Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes

This healthy and fresh pasta salad takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, making it the perfect weeknight meal!

Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes | Taste As You Go
Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes

In all my years of blogging, I've basically followed one hard and fast rule -- stay positive. Taste As You Go was designed to be my culinary outlet as well as my creative outlet. After sharing glimpses into my life -- first as a single gal living in New York and now as a married woman living in Pennsylvania -- for so long, I realized that I'm leaving out significant portions of my story by only focusing on the positive.

You've really only been allowed to get to know one side of me. But the reality is, there are always [at least] two sides to a story, and I've decided it's okay to let you guys see some of those other sides.

I'll be sharing my recipe for Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes at the end of this blog post, but I'm going to begin by sharing something I've been struggling with for the past several weeks -- feeling like a contributing partner.

Dried Fusilli Pasta | Taste As You Go
Dried Fusilli Pasta

I spent the entirety of last month staring down a very real deadline. My contract at my day job was ending on June 30th and I didn't have another day job lined up. While tying up everything at work, I was trying to maintain some kind of normalcy at home even though my anxiety was building beneath the surface. I was trying to save face in front of my husband, my family, and my friends.

"Something will come up..."

"I'll find something soon..."

Truth was, I had no clue what was going to happen come July 1st.

Baby Arugula | Taste As You Go
Baby Arugula

Despite increased job-hunting efforts and attempts to bring on more freelance work, the first of the month arrived and I resumed my "technically unemployed" status. As someone who thrives on being busy, this has been crippling for me.

And panic-inducing.

Any one of these projects requires time. I can't submit applications for every position that remotely sounds like a good fit. I have to wait and only apply for jobs that make sense for me and my career goals. On the freelancing front, it's imperative that I do ample research so I don't wind up virtually giving away my creative and writing services to companies who aren't willing to compensate me fairly.

Grape Tomatoes | Taste As You Go
Grape Tomatoes

And while I'm aware that these projects take time, I'm also aware of how loudly the clock is ticking. Sure, I have enough money in the bank to cover my personal expenses, but I'm not in the proper place to help cover our mutual expenses... and that kills me.

That very fact eats away at me and keeps me up at night with guilt because I, obviously, want to contribute to our household in ways that extend beyond cooking meals and doing the laundry.

Frankly, it's a tough spot to be in, and I hope everything is resolved soon.

Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes | Taste As You Go
Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes

If you've managed to read this far... thank you for letting me share. I'm hoping that addressing these feelings will help stop me from dwelling on them so I can stay motivated and positive that the right position (and the right clients!) will come along. If you have any advice about how to keep these feelings in check, feel free to share.

Now that I've gotten all personal with you, why don't you check out my recipe for Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes? It's a super simple meal to throw together, which means it's a great dinner for those nights when time is of the essence. And, since the dressing calls for olive oil and lemon juice rather than mayonnaise, this pasta salad is the perfect dish to make for your next summer picnic or backyard barbecue. I hope you give it a try!
 
Pasta Salad with Baby Arugula and Grape Tomatoes
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes | Yield: 4-6 servings | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta (or use your favorite short-cut pasta)
  • 3 cups baby arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated with a Microplane Zester/Grater
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook the pasta until al dente, following the package instructions. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water.
  2. Transfer the cooled pasta to a large bowl and toss with the baby arugula, grape tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.
  3. In a small bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss until well coated.
  5. Taste for seasoning. Add additional salt and/or pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go | Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

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