Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cold Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of my happy-foods. I absolutely love it! It’s so fresh and delicious and perfect for summer time. I’ve made several, but I have to toot my own horn a little- this one was bomb. and I made a ton of it. This is what was in it:

There’s red onion in there too….somewhere….

I really wish I had a picture of this zucchini. I can’t believe you can only see a teensy part of it in the picture- but when M went to Israel, she left her garden unharvested which means her zucchini turned into monsters. Seriously. I think she had 3 of them and they were all over 2 feet long and about as big around as….I don’t even know. I’m looking around for something to compare it to, and there is nothing. It was huge. My thigh maybe? Which helps you not at all. If I think of something I’ll letcha know.

So, I cut off the end of the zucchini and cut it into cubes and threw it in a frying pan with some olive oil, garlic powder (cuz I didn’t have any garlic salt), salt, and pepper. I like it with a little crisp on it so it was in there for awhile. While the zucchini was frying, I got the asparagus broiling in the oven with a little olive oil and pepper. (I didn’t cut the asparagus because I got the skinny ones, not the thicker ones.) Again, I like that crispy too. So both of these veggies were cookin for most of the time I was chopping the cold stuff.

Oh, I just love love love asparagus. I could eat it every day. Just not when it’s 6.99 a pound.

Doesn’t this look so yummy?!? See how toasted it is? I love it when it has that char on it. MMmmmm….I’m getting really sad- I have none of this left.

So while these yummy greens are toasting away, I chopped the tomatoes, red onion, and bell pepper into pieces. For cold pasta salad, I cut them a little larger than if I was cooking them in a hot dish. Then I cut the green onions and mix all these in a bowl til everything else is ready. The salami I got was really thick which turned out to be really good- initially I was going to used sliced salami cut into strips, but having a thicker cut worked out because I cut it to the same size as the veggies (maybe a little smaller) and it tasted really good that way.

By now the pasta and hot veggies were done so I drained the pasta and let them both rest/cool for a bit.

Once this is cooled down (or in our case, starving and ready to eat no matter what the temperature is) mix the pasta with the pesto, (my favorite) Red Bell Pepper Italian Dressing, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it up with all the veggies and enjoy!! Oh it was so good. I can’t even describe.

I decided to just take a picture of what’s left of the monster zucchini (duh) next to a water bottle so you can get an idea of the size of this thing. I cut off about 6 inches for this recipe.








See?! Steroid zucchini. Tasted amazing. 🙂

Here’s the huge bowl this recipe made-








Another thing about my pasta salads- I like a ratio of half veggie to half pasta. That’s just me.

Ohhh it was so good. I might just have to run to the store to replenish my ingredient list….








I also served it with some Sun dried tomato bread from Panera, toasted up of course 🙂








People, it was so good. I can’t say it enough. Let’s just say this, Curtis doesn’t eat leftovers. He ate these leftovers. Yes, this is how I judge my cooking. 😉


Cold Pasta Salad

Half a box of pasta (I use whole grain)

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 large bell peppers, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 bundle green onion, chopped

1 pound asparagus

3 cups zucchini (cut into cubes)

2 cups salami, thickly cut into cubes

1 cup (approximately) pesto

1 cup (approximately) Red Bell Pepper Italian Dressing

salt, pepper, and garlic salt (or powder) to taste

Cook pasta. Broil asparagus until thoroughly cooked. Fry zucchini on the stove until cooked. Cut all other vegetables and meat into similar size pieces. Once the pasta and veggies are done cooking, let them chill in the fridge. Once they are chilled, mix seasonings, dressing, and pesto into the pasta noodles. Then add all vegetables and meat. And eat it ALL. (We didn’t really eat it all- I shared it with Adrienne, I promise! And we had leftovers)

Side note: The earlier you make this, the longer it can chill and really be a cold pasta salad.

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4th of July Rhubarb Pie


Its so good to be BACK!!!

