Freedom and Pasta Salad

I’m baaack.  Did ya miss me?  I’ve been swimming in work-work and home-work lately.  Luckily my FOURTH tax season finally come to an end and to make things even sweeter I am off of school all this week.  Amen. Hallelujah.

This freedom in my schedule means two things.  1. I can no longer use my busy life as an excuse to avoid the pile of laundry growing out of my closet, through the living room, and into the laundry room.  It’s a work in progress.  2. I have a lot more free time and energy to get busy in the kitchen!  Laundry = bad, cooking = good.  If only we could invent disposable clothes.  This way you can stay trendy and never have to match 1800 socks.  Like we have time for that sort of thing.  Really.

With my free time from school last night I decided to whip up something fresh and light.  I’m trying to be less drawn to things that are mostly fried and full of cheese.  At least this meal was NOT fried.  I’m working on it people.

Here is what you will need to make what I call, Perfect Pasta Salad.  You don’t have to agree on the perfect part.  Just shut up and eat it.

  • 1 1/2 cups of dry whole wheat pasta (ziti, rotini, shells, it’s up to you)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of basil pesto
  • 1 lemon’s zest (3-4 tsp of lemon juice)
  • 8 oz. of mozzarella (I buy the pearls because I’m lazy)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 20-25 pepperoni slices

This recipe leaves room for tweaking.  I made this dish on a whim, a hope, and a prayer.  So adjust ingredients until you get the ratio of your dreams.  Start by boiling water for your pasta.

Next, and this step is crucial to the integrity of your dish and your title as cook, pour a serious glass of wine and take a slow and satisfying sip.

Red, white, cheap, expensive, carbonated, or not, it does not matter.  If you are not into wine, opt for beer, root beer, or Shirley temple.  Just try to enjoy yourself.  Cooking should be like therapy only cheaper.  And you get to eat at the end.  I’m babbling now.  I think it has something to do with my repressed childhood feelings of inadequacy.  Freud? Anyone?  Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

While your water is heating up, zest the rhine of one lemon.

Then chop the lemon in half.

Squeeze about 3-4 teaspoons of lemon juice into a bowl.

Next add your pesto.

Then dump in your olive oil and stir it all up.

Now dip your finger in and give it a taste.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Try not to drink this straight from your bowl  but if you do, just repeat the above steps.

Next, chop your washed cherry tomatoes into halves.

Your pasta should be cooked by now.  Drain your pasta and rinse it with cool water then place it in a bowl.  This will stop the cooking process and keep the mozzarella from melting.

Add your cherry tomatoes.

Then add your mozzarella.

Next, add the lemon zest.  The amount of zest will depend on your preference for tartness.  It balances well with the basil in the pesto.

Now pour your basil, lemon, oil mixture onto your pasta.

You could certainly stop here and mix your ingredients if you are not the kind of person who like to eat meat.  I’m not a really big fan of meat myself.  I eat it. I’m just not always in the mood for flesh.  If you are in the mood for a lil carnivore action, chop up a few slices of pepperoni.  You could even go healthy and make this turkey pepperoni.  But I’m a purist and like the real stuff.

Throw it in the bowl with the other good stuff.

Now lightly toss this mixture together.

Serve this up with a turkey sandwich or a grilled chicken breast.  I had a rotisserie chicken waiting to be taken advantage of sitting in my fridge.

 

 Eat it up!  It tastes even better the next day.  Enjoy, my hungry friends!

After I enjoyed with yummy meal with my favorite stuffed husband, I got to spend a little cuddle time with my two other loves.

They melt my heart everytime.  Exept when they poop and I step in it, then walk around the apartment with poop on my shoe for five minutes before I realize that I am the source of that fowl smell.  Thanks Chloe.

I’ll be back later this week to share a super special surprise I have in the works!

Peace, love, and perfect pasta salad~

The Hungry Wife

Fried cheese sticks on my mind.

I’m always on the lookout for easy recipes for appetizers.  Sometimes I just want a nibble for dinner rather than a meal.  I believe it has something to do with the fact that I eat large amounts of thin mints throughout the evening thus ruining my appetite for a proper dinner.  It’s just a theory I’ve come up with.  But hey, no one is here to tell me not to spoil my dinner.  So really it’s not even my fault. Right?

Because I love string cheese and panko breadcrumbs AND had both at home last night, I made fried mozzarella sticks.  They were crunchy on the outside and ooey gooey on the inside.  I was a happy chick.  So was stuffed husband.  Let me share this tasty, all together, delicious appetizer with you.  It’s a piece of cake…well, cheese. You know what I’m saying.

Here’s what you’re going to need and you probably already have most of it in your fridge or pantry.  This is fancy cookin ya’ll.

FRIED CHEESE STICK INGREDIENTS

  • 4 sticks of string cheese
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp of dried parsley
  • 4/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • marinara sauce for dipping, or licking off your fingers.

Start out by heating the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Next, cut each stick of cheese into two equal parts.

Then grab three bowls.  Place flour, breadcrumbs mixed with parsley, and a lightly-whipped egg into individual bowls.

Place your string cheese in the flour, then the egg, and finish with bread crumbs.  Here’s what they should look like.

Place your battered cheese sticks into the vegetable oil.  Check to make sure your oil is hot enough by dipping one stick in the oil.  If it bubbles immediately, you’re good to go.  If not, wait until your oil is hot enough.  Putting your cheesesticks into the grease too early can leave you with soggy food.  Soggy food is bad.  Just don’t do it. Wait. for. heat. Ya heard?

Let each side brown for about 2 minutes.  While these bad boys fry up, ask your sweet husband to heat up a lil marinara in the microwave.

Ain’t he just precious.  I love him.  And his taste in women.  I’m not biased or anything.

Once your mozzarella sticks have browned on both sides, set them on a paper towel to absorb some of the grease unless you’re just into that kind of thing.  Grease, I mean.  Then just go ahead and gobble them up right there.  Be careful not to burn your mouth, it hurts.  Not that I did anything like that.  Me?  Never.

Then just add a little marinara sauce and enjoy!

Mmmmm. cheesy, crunchy goodness.

Just make sure you don’t lose track of your little peeing pup in the hustle and bustle of battering cheese.  She’ll make a white blanket yellow.

Who? Me???

Stay hungry because I’ve got plenty of new ideas brewing.  Also, later this week I’ll be posting a recipe for PIG CAKE.  You read that right. PIG. CAKE.  It’s so delicious you won’t be able to keep from eating seconds.  Just ask Stuffed Husband, he’s already had four slices in two days.

Peace, love, and panko-

The Hungry Wife