Wanting to Cool Down

It was hot here yesterday. Really hot! I wanted to get some yard work done, so I went out in the morning, knowing that it was going to be a hot day, but an hour into it, I was already dripping with sweat. I lasted about 2 hours before I called it quit and decided to go inside for the day. You would think that with the heat (reaching 100 degrees F) I would park myself in front of the television with a cold beverage, but no, I get ambitious and want to cook all day. So, with the air conditioner on and all of the ceiling fans running, I set to work.

The main part of my baking day went to making a tart that I will post about tomorrow. I knew that I didn't want something really hot for dinner, so I went looking through some salad recipes. I found this Herb Chicken Tortellini Salad that was not only a cold salad, but looked really fast and easy, since I already knew what I wanted to make for dinner. It is a pasta salad that would work well as a side, but I decided to serve it as our main dish, but I knew we needed something else. Knowing I was stuck in the house the rest of the day, I got ambitious and made some breadsticks. Making any sort of bread is ambitious because I don't have a stand mixer. But I went for it anyway....

The salad was great. The only thing I did differently is that I didn't add in the whole 10 oz bag of spinach. I had put about 2/3 in, and it looked like enough, so I stopped there. It worked really well as a main dish, and the best part was that I was able to finish it a little before hand and put it in the fridge until it was time to eat.

I wanted some nice, soft, tender breadsticks to go along with the salad. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and decided to try it out. It was very easy, even without a mixer,
but I did have to add at least an extra cup of flour. I don't know what I was thinking when I cut them, though. The recipe says that it makes 36 breadsticks, but I only ended up with 20-something. They were very LARGE breadsticks!! It would have been better if I would have cut them smaller, though, because the bottoms on some of them were still a bit underdone. But I would have to say, not a bad job for my first time! They were just what I was looking for - very light and tender. The only problem with this recipe is that it is not easy to cut down because it only requires one egg for the whole recipe. This is a lot of breadsticks for 2 people!!

Herb Chicken Tortellini Salad
From meals.com (the recipe is no longer listed there)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves 6

1 (9-oz) package Buitoni Refrigerated Herb Chicken Tortellini - prepared according to package directions and chilled
1 (10 oz) bag ready to use spinach torn into bite size pieces
1 cup diced mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1 (6 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 cup sliced ripe olives
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 c Caesar salad dressing
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella cheese, artichokes, olives and roasted peppers in a medium bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.

Breadsticks with Parmesan Butter
adapted from allrecipes.com

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Yields: 36 servings


  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 cup warm water. Add the oil, egg, salt, 2 cups flour, and remaining sugar and water. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  2. Punch the dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into 36 pieces. Shape each piece into a 6-in. rope. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, cream the butter, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Brush over breadsticks as soon as they come out of the oven.

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