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by Caitlin Saniga

For added spiciness, you can add roughly minced jalapeno to the mix.

  • 1 1/2 cup dry shell pasta
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly minced
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

Cook pasta according to package instruction. Drain well, and set aside to cool

Peel avocado and remove the pit. Put it in a food processor with chopped cilantro, lime juice, mayonnaise and garlic. Blend until it’s creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the avocado sauce to a medium sized bowl. Add cooked pasta and toss well. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Makes 2 main-dish servings.

Recipe adapted from: NorikoBurky.com

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Caitlin Saniga

You can smell the chamomile in this dish more than you can taste it, and I like this recipe because chamomile truly is the star. The flavors are so simple. I'd definitely recommend this dish for kids. Aaaand, Eddie said he thinks salmon would make a good substitute for the chicken. He would know. I wouldn't.

  • 3 chamomile tea bags
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 pound shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup diced red peppers (from 1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup diced green peppers (from 1 small pepper)
  • parsley for garnish

Steep the tea bags in the vinegar for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid before discarding the bags. Mix in the mayonnaise and tarragon, and chill.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the chicken until it is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Shred the chicken. Combine the chicken, pasta, peppers and dressing in a large bowl. Toss and chill.

Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from: Celestial Seasonings Cookbook

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

Chamomile facts

-Good for: Boosting the immune system and relieving muscle spasms and menstrual cramps. Chamomile’s active ingredient bisabolol has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

-Origins: Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant in the daisy family and is most commonly grown in Europe and parts of Asia. Even in ancient Egypt, chamomile tea was used as a remedy for colds. Romans enjoyed it as the herb in beverage form and as an incense.

-Taste: Chamomile has a floral and fruity aroma (some say it smells like apples), and when served as a beverage, is good with honey.

Sources: TeaBenefits.com and Adagio.com 

*Throughout May, “Strange Brew” will feature tea-based recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This pasta salad is pretty and healthy, but I have to be honest — the smell really turned me off. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I'm guessing it's one or more of these ingredients combined: Parmesan, kidney beans, whole-wheat pasta (maybe?). Any ideas? If I made this again, I think I'd swap out the Parmesan cheese, and add green onions instead.

  • 4 ounces whole-wheat penne (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 ounces green beans, snapped into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Toss the cooled pasta and green beans with the kidney beans, parsley, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Makes 2 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Caitlin Saniga

This recipe had a huge yield. You could easily halve it and save the other half of the box of orzo for something else.

  • 2 pounds carrots (about 4 bunches)
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 pound orzo
  • grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 scallions, white and light-green parts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the lower shelf. Cut the carrots diagonally into 2-inch pieces (if the carrots are thick, cut them in half lengthwise, too). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots and garlic with 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch of salt. Roast until the carrots are tender and browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins; mince to form a coarse paste. Set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add salt. Stir in the orzo; cook until al dente, according to package instructions, about 7 minutes. Drain; while still hot, transfer the orzo to a large bowl, and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Let cool slightly, and add the roasted carrots.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, scallions and roasted garlic. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve, or store, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Recipe: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

This recipe appeared in Seasonal Sundays (RealSustenance.com).

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