Tag Archives: macaroni and cheese

Turn a Shortcut Into a Meal

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!

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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?

Fabulously Unhealthy Macaroni and Cheese

If you were to ask me what my #1 goal in my life is right now… it would be balance. I tend too often to be an all or nothing kind of person. I don’t do anything halfway… if I’m in, I’m all in. But there’s something to be said for striking a balance in your life. One of my favorite sayings of all time is: “Everything in moderation, even moderation”. Sometimes you just have to splurge.

Yesterday, I had a really stressful day, and I was dying for a little comfort food. I work really hard 99% of the time to live a healthy lifestyle, eat well, and exercise daily. Sometimes it feels good to just let go and eat whatever I want! Last night I was craving macaroni and cheese, the ultimate comfort food. However, I didn’t want to just buy a box and whip it up, I wanted good old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese. I used this recipe from the Food Network, and it was so much better than the kind from the box!

Finished off the meal with some chicken tenders (another comfort food favorite), a glass of white wine and some chocolate chip cookies (they’re the break / bake kind… did not have the energy to start making cookies as well!)

Phew… I feel better already 🙂