During hot summer months, I try not to spend too much time cooking over a frying pan or near a hot oven. My body craves meals that can be served at room temperature or cold. So even though there is some “hot” work involved with pasta salad, this is perfect to whip up and enjoy later in the day after it has had time to chill.
It’s also time for the corn and zucchini harvest, so this pasta salad is light, fresh, and in-season. All good things in my book!
This recipe is very easy to throw together. It’s great as a meatless meal, a side dish, or served with rotisserie chicken for a more robust entree. This keeps well at room temperature so you can bring this to BBQs as well, especially if you use vegan mayonnaise, like we did.
Note, we are not vegans we but prefer the taste of vegenaise.
In a large bowl, toss the corn and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute for four to five minutes, until the zucchini browns slightly. Add shallot and cook for another minute. Pour vegetable mixture back into your large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well and pour into same large bowl.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the mayonnaise with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the lime juice, chile powder; season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta, corn, zucchini, tomatoes and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Using a vegetable peeler or carefully with a knife, shave the frozen goat cheese all over the top and enjoy at room temperature or chilled.
After all of the devastation here in Colorado, we are still in clean up mode. Areas in the foothills are still in a state of emergency. A lot of the water around us has receded in our town, but many neighborhoods are still underwater. We are very lucky.
There are ways you can help if you can. There are many families left without homes who did not have flood insurance. Colorado is a dry, wildfire-prone place. Most insurance companies don’t mention flood insurance when you buy a home out here. Due to vast burn areas, the land here wasn’t able to soak up the heavy rain we received and thus, flash floods. You can see some amazing photos of this tragic event here.
As I said before, we are very lucky. We didn’t have any damage and were able to continue safely drinking our tap water. We were, however, stranded for a few days and ate whatever we had on hand to get by – mostly junk. The highways are finally open and the grocery stores receiving shipments again. I was able to buy some fresh produce. This is one of the first things I made.
I was craving fresh avocado and tomato – one of my favorite combination of flavors. I had provolone on hand so I added it to my omelette but mozzarella would be a good, salty cheese to use too. I have to say, it was extremely satisfying to eat something so light and fresh for a change. Things are looking up.
It’s funny, this event has physically separated families and loved ones, but somehow has brought this community closer together.
Spray a small non-stick pan with non-stick spray and heat it over medium heat. In the mean time, whisk the eggs, salt and pepper, and dry mustard and cayenne (optional) in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the pan and turn the pan so the egg coats the bottom of the pan and part of the sides. After you see the edges turn from yellow to white (cooked egg), sprinkle tomatoes around the egg, and add the cheese. Fold the omelette in half, cover with a lid, and lower the temperature to low. Continue to cook until the inside of the omelette is cooked and the cheese is melted, about two minutes. Remove from heat. Top with fresh avocado slices and sprinkle a couple more tomatoes on top and serve.
Hello friends! It has been too long since we’ve chatted. It turns out that I did not have internet in Wisconsin after all. I apologize for the hiatus. I know you were worried and I dearly appreciate your concern. All I can do is promise you that it will not happen again… anytime soon that is. I have many photos from my time in Wisconsin, but I will save those for another day.
Colorado weather has been absolutely beautiful the last few days. As I catch up on laundry and chores, I also began working on my balcony garden. I planted my seeds (fresh herbs, lettuce and tomatoes) and purchased flowers to plant on my deck. I also took a couple bike rides and my first hike of the year. Spring has sprung here!
Now, you know the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” right? Do you know what else April brings? Grilled Cheese month!! Being from Wisconsin (the land of cheese and beer) this is an extra special month for me.
Upon every return from Wisconsin, I bring back an embarrassingly large amount of cheese (I swear that’s the real reason Mister doesn’t mind me going to Wisconsin so often, he does get to eat a lot of delicious cheese afterwards!). I bring home anything from squeaky cheese curds to stringy mozzarella sticks, creamy cheese spreads to rich chocolate cheese; there is always an amazing selection to choose from. This time around I brought back some tomato basil monterrey jack, which inspired this recipe.
If you do not have access to tomato basil MJ for this recipe, simply use regular MJ and load extra basil and tomato onto your grilled cheese. It’ll be just as good, I almost guarantee it. You can also omit the chicken breast if you’d rather keep this vegetarian. We just like to eat meat in this household.
1/2-pound chicken breast tenders, pounded to 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch thickness
salt and pepper
Oil for sautéing
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded tomato basil monterrey jack
4 slices of tomato
10 large basil leaves, slightly chopped
8 slices of white or sourdough bread
Put about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and bring it to medium heat. Pound the chicken so all pieces are even in thickness. Season both sides of each tender with salt, pepper and a bit of Italian seasoning. Saute chicken on one side until the sides begin to turn white, about 2-3 minutes. Flip each piece over and cover with a lid. Cook chicken for another 2 or so minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Set aside.
Heat a griddle or a large pan to medium. Assemble each sandwich by adding a pile of shredded cheese, basil leaves, chicken, tomato, and another pile of cheese on top of a piece of bread. Heavily butter another piece of bread and place it on top of the sandwich, butter-side up. Yep, these mamba jambas look tall and intimidating, but they will shrink down once you start cooking them.
Place each sandwich, butter-side down on the hot griddle. Cover with lid and leave until the bottom of each sandwich is golden and toasty, about 2 minutes. Lift the lid and carefully flip each sandwich over (this takes a little finesse), re-lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove each sandwich, cut in half and serve hot.
Being unemployed has left me with a lot of free time. At first it was great – like a stay at home vacation. I got to sleep in, chill out, do whatever I wanted to do. But that got old really fast, once I realized that the things I wanted to do with my free time cost money and I could only watch the movies I already owned for so long. Netflix has become my new cheap best friend.
I reunited myself with old Nickelodeon cartoons for a few weeks. That was nostalgic. I blew through a few documentaries, movies, and then moved onto tv series. Now I am hooked, heck, I am completely addicted to Breaking Bad. Have you watched this show? It’s about a chemistry teacher who begins cooking meth. This show has everything – great characters, memorable lines, awesome music, and it’s packed with drama, action and bits of comedic relief too. Anywho, I will be sad when I get to the end of this series, but I am excited to indulge in another, just as addicting show. I was thinking about watching Mad Men next. Any other suggestions out there?
Anywho, I hate to admit it, but I’ve been more of a couch potato than anything recently. Mister made some beautiful pesto this week so I thought it might be a good opportunity to try this Skinny Taste Chicken Pesto Bake. This dish is light, easy and so flavorful – perfect for those days when I just don’t feel like exercising. 🙂 I added mushrooms to my dish, but you obviously do not have to if you don’t like fungus. I also added more pesto than Gina, because it’s delicious.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up. Wash and dry chicken with a paper towel. Slice chicken breast horizontally to create 4 thin cutlets. You can skip this step if you are using chicken breast tenders. Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.
While the chicken is baking, heat a small pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. Set aside.
Remove the chicken from the oven and spread a tablespoon of pesto on each cutlet. Line each cutlet with the sauteed mushrooms, a layer of tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. You could also place the chicken under a broiler on high for 1-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.