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?
Quick note before getting into today’s post… remember that time I totally chickened out of going to Mike’s running club’s track workout? Well last night… I went! I completed the workout and even made a friend! More on that soon.
So hopefully you all enjoyed your wonderful Memorial Day Weekends! After having just spent a weekend at the beach in North Carolina, I opted to stay in the city for the holiday and decided to seek out an urban oasis. Monday morning started with a run (I did 5 miles, Mike did 6, we both died afterwards from the sweltering heat at 9:30 am… hello DC summer). Then we headed over to my brother’s apartment building to hang out for the day. The afternoon was spent laying out by the rooftop pool and reading (and by laying out I mean I laid out and Mike spent the entire afternoon moving the umbrella around to prevent all sun exposure and asking if I needed to reapply my sunscreen hehe).
Note: these pictures were taken at about 1pm when the crowd was still pretty small / tame. By 4 pm it was like Spring Break in Daytona Beach up there!
After spending the afternoon by the pool we headed back downstairs to have a little cookout! My brother’s apartment building has community grills in one of the courtyards and I was anxious to use them. I decided to take a gamble and cook up some veggie / turkey burgers for myself and the boys. I saw this recipe on SkinnyTaste a while ago and was really intrigued by the idea of including veggies in with the meat of a burger. I had to improvise a little because I wasn’t at my home kitchen… but luckily my brother is a great cook and his kitchen is amazing. Here is what I came up with:
Then instead of adding a grated zucchini, I chopped up some broccoli slaw and carrot chips into small pieces.
I was already feeling pretty good about these before we went down to the grills
Then Doug (that’s my brother… hey bro!) threw them on the grill (because he is the Grill Master General) and they were so juicy! Veggie success!!
We returned to the apartment (now with Doug’s friend Dan in the mix) to enjoy a delicious dinner of healthy veggie/turkey burgers (with cheese… obviously) and a big salad with Doug’s homemade mustard balsamic vinegarette dressing. Annndddd of course a cold glass of white wine.
It was the perfect end to an amazing weekend. Summer is officially here!!