Lazy Summer Pasta

Lazy Summer Pasta

Do you ever watch things or read things that make you feel bad, yet have to read or watch all the way to the bitter end? And then maybe repeat the whole experience?

I’m talking about the kind of “feel bad” that comes from watching one of those men-are-evil movies on Lifetime TV, starring some actress whom you either thought was dead or a much bigger star, and it feels so good to feel so bad about the men in your life even though 10 minutes ago you loved your husband just fine?

Do you ever do that? Read and watch sad stuff, and feel bad, and then want to cuddle up with your smelly rain-soaked dog {why does wet dog smell so gross?} and wish it all away?

Yeah, me either.

Except I do. Some days at least. Like yesterday.

My oldest child is at sleepaway camp for 2 weeks. This is week 1. We got our first letters from her yesterday. The letter to me was written the day we dropped her off and it was very breezy. Camp is fun! My counselors are fun! The other campers seem neato!

The letter to my husband was written the next day, and it was very Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh. And at the end, she drove it home with a pathetic picture of herself crying with the caption, “This is me, crying. Tell Mom everything.” It was the kind of picture that cavemen would have drawn if they went to camp and had a bone-crushingly sad experience: primitive, but loaded with pathos.

It started out like this: “Monday is the day that everything went wrong.” She’s on KP duty, and has to clear the table. It’s gross. It’s smelly. The other kids have terrible table manners and their plates are a mess. She was carrying a heavy tray into the kitchen, and the whole thing toppled over. No one helped her clean it up! Some little brat even teased her for it!

Tell me what is sadder than a sweet 9-year-old kid, far away from home (okay, fine, 2 hours. but still), dropping a tray full of other kids’ stinky smelly dinner dishes, and being laughed at for it?

I want names. I want unrestricted access to that kid. The one who laughed at her? He should probably sleep with one eye open. ‘Cause I’m coming for him.

Oh, and apparently her Dad forgot to pack soap for her for the shower! Near as I can tell, she’s repurposing her shampoo as body wash. Shampoo isn’t body wash! Oh, the humanity!

So of course I read and reread the letter like a million times last night. And then I started planning what I was going to bake for her when she gets home, to make it all better. And how I was going to bury that little snot who saw fit to laugh at her.

We sent her one of those one-way “bunk notes” emails, telling her that soap was being airlifted to her immediately, and that she had our permission to fit the snotty laughy kid with a pair of cement shoes before helping him into the lake, nice and easy.

Sometimes, growing up is the pits. I’m sure she got over it all right after she fired off that letter, but in the moment, it just … sucks. Totally. And it sucks in that way that you don’t really forget when you’re all grown up and writing a food blog. That’s why those letters tug at our heartstrings so bad. And why those movies on Lifetime TV still get green-lighted.

We remember the pain. It passes, but we remember it. Don’t we? And when someone slights me as a grown-up, normally I don’t care in the slightest. But sometimes, every once in a long while, I care. And it smarts. Just like it did when I was a kid. *sob* And I need a big piece of Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake to make it all better.

Speaking of turning on the oven, I have a favor to ask. I need Recipe Ideas. Pretty please? What would you like to make this Summer? It’s getting kinda hectic over here. I have all these ideas, but many of them involve the oven. Now that Better Batter flour is back in stock, I’m itching to use it. But this blog is a partnership, so I need to know what you think. Totally.

For you today, partner, I made the easiest, laziest and tastiest Summer pasta ever. No oven required. The only heat involved is enough to boil pasta. The rest pretty much takes care of itself. You assemble the cheese, tomatoes, diced red onion, sugar snap pea and basil mixture ahead of time, and when it’s dinner time, you boil the pasta, drain it, and toss it right on top. Give it a quick stir, and dinner is served.

What could be easier than that?

Certainly not sleepaway camp. :(

Lazy Summer Pasta
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 4
Warm gluten-free tomato/basil pasta salad
  • 1 pound tomatoes (about 8 plum tomatoes or 3 large globe tomatoes)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, cleaned and chopped into large pieces
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound semi-firm to firm cheese, like havarti or asiago, cubed
  • 1 pound dried gluten-free pasta
  1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, peas, olive oil, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir gently until combined, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes, up to 2 hours.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta, and pour the hot pasta over the tomato and cheese mixture, and toss to combine.
  3. Serve immediately.

This makes the quickest meal ever if you prepare the tomato-basil mixture ahead of time, and boil the pasta water ahead of time. Once the water has boiled, turn off the heat and allow it to sit, covered, until you are ready to use it. When are you ready to serve dinner, just turn on the flame again under the pot, and you’ll be amazed how much heat was retained by the water in the pot, and how quickly it returns to a boil. Dinner in a flash.

