Asian Pasta Salad with Very Teriyaki

An Asian Pasta Salad with edamame, red cabbage, shredded carrots, and very teriyaki dressing!

Asian Pasta Salad - Very Teriyaki

It’s Spring and that means finding cold salad dishes that can be made in advance that are healthy and so easy to make.

I first had this pasta salad last summer and have been literally been thinking about it ever since. I really do not like pasta salads that are based with mayo – I find them so heavy! This can be a problem when all summer long you go to BBQ’s and people serve pasta salad that is made with mayonnaise! You are much better off making your own pasta salads as you can control what ingredients go into it.

I love anything that is teriyaki and asian inspired. One of my favorite marinades is Soy Vay’s Very Teriyaki Marinade and Dressing. It is great to marinate your proteins in over the summer before you throw it on the grill. Of course making your own fresh marinade is always a great option, but sometimes we need easy meals, and this sauce does just that.

This asian pasta salad would be great with whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, traditional bow ties pasta, and possibly even zoodles. You can also pick your favorite “add-ins” to customize this pasta salad. I went with edamame, red cabbage, and shredded carrots. But green peas, bell peppers, and peanuts would make a great addition as well.

Edamame, Carrots, Shredded Red Cabbage

Edamame, Carrots, Shredded Red Cabbage

I hate having half a box of pasta that just sits in the pantry so I used the whole thing. It makes a lot, which is great for leftover night!

Serves 4-6

Asian Pasta Salad with Very Teriyaki 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box of bow tie pasta (12 ounces)
  • 1 bag of frozen shelled edamame cooked according to package
  • half a head of red cabbage shredded thin (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup of Soy Vay Very Teriyaki Marinade and Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

What to do: 

  1. Cook the pasta according to package, al dente, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. While pasta is cooking whisk together the Soy Vay Very Teriyaki Dressing, rice wine vinegar, and chili oil in a large bowl. Put to the side.
  3. Add the shredded cabbage, carrots, and edamame to the dressing mixture. Toss in the cooked pasta until well mixed. Garnish with sesame seeds.
  4. Eat at room temperature or put in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat!
    Asian Pasta Salad

It’s that easy.

This asian pasta salad would also make a great lunch, picnic item, side dish at dinner, or to have at at BBQ.

Let me know what your favorite pasta salad recipe is!

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Barley Spring Salad

Barley Spring Salad

Barley Spring Salad

A barley, mushroom, asparagus, zucchini, and petite white bean salad.

 This cold salad is perfect for a spring time lunch.

In the spring the winter layers start to come off and I want to eat a little lighter. I love this barley spring salad because you can make it in the beginning of the week and bring some for lunch at work! Love being prepared for the week. 🙂 Not to mention this Barley Spring Salad is loaded with protein to keep you going throughout the day.

Barley Salad with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Zucchini and White Beans

Barley Salad with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Zucchini and White Beans

In the Spring time the vegetables and herbs start to come alive in the markets. I love the asparagus, the fennel, and the mushrooms during this time of year. It makes me excited that in just a few short weeks I will be starting my garden again! Last year, we had such success with all of the plants we are going to make it even bigger this year. I will keep you posted on some gardening tips and the progress of the garden in general later this month.

So when I was going to make this spring salad I went to the super market and I thought I bought farro but it turns out I was in such a rush, like most of the time, and I actually grabbed barley. So, I went with it. Because farro and barley are similar grains in turned out pretty much the same, you can use either also. Whatever your preference.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I have some homework to do!

Enjoy 🙂

Barley Spring Salad

What you need:
  • 6 ounces of sliced mushrooms (you can use white or more exotic assorted mushrooms)
  • about 4 pieces of asparagus cut into small pieces (use what you have). Asparagus – you do not need a whole pack of asparagus – buy the whole thing but use the rest for something else.
  • 1 small zucchini cut into little pieces (see picture)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can of petite white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup of barley cooked according to package
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
What to do:
  1. Cook the barley or farro according to package and cook until most of the water is absorbed and the grain is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain extra water if necessary and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking tray toss the zucchini, squash, asparagus, and mushrooms to coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, tossing half way, until the vegetables are roasted but not burned.
    Barley Spring Salad - Roasted Vegetables

    Barley Spring Salad – Roasted Vegetables

    Barley Spring Salad Roasted Vegetables

    Barley Spring Salad Roasted Vegetables

  3. In a large bowl put a little bit of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, parsley and whisk until well combined. Fold in the roasted vegetables, small white beans, cooked barley, salt (1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon).
    Barley Spring Salad  Ingredients

    Barley Spring Salad Ingredients

    Barley Spring Salad Ingredients

    Barley Spring Salad Ingredients

  4. Garnish with toasted sunflower seeds (I had some laying around from another recipe so I thought it might be nice).

You can serve this warm, room temperature, or cold!

