Emergency Pasta Dinner

I really suck at eating meals lately. Usually, I'm bad at eating breakfast. Last week, I did a poor job of eating breakfast and lunch. For the past few days, it's extended to dinner. I've been really busy, and often alone at mealtimes, which are two things for me that spell disaster as far as sitting down and eating a nutritious meal goes. I either go without, or eat bites of things here and there on the run, both of which are terrible for me. The other day for lunch I basically ate like a squirrel; I ate nuts and fruit, which are great, but not while busy, stressed, and standing! Yesterday, I had a good breakfast (because Mikey made it for me), but then worked a significant portion of the day and only ate 3 oreos (ew, and then I felt so sick). I was shaking and crazy by the time I got home late afternoon!

Today, I did a terrible job eating as well, and then baked all evening... by the time 8pm rolled around, dinner was looking bleak. Instead of whining and debating for hours on what to eat, feeling increasingly worse, and too tired to make myself anything substantial, I sucked it up and opened the fridge. I decided to make a really, really, disgustingly simple but delicious pasta I made a few times when we were doing the Real Food Pledge. It's an adaptation of a pasta dinner I'd often make for myself as a teenager.

It's so simple (did I mention that?) and you'll be eating in about ten minutes! I love it because you can adapt it to use anything you have as far as pasta types (or grains--would be great with cous cous or quinoa), or vegetables go. You could swap the butter for sesame oil, and the parmesan for a scoop of peanut butter with a dash of sriracha for an asian style version. Or some olive oil and feta for a mediterranean flavor. You get it. It's simple and versatile. The best kinds of recipes are that way. They are simply guidelines--combinations and ratios you'll keep stored in your head and make for yourself or your family after a busy day, a forgotten meal plan, or a ruined recipe.

Emergency Pasta Dinner
For one. Double, triple, or quadruple as necessary :)

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 ounces pasta (I used veggie pasta)
1/4 head of broccoli, cut into decently sized florets
2 small carrots, sliced 1/4 inch on the bias
3-4 large leaves rainbow swiss chard, or kale
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano

Place a medium saucepan or saucier 2/3 full of water on to boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Once boiling, add the pasta and set the timer for 8 minutes (this is how long my pasta takes, obviously adjust as necessary).

Meanwhile, prep your vegetables. Place another medium saucepan on to simmer, with a couple of inches of water, a steamer basket, and a lid. When the timer gets down to 5 minutes remaining, add the carrots to the steamer basket. At 4 minutes, add the broccoli florets. At 2 minutes, add the swiss chard.

When the timer goes off, take the lid off the veggies and kill the heat. Drain the pasta, reserving 1-2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Let the pasta hang out in the strainer in the sink and return it's pot back to the burner on low. Add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the cheese, stir, add the pasta, and stir again to coat. Dump in the vegetables and stir until everything is evenly coated. If necessary, add the remaining tablespoon of cooking liquid. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Grab a fork, and dump your food into a bowl.

Make sure you are wearing pajamas, sitting on your couch with a blanket, then proceed. Close your eyes, take 5 deep breaths, clear your head and relax your body as best you can. Now you can eat. Eat slowly, and make sure to actually taste your food. Now maybe you'll finally absorb some of those nutrients! Enjoy :)

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