Celebrating America with Great Food

The 4th of July holiday is here!!  We are celebrating America this weekend and will be filling our days with parades, carnivals, BBQ’s and of course, fireworks. Today we have a quick and easy pasta salad to serve as a main course or a great side, and a fun festive dessert.

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Pasta Salad: May often makes pasta salad at backyard gatherings because it travels well, is easy to make, can be prepared vegetarian and gluten free, and you can do so many variations. This salad was made using Trader Joe’s gluten free brown rice pasta and fresh seasonal vegetables.

1 lb. pasta (you can use any pasta)

1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups fresh broccoli

2 cups shredded carrots

2 cups grape tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

**optional: fresh basil

Serves 6 to 8

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl.

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Steam broccoli until tender, drain and rinse under cold water and add to bowl. Add shredded carrots, tomatoes, and beans.

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In a measuring cup mix oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over mixture, add salt, pepper, and fresh basil if using. You can adjust the dressing to your taste, or use your favorite vinaigrette. May kept this recipe as a simple vegetarian side, however you can add just about anything you want to it. Sometimes she adds sliced pepperoni, olives, fresh mozzarella, artichoke hearts, sugar snap peas….etc. Go ahead and experiment with it!

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If you’re looking for a dessert that’s easy, healthy, and very festive, June has the perfect one for you. You’ll want to make it look like the American flag.  If you are travelling to a barbecue, you may want to take the parts and assemble once you arrive so it maintains the shape of the flag.

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American Flag Fruit Tray:

1 package of strawberries

2 pints of raspberries

1 lb of bing cherries

1 pint of blueberries

1 bag of yogurt covered pretzels

Wash the fruit.  Slice the strawberries into halves or thirds depending on the size.  Take the stems off the cherries (if you are feeling like doing some work you could also pit the cherries).  On a small cookie sheet make a row of the raspberries, then a row of the yogurt pretzels, then a row of the strawberries, then a row of the yogurt pretzels, then a row of the cherries.  In the left hand upper corner of the cookie tray place a small bowl of the blueberries (I put them in a bowl so they would stay in place but you could skip the bowl).  As an alternative to the yogurt pretzels, you could also do white chocolate chips, yogurt covered peanuts or raisins.

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We wish you all a fun and safe 4th of July holiday!!

~May and June

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.  ~Elmer Davis

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