Fall into the Kitchen!

Fall happened in the blink of an eye. I’m not sure if it is because Chicago’s weather has been all sorts of crazy or because I was so busy I didn’t notice that all of a sudden winter was quickly approaching! Snow is in the forecast for tonight…and I don’t think I am exactly ready for that kind of weather yet…or ever!

Life has been extra busy lately with work, travels and one of my favorite Holidays, Halloween! For my costume on Friday night I was spaghetti, which I thought was only fitting! The costume consisted of red and white checkered tablecloth (dress) with spaghetti falling off my shoulders and a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on my head. I am sure there is a picture  somewhere, but as of now I regret I have nothing to share with you! I was planning to wear it again on Saturday, but it was sadly destroyed and had to be thrown away. Apparently Laura and I have no business going into fashion design because our attempt at making it a little “cuter” failed miserably. Luckily I had a back up costume from college and was able to quickly throw on a flapper outfit!

On Halloween I carved pumpkins with some friends and Laura made White Chicken Chili in her crock-pot. I had never had chili before and was glad I tried it! We did some cool designs on the pumpkins and I am pretty proud of my spider!

One of my best friends, who remain nameless, has been staying at our apartment for the past month or so while she looks for a job in Indianapolis and continues to work here. It’s been so wonderful having her here so we have been trying to take advantage of the time we have left all living here in Chicago together (my three best friends growing up and I all actually live in the same city again after 6 long years!) and we try to make dinner together once a week. Last week, my friends made the best appetizer ever! Goat cheese and Zucchini bread.  It was delicious and I can’t wait to make it myself one day!

Goat Cheese Zucchini Bread


Ingredients

Goat cheese

Zucchini

Olive oil

salt & pepper

Loaf of bread (we used fresh bread from Jimmy Johns)

Heat oven to 350º. zucchini into pieces and lightly saute in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Once slightly browned, removed and put on a baking tray. Put bread and zucchini in the oven for about 5 minutes until zucchini is cooked and bread is warm. Slice bread into pieces, cover in goat cheese and top with Zucchini. Enjoy!

If you ever need a quick appetizer or want a creative way to snack – this is perfect! This may not be an italian recipe, but I love zucchini and am glad I now have a new way to enjoy outside of pasta or alone!! Check out some of the fun I’ve been having this Fall…I can’t believe it’s almost time for Thanksgiving!! I know my family will soon be gathering to make hundreds of homemade ravioli’s for our Thanksgiving dinner and for Christmas. I am sad I won’t be there to help this year, so I am thinking my next kitchen adventure will have to be making my own ravioli!

Michigan Avenue

IU Homecoming & Carroll-Anne’s Homecoming reunion (she has been in Africa the past two years!!)

Summer Time Pasta

One of my favorite pasta dishes is something I like to call my “Summer Time Pasta.” It is light, fresh, colorful, and most of all, delicious! Another great part of this dish is you really can add anything you want. I usually include cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and something green, depending on what I have in my refrigerator. This time I added peas, but I usually prefer zucchini.

Boil your pasta water (don’t forget to add the salt). Slice the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Add salt and pepper and then top with olive oil. Mix together and then add basil. I used the steam fresh bag of peas the other night, but if you are using zucchini, chop that first and lightly saute in olive oil until cooked, and then set aside.

Tomatoes and Mozzarella – Seasoned

I also used whole wheat rotini last night, but this works well with penne too. Once the pasta is cooked and drained (never rinse) mix in the tomatoes, mozzarella and zucchini (or other veggie) and lightly season with salt, pepper, and parmesan. If needed, add more olive oil. The best part about this dish is you really can add in anything you want and it turns out so incredibly satisfying!

Summer Time Pasta

Ingredients:

1 lb of Pasta

1 Steam Fresh bag of Peas (or fresh zucchini)

Tomatoes (preferably cherry)

Mozzarella

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Parmesan Cheese

Cut up your tomatoes and mix with mozzarella, olive oil and salt & pepper and set aside. Boil your pasta water, add pasta and cook. While cooking make your zucchini, peas, or any other vegetables you wish to include. Once pasta is cooked, drain (DO NOT RINSE), mix with all ingredients, season with more salt & pepper if needed, add parmesan cheese and serve!

I celebrated my 24th birthday on Tuesday. I still don’t feel old though, which I am guessing is a good thing. For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I am technically an “adult.” Anyway, my friends and I celebrated by going to the Cubs game! We were lucky enough to come across 2nd row seats and it was a perfect night for baseball and beer!

Cubs vs. Pirates – Cubs win!

They also surprised with me with yummy cupcakes from Swirlz and Sweet Mandy B’s, a beautiful necklace I have been wanting, and beer! I am pretty sure all of those things create an amazing birthday! I felt so fortunate to be able to spend my birthday with some of my favorite people, especially since I was away from my family! Thank you girls for the best birthday! Oh…and did I mention Alyssa hit the spot with Barbie plates and a Barbie happy birthday sign? Yes, I do love Barbie’s!

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July weekend! I am sure there will be many cooking adventures to come after this long weekend, which hopefully will be filled with lots of good food and fun, so stay tuned!