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?
I saw this recipe on Peanut Butter Fingers a couple times and I was really anxious to try it. I love risotto and had never really experimented with wheat berries before. Last night I was having a quite night at home with Fig and I noticed that I felt like I wanted to snack. This is something I do a lot when I am home alone. I snack and snack and snack, never actually eat something nutritious for dinner and go to bed feeling awful. So last night when my desire to snack set in, I decided to channel that into actually making a meal! The recipe called for Portobello mushrooms, but I’m not really a fan so I substituted red and yellow bell peppers.
I tried to get a picture of the bag of wheat berries and Fig attacked! He came very close to knocking the entire open bag on the floor. It’s easier when Mike is there and he can wrangle Fig for me while I am cooking. It’s hard to cook and play goalie at the same time!
I didn’t have enough parmesean cheese left to mix into the recipe so I just sprinkled what I had left on the top of the bowl. It tasted just as good 🙂 I used the apple chicken sausage like the recipe said, but I think in the future I might go for a more savory chicken sausage (there is a cheese / spinach one at my grocery store that look pretty good).
I had one serving for dinner last night and there are two perfect portions left for me and Mike to eat before we hit the road to North Carolina tonight!!