You can substitute any of your favorite vegetables to be roasted almost anything will work, this is what I had on hand!


Oven-Baked Chicken Cutlets

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Cutlets

oven-baked chicken cutlet

This is my new favorite way to eat chicken cutlets… I grew up eating Chicken cutlets and they were always fried in lots of oil. There is nothing wrong with that but I wanted to make it a little healthier. This was the first time I tried oven-baking my chicken cutlets instead of frying and it was perfect!

You can serve this as just the chicken cutlet, or pour a little bit of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on top to make individual chicken parmesan. Everybody has endless amounts of chicken cutlets in there freezer because they are relatively cheap. I was trying to find a different way of making one of my favorites. Just be careful since the chicken is Oven-Baked it may loose its crispiness.

I put fresh chopped parsley in the dry breadcrumbs to add a little extra flavor and taste. You need to make sure the parsley is evenly chopped small so you don’t have huge chunks. These are really easy to make and a great option if you always fry your chicken cutlets!

What you need:

  • 1 pound of thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • 3/4 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4  cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 egg beaten dash of milk
  • olive oil

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and parsley in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl beat the egg and dash of milk. Set aside
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken cutlets and dip one chicken cutlet into the egg mixture (Shaking off excess egg) and then into the breadcrumb mixture until evenly coated. Place on a baking tray lightly coated with olive oil. Repeat until all the chicken cutlets are on the tray.
  3. Lightly sprinkle olive oil over the top of the chicken cutlets to help get a brown crust when baking.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes one side then flip the chicken and bake for another 10 minutes. Total time about 20-25 minutes. May be done sooner if chicken is thin, so make sure you check.
    oven baked chicken cutlet
  5. Enjoy your oven-baked chicken cutlets with a little bit of rice pilaf and green beans!

Hope you enjoy!

The Perfect Salmon Seasoning

Salmon is a healthy protein that you should include in your diet.

Perfect Salmon


This Magic Salmon Seasoning is one of my long time favorite ways of preparing salmon. It is so good the seasoning becomes a flavorful and delicious crust!

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning is great on everything, not just salmon! I use this on vegetables, salad, and even eggs! This is a mandatory seasoning to add to your cabinet. You will end up using it on everything. You can order it on Amazon here, or check your local supermarket ($6.99)! If you eat salmon, you need to get this! This seasoning will also last for a long time with many uses. 

Salmon has earned its research reputation as a health-supportive food based largely on its unusual omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega 3’s have been linked to healthy brain function, the heart,  joints and general wellbeing. When you go to the store to pick out your salmon it can be hard to decide which one to choose. If you can find wild caught Salmon at your local fish store that is always a good choice.

You will also more commonly see farm raised salmon which makes up almost 80% of salmon we see today. There is a controversy that the farm raised salmon is high in pesticides and may pose as a safety concern. Many restaurants are still serving farm raised salmon. The choice is up to you. When I went to the store there were 3 options: wild caught (18.99 a pound), organic farm raised (13.99 a pound), and farm raised (7.99 a pound). I went with the organic farm raised (mainly because I’m on a budget)!

What you need – Baked Salmon: 

  • a little less than 1 pound of salmon cut in half, for two people (4-6 ounces per person)
  • Magic Salmon Seasoning
  • (you don’t need any extra salt or pepper)

What to do 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pat dry Salmon filets. Sprinkle Magic Salmon Seasoning on filet covering the sides and top evenly. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of salmon. Should be flaky when finished cooking.
    Magic Salmonthe best salmon
  3. Serve with roasted broccoli and green salad.
    Perfect Salmon

This is a great recipe to make on a weeknight because it is easy to prepare and also a great source of protein.

I love Magic Salmon Seasoning, It can go on anything!

Ultimate Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Got leftover pulled pork?

ultimate pulled pork quesadilla

A few weeks ago I made the Best Ever Pulled Pork recipe (see link to check it out) and of course it made so much that I had leftovers. Leftovers can be a blessing and a burden at the same time. When you are in a rush it’s great to have in the refrigerator. But sometimes you have that dish or meal that lasts forever and never seems to go away. When you are in a rush working and living your busy lives take advantage of those leftovers. I hate letting food go to waste!

