Mandarin Orange Salad

I like this summery salad for several reasons: the crunchy toasted almonds, the juicy sweet mandarin orange segments, the colourful appearance of all the ingredients tossed together. I also love the fact that since it’s so easy to make, it allows me to spend more time relaxing on the deck with the people I care about. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any summer BBQ menu.

Mandarin orange saladMandarin Orange Salad

3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 package romaine hearts
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 bottle Kraft mandarin orange with sesame dressing

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Allow toasted almonds to cool to room temperature.

Wash and dry the romaine; tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large serving bowl and top with oranges and toasted almonds. Serve immediately with orange sesame dressing.

Quick Sunday night supper

I threw this together last night using some ingredients I had on hand. Served in bowls with grated mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top, it was a warm, satisfying dish and a nice change of pace from all the leftover turkey we’ve been having this month. My husband’s favourite part was the chunks of hot Italian sausage; mine was the tender broccoli florets, bursting with folic acid and all those other healthy green-veggie vitamins. We agreed that next time, he gets extra sausage in his bowl and I can have extra broccoli in mine.

This is a quick and easy recipe to make when you’re pressed for time or when you’d rather just relax on the couch with your dearly beloved instead of spending hours in the kitchen. Just add broccoli, Italian sausage, and mozzarella cheese to your grocery list this week, and I bet you already have all the other ingredients in your pantry to make this next weekend!

Sausage Broccoli Pasta

6 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
1 jar (700 ml) tomato sauce (I used a no-name 6-vegetable pasta sauce)
1 cup uncooked pasta (I used rigatoni)
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Additional grated mozzarella for sprinkling

In a large nonstick skillet, fry the sausages until cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to the skillet. Add pasta sauce and cook over medium heat until bubbly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and boil for 4 minutes. Add broccoli and continue boiling 6 minutes longer. Drain and add to the sauce mixture. Stir in cheese and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted.

To serve, scoop into bowls and sprinkle with additional grated mozzarella cheese. Makes 4 bowlfuls—just enough for 2 hungry people, with leftovers for the next day!