School is back in session, and the summer harvest is winding down. Even though my kids aren’t school-age yet, school is in here for us—a much more expensive version of school. My husband is working on a second bachelor’s degree, so it really is back to school!
As fun as summer is, I’ve missed having structure in our lives. My husband and I enjoyed a great backpacking vacation in the mountains just after we moved, and then everything was out of whack, with no employment and school not yet in session. Job hunting is the pits. The worst part is having nothing notable to do while you wait for recruiters to review your resume, then wait for them to call you, then wait for them to recommend you to the employers. You get to wait, wait, wait, while your bank account gradually shrivels. Normally I love having my husband home, but there does come a point when I am dying to send him off to work and welcome him home several hours later.
Meanwhile, I tried to donate plasma to put some cash in the bank. Turns out this is a very tricky business. After two failed attempts to get checked in (which involved proving that I actually live here and closed roads), I finally made it in only to learn that my veins were too small. I should have guessed, considering my history of black-and-blue arms from failed IV insertions. No blood money for me.
To make a long story short, I’m glad my hubby at least has a couple classes now so that he can disappear for a few hours of the day and I can pretend to do something useful at home (since we’re sharing a home with my family, my home management to-do list is rather short).
Anyway, you remember the delicious sweet basil vinaigrette I shared last week? Here’s a dish you can whip up with that. It utilizes a number of tasty garden vegetables and is a perfect cool dinner for a hot summer evening. It’s a great variation on a classic pasta salad.
If you’ve noticed that the mozzarella in the picture is round, that’s because I used slices of cheese sticks. Oh yeah, we’re classy. You can use fresh mozarella balls if you’re hip, but this is a budget blog…This also makes great leftovers to pack for lunch at school or work for a refreshing meal. Enjoy!
- ¾ lb dry pasta (whole wheat or regular)
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 14 oz can black olives, halved
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- 1 ½ cups mozzerella cheese, diced into 1/2" cubes
- 2 cups grilled chicken, diced (optional, omit for vegetarian)
- 1 recipe sweet basil vinaigrette
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. During the last 5 minutes of cooking time, add the squash to the water and cook until pasta is al dente and the squash is becoming tender. Drain the pasta and squash and rinse with cool water. When pasta and squash are cooled, place in a large bowl and gently stir in the tomatoes, olives, onions, cheese, and chicken. Drizzle salad with the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serves 8-10 as a main dish.