“STOP FIGHTING and STOP SHOUTING. Why do you shout that way? I don’t like shouting” – I shout, louder than both of them.
“I don’t want to hear any complaints about each other. Go, brush your teeth. Your teacher also says the same thing? Yes, she is right. I don’t want complaints either. Be friends. Better, stay away from each other. Brush your teeth. I don’t know where the white race car with the skull sticker is. Find it yourself. No, I will not buy ice cream again today. No, I am not giving my phone instead. Switch off the TV. Brush your teeth. Close the fridge. I can’t make lemon juice now. Close the freezer. No Poori. Same tiffen for everybody. Brush your teeth. I don’t have time. No, I have to go to office. I can’t stay at home. Brush your teeth.”
Yes, Summer vacation.
I think back to my summer holidays. What ever was I doing? Cartoons were only on Sunday – Duck tales and Mickey mouse in the morning, He-Man in the evening. What did I do the rest of the time? I played out in the sun the whole day, running about, making up games, leaves were money, the Ashoka tree was the shop, the gate was the school. Nobody called us in for lunch. We were on our own. We fought, ran, chased each other, fell down, scratched our knees, got up and ran again. We could play carom pauper the whole afternoon and not be bored.
What is really weird is that the grandparents of our little ones, the same ones who didn’t bother to check on us while we sweated outside in the sun, the ones who didn’t check if we had eaten lunch, the ones who bought us one Mango 2-in-one bar once in 6 months, stops the Kwality Walls vandi every day to buy Jiggly jelly and Cornetto for our kids. Strange.
We are the in-between generation bewildered, muddled trying to please everyone, satisfying no one.
Summer is pushing me towards salads, muskmelon juice, mangoes and lassis. I am always trying to simplify meals – one-pot meals, one dish meals. I had a wonderful idea of making an all-in-one Chicken pasta salad that could be a meal in itself – chicken, pasta, fresh crisp vegetables and creamy mayonnaise dressing. I could have the whole thing done in 20 minutes and be done with the day’s kitchen duty. But remember, we’re the in-between generation. We have to please everybody. So I made a regular south-Indian lunch too by the side. So there was Sambar, rice, Chicken pasta salad and cabbage poriyal.
I loved the Chicken pasta salad as did the kids and Jagan. The pasta makes it hearty and filling and the stir-fried chicken adds that wonderful chicken-ness that chicken lovers swear by. The Mayo-lemon-honey dressing is just the right amount of creamy yet light and fresh. Taste and adjust the components to your liking. If you want to make a veggie version, just skip the chicken and increase the veggies. Substitute regular mayo with the veg Mayo if you want to go that far.
The best thing about this kid-approved, Maamiyaar frowned chicken pasta salad is that it tastes great at room temperature or served cold, which means it can be made ahead, which means it is a great option for parties too. Enjoy!
Chicken Pasta Salad
Easy, hearty make-ahead salad
- For the Salad
- Chicken breast – 300 gm cut into cubes
- Bowtie Pasta – 100 gm cooked according to package instructions substitute any pasta shape of your choice except spaghetti
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Red Onion – 1 sliced
- Red pepper/capsicum – 1 diced
- Yellow pepper/ capsicum – 1 diced
- Celery stems & leaves – about 4 stems chopped fine stems and leaves chopped separately
- Chopped Olives – 2 tbsp
- For the dressing
- Mayonnaise – ¼ cup
- Lemon juice – t tbsp from one lemon
- Honey – 3 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper powder – ¾ tsp
- Basil powder – 1 tsp
- Start by preparing the chicken. Heat a pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Drop in the chopped chicken pieces and fry for about 2-3 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through, turns light golden around the edges. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and let it cool down.
- Prepare the pasta. Drop the pasta into salted boiling water. When the pasta is al-dente, switch off, strain the pasta, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients called for under dressing and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
- To make the salad, in a large bowl, combine sliced onions, cooked pasta, diced peppers and celery stems. Add the cooked chicken. Toss to mix everything up. Mix in the olives and chopped celery leaves. Add the dressing and fold it in so it coats everything nicely. Serve at room temperature or chilled.