Zucchini Kielbasa Pasta

Zucchini Kielbasa Pasta

Zucchini Kielbasa Pasta is one of those recipes that I started out using years ago and which slowly morphed into something that fits my family a bit better. This happens pretty often and usually results in a family favorite.

And though this is a family favorite, I actually forgot about it for a while. A year or so ago I went through and tried to organize all of my recipes. Most of them are just full-sized sheets of printer paper, and I figured the easiest way to reign them in was to put them in all sheet protectors in a binder.

However, a few seemed to have been lost along the way and this was one of them, and I didn’t realize it until Mike was going through our external hard-drive this week and came across some pictures of it that I’d taken for some reason (I had to double check to see if I’ve already posted it and hadn’t, so I don’t know what the pictures were for). I have no idea what happened to the original print-out with all of my notes, but I’d made it often enough that even after so long I remembered the changes I’d made.

Anyway, this is a great dinner for summer. There is no oven involved, and if you end up with an abundance of zucchini it’s a great way to use them up. You can also easily make it vegetarian by leaving out the kielbasa.

Zucchini Kielbasa Pasta

3 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 can (14 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb tube pasta (I used rigatoni, but penne, ziti, etc, works fine)

In a large skillet, saute the zucchini, onion and red bell pepper in the olive oil until zucchini is tender (I usually put a lid on it for a few minutes to let the steam help it cook).

Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Pour the zucchini kielbasa mixture on top and serve.

Makes 8 servings.


Barbecue Season

(Heather’s Bytes is on Facebook now! Took me long enough, huh?)

As you can see, it was a warm weekend in Las Vegas! We decided it was time to hose off the patio chairs and fire up the grill. Though we can really do it throughout the year, barbecuing doesn’t seem quite right to do any time other than the warmer months.

Not wanting to turn on the oven when it’s 115° outside may also have something to do with it.

We don’t really do anything terribly special when we barbecue. Yesterday we just did chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, corn on the cob and baked beans.

Mike got to use the barbecuing apron my sister gave him for his birthday in January. You can take the boy out of California…

The dogs love it when we come outside with them!

And of course, now that it’s not too “cold” (because that classification is relative in this house) and not too hot, the twins were happy to be outside, too. These two boogers are turning 12 next week!

The teenager, as usual, wanted nothing to do with the camera and I couldn’t work in a sneak attack. Maybe next week.

When do you start barbecuing?


Easy Pasta Salad

Easy Pasta Salad

Though it’s a very low number, there are a few meals that the girls and I love that Mike isn’t crazy about. These end up being the dinners that I make when he’s out of town for work so I don’t feel guilty about making him eat something he doesn’t like (not that I would, but sometimes it’s been so long since we’ve had one or another that they end up on the menu anyway!).

One of those meals is, to my amazement, pasta salad.

I mention this because he actually used to love it as much as we did. He’s explained that the combination of the oil and vinegar dressing, the cheese, and even the tomatoes just, well, got old. And while I understand tastes changing, this made me sad for one reason: I thought for sure I’d be making it a lot less!

However, he’s been in charge of a gigantic project at work for the last year or so which involves travel to their out-of-state locations. For those nights, I tell the girls to come up with the dinners that they miss, and that’s what we have.

So this past weekend was one of those occasions, and the votes were unanimous: I was making pasta salad!

I started making this about 12 years ago, when the twins were babies, because I could get it done early in the day and have nothing to do in the evening, when the crazies seemed to hit everyone. (Now that I think about it, my hmm… over-reliance? on this easy meal could be one of the reasons Mike got tired of it!)

Easy Pasta Salad

I always double the recipe when I make it because it makes the perfect lunch the next day, too. I finally ended up using my last two boxes of free pasta from last spring!

Easy Pasta Salad

I also just use packaged provolone. You can buy it at the service deli in a big block, but I actually like using the pre-packaged slices. It cubes up just fine, and truth be told, the dryness of the provolone can get a little boring in big chunks, so being able to break them up a little bit is nice.

Easy Pasta Salad

Good-bye, free pasta.

Easy Pasta Salad

Like I said, if you’re feeding more than three people, double the below recipe if you’d like leftovers. (I don’t double the cheese, however, and there’s still plenty of it.)

Heather’s Easy Pasta Salad

1 16 oz package of penne
1 c halved cherry or grape tomatoes
6 oz provolone cheese, cut into cubes

2/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
3 tsp dried basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tb Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

In a blender, combine oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, mustard, salt, sugar, and onion powder until well blended.

Pour dressing over pasta and add the tomatoes and cheese, stirring gently until just combined. Refrigerate until serving (at least four hours).