Horseshoe Lake and Cucumber Salad!

Since its an overcast day at the lake, I think its a good time for me to post the first part of our trip!

I am spending the week at Horseshoe Lake in Merrifield, MN with a group of friends and it has turned out to be a much needed vacation!

After driving all night we arrived in Merrifield around 7:30am. After a quick 2 hr nap we opened a few beers and hopped in the water!


On Sunday we went to Nisswa, a cute lake town about 20 miles from Horseshoe Lake, we had delicious ice cream at the Chocolate Ox and dinner at Rafferty’s Pizza

They had a wide variety of pizzas including mashed potato pizza, Lucky Chicken which had a lingonberry sauce that was to die for! I had Alexandra’s Barbeque Chicken and it was tasty! I loved the thin crust and who could pass up $1 beers!
After dinner a civic organization in Nisswa gave out American flags shortly before the parade
MEAT RAFFLE?! Sign me up! I remember Andrew Zimmer said this was popular in small Minnesota towns, too bad it was last Friday! I would have wanted to be part of that. In case you are not familiar with the meat raffle, you buy raffle tickets and if your ticket is drawn, you win meat!

We watched the sunset in the paddle boat!

The 4th was spent at the beach and grilling, we found out noodles make great flag poles and the guys celebrated their right to bear arms with a super soaker battle on the dock. Oh, and I wish I had my camera but there was a boat parade in the morning! All the boats in Horseshoe Lake were decorated and each boat had a theme. There were patriotic boats, and Star Wars boats.

What would a food blog be without recipes?? One great thing about vacationing with other foodies: great meals! Sarah’s parents stocked the kitchen for us so it was easy to whip up lunch! Today for lunch I made my honey poppyseed vinaigrette for salads and also made a cucumber tomato salad, recipe compliments of Jay :)

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tomato chopped
2 tsp dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
—-Mix all ingredients and serve chilled!

Honey Poppyseed Vinaigrette
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (sometimes I use apple cider or sherry vinegar)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp poppy seeds
—-Add all ingredients in mason jar and shake until emulsified. You may adjust vinegar and mustard if you would like it more tangy.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Vegetables

So I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of this dish, but to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be blog worthy. This side dish is great with roasted chicken (what I served it with) or any other roasted meat.

1 large spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrap out seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Place onions and carrots on same cookie sheet and toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until squash is tender and flesh scrapes away from skin easily.

While veggies are roasting saute mushrooms and garlic in 1/8 cup f chicken stock until mushrooms are cooked through.

To remove squash from skin, take a fork and scrape flesh out. The flesh will be stringy and resemble spaghetti. Add squash, onion and carrots to mushroom mixture and saute with remaining chicken stock until excess liquid is cooked off. drizzle with red wine vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

These veggies are good on their own but I discovered that they are great the next day reheated and topped with crumbled gorgonzola!

Pasta with Green Beans Blue Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

1/2 lb shell pasta
6 oz fresh green beans
1 large chicken breast, grilled and cubed
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Cook pasta and set aside. Blanch green beans by cooking in salted boiling water for 7 min and then shock green beans by tossing in ice water.

Combine pasta, beans, chicken and blue cheese in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Can be served warm or chilled.

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped red onion

Place ingredients in a food processor and blend to combine.