Love you. Mean it. Don’t forget to grace the Comments with Summer Recipe Ideas!
xoxo Nicole

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  • Meridith
    August 1, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Hi Nicole,

    Its funny that the recipe you posted for pasta salad came while I was away in Cape Cod making pasta salad. Mine was a play on greek salad with greek dressing and feta cheese. For some protein I cut up some thick sliced deli-turkey. Yours looks good too! If your looking for no-oven ideas, I would love to figure out egg rolls. I’ve used rice paper to make spring rolls and they are ok substitutes, but I would like something closer to the real thing. Thanks so much.

  • S
    August 1, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    I also love the goya brand maria gluten free crackers crumbled as a crust. They can be hard to find. But any store that carries goya brand foods (spanish/latin type foods) can get them. They are great! Very much like a real graham cracker.

  • August 1, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    […] you for the recipe ideas the other day. Keep ‘em comin’, o.k.? I need all the help I can get. Soon I will be […]

  • allison
    July 30, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Mmmmm, dreaming of Baklava!

    • Nicole
      July 30, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      Hi, Allison,
      Good one! Now I’m dreaming of baklava, too. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Darlene
    July 30, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    How is it that you make and test all of these recipes and stay so thin?!! I bet you’re one of those people that take that “serving size” nonsense seriously. ;)

    • Nicole
      July 30, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      Hi, Darlene,
      You’re sweet, but I have the biggest a** you’ve ever seen in your life. :)
      Actually, I always taste test everything, but once I’ve made something all the way through and am happy with it, I force it on my children, my husband and then the neighbors (seriously). I don’t have time to eat the rest of everything, because I’m on to the next recipe, and the next one …. And sometimes I gain a few pounds, and I reread my real favorite book about food: Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. It’s right by my bedside, all the time.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Darlene
        August 3, 2011 at 2:15 AM

        Women, Food, and God? Hmmm… I love food, I love God, and I can’t seem to get enough of either. ‘Cept going to church doesn’t make me fat whilst going to restaurants does. This is something I must delve into. I’ll see if my library has the book.
        Thank you, Nicole. I may be making sandwich bread tomorrow.
        Oh.. I read about your daughter’s blanket. I had a stinky blanket (it’s official name). I still have two pieces of it thanks to my sister. I may share sometime. Blessings.

      • Nicole
        August 3, 2011 at 7:24 AM

        Hi, Darlene,
        Seriously. Women, Food & God is really a fabulous book. Geneen Roth apparently has written a bunch of books about food (and women – the God part is kind of oversold), but this is the only one I have read.
        With whom are you considering sharing a piece of Stinky Blanket? ‘Cause in my house we’re full up. :)
        xoxo Nicole

      • Darlene
        August 3, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        I meant “share the story”, gerfren. Ain’t no one gettin’ their nose on the last remnants of my Stinky Blanket. Except maybe your daughter because she seems to appreciate the finer things in life.

      • Nicole
        August 3, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        My mistake! Funny you are protecting your Stinky Blanket from foreign noses – my little one is always trying to get people to smell her blankie. “Smell it! It smells YUMMY!” Even when we say “ew. it STINKS!” She sticks to her guns. I l-o-v-e love that about her. A woman of principle.
        xoxo Nicole

  • Marian S.
    July 30, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    We use pesto for everything in the summer. The family favorite is with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Mix it up with bacon or fried green tomatoes. On or off GF bread. My celiac 4 year old will always tell you his favorite food is pesto. He will eat it plain, off a spoon! Love your website, so glad to have found it!

    • Nicole
      July 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      Hi, Marian,
      We love pesto, too. Love its versatility, when made the traditional way, and how easy it is to make riffs on basil pesto with other herbs, with different summer vegetables, you name it.
      Welcome to the website. Glad you’re here!
      xoxo Nicole

  • July 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I have to laugh with recognition, Nicole. Years ago, there was an older girl in my daughter’s kindergarten who was snippy and mean, but I invited her over for a gluten-free teaparty (she was wheat-free at the time) because my daughter admired her, and I thought meeting outside of the kindergarten setting would be helpful. The gf brownies were just coming out of the oven when the mother called to say, “[My daughter] has decided she doesn’t want to go after all.” She was mildly apologetic, but her daughter was the youngest of four kids, and I’m guessing she had a bit more on her plate than my daughter’s tender feelings. My daughter cried, and I had Uncharitable Thoughts as well. Flash forward three years later: that girl, now in 3rd grade, is kind, considerate, and openly friendly to my daughter.

