Garden Pasta Salad

Have too many veggies to use up?  This pasta salad is just what you need to use up that counter-full of fresh garden veggies.  I love this time of year.  Fresh, colorful vegetables in abundance make for light dinners and gorgeous salads.

Garden pasta salad

The dressing for this salad is light and simple.  You should have most of the ingredients in your pantry.  Feel free to use fresh herbs if you have them.  Do you see those two sweet basil leaves garnishing this pasta salad?  Sadly, those were the only two leaves we were able to save from our dying basil plant.  We had such high hope for it.  My mom and sister drove to several, I do mean several, garden centers, stores, roadside markets to find this little basil plant for Ava to plant and much to her dismay it wilted and browned in matter of a few days.  We are on the hunt for a new one.

garden pasta

Before summer ends you must make this salad.  It’s super easy to throw together and makes a ton.

Garden Pasta Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: pasta salad
Serves: 8
  • ¾ lb pasta
  • 1 small yellow tomato, diced
  • 1 small red tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ whole cucumber, diced
  • ½ medium green pepper, diced
  • Dressing:
  • ⅓ C olive oil
  • ⅓ C apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp Italian dried herbs
  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. When done drain and run cold water over pasta. Drain well and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  4. Add in veggies and stir until coated.
  5. Fold in pasta.
  6. Cover and refridgerate for 2 hours.
  7. Test and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve.


Favorite Summer Salads

Summer is all about salads in my house.  My daughter is now to the point she’s saying ‘Salad again tonight?’  There is nothing like a fresh summer salad.  Here are some of my favorites that I can’t get enough of.

Thankfully, there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy them.

Salad Collage |

Grilled Avocado Chicken Salad

Berry Salad With Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette

Spinach Cornbread Layered Salad

Spicy Almond Crusted Chicken Salad

Salad with honey mustard poppy seed dressing

Spicy Orange Rice Noodle Salad

Brown Butter Garlic Green Beans

Vibrant and flavorful, these green beans are sure to liven up your summer dinners. This recipe is super easy to make. This is a bit ironic, because it has taken me several years to get it right. I’m not sure why I could never understand how to make a delicious green bean dish. I always sautéed them or roasted them. Every time I would serve a plate full of limp burnt green beans that no one would want to eat, including me!

brown butter green beans

The key to a gorgeous green bean dish is blanching. It seems like a silly meaningless step but it really is crucial! So don’t think you can skip this step. Make sure to blanch your beans before sauteing them.

brown butter green beans

Tell me what isn’t absolutely delicious covered in brown butter and garlic? Nothing! These beans glisten on your plate with a beautiful brown butter garlic coating. I added toasted almonds not only for a fun texture but they add so much flavor to this dish. Another step you must take – make sure to toast your almonds to reach maximum flavor potential.

brown butter green beans

This simple dish makes the perfect summer side dish – or in my case full on dinner! Don’t let fresh green beans intimidate you. A delicious recipe awaits.

Brown Butter Garlic Green Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: summer side
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned and ends trimmed
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 T almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Place almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden brown. About 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. In a large pot bring salted water to a boil.
  5. Add in green beans and boil for about 3 minutes, until bean are vibrant green.
  6. Remove from beans and place in a large bowl of ice water.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat add butter and sauté until golden brown.
  8. Add in garlic and lightly sauté.
  9. Add in green beans and sauté in garlic brown butter for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  10. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  11. Garnish with toasted almonds.


Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

These classic meatballs are super simple to make and taste like they have been simmering all day.  I love this recipe because it only takes a few minutes to make and can be on the dinner table in no time.


Whenever I make this dish I always make sure to use the best quality ingredients I can find.  Be sure to use local organic beef and the best marinara you can.  By doing so, the flavors intensify and bring out the genuine Italian essence.

This recipe is easily modified if you are looking for gluten free options, you can use gf breadcrumbs and pasta.  You can also use organic ground turkey or sausage in place of the ground beef.

spaghetti and meatballs

This easy classic dish is perfect for any day of the week.  Be sure to enjoy with a fresh summer salad!

