Hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was a win for the most part. Saturday consisted of sleeping in, going shopping and having a giant lunch.
I was pretty excited because I am finally creeping out of “in between sizes” and settling into the smaller size. I also picked up an awesome new t-shirt, along with some work pants and a sports bra. All were much needed!
Sunday was my day off with Farmer Ben…and let me tell you, we both needed it! We started out with church, some napping (okay, I was the only one who napped…but who’s keeping track?) and an amazing lunch.
It was the kind of lunch that you have when you want something hearty but don’t have a lot of time….or just don’t feel like “cooking.”
As you know, I’m not big on boxed foods…but I have a serious weakness for Annie’s Mac and Cheese…especially with greek yogurt. So good!
Sorry for the lack of photos… I was in too much of a hurry to stuff my face. Oops.
Anyway, here is what I call “the Dirty Little Secret.” I justify it by telling the world that everything was local/from the garden except for the mac and cheese mix and olive oil.
Dirty Little Secret (Or Lunch in a Pinch)
- 1 box Annie’s Mac and Cheese-choose your own adventure on this one.
- 1 Medium Onion
- 2 Jalapenos, seeds removed
- 2 cloves garlic
- about a tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Optional:1 lb ground beef (or chicken sausage, turkey, beans, bacon, etc.-again, choose your own adventure)
- Optional: shredded cheese
What to do:
Cook your pasta as directed on the box of mac and cheese (to save time, boil water while you are prepping the rest) and set aside. Reserve cheese packet for later.
Roughly chop onion, jalapeno and garlic.
Throw them in a hot pan with some olive oil. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn/stick.
Add in ground beef (or whatever you decide on)
Cook until your beef is browned, stirring occasionally to break up any big clumps.
If necessary, drain out excess oils/fat (we used a 90/10 grass-fed beef, so there wasn’t really anything to drain).
Add cooked macaroni and seasoning packet, along with some Greek yogurt…or sour cream if you’re feeling naughty. Stir until well combined.
We ate our’s like this, BUT if you want even more crazy goodness, pour your beefy mac into a casserole dish and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil, removing for the last few minutes of bake time. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 until cheese melts/begins to bubble-maybe 15-20 minutes.
This will serve 4 people (better with a salad) or two extremely hungry people. We ate our’s in two sittings.
Again, this is just a quickly thrown together option, you could add in bell peppers, diced tomatoes, olives, whatever you want!
I love pasta. I don’t know if it’s my Italian roots or the fact that you can put pretty much anything in it and have it taste good, or something else… whatever it is, pasta makes life better. I also love red wine. One of my favorites is Seven Deadly Zins (it’s a red zinfandel by the Lodi Brothers).
Last night I had some time to make dinner and decided that pasta was a must. I was dying to make a nice chunky tomato sauce….and that’s what I did. Here’s the recipe:
Red Zin Tomato Sauce:
serves 6 people
What you’ll need:
1 to 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium-large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes
Red Zinfandel (or your favorite type of red wine)
A few basil leaves (about a tbsp.)
1 small can of tomato paste (I think it’s normally 10 oz.)
2 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 package Italian Style Chicken Sausage (I use Bilinski’s-it’s pre-cooked) or your favorite kind of meat
A few good cranks of black pepper
A pinch of salt
What to do:
Chop onion, garlic, and basil. Set aside.
In a large skillet/pot, add olive oil, bring to medium heat. Add onions, cook until softened.
*Note: if you are using meat besides pre-cooked chicken sausage, cook it first, drain off any excess oils and set aside, then cook your onions*
In the mean time, chop up your chicken sausage-if you’re using it.
Add garlic and chicken sausage to the pan. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring once or twice.
Pour in can of tomatoes-do not drain!
Using your spoon, crush tomatoes up, leaving a few chunks (If you don’t like chunks, you can also puree the tomatoes before adding them to the pan.) and stir into mixture.
After a few minutes, add a few good glugs of wine (I’d say somewhere between half and three quarters of a cup) and stir.
Next, add in your can of tomato paste and the basil.
Stir the mixture until combined. Sprinkle in oregano and parsley. If needed, add salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes (until some of the liquid is evaporated), stirring occasionally. *For a more intense flavor, let simmer longer-just be sure to stir once in a while to avoid burning.
Serve hot over pasta- I used whole wheat penne with milled flax seed. Top with Parmesan cheese…or maybe some of that homemade ricotta? Dream come true!
This sauce is savory enough that it can be made without meat, while still being versatile enough to pair with chicken, beef or sausage. The sky’s the limit!