Monthly Archives

August 2015

Mango Salsa

August 25, 2015

Mango Salsa

From the Kitchen of Cathy Rueter at Up in the Attic ‎

*Note: Another no cook dish! This one is perfect with chicken, cracker chips, salad, scooper chips, fish…any dish in which you need a fresh topping or scooping side. I love this with gluten free sea salt crackers from Aldi’s.

I’m currently on a black bean kick, so I’d probably like this over a dish of warmed homemade black beans. And since I am going to share my friends recipe for Homemade Black Beans next week, guess what I’m going to try them with!

Mango Salsa

Serves: 2

Necessary items: medium size bowl

Time: Prep time 20-30 minutes, wait time approximately 30 minutes, cook time – zero!



1 ½ cups diced mango

½ cup diced, fresh pineapple

¾ cup diced tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes, quartered)

½ cup diced orange bell pepper

½ cup diced cucumber

⅛ cup green onions, sliced thin (3-4 Tbl of chives would work well in place of green onions)

⅛ tsp pepper or to taste

½ tsp salt or to taste



Dice all fruit and vegetable ingredients.

Drain excess juice.

Put all fruit and vegetable ingredients in bowl with salt and pepper and thoroughly stir.

Cover bowl and let sit for approximately 30 minutes (if longer than 30 minutes before serving, store in refrigerator and remove to warm for 30 minutes before serving), thoroughly stir again.


Serve over chicken, fish, or rice. Use for salsa dip with crackers, chips, etc.






From the kitchen of Up in the Attic with Cathy Rueter © 2015



Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

August 11, 2015

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Originally from the Kitchen of Kaitlin M at The Garden Grazer

*Note: I originally found this recipe on the internet a few weeks ago. We liked it so well that I did something I have never done before…I wrote to Kaitlin and asked if I could share her recipe on Up in the Attic. She graciously agreed!

Any changes are noted in parenthesis. Photos – whether good or bad – are my doing. I have linked to the original recipe at the end – you might want to go check out this and a BUNCH more yummy sounding recipes over on Kaitlin’s site.

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

No cooking! Just chopping, dicing and stirring – how much easier and fresher can you get than that on a hot August day?

Necessary items – large salad bowl, small dressing bowl, possibly food processor or blender

Time: 30 minutes prep (or less)

Ingredients for Chopped Salad:

Large head of romaine lettuce, rinsed

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 large orange bell pepper (I used julienned mini red peppers left from dinner the day before instead)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 cups corn (Kaitlin uses frozen, thawed. I used a 15.5 oz. can of whole kernel corn)

5 green onions (I used a good sized clump of chives from my garden)

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing (recipe below) or other dressing of choice



Finely chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions.

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl, along with the black beans and corn. Mix to combine.

Toss with desired dressing

(Changes: we like different dressings so we drizzle whichever one we like over it once it reaches our plates, instead of tossing it with one dressing. I already told you about the differences in the green onions and orange bell pepper. We also have a family member that does not like tomatoes so I leave them in larger pieces so they can be removed.)


Ingredients for Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing:

1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped

(I used 2 oz. of Garden Gourmet’s Stir-in paste cilantro – from a tube)

½ avocado or ½ cup plain vegan yogurt or Greek yogurt

2 Tbls fresh lime juice – about ½ a lime

1-2 garlic cloves (I used 1-1 ½ tsp chopped garlic in water – from a jar I always have on hand)

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp white vinegar

1/8 tsp salt (I added just a touch more)

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing. Adapted with permission from The Garden Grazer.  Photo: Cathy Rueter ©2015

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing. Adapted with permission from The Garden Grazer.
Photo: Cathy Rueter ©2015


Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. (Because I used the cilantro paste, I just used the smaller bowl and stirred VERY well). Toss with salad.

*Note: Five reasons why I make this dressing on the side.
1) We have two people severely allergic to avocados in our family so I used regular, plain yogurt instead of the avocado. I usually have Greek yogurt on hand but didn’t last night so I used plain. This is a thick, stir-in dressing normally so the thinner, regular yogurt made it easier to drizzle.

2) One of my son’s has an aversion to cilantro. He’s usually not a real picky eater but I thought he was making it up. Then I did some research on it. Turns out there are some people who get a strong, unpleasant metallic taste from cilantro. Guess what? That’s what he’s been telling me all along, “tastes like I’m chewing on a piece of metal.” Guess mom should have listened better.

3) The first time I made this recipe my crew was so hungry, and I knew I was only making the dressing for me, that I didn’t make it. I used ranch dressing, then drizzled lime juice and sprinkled fine ground sea salt over it all. Ooh it was good (but then again, I’m a lime/salt fanatic).

4) My husband likes hot sauce….he adds it to his dressing of choice for this salad. Umm, no thanks!

5) If given a choice, one of my sons doesn’t like dressing of any kind on his salads.

Making it for on the side allows all of us to choose how to dress this delicious, summer fresh salad.




Original recipe from The Garden Grazer




Jutta’s German Pasta Salad

August 4, 2015

A long time favorite in our household, this pasta salad recipe was originally given to me from our German friend Jutta H. (pronounced You-tuh). She introduced this summer salad to me when our kids (now in their 20’s) were little, during one of our many family dinners together when we were both young moms, living far away from our extended families. It has become an easy, and well liked, take-along dish for parties, cookouts and picnics. I have adapted it very little over the years except to add different veggies to it as I have on hand.


Jutta’s German Pasta Salad

serves 6-8 (main dish) or 10-12 as a side

Prep time: 30 minutes

Minimum cooling time: 30 minutes



1 – 12 ounce box tri-color rotini pasta, cooked to al dente (cooked to be still firm when bitten)
1 cup cherry tomoatoes, cut in halves
1 cup fresh mushrooms, broken in small pieces
1 can black olives, cut in halves
2 cans chicken (or 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed)
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbl vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp dry mustard (or 1 Tbl bottled mustard and reduce vinegar by 1/2-1 tsp)
Cook pasta per manufacturer’s directions to al dente (approximately 7-8 minutes in large pot of boiling water). Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Add all SALAD ingredients.
In cup or dressing cruet, add dressing ingredients and stir or shake well. Pour over pasta/veggies and mix well.
Cool salad for AT LEAST 3o minutes.
Mix, serve and enjoy!
This salad lends itself well to being made the day before but you may want to reserve a little of the dressing to add fresh when serving and in order to ‘unstick’ any pasta when serving the next day (or add a small amount of olive oil and stir).
**Note: This salad can be made gluten free by using a gluten free pasta but make sure it is one that stays together when cooked. You do NOT want mushy pasta with this salad – believe me.
Other great add-ins to this salad are any of the following veggies (you may have to add further dressing if you go crazy with the veggies): broccoli florets, carrot shavings or julienne’s, diced seedless cucumber, diced colored sweet peppers, diced, sweet Vidalia onion (but remove the onion flakes from the dressing), or celery slices. I personally like artichoke hearts diced up in this salad as well.
© 2015 Cathy Rueter – Up in the Attic With Cathy Rueter