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 4
  • ¾ lb lean ground beef
  • ¼ C parmesan cheese
  • ¼ C breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 C favorite marinara
  • ¾ lb spaghetti
  1. Fill a large pot with salted water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  3. In a large bowl combine ground beef, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, egg, salt and pepper.
  4. Form mixture into 16-18 small, tightly-packed balls.
  5. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven heat olive oil.
  6. Place meatballs in the hot oil and brown on all sides.
  7. Add in marinara and let simmer over med-low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  8. Serve meatballs over the cooked pasta.
  9. Garnish with additional parmesan, if desired.


Grilled Bread Summer Tomato Salad

I have a seriously good summer salad for you today.  Grilled bread, fresh basil and sun ripened summer tomatoes.  My knees feel a bit weak just looking at this salad.  It is over the top blissful.

grilled bread salad

This is one of those salads that you take a bite and your whole body just relaxes! Ahh, all is right in the world for just a moment.  The flavors are mouth-watering good.

grilled bread salad  petit foodie

If you have not had grilled bread before you must, must try this recipe NOW.  Seriously, it is just amazing.  Be sure to use the freshest summer tomatoes you can get your hands on.  It will make all the difference in the world.  You whatever add-ins you choose, artichokes, palm of hearts, peppers, cucumber.  The varieties are endless.

grilled bread salad

Get lost in summer with this grilled bread summer tomato salad.

Grilled Bread Summer Tomato Salad
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ½ small loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into thick slices
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ C avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ C fresh basil
  • 3 tomatoes, cut and seeds removed
  • ½ C add-ins (I used olives, marinated mushrooms, red onions)
  • ¼ C avocado oil
  • 2 T white balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat grill
  2. In a small bowl whisk together garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, ¼ C avocado oil.
  3. Brush mixture on bread slices, front and back.
  4. Grill on both sides until golden grill marks appear.
  5. Cut slices of bread into large cubes.
  6. In a large salad bowl combine tomatoes, add-ins, basil, avocado oil and vinegar.
  7. Using your hands add in bread cube and toss with the tomatoes.
  8. Let chill for an hour. Serve.


The Best Oatmeal Cookies

Lately, my appetite has been a little off.  I’m usually the type to be planning lunch and dinner at breakfast.  But the past week I haven’t been hungry for anything.  That is until I made these cookies for Ava the other day.  I can’t stop thinking about them.  I actually had to stop myself from making a second batch in the same week.

oatmeal cookies

The richness the touch of maple syrup and brown sugar add is amazing.  I’ve always had a hard time finding the right texture of oatmeal cookies and I finally found it!  These oatmeal cookies are perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

best oatmeal cookies

I used chocolate chips for these because that is what I had on hand.  Honestly, though, I cannot wait to use raisins next time.  Feel free to use whatever add-ins you prefer.

oatmeal choc chip cookies

These will be the best oatmeal cookies you’ve had since you last had your grandma’s.  This recipe is now a classic in my house and I know my grand kids will adore them as much as Ava does.

The Best Oatmeal Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 dozen
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ¼ C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 C flour
  • ½ C oatmeal
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 C chocolate chips or raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugars until creamed.
  3. Add in egg and maple syrup.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda and powder and salt..
  5. Working in batches pour flour mixture into butter mixture.
  6. Once combine fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Using 1 T scoop dough onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 8-12 minutes.
  9. Let cool.


Instagram Inspiration

Instagram is such a wealth of inspiration.  It’s one of my favorite social media outlets right now.  Below are a few accounts that inspire me every day!  I love these accounts so much.

summer sunlight june 2013

Some of these inspire me in the kitchen, in life or just flat out amaze me with their incredible talent.  I hope there’s a few new-to-you accounts below to follow.  Enjoy!

@paperfashion –  you seriously must follow her! So much talent!











What Instagram accounts are inspiring you lately?  

Turning 30 and My Favorite Blueberry Lemon Scone

Today, I bid adieu to my 20’s and, like it or not, say hello to the 30’s! I’ve been dreading this day for the past year and now that it’s finally here I feel a bit relieved. No more worrying, it’s here to stay.

blueberry scones

I’ve always thought that I would never be the type of person to worry about age. I’ve always felt young at heart and spunky no matter how old I got.   Suddenly, I got old! My daughter tells me I cannot wear skinny jeans because I’m too old. I find myself spending far too long in the anti-wrinkle cream department. I have regular panic attacks that my hair is not trendy (Honestly, I would rather die than have some of these trendy hairstyles! Just sayin’.)

