GRILLED VEGETABLE PASTA SALAD

This classic Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad features smoky fire kissed vegetables and a homemade creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Prep Time:   20 mins    Cook Time   30 mins      Total Time   50 mins

Total Cost: $9.65 recipe / $1.21 serving                Servings: 8 (1.25 cups each)

Ingredients

GRILLED VEGETABLES/PASTA

  • 1 zucchini $1.05
  • 1 yellow squash $0.88
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.79
  • 1/2 red onion $0.43
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $2.49
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.26
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper $0.05
  • 1 lb penne pasta $1.00
  • 1/4 bunch Italian parsley (flat leaf) $0.25

CREAMY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/3 cup olive oil $0.69
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.33
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise* $0.17
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.03
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.05

Instructions

  1. Wash the zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper. Remove the stems, then cut them into large slices or pieces (remove the seeds from the bell pepper. Slice the red onion into thick slices.
  2. Place the zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, red onion, and grape tomatoes on a large baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over top. Gently toss the vegetables until they are well coated in oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over top. (Grape tomatoes are generally too small to place directly on a grill, so if using a grill just add the tomatoes to the salad fresh.)
  3. Grill the vegetables over an open flame until they are charred and tender. OR, adjust your oven’s top rack to be about 6 inches below the broiler unit and turn the broiler on to high. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and watch it closely until the vegetable become charred and tender (about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven and distance from the broiler).
  4. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly after grilling or broiling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and boil for 7-10 minutes, or just until the pasta is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and allow it to cool slightly (until it’s no longer steaming).
  5. While the pasta is cooking and the vegetables are cooling, prepare the creamy balsamic vinaigrette. To a jar or bowl add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, Dijon, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined.**
  6. Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle, chop them into smaller, 1-inch pieces. Roughly chop the parsley leaves.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chopped vegetables, and parsley. Pour the vinaigrette over top, starting with half and adding more to your liking. Gently stir the pasta and vegetables until everything is coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat..

Banana flax muffins

Mashed banana keeps these Banana Flax Muffins soft, sweet, and moist without using a ton of added sugar or oil. An easy, breakfast-worthy muffin!  Prep Time     10 mins        Cook Time 25 mins     Total Time    35 mins

Total Cost: $1.99 recipe / $0.33 each       Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas* $0.34
  • 1 large egg $0.25
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla $0.14
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour $0.11
  • 1 tsp baking powder $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed $0.12
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional) $0.57

 Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. In a medium bowl whisk together the mashed banana, egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and olive oil.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, flaxseed, and walnuts.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir them together just until no dry flour remains on the bottom of the bowl. Avoid over stirring the batter.
  4. Line six wells of a muffin tin with paper liners, then divide the batter evenly between the six wells. It should fill the wells almost to the top.
  5. Transfer the muffins to the oven and bake at 425ºF for five minutes, then reduce the heat setting to 350ºF without opening the oven door, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. After baking, remove the muffins from the tin to allow them to cool. Enjoy the muffins immediately, or allow them to cool completely and then store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Notes: Make sure the bananas are very ripe (approx. 2 bananas for ¾ cup)