I wanted to repurpose the pork so it seemed new and exciting as leftovers. Using a George Foreman indoor grill can be a good way to hide old leftovers in a tortilla. This pork didn’t really need to be hidden but it was still fun to eat.

Fill this Pulled Pork Quesadilla with your favorite flavors. We made a few different versions – some with black beans, corn, salsa, avocado, Mexican cheese, and of course pulled pork. Mix your favorite add ins to the middle of the tortilla. A really simple meal that is super filling and tasty.

Substitute grilled chicken or steak for the pork if that’s what you have in your refrigerator.

What you need:

  • Leftover “Best Ever Pulled Pork”
  • Large flour tortilla (whole wheat is a good option also) 1 per person
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced and sautéed
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheese
  • 1 can corn
  • salsa optional

What to do:

  1. Take a large flour tortilla and put a generous portion of Best Ever Pulled pork, a portion of peppers, a sprinkle of beans, corn, 2 strips of thin avocado, cheese, and salsa if desired. Fold in half and place in George Foreman indoor grill.
  2. No need to flip just cook until grill marks appear on the Quesadilla and cheese is melted.
    pulled pork quesadilla
  3. Slice with a pizza cutter into strips and enjoy!
    ultimate pulled pork quesadilla

One Quesadilla per person. 

The Best Pulled Pork Recipe Ever

Tasty and Tender Pulled Pork 

dry rub pulled pork

Pulled Pork can be used in many different recipes. I made pulled pork sliders with greek yogurt coleslaw, pulled pork quesidlla, salad, and even grilled cheese! I love the versatility of the leftovers. This was so good that after waiting all day all I wanted to do was eat it – and neglected to take good pictures :0

Finding proteins like this that can be cooked in a slow cooker and left alone all day and then used for several different meals is the best thing ever. I love having leftovers and being able to transform them into other meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner! I did my research on pulled pork and how to make it and combined a few things I saw online to create the ultimate BEST EVER pulled pork recipe.

pulled pork

What makes this the best ever pulled pork recipe? Well, for one the pork shoulder gets a dry rub the night before it gets cooked and is left to absorb all those delicious flavors from the homemade rub. This recipe also uses a slow cooker which keeps it cooking all day long, about 8 hours. Leaving you with a moist no fuss pulled pork that everybody will love! My Best Ever pulled pork sits and cooks on a bed of onions and garlic and absorbs the flavors of chicken broth and it’s dry rub that you can serve with your favorite bbq sauce.

What you need for Best Ever Pulled Pork:

1 (4 to 5 pound) bone in or boneless pork shoulder ( I used bone in)

  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups favorite bbq sauce

What to do:

  1. Begin the night before you are going to cook the pork. Make the dry rub by combining: 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towel and place the pork in a large mixing bowl. Pat the dry rub all over the pork until it is completely covered. Wrap the pork in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
    dry rub pulled pork
  2. The next morning take the pork out of the refrigerator and prepare the slow cooker by placing the sliced onions at the bottom of the slow cooker pot. Sprinkle in the garlic and pour stock on top. Take the pork out of the plastic wrap and place on top of the onion mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high 6 to 8 hours.
    dry rub pulled pork
  3. Let the pork do it’s thing it probably won’t start to looked cook until like the 5th or 6th hour. Once its tender and falling off the bone remove the pork carefully from the slow cooker and shred with 2 forks on a cutting board (watch out if there is a bone). Pour out some of the fat that is still in the slow cooker leaving a little layer and put the pork back in the slow cooker with the onions to keep it warm.
  4. Use your favorite BBQ sauce or doctor up a bottled BBQ sauce by pouring 1 bottle into a sauce pan with a tablespoon of brown sugar, half a cup of ketchup, half a cup of apple wine vinegar, and some orange juice. Let it simmer and the flavors come together.
  5. Serve your pulled pork on sliders with your favorite coleslaw. Make your own lighter version by whisking together greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and fresh chopped cilantro. Pour over your favorite bag of cabbage and serve on top of pulled pork slider.You can even do with out the bun – because it is that good and just serve it with a salad or the coleslaw.

Mint-Basil Pesto

Mint-Basil Pesto is a delicious and tasty sauce to use on your favorite foods.

mint-basil pesto

You can serve this Mint-Basil Pesto with a Rack of Lamb for an extra special treat, on your favorite pasta, or even as a fun appetizer (see above).