Blueberry lemon scones

So today, I have decided to wholeheartedly embrace the fact that I have more knowledge, grace, confidence and passion than I did ten years ago.

blueberry scones petit foodie

If you need me I will be off enjoying one of my favorite scones and sipping a latte.

Turning 30 and My Favorite Blueberry Lemon Scone
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 small scones
  • 1¾ C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ C butter, cold
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ¼ C milk
  • 1 T sugar
  • Zest of ½ lemon, about 1 tsp
  • 1 C blueberries
  • {egg wash}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water
  • {Lemon Glaze}
  • ½ C powdered sugar
  • Zest ½ lemon, or 1 tsp
  • 2 T lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Using a pastry cutter (or two knives) cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles pea like shapes.
  4. Slowly add in egg, milk and 1 T sugar.
  5. Once mixture has just come together carefully (patiently) fold in lemon zest and blueberries.
  6. Turn dough onto floured surface and form a round disk.
  7. Cut into 8 small triangles.
  8. Place on a baking sheet and let chill for 20-30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare eggwash. Whisk 1 egg and 1 T water in a small bowl.
  10. Once chilled, brush each triangle with egg wash.
  11. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool.
  13. Prepare lemon glaze. Combine powdered sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  14. Drizzle glaze over cooled scones.


Grilled Avocado Chicken Salads

This is such an easy and delicious summer dinner.  Grilled Avocado with chicken salad is sure to become your new summer go to dinner.  With little to no clean up and just a few minutes of grill time this dish is a no-fuss deal!

grilled avocado chicken salad

Until just recently I had never had grilled avocados before.  Quite honestly I’m not sure where I’ve been on that one!  They are so amazingly good.  It’s definitely a game changer.  They develop a wonderful crisp outside and keep their creamy, melt in your mouth inside.  It’s truly delicious.

grilled avocado

I used this skinny chicken salad to fill the grilled avocados.  Our summer dinners are forever changed!  These grilled avocado chicken salads would be perfect for appetizers at a summer soiree or girls luncheon.  Fancy yet so simple to put together.

grilled avocado chicken

Grilled Avocado Chicken Salads
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: lunch
Serves: 2
  • 2 Avocados, I used California Avocados
  • 1 C chicken salad
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T seasoning rub, I used Stubbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat grill
  2. Halve avocados, remove pit and carefully peel skin off.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over avocados and season with rub, salt and pepper.
  4. Grill avocados for about 5 minutes on each side or until slight grill marks appear.
  5. Remove from grill and fill each half avocado cavity with about ¼ C chicken salad.
  6. Enjoy!


Ricotta Quinoa Cakes

These ricotta quinoa cakes are perfect for those days you crave luxurious Italian foods but know you should eat something a wee-bit healthier.

Ricotta quinoa cakes

Lately, it seems like everyone on my Instagram is off on some wonderful Italian vacation!  All their photos leave me hungry and wanting to get my passport ready.

ricotta cakes

Let these delicate quinoa ricotta cakes transport you to Italy, even if just for a moment.  Full of simple delicious flavors! I love how each cake is perfectly crisp on the outside with a creamy center.

You could surely eat these plain but I preferred mine dipped in a bit of marinara.  They make the perfect light lunch, dinner or appetizer.

ricotta quinoa cakes petit foodie

Enjoy while reminiscing your own Italian vacation.

Ricotta Quinoa Cakes
Recipe type: quinoa
  • 1 ½ C quinoa, cooked
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 T parmesan
  • ¼ C ricotta
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • ¼ C Italian bread crumbs
  • Oil, for lightly frying
  • Marinara, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl combine quinoa, flour, Parmesan, ricotta, salt and pepper.
  2. Make sure you blend the ricotta in well until completely spread out and smooth. No clumps.
  3. Form in to 6 round patties.
  4. Press each side of the patties into the breadcrumbs and gently place on parchment paper.
  5. Heat small amount of oil in a non-stick pan.
  6. Place two-three patties in the pan and cook until golden brown on each side.
  7. Serve with warm marinara.

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