Tag Archives: pasta

Cooking on a 40 degree day: Pasta salad!


We recently went through a heat wave, day after day of 40 degrees Celsius, and I was having trouble deciding what to eat for lunch and dinner.  When it’s that hot and the humidity is high, the last thing you want to be doing is slaving away in a hot kitchen.

So I did some research and came across a recipe online for pasta salad. It does involve using the oven for 20 minutes, but I made enough salad to last me for a few days so the short burst of oven heat seemed worth it.

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

One of the most exciting parts of this recipe for me was the fact that my roasted eggplant turned out moist and delicious.  In the past, every time I tried to roast eggplant, it would be dry and tough in the end.  This recipe suggests to me that I was probably roasting it much too long.

So, it starts with an eggplant, a zucchini, an onion, a green pepper and some minced garlic. 

Preheat your oven to 350 and then chop up your veg into bite sized cubes, mince the garlic and toss them all in a bowl with olive oil.  At this point, I decided to add some herbs to the mix and discovered a bag of “Italian Seasoning” in my cupboard, which is actually just a mix of dried thyme, oregano and basil.

Cubed and tossed with oil

Layer the veg on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. 

I haven’t bothered to toss them but feel free to pull them out and shake them up a bit halfway though the cooking time.  After 20 minutes, remove the cookie sheet from the oven, toss the cooked cubes a bit so they don’t stick and allow them to cool…Kind of a crappy pic of my cooked veg 😛

While my vegetables cooked, I cooked my pasta.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any clear pictures of that process.

I used whole wheat corkscrew pasta and boiled it in lightly salted water until tender, then rinsed it in cold water.

Final step was to mix the remaining ingredients together! Vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. 
I also added a can of tuna to my first batch and it was delicious!

I found it better cold and it seems to get better with time, so if you plan to serve it to company, I’d suggest making it a few hours or even a day before!

 

With optional tuna 🙂

Anti-Heat Wave Pasta Salad

 

 

  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package rotini/corkscrew pasta
  • 3 ounces diced feta cheese
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • dried thyme, oregano, basil
  • 1 can of tuna – optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Combine zucchini, eggplant, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a baking dish. Toss with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rotini pasta and cook until tender; drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. In a bowl combine vegetable mixture, cooled pasta, Feta cubes, and salad dressing; toss until well mixed.
  5. Tastes good warm, but is even better cold the next day! Great as a leftover dish!

NOTE: This is a recipe I found and altered from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegetable-pasta-salad-ii/

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What can you do with pre-cooked shrimp?


When I was considering what to make for dinner the other day, I decided to do what any normal person would do…I checked my freezer for inspiration.  There I found a bag of pre-cooked shrimp.  I’m not sure how long it had been there but it’s time had come.  I offered a few other options to B but we agreed that it was a shrimp-y kind of night.

Next problem?  What to do with said shrimp?

Hmmm....what to do? What to do?

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

I jumped online and looked for some ideas around pre-cooked shrimp and what to do with it.  I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again…and again….The internet is a wonderful thing!

Within minutes, I had a few ideas brewing around in my head.  The end result involved pasta, veggies and shrimp…not to mention some seasoning and spices.

Started off by boiling my pasta.

I tend to always put a drop of oil and salt in the water.  Not sure where that habit came from…whether I saw my mother doing it (which isn’t likely since I avoided the kitchen like the plague as a teenager, especially around meal time!), or whether someone suggested it to me when I moved out on my own for the first time.  However it came about, I find it helps keep the pasta from sticking together after it has been boiled and drained.

I have also added a drop of soy sauce or a dash of another seasoning to the water to add a bit of flavour.  Whatever works 😉

So, once boiled and drained, I set the pasta aside and moved on the frying part of the recipe. (The pics I took at this point were blurry but I’m confident that most of my readers don’t need pasta-boiling pictures anyway.)

I was working from a recipe I had found online in a Q&A forum, altering bits and pieces, changing the vegetables and seasoning to whatever I had handy.  What I didn’t change was the initial frying pan preparation that called for 1/4 cup of butter in a pan on medium heat.

It seemed like a lot!  But I figured it would add a lovely buttery flavour to the shrimp and in the end, the pasta soaked up the rest…so if you decide to try this, don’t worry if there seems to be a lot of butter.

Next, I added the garlic.  How I LOVE garlic!  I decided to take the easy route and added a few teaspoons of pre-chopped garlic.  It was probably more than the 6-8 cloves called for but hey, you can never have too much garlic!

(Well….yes, you can…but that’s another story! lol)

Mmmmm...the glorious smell of butter and garlic!

Medium heat at this point turned out to be quite important because you don’t want to burn the garlic…something I seem to *always* inevitably do.  This time, I kept my attention on the heat and managed to avoid any major browning.

Also, a lid at this point is quite helpful.  From experience, I can say that a hot piece of garlic that has decided to pop out of the frying pan and stick to your foot isn’t exactly pleasant.

The rest of this meal preparation was insanely quick and easy.  I added the thawed shrimp (well, mostly thawed) to the pan and allowed them to simmer in the butter/garlic mix for a few minutes.

Then, I added about a cup of frozen vegetables.  All I had on hand was a bag of frozen “Asian style Stir-fry” vegetables, so I used those.  But any number of veggies would work here, so be creative! 🙂

Adding the frozen veggies

I sprinkled some lemon pepper and a bit of all-purpose seasoning, as well as a dash of chilli flakes and a few drops of lemon juice.  Again, I covered the mix and let it fry for probably 5 minutes or so (this timing will obviously depend on the type of veggies you use and whether they’re frozen or not).

Lastly, I added the boiled pasta.  No pics at this point as they turned out quite blurry…but it was pretty much as it sounds.  I dumped the pasta into the mix and continuously stirred for another few minutes.  The pasta helped to soak up any remaining liquid and when it started to stick to the bottom of the pan, I decided it was done! 🙂

Between the chilli flakes and the garlic, the dish had a little zip!  It was yummy and quite easy to make.  I don’t know why, but I seem to always assume that a seafood dish will be complex and difficult.

This little shrimp concoction taught me different!

Cheers!

Shrimp-y Pasta

 


* 1 lb medium shrimp, thawed and drained (I used a bag of med 31-40 pre-cooked shrimp)
* 1 lb spaghetti noodles (more or less, depending on family size)
* 6-8 garlic cloves, according to personal taste, minced
* 1 cup of frozen veggies (what type, frozen or fresh…completely up to you)
* 1/4 cup butter
* lemon pepper
* all-purpose seasoning
* few drops of lemon juice
* dried chilli flakes
* olive oil (for pasta)
* pepper/salt to taste
1. Boil pasta in water (with a little added oil and salt) till tender. Drain and set aside when done.

2. Melt butter over medium heat.

3. Add garlic and cook about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Watch so as not to burn the garlic (and cover it so as not to burn your feet! 😉

4. Add the shrimp. Let heat up about 2-3 minutes depending on how frozen they are.

5. Add veggies and seasonings (lemon pepper, lemon juice, pepper/salt, all purpose seasoning, chilli flakes) and allow to simmer another 5 minutes or so, again depending on the veggies you decide to use.

6. Add pasta to skillet.  My pan had a good amount of liquid but at this point, feel free to add some if needed.  The pasta will soak up much of the excess.

7. Keep tossing all ingredients around in skillet till all is incorporated.

8. Enjoy! (With a glass of white wine!)


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