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Pasta Salad Garbanzo-ganza!

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Here’s the first pasta salad of the season….so delightfully crazy with red peppers, garbanzos, onion, jalapeno, olives, cherry peppers, pumpkin seeds. And, a vinaigrette with garlic mustard, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar and a small dollop of greek yogurt to make it creamy. No recipe needed. While you boil your pasta in salted water, dice your veggies, grab a handful of nuts or seeds, and drain your beans. Then whisk up a vinaigrette. Assemble in a bowl and add your drained, hot pasta and toss. Tastes even better tomorrow! Photo: Becca Henry

Beer-battered Avocado Tacos

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Right now, avocados are a good deal with some markets selling them for 89 cents! I deep-fried several wedges in a beer batter and had delicious tacos for days. I added a lemon red cabbage slaw, bacon, pickled jalapeno, red onion and a romoulade sauce. Photo: Becca Henry

BEER-BATTERED AVOCADOS  |  REMOULADE SAUCE  |  RED CABBAGE SLAW

Creamy Mushroom Cauliflower Soup

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I did a fridge raid and came to the conclusion that mushrooms are deceptively more than you bargain for. I’ve made vegetable soups before and usually think ho-hum….just not enough density of flavor to keep me satisfied.  Add cream and mushrooms and suddenly the soup is a hearty, silky meal.  I took this basic recipe for a creamy mushroom soup and added cauliflower, garlic and chives. Very satisfying. Next time. I’ll add shrimp shells to the broth for even more flavor. (Tip: always, always keep your shrimp shells in the freezer to make amazing sauces and broth.) Photo: Becca Henry.

INA GARTEN’S MUSHROOM SOUP

Pickled Grape Pizza

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I had some leftover pizza dough and decided to make a quick pizza in my trusty skillet. I raided the fridge for toppings and voila, a star is born. Toppings were fontina cheese, capers, shaved asparagus, scallions, asiago cheese and lastly and most importantly, pickled red grapes.

My niece, Danie, made the grapes and somehow one of the jars was deep in the fridge. Lucky for me. It was amazing. Do it. Photo: Becca Henry.

PICKLED GRAPES

Kale Massage…oh yes.

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This trendy little technique is on fire. By massaging the sturdy kale leaves with lemon, salt and olive oil, you get a amazing bright, healthy green for any meal. I put it on burgers and sandwiches, too. And the longer in sets, the better it gets, so make ahead and keep in the fridge at your fingertips….pun intended.  Photo: Danie Woodward.

MASSAGED KALE SALAD

An Orange Crock of Soup

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My current obsession is carrots. I am using carrots where one would use tomatoes and love the results. This soup was so good for a winter meal. And it was great later in the week as a pasta sauce with spicy turkey meatballs. Really. Carrots are cool. Photo: Danie Woodward.

CARROT SOUP

Crispy Jalapeno Polenta Bites

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This idea came to me in the wee hours and I am so glad these turned out. I wanted to make a gluten-free bite using polenta and wondered how to make it fun and spicy. Voila…add a jalapeno slice before you throw the polenta in the fridge to set up and you add spice, color and a cutting guide. Photo: Danie Woodward.

GRILLED POLENTA