summer couscous salad

I’m not quite sure why I don’t cook with couscous more often. I love the shape and nutty flavor, but even more so, I love how quickly it cooks. Can you seriously beat 5 minutes?

This salad was just what I was after – bright, flavorful, packed with veggies and a filling make-ahead lunch. I’m trying to pack in as many summer flavors as I can because I’m already anxiously awaiting fall.  :)

Summer Couscous Salad - 2 large servings

  • 2 servings couscous
  • 1-2 peppers (I used 1 green, 1/2 red)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • Dressing: 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt & pepper

Prepare couscous as directed. Let cool.

Chop all veggies to desired size. I did small pieces – easier to eat!

Toss all ingredients together and eat out of Tupperware! :)


blue cheese & olive pasta salad

My Mother is the Queen of pasta salads. Literally. She has enough pasta salads in her arsenal to get through the whole summer without repeats. Many of them are worth repeating however, so she’ll find a way to squeeze them in.

As a child, I remember being fond of some, like chicken curry pasta salad, and not so fond of others, presumably this one as I hated both blue cheese and olives at that young stage of life. Now I’ll take the blue cheese & olive combo anyway - fried, in a salad, a martini or preferably all three at the same time. :)

I’m finally starting to understand the great meal that is the pasta salad. Easy to throw together, tastes even better the next day and no oven required. Just thinking about pasta salads reminds me of summer dinners as a kid, eating on the porch. While I rarely eat on my balcony these days, I may just serve up a bowl of this and head out to the sun for a summer lunch worth dreaming about.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad - 6-8 servings

  • 2 cups farfalle pasta (I used Barilla PLUS)
  • 6 oz can of black olives, halved
  • 2 cups green grapes, halved
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz blue cheese crumbled
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt & pepper

Cook pasta as directed. Set aside in large bowl and let cool.

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper until smooth in small bowl. When pasta is cool, add other ingredients and dressing to bowl. Toss to combine.

Refrigerate overnight if possible. Serve cool or at room temperature.

entertaining: how to plan a cocktail party

By no means am I claiming to be an expert, but throwing and attending cocktail parties is one of my favorite things to do! I think it has a little to do with my love for hors d’oeuvres but it can also be easy to build a healthy meal with cocktail party fare, while enjoying delicious food and great company.

Choosing the Menu:

Choosing your Cocktails:

Setting Everything Up:

  • Fresh flowers are a must!
  • Set aside a specific bar area: glasses, bottle openers, wine, pitcher of signature cocktail, ice, etc.
  • Have 2 or 3 different food areas so the guests can mingle
  • Area of plates, napkins and necessary utensils

Planning Ahead:

  • Choose things that can be made ahead and don’t need to be served immediately as they will be sitting out for a few hours
  • Make everything as much ahead as you can and give yourself an hour for last minute things that will come up (they always do)
  • Make a great playlist
  • Have your friends help!

Make sure to have fun! That is the whole point after-all, isn’t it?

What are your tips for throwing a great party?

greek potato salad

I’m generally not a huge fan of potato salads, or potatoes – with the exception of sweet potatoes – for that matter, but this is definitely an exception. Perhaps if you throw in green beans, feta, and kalamata olives I can be convinced to eat anything, but this? I’m still longing for the leftovers. And that never happens in my world.

Maybe I like it so much because it is essentially the opposite of your typical potato salad, found in every deli counter, but I’d rather think it’s because it doesn’t contain a week’s worth of mayo per serving. Not to mention that it just tastes perfect.

Go ahead, make this for your next picnic or summer BBQ – I can assure you that it will go over well with any crowd. And if you have any leftovers? I’ll happily accept them. :)

Thanks to Georgene for sharing this delicious recipe!

Greek Potato Salad - 6-8 servings

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain water from pan. Pour 1/2 cup dressing over hot potatoes and mix so all potatoes are coated with dressing. Set aside and let cool.

Steam green beans until tender-crisp. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Let cool.

Pour remaining dressing (1/4 cup) over remaining ingredients and toss together.