Ricky’s 2nd Birthday and Italian Pasta Salad

Our oldest little man turned 2 last week! I still can’t believe it myself. He is such a sweet boy and we are beyond blessed to have him in our lives. We had a little party to celebrate, just our immediate families and a few close friends. Ricky had a blast being the center of attention and everyone enjoyed watching him play, open presents, and of course- eat cake!

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We made sure all of the food was Ricky-friendly (i.e. nut free, egg free, dairy free) so no one would have to worry about smooching him or playing with him on his big day.Food allergy friendly party menus are not the easiest to create. You want everyone to enjoy the food (and not just “this is pretty good for being allergy food” enjoy it) but make sure it is 100% safe. Here is what we came up with for a nut free, egg free, dairy free dinner menu to serve ~25 people.

Appetizers:

Entre/Sides:

  • BBQ chicken on the grill (just chicken breasts slathered with some Sweet Baby Ray’s
  • Italian Sausage (be cautious of the buns used, not all are dairy free)
  • Applegate Beef Hot Dogs
  • Italian Pasta Salad (see recipe below)
  • Fruit Salad

Dessert:

Everything turned out great! The Italian Pasta Salad is a recipe of my MIL’s and I’m so glad she shared it! Most pasta salads contain dairy or Miracle Whip (i.e. eggs), so it is wonderful to have one that is completely safe for Ricky but still has lots of flavor!

Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 box spiral noodles (we use Ronzoni Smart Taste)
  • 1 bottle Italian Dressing
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 package pepperoni, cut into halves (watch for dairy. we used Hormel)
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • Seasoning: This recipe originally used McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning, but since that contains dairy, we mixed up our own! There are no exact measurements, use each according to your taste!
    • Salt, Sesame Seed, Poppy Seed, Paprika, Garlic, Black Pepper, and Red Pepper

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to box
  • Cut up veggies and pepperoni and toss with the pasta
  • Mix seasoning into Italian dressing
  • Stir dressing mixture into pasta and veggies
  • Enjoy!

Keeping It Simple on the Grill

Unfortunately, a lot of food allergy recipe blogs can be a bit overwhelming. They often use more ingredients than typical recipes, including some ingredients that are unfamiliar and definitely not pantry staples. Although branching out is necessary, there are also a lot of food basics that can be made safe fairly simply!

Our family loves to grill in the summer. My husband is not a cook, but this is the time of year that he steps it up and helps out with dinner. He genuinely enjoys grilling, so if I prep something, he’s happy to do the rest of the work. Grilling is simple- season or marinate some meat, throw some potatoes and veggies in foil and you’re good to go!

Today’s grilling menu: Balsamic Italian Chicken, Rosemary Potatoes and Asparagus

Balsamic Italian Chicken

Balsamic Italian Chicken Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Place all ingredients in a zip-lock bag. Shake it up, refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. When ready, cook on the grill! This should take ~ 20 minutes on medium/ high heat, depending on your grill

This chicken is also excellent on top of a spinach salad with some yummy balsamic dressing. Our favorite, safe dressing is Maple Grove Farms Strawberry Balsamic! Karl will actually eat a salad happily as long as we have this dressing!

Rosemary Potatoes

Directions: Prep a large piece of foil by spreading a small amount of Earth Balance on the center. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place half in the foil, sprinkle half the rosemary and place chunks of Earth Balance Spread on potatoes. Add the remaining potatoes, sprinkle with remaining rosemary, salt and pepper. Add the rest of the Earth Balance Spread in chunks on top of the potatoes. Create a packet with the foil, making sure the edges are completely sealed. Grill for ~10 minutes on each side (total of 20 minutes) on high heat, depending on your grill

Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: This is not a measured recipe, but it sure is yummy. Clean and cut bad ends off the asparagus. Place in a 9 x 13 pan or large platter, drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I prefer quite a bit of salt and little pepper, but this is 100% to taste). Place directly on grill and cook for ~10 minutes on medium heat, be sure to turn frequently.