We were invited to spend our 4th of July with some friends celebrating our country's independence as well as their son's birthday. They are having the get-together at the beach and that's usually where we are for the Fourth anyway, so it worked out perfectly!
We are bringing some carne asada to share towards the grilling. I got some really good quality flank/skirt steak at a really good price. I marinate it myself with all sorts of dry seasonings, plus orange juice. It's going to be delicious!!
I also wanted to make a little something to bring as a side. I did two different salads that are a favorite with my family and friends.
1 box of Barilla rotini pasta
1/2 package of bacon
1/2 cup of mayo (I only use Best Foods)
1 large avocado pitted and cubed
2 Tbs dry Ranch dip mix (from the packet)
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Blend seasoning
1. Boil pasta according to directions on the box. I like Barilla pasta because it really cooks up al dente, which means it's firm, but not hard. Drain, rinse and let it cool.
2. Cook bacon until it is crisp, but not too dark. I like to cover a cookie sheet with foil and lay my bacon (spaced evenly) on the sheet and cook in 350* oven for about 15 minutes. Drain grease and chop into small pieces.
3. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Slice into cubes.
4. Begin putting salad together by dividing the pasta and adding the mayo to one batch. Fold and mix into pasta distributing the mayo evenly. Then sprinkle in your dry seasonings, followed by the bacon and then the avocado last. Add the rest of the pasta and mix carefully. Continue folding without mashing the pasta or the avocado.
5. Squeeze the juice of one whole lemon over the whole thing and mix one more time.
6. Chill until ready to serve.
Caprese Salad - My Way
Ingredients: All produce purchased at Trader Joe's
1 Container of baby heirloom tomatoes (I quarter the larger tomatoes)
1 Container of mini pearl grape tomatoes
1 8 oz. container of Ciliegine Whole Milk Fresh Mozarella packed in water (drained and halved)
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of fresh chopped basil (I bought a plant at TJ's a while back and it's been the best!)
Salt/Pepper/Italian Grinder Herb Seasoning (McCormick's)
Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (I prefer glass). Season to taste with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
Serve immediately or refrigerate and then serve cold.
p.s. If this salad was just for me, I'd add some amazing black olives, but I've got to many picky eaters around me. =)
Well, there you go. I look forward to having an amazing day tomorrow with my family and friends. Last year, we were also at the beach, but little Marco had an asthma attack and my husband ended up taking him to the hospital. =( They both totally missed the fireworks. Praying that all goes well this year.
We are so thankful for the freedom to enjoy a day with our family and to celebrate by remembering all of those that served and gave their lives to secure that freedom. God bless America!