Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Saved by the Tomato


Saved by the Tomato | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #MyGraphics


Today we hit the trifecta of made-up silly, fun, random, weird and wacky holidays and celebrations. Ding, ding, ding, bells and whistles going off on the "match the holidays" slot machine. 

There are silly holidays specifically (most likely arbitrarily) assigned to today, April 6th, but as an added bonus, there are also celebrations that require more than a single day to do them justice, hence the weekly holidays.

Now there are categories that I completely understand would, could, and should require an entire week, maybe even a month or all year, like this week's National Bake Week. I could make that work. 

Then there are those "celebrations" (and I use that term loosely) that I just don't get. At all. Those I can't imagine someone would even consider celebrating, like this week's Be Kind to Spiders Week and Bat Appreciation Week. Conversely, I can certainly follow the line of logic as to why International Pooper Scooper Week would fall at the same time (given, of course, you think it should fall at any time at all). Because even thinking of being kind to spiders ("hello, creepy crawly scary guy, how are you today? Care to keep me company while I eat my curds and whey?") or how I might show my appreciation to bats (wearing a neck exposed shirt and my hair up, I suppose) does make my intestines roil and my sphincter clench (not to get too graphic).
I can also see why, for those who are even more faint of heart (but in better control of their bowels), today would be also be Plan Your Epitaph Day.
Here lies Ms. Tornado 
Beloved daughter, mother, sister, friend
Successful celebrator of National Baking Week
Met her untimely death attempting to appreciate bats and be kind to spiders 

But, if you think about it, why would the first week of April be the time chosen for those celebrations anyway? I mean bats? Spiders? Tombstones? Seriously? If you have to celebrate them, everyone knows the last week of October is for that. Duh.

Don't worry though, April, the tomato's here to save the day.
Besides this week being Be Kind to Spiders Week, Bat Appreciation Week, International Pooper Scooper Week, and National Bake Week AND today being Plan Your Epitaph Day, there is yet another celebration today, it's Fresh Tomato Day.
And for this particular celebration, this week is perfect timing. You may have seen that this new Tomato Feta Pasta craze that started, I think, on Tik Tok, and has taken off like a rocket and landed in many, many, many kitchens. This includes mine. Sort of. I've worked out my own version, added a few things, changed a few things, and this was the recipe I'd chosen to share today. 
On Fresh Tomato Day. It's kismet. 

Chicken and Asparagus Tomato Feta Pasta, a version of tomato feta pasta with all of the flavors of the original, and the addition of vegetables, protein, and a little kick. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Chicken & Asparagus Tomato Feta Pasta
Chicken and Asparagus Tomato Feta Pasta, a version of tomato feta pasta with all of the flavors of the original, and the addition of vegetables, protein, and a little kick. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner
The original version of the recipe calls for more tomatoes, more oil, less pasta, a block of feta, no protein or vegetables. 
My version mixes chopped grape tomatoes with crumbled feta, way less oil, minced garlic and red pepper flakes for added flavor. I chose to add cooked chicken for protein (wrapped in foil and heated up in the same pan), fresh asparagus drizzled with Greek salad dressing roasts to al dente, also in the same pan, for quicker and easier clean up.
And I increased the pasta because . . . pasta.
No, I wasn't consulted on any of those other wackadoodle (that's a technical term) holidays, but it's possible that as a consolation prize of sorts, today may have been designated Fresh Tomato Day just for me.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Chicken and Asparagus Tomato Feta Pasta

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBSP Greek salad dressing (can substitute Italian)
1 pint grape tomatoes
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 - 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (according to your preferred heat level)
1# penne pasta

*Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease an 10 X 15 baking pan.
*Wrap the chicken in tin foil, place up against one side of the pan and place the asparagus up against the tin foil beside the chicken. Drizzle the asparagus with the Greek salad dressing.
*Cut the tomatoes in half (larger ones in thirds) and place in a bowl with the feta crumbles. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour evenly into the prepared dish beside the asparagus.
*Bake for 30 minutes. While cooking, boil the penne in a large pot to al dente. Drain.
*Remove the baking pan from the oven. Unwrap the chicken and discard the foil.
*Using a fork, lightly mash the tomatoes and feta together. Add the pasta to the baking pan, gently mix all ingredients together.


  1. I was looking at the events and celebrations calendar for writing inspiration as well. I actually did scoop up a huge spider and deposit him outside yesterday. He just seemed too big to kill, and I'm hoping he will gobble up some mesquitos this summer. In reality, he will probably just creep back inside my house! ;-0

    1. That's so funny that you looked there too. Great minds think alike?

  2. Tomatoes. The saving grace of the week. And boy, did we need them!
    This dish has my three favourite things: tomatoes, chicken and feta. And it sounds super easy. Bonus! Another recipe to try! (I'm still waiting to try your amazing cake from last week--my special supper got postponed...)

  3. You are so right--there is a week for everything! I love those recipes. Trying one next week!
    Carol Cassara

  4. So when is "National Sit Outside and Listen to the Birds" day? That's what I'm doing right now. And thinking of this dish. I don't pay much attention to Tik Tok (nor have I ever had the app) but I guess it does have its uses. My spouse has made something like this for years but without salad dressing or baking. It's really a good combo, too, especially now that asparagus is in season. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. National Sit Outside and Listen to Birds Day? Sounds great, pick a day and sign me up,

  5. When my third boy was born I figured I better get more comfortable with creepy-crawly things. As long as a bug isn't on me I'm okay with it. I've even been known to capture a spider or insect with a glass and take it outside instead of killing it.

    1. My boys don't like spiders any better than I do. You're more kind than I am, for the most part, we don't take the time to show them the door.

  6. Be nice to spiders, if it were not for them, the insects we don't like would take over the world. Bats are amazing creatures and also eat thousands of flying bugs. You don't have to get up close and personal with them (although i love both spiders and bats) to respect the work they do to keep our environment healthy by eating bugs.

    1. It's not that I don't appreciate the work they do, it's just that I have an issue with them trying to do it in my house.

  7. True story:
    There was a spider that lived in my bathroom. It went behind the tub when it got spooked. Otherwise, it just hung out on the wall. I named it Charlie, because, why not? I've not seen Charlie in a while and I miss them.

    1. There is nothing about this that is right. Not a single thing.


Warning: Comment at your own risk. I have Comment Moderation, meaning I approve all comments before they show up here. So go ahead, I'm not scared!