It’s been a while, and much has changed. I finished my book, it is in page proofs, and it will come out in early October.
I got a new job, one that has taken me out of the 8-5 grind of state work and inserted me back into the world of teaching, with the added bonus of an extremely flexible schedule, and for that I am deeply grateful.
The BK started third grade, and he’s gotten so tall. He’s up to my shoulders and he’s only 8. He loves math and video games and is an unabashed extrovert. I see a lot of myself in him. The LK is in her last year of preschool. She turns 5 in October and she is blossoming into a fiery artiste.
I’ve started running again in hopes of maybe running the 3M half in January.
I purged my sewing room of six months’ worth of collected, neglected detritus and actually have room to sew again.
I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog. Do I pick it up where I left off before I went into the book-writing cave, with the daily/weekly features I had planned out? Continue on with bakealongs and cookbook reviews and Foodie Field Trips and the cookbook project? Or do I focus entirely on all the “offline” writing projects I’ve got planned/percolating? I just don’t know. Who knows? Maybe I’ll work it out via writing here.
I’ve also been cooking a lot, partly because it helps generate ideas (and leftovers) for the BK’s school lunches, and also because I now have more time and mental energy to curate a meal plan that doesn’t rely on the same old boring stuff I’ve been making for the past six months. I’ve started trying new projects in the kitchen (including the failed attempt at Mile High Chocolate Cake this weekend), which has me excited to be in the kitchen again. It doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.
And so, without any further ado, here is this week’s meal plan, which is designed for assistance from the BK, whom I pick up from school these days and who needs something to do in the afternoon that doesn’t involve a screen.
Sunday: Cheesy pasta casserole (recipe below), steamed spinach
Monday: Beef & broccoli with rice
Wednesday (a teaching night for me): crockpot sausage & peppers, pasta, salad
Thursday: BBQ chicken tenders, cheesy broccoli rice
Friday: Pizza/tacos/dining out
Saturday: TBD. Probably nothing with rice.
Cheesy Pasta Casserole
(adapted slightly from the Mom 100 Cookbook)
1 package bowtie pasta
1 jar marinara sauce
7.5 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
4-6 ounces shredded Parmesan or mozzarella or “quattro formaggi” blend
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil the pasta until almost al dente, about 10 minutes.
Drain pasta, return to pot.
Add in marinara, ricotta, and mozzarella and stir until blended.
Pour into a 2.5-quart casserole dish and top with shredded cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling.
Serve with a vegetable, for goodness’ sake!