It is easy to make adorable finger foods with mini tortellini, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and mint-basil pesto! Just cook tortellini al dente and assemble on a stick, then drizzle with pesto.

mint-basil pesto appetizer

Pesto is one of my favorite sauces to make because it is so easy to make. Throw everything into a food processor turn it on and you have a tasty sauce to add to all your favorite foods. Mint-Basil pesto can really go on anything so just make a big batch and keep it around, you never know when you may need it.

Giada on the Food Network makes this pesto with a rack of lamb for a wine tasting party. I made this when I had some family over for a holiday party. We decided to do a bunch of small appetizer sized foods instead of a large meal. This was one of the things we had and it was one of my favorite. Rack of lamb can be expensive to serve to a lot of guests but when you make it as a finger food you don’t have to buy as much lamb.

Here’s what you need for my “Use on Anything Pesto”

  • 1 1/2 cups of lightly packed mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup of lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (plus a little more if needed)

What to do:

Blend the mint, basil, walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running pour in 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

mint-basil pesto

Serve with your favorite protein, pasta, or vegetables.

To see how to cook the rack of lamb visit Giadas’ recipe on Food Network.


Easy Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup with big flavor!

butternutsquash soup Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Are you planning your Thanksgiving menu if you are hosting? You should be! This is a delicious soup to serve before your meal while everyone is waiting for turkey! Make this ahead and freeze it or make it a few days ahead and warm up on the stove, either way it will still be delicious. Butternut squash and nutmeg give you the flavors of fall and looks too!

I love all soups and you can make this so easily and the best part is there are not a million ingredients! This is a rather simple version but you could add apple another type of squash or even cream to make it richer. Watch how much stock you add to ensure your soup is not too thin.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 pound butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • nutmeg to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh thyme for topping

What to do:

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 6-8 minutes until translucent and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add chopped squash and stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until squash is tender. Transfer to a food processor or blender with slotted spoon and blend the chunks of squash in batches.
  3. Return blended squash to pot and mix with liquid in pot. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  4. Serve with thyme leaves on top.butternutsquash soup
    An easy Thanksgiving Soup that can be made ahead and ready in to time!

Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

Home Made Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

tortellini and vegetable soupI am a big fan of soup in the winter especially ones loaded with fresh vegetables. This soup is kind of a play on chicken noodle soup accept I am using tortellini and I did not put chicken. This soup has cheese tortellini, carrots, celery, onion, and spinach! It’s so easy and took 25 minutes to make it.

As it gets chillier we all look for things to comfort us and warm up our houses. Soup does that for me. This is a good warm up into soup season as it gets colder and colder. I think i will make a butternut squash soup next, my favorite!

This is the easiest, most comforting soup ever!

All you need is:

  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 sticks of celery diced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1 package of tortellinis
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What to do:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Once hot sautee the onion, carrots, and celery for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper, oregano, and basil.
  2. Stir in the 6 cups of chicken broth and I added about 2 cups of water as well. Bring to a boil. When ready to serve add the tortellinis to the boiling water and cook for another 3 minutes or according to your package. Lastly add the 3 cups of spinach.
  3. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with sprinkled cheese.
    tortellini vegetable soup

This tortellini and vegetables soup was a big hit and gone within 2 days!

Mini Turkey Muffins

Juicy Mini Turkey Muffins with Shredded Carrot and Yellow Bell Pepper

miniturkeymeatloafMeatloaf is a family favorite. We usually just make the traditional meat loafs but I had seen meatloaf muffins floating around the internet. I loved the idea because it is so easy to just grab them for lunch or dinner because it is already pre portioned. These turkey muffins are moist and more importantly very tasty.

For this recipe you could use any other ground meat you prefer, I prefer turkey. I also added shredded carrot to help add moistness, and yellow bell pepper for a pop of color. These little muffins are perfect for kids, my nephew loved them! I also added a bbq ketchup sauce before baking which was delicious!
miniturkeymeatloafTurkey Meatloaf Muffins with sautéed kale brussels sprouts, carrots, and brown rice. 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey meat
  • half a yellow bell pepper chopped
  • little more then 1/2 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup of bbq sauce plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of paprika

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine ground turkey meat, chopped bell pepper, shredded carrot, 1 egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of bbq sauce, and paprika. Use your hands and mix until all ingredients are combined- do not over mix.
  3. Take small handfuls of turkey mixture and place into muffin tins. Divide your meat into 12 muffins.
  4. Mix leftover ketchup and bbq sauce in a bowl and then spread on top of meatloaf muffins.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy as a delicious dinner to grab on the go or even a high protein lunch!