    It doesn’t always happen that way. Some people start out bratty, and stay bratty throughout their lives. The ones who are accountable for their actions, however, seem to have a better time of becoming decent human beings. This doesn’t help your daughter NOW, I know. But I suspect that she is more the type to be compassionate to others than to pass along the meanness by laughing at them when they drop dishes.

    Summer recipe ideas:
    Fruit gazpacho
    Blueberry-corn salad (I’ve had it, it’s yummy)
    Summer squash fritters
    Stuffed, fried squash blossoms
    “Salmon Carefuls” (my daughter dreamed about them, and we’ve tried to imagine what they would actually be)


    • Nicole
      July 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      Hi, Farida,
      Love your story of the bratty-girl-made-good. Sometimes kids just make bad choices, and then grow out of it. The real concerning part of the story is the part where the mother was complicit in the daughter’s bad manners. I would never dream of calling to say that my child has decided not to come to a scheduled playdate! I once had a mother call to say that, although both of her twins were meant to come to my house for dinner, one of them had decided not to come because (and you’ll love this), “she doesn’t like the food in your house.” Hell is other parents, I’m sure of it.
      Thank you for suspecting that my daughter is a kind person. She indeed is a very kind person. She would NEVER laugh at another child. She has her faults (and I swear during her 8th year of life she was trying her best to kill me), but she would never ever laugh at another child. Last year at this camp, she was riddled with guilt because another girl in the bunk was being bullied, it was being hidden well from the counselors, and Bailey (my daughter) couldn’t put a stop to it (and was often afraid to try, lest she be next).
      I’m still putting together some cement shoes for the kid who laughed at Bailey. If only in my dreams. :)
      Thanks for the recipe requests! Keep ’em comin’!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Rachel
    July 29, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Recipe Ideas: Eclairs and Cream Horns

    • Nicole
      July 30, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      Hi, Rachel,
      I have a great (& simple) recipe for GF eclairs. They start with choux pastry, which is a recipe from my book, so I’m stuck on how to post it on the blog without using the recipe from the book!
      Cream horns are a great idea.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Anneke
    July 29, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Hey, Nicole! Just a quick question about the fabulous Hamburger Buns So You Don’t Cry. Do you think they would freeze well? I have to make them for a party and can’t do it last minute. How many days would they stay nice without freezing? No ideas for a recipe I need right now, but I’m sure I will come up with something! There are so many recipes I haven’t even tried yet that are still swimming around in my brain. Still need to try all the cracker recipes. I hope summer ends for you soon! Best, Anneke

    • Nicole
      July 29, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      Hi, Anneke,
      Those buns are very similar to brioche buns (they are sort of a yeast-free version of brioche), and the many eggs in them keep them fresh for days. Any bread is really best left out on the counter or in the freezer, not in the refrigerator since that tends to dry them out. That being said, I have done all 3 injustices to those rolls — put them in the freezer, left them on the counter for too many days (read: 3 to 4 days just sitting right out there, wrapped in wax paper), and even refrigerated them in spite of myself, and they have held up beautifully any which way. Just know that, because of the sugar in them, if you warm them in an oven or toaster, they may blacken a bit but they will NOT taste burnt.
      Enjoy, and thanks for trying to adios my Summer for me. C’mon Fall!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jessica Cain Fielding via Facebook
    July 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    You had me at lazy.

  • July 29, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Good mid-morning Nicole,
    Hope all is well with you this fine day. I believe we may get rain later on today…yippeeee! Thank you so much, Nicole, for all you do for us. Guess what Mr. C and I are having for lunch? This lovely salad. I have to make some substitutions, but that’s okay. Don’t have snap peas, will sub frozen green peas and in place of olive oil I’m using white truffle oil. The only reason I’m using that oil is because I bought it for something special and had some left over. BTW…do you have a preference for any brand of pasta? Nicole, I would like to make some no-bake bars (like Lara bars,) got any suggestions? I also don’t mind baking, I use my toaster oven you know. I made those rhubarb muffins you suggested and they turned out DEE-licious. Thanks again Nicole for all you do :) xoxo
    p.s. bless your little daughter’s heart. Camp is fun, but can be traumatic. She has a strong supportive family.

