And just like that, summer ended.
I mean, of course it’s still technically summer. But this morning, as I woke Will from his peaceful slumber and got him fed, brushed, washed and dressed for school, summer was clearly over for us. We’re now entering the wonderful world of schedules that revolve around five-day-a-week schooling and assorted extracurriculars.
The free-flowing days of summertime, where we woke when we felt like it and giggled in bed until it was really time to get up are over. But that’s okay. We had a wonderful summertime, and now Will is super excited to be a kindergartener. Paige is just as excited to enter preschool.
Putting Will on the bus this morning, I was a ball of nerves. Would the bus come? Will he be okay riding the bus home? And in all my myriad thoughts, the idea of crying at his big, huge, mega-step was never there … until I turned my back on the bus and the tears sprung to my eyes.
That’s my baby.
Paige, who wore her PJs to the bus stop, held tight to my hand as she, Shawn and I walked down the hill to our house. She’s been so helpful today, following me around with frequent assertions that “I do it!” But this afternoon, I will take her to school too. She went to a casual program last year. This year, she’s off to real preschool.
My children are growing up faster than I ever imagined possible. In a blink of the eye, they have gone from little lumps cradled in my arm to thinking, caring, doing, intelligent children. And try as I might, I will never be able to force them back to their littler states. It’s exciting and sad all at once.
Right now, Will is just about finishing his lunch – the school lunch that I worried so much about. What did I end up packing for his first day? At his request, I whipped up a batch of Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Romano Roasted Shrimp and packed it with sliced nectarines and one Oreo. For snack time, he has sliced peppers and ranch for dipping.
But this pasta is the star of the day. When I recently made Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Romano Roasted Shrimp for dinner, Will adored it (so did Paige and I!). It’s a minimal cooking dish (cook the pasta, broil the shrimp, and that’s it), so it’s fabulous for when you are short on time. Or making a fresh lunch for school.
I just hope he loved it at school too …
Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Romano Roasted Shrimp
NOTE: Scroll down for the printable recipe
1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp freshly grated Romano cheese
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lb penne pasta, prepared
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Stir well, then set aside.
Preheat your oven’s broiler for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange the shrimp on a baking sheet (you may wish to line it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup). Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Then, sprinkle with 2 tbsp Romano cheese.
Broil the shrimp for 4-5 minutes per side, until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.
Add the cooked penne pasta to the tomato mixture and stir well. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Stir again. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Spoon the pasta into bowls and top with 1/4 of the shrimp. Serve immediately.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.