups grilled chicken, diced
  • ½ cup carrot, sliced thin
  • ⅓ cup red onion, diced
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup slivered, almonds toasted
For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp flavored balsamic vinegar (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Prepare dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
Notes
My flavored vinegar was simply made by soaking a couple of stems or rosemary and two cloves of garlic in the vinegar overnight. You may use any herbs you'd like!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Dreamfields Pasta. All opinions are my own.

Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered Peppers #FWCon #GrillTalk

Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered Peppers #FWCon #GrillTalk

Moroccan Steak with Blistered PeppersAfter a long harsh New England winter, this mama was happy to dig out her grill. Blissfully happy. Never mind that it’s perpetually 90 degrees plus every single day here in my new home state of Maryland. Never mind that I won’t have a nice hair day again until fall. Never you mind because I am NOT shoveling umpteen feet of snow anymore in Massachusetts. Can I get an amen?

Bring it summer. Bring your hot sticky days and I will meet you tongs in hand with a bag of charcoal briquettes and a big ole smile on my face.

Lordy how I love the summer. The abundance of produce, long sunny days and the enticing smells of good things cooking on the grill. If that doesn’t get your juices flowing, I don’t know what will.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I am attending the Food and Wine Conference next month which will be held in a very sunny place, Orlando, Florida! And one of the sponsors, Certified Angus Beef® , is hosting a recipe contest.

And you know me, I love me a recipe contest. So of course I’m throwing my hat into the ring with a blessedly simple Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered Peppers that you can whip up in a jiffy.

It’s like taking the Concorde (if it were still flying) to Morocco but even faster! All the flavors of Morocco on your grill and you don’t even have to leave your backyard.  Forget armchair travel, this is grill travel. Buckle up buttercup. Your tastebuds are about to take a joyride.

Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered PeppersMoroccan cuisine is unapologetically bold. Lots of strong flavors with a generous amount of heat tossed in. If you want to make a statement this summer, make a Moroccan dish. Your cookout won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

And the best part of this recipe is how fast it is to make. Cookouts are fun because of the people! Who wants to be slaving over a complicated meal while the guests are having a grand old time?

That’s why I love this recipe. Just apply the rub, grill the meat and peppers and you’re done! How easy is that?

Oh, and if by some off chance you have leftovers, this makes a killer salad. Just place the meat over a bed of lettuce, some sliced cucumbers and long slices of scallion. Delish!

Moroccan Flank Steak with Blistered Peppers #FWCon #GrillTalk
 
Author:
Serves: serves 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Bold and spicy Moroccan flank steak topped with blistered hot peppers. The perfect meal for a hot summer night!
Ingredients
  • 1.5 to 1.75 lb Certified Angus Beef flank steak
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ pound assorted hot peppers
Instructions
  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Mix olive oil and garlic together and rub into the flank steak on both sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a small bowl combine paprika, garam masala, turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Apply this rub evenly on both sides of the flank steak.
  4. Place on grill and grill for 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Take off grill and allow to rest for ten minutes before slicing.
  5. Place peppers on grill while steak is resting and cook until blistered. Remove from heat and serve overtop steak.

 

Mexican Arancini #FWCon #WisconsinCheese

Mexican Arancini #FWCon #WisconsinCheese

Mexican Arancini

Hot melty cheese is a decadent thing, isn't it? Oh how I love it. So when I heard that the Food and Wine Conference partnered with Wisconsin Cheese to offer a recipe contest for attendees, I was all in. A chance to win my travel and conference fees covered? That's something worth winning. Not to mention the free cheese for the winners. Free cheese = happiness. And can I tell you how excited I am to attend this conference? It's coming up in a jiffy. July 17-19 to be exact. The deadline to … [Continue reading...]

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Roast Chicken with Prosecco Herb Sauce

Roast Chicken with Prosecco Herb Sauce

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Crunchy Polynesian Salad

Crunchy Polynesian Salad

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Food and Wine Conference 2015 #FWCon

Food and Wine Conference 2015 #FWCon

Food and Wine Conference 2015

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Hot Havarti Dill Crab Dip with Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits

Hot Havarti Dill Crab Dip with Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits

havarti crab dip

Upon moving to Maryland I absolutely had to find local restaurants offering crab anything. Steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab stuffed anything and my most favorite appetizer of all time, hot melty cheesy crab dip. Yup, I was on a crab mission. And not surprisingly, crab isn't hard to find here. Just about every restaurant offers some type of crab specialty. At first I was aghast at how pricey crab dishes are here. Crab dishes are not for the budget conscious. But after enjoying an all you can … [Continue reading...]

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Honey Dijon Glaze

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Honey Dijon Glaze

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Honey Dijon Glaze

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Mussels Rockefeller

Mussels Rockefeller

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Cannoli Cake

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