Rotini Garbanzo Salad

This is by far my absolute favorite type of salad. I can’t exactly remember when my mom started making this, but ever since it’s been my standard food request for birthdays, visits, and really any food oriented event at my parents’ house.  Yesterday, some friends and I went to Goat Rock Beach for climbing and picnicking so of course I jumped on the opportunity to bring this. My love knows no bounds. So I prepped the salad and a mojito watermelon dish (recipe here) the night before because both seemed to be bright, filling pick-me-up dishes – that wouldn’t bog us down or make us sleepy for a day outdoors.


4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 Cups Barilla Gluten Free Rotini
1 (15-ounce) Can Garbanzo Beans
1 ½ Cups Combination of Grape and Komato Tomatoes (Diced)
¾ Cup Sweet Red Onion (Diced)
½ Cup Fresh Basil (Chopped)
¼ Cup Fresh Mint (Chopped)
¾ Cup Red Wine Vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Depending on whether you’d like the salad to be vegetarian or not, start by bringing the chicken or vegetable broth to a boil on high heat in a large saucepan. Once the broth is boiling add the rotini and cook according to the box instructions for al dente pasta.

2. While the rotini is cooking, dice the onions and tomatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl.2015-07-31 21.15.30

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3. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans under cold water in your sink. Add the cleaned beans to the bowl of onions and tomatoes.

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4. Chop the herbs and add to the bowl as well.

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5. Once the rotini is finished cooking, drain off the vegetable broth and add the rotini to the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients.

6. Toss the salad with the red wine vinaigrette until well combined and place in a covered container. Chill for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
4 Teaspoons Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and honey to a medium mixing bowl. Using a whisk, blend the ingredients until fully incorporated together and the vinaigrette comes to a smooth consistency. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.

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The recipe is inspired by Giada De Laurentiis Orzo Salad – enjoy! (PS more pictures of Goat Rock Beach coming in the next post)


Skillet Lasagna

How’s everyone’s weekend going? I took a break from blogging yesterday because we had take-out and game night with friends. Plus the new Sailor Moon Crystal episode came out and I was definitely not checking Hulu every five minutes to see if it’d been posted. Certainly not, that would be obsessive. (#^.^#) Anywho, this recipe is coming to you from Friday night and I’m not going to lie to you – I’ve been eating left-overs for pretty much every meal since then. Which is absolutely a good thing because they’re delicious, so onto the recipe!


2 Medium Eggplants (Chopped Small)
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms (Chopped Small)
2 Shallots (Diced)
4 Garlic Cloves (Grated)Happy Ingredients
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
½ Tablespoon Dried Rosemary Leaves (Crushed)
½ Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
12 Dried Lasagna Noodles
1 15-Ounce Carton Ricotta Cheese
8-Ounces MozzarellaThere were no survivors Cheese (Shredded)
1 Cup Whipping Cream
2 Eggs
½ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Heat your olive oil in a large cast iron skillet on medium high. Cook the eggplant, mushrooms, shallots, and garlic in the skillet until they begin to lose crispness (I did this in two shifts because of the HUGE amount of eggplant.) Once the veggies are just tender stir in the basil, rosemary, and Italian seasoning. Roast the vegetable mix in your oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  2. While roasting the vegetables cook your noodles according to package directions. I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Lasagne brand to keep the recipe gluten free. Set the pasta aside once done.
  3. To make the cheese filling add your ricotta, 5 ounces of mozzarella, cream, eggs, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients using your hands (make sure they’re clean first) until well-incorporated.
  4. Once the vegetable mix has finished take it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove 2/3 of the vegetable mix from the skillet and set aside. Using a scraping spatula to spread the remainder of the vegetable mix evenly along your skillet bottom. Place an even layer of lasagna noodles on top of the vegetables and spoon a layer of cheese filling on top of the noodles. Continue this process until you’ve run out of layering ingredients, ending with a layer of cheese filling. Sprinkle your remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the final layer.
  5. Cover your skillet with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover your lasagna and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Skillet Lasagna

I put a pot holder on my kitchen table, slapped the skillet on that, and let everyone serve themselves. You could be more formal about it, but let’s be honest with ourselves here – nothing quite screams “family style” louder than the cheesy deliciousness of lasagna being served out of a cast iron skillet. I don’t know maybe I’m wrong about that; maybe my family was just weird. Whatever, enjoy!

Plated Skillet Lasagna