Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Greek Pasta Salad, Meatballs, and BBQ Cupcakes in Amish Country

We made our annual trek to visit the in-laws in Lancaster county last weekend. The boys, while at times feisty during the 7+ hours in the car, had a wonderful time. It's a weekend complete with doting grandparents, trains (note: parents of "trainiacs", the Strasburg Railroad Museum and Choo Choo Barn are a must-see), playtime with relatives, and a good dose of country air.

Country Air!


For umdaddy and I, we get to relax (thanks to doting grandparents), spend some quality time with relatives and get our dose of country air. Some might think a trip to Amish Country equates to simple, butter-laden meals by candle light. In actuality, we were treated to some fresh-from-the-garden, sophisticated meals in the comfort of central AC (no, my in-laws are not Amish in case you were wondering).

One dinner consisted of a comforting and delicious baked lasagna with meatballs. Instead of slaving over a frying pan, we tried baking them in muffin tins for the first time (a tip I saw on Good Eats).

Baked meatballs in mini muffin tins

We were also treated to a cookout complete with burgers, dogs, and local corn on the cob. We had fun improvising and whipped up a delicious Greek pasta salad (check out the recipe at the end of the post). And every meal ended with a delicious dessert. Check out these adorable brownie cupcakes made to look like grilled meat.

Brownie cupcakes with grilled "hot dogs", "pork chops" and "kebabs"

And no road trip is complete without some food off a major highway in either a chain restaurant or hole-in-the-wall establishment. We decided to roll the dice and dined at El Sombrero, a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Southington, CT (off of I-84). I'll be posting my restaurant review of El Sombrero soon!

It was a successful and great mini-vacation and I'm already looking forward to our trip next summer.


{Recipe} Greek Pasta Salad
 Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:
12 ounces farfalle pasta (bow-ties)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cucumber, cored and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl. 

2. Add crumbled feta cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, red onions and parsley .

3. Combine vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to farfalle mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  


The Good: Easy to make, great as leftovers, perfect side for a picnic/BBQ.

The Bad: Boys did not like anything but the farfalle.

Grade: A-. This will be a summer regular.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome cupcakes! What a cute idea!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The pasta salad looks delicious! Maybe the boys will grow to like the other ingredients too?

    ReplyDelete

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