Last updated: August 03. 2014 4:13PM - 529 Views

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Hello my fellow Epicureans!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Carissa Mason and I’m a food junkie (all in unison: “Hello, Carissa”).

When I call myself a “food junkie” I mean that I love to eat food almost as much as I love to cook food! No, maybe adore is the more appropriate adjective here? Or, revere. That’s a good one, too.

Seriously, I love cooking food about as much as I love the people I cook it for (it’s really, really close, though). There’s not much that is more rewarding to me than dirtying up a sink full of dishes and murdering a bunch of complimenting delectable delicacies for a dining room table spread that would make Julia Child green with envy. (Did I mention I get a little overzealous about food?)

Let’s just say having a family of 7 has made me appreciate the art of cooking (and by “art” I mean “Absolutely Random Triumph”, making sure my family - all 5 children and one hungry beast of a husband - approves of said meal). Then, add in the challenge of finding something healthy, that is also appealing, to put on that dining room table of ours and you have what I like to call the Culinary Kamikaze Challenge. Because making broccoli seem appetizing to a toddler is like trying to convince a senior they need to learn to twerk and let’s face it, there’s just so many times a week I can serve mac and cheese (and not feel a tad guilty about it).

Enter sassy, mouth-watering monthly article. This one, to be exact. In this little write-up you’ll find some of my favorite A.R.T.s packed with plenty of my personal nuttiness and spice. Some will be healthy and good for the ol’ ticker. Still, others will be far from it but, oh-so-good for the soul. I’ll mark these on a scale of hearts. The more hearts the recipe has, the better it will be for you. If there are no hearts, you may want to think twice before trying that particular dish if your health is waning, I’m just saying.

So, without further ado, here is your first yummy dish. It’s perfect for the summer time heat and is a middle-of-the-road health factor. I give it 3 hearts.

(Recipe adapted from one found on Food Network)

Summertime BLT Pasta Salad

16 oz. mini farfalle (bowties)

1 lb. bacon, uncooked

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 c. organic Caesar dressing (I buy Brianna’s)

1 c. sliced black olives

1/2 c. shredded (not grated) parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 c. grapeseed oil, (olive oil or coconut oil can be used if desired)

Juice of ½ a lemon

4 c. chopped romaine, lettuce or spinach or a mixture of both

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water to al dente, then drain. Toss it with the oil and lemon juice and marinate it in the refrigerator overnight. When almost ready to serve, cut the bacon into bite size pieces and cook in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 T. of the bacon grease. Add the sliced tomatoes and minced garlic and toss in the skillet for just a couple of minutes to cook the garlic and soften the tomatoes. Remove from heat and let sit until cool. Now all that’s left to do is simply mix in the Caesar dressing, bacon, tomato mixture, olives and Parmesan. Serve at room temperature or chilled over a bed of chopped lettuce.

Serves: 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side.

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