Before we get into the meat of today’s post I realized yesterday that I missed my one year blogaversary! For snicks… here’s a link to my first post EVER! A lot has changed in the past year. I ran a marathon. I moved to a new apartment. I got engaged to the most wonderful man on the planet. It’s also not been without its challenges. My knee injury flared up again causing me to not run my second marathon. Or even the half marathon. I’ve also been doing some hard work to improve my relationship with food. All in all… the last year has been nothing like I thought it would be. I am so thankful for the friends I have made through this blog and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for Pennies on the Run!
On a normal week, I cook for two people. But when Mike is traveling for work… it’s just me and the felines. When Mike travels, I not only miss him terribly (we try to face time every night, which is usually me chasing the cats around the apartment trying to get them to “say hi to daddy”. They HATE this game) but I also have a renewed appreciation for how much he does around the apartment! I mean he takes care of the cats, does the laundry, takes out the garbage… and now I have to do all of that myself. Disaster. Sometimes, I like to keep meals really simple by taking an easy shortcut and modifying it to create a great meal. This week I found a box of Annie’s Organic Alfredo Shells & Cheddar in the back of a cabinet (this was in my stocking this Christmas from my future in-laws!) The box says it has 2.5 servings but one serving of this was definitely NOT going to keep me satisfied all night. I decided to amp it up and turn it into a meal.
To me, one of the best ways to bulk up a meal is to add a ton of veggies. I found 1.5 zucchini and a bag of arugula in the refrigerator. I also had a pack of chicken sausage. Veggies? Check. Protein? Check.
I sliced up the zucchinis and 2 chicken sausages to saute in a pan with just a little olive oil.
After they had a few minutes to cook, I added two big handfuls of arugula. When cooking greens with other veggies, always add the greens last. They cook down MUCH faster and you don’t want them to get overcooked.
After the macaroni and cheese was finished I added everything together and mixed it up. Voila!
Served in a bowl with a little extra parmesan cheese on top for good measure. By adding all these extra ingredients, I was able to turn this into THREE servings of a very hearty and delicious meal. It made for an excellent lunch the next day at work too.
Questions for you guys:
- When was the last time you ate macaroni and cheese from a box? I hadn’t had it in FOREVER.
- What “shortcuts” to you use to make delicious meals?
So I got a bunch of arugula in my produce delivery last week and I was really excited about it because I LOVE arugula. It smells so good and as far as lettuces go it has the most interesting taste to me. I think my favorite salad would be an arugula salad with strawberries, pecans or walnuts, and goat cheese… AMAZING. Problem was that I got my produce delivery on Friday and then promptly peaced out to Pittsburgh for the weekend with my friends. I was in a rush to leave so I just threw everything into the refrigerator and ran out the door. By the time I got back, my arugula was really wilted. It hadn’t gone bad, but it definitely wasn’t going to stand up in a salad. Then I tried to think of things that I cook using arugula, and I was totally stumped. I’ve never had it cooked before!
When I was deciding what to make for dinner for Mike and I last night, I stumbled upon this amazing recipe from The Kitchn for Egg, Arugula, and Herb Tartines . When I told Mike what I planned to make he asked the obvious question… what is a tartine? Don’t be alarmed, it’s just a fancy word for open faced sandwich. I used extra chives because I had them leftover from my chive / squash pancakes, and I did not use butter to cook the arugula / herbs. I used some SmartBalance spray to coat the pan and that was all. I used toasted sunflower honey bread from Harris Teeter which is DELICIOUS. Any good quality, hearty bread will do though!
To complement the egg tartines, I thought I would make a potato dish to make it a classy version of eggs and homefries for dinner. I had several sweet potatoes and a bunch of fresh spinach also from my produce delivery, so I decided to make a skillet potato dish inspired by a favorite Indian recipe Saag Aloo. I was going to make oven roasted sweet potatoes but those take an hour to cook, it was getting late, and we were getting hungry. Saag Aloo is delicious but it is often made with cream or coconut milk. I decided to make a slightly healthier version and let the veggies in the dish stand on their own. I had never tried it before with sweet potatoes (I’ve always used red potatoes) so it was kind of a gamble. I diced up a few sweet potatoes and cooked them with just a little olive oil. Add the spinach, continue to cook, and finally finish with some amazing Indian spices. I used Curry Powder, Coriander, and Cumin… it smells AMAZING.
Plated up and ready to eat!
Tehehe Mike and Fig can’t stay away when I’m cooking 🙂