Let me tell you, going to Israel was the trip of a lifetime. If you ever have the opportunity to go, seize it. I will tell you guys all about it very soon, but you’ll have to wait just a bit longer. Takes a while to go through all those notes and pictures! I was sooo close to doing a post on bacon cheeseburgers. With milk. And more cheese. (We could not have dairy and red meat together EVER in Israel, because it is not considered kosher.) Was I ever a die-hard cheeseburger fan? Did I always HAVE to have milk with dinner? No… but its one of those things where, once you aren’t allowed to have it, its all you can think about. It clouds your mind. You start to see visions of cheese dancing dangerously close to steak. Just kidding, it never went that far. But I did have a delicious cheeseburger on Sunday afternoon with milk.

Anyways, now that I got that out of my system, on to one of my favorite holidays!! I love everything about the 4th- bacon cheeseburgers with milk, the fireworks, BBQs, swimming, freedom, popsicles, family time, hot dogs, and PIE.


Especially the rhubarb kind.


I meant to share this recipe with you guys yesterday, to give you enough time to make it for wherever you are going for the 4th, but jet lag is really doing a number on me. Good news is, you can whip this baby up and have it in the oven within an hour. So, you still have time!


You might ask, why make a rhubarb pie (isn’t that a vegetable!??!) when you can make a strawberry pie?? Or blueberry pie? That’s a valid question- because those are all delicious. However, there is something about this pie that reaches just a little further than the other ones… also, there’s streusel topping. And it makes your house smell sooooo good. And tastes even better than how it makes your house smell! And it’s basically healthy for you because it’s technically a vegetable. Just don’t ask questions.


Your 4th of July peers will love you. And probably invite themselves over for more later.

My mom took the time to show Linds and I how to make her “never fail pie crust” too. Think buttery, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. If you don’t have time to make this crust, a storebought one will work fine. I would recommend the Pillsbury frozen crust, not a graham cracker one. That being said, the homemade pie crust really does made a big difference in the end product. You won’t regret making the extra trip to the store for lard. Yup, you heard me. LARD.




Man, I’m doing a horrible job of convincing you to make this pie. Just please do it, this lard-y vegetable pie will knock you to your knees. Promise. It might even be better than dutch apple pie. If that doesn’t convince you, then I don’t know what will.


What a little snooper.



P.S. Did I tell you guys how much I missed you?

Rhubarb Pie

serves 8

To prepare fresh rhubarb, wash it well, trim all the dry ends of the stalks, and slice. (Like celery)


1 recipe Mom’s Never-Fail Pie Crust (see below)

1 recipe Crumb Topping (see below)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced rhubarb



Prepare and roll out pastry crust. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry (no need to grease the pan). Trim and crimp the edges as desired. Prepare crumb topping, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together granulated sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add rhubarb. Gently toss to coat. (If using frozen rhubarb, let mixture stand for 15-30 minutes or until fruit is partially thawed, but still icy.)

Transfer rhubarb to the pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle crumb topping over the filling.

To prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of the pie with foil (We did not do this, and ours turned out fine). Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes with fresh fruit (50 minutes for frozen fruit). Remove foil. Bake for 20-25 more minutes for fresh fruit (20-30 more for frozen) or until topping is golden. Let cool completely.

Crumb Topping

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup AP flour, and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in 3 Tbsp. butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Mom’s Never-Fail Pie Crust

makes 2-3 crusts

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup lard (can find this in refrigerated section at any grocery store)

10 Tbsp Crisco

1 egg

1 Tbsp vinegar

5 Tbsp ICE COLD water.

(Lard and Crisco should be refrigerated. Temperatures are very important!)

Combine flour and salt. Cut in lard and Crisco with pastry blender until crumbly. Slighty whip egg with a fork in a separate bowl, then mix in cold water and vinegar. Add liquid to crumbled mixture until ball is formed.

** When rolling out this crust, make sure you sprinkle ample amounts of flour on your work surface and rolling pin- otherwise the crust will tear and stick to the counter. This crust can handle a good amount of extra flour, so don’t be shy.

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