    • Nicole
      July 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      Hi, Ruthe,
      Good afternoon, by now, I believe.
      I really like the brown rice pastas, like Tinkyada (although I buy it rebranded at Trader Joe’s and it is much less expensive). Some people complain about the supposed mushiness, but I find that it isn’t mushy at all if you know how to make it. :) Boil just until the pasta water gets really cloudy (which means that the pasta has given off its starch), and then drain immediately and either toss it in your warm salad, or, if possible, rinse the pasta well with cold water, then toss with some salt and oil, and whatever else you like. The corn pastas are also quite good. I think Sam Mills pasta d’oro is reasonably priced and consistently good. There is also that fancy schmancy corn pasta straight from Italy that some people swear by, but I actually don’t think it’s any better than Sam Mills.
      I’m thrilled that you made the rhubarb cake as muffins! Ever since we talked about baking in a toaster oven, I’ve been dreaming up things I can make in there, and how I can pull it off!
      You’re so welcome. Thank you for always being willing to talk food — and life — with me. It’s great fun. And thank you, also, for the kind words about my daughter (and family). This is the first true bout of homesickness she has had in her young life. It really took me by surprise!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sarah D
    July 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    I can’t remember if you have a recipe for Bruschetta on Crustini yet, but that might be nice. I’d love to know which bread recipe would make a nice crustini since that’s one of my hubby’s favorites. That’s all I can think of right now. You know me, though, I’m always willing to turn on my oven regardless of the temperature. :)

    • Nicole
      July 29, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      Hi, Sarah,
      I don’t have a recipe for Bruschetta or Crostini on the site, but that’s a great idea! The French Bread works really well, but I think it would be nice to have a special bruschetta bread and recipe. Thanks, Sarah! I know you’ll turn on your oven any ol’ time, like I will. It makes me very happy to know that, indeed. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennica
    July 29, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    You’re killing me here with the blog about your baby girl! Mine is away this week too, but with the ex, and well, equally as horrifying! Anyway…do you have any ideas for cheesecakes? We always have made no-bake cheesecakes in those awesome store-bought graham cracker crusts, but no more! I can do the insides- beat some cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream together, but the crust? What the…? I can’t buy it? I’ll think of other ideas for you, but it’s early, and cheesecake is the only thing that sounds tasty at the moment. Chances are it’s already an incredible post, and I just haven’t found it yet. ;)
    Have an amazing weekend, Nicole!!!

    • July 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      Hi Jennica, I use Pamela’s cookies (rolled into fine crumbs) for my crust when making cheesecake. Now that I have Nicole’s recipe for nilla wafers I am using those.

      • Nicole
        July 29, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Hi, Ruthe,
        That’s a great suggestion! You beat me to it. Jennica, if you need help pressing the Nilla Wafers into a crust, check out the Hello Dolly recipe on the blog. Just follow directions for the first layer: https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/well-hello-dolly-bars/. I see a fabulous cheesecake in your future, Jennica — and in yours, too Ruthe! Maybe even in mine. :)
        Thank you, Ruthe!!
        xoxo Nicole

    • Nicole
      July 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      Hi, Jennica,
      I know! LOL about a week with your ex being like a week at a scary sleepaway camp. I can only imagine! My poor little girl. I will find that S.O.B. who laughed at her, and teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget!
      For cheesecake crusts: There are two recipes in the book: Cheesecake with Butter Cookie Crust on page 226; Banana Cream Pie with Graham Cracker Crust (page 218, Graham Cracker recipe on page 214). There is also a Ginger Cookie Crust as part of the Pumpkin Pie (page 216; Ginger cookies recipe page 206). I don’t think there is a recipe for cheesecake or cheesecake crust on the blog (if I remember correctly you do have the book, though), but maybe there should be! Do you think people will be willing to turn on their ovens for it? I’m glad you’re willing. So am I!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jennica
        July 29, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        Graham cracker crusts don’t take that long to bake if I remember correctly, but that was my pre-GF days, and yes, I have the cookbook, but again, it was early, and I was too lazy to dig it out. :) My Mom used to make one too that was no-bake, so I will have to bug her for a how-to lesson and see what I come up with and share the whole recipe! She’s not one to use real measurements though, it’s a watch and learn type of ordeal. I am thinking of trying eggplant parmesan this weekend, but it’s the oven that is stopping me…it just sounds so good though! Anything with vegetables in the summer is Heavenly- or fruits…nothing heavy.

      • Nicole
        July 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM

        Hi, Jennica,
        Yes, graham crackers come together in no time and bake very quickly. You can easily make a no-bake crust by combining about 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 4 to 5 tablespoons melted butter, and about 2-3 tablespoons sugar, and pressing the mixture into a pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to fill. Easy peasy. Okay, I think maybe I should do a no-bake cheesecake. I adore cheesecake. Thanks for brainstorming with me!
        For a warm weather eggplant parmesan, try either pan frying the eggplant, or grilling slices, then layering in sauces and cheeses, with some fresh breadcrumbs, and just zapping it in the microwave to melt the cheese. Yum. Ooh I want to make that now. That would also be great with any sort of summer squash.
        This is super helpful, Jennica. Thanks!!
        xoxo Nicole

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