Steak and Mango Pasta Salad

Thin slices of beef, sweet mangoes, and cool cucumber tossed with pasta and homemade Italian dressing . . . Summer is here.

steak and mango pasta salad

This salad was thrown together from some leftovers, but it was so delicious, I had to share it.  Really, my mouth is watering just writing about it.  The mango was an afterthought; it was looking sad and lonely in the fruit bowl, but it turned out to be the star of the show.  The sweetness of the mango pairs very nicely with the zesty dressing.

The Italian dressing is the most amazing recipe.  I copied down the recipe from an online recipe about 6 years ago, and sadly I have no idea who the creator is, but whoever it was, they know how to make Italian Dressing.  I do tweak it a little here and there when I make it.  For instance, I don’t own any celery salt, but I do have celery seed, so a little pinch of that and a bit of extra salt and voila…I don’t even know what I’m missing from the original recipe.  🙂

I cook my steak in a hot cast-iron skillet with a little oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  I follow a similar technique with a roast, first sear it in a hot cast iron pan, then place the whole pan in an oven and roast (without a lid) on a low heat about 250 degrees Fahrenheit.


Steak and Mango Pasta Salad

Chilled, and thinly sliced grilled steak or tender roast beef

Fresh mango, peeled and cubed

Cucumber, peeled and sliced

Pasta, cooked and cooled

Italian Dressing, recipe follows

 

Mix ingredients (amounts to your liking) and gently mix.  Eat.

 

Italian Dressing

1 cup vinegar of your choice

3/4 cup olive or canola oil

4 Tbsp water

1/2 Tbsp garlic salt

1/2 Tbsp onion powder (or dehydrated, minced onion)

1 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 Tbsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp celery salt (or a pinch of celery seed and a pinch of salt)

1 Tbsp salt

Whisk ingredients together, or put ingredients in a mason jar and shake well (with the lid on)

Store in refrigerator.

 

Toasted Coconut Almond Bars

 

Dark chocolate spread over a crumb crust of toasted coconut, almond, and graham crackers.

Almond Coconut Bars1

At the end of the day, when your sweetheart asks about your day, how do you answer? For me, I could respond by telling him about the heaps of laundry I washed, the new recipe I tried, time spent volunteering in the kid’s classrooms, or cleaning.  All things considered, I like to tease and tell him that I spent the day reading a book and eating chocolate.

These toasted coconut almond bars are the chocolates you want to eat while you are reading the book.  On second thought, maybe you should eat them at the kitchen table and then wash your hands before reading the book. (Yes, I am a mom 🙂 ).

These Toasted Coconut Almond Bars are rich, but not very sweet.  Toasting the almonds and coconut warms up the almond oils and speeds along the grinding process. Besides toasted coconut is so tasty!


Toasted Coconut Almond Bars

2 rectangular graham crackers, (31 g)

1 cup almonds, (140 g)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, (46 g)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1/8 tsp sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In your food processor, crush the graham crackers.  Place crumbs in a bowl and set aside.

Place 1 cup almonds on a baking sheet and put in preheated oven for 12 minutes.  Add coconut and brown for 2 minutes or until coconut turns golden brown. Put almonds, coconut, coconut oil and salt in food processor and process until smooth and on its way to turning into almond butter.  When the almonds are moist enough that they can form a clump, mix in graham cracker crumbs.

coconut almond crumb.jpg
Coconut Almond Mixture

Line a 9×9 casserole dish with parchment paper or Saran wrap.  Place coconut almond mixture into casserole dish.  Press to compact as much as possible and place in freezer to harden for an hour (or overnight).

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, so not to burn the chocolate.  Stir well between each heating.  Add extra cocoa powder for super dark chocolate.

Holding onto the parchment paper or Saran wrap, lift frozen almond crust out of casserole and onto cutting board.  Spread chocolate on top of the frozen crust.  Allow chocolate to set.  (If needed place back into freezer for a few minutes.)

Using a sharp knife, slice into bars and serve.