Summer Grape Salad

This salad would be PERFECT for a barbecue or summer gathering. It’s sweet, bright and citrusy with a hint of vanilla. Yum!!

*Note – Double of triple this recipe for a party or potluck.

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½ cup sugar

½ cup water

juice of ½ an orange

1 tsp vanilla extract or caviar from one vanilla bean

1 pint strawberries; quartered

1 pint blueberries

1 lb green grapes, halved

1 lb red grapes, halved

Combine sugar, ½ cup of water, orange juice and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and stir to until sugar dissolves.

Bring mixture to a boil then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Allow mixture to cool.

Prepare fruit in a large bowl, pour cooled syrup over fruit, stir and chill until ready to serve.

Grilled Chicken & Grape Tomato Basil Pasta

(Originally posted May 29, 2015)

During the summer, we have this all the time. Although it’s pasta, it’s light & delicious!

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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Nature’s Own seasoning, dried oregano and dried basil

kosher salt and fresh pepper

8 oz penne pasta

2 (pint) grape tomatoes, halved

6 cloves garlic, minced

parmesan cheese, grated

extra virgin olive oil

4 TBSP fresh basil, chopped

* * * * * * * * *

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Season chicken generously with Nature’s Own seasoning, oregano and basil. Heat a large skillet on high heat. Once heated, drizzle oil in pan and add chicken. Cook about 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Remove chicken, dice and set aside.

Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2-1 cup pasta water before draining.

While pasta cooks, add olive oil to skillet on high heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden brown (do not burn). Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté about 4-5 minutes. Use tongs to crush softened tomatoes – this will help create the sauce. When pasta is drained, add pasta to tomatoes and toss well. If pasta seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Add fresh basil and chicken and toss well. Serve and top with grated cheese.

Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Triple

(Originally posted May 28, 2016)

trifle

2 (3.4 oz) packages instant cheesecake flavored pudding mix

4 cups milk

Pre-made pound cake – cut or torn into bite-sized pieces

1 lb strawberries

2 containers blueberries

1 container blackberries

12 oz Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)

** you can sub the cheesecake pudding for anything – white chocolate or french vanilla would be yummy too

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Combine milk & pudding mix using your mixer according to package instructions.

Spread cake pieces into the bottom of the trifle dish – about half the cake.

Top with about 1/2 of the prepared pudding.

Top pudding with about 1/2 cup of each kind of berry.

Top berries with about other half of the Cool Whip.

Layer other half of cake, rest of pudding, remaining Cool Whip and decorate the top layer with strawberries, blueberries & blackberries.

Refrigerate for about 2-3 hours, until ready to serve.

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